Email Copywriting: Guide With Examples, Templates & Tips

Email Copywriting: Guide With Examples, Templates & Tips

Payman Taei
Payman Taei

Co-founder at Respona

With nearly 320 billion emails sent and received each day in 2021, you need to cut through the noise and have your contacts open your email, read it, and respond.

That’s why you need email copywriting – to know the formula to use to get the attention your marketing department wants to generate for the business.

Ready to learn what you need to know to get started with email copywriting?

Our Email Copywriting 101 has everything you need:

  • A definition of email copywriting
  • Exactly why you need to learn the skill
  • Things to avoid when writing email copy
  • Tips to boost your open and response rates through copywriting
  • Templates you can use to start sending successful emails right away

Plus, we’ll answer your burning questions right at the end.

Let’s get started.

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What is Email Copywriting?

Email copywriting is how you write the words for an email that’s intended to convince a person – a potential customer, client, or collaborator – to take you up on an offer.

The principles of email copywriting are much the same as any other type of copywriting in that you want to convert your reader into taking action, which could be in the form of:

  • Accepting to link back to or share one of your posts
  • Reading your latest blog post
  • Connecting with you or your brand on social media
  • Booking a call to talk about a proposal
  • Agreeing to be a guest on your podcast

Or a whole range of other options, depending on your ultimate goal.

You’re not copywriting when you’re replying to your boss or asking your colleague for advice – these are normal communications and don’t need crafting in quite the same way.

Lots of people write copy for sales and marketing emails, such as an email to launch a new product or an order confirmation, but it’s just as vital a skill for cold outreach emails to business prospects.

Now you know what email copywriting is, it’ll be useful to know why you need it, right?

What are the Benefits of Email Copywriting?

Email copywriting is an art form that can seem a challenge to get right, but it’s worth the time and effort because the end results are really positive.

Getting the copy of your email nailed so that it gets opened, read, and converts to action is the end result, but why do you want that to happen?

The business benefits of strong email copywriting include:

  • Higher open rates and conversion rates when you get your subject and opening line just right and have a good call-to-action (CTA).
  • Stronger relationships with your audience who will learn about you, your brand, and what you’re all about in an engaging and powerful way.
  • Increased ROI – when you get your email copywriting on point, you can expect to see a return on investment (ROI) of up to $36 per dollar spent, according to Litmus.
  • Backlinko research tells us that personalized copy in an email can lead to 32.7% more responses than generic email copy.
  • Customers and clients who are happy to receive your email – it’s the preferred method of business contact for all reasons through your sales funnel.
graph of channel preferences
Image Source: DMA

Spending time to craft an outreach or sales email will pay dividends both with a healthier bottom line for your business and a strong network of people to whom you can reach out when your business needs them.

Easy as it sounds, there are pitfalls aplenty when you’re working to get your email copy spot on, so we’ve got some words of caution for you.

What are the Most Common Mistakes With Email Copywriting?

No one likes a mistake in an email – every email marketer and their supervisor remembers the botched email sent out by HBO in the early part of 2021.

HBO email mistake
Image Source: Twitter

While this erroneous email certainly got HBO some attention, it’s better to stick to good email copy to get your audience talking about you.

We’ll skip “don’t send a test email to your whole email list” and get into some other, more detailed things to avoid and give you tips on how to write a better email for your target audience, too.

Mistake #1: Forgetting to optimize for mobile

The internet is mobile-first, with nearly 55% of all internet actions taken on a smartphone device.

Internet use across mobile and desktop users
Image Source: GlobalStats

Having an email that doesn’t look good on mobile will negate even the most well-thought-out and effective email marketing or outreach campaign.  

Some elements that you can control when writing your outreach or promotional emails include:

  • Have your name presented properly in the receiver’s inbox
  • Keep your subject line short and to the point – more on this later
  • Be aware of the opening snippet of your email and how it’ll read on mobile
  • Choose a font size that’s easy to read on mobile
  • Have a font color that works well with dark mode

According to a survey, 91% of people will use dark mode settings on mobile where possible – you need to make sure your colors will work well in dark mode.

