The 3 Best Copywriting Formulas for Email Marketing

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a recipe to follow when it came to writing your emails? A recipe that not only sparks interest among your subscribers, but also encourages them to complete a call-to-action?You can! Many marketers use copywriting formulas, which are proven structures to help you write more effective copy faster.Copywriting formulas provide a starting point to help you organize your message for the most persuasive impact. It’s how you turn so-so copy into killer copy, and convert subscribers into buyers.Take a look at three tried-and-true copywriting formulas that are perfect for email marketing, below. You can also use them on your social media feeds or in blog headlines, too! That way, you reach your audience no matter where they are.

Copywriting Formulas for Email Marketing

Formula 1: F-A-B

You understand your product or service from the inside out, but it can be tough to communicate all the important details about it in an email or two. Plus, you run the risk of losing your reader’s interest if you drone on too long about your product features.Yes, it’s important to explain the features of your product — but where the magic happens is when you connect those features with the advantages and benefits they bring to your customers.With the F-A-B formula (which stands for Features, Advantages, Benefits), you can touch on your product’s bells and whistles, but you focus on why a person would find your product beneficial.Here’s the breakdown:
  • Feature: Briefly explain the elements of your product. Keep it short and sweet.
  • Advantages: Highlight why these features are unique and how they can make a difference in your customer’s business, life, etc.
  • Benefits: Showcase the value of your product and how it can solve your customer’s problems.
The emphasis is on why your product’s features are great and how they can help your customers rather than dissecting each feature ad naseaum.So, how can you implement this formula?It might look something like this:

Insert feature will help you insert advantage so you can insert benefit

Example of F-A-B in a Tweet: Our wireless Smart Robot Vacuum will clean your pet’s hair off floors and carpets, so you don’t have to spend time chasing down hairballs.

These same principles can be used in subject lines or stretched out to serve as body copy. For the latter, you may expand on the advantage and benefits in multiple paragraphs to really drive the value home.

Formula 2: P-A-S

It may not come as a surprise that P-A-S made our list, but it’s a tried-and-true copywriting formula that works for just about every scenario.In fact, marketing legend Dan Kennedy calls it the most reliable sales formula ever invented.Let’s take a look at how it works:
  • Problem: State your audience’s issue.
  • Agitator: Agitate the problem by talking about why it’s a problem in the first place.
  • Solution: Solve your audience’s issue by presenting your product or service as the solution.
This copywriting formula works best if you focus on the "A" aspect. To “agitate,” you need to stir up all the negative emotions attached to their problem. Make the reader squirm in their seat. Get inside their head.And just before they’re ready to scream “Enough!”, present them with a solution (your product or service!).(Not sure what your audience’s "P" — a.k.a. their biggest problem — is? Here’s a great guide to finding your subscribers’ biggest pain point.)Here’s how you could use it:State a problem: Got pet hair all over your carpet or floor? Agitate the problem: More pet hair means more time sweeping your floors. You're already busy enough. Do you really want to spend all this extra time cleaning when you could be doing other things? (Like napping or reading or watching Netflix.) Present the solution: Or you could control your pet hair problem with our new Smart Robot Vacuum. Just charge it, turn it on, and get back to your day.Like the F-A-B formula, the P-A-S formula translates well on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, or in headlines because of its directness. Using this same example, you could send a Tweet that says:

Pet hair everywhere? Spending more time cleaning up pet hair means less time for the things you want to do — like napping or watching Netflix. You could spend time sweeping every day, or you could let our Smart Robot Vacuum clean it up FOR you.

The P-A-S formula is excellent for subject lines, but it’s also a fast and easy way to explain your value proposition in a quick way. Many email marketing geniuses use this formula in their own emails.Here’s an example from Paula Rizzo, an AWeber user and a TV producer who has an entire side business called The List Producer. Through this business, she helps customers stay organized with various checklists and courses.Subscribers who sign up for Rizzo’s email below have stated they’re feeling a lack of control in their digital world. Their inbox is overflowing and they can’t keep up!In her first email, Rizzo welcomes her new subscriber, tells them a little bit about her business, and then launches into agitating their problem. The agitation section is shown below:Then, Rizzo hits the reader with a solution: a paid course “Take Back Your Inbox: Stop Drowning in Unread Messages, Respond Quicker and Finally Achieve Inbox Zero.” (Check out all that’s included in her $47 course.) 

