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Dictionary Series - Marketing: communicationLevel: Beginner
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Prerequisites: Affiliate Marketing 101 Course (free!)

So far we’ve got all set up with email marketing, talked about landing pages and list management. Today, we’re getting into writing email copy!

For those of you who don’t know what ‘copy’ is (I didn’t when I started…), it’s the words on the page that you use to get your prospect to take action.

Email copy is just that – the words in the email!

When you hear the terms ‘sales copy’ or ‘email copy,’ it’s just the way that you write sales messages or email messages :0)

There is an art to writing emails that people open, read and ultimately click through which will make you money!

There is one thing we need to get through though… Preframing.

Preframing Correctly

Preframing is an NLP technique used by copywriters to get a prospect or user to take action.


You don’t need to get crazy into NLP or anything to understand how to use it though!

Basically, successfully preframing someone is all about setting them up to take action on the next page, after the click the link in your email or on your web page.

BrainI’m actually running a paid traffic campaign in the photography niche right now where we’re collecting email addresses.  Right after they sign up, they get an email from me with some email copy and a link to a sales page.

Rather than say, “Check out this photography course.  It’s got lots of training on picking the right camera, using Photoshop, and taking expert pictures…”

My email copy says, “Imagine using X technique to sharpen your clients photos,” or “Y strategy really has served as inspiration for a lot of the landscape photos that I’ve been taking…”

The ‘conditions’ being: X technique, Y strategy

The ‘experience’ or ‘event’ being: their education after purchasing the product!

Make sense?

Preframing is the biggest difference between affiliates who make HUGE money and affiliates who don’t.  You can use it everywhere, including:

  • Email messages you send out in your autoresponder
  • Landing pages that come before the actual product, like reviews and advertorials
  • Sales copy you write, either as video sales letters or long form sales messages

Unfortunately, it’s not something that you just get.  It takes practice.  It takes writing.  There isn’t a quick hack or an easy button for it.  You just have to sit down with a cup of coffee and start banging at your keyboard.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about your email copy!

Writing Solid Email Copy

Woman typing on a modern keyboard. White background.Next up, we’re going to talk about email copy, including how you should structure an email and what the focus of that email should be.

Step One: Write a Strong Email Subject

The subject line needs to pique curiosity, so you need to shock and awe. You need to appeal to the prospect and make them interested or curious enough to open the email.

The FTC says that you have to adequately describe what is in the email, although that’s pretty vague.  Something as simple as ‘New Stuff’ does technically describe what’s in the email!

Elements of a great subject line include:

  • Curiosity – Make them so curious that they have to open the email to find out the rest of the story.  (ie. Bad News)
  • Contradiction – Contradict something that is normally held to be true (ie. SEO is dead!)
  • Specificity – Specifics help make the subject line more real (ie. THIS is 62% more optins!)
  • Personal Touch – Make them feel like the email is from a friend… not from a business marketing to them.  (ie. Hey!)
  • Instant Usability – Make them feel there is something for them they can instantly use to get a desired result (ie. PDF Download Inside!)

I tend to be along the ‘Instant Usability’ spectrum, but that’s just me :0)

engaging-subject-lines1-300x251Here are some of the best ones we’ve tested:

  • Help!
  • FYI
  • Free Upgrade
  • Hey!
  • email me
  • call me asap
  • IMPORTANT (open this)
  • new blog post

Did you think this was going to be complicated?  It really isn’t!

Nothing really beats good split testing. In most email marketing platforms, you can split test subject lines so you can really nail down which ones get opened and which ones don’t.  

The more people that open the email and read it, the more clicks you’ll get.  The more clicks, the more income!

Step Two: Email Copy

man-writing_1_lgWriting email copy is pretty easy, especially when you’ve got a great subject line.

The most obvious thing is to talk more about the subject of the email, explaining it and fulfilling on the promise of what will happen when someone opens to email up.  That’s Goal #1.

Goal #2 is to get them to take action.  You want them to click something in your email.  That’s the whole reason for sending an email to them in the first place right?!

In almost every email, you want your prospect to take an action, which is usually clicking on a link.

Keep in mind, there’s a person reading this email.  Too often, when an email marketer knows that there are 70,000 prospects reading their emails, they forget to write for one person.  They think that if they blast out an image or a banner, they’ll get results.  They don’t.

