The massive growth in smart phones numbers coupled with the relatively low-cost of conducting large-scale email campaigns, has made email marketing a favorite among internet marketers. In fact compared to other internet marketing channels such as social media and online forums, email marketing is said to be the most effective in driving customer conversions.

Personally I tend to assign most promotional/ business emails received in my inbox straight to the junk folder. And probably as do most of you.

THE PROBLEM – This is because 99% of the emails received are random, often irrelevant, impersonal marketing messages, with multiple images that are all too often cumbersome to download on mobile devices.

An effective marketing email is one where the content is both simple to access and read, with a clear benefit for the reader.


Part of the resolution to the problem lies in email data-base segmentation, or in other words slicing and dicing the customer base basis demographics so that different email messages are designed to speak to specific customer segments.

However, since this aspect is most likely to be handled directly by the company that’s hired you to write the campaign, let’s just leave it as a ‘good to know’.

Tips for writing effective email campaign text
Tips for writing effective email campaign text

Here are useful pointers on how the email campaign text can be made both simple and effective  –

1. Use effective subject lines

The email subject should be brief, clear and engaging. It should immediately point out the benefits of clicking on the email.

Adding numbers to the subject line makes the benefit easily quantifiable. For instance – ‘5 Easy ways to reduce your taxes’ or ‘37 Tips for writing emails that get opened, read and clicked’.

One way to write enticing email subjects is to choose current topics for the business.  So if its Christmas time and you are writing for a clothing e-commerce store, the email could read ‘Shop before 31st Dec to avail unbelievable holiday discounts’.  This subject line also gives the reader a deadline to take action.

As per the Yahoo! Writing Style Guide, including certain words (such as free, low rates, best rates, win, credit), using punctuation marks in the subject line or writing subject lines in all capital letters, could trigger spam filters and assign the email to junk.

2.  Write easy to scan and understand content

Here’s what you need to do to create content that gets read –

  • Keep it short and simple with one single message being conveyed. Edit out the fluff.
  • The text should make for enjoyable, easy reading.
  • Convey the message in blocks of information with clear headers and lists
  • Avoid too many images which may result in the email taking too long to download
  • Also for people who are likely to read the mail on their mobile, provide a plain text view option
  • Aim for a singular action that you want the reader to take, such as clicking on a link or entering an information
  • Put the content through the acid test – show it to someone outside the creative process and assess if the intent of the email is understood within a few seconds.  If not, then you need to rework the copy.

3. Test the email on a subset of customers before emailing the entire base

Develop alternate email templates for the campaign and test them on a sample of the targeted email recipients. So for instance send format A to 10% of the email base and format B to another 10% of the customers.  The format that elicits the maximum desired response or click-through is the winner, which can be sent to the remaining 80% of the recipients.

During the testing phase it may also be wise to see how the email appears in different browsers.

Other factors that influence the impact of an email campaign include the time the emails are sent, frequency of the emails sent and even the sender’s name.

Also limit the variation in fonts size and colors, as it would distract the reader. Ensure that the overall look of the email communication is in line with the branding of the company.

The best advice of all – put yourself in the customer’s shoes and write content that would make sense to you as an end customer.

If you have written an email campaign, then I would love to hear from you. Please share your personal tips or experiences in the comments box.