Email can be a powerful way to connect with your e-commerce customers. But you already know that.
Chances are, you’ve landed here because you’re looking to make your emails better.
In order to keep your email list engaged and taking action, your actual emails have to be good… which means the copy (AKA the words in the email) needs to get the job done.
So, how do you improve your email copy for your e-commerce store? Here are 5+ email copywriting rules to follow.
Rule #1: Learn the art of a good subject line
Before an email can do anything for your store, someone has to open it. Enter the subject line.
The difference between a mediocre and great subject line can be the difference between a conversion and a lost customer.
Since email is almost always a direct response tool for e-commerce shops (jargon for you want someone to take an immediate action… like buying), the subject line of your emails will affect everything from your open rate to your conversions… so it needs to be strong.
To write a good subject line, make it actionable. The reader should know right off the bat what it is you want them to do (i.e. check out new shirt styles, save money with a sale, see products they might like).
You’ll want to keep clarity in mind, too.
Too often, people focus on being funny or unique in the subject line. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of cheek… until you sacrifice clarity for it.
Make sure your audience always knows what the email is actually about and that your subject line aligns with the actual email content. The more relevant your subject line is to your list, the better your retention will be.
For a deeper dive into writing effective subject lines, check out this Kopywriting Kourse article.
Rule #2: Focus on benefits, not features
Sure, you know the benefits of your products. But do your customers?
Too often, e-commerce email campaigns focus solely on the features of their products without ever communicating the benefits these features have to the customer, which is key to showing a reader why they should care in the first place.
Think about your own email consumption habits. You likely get hundreds of e-commerce emails a day. So why should you take the time to buy from one newsletter versus another?
Chances are, the one you’re buying from is giving you too good of a reason not to.
Take a look at the email from Office Depot:
It’s great that I can get deals on paper, but what’s the benefit to me? Why should I take advantage of this deal? Is it because I’m a startup owner that needs to save costs on much needed office items? Because I’m a writer who is working on a novel? What’s the point?
Now, take a look at this one.
This Petco email starts off by letting me know the benefit right away. If I make a purchase, I’ll receive 5 Reward Dollars. I can use those Reward Dollars toward other purchases I’ll need to make in the future.
Rule #3: Professional doesn’t mean formal
One of the biggest mistakes people make with writing in general is being overly (and awkwardly) formal.
When emailing someone for business, whether you’re an e-commerce store, or a brick and mortar shop, or a service provider, we’re conditioned to go into formal mode and use canned phrases like, “Hope all is well” or “I wanted to touch base”.
Not only does this make you sound like a robot… it can kill your conversion rate. And since e-commerce emails are almost always geared toward conversion, you can’t afford to make this mistake.
Formality kills all personality, makes your email see impersonal and automated, and can even make whatever you’re trying to say super unclear.
Remember that professional doesn’t mean formal. You can still be polished and professional without sounding like SIRI wrote your email.
Be human, be real. And to nail down your tone of voice in your email copywriting, check out this guide by Kopywriting Kourse.
Rule #4: Get personal
Speaking of not sounding like a robot… adding personalization to your email copywriting is a great way to improve your campaigns. But personalization isn’t just about using a dynamic tag to insert someone’s name. It’s about making the entire email relevant to a reader.
75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that personalize emails by recognizing them by name, recommending options based on previous purchases, or shows they know the customer’s purchase history.
So how do you personalize emails that may be going out to a massive audience or are part of an automated series?
You segment your list based on behaviors and indicated interests.
For example, let’s say you run a dog supply store. A first-time dog owner and a professional dog trainer may both be interested in your products, or even the same products. But you can dramatically increase your conversions and reduce churn if you craft custom experiences for each instead of using generic email blasts that just list a bunch of products.
Rule #5: Keep it Clear + Actionable
At the end of the day, your email needs to tell your readers two things:
- What you want them to do
- Why they should do it
In order to hit those two things, your email content needs to be actionable and clear.
It’s easy for e-commerce emails to fall into the clutter trap. Yes, your email should be visual and showcase beautiful product photos. However, too many photos/products and suddenly it’s unclear what your readers should do. Should they buy the pants? Read more about your signature belt? Click the “see all styles” button?
Choose a template that’s clean and allows you to focus on either a single product or a few (for more on email templates, see here).
Aside from your layout, your actual copy should also be action-oriented.
Remember, people have short attention spans. It’s unlikely they’re reading your entire email. Keep it brief, to the point, and add a sense of urgency with your benefits and call-to-action.
For more on CTA writing, check out this guide by Kopywriting Kourse.
Takeaways + Next Steps
Now that you know the ins and outs of writing email copy for e-commerce stores, it’s time to revamp those campaigns. Here are some next steps to get started with:
- Define your goals for your campaigns.
- Map out your campaign sequence and the goal for each individual email (i.e. what action do you want the reader to take).
- Using the rules above, write clear and concise emails for your sequences.
- Based on the goals you set, keep an eye on metrics. Make tweaks based on what works and what doesn’t.