5 Copywriting Tips To Drive Better Email Response Rates!

  • By Andy Fox

Ask any salesperson and they’ll tell you how they dread sales emails that go ‘cold’ or unanswered. Your emails could have healthy open rates (above 30%), and still score low with responses from your prospects. 

There could be a myriad of reasons as to why you didn’t get a desired response, from poor subject lines, or too lengthy or poorly crafted email body, to simply a lack of personalisation in your copy. 

Every day 205 billion email messages are sent, with each second pushing 2.4 million emails on the digital space. 

When an average worker receives 121 emails a day with almost 50% of them being spam mails, it’s easy to get caught up in the ‘noise’ and end in the ‘trash, if your prospects even remotely smell one of yours as a ‘cold’ or a ‘pushy’ sales email.

But let’s not get too bogged down with the statistics now, we’re going to explore below some neat copywriting tips which tackle the issues with ‘cold’ emails and will help drive better email responses through your list: 

1.  Subject Lines Matter

Subject Lines obviously make the first impression. Imagine what you do when you open an email. First you go to the Inbox, and then look at the sender, then the subject line, and if it sounds downright spammy and uninteresting, you’re sure to delete or send it into the Junk folder. 

If you want to avoid such a fate for your emails, you should be crafting powerful subject lines that grabs attention, incites curiosity, or offers immediate value to the readers. 

A Subject Line Analysis conducted by subject line tester, phrasee.co  found  the following categories of word/phrases to generate high ‘phrase score’, meaning the phrase driven response on the email was higher:

  • Action Words: Introducing, Celebrate, Buy, Continues, Get your.
  • Questions: What…? Won’t…? Do…? Can…? May…?
  • Sale Phrase: On orders over; Orders over; Off selected; Your next order; Available.
  • Superlatives: Brand New, Latest, Special, Wonderful, Great Deals.
  • Urgency: Sales Starts, Back in Stock, Stock, Sale Now, Now in.

To get the best out of your subject lines, regular split tests should be carried out to learn what works and what doesn’t, because as the marketing legend David Ogilvy rightly said, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar”.

2.  Credibility and Social Proof

As humans, when making any decisions, we tend to ‘listen’ in on what others have to say on the topic, we can also be driven by peer pressure, and we do take cues from other people. 

Meaning, if a prospect finds in the mail that his colleagues or and expert, or an influencer in the field has in a way partnered with you or has been receptive towards your idea, then that works as an invite for him/her to jump on to bandwagon and appreciate your pitch. 

Take an example below from Close.io on how you can craft  compelling copy using credible sources and figures to add value and proof to your offer:


Another way of showing your ‘stuff’ works, is to paint a ‘before and after’ picture of a problem your service or product solved for the client, along with crunching statistics that delivers authenticity and credibility.

3.  Humour

Whether you’re chasing a prospect who has suddenly become aloof and unresponsive, or you want to lighten up a prospect by dropping the ‘formal’ tone, humor always plays a superb role as a catalyst.

In an experiment from O'Quinn and Aronoff, participants were asked to play ‘buyer’ and ‘seller’ roles to negotiate a price of a painting.

Half of the sellers who used the lines “My final offer is $... and I’ll throw in a pet frog” were able to bring smiles on the buyers’ faces and were able to sell the painting at a significantly higher price than the ones who didn’t use the humour.

As they say, Laughter is the shortest distance between two people, such humour used in your email copy can bring down the ‘guard’ the prospective buyers build when they scan the emails. It breaks the ice with a smile and relaxes the recipients, which in turn will put them in good mood and invoke responses. 

4.  Personalisation

The easiest way to get a person’s attention is to address them by their names. This works every time, because it immediately personalises the email and brings about a sense of ease and friendly ‘conversational’ feeling, which makes the readers more receptive to your story. 

Imagine blasting off generic emails to 500 people, which has a very high chance of going unnoticed.  Or would you rather gather some traction by preparing and sending 10 personalised sales emails from the list. 

As Dale Carnegie says, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language”.  It immediately jumps out from the screen and studies have proved greater brain activation is triggered as one hears/reads his or her name in contrast to others’ names.

Our name is subconsciously tied to represent our perception of ‘self’ and is a huge reflection of our identity. So as soon as we hear or read a text that carries our names, we instantly become more engaged with the message and generate a sense of ‘trust’ for it.

 Sometimes putting their names in the Subject Lines can also work wonders, i.e. “Hi Brian,  It’s Karen from Element 7 Digital”.  However, don’t be tempted to use the name in every other paragraph in your sales copy. A final ‘Thanks for your time Jennifer’, is also a great way to restore the emotion and close the mail.

5.  Email Sign Offs

Talking about closing the mail, how much time do you spend contemplating your ‘best regards’,  and ‘sincerelys’, at the end of your email? 

Well, these days I guess most of us go with our pre-designed ‘auto signatures’ that do the work; but as the study from Boomerang proves, it does make sense to rethink about our sign offs in the mails we send. 

The study claims if you’re using closings such as; ‘thanks’, ‘regards’, ‘cheers’ , ‘best regards’, ‘thanks in advance’, ‘thank you’, ‘best’ and ‘kind regards’ – you’re well in on the game as these phrases yielded higher response rates than the 47.5 percent average! 

If you’re into writing email signatures expressing an element of appreciation, then you seem to be ahead of the pack. The top three to take this space is “thanks in advance” (65.7%); “Thanks” (63%) and “thank you” (57.9%). 

Another study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that readers were twice as likely to respond to emails containing the signoff ‘Thank you so much’. 

What are the copywriting tips and ideas you use with your emails? 

If you'd like further assistance or would like to discuss anything covered today, we'd love to hear from you.

Call Andy Fox (me) on (03) 5249 5570 or email andy@element7digital.com.au

Our Website is element7digital.com.au

Andy Fox - Author

I have a firm belief there is only one great challenge in life… And that is… To be the best version of you possible. I have lived my whole life to this tune. I love that I am not perfect and I love that every day I get up and make at least one change in my life that makes it better, one change that takes me closer to my life’s goals.

More about me, visit: andyfox.com.au