Email Copywriting: Secrets to Writing Enticing Emails (2023)

Learn the secrets of writing enticing emails in this article. Stand out in crowded inboxes, increase open rates, and drive conversions.


Shane Curry

8/11/202310 min read

a woman in an office writing emails on a laptop, surreal background
a woman in an office writing emails on a laptop, surreal background

Email copywriting is like the flush toilet of marketing. It’s old-school but effective.

The average ROI for email is $36 per $1 spent - higher than any other channel.

The image below shows ROI by industry.

an example showing a generic and a captivating emal subject line
an example showing a generic and a captivating emal subject line

So email is one of the best channels for digital marketing.

Anyone can sling together an email and fire it off. The hard part is getting people to open and engage with your emails.

Most are resigned to the rubbish bin, never to feel the gaze of the human eye. Fear not, folks.

This article will guide you through writing enticing emails. So you don’t need to feel the bitter pang of email rejection.

It’ll show you how to:

  • Craft killer subject lines

  • Nail the body content

  • Write electric CTAs

Sound good?

Right, let’s get started.

What is Email Copywriting?

Email copywriting is creating persuasive and engaging content for email marketing campaigns. It goes beyond crafting sexy subject lines and includes writing compelling body content and closing with a powerful call to action (CTA).

With subject lines, you must capture the reader's attention within a few words. Copywriters often use personalisation, curiosity, and urgency to entice recipients to open the email and read it.

The art of email copywriting extends to the body content as well. It uses persuasive language, storytelling, and relevant information to engage readers.

Conveying the message clearly and concisely is the goal. Make it easy for recipients to understand the value of your offer or the information you present.

Email copywriters know the significance of a potent CTA. They craft compelling phrases that encourage readers to take the desired action.

  • Making a purchase

  • Signing up for a webinar

  • Downloading a lead magnet

An electric CTA guides your readers toward the next step. It increases the chances of conversions and contributes to the success of your emails.

Copywriting is about persuading readers to act - you can read more in our complete copywriting guide.

Your email copywriting also needs to convince readers to take action.

Effective Email Copywriting: 5 Key Elements

Effective email copywriting helps you:

  • Build trust with your target audience

  • Generate more quality leads

  • Increase conversions

1. Subject line

The subject line is the first thing your recipients see. It shapes their reaction - to open or to discard.

A killer subject line can make all the difference in your email open rates. Keeping it concise, exciting, and relevant increases your chances for success.

You can use action words, personalisation, or intriguing questions to pique curiosity. A strong subject line creates a sense of urgency and entices your readers to click and learn more.

Take the two subject lines in the image below.

The first is generic, while the second one is captivating. It grabs attention and hints at more value.

So people are more likely to open it.

2. Opening line

The opening line is the next key element, setting the tone for the rest of your email. It influences your recipient’s following action - continue reading or click away.

You can engage readers with a bold statement or a thought-provoking question. Make the opening line relevant to your readers so it resonates with them.

A solid opening line hooks readers, piquing their interest and encouraging them to keep reading.

The examples below show a bland opening line and a captivating one.

The first opening line is bland, beige, boring (whatever B-word you want to use). But the second example addresses a pain point and positions you as the solution.

I know which one captures my attention.

3. Tone and voice

Consistency is vital for building brand recognition and establishing trust with your audience. Your email copy should align with your brand's tone and voice.

It creates a cohesive and familiar experience for your audience. Ensure your tone is consistent across all your email communications - whether it’s playful, professional, or conversational.

You want readers to recognise your brand when you send out an email. It helps build trust and reinforces your brand's identity and values.

Create a sense of familiarity. It makes your recipients more likely to engage with your emails.

4. Clear messaging

Clarity is essential in copywriting - no exceptions. With email, you have less space to get your message across.

Keep your emails clear and get to the point.

Avoid block paragraphs because people will click away from walls of text.

Be brief while conveying your main points. Use short sentences and paragraphs to make emails easier to read - format with bullet points and numbered lists.

People are busy and get numerous emails daily. They scan them for information (if they open them at all).

Feed them fast with clear, concise, and well-formatted emails. It increases your chances of success.

