4 Proven Steps To Writing High-Converting Marketing Emails

Getting a better conversion rate from your outbound marketing emails is all about creating a unique personal tone, and providing real value to your readers. If you're a veteran or just starting, this guide will help you write better performing emails.

We work really hard to collect emails and build our email lists. An email list allows you to have a direct link to your customers, which can be used to share valuable resources, helpful information, and of course sales messaging. In 2020, email marketing is still the most affordable and most effective way to engage with our audiences.

Email marketing is best summarized in 3 Goals.

3 Major Goals of Sending Inbound Marketing Emails

  • Goal 1: Open the email
  • Goal 2: Read the email
  • Goal 3: Follow the Call to action (CTA)

No matter how great (or well designed) the inside of your email is, if you don't write a compelling subject line that gets results - you wont have many readers.

Getting someone to open your email is Step #1 on the list of email goals for a reason.

Whether you're a "copywriting / email-sending / high-converting email ninja" - or just getting started sending inbound marketing emails, today's guide will share some great information guaranteed to make an impact the next time you push "send".

Subject line

1.) Spend more time on your subject line

0.2 seconds.

That's how long our brains take to decide if they are interested in reading the contents of an email.

Did you just catch that?

When the average person decides if they want to spend time reading the email that took us four hours to write, they spend less than one second deciding! As you can see, it's very important to make sure we're writing amazing headlines.

Tips for writing great subject lines

Write like a normal person

These days, people's inboxes are inundated with a massive amount of daily email.

We need to figure out a way to get through a person's "spam" filter and get them to read our email. And the easiest way to do that is to sound like a real person - not a company.

Do you ever write your friends emails that have a headline like this?


I'm going to assume your answer is no. :)

Write subject lines that sound real because they are real.

If you're delivering value, telling someone how to get it should be a piece of cake.

PRO TIP: Write at least 5 different subject lines for every email you send. Pick the 2 variations you like best and split-test them for Open Rate. Keep the winner in your campaign.

Use questions instead of statements

There is an interesting effect that takes place when someone reads a question vs a statement. The subsconscious effect is that they immediately answer the question in their own head.

Let's try it out:

  • Is your mailbox blue?

Whether you wanted to or not, I'm betting you just thought about the color of your mailbox.

Answering a question involves absorbing the content presented, and coming to a conclusion.

So how can we use that to our advantage?

This is the coolest part about this phenomemnon.

Questions make people curious about answers. Next time you're writing a subject line, try writing it in the form of a question.

Creating a spark of curiosity might be just enough to push someone over the edge to click and read your email.

People like people not companies

Being an anonymous voice in an email automatically puts you at risk of getting filed away in a spam folder. Consumers are much more likely to engage with a real person than a company.

They way they see it:

  • 🙋 People have emotions and understand me,
  • 🙅 Companies make money and are trying to sell to me.

If you're guilty of sending "company" emails, it's time to experiment! When setting up your next email campaign, consider the impact that having a face would have for your brand.

The face of a company doesn't necessarily have to be a higher up role like CEO or VP, what's more important is having someone who's personable and can express themselves well in writing. It's easy to engage with people you like.

Subject line examples

your website?

Personable and sparks curiosity. Lowercase may not be suitable for all industries. This has worked surprisingly effectively in person to person sales emails.

Need help with your seo?

  • Offers value right off the bat in the form of a question.

Conversion tips you might like... [Free Ebook Guide]

  • Explains the contents of the email, and the value included.

Call this week?

  • Personal and in the form of a short question. Very likely to be read.

Valuable email message

2.) Valuable emails make valuable clients

One important thing to remember when sending mass emails to your list, is that you are sending emails to REAL people.

We cannot afford to waste our customer's time with shenanigans.

We need to provide massive value every single time they open one of our emails. One too many click-bait disguised sales pitches could ruin the trust we've worked to build with our audience.

And even more important to note: while you and I both know our businesses might provide a great product or service to our customers, it's important to remember that we are not held in the same esteem as a company like Nike or Apple.

So don't market like them.

While text based emails may take a little bit of effort, thought, and copywriting know-how, their results when done properly are monumental in comparison to image based "click me" emails.

Avoid these templates like the plague if you're using MailChimp or another provider. Instead, opt for a simple text based template with simple blue links.

