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last updated:
November 4, 2016


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Reading time: 4 min.

So you’ve come around to the idea that you *need* to build an email list for your creative small business.

You bought stock — I mean — you INVESTED in an email marketing platform (listen, $30 a month for something when you’re just barely building your email list is a tough sell, I know! I’ve been there).

Copywriting Tips for Email Marketing

You’ve created a couple of free opt-ins, maybe teed ‘em up to send to your list via a fancy new ConvertKit account.

You’ve heard the term email sequence … and even “welcome sequence.”

And you REALLY want to launch a service or product.

But you’re not a copywriter by trade, and email marketing still robotic and stiff.

Slime-ball status, even.

Back in PR agency days, I got my drafts of email marketing copy for Delta Air Lines bloodied and red-pen saturated up with edits, tips, and tricks a time or two … or three.

Take it from me: here are 9 email marketing tests that will stand the test of time and algorithm changes!

Draft When You’re Sharp

Stephen King has his “cave,” and Donald Miller calls it his “writing shed.”

Give yourself the permission to be unavailable. Log off email, close the door, and start writing your email to ONE person. I’m not kidding. Shut the door, and hunker down — even if it’s for just an hour to write out the four emails you need to send during the month, it’s WAY less stressful when you attempt to write

For me? This looks like lighting a candle, shutting my office door, and having “tiger time” (or ninja time) in 55 minute: I don’t check my phone, I don’t look at Instagram. I just write the email.

Keep the Main Message & CTA Above the Fold

Delta-learned hack, but were taught to keep the main message ever above the scroll point. Especially now, when people read email from their mobile devices 55% of the time, it’s important to get the gist across in sentence uno: point + call to action button.

Then, you can build rapport and weave in some story before you …

Repeat the CTA 3x Total

Yes, three.

You gotta warm ‘em up!

This was a copywriter hack that I DIDN’T believe until I battled-tested it with my list during my Copywriting for Creatives launch funnel (because, you know, playing mad scientist on your own launches when you’re  copywriter is just too fun of a game!).

It’s not enough any more to say it once.

Hyperlink the action multiple times in your email to nurture your audience to take it.

Stick to one or two fonts.

Honesty-hour: This is so hard for me! But it’s true. Busy copy= stressed out readers=they delete the email.

K.I.S.S. and keep your fonts trimmed up.

Jamie at Spruce Rd. has the best ConvertKit class to give you a superb template for your ConvertKit templates. It is a gem! Jamie walked me step-by-step through creating my own branded email, so now, I can rest assured that — though it’s pretty — my email sticks to the 2 fonts I selected and coded as header, body, and button fonts.


Spend 50% of your time on the body copy, spend 50% of the time on your SUBJECT LINE.

You can write a Pulitzer-worthy email, but if the subject line doesn’t hook, you can forgot winning.

I know you may not want to hear this, but attempt 10-15 different subject lines. This is another learning from the world of PR agency life for Delta Air Lines. I suwanee, sometimes, I’d have thought of 20 different variations on a theme!

But the point is, like writer Ann Lamont always says, you gotta write shi**y first drafts to get to the good stuff.

Hone your voice.

Trust, trust, trust. When a name blinks and you swipe right to say hello, you’re expecting the voice of a familiar friend. Same with email. Talk like you actually talk.

And don’t worry. You’ll develop and refine your voice after a while in business, so don’t rush it. Writing like yourself will come naturally. Be patient, but keep at it.

Use “you.”

Cocktail party go-to: ask them questions about themselves, right? Everyone loves to talk about themselves!

The theory’s not lost on your email list. Use the word “you.” Talk to one person (even if it means typing your ICA [ideal client avatar] name, and then deleting the name before hitting send).

The word “you” shows you care.

You’ve got two ears, and one mouth. Remember that. Show you care and you listen.

Serve up champagne.

Everyone loves a welcome glass of bubbly! Your email list chose YOU to have that crave-worthy access to their living room couch: the very email inbox they click through after dinner and in the grocery line.

How are you thanking them?

Before you send any email, ask yourself “could I charge for this?” That’s a little steep, I know, but it’s a good check for any blog I post, or email I send. Make it good, drop in advice, and dole out the downloads and helpful links!

Put your name in the “from” section.

People buy from people, not brands. Want proof? How much more comforting is it to get an email from Gilt or Birchbox customer service that includes the name of the sender, instead of a generic address!

I don’t know about you, but having a name makes me feel taken care of.

Update your account to be from your name, like this screen in ConvertKit.

Send skinnier emails.

This is bizarre, but track with me: studies show that the wider the email copy, the less we read.

Keep your sentences about 600 pixels wide — most email marketing platforms let you check in on this.

Whew! And there ya have it: 9 battle-tested, email marketing campaign ready tips to heighten, persuade, and sell in your next funnel or launch.

Reading Time: 4 Minutes

So you’ve come around to the idea that you *need* to build an email list for your creative small business. 

You bought stock — I mean — you INVESTED in an email marketing platform (listen, $30 a month for something when you’re just barely building your email list is a tough sell, I know! I’ve been there). What next?

Take it from me: here are 9 email marketing tests that will stand the test of time and algorithm changes!


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