Writing copy for email newsletters

25 March 2009

First of all, people don't often read emails.

Some people receive at least 5 or more email newsletters every day, and when they have 20 or more other emails as well they're likely to just delete the email newsletters and get on with the other work they have.

The email newsletter subject is the single most important thing, as if the subject isn't of interest there's no way they're going to open this newsletter as apose to any other email that they have.

The subject needs to be:

  • Eye catching - but not all in capitals
  • Rewarding (giving something to the email reader) - but not in a spam like way
  • To the point - only mention what the email actually has to offer

Once the email subject has done the job f getting the client to open the email now you have the job of trying to get them to actually read some of the content, rather than scanning and deleting.

Break the email up using headings.

The headings will tell the reader what they're going to read about in this section, if it's of no interest then the reader may go to the next heading and so on.

If the first section does not catch the reader's attention then this may be the delete point of that email.

Make sure you place the most important stories at the top, as these are more likely to be read (or quickly scanned).

Don't make emails too image heavy, as by default most people have images turned off until they chose to view them.

The copy of the email should be short and to the point - and then always offer links to a website where they have the option to read more if they chose to do so.

Never put lines and lines of text. Blocks of text will be dismissed because they look too time consuming and boring.

The chances are that within an email the reader will only click on one link and will then not return to the email newsletter, but will stay on the website and explore until bored and then you've lost them altogether.

Readers love bullet points and numbered points as this shows short lines and not massive blocks that they have to read.

Writing copy for emails is quite a challenge because every user is different, and if they don't even open the email then the whole email goes to waste.

Only send the email newsletter to those who have chosen to receive it and make sure it is of interest to these people.

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