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How to write a marketing email: A formula and examples you can use today

Cut through the confusion surrounding how to write a marketing email with this easy step-by-step guide.

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There’s a lot of buzz around how to write a marketing email. So much so, in fact, that it can be so overwhelming you never actually get started.

I should know. I spent a lot of time researching for this article and wondered how a busy business owner might actually get anything done with all the input.

So, rather than make you sort through a lot of advice, I’ll simply give you the most important components your marketing email needs along with a few examples from actual brands.

How to write a marketing email with one simple formula

Let’s take the guesswork out of writing the ideal marketing email and just address the components you need.

I’ll walk you through each step. Let’s pretend I’m writing an email to announce SimpleTexting’s new contact card feature. 

Step #1: Include an eye-catching subject line that makes the email’s value clear and entices viewers to open it.

For my example, my subject line would be:

Make your subscribers remember you forever 👀

Here, I want SimpleTexting users and prospects to know that our contact card is a good way to introduce themselves to their contacts in a way that lasts and makes them memorable.

I’ve also added an emoji to help my subject line stand out.

Step #2: Add preview text that further teases or shows off the contents of the email.

For my preview text, I’m going with:

Access our new contact cards to instantly build trust with your contacts.

This names the feature and further clarifies the benefit they get by using it.

Step #3: Use the inverted pyramid model. 

Although different versions of this model exist, the most common devotes the most amount of space at the top to an attention-grabbing headline. Then, you add anticipation-building details in a slightly smaller space below and finish off with a succinct, powerful call to action (CTA).

So, by component, that looks like:

Headline: Contact cards: The instantly effective way to introduce yourself

Body: Our new contact cards are here! Welcome your subscribers with a contact card to help them save your brand’s details in one click and recognize your messages forever.

CTA: Try it out for free (with a link embedded)

Step #4: Keep it concise and stick to the important details you need to include. 

This will help keep your subscribers focused. You’ll notice that in my example above, I named:

  • The feature
  • The basic function
  • The benefits
  • How to access it

There’s no fluff there, so it should keep readers’ attention.

Step #5: Stick to short sentences to avoid rambling and keep your subscribers engaged. 

That means no more than 20 words per sentence and two sentences per paragraph.

Step #6: Keep your emails at around a 7th-grade reading level.

Sites like Hemingway make this easy. Just copy your email and paste it into the software to get your reading level. The aim is to make your message accessible to all.

Step #7: End with a clear, strong call to action that lets subscribers know what their next steps are.

Your readers shouldn’t finish your email and ask, “What next?” In my example, I provided an easy link where readers could sign up for a trial and an extra incentive to do so.

A note on long-form vs. short-form email

Folks on the Internet go back and forth about whether short- or long-form emails are most effective.

Unfortunately, the answer is it depends.

Specifically, it depends on:

  1. What metric you want to optimize for 
  2. What the email is meant to say or accomplish

For example, the numbers say that 50-125 words is best for a high response rate while 100-200 should improve your click-through rate (CTR).

Therefore, a 100-word email sits at the right spot to maximize both numbers.

That said, that length won’t work for every kind of email, so judge each one individually. Long-form emails work best for:

  • Newsletters
  • Onboarding instructions
  • Customer education materials
  • Business pitches

Short-form emails are ideal for:

  • Quick follow-ups
  • Straightforward sale announcements
  • Confirmations
  • Feedback requests

How to write a marketing email: examples

I can think of no better examples to give you than emails that caught my eye and made me click (and in some cases, buy).

Holiday highlight

Pura Vida is a favorite online jewelry shop of mind, and they did something pretty clever in this email.

An example email from Pura Vida Bracelets

First off, they used an emoji in the subject line. Against a sea of text, that stands out.

Second, they used the words “holiday season” early in the email. If you’re like me and you forget how fast the holidays come up, you panic and decide to buy a thing or two immediately to get a headstart.


Newsletters can get a little mundane if you’re subscribed to a lot of them, but this one stood out in my inbox.

An email newsletter from Banfield Pet Hospital

Note the subject line there. They let me know immediately that they had something to say that would help my pet (I am a devoted cat and dog mom, so that’s a big priority).

They also started off with an image of a cute pup, which put me in the mood to see more.


Email is an invaluable tool for raising awareness and money for a cause.

A Custom Ink fundraising email

The most important thing Custom Ink does here is to clearly display the cause they’re supporting. As a person who’s more interested in helping out breast cancer survivors than shopping at Custom Ink, I found that super compelling.

They also clearly display a CTA button in the middle of the page so I have no doubts about what to do. 

Product launch preview

If you have a product or service launching soon, make sure your email list knows about it.

A product launch announcement email for the Google Pixel

This email is a great example of targeted messaging, given that I have a Pixel 6 phone. They’ve done an excellent job of highlighting why I specifically would want this product.

Discount announcements

Of course, sometimes you just want to show off a big sale.

Here, United has started with a question about my problems and an offer to fix them and made the value (and urgency) of the message very clear.

📖 Recommended reading: Drip email from start to finish

Appointment confirmations 

No-shows are a big drain on your team’s resources, so keep them to a minimum with appointment confirmations and reminders.

An appointment confirmation email from Walgreens

I love that Walgreens acknowledged my appointment and gave me an easy way to keep up with it or change it if need be.

How to write a good marketing email: best practices

Once your email is all drafted up, check over these last few key points before hitting “send.”

  • Make your emails mobile-friendly. Around 1.7 billion people worldwide use email on their phones. Cater to those people with minimal buttons and images and concise copy in your emails. Don’t quite know how to optimize for mobile? Most email service providers have ready-to-use templates you can fill out.
  • Be sure to proofread. Even if you don’t think you need to, just take one last look. Avoidable mistakes can put a dent in your brand reputation.
  • Send a test email to yourself. This is a great QA step but it’ll also give you a subscriber’s perspective on each email, which you might not otherwise get.
  • Stick to a consistent tone. Avoid giving your subscriber lists whiplash. Make sure your tone aligns with your brand voice and don’t stray very far from it.

📖 Read next: Comparing email and SMS marketing

Lily Norton
Lily Norton

Lily is a content marketing specialist at SimpleTexting. She specializes in making helpful, entertaining video content and writing blogs that help businesses take advantage of all that texting has to offer. When she’s not writing or making TikToks, you can find Lily at roller derby practice or in a yoga studio in the Seattle area.

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