As a copywriter, there is NOTHING worse than spending hours on an email marketing campaign, only to find out it landed in the promotions folder or even worse, triggered the spam police. Keep reading to learn my 7 tips to massively improve Conversions and revenue, by actually making it to the inbox.
Hey guys! It’s Alex. And this week I want to talk about email marketing. Now, writing email sequences and promotional campaigns is one of my absolutely favorite things to do as a copywriter…
But, lately, I’ve been finding it harder and harder to get my emails to actually arrive in my audience’s primary inbox.
Heaven forbid someone who asked me to send them emails should ACTUALLY get them, right!?
Now, when we hear the word “spam” it’s easy to think about those emails we get about that magical blue pill, or that contest you never entered, or money from a long lost relative who has a million dollars to give you as inheritance. Or worst of all — those phishing emails containing sketchy files, viruses or links to grab your data.
But no, I’m not talking about THOSE scammers and spammers. As far as I’m concerned, those scum of the Earth bottom feeders who prey on the naive can shove their crappy emails where the sun don’t shine. If you catch my drift.
What I’m talking about is when LEGIT EMAILS, written by LEGIT BRANDS, that LEGIT people actually opted-in to receive, land in the spam folder.
Or, a more common phenomenon, Google’s promotions tab.
With 1.5 BILLION people around the world using Gmail, the Promosh tab is a real —– doozy. I often have my students – people who actually paid me money to get communications from me – tell me they miss my emails with important program information because they are landing in Gmail’s good ol’ promotions tab.
Gmail has crazy tight spam restrictions, wIth more than 10 million spam and malicious emails blocked every minute by their automated machine learning filters.
And, to be honest, I do love this when I think about my Grandma checking her email and getting easily confused by sketchy emails from scammers trying to steal her information.
So while I’m glad Gmail is protecting us all, still a whopping 68% of all emails that don’t land in spam, do still end up in the promotions tab.
Kind of a bummer if you’re the one sending those emails right?
When I launched my copywriting coaching program, the Copy Posse Launch Pad, I spent hours navigating email deliverability tools to ensure that my emails had the best chance of landing in my subscribers inboxes.
Those of you who are subscribed to my newsletter know that I write to you only when I have a new video up or when I have valuable content or news to share that can take your copywriting game to the next level.
But still — the digital powers that be still scrutinize my every word like it’s 1984. George Orwell’s 1984.
So if you are on my list, do me a favor and drag-and-drop my next email into your Primary folder to make sure you don’t miss any more of my emails!
And if you too are struggling with email deliverability in the age of stricter and stricter inbox restrictions, you are in the right place.
Now, as a copywriter, you might wonder what this has to do with you.
Well let me paint you a picture…
Let’s say you start working with a client who has a list of 10,000 subscribers. That client asks you to write an email campaign selling their new program to their list. Awesome!
You go to work spending hours writing the most amazing emails that’ll sell like crazy pants!
You send your client the emails. The client loads the emails into their sending software, pushes send and… *crickets* nobody buys.
Who do you think they are going to come to for an explanation?
The truth is, the average business owner doesn’t properly track their deliverability or sender score. So, as far as it looks to them, your emails just suck.
The reality could be a totally different story.
Out of that list of 10,000, chances are only about 77% of those emails were ever delivered. That’s the average deliverability rate.
So that list of 10,000 is really more like 7,700. It’s worse than taxes!
And, as I mentioned earlier, you have a 68% chance of that email landing in the promotions tab – but that number is a lot higher if that email is selling something. Which it is in this scenario – it’s selling your client’s awesome new course. So let’s assume it WILL go to the promotions tab if you’re not optimizing your copy based on the 7 tips I’m sharing in today’s article.
Well, the read-rate of emails that land in the promotions tab is 19.2%.
Ok, so that means maybe – if you’re lucky – 1,478 people will open and read your amazing email.
