Sex, Lies & 19 Super Simple Hacks for Writing Better Emails

writing better emails

Congratulations, you’ve made it. Writing better emails is now within your grasp. You’ve found the ultimate list of quick and easy hacks to make writing emails easy and fun. And a lot more profitable as well.

Don’t believe me? I can’t blame you. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably fallen for the lies. Perhaps you believe that writing ability is a “talent” that you’re born with. Perhaps you believe that writing blocks are a sign that you “have nothing to write about”. You might even believe that becoming a good writer takes a lot of work.

All you have to do to prove those things wrong is start applying the easy-to-implement hacks on this page. Heck, if you just apply the first few, you’ll find that you can start busting all of those myths starting today.

1) Use questions as inspiration

Your subscribers have questions. That’s why they’ve subscribed to your newsletter. They need answers. One of the best writer hacks is to start from the question that you’re trying to answer.

You can keep track of questions people have actually asked you directly. Or you can do market research to find what your type of customer is seeking an answer for.

writing better emails

Now obviously, this is for your value-giving emails, which should be the bulk of what you write. But even when it comes to a promotional or sales email, you still want to consider questions that might arise as the person considers your offer. Then answer those questions in the email itself.

2) Repurpose or start from other content

Anything you ever write in your business is “content”. When you answer a customer’s support questions – that’s content. When you respond to a comment on social media, that’s content.

If you have this mindset, you’ll find that you generate a lot more content than you realize. And if it helps, it might be a good idea to run a collection where you store such content.

  • Any time you answer a customer question in an email, place your answer in that collection
  • If you have a Skype meeting with staff, you can copy your main conclusions to this collection
  • Whenever you add content to your knowledge base, consider that this is content that can be recycled
  • And if you ever answer a comment on social media, guess what, this is content as well

These are just 4 completely random examples just to give you an idea. The point is – you produce “content” in your business operations all the time, you just don’t realize it.

You can store much of this random content in your “content collection”. It’s extremely easy to then just refer back to this collection any time you need inspiration or a starting point to produce email content.

3) Quickly scan source material

This is a fun trick, and you won’t believe it works, but it sure does. Whenever you feel stuck about “what to write”, simply google the subject. Open about 5-6 of the results, and simply skim and scan the content. Perhaps slow down where you see special points such as bullet items, bolded text and headings.

No need to give these half-a-dozen articles a full read. Just get a “feel” for the content and some of the general points that they make. What you will find is that these will come in handy when you write your own email on the subject.

You will find it much easier to write the email and won’t find yourself stumbling around or getting blocked as much. Especially if you apply the next hack on this list.

4) Time-limit your first draft

Do you find writing easy? Probably not. Do you know why professional writers find it easy to write for a living? Hint, it’s not experience or talent.

The main trick that professional writers use is to just write, without thinking about it. But wait, doesn’t that produce “less-than-ideal writing”? Yes, it does. And that’s ok because the first draft isn’t meant to be ideal. That’s what reviews are for, but more on that later.

writing better emails

For now, just consider trying this hack. If you’re not used to just letting go when you write, use a timer. Limit yourself to just 20-30 minutes for writing the email. You have to let go and not care about typoes, whether you’ve structured the sentences perfectly etc. Just write for 20-30 minutes, just type. Give it a try and you’ll find that your quick drafts aren’t as bad as you think.

5) Get into a mentor mindset

It helps if you imagine that this is like a little brother or a novice that you want to help out. I’m pretty sure you’ve had situations like that before. You meet someone who’s new at something that you’re passionate about. You feel like you just have to tell them all the main things you’ve learned.

Put yourself into that mindset and write the email from that perspective. If you combine this with the quick-and-time-limited draft hack, you’ll find your drafts result in some pretty cool emails.

6) Make your purpose clear from the first paragraph

This is a great hack as it allows you to get clear about your goals as a writer. What you do is that you put most of your focus in writing that first paragraph.

You want the reader to get two things from the first paragraph. They need to get the gist of the email. But they also need to understand why it benefits them to read the rest of the email in detail.

The way it works is that your subject line gets people to read the first paragraph. And that first paragraph gets people to keep reading.

writing better emails

When you invest the effort to craft the first paragraph like this, you’ll find other benefits as well. You’ll find it puts your mind in the right track as you write the rest of the email.

Note: If you find that this clashes with the previous hack about “writing quickly without thinking too much”, that’s fine. You can take your time to craft the first paragraph and then finish the rest of the emails in “quick draft mode.

