Copywriting for emails

Copywriting for emails

The best email copy includes a subject line that compels the reader to click, personalization by name and subject matter and rewards the reader for their effort.

We have created the following guide to help you improve your email copywriting and help improve open and conversion rates.

Use your image for guidance

If you’re an existing XL.Today™ subscriber, you already know that the description attached to your email image is automatically uploaded* into your email body copy field. You can use this information as a foundation to build your email body copy and make sure that your text and image are aligned.

Write a Killer Subject Line

If your subject line does not capture the attention of your reader, then they simply will not open it. The right subject line also has a direct impact on open rates. Make sure your subject line reflects something of value to your target audience. Whether it is a special offer, new product, something topical or a promise of information that has value, make your subject line reflect the needs and desires of your target audience.

A/B testing of subject lines

Research shows that two separate subject lines on the same subject can have a dramatic impact on open rates. That’s why your XL.Today™ solution allows you to test 2 different subject lines to 10% of your database, and automatically use the most successful subject line to send your email to the remaining 90%.

Keep your subject line short

Take a leaf from billboard design and try to keep your subject lines down to about 5 to 6. The most read subject lines are under 50 characters, however definitely keep your subject lines under 65 characters. Less if you intend to personalize your subject line, as you can do in XL.Today™.


When people talk of email personalization, they usually mean adding someone’s’ first name to a subject line or body copy. Personalization is about more than that. Copywriting for emails should focus on personalising the message as well. Try to put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Think of the concept of ‘what’s in it for me?’ and create your copy in accordance. Remember, you’re asking for their time and attention. What are you willing to give in return?

Write for the Web

More often than not, your target audience will first see your email on their smartphones, which are not suited to long copy. Keep your text short. Follow a logical structure.
Keep paragraphs short. Include one main idea per paragraph. 

We recommend that you use your email to start an idea, then provide a link to read the entire article or offer(s) on your website. It’s a chance to motivate your reader to move seamlessly from one device to another. It also allows you to go into more detail and drive website engagement.

Don’t Shout

Don’t Shout, it’s Spammy and considered bad email etiquette. Don’t capitalize whole words or sentences and avoid using exclamation marks altogether. If you start out shouting at customers or clients, you’re just going to annoy them.

Write Email copy for Readers

Know your target audience. Know how they like to spend their time. Understand their fears and desires. Know what motivates them and write accordingly. Remember, you are writing for them. Not you. Not your boss. Make it interesting enough to capture their attention.

Use Psychology in Email Marketing Strategy

Marketing is not new. We’ve learnt a few tricks along the way. People are motivated by such things as the fear of missing out, just because we never want to lose out on anything. That’s why limited time offers work so effectively. Tap into those things that motivate people at a primal, emotional level, and you will have greater success than simply being logical.

Be relevant

Targeting is the key to relevance. Use your XL.Today™ Customer Database Segmentation tool to refine your target audience, then create your content to reflect the needs and desires of this target audience.

What is your goal?

Creating an email for the sake of creating an email is a waste of your time, and (more importantly) the time of your customers. Create your email copy with a specific goal in mind, however not every email needs to have the intention of selling something. Sometimes you just want to keep engaged with customers and clients. As long as the content still has value to the reader, that’s fine. If you do want customers to act, you need to be clear with what action you want them to take.

Alignment and consistency

There needs to be a clear alignment between the subject line, image, headline, body copy and (if used) website article or page. If the copy and information does not flow or is inconsistent you risk confusing and losing the reader.


Email is still one of the most powerful marketing and sales tools at your disposal. Respect the time of your readers, target the right people, use relevant images and copy and have a clear goal in mind, and you are well on your way to creating the responses you want from your email campaigns.