Formula 3: A-I-D-A

A-I-D-A is arguably one of the most-used copywriting tactics of all.First, here’s what it stands for:
  • Attention: Catch the reader’s eye.
  • Interest: Pique their interest with a compelling setup.
  • Desire: Make them crave the thing you’re offering.
  • Action: Tell them how to get the thing.
This is a classic formula for selling, so it makes sense to deploy it in an email environment where you want readers to take action and move from their inboxes to the next stepping stone in the conversion path.Here’s how you could use it:Attention: No matter how much you love your pet, there’s probably one thing that drives you nuts. Interest: Pet hair is a never-ending battle (and it’s one you’re always losing). Right? Desire: Smart pet owners know it doesn’t have to be that way. The Smart Robot Vacuum is always on top of hairballs (so you don’t have to be). Action: Click here to get 20% off your purchase today only!With a simple, actionable setup that solves problem and reduces a customer’s pain points, this formula is a sales-driving machine not only in emails, but also on landing pages and in video scripts.

Stretch it out!

You can use these copywriting formulas in one email — or you can expand it over a series of automated emails.For instance, with P-A-S, you could use it over the following 5-email series:Email 1: Introduce the reader’s biggest pain point Email 2: Agitate the problem Email 3: Really get in there! Agitate the problem some more. Start to hint that there may be a solution for their issue... Email 4: Offer the solution — your product or service! Email 5: If the reader doesn’t convert, you can offer a coupon or special incentive to buy.Digital marketer gurus like Amy Porterfield, Henneke Duistermaat, and Jeff Walker have used similar email series when they launch a new online course or product.

Additional copywriting tips

Once you find a copywriting formula that works best for you, keep these tips in mind as you begin writing.Avoid jargon Using words that your customer may not understand is a quick way to lose their interest. Make sure they understand your message and what value you can provide them.Nail the subject line It’s been said a million times, but it rings true. Having a solid subject line that piques the interest of your subscribers will ensure the email content you worked so hard to create has a chance to be seen. Be sure to deploy A/B testing to find your strongest option.Related: 6 Email Split Tests You Can Set Up in 1 MinuteBe conversational Being personable with your copy is a great way to engage with your customers and show them that there are real humans behind your brand. Conversational tones not only make your brand sound more relatable, but it’ll ensure your customers understand what you’re saying, too.For more email copywriting advice, check out our full list of copywriting tips.

Formulas save time and maximize ROI

Copywriting formulas are an excellent way to make sure you communicate your message clearly and present it in a way that will be most receptive to your audience. Different formulas work for various products and messages, so keep testing and tracking what you learn from each formula use.Ready to see a greater ROI on your email marketing? Sign up for AWeber today or contact a Customer Solutions member. (Our team is available 24/7 at our Pennsylvania headquarters!)

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3 Tactics to Build an Engaged Email List

Are you collecting emails, but not getting the engagement you desire?

This looks different for everyone.

Maybe people aren’t opening your emails.

Or perhaps they aren’t taking the next step to buy from you.

Whatever the cause, there’s a chance you’ve got some laggards on your email list. And, an email list is no place for inactive subscribers. But, there’s more going on here.

There’s also a good chance that you need to clean your list. The simplest thing to do is to delete everyone. (I know. I know. You just clenched your pearls but give me a chance to explain.)

Why do you need an engaged list anyway?

It’s one thing to build a list. It’s another thing to create an engaged list.

As a business owner, your goal should be the latter. After all, the difference between creating an engaged list and growing a big list could be sales or engagement.

Having better engagement means higher open rates, higher conversions, and an overall audience who is interested and waiting to hear what you have to offer next.

Personally, I’d rather have 1,000 engaged subscribers instead of 100,000 subscribers and a 10% open rate.

What about you?