Hmmm. But wait, we’re not done yet. The average click-through-rates on emails is 2.5%.
Which means the number of people who clicked that email and saw your client’s new program is….
Yeah. So, even though as a copywriter, email deliverability is not your JOB per se. Paying attention to ways you can boost the number of people who actually see your email is going to make you look A LOT better as a copywriter.
And while there is a lot of techy stuff that can be done by your client to boost deliverability, like email authentication, regular list maintenance and smart segmentation – let’s talk about the stuff you CAN control.
And that’s how you write your subject lines and email copy. Small tweaks in messaging and formatting can play a huge difference in the success of your campaign.
Here’s a quick snapshot of what happens when an email doesn’t perform as well in terms of deliverability. My open rate on one of my recent content emails was nearly cut in half due to poor deliverability.
For more tutorials on how to write copy that both connects and converts, and makes you look really, really good – click subscribe over on my YouTube Channel to join the global Copy Posse. I release a new tutorial every single week to help copywriters and entrepreneurs start and scale their business.
And now – to answer your question…
What can I do to write emails that avoid the spam or promotions folder. Well, a lot actually. Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) are not only keeping an eye on vocabulary… but also context, formatting, and engagement.
So in this video, I’m sharing 7 email marketing tips copywriters can do to massively improve Conversions & Boost Revenue, by actually landing in the inbox.
Let’s start with the most obvious tip of them all…
Tip #1: Avoid Spam Trigger Words
You’d be surprised how many copywriters are just simply not aware that they could be using massive amounts of spam trigger words in their email copy.
The list of common spam words has grown a lot bigger over the years, which can make things a little more tricky. On top of usual suspects like “Cash”, “Free”, “bonus” “Sale” or “Make Money”… you now also have words like “Amazing”, “Opportunity” and “Freedom” getting flagged by the robocops.
Marketing sources like Hubspot are always updating their list of words and phrases to avoid, so it’s good to keep those handy as you’re composing emails for yourself or for your client.
I know, as a copywriter in creative flow, it can be really hard to come up with alternative words or phrases on the fly. So, when I write emails, I tend to write first and say what I want to say. Then I go back and cross-reference with a list of spam words and update my copy accordingly. It’s time consuming but trust me, it’s well worth it. And the more you write, the more you’’ll naturally learn which words to avoid.
Now, if only the rules ended there. Sometimes it’s not as simple and straightforward as just omitting or replacing a word. Which brings us to…
Tip #2. Avoid Spammy Formatting
Because half the time it’s not so much about what you say but HOW you say it. ISPs have become so sophisticated that they can now assess the context of your copy.
Some types of formatting are automatic red flags – like exclamation points, non-emoji symbols, multi-colored fonts, and varying font types or sizes — which will likely land you straight into junk mail.
Also, make sure that you proofread your email so that you don’t have an overload of punctuation in general. Using too many commas or breaking up longer sentences with a colon or … can often get you into trouble.
Once you start writing emails frequently, it’s worthwhile to invest in an email deliverability software like Glock or Send Forensics to see which words and phrases could potentially trigger spam filters.
I wish there was a straightforward guide of do’s and don’t’s when it comes to formatting but unfortunately the best way to know is to use your best judgment. Then test.
I ran a side by side comparison of one of my sales emails for my launch, I ran it through Send Forensics several times before sending it out to my list.
The first had a 51% deliverability. After a few fixes it went up to over 82%. Depending on the size of your list that can be a HUGE needle mover and it was for me.
Ok moving on to tip #3…
Tip #3. Keep Your Subject Lines Simple
The previous two rules also apply to your subject lines — be very mindful of using spam trigger words and any funny characters that will look shifty to a robot.
While a great subject line should include a good hook and evoke enough curiosity to compel your subscribers to click open — it’s important that you also keep it concise and set the right expectations for your email content.
