6 Steps to Writing Email Copy That Converts

Oftentimes, email marketing feels like a war between ourselves and our readers’ attention spans.

Each time someone on your list opens one of your emails, it feels like a small victory doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, scoring opens is only half the battle.

The fact remains that most readers don’t make it all the way through the messages in their inboxes. While it’s tempting to place the blame on your list, the culprit for poor performance via email marketing often boils down to one thing:

Bad copy.

Thankfully, the following six-step process works across industries and marketing messages to help you write email copy that converts  and ensures that your readers make it all the way to your CTA.

6 Steps to Copy That Converts


First thing’s first: if your readers opted-in to your email list, chances are they need some sort of problem solved.

Maybe they’re a small business owner struggling to make their first sale. Perhaps your readers represent a niche group in need of some sort of reassurance or motivation.

Presenting your brand and its messages as problem-solvers represent the best way to not only grab the attention of your readers but also gain their trust. Understanding the problems and pain points of your readers brings you down to their level, making your messages seem more personable. Meanwhile, great copy involves some sort of conflict.

Ever wonder why most marketing emails and sales letters start with a question?

Likewise, by presenting a problem from the word “go,” you spark curiosity in your readers that encourages them to spot the solution (hint: your business or product).



Now, the trick with presenting yourself as the problem solver is that you must offer a legitimate solution to your readers, not just a bait-and-switch.

If there’s no payoff by the end of your messages (think: some sort of knowledge, revelation or call-to-action), your readers will grow skeptical of your intentions and tune you out.

For example, consider the following when encouraging engagement with your messages:

  • Try to teach something in the body of your emails: whether it be a tip, trick or tidbit of wisdom, feeding their appetite for knowledge now will help you sell to your readers later
  • Emphasize “free” whenever possible: your readers want to learn from you, not be bombarded by sales pitch after sales pitch
  • Avoid “salesy” language: don’t discuss price points or money if possible. (save that for your sales pages)In short, do not try to dump a sales letter on your readers. Instead, emphasize free solutions and education as means of nurturing your list!


Once you’ve outlined a problem and a solution, you need to ask yourself one crucial question:

What’s going to keep your readers on the page?

The two most meaningful triggers in the marketing world are urgency and scarcity. These can be seen everywhere from email marketing to the world of retail.

Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, urgency represents the notion that time is running out.

Scarcity implies that supply is running out.

When paired together, they light a fire under your readers that force them to act or, at the very least, spend more time thinking about your messages.

Limited-time offers and flash sales which include deadlines create a sense of “now or never” for your readers. Meanwhile, messages noting that space or supplies are limited likewise provide an incentive for to readers to take action.

To put it simply, your most important messages should drive your readers to act now instead of later.


Now, let’s talk about the matter of trust.

Chances are, your readers are overwhelmed with emails on a daily basis.

They’ve probably been burned in the past by marketing emails that simply weren’t worth their time.

Therefore, it’s paramount that you establish a sense of trust with your readers. Even if your messages are masterfully written, they mean little if your readers if they don’t believe in what you’re selling.

The solution? Social proof.

From positive reviews and testimonials to examples of your products in action, social proof comes in many shapes and sizes.

Social proof signals to your readers that you’ve produced positive results for others and you can do the same for them.


As noted, your readers are likely fed up with marketing messages which make them feel like they’re simply being sold to.

On the flip side, what if there was a way to make your readers actually look forward to your emails? 

Strive to make your readers feel like VIPs when they see your emails in their inbox.

In other words, your subscribers should feel like they’re being rewarded for reading your emails.

Exclusive emails, such content or offers that they can’t get via your website, will keep them coming back for more. Signal that you’re a helpful hand versus someone trying to make a quick buck.


Each and every email you send should include some sort of call-to-action.

Click here. Share your thoughts. Grab your free e-book. You name it.

In other words, your emails should signal that your readers need to take action versus clicking the “Back” button. What’s the point of having your readers get all the way through your messages without giving them something to do?

While there are no “hard and fast” rules to crafting a killer CTA, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Make it pop: power words such as “secret,” “now,” and “instantly” grab your readers’ attention. These breathe life into your CTAs (note: urgency and scarcity also come into play here)
  • Don’t be afraid of including more than one CTA: sprinkling multiple opportunities for readers to click can, in fact, help your click-through rates (granted you’re not spammy about it)
  • Highlight the benefits of why readers should click: if possible, give your readers a “because” or compelling reason to engage with your CTA. (think: more traffic, more subscribers, more money, etc)

Despite popular belief, CTAs have just as much to do with copy as they do with design. Sure, we want our CTAs to stand out from a visual perspective (think: bigger text and bold colors), but every CTA needs powerful copy to drive readers to click.

You Have What it Takes to Write Email Copy That Converts

When these six steps come together, you have the elements of a powerful email campaign that keeps your subscribers engaged and hungry for more!

Although it requires some experimentation or tweaking to perfect, writing awesome emails doesn’t require you to be a master copywriter.

This six-step formula works wonders for newbies and experts alike, regardless of your audience… so login to your Sendlane account now and get started crafting that new and improved email copy!

Kristen Dahlberg

Content Manager at Sendlane
As a member of the Sendlane content marketing team, Kristen focuses on everything from organization to content curation and process improvement. She enjoys variety and the challenge of learning the best way to accomplish each new goal.

Outside of work, Kristen spends as much time as possible at the beach, soaking up the San Diego sunshine!