Your Ultimate Guide to Email Copywriting and Strategy [2023 Update]

Everything you need to know about becoming a high-earning email copywriter – from strategy and writing to analyzing results.

Want to acquire a skill that’s undeniably valuable to your clients? Learn email copywriting.

There are tons of different marketing methods that experts talk about and debate. But almost every single brand would agree on the importance of email.

Email marketing is a brand’s direct line to their customer base. It plays a key role in building a loyal audience, creating customer relationships, and driving sales of products or services.

This skill is more than just a tool to help your clients grow their brands. You can also leverage it to start building your personal brand and audience (if that interests you)!

If you’re ready to learn how your emails fit into the larger customer journey *and* how to write email copywriting that gets results – you’re in the right place.


I. Email Copywriting Fundamentals: Benefits and Strategy
II. Effective Email Copywriting Formula and Swipes
III. How to Write Email Subject Lines and Run A/B Split Tests
IV. How to Land High-Paying Email Copywriting Jobs



This email copywriting guide is more comprehensive than others because it covers more than how to write email copy alone. We’ll also dive into email marketing strategy to maximize the impact of each email you write.

I always teach my copywriting students method and strategy instead of simply giving templates like other copywriting education programs do.

Grasping the larger strategy makes your work more effective and positions you as an invaluable asset to your clients, even with the rise of AI tools like ChatGPT. You’re able to make informed recommendations that clients wouldn’t know to ask AI.

When you understand the why behind your copywriting, you’re able to set yourself apart, make work more effective, and become a trusted partner to your clients.

Learn How to Build a Lucrative Freelance Copywriting Career

Get my free copywriting masterclass that walks you through exactly how I went from zero to consistent five-figure months with copywriting – with no experience and no portfolio.

Gain instant access – right to your inbox – when you sign up below. 👇

We will never spam you or share your email with anyone. In addition to the guide you’ll also receive semi-regular email updates with tips, tools, offers and exclusive resources. All emails include an unsubscribe link, you may opt-out at any time. Read our Privacy Policy to see how your data is handled.

Email Copywriting Fundamentals: Benefits and Strategy

Email is one of the most effective platforms for driving conversions and fostering customer relationships, with a potential ROI of up to 4200%.1

People tend to compare email copywriting with other strategies like social media. But it’s important to understand that these channels serve different, yet complementary, purposes. Email doesn’t replace all other techniques, but it significantly enhances their effectiveness.

A guiding principle I like to use is, “All roads lead to email.” 

Regardless of the other methods used – paid Facebook ads, organic social media posts, or blog articles – each tactic should ultimately guide the user back to the email list.

Why? Because email is where you continue the conversation with the customer.

Without an email address, the interaction ends once the user clicks away. But if you secure their email, you can follow up, nurture the relationship, and ultimately encourage the audience to buy the brand’s offers over a long period.

Here are a few benefits of email marketing – and why it’s still so relevant in 2023:

  • Targeted Audience: Email marketing allows brands to segment their customers into different lists based on their preferences. You can send highly personalized and relevant content to your readers, which makes your email copywriting much more effective. (We’ll talk about when to do that later on.)

  • Cost-Effective: A brand would invest in software to send, automate, and track their emails. But compared to paid marketing efforts like social advertisements, email copywriting, and marketing is relatively affordable. You’re able to reach hundreds, and even thousands, of potential customers at your fingertips without paying extra.

  • Automated and Scheduled: There are many important sales emails that brands can automate. This means you write the emails once, which are then sent to customers automatically after specific actions. This saves the brand time while their marketing works on the backend.

  • Owned. Perhaps the biggest benefit of email is that the brand owns their email list. A brand’s reach is subject to changing algorithms and policies on other platforms like social media. With email marketing, you always have direct access to your audience.

Think about the brands who only build their audiences on third-party channels, like social media. What happens if that social platform drastically changes or even disappears overnight?

Maybe you remember when Facebook and Instagram randomly shut down for an entire day in 2021. This shocked many brands into realizing they could lose access to their customers if these platforms went away.

Growing a warm, engaged email list ensures that a brand has control over their marketing.

Understanding Email Marketing Strategy

Email marketing plays a key role in the customer journey. This is the decision-making process the buyer goes through before deciding to purchase from the brand. Emails meet the customer at each phase of the buying process and compel them to take the next step.

Understanding this larger customer journey and buying process allows you to recommend which emails to use and why. Emails are most effective when they build on each other toward the brand’s ultimate goals.