In my experience sending millions (sounds like a lot, really not too crazy) of emails to a list of 80-100k people, I've observed that all good emails share a few things.

The most effective emails have:

  • An effective headline
  • A short message
  • A text based template
  • A clear and concise call to action

Want to know something funny?

I never used to send emails like that!

When I first started marketing online, being a designer-first marketer I was obsessed with making gorgeous emails with a ton of pictures and stylized content. These emails would take me 3+ hours to complete. But boy, did they look great.

You know how many people clicked those emails?

Less than 1%.

Don't be like me.

Write short compelling emails that get read.

Call to action

3.) Guide users with a single call-to-action

Perhaps one of the biggest overlooked steps in email marketing is this.

Your call to action must provide simple and short directions to help someone get what they want. Otherwise, what's the incentive to click?

Oftentimes we are tempted to add multiple goals into a single email.

Usually the internal conversation will go something like this:


BOSS: We need to get more leads.

ME: Ok, should we send out the new blog post?

BOSS: Yes, let's do it.

ME: Ok, sweet sending it out!

BOSS: Let's also include a link to the new feature?

BOSS: Let's also include a link to the new homepage?

BOSS: Let's also include a link to our Facebook?

BOSS: Let's also ask them to follow our new YouTube channel?

ME: 🥵

Do you see where this is going?

Before you know it, the email you're writing is trying to save the entire company from going under! That's WAY too much pressure to have when trying to write.

If an email has more than one focus, the entire effectiveness of the email becomes dilluted. The best approach is to stick to one focused call to action per email. The entire email (the subject, the body) should be focused on getting people to click the call to action.

After the user clicks your call to action, they should either visit a resource, a landing page, or a payment form page.

Learn more about optimizing your checkout form conversion.

Tips for a great email call to action

Let's assume for an example, that we're trying to get someone to download our new marketing ebook. This will help our sales team know if someone is interested in a specific topic.

  • Give a clear value proposition. Example: [Click Here To Get The Free Guide!]
  • Make it fun and personable. Example: [Give Me My FREE Guide!]
  • Make it the answer they've been looking for. Example: [Fix My Broken SEO Now!]
  • Just like headlines, write 5 variations and pick a winner
  • Advanced: Take your 2 favorite varitations and run a split test. Keep the winner.

For more reading about creating the perfect call to action, check out Neil Patel's blog, who is one of the best thought leaders in online marketing today.

Subject line

4.) Send proven content that performs

The best way to send content that performs?

Exclusively send proven content.

The easiest way I've found to make this happen is to have two separate campaigns set up.

Set up two campaigns

  • NEW: One for new people entering your prewritten funnel
  • OLD: One for people leaving your prewritten funnel

This setup allows you to send proven (juicy) content to people just getting to know your brand, while also managing the subscribers who have been with you the longest.

The people in the OLD campaign are your oldest subscribers and will probably account for more than 75% of your total subscribers.

This group is great for testing new content as you know they already know and love you, and won't be so critical about having their time wasted. An occasional slow episode of your favorite show is ok, a slow premiere to a series is absolutely not.

Here's the strategy

  • Send any new emails to your OLD list
  • Review the analytics/split-testing to see if it meets standards.
  • If the email has good metrics and isn't seasonal, add it to your NEW campaign

Following the steps above, you'll have a solid funnel with pretty good content overall.

You'll have plenty of fresh content cycling into your funnels, and overtime will gradually have better and better content.

My favorite thing I like about this approach is that it allows you to focus on creating great content, which makes it easy to sprinkle in sales messaging as you go.

When it comes to choosing a marketing email provider, I tend to use ActiveCampaign as I find their split testing and campaign building to be the most consistent and easiest. The important thing is to find an email provider that works for you.


While email marketing can be a little scary and overwhelming when first starting out, it is undoubtedly one of the most valuable skills you can learn. If you're not already collecting emails through your website, I'd reccomend getting started sooner than later.

📚 TLDR - Summary

  • Spend time crafting amazing subject lines, we need people to read our emails!
  • Write a valuable email that's personable and worth reading.
  • Write ONE clear and concise call to action per email (stay focused!).
  • Send out as much proven content as possible, better content makes more engaged readers.

Thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this post or have any questions, be sure to write a comment down below. Have any special tips you'd like to share with the SecuraCart community? We'd love to hear!

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