Email Copywriting Tips That Boost Opens & Conversions

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Are you having less success with your email marketing campaigns than you’d like?

If so, my guess is that the culprit is your copy.

When you break email marketing down to its core, all it really is is convincing someone to take action with the words you put on the screen. 

And when you do that well, you do two important things:

  • Increase your deliverability
  • Make more money

So, if you’re going to invest your time and money in any marketing skill, the first one you need to take a look at is copywriting. In this post, I’m going to teach you how to make sure your emails get delivered, key benchmarks to look for and what your emails should actually look like. 

Let’s dive in.

Getting Your Emails Delivered

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Here’s the scene I see and hear about all the time. 

You’ve worked hard to build a list of 10,000 quality subscribers, you go to your autoresponder, you hit send and you expect everyone to receive your email just because you sent it. 

Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as that. 

Your email actually goes on a bit of a journey before it ever lands in your audience’s inbox:

  • It first goes through your autoresponder’s server
  • It then goes through the email provider's server
  • The email provider decides whether to inbox your email or flag it

When the email provider assesses your email, it may inbox it, flag it as spam, put it into the promotions tab or allow it to go into the inbox.

And there are four primary things that email providers like Google are looking at.

#1: Uniqueness

In the past, people could get away with sending out email swipes and copied content because email providers didn’t have the technology available to sort through those emails. 

Today, you’re in big trouble if you’re sending content that isn’t unique.

Just like how Google doesn't appreciate people copy and pasting someone’s content into their blog, they don't like copied content in emails either.

It’s as simple as that. 

So, make sure that every email you send to your audience is 100% unique.

#2: Open Rate

The second thing email providers look at is whether or not people are actually opening the emails that they put in people’s inboxes. 

If people aren’t opening your emails, there’s probably a reason for that. 

In the email provider’s view, it likely means that your emails aren’t very good or you aren’t providing that much value.

So, you’ll stop getting inboxed if nobody is opening your emails. 

To calculate your open rate, all you do is take how many people open your emails and divide it by the number of emails that you sent. 

For example, you have a 10% open rate if 10 people out of 100 open your email. 

To give you an idea of what to aim for with your email campaigns, keep these benchmarks in mind:

  • Below 5% is a problem
  • 5% is ok
  • 10% is good
  • 15% is great
  • 20% or more is amazing

If you’re finding yourself on the low end, it’s time to take a step back and figure out why people aren’t opening your emails.

For most people, it’s usually that their subject lines aren’t very good.

#3: Click Rate

Once the email provider determines that your content is unique and that people are actually opening your emails, they then look at activity within your email.

One of the biggest things they’re looking at is the links in your emails.

Email providers want to see that people are engaging with the links in your emails because that shows them that you’re providing value to your audience rather than spamming them with low-quality links.

Just like your open rate, you calculate your click rate by dividing the number of clicks you get by the number of opens you get. 

So, 10 clicks on 100 opened emails would be a 10% click rate. 

To give you some benchmarks to guide your efforts, here’s what you should be looking for:

  • 10% or below is bad
  • 10%-20% is ok
  • 20%-30% is good
  • 30% or more is amazing

Again, take a long look at the types of links you’re sending if you’re finding yourself on the lower end of these click rates.

For most people, the issues fall into three categories:

  • The length of the email
  • The quality of the offer and link
  • The visual flow of the email

Those are three good things to look at if you’re struggling.

#4: Trigger Words

This one might be the most important because it can get you thrown straight into spam. Trigger words are words that email providers look for that indicate that you’re spamming people’s inboxes. 

This includes words like:

  • Free
  • Make money
  • Guarantee

Sendlane has an entire list of email curse words that will help you, but the point is that you want to avoid these words at all costs because they’re likely to get you flagged - especially if you’re a relatively new account.

(RELATED: How to Fix Email Deliverability Issues With Jimmy Kim)

Writing Good Subject Lines

Writing good subject lines is key to being a good copywriter.

It’s honestly 90% of the battle because it’s how you get people to actually open your emails. Without an interesting subject line, there’s no reason for someone to click. 

So, spend double the time writing your subject line that you do writing the email itself.

That’s how important it is.

There are a few rules to keep in mind when writing your subject lines:

  • Focus on the benefits
  • Create intrigue
  • Use special characters like brackets to get attention
  • Avoid over punctuation (i.e. “....”) - it’s a spam signal
  • Keep it to six or seven words

Now, the good news is that there are a ton of great headlines and subject lines out there on the internet that you can use as inspiration for your own subject lines. 

One of the best resources you can use is actually

When you land on’s homepage, you’ll see a bunch of clickable headlines that can serve you well when coming up with subject lines.


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For example, “Impending Collapse at Site of Nuclear Disaster” could be turned into something like “Impending Collapse of World’s Most Popular Business Model.” 

