The ultimate guide to writing great email content

The ultimate guide to writing great email content

Business email writing can be tricky. Writing great email content that subscribers look forward to opening each time is even harder.

People delete millions of emails every day without opening or reading them. However, every successful entrepreneur will tell you that email is the backbone of their business. It’s where you can connect with your audience and build an engaged community.

This will be your go-to guide showing exactly how to write email content that will engage readers and grow your online business.

In this guide, we’ll cover tips for writing email content like how to:

  • Write a welcome email
  • Craft a subject line people can’t ignore
  • Write in a unique voice tailored to your audience
  • Make it easy to skim
  • Optimize emails for mobile
  • Identify your goal
  • Consider customer funnels
  • Include one to two CTAs max
  • Segment your audience for personalization
  • Engage subscribers with perks and rewards
  • Create email sequences
  • Stay consistent and provide value

Write a welcome email

According to recent studies, welcome emails have the most engagement out of any other email content. When a person subscribes to your email list, they want to receive that first email–they expect it.

In fact, welcome emails have a 91% open rate on average. Plus, they have a 42% higher than average read rate.

Since this is the first email that your audience will open, you’ll want to make a good impression.

Your welcome email will set the tone for your relationship with email subscribers. So, how do you write it? We have a full guide on how to write welcome emails with examples. The main takeaway to remember is that a great welcome email starts with the five Ws.

Answer the five Ws

Most good email writing–and writing in general–starts by answering the five Ws.

  • Who are you? You can expand on this by sharing what company you work for or your background and experience.
  • What do you do? What kind of email content can they expect going forward?
  • Why should your audience stay subscribed? Highlight your competitive advantage here.
  • Where did they sign up? Where else can they find you? Link to your social media, blog, or website in your welcome email.
  • When will you be sending another email?

Craft a subject line people can’t ignore

The subject line is one of the most important parts of an email. It is one of the first things that people will see when they go to their inbox. A good email subject line grabs attention without coming off as clickbait.

You can try formatting your subject line using the prompts below to catch readers’ attention.  

  1. Who else wants
  2. How _ made me_
  3. Are you_?
  4. How I
  5. How to
  6. If you’re _, you can
  7. Secrets of
  8. Ways to _

Try to keep your email subject line under 40 to 50 characters or six to 10 words. Otherwise, it will get cut off when they view it in their inbox. In general, short and to-the-point subject lines perform better than long ones.

Write in a unique voice tailored to your audience

How will you speak to your audience? What voice and tone resonate with them?

If you haven’t done audience research yet, start now. Dig deeper into your target audience–who are they? What do they care about most?

Course creators are likely talking to potential, current, and past students. Since your email list is a part of your overall marketing strategy, it should have the same voice and tone that you use in your courses.

Email writing tends to have more of a friendly tone. It’s like you’re chatting one-on-one with each of your subscribers.

Send email content at the right time

There’s no hard-and-fast rule for the best time to send an email. Some studies say 10 a.m. Others say 8 p.m. to midnight. The real answer is that it depends on your audience.

What works for one email list or newsletter might not work for yours. You can A/B test a few different times and see how that impacts the open and click-through rates. You can also poll your audience and ask them when they would like to receive your emails.

The important thing to keep in mind is that the time you choose to send your email to subscribers should stay consistent. For example, let’s say you send on Sundays at 4 p.m. each week, and you know that cadence works. You should consistently send your emails at that time each week because your readers now have the expectation that Your email will be in their inboxes every Sunday.

Make it easy to skim

In 2021, people spent ten seconds on average reading emails from businesses. It might not seem like a lot of time. However, when you think about how people open emails and interact with digital content, it makes sense.

Most people check email from their phones. They might be on their way to work or winding down for the day. You only have a limited amount of time to get your message across. When writing email content, make it skimmable.

Here are some tips you can use for your email writing.

  • Use bulleted lists
  • Add structure with headings and section dividers
  • Write brief, punchy copy for each section
  • Keep sections under two to three sentences
  • Link out to longer content
  • Format with bold font and brand colors

These are just a few tactics. Once you send more emails, you’ll better understand what works best for your audience. Look at what sections they click on most, and mark emails that get a lot of engagement.

Optimize emails for mobile

Over 60% of emails are opened from a mobile device. If you’re not optimizing your email content for a mobile audience, you’re missing out on potential students and sales.

After writing emails, test how they look on desktop and on a mobile device before sending them to your list.

To make sure that your emails are mobile-optimized, use this checklist:

  • Do you have white space around sections?
  • Are your CTA buttons clear and easy to click?
  • Do images load fast and are they sized properly?
  • Is your email copy short and easy to read?
  • Do you have well-written pre-header text?

Along with subject lines, the pre-header text is what readers will see when your email appears in their inbox. The pre-header text is a summary of what is inside your email, and it should also entice readers to click.

Identify your goal

What action do you want your subscribers to take? Do you want them to sign up for email notifications, follow you on social media, take a poll, or something else? Your goal will likely be the CTA or call-to-action button in your email.  

The goal isn’t always to make a sale. Nor should sales be the goal every time you send an email.

Yes, at the end of the day, email content is a marketing strategy. Many course creators use email to boost course sales. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they always include a call to action for email readers to buy their course.

Email is also a great way to build and connect with your audience. It’s hard to form connections with someone that is constantly selling to you. You need to provide value as well.

Consider customer funnels

Sometimes, after a person subscribes, you need to nurture that relationship before they’re ready to purchase. Think about what stage of the buyer journey your audience is in, and craft email content for them.

For instance, if customers are at the top-of-funnel or middle-of-funnel, they aren’t ready to purchase yet. Educate them about your course, and move them through the funnel with a nurture email sequence.

You’ll have different types of email content based on your audience. Set a goal for each email you send. For instance, the goal of a welcome email is obviously to welcome new subscribers, but it’s more complex than that. You may want to give new subscribers information about you and your course or engage them further.

The goal of a course pre-sale email campaign could be to get email subscribers to sign up for a course waitlist. This way, they get notified by email when your course goes on sale.

Include one to two CTAs max

Ideally, your email copy will only include one CTA at a time. If you have two calls to action, think about how that will impact click rates.

If you have two CTAs, you risk dividing the traffic between them–each one will get fewer clicks. On the other hand, one clear CTA will drive clicks to the same place. You’ll make it clear to readers what you want them to do.

A best practice is to include your primary CTA or link above the fold. It will be the first thing that readers see when they open your email, and it doesn’t require them to scroll down to read more.

Segment your audience for personalization

Personalization is the key to great marketing–whether you are writing emails or social media content.

One of the top ways to personalize email content is to use audience segmentation. Most marketers segment around different audiences but it varies. You can segment your email list based on:

  • Demographics – If you are a chef and have a course on vegan cooking and another on grilling meat, the audiences are different. By segmenting your lists, you speak to each list’s diet and cooking needs.
  • Location – This is especially important if you want to send your email at certain times and your audience is in many time zones.
  • Customer journey – You might segment your email audience based on potential, current, and past students.
  • Engagement – Your email audience may range from highly engaged, warm emails to rarely engaged, cold emails. Segmenting will allow you to offer special deals and offers to each audience. Plus, it will make it easier to build effective nurture email campaigns.

You can personalize your email content for your online business with these other tactics.

  • Use their name in the email copy. You should have good data on their preferred names and pronouns to use this tactic.
  • Talk to them as a person. Unlike typical businesses, course creators have an advantage because you are a person. You can write email copy that is more informal.
  • Trigger emails to send when a subscriber takes a specific action. For instance, you could create an email that automatically sends when someone views your course but doesn’t make a purchase.

Engage subscribers with perks and rewards

One of the struggles with email marketing is how to keep subscribers engaged. Even if you have great email content, you still have to entice and entertain your audience.

You can offer an exclusive discount on courses or content. However, that can come off as promotional if you do it too often. One of the best ways to engage your audience is to offer something for free.

This can be a giveaway for prizes like a gift card, books, or tech. You can also offer perks without dropping money on them. Offer expert advice and tools that they won’t find anywhere else.