Mistake #2: Not editing your work

No matter how good your email looks in someone’s inbox, spelling and layout mistakes are always going to be a turn-off.

Linguists may argue the toss about grammar rules, but your average email reader cares about you getting your email copy right.

Avoiding simple spelling and grammar mistakes shows the people you contact that you care to get things right and communicating with them was worth your effort to proofread.

It’s relatively simple to use some editing tools, ask a colleague to check your work, or check your email copy the next day so you’re looking at it with fresh eyes.

Keep the focus on the actions you’re looking for, not on a dodgy comma.

If you want to get your digital marketing team pulling their hair out, add the wrong landing page link to your email copy.

It’s really important for marketing practices like A/B testing that you get your reader to take the right action, including clicking on the right link within your email body.

Even when you’re reaching out to potential business partners or collaborators, you don’t want to see the dreaded “your calendar link didn’t work” response and wonder how many other people just gave up without emailing back.

Be meticulous with everything that goes into your email marketing copy and you’ll have much better chances of high click-through rates (CTRs) and response rates.

Mistake #4: Being unprofessional

A common issue for B2B marketers and B2C alike is what tone to strike when writing email content.

There’s a fine line to tread between being relatable and being unprofessional – this will require some research to get right.

For mass email outreach campaigns, segmenting your audience by demographics will help you hit the right note, but B2B emails can take more nuance.

Create a “buyer persona” for the people you’re reaching out to and check out their LinkedIn accounts to see what type of language and formality your target audience uses.

The difference between starting your email with Hello or Hey could be a deal with an influencer or a big contract for your business.

They’re some of the common pitfalls of marketing copywriting, want to see some email copywriting tips?

8 Tips for Cold Emails that Get Replies

An effective email is one that gets replies, clicks, or whatever action you’re targeting with your campaign.

Before we look at some email templates for different use cases, we’re going to give you our top tips so you can even work on crafting great copy yourself.

Tip #1: Get it right from the opening line

The first thing your email recipient is going to see is your email in their inbox.

Gmail is the most used email client in the world so it’s worth using the mobile app to test out your emails and see how they look when they arrive with your intended audience.

most used email clients
Image Source: Statista

You need to ensure that your subject line is the right length so that it fits on the screen easily and that your opening snippet is enticing so it’s even more likely to get opened.

Here’s what a typical Gmail inbox looks like:

gmail inbox example

You can see the space that you have to work with and how you need to be thinking about the subject and the first few words of your email.

Add personalization right from the beginning; the Backlinko study that we referred to up top tells us that a personalized subject line can boost your response rate by more than 30%, which seems worth the effort, right?

Make sure that the copy at the very start of your email is powerful and has a sense of urgency, you want your reader to know what’s coming and that there’s an action to take.

Tip #2: Avoid using spam trigger words

What’s the use of writing a great piece of effective copy, only for it to end up in the spam folder?

There are technical things you can do to avoid defaulting to junk and you can also be careful with the words you use in your email’s body content.

Lots of words can trigger your email to go to spam, including ones that create a false sense of urgency like “Do it today”, false promises such as “pure profits”, or symbols like “0% risk” to name just a few.

It’s ok to use power words and get to the point, but take care to be gentle rather than pushy and be genuine with what you offer with your copy.  

Tip #3: Optimize your preview text

We’ve already touched on what your email looks like in your readers’ inboxes.

With the first few words of your email, you can make sure you tell your reader exactly what’s coming so they know it’s worth their time to open.

Take this email from Grain.io, a tool that lets you record clips of Zoom calls – the preview text is really clear about what I’m going to read when I open it so I know it’s worth my time to check it out.

example of preview text

Tip #4: Personalize and target as much as possible

The body of the email needs as much personalization as the subject line and opening line.

This doesn’t mean peppering the recipient’s name through every sentence – that’ll get annoying for them real quick!

Rather, you need to write in the second person – that means using you and your so you’re talking directly to them – just like I’m writing this article for you now.

Other personalization options could include:

  • Using their company name and/or their job title
  • Referring to a podcast that they’ve recently appeared on
  • Quoting from an article they’ve posted
  • Reminding them of a mutual contact you have

This all goes to show them that it’s not just another automated email to be pinged to archive or, worse yet, to hit the unsubscribe button on.

