Email Copywriter – Early Career Samples 

 July 24, 2011

By  Gavriel Shaw

I started writing email copy back in 1996.

In 2009 I took a position as Head of Marketing for an Email Service Provider that auto-magically segmented and broadcast emails where even the images were personalised…

Email Copywriting Samples

Today, an email copywriter must take a very strategic approach of considering the full multi-channel touchpoints in a consumers or customers buying process.

Take note:

  • The message is more important than fancy graphics.
  • The relationship is more important than the creative design.
  • The email channel is inherently a personal medium.
  • The spam trigger is all too easy to click if the recipient feels intruded upon.

Regular contact with interesting, friendly information has been the hallmark of good quality email copywriting since 1996.

And despite all the current dynamic content and personalisation fields, back in 1996 it felt far more genuine than much email marketing feels today.

The best email marketing I see today still uses mostly plain text emails.  Perhaps a graphic, providing it is highly relevant.

And a personal friendly tone:

  1. The primary goal of email copywriting is to build the relationship with the audience
  2. The second goal is to elicit information from the recipients to provide insight as to their interests and buying process so you can increase the value of your messages
  3. Only third is the actual goal of converting the person to a lead or sale

Why that order?

Because without 1 and 2, number 3 will be far less frequent, and you will quickly deteriorate the value of the email database.

Subtle and insidious. Personal and friendly. Open and unassuming.  This is the way to approach email copywriting.

Email Sample 1

Here’s the top of an email broadcast that I wrote for a financial investments client in January 08:



Email Copy Sample 2

I have found highly personalized, person-to-person appearing email work up to 510% better than advertising agency graphic laden blatant adverts.

…That’s no surprise to any direct response long-copy copywriter, but it was nice to see it happen whilst contracted with an advertising agency by beating their largest clients back-end monthly email control piece by a whoping 510% on a split test from 100% more click-throughs (120 compared to 60), followed by 510% more actual applications (61 compared to 10).

You might not be interested in loans yourself, but for the target audience, this hit their sweet spot.

The Financial Services client had a customer list of 30,000 names for a back-end (selling to existing customers) promotion.This particular promotion was loans for homeowners. The average size loan was £10,000. I saw an opportunity for a big increase in ROI on this campaign.

Here is my email copy:

Hi [firstname],

Do you qualify? From our records I think you do.

In fact: This could be one of the best financial considerations you can make right now. Especially if you feel trapped by high monthly repayments on loans or credit cards…

If you qualify I can show you how to:

  • Save over 50% of your monthly outgoings
  • Consolidate expensive debts
  • Easily manage your financial obligations
  • Start right now (no matter how poor your credit rating is)
  • Quickly find yourself with extra spending money for the family

And here’s another great benefit you’ll take advantage of:
You can immediately stop all debt repayments for 3 entire months!* Won’t that give you some breathing space to catch up on a few of life’s basic necessities?

But do you qualify? Let’s see?

Question 1: Are you a homeowner?

Question 2: Would £5,000 or more help you pay off some debts? Giving you money to spend on improving your family life?

If yes to both questions then don’t worry if you have poor credit because helping people with debt despite poor credit is our specialty.

And the more debt you’ve got, the more we can help.

Here’s how this could work for you:

Jane owed £10,000 and she was paying an average of 3% interest on her credit cards. That’s £300 per month.

We helped Jane get a new debt consolidation loan of £10,000. She only pays £114 now, instead of £300. That’s a whopping saving of over 50% every single month!*

[firstname], if you’ve read this far then I’m sure you passed the 2 qualifying questions above. Click here to get in touch with us right away because we can most probably help you reduce your monthly outgoings by a lot. Just like we did for Jane and her family.

You could also have extra money to spend for the family on anything you like:

* Refurbish or extend your property
* Buy a new car, boat or caravan
* Take a luxury holiday or cruise
* Generally spoil yourself & your family

We know the difficulties that poor credit ratings can cause for you. But right now we have new lenders policies, and new rates are available.

Why give the credit card or expensive loan companies your hard earned money when you can get our help and spend the money on your family instead? And for the next 3 months you won’t have to pay a penny.*

Find out right now how our latest homeowner loans could help you save up to 50% on your monthly outgoings.

Best regards,

Client Service Director
[company logo]

PS: Here’s part of a letter from someone we helped recently.

“From day one you were helpful and kept me informed, you changed my opinion of loan companies completely.” – Miss Grantham

Let us help you the same way [firstname].

PS #2: Here’s part of a recent advertisement we put in the papers of the Digital Camera that we can GIVE you after success transferring your current debt to your lower cost debt consolidation loan with us.



So that’s:

* 50% monthly savings
* No payments for 3 months
* 6MB digital camera
* And much, much more!

Why not take just another minute right now to find out about our latest homeowner loans?

* Rates and conditions are subject to status and are for illustration purposes only and do not include optional payment protection

– end of 510% e-mail broadcast copy –

On reflection I would revise the second PS. The sentence is way too long and not easily understandable.

I won’t include the Agencies own creative to maintain their privacy. At first the Ad Agency complained the copy I write for them was ‘too long’ or ‘too American’.

510% more conversions baby. In a UK market. ‘Nuff said..

The client also then went on to use the exact same copy month in month out because of its record breaking response.

The lesson here is definitely that personalised copy in a plain email written by your staff expressing their views about your company’s product can effectively compete with high-graphic expensive advertising agency creative.

Return On Investment

Here’s how it turned out…

ROMI Calculations Input

  • list 30k
  • average order 10k
  • expected response 0.05% = 15
  • expected conversion of that 3% = 0 new customers
  • Marketing costs = £2,000

They got a customer once every several months from that particular promotion. Remember, these are people that had taken a substantial loan in the past few years already.

For our test with my long copy against the agencies creative we split the list.

15k names at 0.05% is 8 projected leads from their creative.

How much better could I do?

ROMI Calculations Results

Here we want to keep track of things like:

  • Number responders
  • Number buyers
  • Total revenue
  • Cost per response
  • Cost per buyer
  • Cost per piece
  • ROMI

15k names on my long copy produced a response of 61 leads, which was a 0.4% response off the list. The existing creative had a response of 10 leads (near enough their projected 8.

This meant a 510% increase in response (My 61 against there 10).

(61-10) / 10 = 5.1 = 510%

That was huge for the client, who then wanted me to train their copywriters in some direct response copywriting principles.

And because of the personal nature, and genuine human appeal of my copy the client had 2 buyers, at approximately 10k each (a £20,000 return).

Marketing costs = £1,000 (half of the full cost of £2,000 given that we did a split test)

Return = £20,000

A huge ROMI of 1900%.

But this was still only the beginning as I saw it…

  • I began work with the client on their loan information pack to increase actual conversion rates after the new lead generation.
  • I also began to plan a follow-up series to the list of 15k that had received my email
  • Plus another campaign to the 59 leads who responded to the first email but hadn’t yet converted.
  • And the email would also (of course!) be sent to the other half of the list that hadn’t yet received it.

Through integrated marketing, opportunities to increase ROI are endless.

Contact me for new samples and to discuss your email copy requirements

Gavriel Shaw

Gavriel has product and marketing expertise from a variety of roles, including CMO, Head of Growth, Head of Marketing, eCommerce Director, Web Marketing Director, Product Marketing Manager, and Senior Copywriter in various sectors, both B2C and B2B.

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