The key to email copy is to be relatable.  To tell stories.  To treat their email like it’s written to their best friend.  It shouldn’t be written any different than if it was an email to a good friend that you haven’t talked to in six months.

It’s totally your preference if you write long copy or want to write short copy. Short copy tends to get more clicks, but those clicks are less qualified.  Long copy tends to get fewer clicks, but the clicks are highly qualified (they read your whole email!).

Step Three: Maximizing Email Links

WebSearch_link_BuildingNow for the link you include in your email…  

Linking Text

The subject line is the reason that somebody opened up your email.  It makes sense to use the same text as your link.

For example, if your subject line is ‘7 Fat Burning Foods,’ use it as the link in your email, taking prospects to watch the sales video!

Narrow Email Copy

Another little trick is that you don’t ever have a line that is any more than 45 or 50 characters. Once the line gets to 45 or 50 characters you hold ‘shift’ and ‘enter’ and you just space the new line down.

It’s just a single space, but that keeps people reading down the screen, no different than why a newspaper has multiple columns. It’s really easy to just scan a newspaper and your email should be the same thing.

Batch Your Writing

Trade-show-exhibiting-tasksAnother tip is to batch copy when writing auto responders. It helps you consciously open and close loops, sometimes between three or four emails.

Basically you start telling a story or you raise some sort of an objection in the first email, and then leave it open for a while.  You don’t answer that objection or finish that story until three or four emails later. This process opens a ‘hook’ in the readers brain and they have to close it by continuing your emails!

The important thing is that you’re writing all of them in one stream of consciousness, so you’re not getting up and moving around and constantly being interrupted. You write your emails  while you’re in the same train of thought and you keep a consistent flow in your dialogue from email to email.

This ensures that you are very consistent in your speech patterns, the way you’re talking and in the stories you’re telling because you’re doing it all in one sitting.

Bonding Emails

Another important thing to realize is that not every email has to be about selling.  We call them bonding emails internally.

I personally like to do three or four bonding emails as soon as somebody signs up for my list. The bonding sequences contain little promotional stuff, just a little bit, but establish a good common ground between the reader and I.

Lately, they’ve all been about bonding because we haven’t sold anything inside the marketing niche, but other niches are a different story.

Writing An Email Autoresponder

Arrows and blocksThe way we structure email autoresponders is pretty formulaic in the niches we work in.  Here’s our system:

  • Day 1 – I send out like a bonding email with a link to the thank you page of the page that they just signed up on.
  • Day 2 through Day 5 – send an email that is bonding and light promotion; stories, experiences, etc. Then in the PS or towards the bottom of the email, there might be a link that gives them more information or links them to a sales video.
  • Day 6 through Day 8 – heavier promotions for that original product that they’ve signed up for. These are more sales oriented emails where you’re trying to get them to buy.
  • Day 9 and Day 10 – no emails.
  • Day 11 through Day 13 – I promote a different product or an affiliate offer.
  • Day 14 through Day 17 – no emails.
  • Day 18 through Day 20 – I promote a different affiliate offer.

Basically, it goes three days on, three days off after that.

Generally I can get through four or five different affiliate promotion sequences and then a lot of people unsubscribe (they weren’t meant to be on the list anyway!)

Fixing Up The Autoresponder

fixing-problemsThe above is a general template we use for setting up an email autoresponder.  If we see that the 3rd offer is working better than the 2nd, we move it up in the sequence.  If we see that the first offer is sucking, we move it back!

In some cases, we’ll skip the bonding and move right to selling, especially when we’re paying for traffic right off the bat.  We test of course, but it’s important to make that ad spend back as soon as possible :0)

Typically, after they finish Day 20, they get moved into our general email list which gets sent broadcast emails exclusively.  The folks who are still there and active will be getting all the new stuff that’s sent out!

Up Next…

Now that you’ve got email copy behind you, we’re going to talk about lead generation strategies that you can use to get people to sign up for your list!  Things like reports, software, free training and a ton of other stuff!

Then, the day after tomorrow, we’re going to get into traffic strategies so you’ll be driving traffic to your site and landing pages!  Boom!


Today, let’s talk about email copy.  What have you tried in the past?  Corporate style emails with your logo and branding?  Or normal, friendly emails with white backgrounds and plain text?  How have they worked for you?

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One Response to Day 25: Writing Email Copy

  1. This is very informative stuff. I needed advice on connecting with my subscribers and this will really help.

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