Earn your space in their inbox: How to write marketing emails

Email Marketing Tips: Earn Your Spot In Their Inbox

For better or worse as Facebook and Snapchat introduce more shiny new features, email marketing just gets kicked to the curb. Last week I talked about how email marketing can be used to level the marketing playing field.  This week I thought I’d dig a little bit deeper into how to actually earn a place in your customer’s inbox and stay top of mind with a how to write marketing emails guide.

Bait Me

I’m not suggesting click bait, your email subject line should definitely be relevant to the content, but give the reader a reason to open it.  There are a couple different ways to do this, and obviously, it will depend on your target audience. You could go the salacious route “Don’t rent an apartment in XYZ city until you read this” or the bribing route “Giveaway Alert” or a chance to learn something cool “You’ve been peeling your banana all wrong.”  At the end of the day, it’s communicating how the value of the content relates to the user.  At all costs prioritize clarity over cleverness.  We all love cheesy one-liners but focus first on being clear.

Easy on the Eyes

Find a format that clears away all the clutter.

Deliver a consistent visual.

Careful about too many photos…depending on your customer’s email provider they may not render.

Make sure they know the email is from you–your company logo top front and center–It’s okay, the reader will not be surprised you’re not their aunt, Gertrude.  They know you’re a business.

Make it easy to share.

Let them Love you

No one is really interested in reading the encyclopedia.  You have a unique point of view and a personality.  Use it!  Let people get to know you, and get attached and interested in you.  As we have said before, you are NEVER going to appeal to everybody!  Accept that and starting writing with a strong voice.  If you’re lucky, once in a while someone will disagree with you.  At least it will start a conversation and some engagement!

Get in line

We all know how important it is for your call to action to align with what your customer will see on the landing page. It’s just as important for your email copy to align with the email subject line.  Each piece of copy the customer reads should be informing them about what’s next.  {Both what they need to do and what they should expect from you}


Have you ever had someone come into your office and just start talking to you…five minutes into the story you are still unsure as to what they are doing in your doorway or why they are talking to you?  I feel that way about a ton of emails I get.  We should all work to deliver the ‘why’ in the first couple of sentences.  Let’s put it in context:


Imagine if the email above started with the second paragraph and not intro…. Why on earth are you emailing me about loading docks???  By giving them a very personal, very relevant reason right up front, there is a higher likelihood that the reader is going to take action right from this email.

It’s not about you…except in copywriting-then, it should be all about the “you.”

Write in the second person as much as you can.  This will cause you to orient the copy to your reader instead of yourself.

Remember, when you come for your tour to bring your license. We can’t wait to help you to find your new apartment!


Remember, it’s our policy that we require a valid ID from everyone touring one of our apartment homes.

So, you won’t be able to avoid referring to yourself 100%.  Strive for a goal of 1:3.  If you say ‘we’ 1 time say ‘you, your, yours’ roughly 3 times.

Benefit vs. Features

You have heard this before.  You probably train all of your onsite teams on this regularly.  Are you translating it to your email copy?  Think about the last email you sent out for a property.  Did you tell people price, location, and floor plans available?  Did your subject line read “Only 9 units left”?  Those are all features. In some of our new buildings it’s hard not to talk about all the features and amenities, am I right?

Instead, you need to figure out a way to translate the benefit into your email copy.  Check out this campaign from Park Chelsea Apartments.  Right from the headline, “Level Up Your Lifestyle,” there is something in it for the reader.

email content examples

They get to learn and be enriched in everything from entrepreneurship to mixology without ever leaving their building?  That’s a real value add to the prospective resident.  It’s a bit more compelling than “Complimentary club membership” or “Resident Activities.”

What’s your point?

What in the world are you trying to get your reader to do?  Why are you spending time creating the email?  There’s a point, right? Besides you need to send x number of promotional emails a month?  So before you draft a word of copy, get super clear on what you are trying to get your reader to do.  Is it schedule a tour? Is it fill out the application now that they have toured? Is it sign up for property updates because the building is under construction? Is it refer a friend to the property?  {And PLEASE only make it one goal per email!}  For best click thru rates, best practices state you should not have competing calls to action in the email. The beauty of having one goal is it will allow you to create beautifully tight copy.

Ask Me Anything

So the best emails have a call to action.  Actually going back to the point above, if there is no CTA, why are you sending the email?  In wording your CTA, make it actionable and clear as day. Pro Tip: I should be able to skim the entire email not read a single word and still identify where the CTA is.  People love shiny things. If you are using HTML, make that button loud and proud.  If you are using plain text emails {which work just as well} make sure the CTA is hyper-linked to the right source.

Keep it Brief

I know, I know. The irony is popping off the page as we creep up on 1200 words and the last point is keep it brief.  Here’s the thing, you probably would not have read this entire thing in an email.  Chances are, your prospective renters aren’t going to read a 1200 word description about your community either.  So get to your point early and limit how many details you really need to include in the email campaign itself….and what info you can host on your landing page that you are trying to get them to click through to anyway.  Because that’s the point, right? To get them back to your website?  So highlight the main points that you are trying to bait the reader with and then make it super clear about the next action you want them to take.

Now it’s your turn, what kind of email content are you using to engage your customers? What’s working best?

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