I’ve overseen the delivery of 153.6 million emails over the last 12 months…
… and that’s just from the Digital Marketer brand. In total, I’ve managed over a billion email sends in multiple markets over the last year.
I don’t say any of that to brag…
I just want you to know that I actually do this stuff for a living. This IS NOT another article about writing better email from a guy posing to be an email marketer.
We’ve sent some winning emails over the last year — but we’ve had our fair share of losers too. (Our 5 worst emails are listed at the end of this article)
In this article, you’ll get…
… the subject line, body copy (word for word) and my analysis of the strengths of Digital Marketer’s top 22 emails over the last 12 months.
We’ve broken these emails into two categories…
- Promotional emails – Emails that generate leads or sell products and services
- Content emails – Emails that sell content (blog posts in this case)
Before we show you our best email body copy, you need to know that…
Sometimes we ask an email to do too much
A lot of emails fail because the email marketer doesn’t understand the role of each part of an email.
Here’s what I mean by roles…
- the job of the subject line is to sell the open
- the job of the email body is to sell the click
- the job of the landing page to make the sale (whether that sale is an opt-in or a purchase)
Sometimes we make the mistake of asking the subject line to sell the click. Or, we make the mistake of trying to sell a product in the email body.
Our Top 22 emails don’t ask the subject line or email body to do more than their job.
But that’s not all our top emails did right.
Let’s dive in and look at Digital Marketer’s best emails by click-through rate and see why these emails got it right.
We’ll start with out 11th best promotional email…
Best Promotional Email Body Copy
11. My new book! (and a big mistake) [16.14% CTR]
This email undoubtedly got a great open rate because it’s an admission of guilt or fault. When you’re an authority and you admit fault, you show a human side, people tend to relate to that and want to know what you have to say.
But what about the clicks?
First, it’s about Ryan’s first book. It’s something new, it’s an event.
The admission of failure is the second reason it got clicks. It’s not only an admission of failure, it’s a scratch-and-dent offer… a reason to have a sale.
The admission of guilt and the fact that it is an event really drove clicks.
Notice that the benefit was breezed over — there was almost detail on the content of the book or why you should read it.
10. Do NOT sell on Amazon without this $10 tool… [16.56% CTR]
We did a lot of qualifying in this subject line but there’s a TON of curiosity in this email.
‘The Ultimate Amazon Spy Tool” — Just the spy tool or buyer intelligence software is enough to draw them in. Also, it’s a $10 tool. People love anything that’s going to automate their business.
Anything that creates speed & automation, or tools, in Digital Marketer’s vertical are great sellers. We’ve qualified a very low price point, and then went in and played up the voyeuristic aspect of spying on customers.
It also talks about a 2 minute demo in this last link. That’s a very passive link. It’s a demo video, not a sales presentation, so they already know the price and they’re just clicking over to see the demo.
This is a very passive email that worked really well.
9. Steal these email templates… [16.78% CTR]
#9 is about templates. (You’ll be seeing A LOT of templates winning the click in these emails!)
Going back to what was successful in the last email: it’s all about speed & automation. People love it.
Templates, software, tools.
This comes out of the gate with a benefit — “Want a way to double your sales?”
Then it’s just copy and paste these three emails.
So this email is gunning for the benefit: the template.
The screenshot also helped. It’s in Word; it’s recognizable. People aren’t going to be afraid of the software in this instance.
Easy to use, highly desirable.
8. Check out new “man cave” [PICS] [18.09% CTR]
This subject line piques curiosity — the word “PICS” draws the reader in right away.
It’s also a story. A look into the personal life of the head of a company. It’s humanizing a big company.
Going into this it shows a very personal picture, ties it back into a story, and then talks about a lesson learned.
7. THIS is the hottest trend in digital marketing… [18.21% CTR]
This is a straight up curiosity based email subject line and body copy.
There is no mention of WHAT the trend is.
The curiosity based subject line will get a ton of opens. And, in this case, we continue the curiosity or “blind” nature of the email in the body.
The formula here is a quick sentence and then a link. Then you qualify a little more, and give another link.
The clicks come because the reader wants to know more about the “hot trend.”
6. The Facebook Slap is coming… (swipe this) [18.25% CTR]
This email uses a lot of scarcity.
