How to write an email people actually want to read.

As a top copywriter, I’ve been asked on many different occasions –

  • What makes a good email subject line?
  • How do you get people to open your newsletters?
  • Tell me what to share with my subscribers! I’m lost!

Well, I hear you, loud and clear. You just want to know HOW to write a newsletter that people actually want to open, devour, click through, share, etc. And why wouldn’t you? Some people say “the money’s in the list!” I simply say that business is about relationships. So if you’re not in a healthy, active, mutually beneficial relationship with your community – your business is going to feel it. (Read: lose money, lose subscribers, lose dignity, lose your marbles…)

And I want you and your list to be in Crazy in Love with each other! *Cue Beyonce*

So it’s time for me to stop procrastinating and give you the answers you really want!

It’s time for me to pull back the curtain and finally reveal all of my tricks to maintaining a solid open rate and engagement with my subscribers. (YOU included, you sexy thing you!)

Here’s how to write an email people actually want to read.

1. Love your audience.

This might sound kinda corny, but it’s true. Have you ever dated someone that you didn’t really like very much LONG after you realized it wasn’t a good fit. No? Just me? Well you know what happens to relationships like that? They get UGLY. Quick. Your ability to listen to your audience, predict what they need and meet their needs. That starts with you actually LOVING them and giving a sh*t about what they need and want! If you don’t, it’s time to reevaluate your target market and/or adjust your attitude!

2. Give them what they want.

That’s actually your JOB, cowgirl. Like any relationship, when your peeps gave you their emails they made an agreement with you. Your part of that agreement was giving them content that they actually want to read! How do you find out what they want? Great question! Just ask! There are a few ways to do this.

*Make sure your Welcome Email allows people to choose their own adventure.

Break down your expertise and the types of newsletters you typically write into segments, ask your readers to choose, and organize your list accordingly.

Here’s how I did that in my new welcome email!

“But really, which of the following do you MOST want help with right now?

>> How to write your own hot website copy yo-self!

>> Working with one of my award-winning copywriters on your next website, launch, or funnel!

>> Learning more about funnels and what makes them tick (and print money)!

>> How to build your own 6-figure copywriting business!”

*Literally just ASK.

Try adding this to the bottom of your next newsletter:

“Is this email NOT what you signed up for? Before you unsubscribe, let me know what you’d LOVE to hear from me. What burning questions about {insert your expertise here} can I answer for you? If you’d simply love more of what you’re reading – YAY! Reply with a “HELL YEAH!” to let me know. :)”

*Send them a survey with a few simple getting-to-know you questions!

You can use any simple form builder to create a survey. I personally use Google forms and Jotform, but Typeform is also incredibly popular (and looks really beautiful!)

You’ll want to ask questions like….

If you could learn anything from me for FREE, what would it be?

What are your 3 main goals right now in {insert your area of expertise}?

*Give out some free phone calls!

Get a handful of your readers on the phone and ask them questions about what they’re struggling with! Once you know what they most need help with, you can create programs, services, and content to help!

3. Share more of YOU on a personal level.

You’re a human, not a robot. Let your audience know you’re REAL. You can do this a few different ways: with your personality, with a vulnerable, personal story, simply by talking about your hobbies outside of your area of expertise, or by sharing your own struggles. For example, I’m obsessed with screenwriting, hip hop dance, yoga, and self-care, and I struggle with the emotional ups and downs of having my own business. One of my favorite things to share about is how I navigate all of my interests and passions and the challenges of being an entrepreneur – it’s relatable and most importantly: it’s REAL.

4. Go easy on the eyes.

Visually, you want to make sure you’re not dumping a huge block of text on your reader. I recently opened one of Pat Flynn’s emails. He’s a total genius, but the large amount of text made my heart sink as I thought to myself “ugh.” Make sure your emails NEVER give people the “ugh” by keeping them as short as you’d keep an email to a close friend. If you wouldn’t burden your bestie with it, don’t do it to your readers!

5. Boil it down to the main points.

If you want to cover some teaching points in your newsletter – YAY VALUE!!! – I’d make sure you’re hitting those points hard and fast. This is what we call, in the nightlife industry (hey, I spent over a decade doing high-volume bartending in NYC, people!) a “hit and run.” That means you’re making the connection QUICKLY, and moving on just as quickly. Respect your reader’s valuable time by not wasting it with FLUFF.

6. Save room for dessert.

Okay, when you get rid of that fluff, there’s always room for dessert. If you have LOTS to teach (like this blog right here that you’re reading! #meta), don’t try to jam it all into one newsletter. Instead, turn it into a blog post. This will drive traffic to your website and give you more real estate to play with (read: more space to be generous!).

7. Make an invitation.

Your newsletter should lead somewhere, like all great copy. Like an arrow, pointing your reader in the right direction, you want to make sure you give your audience a CHOICE. Do they want to read more, or not? Tell them where to go for more information!


And finally, my subject line tricks!


1. Hinting is sexy, but clarity is sexier.

Your headline should definitely incite curiosity, but making it TOO vague won’t give your reader the incentive to open. Always lean on clear over clever.

Examples that work:

Want my tricks to writing incredible emails?

Open me if you want better open rates.

Get more subscribers to read your shit. {Hacks inside!}

Killer newsletter hacks – Inside!

2. Questions only work if you’re making it personal.

I’ve read from other “email marketing gurus” that questions get great open rates. Well, in my experience, they don’t get any more opens than non-question headlines. The trick to making them work is making them personal. What does your reader REALLY want?

Examples that work:

What if writing newsletters was EASY?

Want my tricks to writing incredible emails?

Where do you go for email-writing tricks? (In here! Open up!)

3. Don’t make a promise you can’t keep.

Again, relationships. Headlines that are sexy don’t work if they make a promise that your newsletter doesn’t keep. You could get a great open rate on a subject line that read “How to increase your sales by 900%!” but if you’re not giving actionable advice that will help your reader get closer to those results, you might as well just unsubscribe those readers yourself!

4. Use your message to make a statement.

Go ahead and say what you want to say right in the subject line. Don’t feel like you have to hold your underlying message until the end of your email. Most readers are smart enough to figure out what you’re trying to tell them before they get there, and (newsflash!) they’re not reading your email for the message. They’re reading for YOU and for the FREE VALUE.

Examples that work:

Follow these rules, and improve your readership.

Newsletters can be easy with these simple steps.

Is newsletter writing hard for you? Stop overcomplicating it!

5. What VALUE are they getting by opening?

Again, you want to underline the VALUE of your email. What is your reader gaining by opening? For this specific blog post, the value is: simple steps and hacks to writing better emails so your audience engages with your content more. Key benefits: simplicity, secret tricks, improved open rates, greater readership which leads to growth in both your audience AND booking rates. Ask yourself what value you’re delivering and make sure it’s clear from your subject line. All of the examples above do this.

6. What would you say to your bestie?

Ultimately, you want to put your content through the “bestie” filter again. Making your headline approachable and personal is also a matter of writing to your audience just like you’d write to a good friend, from the subject line to the signature. Does your subject line sound like something you’d write in a subject line to a good friend?

BOOM. Now you’re nailing newsletters.

Want those emails written for you?

We can help.

Most business owners spend about 10 to 20 hours per month creating content for their blogs, newsletters, and funnels. That’s a LOT of hours you could be working with clients and getting PAID. Plus, as pro copywriters, we do that work in half the time (or less).

Check out our funnel-writing packages here, and don’t hesitate to grab a call with Erin so we can chat about how to make your life easier by doing your writing for you.

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