6 Easy Tips for Writing Emails that Get a Response


The first thing I do every morning is rolling out of bed, make a coffee and check my emails.

Some would say this is unhealthy…

Many “productivity gurus” recommend checking emails just a couple of times per day to avoid being unnecessarily distracted and pulled this way and that before the day has even started.

But, I just can’t help it. I like to know if there are any pressing issues to deal with right away.

And, I’m also checking to see if there has been any response to the emails we send to prospects, daily…

Email marketing is incredibly cost-effective

A recent DMA report on email marketing found that the ROI for B2C campaigns was an impressive £32.28 for every pound spent.

Yet it’s surprising how many businesses neglect to implement an Email Marketing sequence (otherwise known as autoresponders).

When you compare the cost of running email campaigns with the budget typically required for telesales, promotional offline materials, Google Ads and networking, you’d be completely crazy not to have at least a basic strategy in place.

In fact, your only initial outlay would be paying a web designer to add an email capture form to your website.

After that, you can simply choose from a variety of great email marketing software available for as little as a few pounds per month.

Cutting through the noise

If your inbox is anything like mine (swamped?!), you probably scan it as quickly as possible with your spam radar on full alert, deleting the usual suspects.

You’re inevitably subjected to constant broadcasts by big brands and organisations you’ve previously purchased something from online; every email impersonal and laced with a far from generous weekly special offer…

And if you have a business website, there are the typical SEO spam emails that are sent with a scatter-gun approach, hoping that just one bullet hits a target.

They would be mildly amusing if they weren’t so annoying; facts matter little to the perpetrators.

So, whether you’re already an advocate of business email marketing, or you’re considering setting up your first campaign, how do you get your emails noticed, and responded to, in the swamp of spam and sales?

Keep it simple

You know your business, products and services inside out.

Your prospects don’t.

So consider writing as if they know nothing of what makes you different. And they probably don’t  – or they would have already purchased your product or called you.

At this stage, you can safely assume that they’re merely intrigued… Nothing more.

So, should you go charging in like a bull in a china shop?

Hit them with a massive discount or a sale that absolutely must end within the next 24 hours?

Some do… but I believe that this approach will hinder any potential of a long term relationship and sabotage your future email open rates.

Empower your readers to make a logical decision based on understanding how you or your product will improve their life…

And it all starts with the headline.


Advertising legend and copywriter, David Ogilvy, believed that once you had written your headline, you’d spent eighty cents out of your dollar.

Think about how you scan your emails…

If you don’t know the sender, and you haven’t already written it off as spam, you probably pause for a second or two and try and identify the sender, the headline and the first line or two of text.

And this means that unless your headline is compelling (without being over-the-top) and offers a benefit, it will probably never even get opened.

You may have the perfect solution for your readers, but if they are not compelled to open your emails, they’re never going to buy.

If you’re unsure of headline formulas that are proven to work, check out this post.

Subject line and content

If you want your readers to continue reading your email, you’ll need to help them understand the value of doing so immediately.

To achieve this you need to be clear on the value of the email in your subject line…

Don’t forget that you’re already interrupting a busy person who is used to being sold to, all-day every-day.

Be relevant, be useful, and tell them what to expect. Don’t exaggerate or try and force urgency where there is none.

Your readers are more than likely already immune to these tactics.

The main content of your email should be written in a friendly and helpful tone.

Sure, always point out the benefits of what you’re offering, but also try and provide real value to your readers.

Depending on your objectives, your offering,  and where your prospects are in the sales funnel, your emails should vary in tone and length.

Sometimes, a short snappy line or two is all that is needed; at others, you may require long copy that deals with objections and scepticism.


As with all forms of digital marketing, the most effective strategy is the one that you actually implement consistently.

There are many different ways you can approach email marketing…

And the only way to know what works best for your business is to set up your first campaign and then test, monitor and adjust.

You will almost certainly need variation in your campaigns; current and past customers will require a different set of auto-responders than new leads.

And you’ll also need variation in length and tone; different prospects respond to different messages.

If you’ve never sent more than a few cold emails now and again, make sure you explore the potential of email marketing.

It’s one of the few marketing campaigns that provide data that can be scrutinised accurately and in detail; open rates, click-throughs and conversions are all easily measured.

Just remember you’re writing to real people.

If you lack the time, resources or copywriting skills required to get a great email campaign off-the-ground, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

About the author

Alex Thomas

I've been involved in digital marketing for over 10 years and have worked with global and local companies on large scale SEO and PR campaigns. In my current role at Breakline, I'm responsible for winning new business, creating, implementing and overseeing SEO campaigns, social communications, online and offline media relations.

By Alex Thomas
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