- Mastering how to write emails as a conversion copywriter means following the simple 3-part process.
- Conversion copywriters use Voice of Customer (VOC) data and frameworks so they never have to stare at the blank page for more than a second.
- Email is a highly effective revenue-generating machine. So, make writing professional emails a non-negotiable skill to master.
You’re obsessing over how to write effective emails that not only grab attention but also convert. You’re certainly not alone in this.
Many people sit down at the screen and just start typing when they need to write an email, only to find that what they’ve written doesn’t quite hit the mark. Or get the yes. And this often leads to a surge of self-doubt and feeling like you’re not a good enough copywriter.
Let me assure you:
You aren’t the problem. You just need a process.
Sitting down to a blank screen without a plan is like heading into a battle without a strategy. It’s bound to have you retreating sooner than you anticipated.
So if you’re a new copywriter, take this crucial insight to heart: Instead of just sitting down and starting to type, do what conversion copywriters do, follow a simple three-part process.
The conversion copywriting process gets words on the page that actually hit that sweet spot between audience engagement and conversions.
Think of the 3-stage conversion copywriting process as your blueprint, a roadmap guiding you on how to craft marketing emails that don’t just sound good but perform even better.
In the world of email marketing, this process is your best friend, trusty guide and the golden key to unlocking the potential of every email you send out.
Now let’s break it down one stage at a time. (And remember, you’ve got this!)
Stage 1: Always begin with Research & Discovery
To hit your email goals, you must start with research. In this initial stage, you dig deep into customer insights, crunching data to pinpoint precisely what resonates with your market segment.
You’re looking to answer two important questions before you write your email:
- What do you need to say?
- How should you say it?
And conversion copywriters get the answers to those questions via Voice of Customer (VOC) data.
Unlock the power of Voice of Customer (VOC) data
Let’s demystify what Voice of Customer (VOC) data really is. In its essence, VOC data is the collective insights and feedback gathered directly from your customers.
It’s their desires, pain points and words spoken straight from the heart. This isn’t just a pool of comments or a thread of reviews. It’s firsthand knowledge that tells you exactly what your audience thinks and feels about your product or service.
Now, why is VOC data the crown jewel in the kingdom of conversion copywriting?
Simple. It serves as your roadmap, guiding you to craft emails that resonate on a personal, visceral level with your audience.
Instead of playing a guessing game, VOC data empowers you with the exact words, phrases and expressions that your customers use, allowing you to mirror their language and create a deeper connection.
It’s about bridging the gap between what you want to say and what your audience wants to hear (and how they want to hear it).
How does a conversion copywriter gather this goldmine of data?
Surveys and interviews are powerful tools where customers can voice their opinions candidly. But don’t just stop there.
Dive into social media conversations, explore product reviews, and analyze customer feedback and customer questions through various channels to gather a rich and diverse set of VOC data.
And definitely keep an eye on unsolicited feedback – the comments that customers leave without any prompt because these spontaneous remarks often hold the key to genuine insights.
By immersing yourself in the world of your customers (prospective customers, current customers and former customers), adopting their language, and understanding their needs, you become not just a copywriter but a trusted friend offering solutions that genuinely resonate.
So, carry VOC data as your compass. Let it guide you to create email messages that capture attention, win hearts and foster loyalty.
For a deep dive into research techniques, check out the 7 copywriting research techniques conversion copywriters love here.
Rule of Thumb: Let curiosity guide you
During the Research and Discovery stage, adopting a scientist’s curiosity is key. Dive deep into the mindset of your potential readers, whether they’re quickly scrolling through Facebook at work or attentively reading your email.
This curiosity forms the basis of your research questions, directly influencing the effectiveness of your copy. Remember, the answers to these questions are found in the VOC data.
VOC will serve as your blueprint for crafting compelling emails that genuinely resonate with your audience.
Understand List, Offer, Copy
In the realm of conversion copywriting, the mantra “list, offer, copy” isn’t just a saying – it’s the foundation of every successful project. To create compelling and persuasive copy, it’s crucial to start with a clear understanding of these three elements.
First, identify your “list,” which refers to the prospects you’re addressing in your copy. This might be your website traffic, customers, subscribers or even a single individual in a one-to-one cold email.
You must know your audience first. Their needs and preferences form the bedrock of a successful campaign, often leading to better conversion rates.
Next, concentrate on the “offer,” which is essentially the value proposition you’re presenting to your list. The offer should reflect the goal of your email. Put simply, why are you sending this email?
(BTW, this is a good time to determine whether you’re writing a “transactional email” or a “broadcast email.” And if you’re not sure of the difference, check out this explanation from Joanna Wiebe.)
Delve deep into the specifics of your product or service, understanding every facet, from its features to its development story. Equally important is crafting a compelling promise, which might encompass guarantees or other value-added propositions.
A strategic and well-optimized promise can have a huge impact on your position in the market, sometimes even outshining larger competitors with similar products.
Finally, you arrive at the “copy” stage, where your preparation pays off. Armed with detailed insights from your VOC data, the crafting of persuasive copy becomes a smoother and more fruitful process. Remember, your copy should be intricately woven with insights from both the list and the offer stages, creating a narrative that resonates deeply with your audience and nudges them toward action.
