by Anna Wybieralska Jun 26, 2020

An average email user receives about 120 emails every day. That’s 120 different subject lines, email copies, and 120 competitors trying to get their attention.

Table of Contents

Writing a non-engaging, generic or salesy copy is a sure-fire way to become “just another” unread email that sooner or later goes into the trash folder. You have to write copy that’s so compelling and personalized, people just can’t resist clicking on your emails and CTAs.

Best email writing tactics to boost your CTR

1. Breakthrough the noise with a strong, data-driven subject line

Now in fact, with all of those emails from competitors in your customer’s inbox, you don’t just need good subject lines. You need subject lines that get emails opened. Here’s one of the best ways to create them: a data-driven subject line that will boost your CTR.

Do you have some interesting statistics, success stories, or other numbers that you feel could be interesting for your customers? If you do, then we’ve got a project for you. Think of ways to present them in the subject line in a compelling way to boost your CTR. For example: imagine you’re running a B2B business called ABC that sells a live chat app.  Recently, one of your customers has written an awesome review like this.

“Thanks to ABC, we can now serve our customers faster. The inquiries started to come in within the first two minutes after we installed it on our website. So, in just a month, we increased our sales by 5 percent! Thanks again, Mark.” 

That’s nice, right? The customer said he was able to increase sales by 5 percent in just a month thanks to your app. It means that, you can take that review and turn it into an amazing subject line:

  • “See how Mark increased sales with our live chat in just a month”
  • “Mark increased his sales by 5 percent with our solution in 30 days.”
  • “Would you like to increase your sales by 5 percent in a month?”

See what I did there? By using the data that your customer provided, you can write a nice and compelling subject line. The data makes it more eye-catching, so a business owner would be more likely to click to see how another company was able to increase sales. It means an increase in CTR and conversion rate This technique applies to many other situations as well. 

If you’re writing an email to promote a virtual event, for example, you can turn to testimonials of those who attended the previous meeting. Try to find a testimonial describing something relevant and interesting enough for the audience, and feel free to use it in the email. So, take a good look at your customer reviews to see if there are some nice numbers you can use. Also, don’t forget to let the customer/attendee know that you’re going to use their review.

Do your best to find at least two different cases to try out. Then use an A/X split test to see which case attracted the most clicks. 

Why can such a subject line work well for your business? It's simple: the fear of missing out. 

It’s a marketing communication approach that seeks to appeal to the customers’ desire to take advantage of an opportunity before it goes away. It means that many people who see that others are benefiting from using your product or service will want to join. The big secret reason why they do is that they’d rather make the decision to buy rather than regret not doing anything later. That fear of missing a profitable opportunity is a powerful factor that can convince them to at least open your email and check out what’s going on. Because of that, you’ll want to try a data-driven subject line to show your potential customers what they might be missing. 

2. Add a preview text that supports the subject line

Preview text - the text that appears after the subject line in the inbox. It's an extremely undervalued aspect of successful email marketing. Although really short - which is probably the reason why some email marketers ignore it - it still gives one more opportunity to grab the attention of the customer. That’s priceless, considering all those 120 emails arriving in an inbox of your customers every day.

The best way to write a preview text is to make it continue and support the idea you started in the subject line. Here’s an example. The subject line lets the customer know about the contents of the email (clothing designs for Father's Day). The preview text nicely adds more details about the offer (fun and unique gifts made especially for fathers).

Conversioon rate in email marketing

After reading both the subject line and the preview text, the customer will surely have a good idea about the contents. So, let’s summarize this method in this formula:

[the topic of the email] + [1-2 details about the topic]

Also, note how great the subject line looks with those emojis. To send out similar emails to your customers, you need to choose an email marketing tool that allows adding an emoji to email subject lines. Here’s another great example. The subject line contains the main detail - minus 20 percent on gifts - while the preview text another important detail: the offer lasts for two days only. 

Email Click Through Rate

The formula for writing:

[X% off your product] + [one more important detail (timeframe, selected products, free shipping, etc.) to induce the sense of urgency]

Common preview text mistakes

These are the most common mistakes that businesses make in emails.

  • Copying the subject line. There’s absolutely no need to repeat the subject line. It will look weird and spam-like in the inbox
  • Using a totally unrelated idea. If the subject line and the preview text talk about different things that seem unrelated, it could be confusing
  • Including links. The body of the email is a better place for that because links in preview text look too spammy
  • Never testing different texts. Relying on one version of the preview text is a bad idea because you can only define the best converting one with split testing.

