Email marketing is an excellent way to your message out to potentially thousands of people instantly and relatively cheaply.

But if you don’t do it right your emails will simply be deleted and remain unopened. So successful email marketing doesn’t start when you begin to compose your email copy, it starts when you begin to devise your strategy.

You do have a strategy – right?

Step 1 – Back to basics


At this point in the process you’ve made the decision to start an email marketing campaign. Great, so what’s next?

Well, before you start writing there are a few things you need to think about.

  • What’s your offer?—not just the product you’re selling but also the emotional aspect your product – think about how it will make your readers feel?
  • Who are you selling to?—who’s going to buy your product? What’s important to them?
  • The timing of your offer—are there any trends in the market you can tie into?
  • What do you want your reader to do?—your call to action; do you want them to email, call, complete online order form…

Step 2 – Your content


The first decision is do you write it yourself or do you bring in a professional copywriter. Remember it is essential that the email is about what you can do for them rather than being about your company.

But more than just what your email says, you must also think about how it will look. It must look inviting if you want the recipient to take the time to read it. And we’re talking here not just about the design but also layout, font, images etc.

If you want your email to have a big impact you have to look at the whole package, including:

  • Font – a sans-serif font such as Arial or Verdana is easier to read than some of the other fonts available. It’s a small detail but it will have a bearing on whether your message is read or deleted.
  • Read aloud – this one is true for all content creation. The best way to ensure your message is clear, unambiguous and engaging is to read it aloud. This will highlight whether the rhythm is wrong, whether there are any repetitions or if it sounds stilted.
  • Pruning – most people toss in unnecessary words when writing. There’s nothing wrong with that but it does mean reading through and pruning is essential to tighten your copy.
  • Rhetoric – extra power can be injected into your email by using rhetorical techniques. The incorporation of three part list add punch and rhythm – remember Tony Blair’s      “…education education, education”?
  • Moving forwards – every word has to count in your email so make sure your reader is carried through the text by using words such as ‘remember’, ‘but’, ‘consider’, ‘for example’.
  • Variety – solid text is very unattractive so make sure you vary your paragraph lengths (but keeping them short), add sub headings, bulleted lists and sentence fragments to keep your reader on their toes.
  • Benefits – all marketing copy should be heavily benefits led and email marketing is no different. But make sure it is the benefits you talk about (i.e. what it will mean/do for your customer) and not just the features.
  • Second person – creating rapport is essential if you want your email to resonate with the reader. Writing it in the second person (i.e. you and your) will help make an emotional connection needed to get the reader on your side and to take action.
  • Keep it short – no one wants to waste their time reading a mammoth email. Keep your communication short. If you want to impart a lot of information use your email to link out to another web page (which will also encourage people to visit your website) so if they want to read more they can.

Because we write emails every day many people are fooled into believing email marketing is simple. All they have to do is through a few paragraphs together and Bob’s your uncle.  But it’s rarely that straight forward.


You have to remember that although the recipient has opted in to receive your emails, they will receive hundreds a day. That’s a very crowded inbox that your email has to survive. By creating a strong subject line to encourage your reader to open your email and killer content, you will maximise your email’s chances of survival.

Give these tips and try and see how you get on.

Do you use any other techniques when composing your emails? If so leave a comment and share them with us.