5. Call to action

A compelling CTA is crucial for effective email copywriting. Tell your readers what you want them to do and make it easy for them to act.

You might want them to:

  • Buy a product

  • Read a blog post

  • Sign up for a webinar

An electric CTA will significantly increase your click-through rates.

10 Email Copywriting Tips

These 10 tips will help you write enticing emails.

  1. Know thy audience

  2. Write snappy subject lines

  3. Keep it personal

  4. Tell a story

  5. Use persuasive language

  6. Be brief

  7. Make it relevant

  8. Avoid spam trigger words

  9. Craft electric CTAs

  10. A/B test if possible

Let’s delve into these and send you on your way to higher open rates, more engagement, and increased conversions.

1. Know thy audience

Understand your audience before rattling out a single word of your email. Think about readers’ needs, pain points, and desires.

Gather the information and break your audience down to one person. Keep that person in mind as you write your email.

Tailor your messaging to resonate with their emotions and address their specific problems. Writing to one person will make your email content more relatable and persuasive.

2. Write snappy subject lines

The subject line is the first thing your subscribers see in their inbox. It’s an invitation to open the email or an excuse to relegate it to the rubbish bin.

Of course, you want people to open your emails. And writing snappy subject lines gets the job done.

Here are 5 ways to perfect your subject lines.

  1. Urgency - create a sense of urgency to get people to act. Emails with words like “breaking,” “important,” and “alert” in the subject lines have higher open rates.

  2. Curiosity - stirring curiosity and interest often entices recipients to act. The only way they get more info is by opening the email. Using curiosity works well for outbound email marketing, but make sure the content is relevant to the subject line. Otherwise, people will feel cheated.

  3. Personalisation - build a feeling of familiarity with readers. You can use the person’s name in the subject line. It creates an individual experience.

  4. Relevance - compel people to read with relevant subject lines. For instance, you can send emails related to seasonal products or services. These are relevant to the time of year.

  5. Offers - promoting offers in the subject line can benefit open rates. But be careful because using terms like “discount” and “% off” can lead to lower open rates.

3. Keep it personal

Personalisation goes beyond using the recipient's name in the subject line. It involves tailoring the email content to address the individual's needs, interests, and preferences.

It helps you to create a more engaging and effective email marketing campaign.

Segmenting your email list based on demographic data, purchase history, or engagement levels is helpful for personalisation. It means you can send relevant targeted emails to each recipient.

For instance, let’s say an online clothing business segments its list based on gender. It then sends tailored emails for gender-specific products.

4. Tell a story

Storytelling has a powerful psychological impact and can be highly effective for email copywriting. I don’t mean a “once upon a time” kind of story.

But you can weave a micro-narrative into your email content.

Imagine you’re a fitness coach promoting your online training program. Telling a story about a client will engage readers.

Cover their struggles, challenges, and setbacks. Show how the client overcame these obstacles with your training program.

So why is storytelling powerful? It engages readers and places them in someone else’s shoes.

And it positions you as the solution for those experiencing the same problems.

But keep it short and to the point.

Nobody wants a sales novel appearing in their inbox.

5. Use persuasive language

Your word choice has a significant impact on the reader's perception and actions. Use persuasive language to tap into their desires, fears, or aspirations.

Use words and phrases to create a sense of urgency and scarcity.

Exclusive deals and time-limited discounts can persuade people to act faster because they might miss out otherwise.

6. Be brief

Nobody has time to read your long emails. Keep them brief and easy to digest. Avoid overwhelming the reader with blocks of text and irrelevant details.

Convey your message clearly and avoid unnecessary words.

Use scannable formatting:

  • short paragraphs

  • numbered lists

  • bullet points

It breaks up the text and makes it easy to read.

Keeping your emails brief increases the chances of people reading them.

7. Make it relevant

Ensure your email content aligns with the interests and needs of your target audience. Segmenting your email list and creating targeted campaigns can help.

Also, consider the timing of your emails. Sending emails at the right moment - during specific events, holidays, or after a customer’s purchase - makes your message more timely and relevant.

And always make sure the content and subject line share relevance. Otherwise, readers can view the subject line as clickbait.

The more relevant your email is to the recipient, the higher the chances of engagement and conversion.

