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Updated August 30, 2021

Newsletter 20 Email Copywriting Tips to Improve Conversions

20 Email Copywriting Tips to Improve Conversions

You can spend hours writing copy for your emails. But if you don't convert sales, is it really worth your time and effort? These 20 tips will help you write emails that drive sales for your store.


Your emails have the power to bring in a significant percentage of your store’s revenue.

...but only if your copy is engaging and keeps your subscribers interested enough so they take action.

By clicking on your email, your subscribers are telling you that your message resonated with them so much that they couldn’t help but learn more.

The more you can get your readers to engage with your messages, the more sales you’re going to bring in.

That’s why the copy you use is so important. Because better copy = more money for your business.

Copywriting really is the secret sauce for writing emails that convert readers into buyers. 

It has the power to:

  • Make readers want to read the next line of your message
  • Create a foundation for real relationships with your community
  • Get subscribers looking forward to hearing from you
  • Reiterate the fact that there’s a real person being the brand

...and so much more.

So if you’re ready to start writing emails that convert, let’s dive in.

In this guide, you'll learn:

What is email copywriting?

Everything you write is copy. So when it comes to email copywriting, everything from the subject line, to the preview text, to the content in the email, to the call to action (CTA) is included.

And each piece of your email copywriting has an impact on the overall goal of every email you send: whether it’s getting sales, driving traffic to your store, signing up for a giveaway, or anything else.

Because your subject line and preview text are going to get your subscribers to actually open your email (or not…) and your messaging and CTA within the email will get them to take an action (or leave without following through).

Which is why email copywriting is so important. Without an amazing subject line, many of the people on your email list won’t ever see what’s inside. But if you just have a subject line that gets attention and don’t actually take the time to get the messaging of your email right, that’s not going to drive the results you’re looking for either.

So remember that email copywriting isn’t just one piece, it’s the entire puzzle. And it’s something you need to be thoughtful about if you’re trying to get the most out of your email marketing.

20 tips to write great emails

Now that you have a better understanding of email copywriting, you know that copy has the power to bring in sales and encourage your subscribers to take the specific action you’re looking for. 

But with everything else ecommerce founders need to prioritize every day, copywriting is often something that falls off the list or worse, is not considered at all.

Like anything else, copywriting is a skill that requires practice. The more you do it, the better you’ll be. 

But there are things you can start doing right now to write more engaging copy that inspires action. Use these writing tips to put together amazing emails that have a direct impact on your business’ success.

1. Write for your target audience

Before sitting down to write, you need to ask yourself two key questions about your customers.

What is my target customer trying to achieve? And what stops them from doing so?

Talk to your customers to get the answers. You could send them a survey, but interviewing them is even better.

Need a temporary solution? Go to Amazon or find a similar business and read reviews for products like yours as a quick way to understand what shoppers want out of your brand and products.

Dig deep to find out what makes your shoppers tick. If you’ve done that research, your copy ideas will motivate shoppers to buy your products.

Then, once you’ve done your research, it’s time to write about what matters most to your customers. Because when you have a solid understanding of what they’re looking for, you’ll be able to write copy that will inspire action.

2. Use the AIDA copywriting framework

You’ve done your research, so you know what shoppers hope to get out of your product. Now it’s time to channel those wants into your copy.

People want to hear how your product is going to make their lives better. Get them excited by explaining how your product will help them achieve their goals.

Don’t jump the gun, though. If you immediately tell subscribers “here’s how my product will solve your problems,” it’s going to be hard to get them to pay attention to your message. Ease shoppers in by following the AIDA copywriting formula.

Attention: Captivate your subscribers with bold, catchy copy.

Interest: Pique their curiosity and leave them wanting more information.

Desire: Show that your product fits their goals and the way they envision themselves.

Action: Give them a reason to follow through on your ask and take action.

When you follow the AIDA framework, your emails won’t feel like you’re being overly pushy or salesy. They’ll leave readers wanting to know more about your products.

3. Subject lines are your foot in the door

Subject lines are EVERYTHING.

And your first chance at nailing that A in the AIDA framework: attention. If your subject line doesn’t get their attention, they’re not going to open or read your email. 

So, think about what’s the most interesting or surprising thing in your email?

Why do your subscribers absolutely need to read it?

Don’t try to hide the value, just come out and say it, right in the subject line. Over time, you’ll spot trends based on the performance of your emails and be able to predict what works with your audience.

4. Don't forget your preview text

The preview text is that little snippet of copy right next to the subject line. It should go hand in hand with your subject line, complementing it with a little extra info, doubling down on the excitement or sense of urgency.

Your preview text is the perfect place to reiterate the offer, and add some specifics with a timeframe or a surprising detail.

Remember good copy means that each line makes you want to read the next line. Your email preview should make your subscribers want to open and read the rest of the email!

5. Focus on one message per email

Attention spans are limited. The more information you add to your email, the more you’ll dilute your message with too many distractions.

Instead, focus on one offer or featured product that is relevant to the particular segment you’re targeting.