With that in mind, here’s an example of a common email marketing strategy and how it relates to the five steps of a sales funnel:

  1. Opt-In Incentive (Awareness)
    Goal: Incentivize the audience to opt into the list.

    The audience must voluntarily subscribe or ‘opt in’ to an email list. By offering an incentive such as exclusive content, a discount, free shipping, or a quiz, you can attract individuals genuinely interested in the brand.

    You’ve probably heard of a freebie before, a free piece of content you share in exchange for an email address. But you can test out many different opt-in incentives and see which performs best.

  1. Welcome Emails (Interest)
    Goal: Introduce the brand and segment new subscribers.

    When a user opts into the email list, this is their key point of interest in the brand. It’s a prime opportunity to introduce the brand’s offers, build a relationship with the audience, and segment them based on their interests.

    Pro tip: Welcome email sequences are critical, and many brands don’t have an effective one – or one at all. Sign up for a brand’s email list and audit their welcome emails. You can then pitch the brand on doing their welcome email sequence as a test project.


  2. Newsletters (Decision)
    Goal: Stay relevant and top of mind to the customers.

    The welcome sequence builds interest and excitement with the subscribers. Build on that interest by continuing to engage with them weekly through helpful, relevant newsletters and introduce offers. I find that one email per week is plenty to stay top of mind without burning out the audience.

    Regularly sending helpful emails is how the reader starts to subconsciously associate the brand as an expert on the subject. So when they’re ready to purchase an offer, they’re primed to favor this brand over others.

  1. Promotional Sales Emails (Action)
    Goal: Promote new products and launches.

    You’ve nurtured the audience and gotten their interest. Now you can send promotional emails when there are specific products and launches to sell. Sales emails tend to spotlight special offers, limited-time discounts, or exclusive products.

    The key to success with promotional sales emails is to strike a balance. Maintain a healthy mix of valuable content and promotional offers. This way, subscribers see promotional emails as exclusive opportunities rather than intrusive sales pitches.

  1. Post-Purchase (Loyalty and Retention)
    Goal: Enhance customer satisfaction and encourage repeat purchases.

    The primary role of these emails is to confirm the purchase and provide necessary details such as receipts, delivery estimates, and product usage tips. But they can serve an even greater purpose by helping build a stronger bond with the customer.

    You can thank them for their purchase, introduce them to social media platforms, invite them to join a loyalty program, or recommend other offers. Ensuring the customers feel valued and heard increases the likelihood of repeat purchases and loyalty.

The five emails above are a brief overview of the emails that fit into a customer journey. This is a very solid starting point to recommend to your email copywriting clients. Yet these are actually only a few of the many emails and email sequences a brand might need. 

There are many other emails – like abandoned cart sequences, onboarding emails, re-engagement sequences, feedback surveys, and more. And, of course, all these emails need effective email copywriting to drive the most impact for the brand.

If you LOVE writing emails, you genuinely could create an entire copywriting career on email marketing writing alone. That’s how important, extensive, and impactful email marketing is.

Many students in my copywriting education program, Write Your Way to Freedom, earn $5k a month or more offering email copywriting services. Their clients are more than happy to invest in their services because their emails earn the brands thousands of dollars per month.

Effective Email Copywriting Formula and Examples

Email strategy makes the big picture more impactful. But to see real results with email marketing, you need compelling email copywriting that gets opened and drives sales.

Many brands don’t know where to begin when it comes to building their list. Let alone how to write emails that are interesting, relevant, and click-worthy. That’s where you come in.

Here’s a breakdown of how to approach writing emails that stand out and make an impact.


Email Copywriting Formula (Body Copy)

The goal of your copywriting may differ depending on the type of email or sequence. But in general, the body copy has three primary sections: hook, offer, and call-to-action.

  1. Hook. The upfront section of your email is one of the most important because it convinces your reader to keep reading. Most people refer to this section as the hook that reels them in and piques their interest.

    One of the best tactics to use in your hook is storytelling. Paint a picture for your audience to cut through the distraction and get their attention. One effective method is to open up in the center of a story using phrases like, “There I was…”

    Storytelling is another way to set yourself apart from AI copywriting tools. I predict that with the rise of AI and cookie-cutter content, readers are going to crave human stories and personal connections more than ever. Being able to draw these stories out of your clients and communicate them in your marketing is a huge asset to them.


  2. Offer Introduction. Now that you’ve hooked the audience with an interesting story, quote, or question – it’s time to tie it all back to your offer. This transition, often called the bridge, is a critical point in your email marketing content.

