All right, now you’ve got a subject line that will get your reader to open, and a hook that compels them to keep reading.
Contrary to what you might think, there’s a lot more to writing a high-converting email than just a snappy subject line and a compelling hook.
Because while the subject line and the hook are critical, if you don’t have good body copy to support them, all of that is for nothing.
Think of it like this: we’ve all seen movies that start off really promising, with an intriguing premise and a great trailer, right? But then, somewhere around the 20-30 minute mark, nothing’s really happening on screen, and you’re starting to feel bored.
So bored, you actually stop partway through and don’t finish the movie.
That’s exactly the same way your reader feels reading an email where your body copy doesn’t follow through on the intrigue and promise of your subject line and hook. If your body copy isn’t compelling enough to keep your readers reading, they’ll delete your email without finishing it.
To keep the body of your email compelling, you need keep things relevant and readable.
When you stray from being relevant, people get bored. They start reading, go “this isn’t for me” and hit delete before they even get to your call to action.
To stay relevant, your emails need to speak directly to your reader’s needs. Address a subject or problem that your reader cares about, in a way they understand, and preferably in language your reader would actually use.
At the very least, make sure you answer the question “What’s in it for me?” from the point of view of your reader. Rattling on and on about your product and what is does is boring to your reader because they don’t intuitively understand how it relates to them.
You need to explicitly address how it will benefit them and what they will gain from using it, so that they can see the value you’re providing to them.
In short: sell benefits, not features.
This is far more easily accomplished when you follow the Rule of One. One of the fundamental principles of conversion copywriting, the Rule of One states that you write for one reader, send them one offer, and write your copy around one big idea.
When you stay focused this way, it becomes very easy to stay relevant to that one reader because you know what to include and what to leave out.
If you have a few different types of people on your list, this is where segmenting comes into play. When you have a segmented list, each segment should represent one type of reader.
This way, you can send relevant emails and relevant content only to those on your list who would be interested in it, which helps keep open rate and engagement up and unsubscribes down.
It’s not enough that your content is relevant to your reader, that content must also be easy for your reader to consume (particularly with the upswing in mobile email usage in the last several years).
This means writing and formatting your emails in such a way that they are visually appealing and highlight the most important information you want them to see.
To do this, you can:
Use short paragraphs
Short paragraphs and — even better — short sentences, are easier for your reader to take in and comprehend.
Visually, it’s easier on the eyes than dense blocks of text, especially for mobile users, and shorter, simpler sentences are much less confusing than long, winding ones with multiple clauses and ideas.
Bullets are a great way to break up a longer email, especially when you have multiple supporting points to make, as they are very visual and really easy for your reader to consume.
The break from regular text also highlights the content of the bullets and makes it a great way to showcase key features and benefits.
Make it scannable
Have you ever just skimmed an email, looking for key pieces of information? A good portion of your readers will do that, so help them out. Use bold text, italics, underlines, and other text markups strategically to highlight the most important parts of your message.
If you can read just the highlighted copy and get the gist of what the email is saying, that’s perfect.
What type of proof you’ll use in your email will vary based on what you’re trying to achieve. You may decide to include testimonials, featured publications, awards, certifications — anything that lends authority and credibility to you and your message.
This is not only important for establishing the relevance of your message, but is also a great opportunity to play with your formatting to highlight these key pieces of information. Italicized publication titles or indented testimonials draw the eye and continue to draw your reader down the page.
The length of your body copy will vary tremendously based on your business model, your reader, and the objective of that specific email.
The tools above will help you write relevant, engaging emails that your readers read through to the end. Just make sure you include all of the information they need to make a decision regarding your call to action.
Otherwise even the most readable, relevant emails won’t generate the clickthroughs that lead to revenue and ROI.
This article is Part 3 of ‘The Anatomy of a High-Converting Email’, a series on using conversion copywriting techniques to write high-performing emails. Read the previous installments in this series:
Or read on to the next installment: How to craft an irresistible Call To Action.
Katie Callaghan is a Sales Funnel Strategist and Conversion Copywriter helping growth-stage startups turn existing traffic into more customers, users, and revenue. You can find her at www.startupfunnelstrategist.com.