featured image for chapter 6 - how to write emails that convert and engage

Writing marketing emails is hard. Even if you’ve written marketing copy before, email is an entirely different beast. Yes, people chose to subscribe to your list, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to read anything you send them. 

To convince your subscribers to click on your emails, read your copy, and follow your call to action, there are several things you need to work on. This includes properly identifying your marketing goals, getting to know your customers, and understanding buyer behavior. 

#1 – Know your audience

You can do this by identifying your customer avatar or buyer persona, it’s the representation of your ideal customer. 

Here’s a screenshot of a comprehensive customer avatar from Digital Marketer, click the link to download the worksheet on their site:

customer avatar worksheet

As you can see in the example above, there are 5 distinct sections you will need to fill out in the worksheet:

  • Demographics – name, age, gender, marital status, number of kids, location, etc.
  • Goals and values 
  • Challenges and points
  • Objections and roles
  • Sources of information

You can create as many avatars as necessary. This is important when using email automation apps like Blue Odin which allows you to segment your customers and send emails targeting each group. 

You can tailor your email’s content to a particular group and get more people to open your email, which will hopefully lead to more conversions and sales for your business.

Print out the avatar(s) you’ve created and put them in front of you. Then address them directly in your marketing emails. After all, it’s easier to write when you know exactly who you’re writing to!

#2 – Follow the AIDA marketing framework

AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. These are the 4 stages every customer goes through prior to making a buying decision. In every email you send, you must pay attention to these 4 points:

2.1. Attention

Your subject line is key here. Think about how many emails every person on your list receives. 

How do you make your reader click on your email? Simple – by crafting a subject line that resonates or speaks with them (or promises them something). Hook them in with your subject line!

2.2. Interest 

Now that you’ve gotten their attention, your email copy should be interesting enough. Draw attention to a pain point and then present the solution.

2.3. Desire 

Make your solution desirable to your reader. Highlight the main benefits and sell them on it – will it save them time or money, will it make them look better, etc. If you can add proof it works, then that will make their desire levels go even higher!

2.4. Action 

This is the call to action. What do they need to do to finally get their hands on the solution? Whether it be getting them to reply, click through to a blog post, watch a video, or make a purchase, make your CTA clear and easy to follow. 

#3 – Identify your objective for sending the email

It’s important to define your objective first and foremost. Only then can you craft a subject line, email copy, and call to action that ties in with your goal.

For best results, segment your email list as discussed in Chapter 4.

Here are some common goals for email marketers:

3.1. Inform and educate

Stop trying to sell something in every email. Doing so will only alienate your readers, leading to unsubscribes. Instead, give tons of value by educating them on the benefits of whatever made them sign up to your list. 

For example, if they signed up because they wanted your guide on “How to make candles at home for less than $10” then send them content related to that.

By doing so, you get to establish your brand as an authority in your niche, so they’ll be more likely to buy from you in the future!

3.2. Engage 

Building rapport with your list is often overlooked by marketers. But this is one of the best ways to get people to trust you. You don’t need to be friends but do try to personalize your emails as much as possible. 

For instance, address them by their first name (tweak your opt-in form settings to get this info).

Address their pain points in language they use and words they speak. That is, if you’re writing to a skateboarding crowd, then there’s probably no need to use formal language. 

3.3. Drive traffic  

One of the best ways to get eyeballs to your website, product pages, blog posts, social media channels, and other landing pages is through email marketing. Tailor your CTA to encourage clicks to your content. 

3.4. Increase sales

Of course, one of the biggest reasons why ecommerce stores collect email addresses is to eventually make sales.

As you know by now, email marketing is perfect for product launches and promotions! There’s little to no extra cost, so if done properly, you can net a very good ROI just by emailing your list.  

#4 – Take note of these 7 psychological triggers when writing copy

4.1. Use persuasive language

Email is a means of communicating with your audience. Think of it as having a one-on-one conversation, albeit in written format.

Take the time to learn email copywriting. It may spell the difference between the success and failure of your email marketing campaigns!

4.1.1. Headline

Once you’ve identified the goal, write an attention-grabbing headline that will persuade your reader to click on your email. Remember, you’re not the only marketer sending them emails. Differentiate your headline from the others, so they’ll click on YOUR email.