Or, if the first paragraph gets you into writer’s block, just forget about its “importance”, it’s ok. Do that quick drafted email without thinking about it, then go back and add the first paragraph later.

7) Add more detail as the email goes on

If you’re using the previous hack, you’ll start off the email with fewer details. The first paragraph either teases people with the benefits they’ll gain for continued reading, or it will give a nice summary. It won’t, however, contain all the juicy details that come as a reward for reading the rest of the article.

And I put that “juicy details” bit in the previous sentence as an extra hint. That’s the mindset you want to adopt as the writer. The details that follow in the email aren’t a “chore” like when you study for school. You want to see these details as the secret cool bits that make all the difference. And you can’t wait to share them with the reader.

8) Focus on the benefits and value

This is an old trick in marketing, and quite foundational at that. Whenever you are communicating with a customer, you want to imagine you’re the customer and think “What’s in it for me”. All customers are always thinking about this. Every time they read one of your emails, their main question is “ok, but what do I get out of this”.

If you understand this core truth, you will be able to write much better email content. All it takes is having this in the back of your mind whenever you write anything. This will allow you to more naturally write in a way that captures their interest.

9) Consider their specific interests

Let’s say that this is an add-on to the previous hack. Aside from having a general focus on imaging you’re the reader and asking “what’s in it for me”. You can also go ahead and get more specific about what your readers are interested in specifically. And then also keep that in mind as you are writing.

Hint – this is especially helpful when you write different content for different subscriber segments. And to be fair, if you want to be effective in email marketing, you have to also eventually become good at segmenting your audience.

The best way to do so these days is through automation. So read our guide on converting subscribers using email automation. Aside from learning more about segmentation, you will also learn most everything you need to maximize email marketing profits.

10) Try to make the email actionable

As you’re writing the email, you always want to have your marketing goals in the back of your head. Every email should get some actionable response out of the reader. Getting them to read the email is only your first step.

The next step is to make sure that the email gets them to perform an action of some sort. It might be clicking a link to read more about the subject on your blog, it might be to encourage them to reply. A lot of people assume that you only ask people for action when you send a sales email. That’s the wrong way to think about it.

You want to get your readers accustomed to following your instructions and clicking on things. Aside from training to act, it also helps with automatically segmenting them based on these actions. But more of that in our guide on converting subscribers using email automation.

11) Imagine the reader’s issues with your content, then resolve them

Yes, one more thing to consider in “the back of your mind” as you’re writing. As you’re writing (and reviewing) your sentences, imagine you are the reader. Imagine the objections or questions they might have as they read that sentence. Then write another sentence to resolve those questions, objections or issues.

For example, you write a piece of advice like “It’s best if you do xyz”. Then you realize someone might say “but should I do xyz even if situation B?”. Then you write the next sentence where you clarify. You say something like “However, in situation B, you might not want to do xyz”.

writing better emails

Or perhaps you write a sentence explaining how to do something and realize the reader might be confused by the example. You then go ahead and acknowledge their confusion, and clarify the point.

These are just some simple examples to help you understand how this idea works. There are literally hundreds of situations where you might realize your sentence isn’t ideal for the reader. And there are many things you can do in response.

Let’s, however, keep this hack simple. Simply imagine what questions a reader might have. Consider what sentences might confuse or irritate the reader, then deal with that. You might restructure your original sentence, write some more sentences to clarify, or even link to another blog post or product.

12) Think of your subscribers as people

Some people might consider this one a bit condescending. This isn’t to imply that you don’t see them as humans. It’s more about getting more personal and adopting a more individualized view.

You will often see novice marketers referring to subscribers as “you guys”. This is a dead giveaway that they are talking to “a list”, instead of adopting the “talking to a person” mindset.

Put yourself in the mindset that you’re writing an email to an individual person. Visualize them in your mind if you have to. Or at the very least have a subscriber avatar in the back of your mind.

13) Avoid the passive voice

This is probably the most common mistake we see in writing. The passive voice is the “most effective way” to make sure you come across as cold and impersonal. And we all do it without realizing as it’s ingrained from school and academic-style writing.

The truth is this one won’t be easy to eliminate “as you are writing”. You will probably have to review your emails after they’re done and remove passive voice after-the-fact. After you do this enough times, you might find it possible to think about “avoiding it”. That is, you can catch yourself “as you’re writing” and avoid even making that sentence.

14) Draft, review, edit, write some more, review

As you know from a previous hack, the best way to remove the writer’s block is to speed through the first draft.