So, before you dive into writing, conversion copywriters give their due diligence to the vital pre-writing steps of understanding your list and crafting a resonating offer, setting the stage for copy that not only engages but converts.
Optimize your offer
Offer optimization is critical in addressing the objections that keep leads from saying yes. It’s essentially about tailoring your offer to address potential objections and boost the conversion rate.
For example, in the world of team software sales, a common objection is the prospective user’s worry about the hassle of transitioning their entire team to a new system. Tweaking the offer to include a complimentary one-hour team onboarding consultation could dissolve these concerns and have a positive impact on conversions.
Voice of Customer (VOC) data can help pinpoint objections and identify the best ways to address (and overcome) those objections.
And please keep in mind: Offer optimization isn’t just about offering a discounted price.
It’s about enhancing the perceived value by highlighting the benefits more prominently and incorporating add-ons that accentuate the offer’s worth, nudging the prospect towards a positive decision.
So, if your current copy isn’t achieving the desired impact, it might be wise to reassess and optimize the offer instead of tweaking the copy.
If the idea of optimizing the offer overwhelms you, check out this tutorial from Joanna Wiebe.
Identify your reader’s stage of awareness
Before you craft your email, understanding your reader’s current stage of awareness is crucial. These stages form a spectrum that depicts a prospect’s readiness to become a paying customer, influencing both the length and structure of your copy.
The stages of awareness are:
- Unaware: The individual has no current interest or awareness regarding how your offer can benefit them.
- Problem-Aware: The prospect recognizes a problem or pain point that they are experiencing.
- Solution-Aware: At this point, the prospect is actively seeking solutions, exploring various alternatives to address their identified problem.
- Product-Aware: The individual has identified potential solutions and is considering specific products or brands as a viable solution.
- Most Aware: Here, the prospect is fully aware of your product and just needs a final nudge, usually in the form of a compelling offer, to make a purchase.
Your email copy should move the reader from their current stage to the ‘most aware’ stage, directing them through the crucial copy that resonates with their present awareness level.
For instance, an email in an onboarding sequence might focus on transitioning readers from being product-aware to becoming most aware, nudging them closer to a purchase decision.
Knowing your reader’s awareness stage helps frame your entire message and determine the appropriate length for your copy to successfully move them to the desired stage of awareness. And that increases the likelihood of getting the conversion.
Nail your lead and pick a copywriting framework
Before starting to write, the conversion copywriter brainstorms different hooks (or leads) that match the reader’s stage of awareness. Once they find the hook that seems to connect best with the reader, they choose a copywriting framework for the entire email.
One popular copywriting framework is the PAS (Problem, Agitation, Solution) framework, which addresses the reader’s concerns. It begins with identifying a problem, intensifying it to evoke a response from the reader and then proposing your offer as the solution, encouraging decisive action.
Effective use of the PAS framework goes beyond its structured format. It requires a deep understanding of the reader’s initial awareness of the offer and the integration of Voice of Customer (VOC) data for customized content.
For example, imagine crafting an email campaign for CloudNest, a fictional SaaS company focused on cloud storage solutions.
Utilizing the PAS framework, you start by highlighting a prevalent issue many face: inadequate storage space leading to data loss or slowdowns (Problem).
Next, you amplify the problem, illustrating the potential loss of valuable data or work disruptions, ramping up the reader’s urgency to find a solution (Agitation).
Finally, you introduce CloudNest’s robust and reliable storage solutions, positioning it as the perfect solution that ensures data safety and seamless access, encouraging them to take advantage of the current promotion on premium subscriptions (Solution).
Combining an effective hook with a copywriting framework while considering the reader’s current awareness level and using the customer’s actual words (VOC data) streamlines the process of crafting compelling and conversion-driven email copy.
Plus, you quickly overcome the blank page. Here’s what that can look like:
Stage 2: Turn your outline into a data-driven draft. Then format and edit it
Knowing how to write emails unfolds as you turn a VOC-informed outline into a first draft that not only resonates with the reader but also motivates them to act.
In Stage 2, the goal is to craft an email that addresses where the customer is (Stage of Awareness) and swiftly leads them to the conversion path. Let’s dissect the process step by step:
1. Begin with the customer in mind
Remind yourself of where your prospect stands in the stages of awareness. (This should be reflected in your possible hooks/leads brainstorm.) Remember, your goal is to move them to the ‘most aware’ stage, guiding them through the vital copy that aligns with their current awareness level.
2. Write a goal-oriented Call-To-Action (CTA)
Yes, I want you to write the end (your CTA) first.
So, as your reader is getting to the end of your email, what do you want them to do next? Whatever that action is, communicate it with a clear and concise call to action (CTA).
Initially, focus on writing the central offer without being preoccupied with its persuasiveness. Your first draft is just that – a first draft. You’ll fine-tune it later. So focus on communicating a clear CTA for now.
For CloudNest – my fictitious SaaS company – my CTA will likely compel the reader to take advantage of the current promotion on premium subscriptions.