8. Avoid spam triggers

Certain words in the subject line can trigger email spam filters. Avoiding spam trigger words or phrases can help your emails reach their destination.

Words such as "free," "discount," "earn money," and others can flag your email as spam and prevent it from reaching your audience.

Take the time to research and familiarise yourself with common spam trigger words for your industry. HubSpot has a comprehensive list of email spam trigger words.

9. Craft electric CTAs

A call to action (CTA) guides your readers toward the desired action. An electric CTA is clear, concise, and action-oriented.

Use these 5 methods for a high-voltage CTA game.

  • Show social proof - Join 7,137 subscribers today

  • State benefits - Earn 10 new leads a day

  • Add urgency - Buy before it’s too late

  • Use FOMO - Register now (1 slot left)

  • Be specific - Get your new iPhone 14 Plus

Position your CTA prominently and use contrasting colours to make it stand out.

10. A/B test if possible

A/B testing is a powerful tool to optimise your email copywriting. Testing variations of your email helps you to identify what resonates best with your audience.

Based on the results, refine your email marketing strategy accordingly.

Test different elements.

  • Subject lines

  • Content length

  • CTAs

  • Design

Monitor the performance of each and analyse the data. Determine which version generates the highest open rates, click-through rates, and conversions.

With A/B testing, you refine your email copywriting and maximise results over time.

Why is Email Copywriting Important?

Email copywriting plays a crucial role in the success of your email marketing efforts. Well-written emails help you stand out in crowded inboxes, increase open rates, and drive conversions.

Imagine receiving an email with a subject line that grabs your attention. You can't help but click to open it and see what it's about.

As you read, the content engages you, resonates with your needs, and convinces you of the value it offers. Finally, a compelling CTA drives you to take the desired action.

  • Buy a product

  • Sign up for a free trial

  • Subscribe to a newsletter

You can see the power of effective email copywriting here. Email copywriters connect with readers, captivate their interest, and convert them.

You also establish and maintain a strong relationship with your audience through emails.

Consistently delivering valuable and well-crafted emails shows your industry authority and builds trust in your brand. It increases customer loyalty and enhances the overall reputation of your business.

Frequently Asked Questions

How hard is email copywriting?

Email copywriting is hard if you’ve never done it before. There’s an art of grabbing attention, engaging interest, and driving action.

Email copywriting needs to entice recipients to open the email. It must stir interest with valuable content in the main body. And it needs to include a powerful call to action so readers take the desired action - like buying a product.

But inexperienced email copywriters often fall at the first hurdle. They can’t write gripping subject lines.

Emails bombard people daily, so those with weak subject lines get relegated to the rubbish bin. Enticing recipients to read emails is a challenge, making email copywriting hard.

Do email copywriters make money?

Yes, email copywriters make money. It’s a profitable career choice if you know how to write effective marketing emails.

You can approach clients to write emails for them. Email copywriting is a good side hustle to begin with.

But you can build it into a business if you secure enough clients. Also, you can create an email list for yourself and make money off it.

Joining an agency as an email copywriter is another career move you could take. You can make a steady income in that position.

Is email copywriting still in demand?

Yes, email copywriting is still in demand. It’s an essential part of digital marketing strategies for many businesses.

Email is ancient compared to other marketing channels like social media. But email direct marketing is still one of the most effective methods, giving companies a high return on investment.

So skilled email copywriters are still in high demand. And many businesses have turned to freelance email copywriters to meet the demand.

Remote working capabilities allow companies to hire email copywriters from anywhere. So there’s a growing talent pool to cover the need.


Effective email copywriting involves crafting compelling and persuasive marketing emails.

You need to:

  • Get your foot in the door with gripping subject lines

  • Edge it open by writing powerful opening lines

  • Stop it slamming shut with valuable content

  • Get invited in with electric CTAs

When you meet those targets, you’ll see better results. Watch your engagement trend onwards and upwards.

You might need email copywriting but don’t have the time to do it yourself. Our copywriting services can help with that.

Reach out for a no-obligation consultation to chat about your needs.

a chart showing return on investment by industry
a chart showing return on investment by industry
example of a bland email opening line
example of a bland email opening line
example of a captivating email opening line
example of a captivating email opening line