    The bridge is how you shift from storytelling to promoting your product or service without disrupting the flow or feeling abrupt to the reader. It requires you to skillfully connect the dots between the initial hook and how your product or service provides a solution, benefits the customer, or enhances their life.

    Mastering the art of bridging the story with the offer is a niche skill that adds significant value to your clients. It makes the promotional content feel like a natural extension of the story instead of forcing in a sales message.

  1. Call-to-Action. The call-to-action (CTA) is crucial because your audience usually only takes action if you tell them exactly how to. Your CTA should state how the offer can guide your audience toward the desired outcome. You should also paint a picture of the benefits they can experience.

    For instance, if your audience is looking for ways to improve their fitness, your email content might describe the struggles of maintaining a regular exercise routine. The CTA then introduces your product – perhaps a user-friendly workout app. The app addresses these challenges and helps the user visualize a healthier, more active future.

    It’s important to include a direct CTA towards the end of your emails. But you could also add more subtle CTA’s throughout by hyperlinking relevant words with a link to the sales page or offer.

Wondering how to communicate your client’s stories? Create a Google doc in your client workspace called “weekly anecdotes.” Ask your clients to use this doc to jot down relevant stories that happen throughout the week.

That way, you have a bank of anecdotes that you can pull from when writing their emails. This makes the email copywriting you deliver more personal and relevant, showing you go the extra mile beyond what other copywriters provide.


Where to Find Email Copywriting Examples

My biggest recommendation is to create a swipe file in your email inbox. When you receive an email that catches your attention, save it to the file. That way, you have a bank of emails to emulate the next time you go to write (instead of staring at a blank page).

Check out Swiped.co, it’s a great cite for studying emails. Another source is Really Good Emails – but keep in mind they primarily highlight e-commerce emails that are heavier on images and lighter on text.

Want to get email copywriting examples from me? Enter your email in the form below to receive my weekly emails so you can study and emulate.

P.S. When you enroll in my email list, you’ll also get access to my free masterclass “How to Build a Lucrative Freelance Copywriting Career (with no experience).” You can take a peek at the masterclass if it interests you, or just stick around for my weekly emails.

Learn How to Build a Lucrative Freelance Copywriting Career

Get my free copywriting masterclass that walks you through exactly how I went from zero to consistent five-figure months with copywriting – with no experience and no portfolio.

Gain instant access – right to your inbox – when you sign up below. 👇

We will never spam you or share your email with anyone. In addition to the guide you’ll also receive semi-regular email updates with tips, tools, offers and exclusive resources. All emails include an unsubscribe link, you may opt-out at any time. Read our Privacy Policy to see how your data is handled.

How to Write Email Subject Lines and Run A/B Split Tests

Just like the most captivating novel won’t get opened without an enticing cover, an exceptional email might go unread without a compelling subject line. No matter how brilliantly crafted your email content is – it’s the subject line that captures your audience’s attention.

The point is: it’s well worth it to put focus and effort into your subject lines.

But you don’t have to approach your subject lines from scratch. There are proven formulas to perk your audience’s interest. Plus, you can test two headline versions to see which performs better and optimize from there.


Email Subject Line Formulas

Here are several proven formulas you can use when crafting your email subject lines:

  • Benefit-Driven Subject Lines: Clearly state the benefit the reader will gain from opening the email. For instance, “Improve your SEO in 3 easy steps.”

  • Urgency and Scarcity Subject Lines: Create a sense of urgency or scarcity to prompt immediate action, such as “Last chance to get 50% off!” or “Sale ends in 3 hours.”

  • Personalized Subject Lines: Use the reader’s name or other personal information to make the email feel more tailored to them, like, “John, a special offer just for you.”

  • Question Subject Lines: Pose a relevant question to pique the reader’s curiosity, such as “Want to boost your productivity?”

  • ‘How to’ Subject Lines: Offering a solution to a problem can be very enticing. For example, “How to declutter your workspace in 10 minutes.”


Subject lines are an opportunity to get creative, but remember the golden rule: clear over clever. Always strive for clarity, brevity, and relevance in your subject lines. With this, you’ll be well on your way to improving your email open rates.

Remember, the goal of the subject line is to entice the reader to open the email. You can test different formulas with your audience to discover which resonates most. 


How to Perform A/B Split Testing

A/B split testing is when you send two variations of your subject line to different segments of your email list. One serves as the control version (A), while the other is the test version (B). Comparing the open rates of each variation shows which style is more effective.