Here’s a simple example from Wikipedia’s fundraising efforts where they not only use the donor’s name – which we’ve covered for privacy – but they refer to the specific amount that was last donated and when.

Wikipedia example of detailed email

By adding in details, some nuance, and knowing who you’re talking to, you can form a connection and it’ll be easier to have them complete your CTA.

Tip #5: Be clear about your purpose

You’ve got a limited amount of time to get your reader’s attention before they move on to the next email in their bulging inbox.

Respect that time and make sure your body copy is only as long as it needs to be, gets straight to the point, and has a direct purpose.

You want to make sure that your copy covers:

  • Who you are – this can be as simple as having your name show in their inbox and having your logo and branding easy to see.
  • Why you’re emailing – are you an eCommerce brand offering a social media takeover? Have you got an imminent product launch and you’re sending a press release? Tell them why you’re in their inbox.
  • What you want – be direct in what you’re asking from your email subscribers or the business owners you’re reaching out to; you want them to have no doubt what will come next.
  • The action they need to take – this is your CTA and we’ll look at how to frame that in a little more detail in our seventh email copywriting tip.

Tip #6: Be relevant

Keep to the point in your email.

You want everything that you write about to work towards the aim of your email with no fluff.

Every word should work towards your goal so keep your language tight and choose specific words that get your message across clearly and accurately.

That’s not to say it should be short – sometimes you’ll need to offer details – but they should still be only as long as absolutely necessary.

Tip #7: Have clear call-to-action (CTA)

This is the main event of your email copywriting and the final element of the copywriting formula – the call to action.

Your email copywriting strategy will have a goal and it can be as simple as getting a reply to your email and opening up a dialog.  

Whatever your desired outcome, make it clear and easy for them – ideally it should be one click to a landing page, calendar, or hitting “reply” on their screen.

You should only have one CTA in your email – if you think there should be more than one action then ask yourself if you should be sending more than one email.

Tip #8: Follow up

After you’ve spent so long crafting a great email, you want to make sure those efforts pay off by following up on your initial contact.

The same Backlinko study we’ve already looked at found that the more you follow up on an email, the more likely you are to get a reply.

follow up success rates
Image Source: Backlinko

You can double your chances of getting a reply to your email with a well-timed and well-written follow-up.

With those tips fresh in your mind,  we’ve now got some email copywriting examples for you to build into your next email outreach strategy.

9 Email Copywriting Templates to Help You Get Started

Tips and advice are great, but having some real examples of email copywriting at work is a hands-on way to learn about how to write a good sales email.

We’ve got templates that depend on your use case, all ready for you to adapt to your needs.

Author’s Note: In our templates, where you see {braces like this}, it’s information that a tool like Respona can fill in based on your database. When you see [brackets like this], it means that you need to personalize the email to each specific recipient.

Let’s check out some of the best email templates for any business need.

Link-building should be an integral element of your off-page SEO strategy, so knowing how to ask for a link back to your site from a blogger or editor is helpful.

Here’s one way you can try.  

Some love for {organization}’s (topic) article

Hey {First name},

Happy {day of week}!

Reading your post, {Post title}, just now and it’s got my cogs whirring. So much so, I wanted to share my thoughts with you. 

First off, when you said [article summary snippet], it really resonated with me.

Then, when you discussed “[anchor/targeted keyword]” in the article, I saw that you didn’t delve into it or link out to another resource. 

As luck would have it, here at [Your company name], we’ve just published an in-depth article on just that topic, so anyone interested in [anchor/targeted keyword] can get more details. 

Want to check it out? I got you: [article url]

As a “thanks” for sending your readers our way, I’d love to offer [incentive, e.g. social share, indirect link, free trial, etc].

Let me know your thoughts!

Thanks,

[Your name]

P.S. Added your blog to my reading list!

Template #2: Content promotion

Content marketing requires outreach to let people in your industry know that you have blogs, infographics, and reports that are useful to them.

Adapt this template for whichever type of content you want to promote.

Infographic for {url title}

Hi {first name},

[Your name] here, reaching out after reading your article. 

