You need to have a reason for sending an email to your subscribers.  This reason should lead them to a clear call to action in your email.   If your newsletter does not have a purpose then you are wasting your subscriber’s time.  People are busy and do not like to have their time wasted.  When you send someone an email you need to ask yourself what it is you would like them to do.  Do you want them to buy something from you?   Do you want them to reply to your email?  Are you asking them to donate their time or money to a worthwhile cause?  Your subscriber wants to know what it is you want from them.  They also want to know what you are going to do for them. If this is not obvious then you will lose them and they will not listen to what you have to say.  In order to get them to do what you want you have to make it obvious to them.   You also need to make what you are willing to do for them obvious.
Create a Void So They Feel a Need
Most people need a motivation in order to feel a need.  If they need money they feel motivation to get a job.  If they develop a gut they feel a need to go to the gym. In order to create a need for your subscriber you need to make them aware of what they are lacking.   Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs presents a theory of motivation that is based on the following:

  • Physiological Needs – these are basic needs required to sustain life such as air, water, food, and sleep.
  • Safety Needs – this could include living in a safe place, job security, savings, and protection from situations where a person would feel threatened.
  • Social Needs – these are needs related to interactions with other people such as friendship, belonging to a group, and giving and receiving love.
  • Esteem Needs – these are needs such as self respect, achievement, attention, recognition, and reputation.  This includes internal needs related to self esteem such as self respect and personal achievement as well as external needs such as social needs and recognition.
  • Self Actualization – this is the peak of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs and is part of a person’s quest to reach their full potential.   This includes the need for truth, wisdom, knowledge, and meaning.

What is not important here is whether you agree with Maslow’s theory that lower levels of need must be satisfied before the higher needs are addressed.  What is important is that you realize that all people have needs and the reason products exist is to fill one of those needs.  Sometimes needs may not be obvious or ingrained in your reader’s mind.  When you do email copywriting you are writing to sell.   Your job is to show a need for your product or service.   If you do this well your reader will feel a void unless their need is satisfied.
Fill the Void By Offering a Solution
When you establish a need exists you can begin showing your reader how what you are selling fills that need.  This means talking about benefits as opposed to features.   Features are boring.  People do not want things unless they fill a need.  Talking about features is meaningless unless you can show how that feature fills a need. Sometimes people assume that because a person is looking at a product they must already know how all its features benefit them.  This is wrong.  Do not assume anything.   People trust you for your expertise or they would not come to you.   They want to know what’s in it for them.  An example of this can be found with cell phones:
Feature:  Bluetooth enabled
Benefit: Allows you to talk on the phone without using your hands
A younger person may know what Bluetooth Enabled means but for an older adult who is less technically inclined the term could be completely meaningless.   If you are talking about features as opposed to benefits you are throwing away potential customers.
Let Them Know What They Have to Lose
“What makes something special is not just what you have to gain, but what you feel there is to lose.” – Andre Agassi
What separates you from others with similar offerings?  What would your customer lose if they were to go with someone else instead of you?  Assure your reader that they are making the right choice by letting them know what they have to lose.  Give them a reason to believe you are special. You can draw on inspiration from past testimonials, case studies, statistics, brand identity, and of course your benefits when you are looking to separate yourself from your competitors.  Show them what makes you unique.  Let them know what life would be like without you.
Make It Easy For Them to Act On Their Need
Now that your reader knows that you have what they want its time to lead them to a clear call to action.  The call to action is an invitation to your reader to take an action that contributes to the goal of the email.  This call to action could take the form of a link that redirects to a landing page,  a method of purchasing the product, or even a reply to your mailing.  The purpose of your newsletter should be obvious to your subscriber.   Now that you have shown them what’s in it for them its only fair that you let them know what you want in return.  Your call to action should be clear and direct.  Your mailing should be structured in a way that is likely to generate a direct response from your reader.
Without a call to action you are merely teasing your reader. You are playing games or merely messing with their head.  Sparking interest and getting attention without letting them do anything about it.  If your reader does not know what your call to action is then you just wasted their time. Email marketing writing either produces results, or it is useless.
An obvious place to place your call to action is at the end of your mailing.   But that shouldn’t stop you from moving it up where appropriate or using multiple calls to action throughout your mailing.   You might have a call to action at the top, the middle, and the end so that no matter how erratic your reader’s attention is they always have a place to go!  Adding multiple calls to action throughout can increase the likelihood that you get a response.  Readers are use to being able to click on almost anything and that includes images, brand names, and logos.  If you do use images then add supporting text under the image and in the “alt” tag so that your reader will know what to do if images are disabled.