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Good Email Copy and Design—And How Bad Can Drag You Down

Updated: May 8, 2023
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If you’re reading this, chances are you already understand the importance of good email copy and design to your email marketing success. But if you find your email marketing isn’t yielding the results you want, sit down and take a deep breath before we tell you this—it’s probably not them, it’s you. Good email copy and design are the backbone of powerful email marketing, so when campaigns fail, chances are the problem is bad copy and design. 

Whether it’s poorly written subject lines, uninviting visuals, or lack of personalization, bad copy and design can significantly impact the outcome of any email marketing campaign. Join us as we explore some of the reasons why your email marketing may not be working the way you want… and how good email copy and design can fix them.

Common Email Marketing Problems

Weak subject lines

First impressions matter. The subject line of your email is the first thing your subscribers see. It needs to be compelling enough to get people to open your email. If the subject line is poorly written, your email will be lost among the vast number of emails that your readers receive daily. Take the time to craft a subject line that is compelling, engaging, and inviting.

Poor content 

The copywriting in your email should be well written, concise, and relevant. It should be engaging and reflect the tone of your brand. Remember, your list is probably not interested in lengthy paragraphs. Break up your copy into short paragraphs and use subheadings to make it easier to read.

Lack of personal touch

Personalization shows readers that you care about them as individuals. It almost always increases the chances of your list engaging with the content. You can personalize emails in various ways, such as using their name, location, or even past purchase history. This also helps to build trust, leading to increased loyalty and long-term relationships.

Bad design 

Writing alone isn’t enough. You need good email copy and design. Poorly designed emails won’t capture people’s attention—and won’t reflect positively on your brand. Color choice is key, as bland colors (or too many colors) can be distracting. Fancy fonts that are hard to read at a glance create difficulty for readers. No images can be a turn-off to readers, while too many images can affect loading time.

Awkward layout

The layout should be consistent across all your emails, making it easy for your subscribers to navigate. Frontload the most important information, so your subscribers don’t have to scroll down to find it. Remember that mobile devices account for a large portion of email opens. Make sure your emails are mobile-friendly and display correctly on different devices.

Solutions for Your Email Marketing Problems

These email marketing problems are common, so you shouldn’t feel alone. Now that you have an idea of what they might be, the next step is solving them. How can you swap bad copywriting and design for good email copy and design when you want to boost your marketing efforts?

Know your target audience

Effective email marketing begins with understanding who you’re talking to. Knowing their interests, pain points, and values gives you the background you need to craft an email that resonates with them. This involves doing market research, analyzing customer data, and creating buyer personas. Once you have a good understanding of your target audience, you can tailor your messaging to their specific needs.

Focus on benefits, not features

Show your readers all the great things about your product or service. Instead of merely listing the features, explain how your product or service can solve your readers’ problems or make their lives easier. This approach will make it easier for your audience to see the value of your offering and encourage them to take action.

Write clear and concise subject lines 

Good email copy and design starts in the reader’s inbox. Make subject lines immediately understandable and attention-grabbing to encourage recipients to open your email. You can use a number of techniques including—but not limited to—personalization, urgency, and curiosity to make your subject line more appealing.

Use a conversational tone

Email copywriting should sound like a conversation between two people. Use language that is easy to understand and keeps the recipient engaged. Avoid jargon or technical terms that your audience may not understand. Write in a tone that is friendly, approachable and relatable.

Include a clear call-to-action

The purpose of your email is to persuade your audience to take action. This could be to make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter, or visit your website. Whatever the action is, it needs to be clear and concise. Use language that is specific and actionable. For example, “sign up now” or “get your free trial.”

Optimize for SEO

Emails aren’t just meant to be read by humans. They’re also going to be read by search engines. Optimizing your email copy for SEO (search engine optimization) can improve the visibility of your emails in search results. Use relevant keywords in your subject lines, headlines, and body content. One word of warning: avoid “keyword stuffing”, as this can negatively affect your email deliverability.

Design visually appealing emails

Design your emails to be visually appealing and easy to read. Use complementary colors and clear, legible fonts. Use a few carefully-placed images and graphics to add interest to your emails, but don’t overload them. A message that looks good from a distance (or on a small screen) will always perform better than a bland or visually complicated message.

Ensure mobile friendliness

Mobile devices are responsible for a large portion of email opens. Ensure that your emails are mobile-friendly and that they display correctly on different devices. No matter where your recipients open your message, they should be able to see it well.

Get Great Results with Good Email Copy and Design

The problem of email marketing not working happens to everyone—but the good news is, there’s always a way to improve it with good email copy and design. Remember to put yourself in your subscriber’s shoes and create content that is relevant, easy to read, and engaging. By doing so, you will see an increase in open rates, click-through rates, and conversions. 


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