Copywriting. It’s a word that can strike fear in the heart of any small business owner or beginning marketer. It’s an important part of creating your emails and other online content.

Pam Foster, owner of ContentClear Marketing, has made her career in copywriting. Before starting her business in 2006, she wrote copy for companies such as L.L. Bean and Idexx. Now, she helps a lot of businesses improve their web and email copy and their marketing tactics in general.

“I really take a scientific approach to make sure I’m advising my clients with the latest findings on what really works best. There are always exceptions, but why not start with what has been tested and proven to work best and then take it from there,” says Pam. So what does this scientific approach look like?

5 Tried and True Tips

1. Offer the big promise and then clearly deliver

Your subject line will be the first thing the subscriber sees in their inbox, and this is your chance to catch their eye. You want to make a promise that will compel them to open and read your email.

“ Pam found that ‘free shipping’ performs better than a ‘% off’ offer.

Based on the findings at MarketingExperiments, Pam has learned that subject lines with a “get” phrase outperform ones that tell readers to do something. The psychology behind this is that “getting” something is an appealing benefit. She’s also found that “free shipping” performs better than a “% off” offer.

Don’t forget that your email will need to deliver on the promise to keep subscribers happy and interested.

2. Avoid lengthy paragraphs

Staring at a huge block of text can be very intimidating. It looks like work.

Don’t make reading your emails look or feel like a chore. Break paragraphs up into something easy to digest and scan quickly if needed. You’ll notice our blog posts have short paragraphs that usually max out at four lines for this reason.

3. Write for your readers and address their wants and needs

How well do you know your audience?

The key to writing emails that your subscribers are excited about is to write about things they care about. Do you have a solution for a problem they all face? Have a service that can help improve their lives? Tell them about.

And if you aren’t sure what your audience wants, now is the time to get to know your subscribers.

4. Make sure everything is clean and easy to read

Keeping paragraphs short is only part of what makes an email easy to read.

Bullet points and sub headers are great additions for a more scannable email. If you have navigation links, never put them on the right side of anything (website or email). And make sure the color scheme you are using is easy on the eyes.

5. Be consistent

“ Subject lines with a ‘get’ phrase outperform ones that tell readers to do something.

If you write in a conversational tone, keep it like that. Don’t change things up from one message to another.

You should also maintain your identity by branding your message with the same logo, tag lines, and format. A familiar look will be welcoming to subscribers and remind them they like reading your stuff.

How It Looks in the Real World

Pam launched a new email campaign for her pet copywriting service and put her own advice into action. She also followed the advice of Jay White on how to create autoresponders with conversational copy. Here’s how it looks:

And in case you’re interested: this particular follow up has about a 60% open rate and 63% click through rate.

Need More Copywriting Help?

This page shares Pam’s game plan for tackling marketing campaigns, so feel free to check it out to learn more about her tips and service.

If you have any copywriting tips that work for you, feel free to share them!

Read more: The Life Cycle of An Infographic by @neomammalian