To conduct an A/B split test, start by formulating two distinct subject lines for the same email. 

Ensure the rest of the email content remains consistent to isolate the subject line as the sole variable. After sending the email, analyze the results to identify which subject line led to a higher open rate.

It’s helpful to conduct A/B testing regularly since audience preferences can change over time. What worked six months ago be less effective today. Continual testing allows you to stay in tune with your audience’s preferences and tailor your strategy accordingly.

How to Track Email Performance

One of my favorite things about email is it’s an excellent testing opportunity. You can test your subject lines, offer messaging, and even different CTA’s. This is an excellent way to learn what resonates with your audience and how to get their attention.

To learn from the data, it’s crucial to track it in the first place! Speak with your clients about accessing their email service provider to analyze the numbers.

Here are the email copywriting data points to track – and how to learn from them:

  • Open Rates. The percentage of people who opened the email out of the total number of people who received the email.

    • Aim For: at least 20%


  • Click-Through-Rate (CTR): The percentage of people who click the link or call to action out of the total number of people who opened the email.

    • Aim For: at least 1%


  • Unsubscribe Rates. The percentage of people who unsubscribe from the email list after receiving the email. If someone isn’t interested, it’s actually in your best interest that they unsubscribe. Let your clients know that a 1% unsubscribe rate is totally normal.

    • Aim For: around 1%


Email data gives you incredible insight into how to adjust your email copywriting approach. 

For instance, if you notice a low open rate for your emails, consider revising your subject lines before overhauling the entire email copy. Sometimes, a minor tweak to your subject lines can significantly boost your open rates, saving you time and effort.

On the other hand, a low click-through rate on your Call-to-Action (CTA) might indicate that the email copy itself isn’t effectively compelling the audience to act. In that case, take some time to re-evaluate and adjust your messaging within the emails themselves.

I’ve already talked about how understanding strategy sets you apart as an email copywriter. But tracking data and results also gives you an edge. It shows your clients that you’re interested in how their content is performing to improve it.

How to Land High-Paying Email Copywriting Jobs

An effective way to land email copywriting jobs is to enroll in the email list of brands you’d like to work with. Study their email strategy and look for gaps in the customer journey that you could fill. Then, send the brand owner a personalized pitch on how you could improve it. 

Like I said, there are so many different aspects of email marketing that you could create an entire career based on email copywriting alone. Or, you could simply add this service to your collection of offers.

Remember that understanding the larger strategy sets you apart from other writers and AI, regardless of how you choose to conduct your email copywriting service.

That’s exactly what makes my copywriting education program, Write Your Way to Freedom, different from standard copywriting courses. 

Unlike other courses, you’ll learn about bigger-picture marketing strategy and how content fits together to grow a brand. You get the training and skills to act as a strategic partner who can suggest ways to optimize a brand’s marketing efforts – rather than just executing projects.

Armed with email copywriting skills and strategic insights, you’ll be well-equipped to distinguish yourself in the market and remain irreplaceable in the face of AI. Schedule a strategy session to discover if Write Your Way to Freedom is for you!

Resources: 

  1. Hubspot

About Sarah

I’m an entrepreneur on a mission to help other people become entrepreneurs.
My blog is a place where I provide business building advice and explore how we can create more meaningful work.

Share This Post

Leave a Comment

You May Also Enjoy

Free Copywriting Masterclass

My masterclass How to Build a Lucrative Freelance Copywriting Career shows you exactly how I went from zero income to consistent five-figure months with copywriting – with no experience and no portfolio.

This is the exact system that has transformed the lives of thousands of people. 

And I mean *huge* transformations… My students are earning more, working less, and living life on their terms.

Now, it’s your turn.

Free Masterclass

How to Build a Lucrative Freelance Copywriting Career

(with no experience)

My masterclass walks you through how I went from zero to consistent five-figure months with copywriting – with no experience and no portfolio.

Gain instant access – right to your inbox – when you sign up below.👇

We will never spam you or share your email with anyone. In addition to the guide you’ll also receive semi-regular email updates with tips, tools, offers and exclusive resources. All emails include an unsubscribe link, you may opt-out at any time. Read our Privacy Policy to see how your data is handled.

Meet Your Host

Hey You, I'm Sarah Turner

Expert Copywriter and Online Business Coach

I help people (just like you) take control of their life and transform their financial future with entrepreneurship.

Craving a life with more meaning, more freedom, and a higher income?

I’m here to empower you with the mindset, strategy, and profitable skills to create an online business you love.