Cover image - a mailbox with letter

Email Copywriting Guide: Bring the A-Game to Newsletter Marketing


The introduction

Not to mysticize the topic too much, email copywriting and newsletter marketing are somewhat the same thing. In other words, you need to master email copywriting to make your newsletter marketing more successful. To make your email campaigns better, you’ll need to learn some other skills, but this article is focused on copywriting. And we’ll see how a copywriter can help you to improve your newsletter marketing. I’ve designed this article to follow the common newsletter creating process.

Before you start

Here, at Kontra, we’re using a software called ActiveCampaign. Of course, there are a dozen others like Mailchimp, HubSpot, or Drip, but ActiveCampaign was our choice. Almost all newsletter software follows a similar process with some modifications and alterations, depending on which you’ve chosen to use. 

An ilustration of people brainstorming an idea

Before starting with your first newsletter marketing email, you should have a clear topic in mind.

The first thing you need before you start is a topic. A reason. How many newsletters should you send a year? There’s no such thing as a perfect answer to this one. It’s better to send a single newsletter in a year, than a whole bunch of them if you can’t bring any value to your reader with it. 
Here are some topics you can include in your newsletter marketing: 

  • Your inbound content (blogs, ebooks, infographics) 
  • Company news (new colleague, winning an award, working hours during holidays) 
  • Season greetings (Christmas, Easter, summer holidays, etc.)  
  • Events (invitations, upcoming shows, store openings)
  • Help (FAQ answers, product maintenance advice, short how-to’s)
  • Promotion (discount coupons for your readers, mentioning a product launch,  service promotion) 
  • Sales (yes, you can sell via newsletter, you just need to fulfill some steps before) 

There are countless topics you an include in your newsletter marketing; the most important thing is you should always provide value

An ilustration of value

Remember, your newsletter should provide value to your audience. If it doesn’t, rather skip sending it

Headlines, subtitles & naming

Campaign naming

The essential part of email copywriting is headlining. First of all, you should work out a system for naming your newsletter. It’s perhaps the best to name it by the date you’re sending it. For instance, if you’re planning on sending it on the fourth of July, you can call it 04_07_20.  It’s important to name your newsletter campaigns properly in order to keep track of and analyze your metrics constantly. This is something your reader cannot see, and it’s crucial just for you and possibly for your colleagues. 

An ilustration of people tracking performance

It’s important to name your newsletter marketing campaign properly so you could later analyze its success

Subject headline

A subject headline is a critical moment in writing a newsletter, and generally in email copywriting. It’s a good idea always to have at least two split tests for your subject headline. Most newsletter software enables it. Test your A and B subject variations on a small portion of your newsletter recipients, and send the winner to the rest. Why is this so important? If a recipient doesn’t open the newsletter you’ve sent, your effort’s for nothing. Your recipient is probably receiving a couple or even a couple dozen newsletters every day. You have to make sure yours stands out. Some things and rules to follow to make your subject better: 

  • Make your subject extra long, or extra short: If a person has a full email inbox, which is probably the case, your headline will stand out simply by being the longest or the shortest. 
  • Insert some emojis in your subject: It’s important not to overdo it with emojis because your subject may look like spam, but a small drop of color can do a great deal about attracting attention when used right
  • Include numbers, especially odd ones: Numbers are also a great trick to attract attention. Odd numbers, especially. The human brain is experiencing a challenge when met with an odd number because it’s harder to divide it.
  • Use rare words: This is a general rule in copywriting. But beware not to become puzzling. You want your text to be interesting, but also easy-to-read and understandable.
  • Impress your reader: Most time in email copywriting should be spent on subjects. I’ve already included some headline writing tips in one of my previous posts
  • Two Mark’s a crowd in your subject headline: I’m talking about the question and exclamation marks. They can make your subject seem like spam as well.  
An ilustration of people sending a newsletter

Make sure your subject stands out. If your recipient doesn’t open the newsletter, all your effort is for naught.

Article subtitles

Once you’ve managed to get your newsletter recipient to open the campaign you’ve sent, it’s now your task to get them actually to read it. That’s undoubtedly one of the hardest things about email copywriting. Normally, people today aren’t reading or are reading just the headlines. The modern lifestyle, and the fact that we’re buried with tons of information daily, saw to that. That’s exactly why companies need to hire copywriters. It is our task to make the subtitles in a newsletter so interesting they make a recipient to read it, which leads us to the next part. 

The main text in newsletter marketing

Once you’ve named your campaign, written a subject headline, and wrote the subtitle, it’s time you write the main text. Some companies are creating a different layout for every newsletter, while others have a template prepared in advance. What you’ll write in your newsletter, and how will you draft it, depends on your overall newsletter marketing strategy. I’ve already listed the types of topics you can write about, which are also the goals you want your newsletter marketing to complete. 

An ilustration of people in politics

Your email recipients are usually constantly the same, and you have to maintain their trust in you, so don’t play it by using clickbait you can’t follow up with value. Imagine yourself as a politician they need to re-elect over and over.

But, what to look after in that main text? Basically, you should follow some general copywriting rules. Makes sure your text has a clear point, that it’s not too long, and include a call to action if it’s appropriate. Make sure the main text provides value, and that it fulfills a promise you’ve given in your tittle. A newsletter is typically sent to the same base of recipients you’ll build up through different channels. You must retain your newsletter readers. The fastest way to lose a customer (or a newsletter reader, in this case) is to promise something you can’t carry out. When it comes to email copywriting and addressing, it’s a good idea to write like your talking to a family member or a friend. The goal is to connect with your reader. 

Signing and addressing

  1. A great but simple trick to achieve additional personalization of your newsletter is to sign your newsletter. For instance, your sender should be “Tibor from Kontra”, not “Kontra agency”. It adds to that personal feeling. Just ask yourself: Would you rather receive a letter from a friend or a robot? 
  2. In order to send a newsletter, you should have your recipient’s info, especially since GDPR took effect. This means you can program your newsletter sending tool to address them. “Dear Stephanie” is better than “dear recipient”. That way, the person opening the mail gets the impact it’s meant exactly for them.
  3. At the end of the text, try addressing your reader directly, just before you insert a CTA button. For instance “…to find out all about that, read our new blog post”. 

CTA buttons, links, and visuals

CTA Buttons: 

Some rules for CTA buttons can be transferred from my previous blog about website copywriting. You can either have a universal text in CTA buttons, but personally, I prefer modifying. For example, I like to adapt the CTA buttons according to the theme of my letter and based on the topic of the main text. The universal answer about what’s better doesn’t exist. It’s all about testing. As you can test your subject headline, you can test your CTA buttons from one newsletter to the next. Most newsletter marketing tools provide very good analytics and metrics so you can see how your newsletter did. 

An illustration of CTA button

CTA Buttons are the finishing touch to your newsletter. If you make them appealing enough, you can achieve the ultimate goal of newsletter marketing – conversions.


Usually, there are 3 different spots where the link can be placed: 

  1. Visual/Image
  2. Main text hyperlink
  3. CTA button

It’s essential you check if your links are working properly before sending out your newsletter. Especially if you’re creating a new campaign based on the previous.


The visuals used in newsletter marketing should be eye-catching, but in a way, they comply with the text. This part is similar to communicating on social media – the visuals should help to convey your message. 

And that’s it – your newsletter is written. I hope this guide helped with your email copywriting. You can now say you’ve mastered the basics of newsletter marketing. Now, it’s up to you to choose whether you’ll write them yourself or let the pros do it for you