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The White List #7: Tips for Improving your Email Copy

When asked to write a weekly blog article I was skeptical. After all, I’m not the copy writer here at NDF. I have done some copy editing but beyond that it isn’t my main function here. So when I came across this article from Vertical Response with 13 tips to Improving Email Copy, I jumped on it and thought I would pass this along to you!


1. Ask the 4 Key Questions: Before you begin to write, ask yourself these four key questions.

o What am I selling (at emotional level)?

o To whom am I selling?

o Why am I selling this now (will it make sense to the customer)?

o What do I want my reader to do (Calls to Action)?

2. Consider Your Font Style: Sans-serif fonts, such as Arial, Verdana and Helvetica, are easier to read online than serif. If people find it difficult to read your copy, they won’t!

3. Read Your Copy Outloud: This will help you hear what your readers hear.

4. Cut the Clutter: William Zinsser wrote that “clutter is the disease of American writing.” The quickest way to improve your copy is by removing any uneccesary words such as “that”or “to.”

5. Use the Rhythm of 3: List your examples in groups of three. The Rhythm gives a great cadance to your copy.

6. Use Bucket Brigade Words: Bucket brigade words help you move your copy forward. They include remember, and, but, consider, however, for example..and more!

7. Vary Sentence Length: It is important to vary your sentence length to hold your reader’s attention. And don’t be afraid to use sentence fragments – this isn’t your college English class!

8. Differentiate Between Features vs. Benefits: Features are what the product has. Benefits are what it will provide the customers. The customer will always ask, “What’s in it for me?” Be sure you tell them.

9. Write In the Second Person: Focus on one person (you/your) rather than a group (our customers). This makes your reader feel special and highlights how the product can benefit them.

10. Write Less Copy: People read 25% slower online than offline, so you need to write less copy so they will read it.

11. Don’t Hide Your Key Points: Keep your most important points at the beginning of paragraphs, bullets and lists.

12. Keep Paragraphs Short: Make sure your paragraphs are no more than 3 lines long. Otherwise you might lose your reader’s attention.

13. Remember Odd vs. Even: Odd numbers are easier to remember than even, so use an odd number whenever possible.

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