How To Write Effective Emails That Encourage Action & Increase Open Rate

Home > Digital Marketing How To's > How To Write Effective Emails That Encourage Action & Increase Open Rate

Digital Marketing, technology & business insights, how to’s and explainer videos, released on a Wednesday. Make sure to subscribe to be notified and sign up to our mailing list! 🎥

See below, the transcript from this episode of Giant Wednesday if videos aren’t your preferred method to consume digital skills. See also the Giant Cheat Sheet from this episode.

If you want to know more, get in touch today 😎

Read the transcript of this episode of Giant Wednesday... 👇

Once upon a time, we all thought signing up to newsletters was a great idea; a fairytale of offers, advice and insight from the companies we love. AMAZING! 

And then the ’90s ended and we had to put up with over-saturated markets, spammy emails and no one really knowing what to do next.

So how do you stand out and get the conversions you want through the power of email marketing?

Well, get your subject lines in order and your call to actions clear as we look at how to write emails that encourage action (clapper board) in this week’s episode of GIANT Wednesday.


Hi, I’m Danny from Sleeping Giant Media and I’m here today to talk to you about writing emails that encourage those reading to do what you want them to do.

If you like what I have to say in today’s video then make sure to subscribe to our channel where we release digital marketing skills-based videos every week! 


A strong email marketing strategy, driven by data, backed up by layers upon layers of audience insight and marketing goodness, can help to set a strong foundation for engaging and communicating with your subscribers.

Put simply, if you get your emails right, they can do good things for you, even in 2020.

But while all of that data and know-how definitely helps optimise your emails, sometimes the simple things can make all of the difference – like the actual words that make up your email itself.

The psychology of words is a powerful tool when it comes to encouraging or enticing your readers into doing what you want them to do – and with such power, comes great responsibility.

As the brains behind the keyboards, it’s up to you to make sure that you’re using language to your advantage, in a way that encourages readers to take action.

To help get you started, I’ve broken down some key points to consider when it comes to writing your next action-inspiring email marketing campaign. 


Number 1, start strong 

We’ve all seen stats around the importance of an email subject line, but that doesn’t make them any less shocking.

For example, one study found that almost 70% of email recipients report an email as spam based solely on the subject line.

Imagine all of the hard work you put into your email body copy, and a huge chunk of people may never see it. That’s gotta hurt.

To prevent that happening, make sure you inspire action by beginning with a subject line that grabs attention and leads to an open. That’s got to be the goal from the outset, to get that email opened.

Sometimes people don’t even get to see the full subject line, So the words you use here are critical.

I’d strongly encourage you to split test your subject lines too, seeing which has more effect on open rate and conversion. We’ve got more on split testing in a previous episode of Giant Wednesday.

But essentially means you send the same email copy but with a different subject line equally to 50/50 to your database. Depending on the success and open rate will give you a good idea on what works and what doesn’t.

Personalisation can help, so see if you can use people’s first names – in fact, studies have shown that click-through rates increased by about 15%, just through the use of personalisation. Although make sure you get it right. Seeing an email with <firstname> <surname> does not instill trust.

Keep the theme going by using personalised pronouns, too, like we and you, to help give an inclusive vibe to the copy. 


Number 2, know your goal

Ok they’ve opened it. Now what? 

When it comes to being effective and wanting people to take an action, you need to know what that action should be – and how that helps you achieve your goals and KPIs.

Think about your marketing strategy and what your KPIs are, and use this to determine the goal you’re trying to achieve with your email marketing. 

For example: Do you want to increase subscriptions? Boost sales? