How to Write Marketing Emails and E-Newsletters

Side-view photo of a woman using a laptop at a workplace.
If your emails waste people’s time, those people will lose their patience. (Photo: Andrei Zaripov)

Let’s face it: Most of us don’t have enough time to read all our email. Our inboxes are overflowing, and we have too much stuff to do—so we can’t get to it all.

That means a lot of emails get deleted before they’re even opened. And out of those that are opened, many are quickly scanned and deleted.

So if you’re sending out marketing emails or e-newsletters, you have to find a way to stand out from the clutter and get your emails opened and read.

Here are some tips that can help.

What’s the Purpose of the Email?

Before doing anything else, you should think about the purpose of the email and what you’re trying to accomplish:

  • Some marketing emails are trying to build trust and credibility by offering free advice.
  • Other emails are asking the reader to buy a product or service right now, or to click a link to learn more.
  • Some emails might be trying to strengthen the company’s image and brand.

That’s why the first step is to get clear about what each email is supposed to accomplish.

If you’re running an email campaign or e-newsletter, keep in mind that this can vary from email to email. For example, imagine you’ll be sending out six emails—you might try to build trust with the first four, and try to sell something in the last two.

If the purpose of an email is to get readers to do something specific, such as buy a product, make a phone call, or request information, then it’s often useful to ask them to do so at the end of the email. This is the call to action.

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Know Your Audience

In addition to knowing the purpose of each email, you must also know who the audience is.

If you’re trying to sell a product to executives, you’ll probably take a different approach than if you’re trying to sell the same product to college students. The information you cover, the examples you use, and the overall tone of the email can vary depending on your intended audience.

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Don’t Waste Your Readers’ Time

When people sit down to read a novel, they’re in a different state of mind. It’s a leisurely activity, and they expect that it will take some time.

Nobody reads email this way. They’re in a completely different mindset.

Reading email is more of a task, so it’s often done in short blocks of time throughout the day.

If your emails waste people’s time, these readers will lose their patience. Be clear, concise, and straightforward, so it’s easy to understand. Typically, you also want to get to the point of the email as quickly as possible.

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Subject Line

No matter how well you’ve implemented the tips above, your email won’t be successful if it’s not opened.

The subject line is all about getting people to open your email and read it. It’s comparable to the title of a book or the headline of an article—it has to pique your readers’ interest; otherwise they’ll ignore it.

The subject line should match the information that will be covered in the email. If you try to trick readers by having a misleading subject line, you’ll lose their trust. That can cause them to unsubscribe from your list or ignore your emails in the future.

Appeal to their self-interest or curiosity. For example, if someone is planning to buy her first home, she’ll probably open an email with the subject line “10 Tips for First-Time Homebuyers” or “Don’t Make These First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes!”

These tips can help get your emails opened, read, and responded to. Contact Super Copy Editors today to learn more about how our copy editing services can improve your marketing emails.

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Dave Baker

View posts by Dave Baker
Hi, I’m Dave Baker, founder and copy chief of Super Copy Editors. I have more than two decades of professional proofreading and copy editing experience, including work for The Nation magazine, The New York Times, and The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, where I shared two staff Pulitzer Prizes after Hurricane Katrina. Today, I have put together a hand-picked team of copy editors, and we especially love working with ad agencies, marketing departments, and education companies to make their text as polished as possible. Learn more here.


  1. Michael Wood
    June 30, 2019

    Great tips! Getting to the point as quickly as possible really works. We should always avoid flowery introductions. Let them know immediately what your message is all about. Crafting an effective email seems difficult, but by giving attention to what exactly you want to say will increase that chances that someone will read it.

    1. Dave Baker
      July 6, 2019

      Thanks, Michael.


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