The piece [prospect’s blog post title] was super useful – it’s been sent around my team here are [Your company name] already.

The bit that said “[insert relevant quote]” really rang true with me and the work we do here. How about our team puts together an infographic to add to your content, on the house? 

We’re running a program at the moment to find relevant blogs and create visuals to boost audience understanding – and your article really sticks out. 

I’ve added some examples of how we’ve done this successfully in the past. 

Get back to me and we’ll organize having the graphic made for you. 

Thanks,

[Your name]

Template #3: Collaboration

Bringing together your business with others that complement the work you do and have the same target audience is always a great idea.

Here’s one way you can propose sharing marketing channels.

We’re into (topic) as well - let’s work together!

Hi {First name},

Hope your week’s going well!

It’s [Your name] here, at [Company].

I’ve been following your team’s work in the [topic] niche for a while; we work in the same industry sector. Would you like our teams to work in collaboration and create some content to connect our audiences? 

There are huge opportunities to help each other and mutually increase awareness of our products and services. 

It’s most definitely a win-win situation from where I’m sitting ;)

To discuss this further, drop me a reply or add me on LinkedIn [Your LinkedIn URL].

Chat soon,

[Name]

Template #4: Business development

Reaching out to other businesses to promote your product or service takes tact and nuance – exactly what email copywriting is all about.

This is one way you can do it.

Let’s fix that (pain point) for {Organization}

Hi {First name},

Hope your day is going well. 

I’ve been checking out some review sites about [Prospect’s company] and recognized some pain points that are cropping up. 

For example, [note a specific pain point of the prospect’s product briefly].

[Prospect’s company] would be a logical fit for our team here at [Your company] and I’m interested to know what your goals are for the next [quarter/six months/year].

We regularly help companies like yours grow,  with successes for:

  • [X Company name – solution]
  • [Y Company name – solution]
  • [Z Company name – solution]

Want to discuss what we can do to boost your results too? Here’s my calendar link to set up a call: [calendar URL].

Chat soon!

[Your name]

Template #5: Influencer outreach

Working with influencers is a great way for a small business or an established brand to authentically reach a new audience.

Choose ones that match your brand voice and audience segmentation and send them an email like this.

{First name}, want to work with a huge fan?

Hi {First name},

[Your name] at [Your company name], I’m really into the content you put out and my team and I have been following your work about [common topic] for a while now. 

Here at [Your company name], we [what issue your product or service solves]. 

Your recent [content type e.g. Reel, poll, TikTok, etc.] struck a chord – no wonder your audience is growing fast and your engagement is doing so well. 

We’re searching for influencers just like you to partner with and share [Your company name and product] with their audience. 

Want to show your followers what we have to offer? Here’s my calendar link for you to pick a time for us to talk it through: [calendar URL].

Speak soon,

[Your name]

Template #6: Promoting a product or service

Generating interest from industry experts, editors, and other companies in your niche requires you to reach out and tell people about your product or service.

Whether you’re pitching a product launch to a local news source or want to get your services noticed by industry authorities, you want to get your email copywriting spot on.

Something new for organization

Hi {First name},

Happy {day of week}!

I’m looking to connect with fellow [job title] in the new quarter so thought I’d reach out to you. 

At [Your company name], we just launched [your product/service + short description] and wanted to let you know all about it. 

Think [competitor] but with [unique differentiating feature]. We just brought on [1 or 2 notable companies] recently. 

Would love for you to take a look and get your thoughts, too!

Let me know if I can send through some more info.

Cheers,

[Your name]

Template #7: Requesting a call or meeting

Sometimes getting some virtual or real-life face time is exactly what you need to really drill down what you’re asking from someone.

Secure a meeting with this great example of an email to ask to set up a call.

Set up a call with (Your name)

Hey {first name},

[Your name] here, at [Your company name].

I’ve been a fan of pretty much everything you have to say about [topic of interest] for a while now. 

The [content type e.g. Reel, poll, TikTok, etc.] you put out recently was a real eye-opener. 

How you put your message across and foster engagement with your audience is fascinating – all while preserving top-notch content. 