How to create an engaged email list that converts

While the easiest thing to do to re-energize your list is to delete everyone or a group of subscribers, it’s also not the smartest approach for a goal digger like yourself.

Rather than removing all of your subscribers, you can clean your list, segment your subscribers into behavior-based tags, or use re-engagement campaigns to win-back your subscribers.

Clean your list early and often

There are a few ways to clean your email list.

Delete older or unengaged subscribers

Though this is a valid option, I recommend collecting data to support your decision.

Start by seeing how many bounced email addresses are in limbo. Many email service providers will weed out email addresses that have bounced and remove them after the third try.

You’ll want to identify these email addresses first because these are the ones you can either update if it’s a simple typo, like .con instead of .com. You can also use this list to identify the email addresses that you don’t need to take action on (since your provider will remove them for you).

ConvertKit’s cold subscriber filter is another resource to help you capture data about your subscribers to help you determine who should be deleted and when. This filter enables you to identify the subscribers you can eliminate by locating anyone who hasn't opened or clicked an email in 30 days.

This allows you to keep active subscribers and remove or re-engage those who no longer want to hear from you. That way, you’re not blindly deleting people who love your emails.

Use an email verification service

These services allow you to find bounced and inactive email addresses on your list. They also remove known spam traps. These are old email addresses that internet service providers (ISPs) flag and use to label senders as spammers.

Using one of these services will cleanse your list and allow you to delete poor subscribers before they begin to impact your deliverability.

Some email verification services include:

Segment your subscribers

According to Hubspot, the average email list for a B2B company loses about 22.5% subscribers annually due to natural causes (unsubscribes, bad or old email addresses, incorrectly typed email addresses). It’s estimated that this percentage is higher for B2C businesses.
So, how can you ensure that your list continues to grows despite that natural drop off?

The first thing you can do is stop sending everything to everyone.

Whether you know it or not, it’s hurting your deliverability and the know-like-trust factor that you want to build with your community. Not everyone on your list wants your newsletter. Not everyone wants your daily promotional emails. Stop sending your subscribers emails they don’t want.

There are a few built-in features to help you accomplish this with ConvertKit.

Tags and segments

Tags are used to organize people. You can use them to identify where subscribers come from, group them together, or to create your own customer or active subscriber lists.

Link triggers

You can use link triggers to create use the internal survey method to make sure you are giving your community a chance to voice their desires, fostering co-creation, and removing the guesswork out of determining what they want from you.

You can also use them to create custom unsubscribe links. This way, your subscribers can remove themselves from promotional campaigns, daily emails, etc.

Why is segmentation so important?

According to Return Path, segmentation is a critical component of deliverability 2.0. Building on the foundation of deliverability 1.0, marketers will need to take segmentation and quality personalization to the next level. That means personalization will need to go beyond the first name and custom content.

Similarly, segmentation will need to go beyond having different lists. Business owners will need to anticipate when customers and pre-customers will become disengaged and proactively send content and custom offers to counteract these points of disruption in the customer journey.

Use re-engagement sequences to help with list management

Here’s the thing– subscribers are people, and people have the right to change their minds.

By offering your subscribers a re-engagement campaign, you’re giving them the option to raise their hand and say, “I do or do not want to receive your emails.”

This is better than the alternative which is to have your subscribers mark your message as spam because they believe that’s the only option.

Re-engagement campaigns are a series of automated emails that you can send to your cold or inactive subscribers. The goal is to remind them why they subscribed to your list.

If you’ve changed topics, the goal is to tell them how you can help them now.

It's fairly simple to put a good re-engagement campaign in place. All you need are three things:

  • 3-5 emails
  • A gift (lead magnet) for sticking around
  • The option for your subscribers to share what they’re interested in learning and/or when they want to hear from you

Here’s an example of a re-engagement campaign built using ConvertKit’s visual automation editor.

Ready to clean your email list?

Taking these simple steps to clean your list won’t take long at all, but will make a huge difference in how your connect with your audience.

We recommend running through these steps every three to six months to make sure the people on your email list are the ones who really want to be there.

So take some time today and start tidying things up to create your most engaged email list ever!

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