Dive Deeper: Using Emojis in Email Marketing - Pros and Cons

3. Create a sense of urgency in the email body copy

This is a common tactic to increase the open rate and CTR in email marketing. The email isn’t the only marketing tool suitable for this. Marketers often use it in other tools, like a video, a top websites page, a blog article, or a landing page. So, by placing a timer or giving a timeframe for an offer, you might be able to increase the interest of your customers in it. Now, if the subject line and the preview text do their job well to convince the customer to open your email, it’s time for the main message to make a difference. 

There are a few ways to induce a sense of urgency in email copy effectively:

  • Be concise. If you want to tell your customers about a sale, etc., just do it. No beating around the bush
  • Write short sentences. They are easier and faster to read, so they give you a better chance that the customer will read as much as possible
  • Don’t make the copy sound salesy. Even if you’re sharing news about a sale, there’s still a way to present it in a cute, non-pushy way. You can, for example, mention some of the benefits of the products that are on sale.

This email from Under Armour below does a really good job of following these guidelines. The copy is really short, to the point, and gives all information the customer needs to know without being pushy. 

Email Marketing Conversion Rate

So, the point here is to be as short as possible without overwhelming the customer with traditional-style marketing calls to actions. 

4. Grab attention with a nice story

Storytelling is a popular technique in email marketing that helps you boost CTR. Stories are great because people remember them 22 times more than facts and figures. You should try writing stories for your emails, too. Let’s now break down a great example of storytelling in email marketing so you know how to write an awesome copy. The email below comes from Man Crates and uses a story to introduce grilling gift kits.

Email CTR

Here’s the sentence-by-sentence breakdown for you:

  • Nice introduction that appeals to the target audience.
  • Detail-rich second sentence that tells the customer how you can use the grill.
  • A sentence that ends the main idea with the awesome benefit: eating delicious meals made on the grill.
  • A transition sentence that connects the benefit - cooking delicious meals on the grill - to the product, “carefully curated totally unique grilling gifts”.
  • An ending sentence that lets the customer know they can buy these products quickly

Now, that's a beautiful sequence! But, note that the copy is really short and reads like a story, rich in details that the intended customer is sure to notice. The story-like introduction provides a great transition to the product, so the copy is super non-promotional and relevant to the brand’s target customers. Write your email copy this way and have some fun introducing your products, boosting your CTR at the same time. 

Here’s where to start:

  • Think about a situation where customers might use your product, e.g. if you’re selling athletic gear, you can talk about a pivotal moment in a game, a training session, etc.
  • Feel free to use data. The data you collected from customers - reviews, testimonials, stories, etc. - can help to strengthen the message and make it more relevant and realistic.
  • Make it detailed. A lack of details makes a story boring. Just imagine what the story above would have been like if it hadn’t had details like “sizzling steaks” and “grilled cheese sandwiches".

However, there's one more important thing. Storytelling in email marketing means making a custom email design to fit the story. Writing a super long story isn’t a good idea because it might make your emails so long no one’s going to read them. Try consulting with good writing websites before turning your story into a ready-to-use copy. They can help to keep the copy within reasonable limits. 

5. Make sure that the CTA finishes the job well

The CTA that gives you the best chance to increase the CTR of your campaigns isn’t just a button with a catchy copy. It’s an element that finishes the theme started in the subject line and gives one final push for the customer to convert. 

This makes a marketing email similar to a great story. Firstly, the customer - or a reader, if you will - is drawn into the story with the subject line. Secondly, they get inspired by the main content, which eventually leads them to the most important part - the climax, which is the CTA. To make sure that the CTA finishes the job well:

  • It needs to reinforce the action mentioned in the main copy.
  • Include action-oriented words to help the customer understand what happens next.
  • Exclude traditional, pushy words like “Buy now”.
  • Limit it to five words to avoid an unnecessarily long button that messes up the email design.

Below is a great example of a CTA that follows these tips. It summarizes the previous section, mentions the products, and is pretty short. 

Email Conversion Rate

It serves as an ending to the “thank you” category of products in an email, too. This makes it an appropriate way to end the message and lead the customers to the page with more options. 

Dive Deeper: How to use a call to action in email marketing effectively?

Email writing tactics: final thoughts

An engaging, customer-focused, and simple copy is a must for increasing the CTR and the conversion rate of your email marketing campaigns. Now, you know how to write the subject line, the preview text, the body, and the CTA button copy, which is pretty much everything you need. Hopefully, these tips will help you to get more opens, CTR, and conversions. Take inspiration from these examples, and you’ll make your emails convincing, engaging, and pleasant to read. 

About the author

Daniela McVicker is a blogger with rich experience writing about UX design, content planning, and digital marketing. Currently, she contributes to many authoritative sources where she helps individuals and organizations improve their web content writing, design, and planning skills. Her posts are always packed with examples and actionable content that readers can put straight into the action.

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