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5 Steps to Writing Marketing Emails Your Customers Actually Want to Read

How many emails did you receive when you opened your inbox this morning? If you’re like everyone else, it was probably … a lot. 

Small businesses are up against steep competition when it comes to sending marketing emails. In fact, the average person receives over 100 emails per day (EarthWeb). Into the trash bin they go, right?

Well, not so fast. You can probably think of one or two marketing emails you subscribe to that you actually enjoy reading. Even if you’re not ready to buy one of their products, you might find their emails interesting, helpful, or even entertaining. 

The question is, how can you get your brand’s emails on that level? 

It’s actually a simple formula:

  1. Have a clear desired result from your email
  2. Talk directly to your audience
  3. Think about how your audience is misunderstanding their problem
  4. Tell a story
  5. Use 1 - 2 clear calls to action

In this blog post, we’ll dive into each of these steps and teach you the secret to writing emails your customers actually want to read. Whether you’re a professional copywriter or small business owner doing it all themselves, anyone can start implementing these strategies in their emails for more conversions and fewer “unsubscribes”. 

1. Have a clear desired result from your email 

It’s copywriting best practice to have a clear desired result from whatever piece of text you’re writing. The same applies to writing marketing emails. If you don’t know exactly what you want your audience to do after they read the email, how are they supposed to know? 

Think carefully about what you want your email to accomplish, and use this to guide your email content. The more specific, the better. Some examples of desired results include:

  • Add the product to cart
  • Reply to the email with a question or feedback
  • Book an appointment 
  • Save the date to their calendar 
  • Visit the online store 
  • Sign up for the online course 


2. Talk directly to your audience

Most readers don’t want an email from a brand. But they do want messages from their friends. That’s why the most successful marketing emails get personal and talk directly to their readers.

Customers want to feel seen and heard on a human level. The best way to do this is to talk to them and about them way more than you talk about yourself, your product, or your service. Consider having three “you’s” for every “I” (and avoid using “we” altogether). 

Asking questions in your email is a great way to engage your audience on a person-to-person level. Here’s an excerpt from an imaginary marketing email:

“Here at CandleCorp, we create the best hand-poured scented candles on the market. They burn for over 84 hours and come in a variety of luxury fragrances we blend in-house.” 


How about:

“Hi __, you know how you’ve already burned through that scented candle you just bought? Remember how the smell gave you a headache (because it was artificial fragrance)? You deserve better than that…” 

Use specific, empathetic, real-life examples that address your audience directly. 


3. Think about how your customers are misunderstanding their problem

If your customers understood their problem, they’d have solved it by now, right? That’s where your product or service comes in. Think about how your potential customers might be trying to solve their problem without your product or service, then show them how your product or service is the real solution. 

For example, if you sell an herbal beverage mix that helps boost energy and brain function naturally, people might not realize that’s what they need. They might think they need to reach for a sugary snack or caffeine boost. You might craft a subject line like:

“When it’s 3 pm and you really need a coffee.” 

Acknowledge the problem they have, then offer a solution in the body of your email. 

Bonus tip: Rather than using surveys to find out what your customers want or what their problems are, use Amazon product reviews. Find a product similar to yours and look at the negative reviews, then use those specific examples to show how your product is different or solves the issue. 

E.g. “Want X product but wish it was more durable? Try ours.” 


4. Tell a story 

Humans don’t just buy products. They buy stories. If you want people to read your marketing emails, you can’t just get them to read – you need them to care. And storytelling is a powerful way to do that. 

Stories connect, resonate, get re-shared and retold. They’re the ultimate way to add an essential human touch to your advertising emails. 

The stories you share in your emails could be a customer success story, certainly. But even better, it could be something personal that happened to you. It could come from your shower thoughts, your passions, your mistakes, your personal insights. Think about the kind of emails you would want to read, and write those for your audience. 

If at the beginning of your story (or in your subject line) you can make an unusual claim or ask a question, your audience will be hooked. 

“How did Nicole go from craving a nap every afternoon to becoming a productivity powerhouse at 3 pm?” 

…is a lot more interesting than “Try our drink mix that prevents blood sugar crashes.” 


5. Use 1 - 2 clear calls to action

An email without a call to action is just taking up space. Your audience won’t know what they’re supposed to do with the information you just gave them. If you already planned out a clear desired result for your email, crafting a call to action should be easy. 

A good call to action lets your reader know exactly what’s going to happen when they click. Here are some examples:

“Yes! I want a free upgrade.”

“Save my spot.”

“Start your free trial.”

“Tell me more.” 

Use 1 - 2 calls to action per email, and no more than 3. 

Don’t sleep on the opportunity marketing emails can bring for your business. Take a look at these email stats from Snov.io:

  • Email marketing ROI (return of investment) is 4200% 
  • Email is 40% better at converting than Facebook and Twitter 
  • Marketing emails influence the buying decision of 50.7% of customers

No time to write amazing marketing emails for your brand? Looks like you’re in the right place at the right time. Our team is a marketing powerhouse and is ready to help you optimize virtually every aspect of your eCommerce business. Get in touch to find out how we can help you craft compelling emails that convert, or anything else you need.

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