Your (Surprisingly Simple) Guide to Email Copywriting That Closes Sales

What kind of subject line will get your leads to open emails?

How do you avoid sounding spammy?

What is the best tone to use?

There are a lot of questions that come to mind when you’re trying to write the perfect email. And when there are sales on the line, these email copywriting questions can become even more complex.

That’s why I sat down with our very own Kat Von Rohr. She has written dozens (if not hundreds) of promotional emails for Leadpages and Drip for the past 3 years, so she’s answered all these questions and then some. She shared all of her best copywriting tips to drive sales with every email.

Your Sales and Promotional Emails

Promotional emails are probably the first things you think of when you’re focused on improving your email copywriting to make more sales. They’re only one piece of the equation, but they’re what you reach for first when you’re trying to get leads to make a decision about purchasing your product.

Here are the key ingredients in a successful email written to drive sales:

An Actionable Subject Line

You already know the subject line is important for any email, but writing the perfect subject line can be especially difficult when you’re hyper-aware that sales are on the line.

Kat says that writing a subject line is a lot like writing a headline for an article: You want it to be attention-grabbing and click-worthy, and you don’t want to use the first idea you come up with.

Start by making a list of potential subject lines, then pick your top choices from that list. If you work as part of a team, a brainstorming session might help you come up with even more options.

Then, check your subject lines for the elements Kat says are most important:

  1. Urgency: Tell leads why now is the time to click on your email.
  2. Scarcity: Then, tell them why now is the time to make a purchase.

For instance, if you’re offering bonuses for a limited time, mention what those bonuses are. If your course is open for a limited time, let people know that it’s closing soon.

In these emails from Melyssa Griffin about her PursuitHQ program, she follows Kat’s formula and lets subscribers know how much time is remaining and why now is the time to sign up.

Kat says this formula is especially effective for any leads who have been waiting to purchase your product or service until there’s a special deal.This email writing tactic instantly tells them that the moment they’ve been waiting for has arrived.

Direct and Valuable Email Body Copy

So you got someone to open your email, but now you have to get them to read what you have to say so they click through to your landing page.

Kat says the first key is writing in an active voice and being as direct as possible. Never try to hide the fact that you’re selling something. Instead, be straightforward,speak with authority about the benefits of your product, and outline why it is a good time to purchase.

You also need to get in the right mindset to write an email perfectly positioned to make sales. When you’re writing a sales email, imagine you’re speaking to someone in person. If you met someone in person who was interested in your product, you wouldn’t dance around the fact that you’d like to make a sale. You would simply tell them why they should consider making a purchase, and let them know what extra incentive you can offer if they want to purchase today.

Kat says to prepare for email copywriting by imagining you’re talking to your lead and saying, “I’m telling you all of this because it’s important and I don’t want you to miss out.” If you keep that mindset while you’re writing, your email will be direct, concise, and respectful—the perfect tone for a sales email.

Now you know how to write for your sales email, but do you know what you need to say? Kat says the formula is simple. Tell leads:

  1. What you’re offering
  2. What they have to do to get it
  3. Where to go to take action (including at least a few links in your email)
  4. The deadline.

What to Avoid

Avoid language that commonly lands your emails in the spam folder. If you’re wondering what kind of vocabulary that might be, think of words like “offer” or “free.” You can always look in your own spam inbox and see common words used in emails that ended up there.

Skip superlatives like “amazing.“When you’re using words like ‘amazing’ and ‘fantastic,’ it’s not actually amazing or fantastic,” Kat says. Instead, describe why your deal is so amazing and fantastic, and let your readers come to the conclusion that this is, in fact, a fantastic deal. Prove it by telling leads the specific bonuses or benefits of your product.

Keep your email from growing overly long or rambling. It’s important to not waste your reader’s time.

How to Write Non-sales Emails (That Support Your Sales Emails)

In order for your sales emails to be effective, you need to ensure that your list is primed to hear from you and waiting at the ready to make a purchase. That’s why every email you send is important for your sales email strategy, not just the ones that are directly selling.

Whatever you do, don’t sell in every email. It will teach your potential customers that you’re only interested in making sales and they’ll stop opening your emails. Instead, you can use non-sales emails to prepare leads to buy at the right time.

The first way to do this is to get leads to actually open your emails. To improve open rates, your emails need to consistently provide value. If your leads know that you always send great content, they’ll be more likely to click on your sales email when they see your name pop into their inbox.

Second, include links in your emails. Just as you want to teach leads to open emails, including links in the email body gets them accustomed to clicking the links you send them.

Sending out a blog digest or regular blog post updates is one great way to accomplish both goals: they provide value and an opportunity to link elsewhere. Even if you don’t have your own regular blog updates to deliver, you can round up some of the best articles you’ve found around the web lately that your leads would be interested in.

One of the best examples of a blog digest is The Dash by MeetEdgar. The social scheduling company sends a weekly roundup of social media and content marketing posts from their own blog and other sources around the web. Pairing them with funny GIFs adds a little something extra.

With these emails, the MeetEdgar team is not only curating relevant content for leads—it’s also teaching them to open and click their emails. And with more than 100,000 subscribers, it’s clear this strategy is working well for The Dash.

Remember: When you do eventually send a sales or promotional email, be sure it looks like it’s from the same brand that has been emailing your leads all along.

“At the end of the day, your promotional emails shouldn’t look that different from your regular emails. Keep the visuals similar and the sender name the same, to avoid missing out on the relationship you’ve built with leads in your non-sales emails,” Kat says.

What aspects of email copywriting do you struggle with? Let me know in the comments and the team and I will jump in to help!