Not scarcity from a closing or traditional marketing-based scarcity… but a third party regulatory scarcity.
Here you have “The Facebook Slap Is Coming”… A slap is a well known term in this vertical. The “Google Slap” decimated marketers in every industry — and everyone was afraid of the imminent “Facebook Slap.”
This email played on those fears.
Anytime you can show proof elements visually in your emails, you’re going to explode your clickthrough rates.
That proof element right at the top of this email (the image) probably had a ton of clicks, and then the subtle scarcity of the impending slap drove people to click for more information.
This is pure scarcity based with a splash of fear mongering… but it does promise some critical information and it delivers once you’ve clicked through.
5. The 8-figure template… (swipe this) [18.91% CTR]
We’re back to templates.
If you’re paying attention to the trend, you’ll notice that speed & automation, and templates tend to get a ton of response.
This email is also fairly “blind” and curiosity based. It doesn’t say what kind of template it is exactly.
It’s a sales template but doesnt give much indication after that. There’s proof, the template factor, and the gift aspect.
The free gift almost always increases response.
It ends with a proof based P.S.
We do a great job of establishing the value of these templates with this body copy.
4. “Borrow” all my checklists… [20.33% CTR]
Exact same scenario — templates, checklists, tools.
These are things that we have of value that we’re giving away or selling.
So the beginning of this email follows the theme of curiosity based content.
We open with a quick statement — and then drop a link to grab everyone that knew from the subject line that they were interested.
People knew before they opened that email that they were going to click the link. You don’t want to talk too much — get your statement out and then a quick link. That’s a typical curiosity-based email.
Then, we give them another reason to click by giving them a benefit…
“… easy to follow step-by-step checklists.”
You either go proof or curiosity first, followed by proof or benefit second, followed by scarcity or proof third.
If you follow that linking structure, you’ll start to see really high click-through rates in your emails.
3. [SWIPE] My Facebook “templates” (13 of them) [21.02% CTR]
What a surprise… templates! (Are you on our list? You’re missing lots of free stuff if not!) 😉
This is the theme of our best emails — people want the templates we use because they want the results that we get.
It follows the exact same format we’ve been referring to. In this case, it’s the proof. We have undeniable proof of Facebook as the hottest trend, we tested these templates.
2. Copy and paste these 72 headlines [Last Chance] [24.99% CTR]
Another day, another free template giveaway.
These are headline templates. Are you seeing the pattern? So far we’ve had sales templates, headline templates, email templates, and there’s a reason we keep doing them — they work.
In this email the download button really boosted the click-through rate. It’s a button in an email — you should be 100% utilizing CSS buttons within your own emails.
This particular button had ‘Download’ on it and it had an amazing CTR.
1. [DOWNLOAD] Ultimate Facebook Ad Template [25.01% CTR]
We’ve reach our #1… what do you know? It’s templates.
So out of our top 11, it’s safe to say 6 are template related and I could argue the efficacy of making the other emails swing back around to some sort of template.
What do you need to do? Figure out what the ‘templates’ are of your business. You need to figure out what people want so badly from your business that no matter how often you talk about them, they keep responding to your emails.
This email is a little curiosity-based, again talking about the entire library of ours — it’s free, it’s desirable.
It follows the 3-4 link format we use in most emails and it gives the market what they demand.
Now… let’s take a look at the content emails that got the most clicks.
Best Content Email Body Copy
Before we analyze the copy of our top content emails you should know this…
No amount of persuasive copywriting will save a content email if the subject of the content being promoted is not interesting to the reader.
As with sending promotional email, it’s all about the offer.
11. Subject: How to get paid [Literally] [16.51% CTR]
The email uses FEAR to get clicks… as it should.
The content on the other side of this click is, indeed, about something that could be catastrophic for the reader’s business. It would be foolish not to point out the danger involved in ignoring this content.
10. A simple sales copy formula [16.85% CTR]
This content email piggybacks off of the authority of recognizable names like Bill Glazer, Dan Kennedy, John Carlton and Frank Kern.
Add the references to ease of use in the headline (A Simple Sales Copy Formula) and lines like “so simple a caveman can do it” and we have a winner.