For example, if you teach a personal finance class, you could offer free budgeting templates or a 20-minute one-on-one financial coaching session.

You can even set up a student affiliate program for your Teachable courses and integrate it into your email content. As students share your emails with their networks, they could earn perks. In some cases, they may earn money when someone they referred buys a course or coaching session from you.

Create email sequences

Email writing takes a lot of time. Luckily, you can create email templates that you can reuse throughout your business. Plus, when you set up email sequences, it sets up a schedule to automatically send to your audience when you want.

There are tons of email sequences and templates that you can use. Ultimately, it depends on what stage of the buyer journey your audience is in, the purpose of your email, and what action you want them to take.

Here are some email examples that you might include in a sequence for your course business.

Anticipation email

An anticipation email builds excitement. It gives your subscribers a sneak peek at something that they might look forward to getting. For example, an email about your new course could be an anticipation email.

When you release a new course, you should have a complete email launch strategy, not just one email.

Common questions

The common questions email has one main goal—answer questions potential students have that may prevent them from buying.

Make a list of frequently asked questions that your potential students ask. These may also include reasons that a student is hesitant to purchase your product.

  • What is included in the price?
  • How can students watch your course?
  • Are sessions live or recorded?
  • What is your availability?
  • How will the course be evaluated?
  • Will they receive a certificate of completion?
  • Will their company’s personal development program pay for the course?

This is a small sample of common questions to include. If there are a lot of questions, perhaps you’ll want to break them out into separate emails.

Urgency email

This email creates a sense of urgency. One way that you can create urgency is to offer a bonus for students who buy now rather than later. You should also include the dates that your course starts and when sign-up ends.

Another method is to set student enrollment limits. If you only have 20 spots available for your next course, they’ll be more motivated to buy fast.

Course close

The course close email is another example of an urgency email. You can set a trigger so that the email will automatically send to recipients. This will send a notification to your audience when there are 24-hours left until course sign ups close.

Last call

The last call email is just what it sounds like—it’s the last reminder to purchase the course before it is no longer available. It is sometimes called the last chance.

You can add some flair to your last call email by including figures like how many people viewed the course in the last hour or day. You may also want a responsive countdown inside the email that will update based on when a person opened it.

Of course, if your course has sold out before the last call, that’s great news. You don’t need to send a last call email, and it can even frustrate subscribers if you send it and it’s sold out. So, make sure that there are spots available before you hit send.

Launch email sequence

Every course should have a launch email sequence. By sending multiple emails instead of one, you can nurture leads. You also aren’t putting all your income potential into one email. Unless you have a huge email list—well over 100,000 active subscribers—and a small number of spots, you’re not likely to sell out instantly.

Treat your email launch as if you’re selling in person. If you were selling your product in person and someone walked into your store, you wouldn’t scream at them to buy a TV. Instead, you’d ask if they needed help, maybe share details on the product or inform them of current discounts.

How do you replicate that experience through email content?

Launching your online course is arguably the most exciting part of the whole course creation process. It’s the moment when all your hard work starts to pay off. If you’ve never launched an online course before, don’t worry.

Here are some resources that can help you craft the perfect email launch sequence.

Stay consistent and provide value

As you build your email list, it’s crucial to stay connected outside of promoting course sales. Periodically email your list with new content and updates. Therefore, when you want to sell something you’ve already sent several weeks’ worth of valuable content.

For email content inspiration, you can check out these newsletter examples:

These newsletters have one thing in common—they provide value to their readers. Your email content should be high quality and useful. As an expert in your field, you have the knowledge and tools that they value. Share your experience with your readers in creative ways.

Here are some other email content ideas that will get you started.

  • Review five or more products or tools that are used in your industry.
  • Interview another well-known leader in your industry and get their tips on a topic your audience cares about.
  • Record a short how-to video for a commonly asked question and share a brief bulleted list of your process.
  • Share a story that illustrates your process and how they can replicate it. Include the goal, how you tackled the problem, and the results.

Writing great email content is a process that you’ll get better at the more that you do it. These tips can help you take your email writing to the next level–engaging more students and growing your business.

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