It’s all about getting your subscribers interested enough to click through and take a specific action: buy a product, sign up for a waitlist, etc. If you give them too many options, the ask gets muddled and you leave the decision up to them about what’s most important.

So keep the main message of each email focused on just one thing and what they need to do to follow through.

6. Get to the point

Don’t beat around the bush. When a subscriber visits your online store, every other site is competing for their attention – Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, other stores, you name it.

So to keep your email list engaged, you need to get to the point of your message ASAP.

To figure out which parts of your email are worth keeping, put it through the “so what” test. Ask yourself “so what?” for everything and you’ll end up with a final product your audience really cares about. 

Putting your copy through the “so what” test uncovers the juiciest product details. You get to the bottom of what makes your product valuable, and you make that the focus of your copy. That’s how you write a good email.

7. Keep your copy concise

Here’s the problem: shoppers’ eyes glaze over when there’s too much information.

To keep your customers interested, give them specific, concrete descriptions. Physical details that grab shoppers’ attention and provide a clear idea of what to expect from your product will paint a realistic picture of what your product has to offer.

Not sure whether your copy is too vague? Ask yourself whether it meets the 4 Cs of copywriting:

Clear: Is the meaning of your copy obvious?

Concise: Are you using fewer words to say more?

Compelling: Is your description attention-grabbing?

Credible: Is your description believable?

If you find yourself using a general adjective, take copywriting teacher Ramit Sethi’s advice and give examples instead:

"Any time you find your copy drifting into the clouds, bring it back down to the ground level with some specific examples."

By “examples,” Sethi doesn’t mean anecdotes or testimonials (though those might work in your ecommerce copy). Instead, he wants writers to back up their claims with details. To explain this tip, he shows two ways to pitch a weight loss program.

Vague: “You’ll look great.”

Specific: “You’ll finally be able to fit into your high school jeans and be the envy of all your friends.”

Is the vague description shorter? Yes. Does it paint a picture that means anything? Not really. So don’t confuse concise with boring. You can be concise and still share details your subscribers really care about.

8. Engage readers with humor

Entertainment is key when you’re writing email copy. And if you want your subscribers to look forward to reading your emails and be more likely to take action, they have to like you.

Humor is a great way to score some likeability points and remind readers there’s a real person behind the emails they’re reading. 

So finding ways to use humor while educating your email list is the ultimate secret to success. Just make sure what you’re saying is relevant to the overall message and resonates with your audience.

And don’t overdo it. A well placed joke is better than 3 mediocre ones.

9. Ask questions to build feedback loops

On top of getting your subscribers to take action, clicking through to your offer or checking out a product page, marketing emails are also about establishing rapport with your subscribers and establishing a two way communication street rather than a one-sided conversation (is there anything worse?).

Make questions part of your marketing email copy and encourage readers to reply to you. Not only will this help you build real connections and relationships, but you’ll get invaluable feedback about your products, business, and what really matters to your prospects and customers.

Just remember: if you get any responses, make sure to acknowledge you’ve read and received it. Most businesses don’t do that, so this will definitely help set you apart.

You can ask about the type of content they’d like to receive, what they think about your latest offer, and other questions that will help you gain insight into how to serve them better and convert more browsers into buyers.

10. Don't be afraid to get real with objection handling

It doesn't matter how big or popular your business gets – you’ll always have hesitant shoppers. Some people may like your product, but, for whatever reason, they are hesitant to buy it because of price, shipping costs, concerns about fit, etc.

You might think it’s better to leave their objections out of your copy. Why share the fact that people are questioning your product?

It sounds counterintuitive, but copy that tackles customer objections builds trust. Put into words what shoppers are worried about, then explain how your product will still achieve what they want. You’ll ease their minds and boost their confidence in your product.

If you’re ever struggling to come up with an idea for your next email, think about using one of the most common objections you get and encourage readers to ask any questions by responding to the email. Make it super easy for them to get their questions answered ASAP.

11. Use action words

Use action-oriented verbs like “get,” “buy,” “look,” and “shop” to make whatever action you want them to take crystal clear.

Emails are direct communications designed to capture a higher intent audience. By using action verbs you’ll be helping yourself steer clear from run-on sentences and instead write easy to read, engaging messages that will inspire readers to follow through.

12. Get attention with catchy words

Word play like puns and alliteration are an amazing way to get your readers’ attention with your email copy.

If you can get punny or throw a rhyme in there without being cheesy, go for it!

You’re trying to get your subscribers to absorb and retain information in a very limited amount of time. Catchy words and phrases stick in the human brain way longer than their boring counterparts.

13. Use images or GIFs to emphasize your writing

You know the phrase a picture is worth 1,000 words? Photos are SO much more memorable than words. 

Copy is necessary, of course. But your message will be so much stronger if you use images and GIFs to really emphasize the point you’re trying to make.

Images and GIFs can also help you boost the fun factor as well as showcase your products in more dynamic ways. Use them to illustrate what you’re talking about, or to insert some humor and nail down the tone of your email. They’re also the perfect way to mix in some personality.

14. Give your readers what they want

Your customers and prospects subscribed to your email list because they like your brand and your products. At some point, they’d like to buy something, right?

