How to Write and Produce More Potent and Profitable Emails

The late great, Charles Bukowski once said;

“Style is the answer to everything. A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing. To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without it. To do a dangerous thing with style is what I call art…

 Boxing can be art. Loving can be art. Opening a can of sardines can be art…

Not many have style. Not many can keep style… 

Style is the difference, a way of doing, a way of being done.”

 What’s that to do with email, you ask?

Well, everything. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

Have you ever received an email and thought to yourself, “Christ, who wrote this tripe?”

Everything from the subject line to the copy, the design, and the call-to-action stinks. And with margins taking you to the edge of the world and back, the only place that email was destined for was the trash…

Because it had zero style.

Similar to premature ejaculation — once you’ve blown it, you’ll rarely get a second chance, which is unfortunate because, according to a study by McKinsey, email marketing is up to 40 times more effective than social media.

And while open rates and click-through-rates are less than inspiring (according to MailChimp, the average open rate across all industries in 2019 was 21.33%, with a click-through rate of 2.62% ), my guess — for most — is that if you use email, you can significantly improve its performance, and therefore, boost your profits.

Here are just a few tips to help you to both write and produce more potent and profitable emails:

  • It all starts with the subject line

With inboxes flooded, to have a fighting chance, your subject line has to stand out. For the right reasons — meaning none of this clickbait crap.

Consider the subject line the most important element of your email because if it sucks, all your hard work will come undone there and then as it heads for the trash.

The subject line presents an opportunity to let your creativity shine, but remember always to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. You must speak their language.

Use words that spark enough intrigue and wonder to ensure the person you want to open it feels compelled to do so.

And don’t write an essay. According to Retention Science, subject lines with 6-10 words have significantly higher open rates. Most marketers write subject lines with 11-15 words. Bold marketer!

For inspiration, pay attention to what your favorite brands and competitors are doing. Just this morning, I got an email from Warby Parker with the subject line;

“New sunglasses, just in time.”

My internal dialogue screamed, “in time for what, motherfucker?”

“Springtime dummy,” they responded when I opened it.

“Damn you, Warby Parker, why do I love you so much? Here’s all my money!” 

That’s the power of a great subject line.

  • Use clear, crisp copy that gets to the point fast.

Clarity will always trump cleverness regardless of how sophisticated an audience you think you have.

The clock is ticking, and it’s not on your side. Don’t give people a rundown of your week because they don’t care.

And don’t bury your big idea down the bottom of your email — lead with it. For example;

“I’m going to show you how to add a couple of inches to your ding-dong* in just three simple steps.”

See what I mean?

You should also keep the body copy short. More than three paragraphs will increase the likelihood of it ending up in the bin or your confusing them. Either way, it’s trash.

*A ding-dong is a penis. Just FYI.

  • Segment your lists

I’m no expert on segmentation. But, as your about to see, it can be extremely powerful.

I wrote an article about quitting lately. Because I’m a quitter. And I used the subject line;

“Good lord, is it time to quit?”

I then sent it to three lists. You can see the results below;

Heavily segmented: 52.6% open rate and 17.2% CTR

Slightly segmented: 25.9% open rate and 5.3% CTR

Zero segmentation: 13.7% open rate and 2.4% CTR

Which brings me to my next point…

  • Cleanse your list.

If a subscriber does not open an email from you three times in a row, they are considered cold. That is, they likely have zero interest in what you have to say or sell.

The thought alone of deleting subscribers is enough to induce a panic attack for most.

Still, the reality is that you’ll eventually lose them to spam (if you haven’t already), which will only increase the likelihood of more of your emails ending up in the spam box of those that want to hear from you.

The zero segmentation list referenced above has been gathering emails for years and has never been cleaned. It’s damaging to my reputation. And it costs me money to have the fuckers there in the first place. It is awful practice.

The good news is that you don’t have to delete them without pre-warning. You can put together a series of emails to re-engage them, and if after that, they’re still unresponsive, simply take out your rifle and send them to the grave. And when you do, the email Gods will reward you. Guaranteed. I’m in the process of doing this myself.

  • Include social sharing buttons

Sometimes you don’t have to understand. You just have to do. This is one of those situations.

Research from Get Response found emails that include social share buttons have a higher click-through rate than those that don’t.

If that’s not motivation enough, the average click-through rate for emails without social share buttons was 2.4% compared to 6.2% for those that did. You’re welcome.

  • Have a clear Call-To-Action

A confused customer is a lost customer. Your CTA needs to be there. And it needs to be clear.

There’s no need to get all cryptic and shit.

Know your audience. Speak their language. And make it as easy as possible for them to proceed.

If in doubt, place all emphasis on the value. A fine example to follow;

“Click here for a bigger Ding-Dong!”

If they want the bigger ding-dong, they’ll click. Fact.

  • Finally, inject some style

Now you get to play with your inner Bukowski and transform your emails into a work of art that will have your customers drooling.

A slick template, the right font, sharp images, crisp, clear copy, plenty of white space, stories, video, and GIFs can all help take your emails to another level that will soon see your competitors shit themselves.

Remember, this is your brand, your baby, and email is the Holy Grail when it comes to marketing it.

The more time you spend curating and crafting the perfect email that resonates with your customer, the more loyalty you’ll generate and the more profitable you’ll become.

Clearly, you can go deep with this, and I’ve just scratched the surface.

As with everything, there are exceptions to all rules. The good news is that you can constantly tweak, measure, and improve. So start thinking how you can incorporate a unique style into your emails that will ensure they stand out amongst the masses today.

And if you don’t have time to do it yourself and you’re looking for assistance, then don’t hesitate to get in touch, and we’ll schedule a time to chat. I promise I won’t even mention a ding-dong. Reach out by clicking here. 

Oh, I almost forgot, read everything you write out loud before you hit send. Never forget you’re speaking to an individual when you do. And if you’re emails aren’t optimised for mobile — you’re a lunatic. I don’t know what else to tell you.

Full stop. Period. Good night and God bless.


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