9. It’s landing page magic… [17.04% CTR]
This email has a simple formula: Get [desired result] Without [undesired result]
Do you see it? Here it is in the opening…
“Do you want to increase response on your landing pages WITHOUT rewriting a single line of text?”
8. How to write a promotional email [17.46% CTR]
This piece of content was created by a professional copywriter and this email leverages that authority to get clicks.
7. The ideal length of everything online [17.84% CTR]
This email is all about the offer. It uses a very direct subject line and body copy to direct readers to an infographic (offer) that we already KNEW they would want to see.
How did we know they would want this information?
Simple… we used a tool called BuzzSumo to find the most socially shared infographic on the subject of content marketing. In other words, the piece of content we are promoting was a proven winner created by the folks at Buffer. We simply embedded the infographic on our blog and shared it with our audience.
6. 21 landing page mistakes [18.28% CTR]
This email uses this formula: Learn to Get [Desired Result] From [World Class Expert(s)]
Do you see it? Here it is…
“We asked four of the world’s top conversion rate optimization experts…”
The email copy then proceeds to list those experts and their credentials.
5. 2015 will be a land grab (Get Yours) [19.88% CTR]
This email opens with a curious headline… “The Great Pixel Land Rush”
The copy remains fairly “blind” and emphasizes the speed of consumption with phrases like…
“You’ll learn about it in less than a minute”
Those that just wanted to read Ryan’s prediction really quick clicked on one of the first two links in the email. For anyone else still reading the email there is a “stack” of additional benefits bulleted toward the close.
4. [SWIPE] Our best email subject lines of 2014 [20.97% CTR]
This is another email that performed well in large part because of the strength of the content it is promoting — it’s templates, swipe files, tools, etc.
Who would have thunk it? 😉
The subject line and body copy are VERY direct.
The email opens with strong proof that we are an authority on email marketing. Then, the benefits are stacked on…
- Get our best 101 email subject lines
- Get our 10 worst email subject lines (Everyone loves a train wreck)
- Download our best subject lines as a PDF swipe file (<< this almost always gets more clicks)
Then, in the P.S. we use curiosity…
“I couldn’t believe the subject line that came in as our 3rd best.”
3. [TEMPLATE] Cold email anyone and get a response [21.52% CTR]
There’s a lot going on in this email…
The headline draws the reader in with a direct statement of benefit.
Then, the opening quickly builds proof and authority for the authors of the content with the line…
“… both having built and sold businesses for 8 figures”
Followed by a statement of benefit that promises something that everyone wants… The Silver Bullet in the form of a template… (go figure)
“… you’ll learn the secret to sending cold emails … including two templates you can put to work right now.”
Then, more proof is layered on with the statement…
“This is the exact process used to get interviews with people like Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia)…”
2. [TEMPLATE] Create engaging Facebook images [21.63% CTR]
Again… much of the success of this email is due to the offer.
The content (offer) is strong so the best route to take is to simply state the direct benefit of clicking.
“We’ve been testing a specific type of Facebook image post…”
… is important because it builds proof and gives the reader the sense that this something NEW.
And, notice that there is a promise of a useful resource to download and use. These downloadable resources are a recurring theme in many of our best content emails.
1. 212 blog post ideas [23.55% CTR]
Once again we have a downloadable resource available within this piece of content and the offer (content) is strong — in this case it is a mind map.
The offer is to get 212 blog post ideas and three of those blog post ideas are listed as bullets in the email copy.
Notice anything special about the three blog post ideas that are chosen?…
- The SAQ Post
- The Guard Down Post
- The Attack Post
Yep… they are all a bit curious and new.
We could have chosen to feature the blog post ideas you already know about like The List Post, The Link Round Up, etc. but that would have almost certainly decreased clicks.
…and now the moment you’ve all been waiting for…
Our 5 biggest fails… (Tell me in the comments section why you think these failed)
5. WARNING Only 178 T&C Tickets left… 2.34% CTR
4. Spooky discount 75% off Conversion conference 3.79% CTR
3. Survey Results (sort of…) 4.05% CTR
2. eCommerce Lessons from the Big Boys 4.91% CTR
1. Native Ad Hacks 6.17% CTR
And that’s it. That’s our best email body copy over the last 12 months.