To get even more ideas, click into an article and then scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the Taboola ad feed.

This is a great resource because the people who write the headlines for these ads have spent a lot of time testing and optimizing their headlines to see what works and what doesn’t.


Taboola email subject line copywriting exercise


Again, you could take something like, “Computer Users Without a Photo Backup Must Read This” into something like, “Entrepreneurs Without An Attorney Must Read This.” 

When you find ones you like, take a screenshot and add them to your copywriting swipe file to access again down the line.

So, those are two great resources you can use to help yourself write better headlines.

(RELATED: How To Write Killer Headlines & Subject Lines)

Deciding On The Length Of Your Email

To be honest, there’s no such thing as a perfect length of an email.

When thinking about how long your email is going to be, there are two important things to keep in mind:

  • Shorter emails tend to get more clicks, but the leads are less qualified
  • Longer emails tend to get fewer clicks, but the leads are more qualified

The best way to approach this is to give your audience a healthy mix of short emails and long emails so they don’t get tired of either kind.

To be clear, I consider the lengths of emails to be:

  • Short - 1-4 paragraphs
  • Medium - 5-6 paragraphs
  • Long - 10-15 paragraphs

As a general rule, you can think of the length of your emails as corresponding to the price of your product. You can use shorter emails for low-ticket items and longer emails for high-ticket items. 

You aren’t going to try to sell a $500 product in a two-paragraph email.

(RELATED: How (Good) Copywriter Create Irresistible Offers)

Creating Visual Appeal In Your Email

Visual appeal is crucial to keeping people engaged with your email. 

I call it visual flow.

Now, there are several things you can do in your emails to create visual flow that keeps people reading your emails until the end.

#1: Create Visual Rhythm

The easiest thing you can with your emails is to create solid visual rhythm.

To give you a visual of what this looks like in writing, you can think of your text as being wave-like in structure. You should have a short sentence, then a medium sentence, then a long sentence. 

When you repeat that, you have a wave-like structure. 

Take a look at this as an example.


Visual flow in email copywriting


Notice how the sentences aren’t all the same length and that they’re spaced out to make it easier for people to read.

#2: Use Dynamic Text

Dynamic text is edited text like bold, italics and underline.

The benefit of using dynamic text is that it breaks up the monotony of your copy and draws people’s attention to certain words.

So, save dynamic text for ideas and concept that you really want to highlight.


Dynamic text in email copywriting


Notice how your eyes are drawn to these interesting words and offers that I have in this email. 

That’s the power of dynamic text.

#3: Use Bullet Points & Numbered Lists

Bullet points and numbered lists are a great way to break up the monotony of your text and give people’s eyes a break. 

It makes your text so much easier to read.


Bullet points and numbered lists in email copywriting

People think linearly and like to have things broken down into small lists. Notice that I even did it in this blog post to make it easier to read. 

It’s something simple that everyone writing for a digital audience should be doing.

#4: Create Attractive Links

If you want people to click on your links, you need to give them a reason to do it. 

The first step to creating attractive links is to make the link a different color so that it gets your audience’s attention. 

The second step is to make the words in the links something clickable.


Attractive links in email copywriting

You have to make the anchor text interesting and exciting or people have no reason to click the link.

#5: Get To The Point

New copywriters think they need to use all kinds of flowery language to get people’s attention in their emails. 

However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. 

More words mean more effort for people to read your text, so focus on getting rid of adverbs that make your text clunky. 

For example, take a sentence like, “He quickly ran the mile in seven minutes.”

Using the word ‘quickly’ is unnecessary because running a mile in seven minutes already implies that it was done quickly. 

So, think about every word that you include in your copy and whether or not it’s necessary.

#6: Write In A Conversational Tone

When you’re writing emails, you aren’t writing an academic paper that’s going to be analyzed by a group of professors to determine whether or not you’re going to graduate. 

No, writing for emails is more like having a conversation with a friend. 

As you’re writing, think about whether what you’re writing is something that you would say out loud to a friend in conversation. 

If it isn’t, think about how you could reword it. 

Let’s go back to my example.


Copywriting for email in a conversation tone

Notice how I use words like ‘I’ and ‘you’. 

It’s like I’m having a conversation with my audience rather than sending them a formal essay. 

(RELATED: 10 Copywriting Courses That'll Help You Step Up Your Game)

Use These Tips To Improve Your Email Copywriting

Look, copywriting isn’t rocket science. 

You don’t have the be the best writer in the world to write good copy for your emails. All you have to do is follow some simple rules and guidelines that make your content easier for your audience to consume. 

If you can do that, you’re going to get more opens, clicks and conversions. 

It’s as simple as that.

(NOTE: Want even MORE info about how to use copywriting to grow your business? Grab your spot in this FREE course to learn about the tools and strategies you (and your business) have been missing out on.)