4.1.2. Body

Up next is the body of your email. Address your reader by name, if possible. Make sure the tone and copy of the email match the headline. Put your printed customer avatar in front of you when you write the email. 

Use the words they would normally use in a conversation, so they can relate to your message. Make it convincing enough for them to read the entire thing (shouldn’t be too long though – brevity is always important in emails).

4.1.3. Call to action

Lastly, end your email with an explicit ask. What do you want your reader to do after reading? Do you want them to click on a link to purchase a product or read your latest blog post? Don’t leave them hanging at the end. Give them enough incentive to follow your CTA.

Once you’ve completed your email draft, let it sit overnight and look at it with fresh eyes the following morning. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes – would you actually find value in the email? If you answered no, revise the email. If yes, then schedule it for delivery!

capitalize on fomo or fear of missing out

4.2. Capitalize on FOMO (fear of missing out)

You’re probably familiar with this. It’s when a valuable product is made scarce – or is made to look scarce – creating a powerful feeling of urgency. You must have it NOW or lose it forever!

Taking advantage of this human fear triggers your audience to make the purchase, even though they may not initially plan on doing so. But that feeling of missing out on a good deal and extra savings can give them a little push and hit the checkout button!

Here are examples of FOMO marketing:

4.2.1. Exclusive offers for email subscribers

Let your subscribers know you value them by giving them special offers not available to non-subscribers. It makes them feel ultra-special knowing it’s exclusive to them. In addition to the subscribers-only offer, you can also ship the products to them for free. They’d absolutely love it!

4.2.2. Flash sales

Flash sales are usually run in just a matter of hours. The bigger the discount and the shorter the time period, the more FOMO is triggered. It’s great for generating sales and getting rid of old inventory – all in one fell swoop!

4.2.3. Seasonal sales

Depending on the nature of your ecommerce business, your customers may or not expect you to run sales during special occasions, such as Valentine’s Day, Independence Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and more.

For best results, you can state exactly how much time is left in the sale. Add a countdown timer in your email for better visibility, so they can see exactly how much time is left.

4.3. Social proof

Let’s face it – we’re more likely to buy something if we read a positive testimonial or review about the product or brand. It’s quite easy to look up information about anyone or anything online, but why make your subscribers search for that, eh?

Instead, add one or two of the most informative and glowing reviews from other customers in your email. If a well-known personality gave you a glowing review, let your subscribers know about it.   

Additionally, for those who are still on the fence about buying your products a.k.a. those who’ve abandoned their carts, you can send them a follow-up with lots of social proof on it. 

Choose reviews that describe the benefits they’ve derived from using your products. That should help persuade them to check out the items on their cart!

people love free stuff

4.4. Who doesn’t love FREE stuff?

Giving away a free product may not be feasible for all stores, especially smaller ones, but how about offering free shipping with every purchase? 

Make sure you’re not losing money on it though, so calculate the minimum purchase amount where you still make a profit. Such an offer can make your customers feel like they’re getting a good deal!

Additionally, having a minimum threshold may encourage your subscribers to add more items to their cart. For example, if the minimum purchase to get free shipping is $25, and they only have $20 worth of items on their cart, they may feel compelled to add an extra $5 just to get everything shipped for free.

Additionally, according to Baymard.com, 49% of shoppers abandon their carts due to extra costs being too high, these include shipping, taxes, and other fees. By offering free shipping, you may be able to significantly reduce the percentage of abandoned carts on your site.

When done right, free shipping can significantly boost the average order volume, customer loyalty, and most especially, your store’s profit!

4.5. Paradox of choice

In email marketing, less trumps more. Giving your customers fewer choices as opposed to lots of them prevents buying paralysis. 

Look over your customer avatar and figure out which products would more likely resonate with your target audience. If there are several, select maybe one or two, and apply the copywriting pointers we’ve covered earlier in this chapter for optimal conversion rates!

4.6. Be on-brand, always.

Being on-brand simply means being in alignment with your ‘brand’ whatever that may be. It’s your name and logo, values, colors, fonts, the language and writing style you use in your content, and the visual cues in your designs. 

There should be no disconnect between your website, social channels, and email marketing content – be consistent and on-brand every single time.

4.7. Get straight to the point

People are busy. No one’s probably going to read through a 1000-word word email. Most just scan the content and if something catches their eye, only then will they actually read something. If long emails are unavoidable, use headings and/or subheadings to break up the text.