May 13, 2019 Writing for email: Making an inbox impact

By Nick Boylan

person checks email on mobile

When writing for email in 2019 you need to be concise, engaging and easy to read, all within eight seconds. Yes, eight seconds is the current human attention span, which ranks behind a goldfish. This means you have a limited time to engage the reader and get your message across. Explore the elements to crafting the perfect EDM.

A killer subject line is crucial

Your subject line can be your first and last chance to engage the reader, with 35% of email recipients opening an email based on the subject line alone. Having something eye-catching that provokes curiosity is integral, but it also must be more than click bait. Meaning, you have to follow through on your promise in the body of the email.

Also tied into the subject line is the preview text. With 35–140 characters allowed, you can really pique a reader’s interest here, saying enough to get their attention but still inviting the reader to open the email.

Personalisation

People like feeling as if you’re speaking to them directly. If possible, addressing the recipient by their first name can be a great tool, but further personalisation can be even more effective.

Segmenting your emails into categories like gender, location, or buying frequency can be a great way to rapidly increase click-through rates (CTR). For example, pet retailer Doggylot sent their email recipients’ segmented emails based on their respective dog breeds. The result? Their open rate increased by 10% and the click through rate increased by 410%.

Personalising through imagery (e.g. women’s clothes to women, men’s clothes to men), then teasing those elements in the subject line can be a great way to hook a potential customer in.

Engaging and scan-friendly body text

Just like your subject line and preview text, the body of your email must be snappy and scannable within eight seconds. In your body text, you can use some useful writing techniques, such as:

  • analogies
  • sensory words that help a customer visualise the product or service
  • power words (words that trigger a strong psychological or emotional response)
  • don’t make false promises
  • encourage the reader to act now or they’ll miss out (FOMO) e.g. limited time offers, save now!

To make an email more scannable, you can:

  • use shorter sentences (approximately 12–20 words)
  • avoid bullet points
  • use plain language (don’t be overly verbose)
  • break up to paragraphs (four or five sentences maximum)
  • use images or infographics where you can.

These are just some elements of engaging and scan-friendly body text.

Finish strong

This is the end of the journey you started out in your subject line, with this last part of the email copy needing click-through to ensure success. This again needs to be short, quick to scan and very eye-catching. Certain words trigger spam filters, so it’s key to avoid these before a potential customer’s filter stops them even seeing your email.

Finish the email by prompting the reader to act. Using a verb-driven call to action (CTA), such as ‘explore now’ or ‘discover more’, can help secure more customers by encouraging your reader to go where you want them to.

What else can I do with my emails?

If you are wanting to freshen up your copy in 2019 for emails or other digital communications, get in touch with a professional copywriting agency. Avion Communications’ team of professional copywriters are able to help you with all your web copy needs. Get in touch with Avion today.