I’m keen to partner with people just like you and promote [your company/product/content etc.]

Want to start working with us? 

Let’s get into the details in a 30-minute call and see what you think. Here’s my link for you to grab a slot: [calendar URL].

Chat soon!

[Your name]

Template #8: Podcast outreach

Podcast appearances are a great way to boost your authority in your niche and win some backlinks to your site in the process.

Here’s one email template to help you land a guest spot that can even help boost the profile of your own podcast.

{First name}, does {organization} accept guests?

Hey {First name},

How’s podcast production treating you? 

My name is [Your name] over at [Your company name].

I discovered your podcasts while browsing the other day and loved your recent episode, [insert the podcast episode you listened to].

Your show is totally in my niche of [your niche] and I wanted to see if you’re looking to add some guests to your schedule? 

A little about me: [two to three sentences about you and your accomplishments]

I’ve already had some recent features, too, including [two to three examples of podcasts/publications].

Here are a few ideas of what we could discuss on  during our chat:

  • [Idea 1 (30 words max)]
  • [Idea 2 (30 words max)]
  • [Idea 3 (30 words max)]

I’d also use our social media accounts and email newsletter to promote your show and introduce you to a new audience. 

Happy to have you on a future episode of my podcast, [Your podcast title], too.

Drop me a line and we’ll get a date and time set up. 

Cheers,

[Your name]

Template #9: Invitation to a webinar or virtual event

When you run great webinars and events, you want to make sure as many people know about them as possible.

Reaching out to people in your industry is a great way to spread the word and it could look something like this.

Don't miss our webinar, {First name}!

Hey {First name},

Love learning as much as we do? 

Here at {Your company name], we’re running a webinar all about [webinar topic] and I think it’s right up your street. 

I’ve got a lot of love for your work in the area of [their niche] and it seems like our interests cross paths, so I’m inviting you to my upcoming webinar. 

It’s planned for [date] with [Name of speaker one] and [Name of speaker two] included on the panel.

I’d love for you to be there to hear what they have to say about [webinar topic] and even jump in on the Q&A session we’ve got planned. 

Here’s a link to the sign-up page so we can keep you posted about updates: [webinar URL]

See you there!

Cheers,

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Gain access to the 3-step strategy we use to earn over 86 high-quality backlinks each month.

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Now Over to You

That’s everything!

We’re at the end of our guide to starting out with email copywriting and our handy templates.

Now you know what is – and isn’t – email copywriting, why you need it, and how to get it right so you get the conversions and actions that your business needs.

We know you’ve got limited time, do you want to be writing out all the emails and finding the right contacts every time?

Luckily, you don’t need to.

Respona is a modern email outreach tool that lets you find the right people to contact, create the perfect email for them, and manage the follow-ups and replies as well.

Book a demo to see how it can work for your business.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Should you use emojis in your email copywriting?

You should use emojis in your email copywriting when it’s on-brand for your organization. It’s important to not overdo it and distract from the main message of your email, one or two to make a point may work but not in every sentence! Also, bear in mind the level of formality the recipient may expect – a business pitch to a CEO will be very different from an offer to a fashion influencer.

Q2. What is the average length of an email subject line?

An email subject line should be roughly 5-10 words, but you should test the length by sending the email and check if the whole subject line shows up in Gmail and the Apple iPhone mail apps.

Q3. Is copywriting and email marketing the same?

Email copywriting is a type of copywriting, but not all copywriting is done for emails. Anything that has the aim of asking the reader to complete an action, whether for lead generation, sales, or inviting you on a podcast, is all classed as email copywriting.  

Q4. What are the best skills for an email copywriter?

An email copywriter needs to know how to understand their intended audience and how to connect with them on their terms. A strong grasp of language and synonyms is also helpful, as is an eye for details. Being able to use email software like Respona will also make you a valuable in-house or freelance copywriter for email campaigns.  

Payman Taei

Article by

Payman Taei

Payman Taei is the co-founder of Respona, the all-in-one PR and link building tool that combines personalization with productivity. He’s also the founder of Visme, a DIY platform that allows everyone to create and manage presentations, infographics, reports, and other visual content.

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