Effective email writing tips for beginners

Marketing professionals often wear multiple hats. Not only are they in charge of crafting new marketing ideas and strategies, but they’re also often overseeing projects, team members, and the creation process. 

If this sounds like what you do, it means you find yourself drafting email marketing messages. Sure, you may understand how important email copy is, but do you have the skills to write effective copy? 

Fret not. We’ve got some excellent email writing tips for beginners (and those who simply need a quick refresher).

Before we jump in, let’s take a moment to discuss what makes an excellent email.

The anatomy of a good email

To write the best email for your readers, you must understand the anatomy of one. Once you’ve understood that, you can start to craft emails that get your messages across and resonate with your readers.

Below, we’ve highlighted several areas of an email that must be included:

  • Subject line

  • Opener/greeting

  • Email body

  • Call-to-action (CTA)

  • Closing

GoFundMe email example

Source: Gmail

Subject line/preheader text

Marketers understand just how vital an email subject line and preheader text is. This is the first piece of information your readers see—this is their first impression. It’s what determines if your recipients open your message or trash it. 

In the GoFundMe example, the subject line and preheader text read as follows:

Subject line: The GoFundMe Heroes Celebration livestream event is tonight!

Preheader text: You’re not going to want to miss this

This combination is excellent. The reader is told exactly what’s in the email, yet they’re left intrigued as to why they won’t want to miss this event. 

Opener

Once you’ve nabbed the reader’s attention, craft an opener that welcomes the reader. While most openers will directly greet your reader, some will use a crafty heading to encourage them to continue.

In the earlier example, GoFundMe chose a simple, personalized greeting before diving into the meat of the message. 

Body

The body of the message is the bulk of your content. This is where you get to the point of your communication. In our email writing tips below, you’ll notice you won’t want to make this section too complicated. In fact, short and sweet is the key to writing compelling body copy—and we’ll tell you why in a moment. 

Closing

You never want to end your message with the body of your email. Instead, include a friendly sign-off. These can be quick and simple, or they can be tailored to your audience. 

In the example from GoFundMe, they went with a simple “See you soon.” 

Here’s an example of a crafty sign-off from The Conference and Media Evolution.

example of a crafty sign-off from The Conference and Media Evolution.

Source: Really Good Emails

You don’t have to be generic with your closers. In fact, you should avoid the more standard closers because they can come off as informal, cold, and even passive-aggressive. 

Email writing tips to take your copy from average to excellent

Now it’s time for the nitty-gritty. Whether email writing isn’t your area of expertise, or you’re simply looking for a quick refresher, these email writing tips will help get you on the right track. 

Make your objective obvious

When crafting an email, it’s crucial you remember your message is one of dozens (if not hundreds) your subscriber receives that day. While there are conflicting stats as to how many emails consumers receive each day, the number of emails expected to be sent and received per day in 2019 is around 293.5 billion

Another source breaks this number down, stating the total number will be closer to 246.5 billion, with consumer emails coming in at 117.7 billion

With so many emails popping up in the average consumer’s inbox, it’s no wonder people tend to skim messages (if they open them at all). 

That’s why you need to make your email’s objective obvious from the start. 

If you’re making proper use of your email subject line and preheader text, your readers know exactly what your email is about. From there, you’ll want to write clear and concise copy—then your readers can scan your message and decide whether they want to click through for more information. 

This example by Jaybird does a wonderful job of keeping their objective obvious. They clearly state they’re introducing new earbuds, and then they follow it up with “The Perfection of Wireless Sound.” It’s a heading that stands out and makes readers curious.

JayBird example

Source: Campaign Monitor

Get right to the point

Now that you know you need to make your objective obvious, here’s another tip: Make sure you’re getting right to the point. Remember, you’re not trying to drag your readers through an extensive message. The point of a good email is to capture your reader’s attention and get them to act on your CTA. 

Your email needs to be succinct. Since most people skim your message anyway, don’t waste time crafting long-winded messages. Your readers want to know what your message is and why they should care—and they want to know it as soon as possible.

WeTransfer does an excellent job of this through their header: “WeTransfer Plus is a great way to let your brand shine.”

WeTransfer example

Source: Really Good Emails

From there, the email’s content revolves around the positives of WeTransfer Plus. Simply put: There’s no fluff. And if the reader wants to learn more, they can just click the CTA button.

Write for your readers

At this point, you should know what your target audience wants to see. As we said earlier, readers aren’t going to sit through an entire message unless they find it worthy. So make sure you’re writing for them. 

That means:

  • Use language familiar to them

  • Make use of headers and subheadings to break up text

  • Use varying fonts and colors to make certain sections stand out 

  • Include images, videos, or GIFs 

Writing with your reader in mind is so important. Speak to them as if you’re their friend—but still come off as a professional. Just take a look at the language difference between these two messages.

Trello email example

Source: Gmail

While both emails have a conversational feel, they’re both written for their respective audiences. 

Trello’s email is crafted to drive action from the reader. Kelsey Chapman’s, on the other hand, is more like a newsletter for subscribers invested in her brand. 

What works for one audience won’t necessarily work for the other—so take time to know who’s reading your message and write for them.

Don’t forget your CTA

As a marketing professional, you know the significance of your CTA. But when it comes to email writing tips, you may be wondering if you should include buttons or hyperlink text within the message body. 

The answer comes down to knowing your audience. While some messages will perform better with hyperlinks, many readers prefer an easily-noticeable CTA button—like the one included in the following example:

Old Pal email example

Source: Really Good Emails

Crafting the perfect email CTA follows a lot of the same email writing tips, including: 

  • Keeping text concise

  • Having a clear objective

  • Driving action

Wrap up

Crafting a well-written email is an art form. Whether you’re new to email writing or simply need a refresher, these email writing tips should be kept at the front of your mind:

  • Have a clear objective

  • Get right to the point

  • Write for your readers

  • Always include a CTA

Ready to take your emails to the next level? Check out these 21 steps and start creating professional-looking emails today.

About the Author

Emma Email

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. With our​​ powerful automation and personalization features, you can create and send email campaigns that reach the right customer at just the right time. It's email marketing that works for you.

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