47% of emails are discarded based on the subject line alone. That’s nearly half!! This could be absolutely killing your engagement rate and telling ISPs that what you’re sending is just not read-worthy. Better email open rates can bump up your deliverability due to high engagement, and therefore reduce the chances of your email ending up in spam or promotions due to inactivity.
BUT… whatever you do, don’t trick people into opening your emails. Because high-opens and low clicks also won’t help you either. So that’s a HARD NO for click-baity and misleading subject lines, guys! More than half of consumers reported that they have felt tricked into opening a promotional email.
Strike a balance between curiosity and relevancy and you’re good to go. And if you want some key techniques on how to write killer subject lines, you can check out my video on that.
Tip #4. Write Friendly
This is the most important tip of all. On top of the formatting stuff I mentioned, the best way to write an email is to avoid sounding like a marketer. A sure way to do that is to write as if you’re talking to a friend or telling a story to someone in real life that you actually care about. In other words — write like a human!
This will make your email so much more approachable and relevant. Personalities like Marie Forleo, Jay Clouse and Noah Kagan are great examples of people who write their emails as if they’re having a conversation. And the same rule still applies even if you’re representing a brand or a business.
On that note, this doesn’t mean that you should go all Jane Austen on your email length. But if the story does call for a longer email, do break it up into multiple paragraphs to make it easier to read.
The more engaged your recipients are with the emails you’re sending, the more likely you are to reach your recipient’s inbox. And past behaviour impacts future deliverability. It’s as simple as that.
Emails to friends have a 100% open rate. So write like you’re writing to a friend.
Tip #5. Stay Relevant
Surveys have shown that nearly 60% of email users will mark a sender as spam if they receive too many or irrelevant emails from them. Not to mention, if your subscriber considers your email content as irrelevant, they’ll be less likely to respond to your future campaigns.
So the next time you’re writing or conceptualizing your email content, consider WHY you’re sending the email, how it’s relevant to your brand, and how your message can add value to your subscriber’s life.
The #1 rule I tell my students when writing email campaigns is to always have a REASON WHY to email. Whether it be to share a new piece of content, release a new product, or add a new bonus or discount during a sales campaign.
Don’t send something just for the sake of cadence. Your subscriber is not going to be impressed by unnecessary reminders, check-ins or repeated content without purpose or something new. So be strategic with your email marketing and plan out the angles of your campaigns in advance!
Tip #6. Manage Expectations
When you’re writing to a new lead who just opted in — one of your first indoctrination emails should set expectations around the kind of content they will be receiving from you and the frequency you’ll be emailing them.
For example, if your lead will be included in your weekly newsletters, then let them know. I send an email to my global posse every Wednesday to let them know that a new video is up, and, of course, I let them know when new products and courses are available in the Copy Posse academy.
Another important practice is to be consistent in your language, your personality and even the layout or framework of your emails. Familiarity and consistency go a long way in fostering trust with your audience.
Tip #7. Aim To Engage First
The most important thing to remember with email marketing is that your primary goal is to get your reader to engage with your email.
9/10 times that’s to get them to click something in the email, but sometimes it’s to reply or take some other sort of action.
Don’t worry so much about closing the sale right there in an email, because 1) that’s a spam word minefield and 2) your onsite sales copy can do the converting for you.
So when writing emails, think first about how to make them engaging, interesting and click-worthy.
Use graphics and buttons, or even a GIF or an emoji if that is how you like to communicate. I’m a big fan of emojis.
But careful not to use TOO many images or hyperlinks in your emails though because, yes, you guessed it, spam alert.
Balance the number of links you have in your email with quality content. I usually keep my hyperlinks to 2-3 per email and space them out across the body copy and the P.S. line.
Watch This Instead
So that wraps up my list of the 7 things you can do as a copywriter to make sure your emails arrive in the inbox.
Leave me a comment below if you found this article helpful. And remember to check out my YouTube Channel.
Have a great rest of the week. I’ll be back next week with a brand new post. Until then, I’m Alex, ciao for now!