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Quick tips for writing effective marketing email copy

Check for CRABS. Yes, crabs, although not the type that scuttle along the sand, or any other varieties that may have popped to mind. When writing marketing emails, if you can remember to do a CRABS check, it’s likely you’ve hit the nail on the head.

After eConsultancy released their comprehensive Email Marketing Best Practice Guide a couple of weeks ago, we were inspired by some of their top tips for getting marketing emails right, the first time.

Here’s a quick guide to writing email marketing copy, starting with one of the more memorable acronyms in digital marketing:


When reviewing your copy, check for the following:

Chunking: Ensure paragraphs are short and sweet – one or two sentences maximum. This helps readers to easily scan the text, which the majority of readers do, particularly with online copy such as promotional or marketing emails.

Relevance: Brevity is key to effective email communication so don’t include anything that isn’t essential.

Accuracy: Ensure your offer is achievable, i.e. don’t offer anything your business can’t provide.

Brevity is central to the scalability of your email. A great way to ensure your writing isn’t too verbose is to write the copy, reduce the word count, and then try to reduce it a second time.

Scannability: Readers should be able to get a sense of each paragraph without reading it in its entirety. The key words should deliver the message aptly enough, and any words highlighted in bold, italicised or accented in colour will immediately draw the reader’s eye.

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2) Write for ‘scannability’

Because most readers will scan, rather than read, your email, it’s always best to write in a style geared towards this sort of readership. These are  good ways to ensure your main points pop out:
Incorporate persuasive headings
Emphasize key offers or words by accenting them in bold or colour within the body copy. Be careful not to overdo this though!
Stick to one idea per paragraph. Any more and ideas can get lost in the copy.
Incorporate bullet points to emphasise the benefits of features of a particular offer.

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3) Repeat to reinforce

While repetition, done well, will reinforce your message or offer, too much repetition is likely to put readers off. A good idea is to think of repetition in a marketing email as a three-tiered beast. The top tier is the headline in which the main offer or message should be made clear in a few clear words. Tier two, the lead-in copy, should build on the succinct information available in the headline. And tier three is a final call to action, which will repeat the nature of the offer or message, once the reader has scanned the rest of the email.

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