Add to this the understanding that you will do reviews and edits. This will allow your creativity to flow even more. You will find it easier to allow yourself to “make mistakes” and write “imperfectly”.

writing better emails

It really helps when you know that you will do as many revisions as needed until it looks decent. And as ironic as it sounds, doing a quick draft and 20 quick revisions will produce better content, much faster.

That is – even a “crazy number” like “20 revisions” takes less time than writing everything in one go. If you “stop and think” as you write, you’re killing both your productivity and speed.

15) Write and review on different days

Speaking of reviewing things, it’s ideal if you do it on a different day than the original writing. If you do multiple passes, you might even spread the work across multiple days.

Just for illustration sake – let’s say that you have 120 minutes to invest in this email. If you do all the work in one long 2-hour stretch, that will produce subpar results. If however (for example) you spread the work across 6 days, doing 20 minutes on each day, you’ll find you produce much better results.

Now obviously that example is just for the sake of illustration and you might find it impractical. However, doing a quick 30-minute draft, then a quick revision then next day, and another quick revision the day after, produces better results than if you spent 4 hours trying to do it all in one day.

This is because you often have to “sleep on it” and come back to your work. If you do this you’ll find that you come up with much better ideas about how to improve what you’ve written.

16) Challenge yourself: make everything more concise

As you review your email, with every sentence ask yourself “can I explain this in fewer words”. Consider if you can “dumb things down”. As weird as that sounds, it’s actually a good thing. If a 10-year-old can easily understand your sentences, you’re doing a good job. If an adult requires undivided attention to understand what you mean, you’re not doing a good job.

This is for the simple reason that people don’t read our content in the context of taking an exam. They’re distracted and multitasking. The easier it is to get what you are saying, the more money you will make – it’s that simple.

17) Not everything has to be a sentence

While we’re on the topic of simplifying things, remember that people skim your content. We all wish people actually read every word that we write. Unfortunately, that’s just a fantasy. People want things that are “easy to read” and “skim through”. So structure and format your content to make it more easily digestible.

writing better emails

Try to break up your content in visually separate sections. You can do so using subheadings and separator lines. Anytime you can communicate things in the form of bullet items, do so. Where appropriate, throw in a bit of text formatting for emphasis.

All of this increases “readability”. This means that people will read more of your emails. That, in turn, will increase both your email reputation and overall sales.

18) Utilize writing software

This kind of software has come a long way. Nowadays free online software checks your writing in real-time. It even suggests improvements in real-time. This includes recommendations on tone, detecting passive voice and suggestions on simplifying sentences.

Depending on your preferences, you might find it useful to write in software like this. Or you might use it for reviewing and proofreading processes. Whatever the case, it’s always useful to at least give it a go. Some of your choices include Readable, Hemingway, ProWritingAid, SlickWrite and Grammarly.

19) P.S before you send the email, you might want to do this one last thing

You might want to add a P.S section at the end of your email. It’s not a coincidence that so many marketers end sales letters and emails with the P.S trick. That’s because it is the single most-read part of any content.

It’s kind of like Apple’s “one more thing”, but applicable to anything you ever write about. People just feel they “have to” read that P.S – it’s almost irresistible.

So be sure to do something like the introduction paragraph but in reverse. Put in the most important detail in there. This is the one thing you want people to know about even if they just skim the rest of the email.

P.P.S – Make sure your email provider doesn’t suck (it’s easy to get fooled)

It doesn’t matter how good you get at crafting emails if they never reach your subscribers. I hear you say “oh, but I use this fancy email platform, so I’m good”.

I have some bad news for you. Unless your platform goes out of their way to prioritize email deliverability, they probably suck at it. Yes, that includes even the “famous” big names in email marketing.

I know this sounds weird, but most of them don’t actually care if your email reaches the inbox. They spend most of their effort crafting ever more “bells and whistles” features. These appeal to novice marketers, as that’s where most of their profit comes from.

But most of your profit as an email marketer comes from doing the basics well

And having great email deliverability multiplies your returns. But the odds are that your delivery is pretty bad.

Unless your email platform goes out of their way to talk about this subject, I can assure you that your deliverability is taking a beating.

If your provider spends the bulk of their effort talking about all the “cool” things their software does, you know that they are not in the business of email delivery.

This is the main reason that big email marketers with huge lists are moving to Emercury every day. They realize that deliverability is the biggest profit multiplier.

The good news is you don’t have to wait until you’re an experienced veteran to make the right choice. You can get the same high-quality service and delivery rates starting today.

In fact, for a limited time, we’re offering a crazy “forever-free” plan that includes almost all of our pro features. It has very few limitations. Go grab your username here before we change our mind.

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