9 Tips For Writing Emails That People Want To Read

By January 9, 2018 No Comments

Do you psych yourself out every time you sit down to write an email because you have NO CLUE what to write and no formula to follow so you abandon writing it altogether?

… Are you paralysed every time you sit down to write and the fear of what people will think makes you clam up?

… Is your open rate is sinking fast and you fear nothing could save it from its watery grave and you don’t know if giving it a life vest would even help?

There are two techniques that great writers – including Stephen King, Jackie Collins, and Jane Austen – use:

1. Write every day
2. Write about what you know and people you know

But that’s not enough…

To write super persuasive, high-converting, personality-packed emails that people actually want to read… you need to play WIIFM. That’s ‘What’s In It For Me’ FM. Tune into the station to write emails that convert, every time.

When customers are reading copy and considering buying something, all they want to know is “how does this benefit me? What do I get?” This means you have to understand the difference between features and benefits.


Benefits Twitter post


“Once you understand what makes people buy things, you know how to sell – and how to write copy.” – Robert W. Bly, The Copywriter’s Handbook

Copywriting can increase both the quality and quantity of your leads.

Here’s how you can do it…

1. Start with a hook

A ‘hook’ answers the question, ‘what gets people excited about what I am writing?’ Include a ‘power’ word like powerful, great, top, or best, and one of the persuasive techniques. And write it as if you’re explaining it to a 5-year-old.


2. Write for 6th graders

Next, write one or two sentences that describe your topic. This further explains the hook and talks about the core idea. Make sure you write at a 6th grade reading level.


3. Write your draft

Accept your draft is going to suck. It’s okay. Just write. Write anything. Get your thoughts on paper… or Google docs.

The first sentence has to punch readers in the face. It has to attract attention and prompt them to read on.

Remember: use ‘you’ or ‘your’ so it’s all about your audience. Use ‘I’ or ‘we’ sparingly.


4. Let it sit

Now, step away from the keyboard and let it incubate. It could be 2 minutes, 2 hours, or even 2 days. Stop thinking about it. Revisit it again with fresh eyes.


5. Edit and cut – “kill your darlings”

It’s time for some things to end up on the cutting room floor. Here’s where we turn your draft into pure open-rate gold. A good measurement is cut the first 25% and the last 25%.

Tip: make sure every single is word is necessary. If you can say it in 200, don’t use 300 words to hit an imaginary word count.


6. Go down the slippery slide

The first sentence has to get you to read to the second sentence, and the second sentence is there to get you to read to the third… That’s a slippery slide!

Lead with a personal story, and give hints to what’s coming later. Use a question. Give your audience a reason to keep reading.


7. Scrap the adverbs

Adverbs (words that end in “ly”) weaken your words. ‘I yelled at the dog’ is better than ‘I angrily yelled at the dog’.

As Stephen King wrote, ‘The road to hell is paved with adverbs.’


8. Include a P.S. and a call to action (CTA)

People like people told what to do, so include a call to action (CTA), even if it’s just ‘hit reply and let me know what you think of XYZ.’

How often to you skim over an email but always read the post script? Grabs your attention every time.

Tip: use the P.S. to give a final call to action to click your link, to make an offer unrelated to your email body.


9. Keep your emails short and sweet

A general rule is to keep paragraphs around 1-2 sentences.

Use 12-15 words per sentence. This makes your writing easier on the eye.

And try not to go over 300 words.

Remember: Write simply! Warren Buffett uses 13 words per sentence in his emails.


52 Emails Done For You Thumbnail


If you’d like a shortcut to save 130 hours and $10k in professional copywriting with a year’s worth of value-packed email nurturing for designers, check out 52 Emails Done For You.


Author Bianca Board

After 20 years inspiring more than 10,000 designers and small business owners to take control of their business, Bianca is now spearheading Foxley, a brand spanking new SaaS platform for designers. She is deeply passionate about helping distil the complexities of running a web design business - to make it easier for all designers to make the leap from designer to design entrepreneur. She’s a translator of web jargon, a lead generation master, a champion for small businesses and you can Google her brain for endless strategies on how to transform your business.

More posts by Bianca Board

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