So give them what they signed up for!

Discounts, special offers, promos, etc. should never be missing too long from your email copy. Yes, you need to mix in educational content too, but make sure you’re constantly reminding subscribers about your products. You don’t want to leave them wondering, “Wait, what does this business sell?”

Segmentation is also a huge part of sharing the right message with the right audience. Giving customers what they want is probably very different than giving brand new members of your list what they want. So keep that in mind with every email you send. Ask yourself which audiences would care about the message you’re sharing.

15. Have a strong call to action (CTA)

Your CTA needs to be hyper visible, clear, and actionable.

Asks like “Shop Now”, “Buy Now”, and “Get Your Discount” are all examples of strong, action-oriented CTAs. If you keep it simple and are really specific about the ask, readers won’t be left wondering what it is you want them to do or be brought to a page they’re confused by if they do click.

Just remember that you should only have one primary CTA or you’ll muddy the ask and create confusion around the action they should take.

16. A/B test your email copy

A/B tests are your friend. Unless you’re constantly running tests, you won’t know for sure what really resonates with your audience.

Test different approaches to subject lines, jokes, length, amount of GIFs and images, button colors, email endings, CTAs, etc.

With every A/B test you run, you’ll get important information about what your readers like to interact with and can recreate and tweak your messaging over time.

Armed with data from your tests, you’ll be able to craft email marketing copy that is catered specifically to your audience.

17. Write like you talk

It’s important to position yourself as an expert no matter what industry you’re in. But that doesn’t mean you need to use complex language. In fact, the simpler your copy is, the better.

A good trick is to write your emails like you’re talking to a close friend or your mom, no need to be formal.

You can still be professional and add value while acting like a real person. Stay away from, “Best Regards,” “Dear Mr.,” or “Dear Sir,” etc. Even though it’s an email from your business, it shouldn’t feel stuffy. You actually want readers to know a real person is behind the keyboard.

18. Keep your sentences short

In line with keeping your copy easy to read and understand, short sentences help.

Finish one idea, period, next idea. 

When your sentences are short, sweet and broken up into separate lines, they’re so much easier to read.

When a subscriber opens your email, the last thing you want to do is overwhelm them with crazy long paragraphs. Make it easy for them to open your email and immediately figure out why they should care about whatever it is you have to say.

19. Stay away from jargon

Don’t use alienating words!

Unless it’s jargon you know your audience uses and is familiar with then it’s better to stay away from it. This includes abbreviations too.

Instead, use words you know everyone understands.

20. Talk about benefits, not features

Instead of talking about the features of your products, focus on the benefits your subscribers will see and how those benefits will impact their lives for the better.

Whether it’s comfort, convenience, belonging…

Focus your copy on the real benefits of the product rather than its physical attributes. Your subscribers don’t care about the fact that your tea maker has a better filtration system. They care that their tea tastes better.

So always lean into the benefits of your products. Think about the end results your customers want to see and how your product can help them get there.

Last thing: don’t forget to proofread. Errors like ypos, unfortunately, hurt your credibility. So spend a couple extra minutes double checking your work before hitting ‘Send.’

Write amazing email copy with the help of Privy Email templates

66% of people (especially millennials) prefer visually appealing html designs vs. plain text emails. So a well-designed email can improve engagement and lead to higher click-through rates and more sales.

But creating amazing email templates is often really time consuming. And like you, other small ecommerce founders don’t have a lot of extra time on their hands.

Privy Email users have access to templates for every type of email, absolutely free.

Try Privy for FREEThese ready-to-use email templates for newsletters, purchase follow-ups, and abandoned cart emails were built to help you drive more sales for your ecommerce store.

The way your emails look is incredibly important. And when you’ve got the right email format, nailing the copy is so much easier. With Privy’s free templates, you’ll know where to highlight your offers, how much space you’ve got, and have the ability to customize everything from the copy to the colors. Here are a couple examples.

Abandoned cart email template:

Sale email template:



How To Write Emails FAQs

Not sure how to write email copy that converts? Here are some of the most common questions asked with answers below.

What is the average length of an email subject line?

Email subject lines shouldn’t be longer than 9 words. Anything beyond that will get cut off. So use the preview text to complement your subject line whenever 9 words feels too tight. Preview text is always your friend!

Should I use emojis in my email copywriting?

Yes! Emojis in subject lines are proven to increase open rates. Plus, they can help you direct your readers’ attention to the most important parts of your email, like the CTA, offer details, and discounts. Just be mindful of the fact that you can overdo it with emojis and they have the potential to get your messages to land in the promotions folder, rather than the main inbox.

Do I need to hire an email copywriter?

It’s definitely a nice-to-have, but it’s not a must have. Email copywriting takes some practice, but if you’re constantly testing different combinations, looking for clues about what your audience cares about based on your email performance over time, and staying true to your brand, you should start to see results without the help of a professional copywriter.

What is the ROI of email marketing?

Ecommerce businesses can make $42 for every $1 spent on email marketing efforts. If you’re struggling to see results, revisit your segmentation, offers, email marketing copy, CTAs and design. And remember that consistency is key.

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