Email Content 101: How to Write Your Most Actionable Email Ever

Whether you’re a retailer promoting a new line of sneakers, a hotel chain encouraging readers to enter for a chance to win their dream vacation or a restaurant displaying your seasonal offerings, all brand emails have one thing in common: you’re trying to persuade readers to take action – and preferably sooner rather than later.

Attention spans are shorter than ever, so you have to make every word in your emails count: in your subject lines, email body and call-to-action buttons. Read on to find out how to use attention-grabbing language that will drive your customers to act.

Know your audience

A solid understanding of your audience and their needs is the first step toward writing actionable emails. Want to get to know them better? Just ask! Poll your audience regularly about their buying habits and what type of content they like best. Get to know them through their preferred social channels to get a feel for the type of language that resonates with them. All of this will give you insight into their buyer psychology and ultimately help you write better email content.

Once you and your audience are BFFs, you can begin creating actionable email copy that speaks their language and aligns with your goals.

If you want your audience to…

Make a purchase ASAP

Have a limited-time sale? Promoting an event? Trying to clear out inventory? Then you’ll want your audience to act fast. Brevity and clarity are key for this type of email. You content should be short and sweet, telling people exactly what you’re offering and how much (or little) time they have to act.

Bonus tip: Send urgent emails regularly? Beware, your readers could become fatigued by constant sale updates – especially if you regularly extend the time they have to act.

Try these words and phrases:

  • Only [how many you have left] available
  • Today only
  • Limited-time
  • Limited quantities available
  • Today only
  • Sale ends at [time]

Read your new blog post

Tease one of the biggest facts or statistics from your blog post in your email subject line, and include a summary of what your readers can expect to learn in the email itself. Instead of saying they’ll discover “the best content tips,” say, “5 content tips that will drive more traffic to your website.” Tying your content to a specific solution always wins!

Bonus tip: Create two different email subject lines that promote your blog post, each presenting a different fact from your post. Then, split test them. The results will give you insight into what kind of content your audience cares about the most.

Try these words and phrases:

  • Learn more about [the subject of your blog post]
  • Want to learn how to [the solution your blog post provides]
  • Did you know that [insert outstanding fact from your post]
  • I was surprised to find [surprising tidbit from your post]

Share your content on social

Checking out your content is one thing, but asking your audience to share it with their own network is another story. To encourage sharing, first imagine what would prompt you to share someone else’s content on social. The content would likely have to provide value and a unique perspective, right? If your content accomplishes this, go ahead and ask your audience to share it. Include social sharing buttons to make sharing easy.

You can also include some text they can include along with your post. That way, they can easily tease your blog post without having to come up with their own social copy. For example:

“Everything you need to know about [your post’s topic] is in this blog post.”
“Did you know that [statistic or unique fact from your blog post]? Learn more here!”

Bonus tip: Add a live social feed to your emails for a truly engaging experience.

Try these words and phrases:

  • Share now!
  • Tell my friends
  • Get social
  • Share the love
  • Spread the word

Download your latest eBook or PDF

Asking your readers to download something is a slightly bigger commitment than asking them to check out your latest blog post. Your email content needs to convey the value of your download. What will they learn? What problems it help them solve? Be as specific as possible to get them to act fast.

Bonus tip: Consider including an image from your eBook within the email itself.

Try these words and phrases:

  • Grab your copy
  • Learn more about [the subject of your download]
  • I want my [eBook, guide, etc]
  • I want to start [action word related to your download]

Enter a contest

Asking your subscribers to enter a contest may seem like a no-brainer. Who wouldn’t want to win free stuff? But not everyone on your list will take the time to enter, especially if it requires submitting their contact information again.

Encourage them to act by creating a sense of urgency with your email copy. Let them know how much time they have to act and exactly what they’ll win. Is there just one grand prize, or are there multiple prizes? What’s their monetary value? Give as much detail as possible.

Bonus tip: To get even more entries, give all of your contest entrants a bonus gift just for entering. This can be your latest eBook, a coupon code or another small prize.

Try these words and phrases:

  • I want to win [your prize!]
  • I’m ready to win!
  • Enter now
  • I’m feeling lucky

Brevity + clarity + value = Super actionable email content

There are three things that all actionable emails have in common: you guessed it; brevity, clarity and value. You only have your audience’s attention for a few short moments. Use these tips to create email content that makes every word in every email count.