How (Not) to Write a Marketing Email

Email marketing can be effective and cost-efficient, but like all marketing content, you have to work to ensure your content is useful and compelling. It’s not enough to simply send out the same, run-of-the-mill emails over and over with slight changes, hoping something sticks.

When it comes to effective email copywriting, there are a few basic rules you need to follow:
  • Have empathy for your reader.
  • Provide value to them.
  • Edit, revise, repeat.

To show you what this does NOT look like, here are some terrible examples of actual marketing emails my colleagues and I have been sent over the past year. All emails were edited (and maybe exaggerated a bit) for content and to protect the identity of the sender(s) in question.


DON’T: Make it all about you

While it can be useful to create a sense of urgency, this seems a little desperate to me. Do you think this approach could work?


DON’T: Make lots of careless mistakes

This is 100% a real email. Making lots of careless mistakes is a sure-fire way to sound like a scammer. (btw, this guy definitely is)


DON’T: Make one careless mistake

Typos aside, this would have been a pretty decent email. But, you lost me at Micosoft. Remember, young grasshopper, proofreading is your friend.


DON’T: Be generic and overly promotional

Keep in mind that early-stage prospects don’t want product pitches or sales offers. Don’t be generic, and use personalization and segmentation write your emails with a single receiver in mind (the last thing your readers want is to be spoken to en masse).


DON’T: Overwhelm the receiver

Check out this monstrosity. Ain’t nobody got time for this. Keep it short and sweet, with one CTA and maybe 1-2 links to relevant content.


DON’T: Use needless jargon

Um… what did you just say?


Now that you have an idea of what NOT to do, here are six tips for writing marketing copy that converts:




Final takeaway

Unlike social media marketing’s declining organic reach, if you send an email, it will 100% show up in a user’s email. They can either delete it or open it, but either way – they have to pay attention.

Once you have their attention, don’t take it for granted. Because everyone’s time is precious.



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