If we could tell you how to write the perfect marketing email that would guarantee ‘opens’ and business then we could charge you the earth and get away with it. As it stands there are many theories on how to write a fantastic marketing email, but ultimately it comes down to common sense.

The subject line

How many times have you received an email with a deathly dull subject line exhorting you to open it as the company sending it is completely amazing? Or a subject line that promises the world and delivers very little when you read the content? Or worst of all, a subject line that doesn’t match the content of the email so you feel like you have been tricked into opening it? Most people will recognise these common email marketing failures.

Email Marketing

Keep the subject line relevant, make sure it matches the copy in the email, that way trust is immediately created. Don’t over-promise, if you want someone to buy your widgets don’t make them sound like a Caribbean cruise in the subject line.

Your subject line shouldn’t be an after thought once your campaign has been created. It’s vital to open-rate success and if no one opens your email it doesn’t matter how good the content is. Therefore, give your subject line the attention it deserves. At Winbox we come up with ten different subject lines for each email we send. This means we have to think creatively about what we’re writing and this often reaps the biggest rewards. We then send each subject line through an emotional marketing value headline analyzer to see the emotional response our subject line is likely to generate.

It’s also good practice to A/B split test your subject lines to see the effect it has on your audience. Often it’s found that shorter subject lines have a better open-rate but longer subject lines achieve a better click-through rate. Set the key measures of success for your campaign and design it to best achieve these results.

The body copy

So someone has opened your marketing email. What next? Reams of copy telling them how amazing your company and your products are, where your company is located, how well it is doing – absolutely not. Short, to the point emails are far more likely to be read. So keep them concise and keep them simple. It’s often best practice to get in, get your message across and then get out. It can be daunting when a recipient is faced with an essay they don’t have the time to read. Ensure you cater for scanners as not everyone will read every word of your email. This can be done by a clear headline and call to action.

Selling benefits not telling features

Telling people all about the marvellous features of your product and service is not going to get them to pick up the phone or email you. Telling them how these marvellous features can benefit their company is more likely to engender a positive response. Nobody buys features; everyone wants to benefit.

Reward people who read the email. Include a useful tip, a link to a special offer or a discount. Make it worth their while to open your email and make them look forward to receiving emails from your business.

Create a connection with the person reading the email, empathise with them, tell them you understand the unique issues that may affect their business. This connection also creates trust and means they are more likely to see you as a credible organisation (which you are, of course).

Get personal

Personalise the email, try to ensure that the contacts on your email list include first names at least. Address the email to someone by name if at all possible. One pitfall to avoid though is over-personalising, don’t constantly repeat their name throughout the email. It can get a bit wearing and border on a bit creepy. However, using the word ‘you’ is a powerful tool when personalising any correspondence, creating connection and empathy.

Know your prospects

When you are writing your marketing email keep in mind the people you are sending it to. Think about what they want from a company, what their business needs are, and how your company can benefit them. Most importantly keep the copy relevant to them. If your email list is strong and accurate then you should be able to segment it in order to filter out certain prospects and tailor the email accordingly. At Winbox we use dynamic content to make sure the recipient only receives content that’s relevant to them.

Put yourself in your prospect’s place

Consider what your prospect wants to read or know about your company and its products or services. Then tell them about them. Use plain English and avoid jargon, nobody wants to read an email that requires a dictionary to understand it.

Call to action

Make sure your call to action (CTA) in the email is strong without being overwhelming. A CTA could be something as simple as getting a potential client to your website, or it could be something more explicit such as ‘Call now for more information’, ‘Email to arrange an appointment’, ‘Call me now to find out how we can help you’.

The positioning of the call to action is also important. Sometimes people don’t read to the end of an email, so try to position it ‘above the fold’. If you want to repeat it, then add a PS, it sounds old fashioned but it does work.

At Winbox we often use a button as the CTA. This makes it easy to see and appeals to scanners of your email as it pops out from the page. Also, think about the text you use in your button. It should try to focus on the value the recipient will get if they click the button, rather than a boring “Read More”.

The burden of proofreading

Proofreading is time consuming and can be tedious. However a sloppily written marketing email with poor spelling and inaccurate grammar will create a poor impression of not just the sender but also the company. Take a few minutes to check the email before you send it and then check it again.


One of the most important aspects of your email campaign is that it’s optimised to look great on which ever device the recipient is using to consume it. This could be a desktop, laptop, tablet or a mobile phone and it’s important that your email template is built to be responsive. 41% of emails are now opened on a mobile device so poorly prepared design will send a negative perception of your business if it doesn’t render correctly on a mobile device. At Winbox we use mobile responsive templates and see 30 screenshots of each campaign to check it looks beautiful on all the major devices and email clients.

Writing a good marketing email takes time and practice. For help, call Marc on 0117 379 0044 or email for a no obligation chat to discover how a monthly newsletter can help make 2015 your best year yet.