3. Craft a captivating subject line with VOC data
The subject line is the initial hook that captivates the reader’s attention in an email campaign.
It’s #1 job: Get the reader to open your email.
Since I’m using PAS for my CloudNest email, my subject line will address my reader’s problem. So, I’ll brainstorm possible subject lines that grab the attention of a reader who’s losing data because they don’t have enough storage.
So, go back to the hook and framework you decided on. Use the hook and framework to start writing possible subject lines. (Brainstorm at least 50 email subject line options.)
Seriously. #47 will be the winner.
Incorporate phrases or sentiments from the VOC data to create subject line options. Try emojis. Try no emojis. But write at least 50.
And because subject lines are critical to your email marketing, Copyhackers has a wealth of resources to help you nail ’em. Here are a few resources you should check out:
- Email subject lines: The rules + the ways to win
- Writing email subject lines to improve open rates
- Advanced Email Copywriting: How to Increase Email Open Rate
4. From raw VOC to engaging first-draft email body copy
Transforming the raw Voice of Customer data into clear and compelling email copy is both an art and a science. It involves crafting copy that resonates deeply with readers, addressing their specific needs and preferences.
Your objective is to preserve the natural essence and specificity of the VOC data, so you maintain a genuine connection with the audience. Through this approach, you can create a first draft that engages and speaks your customer’s language.
Lean on your outline. (Scroll back up to the PAS example above if you need a reminder) and turn that outline into the first draft of your email.
5. Make a smooth transition to the optimized offer
Now, steer the email body copy towards the optimized offer. Here, you can introduce incentives that align with the solution provided, creating a hard-to-resist offer for the reader. Make sure that your optimized offer transitions into your call to action (CTA).
6. Format and finalize the first draft
As your first draft takes shape, give it a structured appearance. Change the margins of your document so the actual email body copy looks similar to how it’ll appear in the reader’s inbox. Add any images or format styling. It’s like dressing up the copy, preparing it to present itself in the best possible light to the reader.
7. Editing in the Awesome
Now that your first draft is finished, it’s time to elevate it by editing in the awesome, the do-not-skip stage, where your email transforms from good to great. This phase is about fine-tuning your message to level up its persuasive powers.
At this stage, you’ll focus on two primary aspects: eliminating the unnecessary and… editing in the awesome.
Remove any phrases that hint at the prospect losing something or facing complications – this is part of the “depletion of assets” sweep. You’ll get rid of any messaging that may indicate a loss or hassle to the reader.
Read each line of your email and ask yourself: Does this bring the reader closer to a confident YES?
Swap out words that suggest loss or burden with those that convey improvement or ease. Help the reader visualize a better outcome with your offer.
This technique not only maintains the core of your message but enhances its impact, setting the stage for a powerful, conversion-ready email.
Stage 3: Validate your email writing and plan for experimentation
The Validation and Experimentation stage is critical to affirm your efforts and lay a solid foundation for future campaigns.
Test your email
What works for one segment of your audience might not resonate with another.
Creating A/B tests is more than a tactic. It’s about embracing a curiosity mindset. This method involves crafting two versions of an email – changing a variable like the subject line, the opening hook, or the call-to-action – and sending each version to a subset of your audience to see which performs better. It’s not about guessing; it’s about understanding and learning from real-time reactions to your copy.
But it doesn’t end with just A/B tests. Gathering feedback and making adjustments is an ongoing process. Encourage responses and open dialogue with your subscribers. Their feedback is invaluable in sculpting the present campaign and shaping future campaigns’ approach.
Every piece of criticism is a nugget of gold in the grand scheme of refining your email strategy.
Measure your results
Once your emails are out in the world, it’s time to switch gears to tracking email metrics. This goes beyond just the open rates or click-through rates. Delve deeper to understand patterns, behaviors and your audience’s nuanced responses toward different parts of your email.
You’re not just looking at numbers. You’re keeping a pulse on your email campaign’s heartbeat, a vivid narrative woven from your reader’s interactions and engagements.
Analyzing results and adjusting strategy comes next. This is where you sit down with the data and scrutinize what worked and what didn’t. But remember, it’s not about discarding what didn’t work outright. Sometimes, a slight tweak or a change in approach can turn a non-performing element into a winner.
It’s all about agility and being willing to adjust to your audience’s preferences.
Focus on continuous improvement
Learning never stops. There’s always an opportunity to learn something new in the world of email marketing. Each email and campaign is a source of information, an opportunity to understand your audience better and connect a little deeper.
Learning from past campaigns isn’t just about avoiding past mistakes; it’s about building on the successes and creating a culture of growth and learning within your marketing team (even if you’re a team of one).
Planning for future email campaigns should be seen as a dynamic blueprint, a living document that evolves with each campaign. Embrace the learnings, the insights, and the unexpected discoveries to fuel your future strategies. It’s about painting a larger picture, a vision that aligns with your brand’s evolution and your audience’s growing needs and expectations.
As you step forward, armed with a richer understanding and a refined strategy, remember that every email is an opportunity.
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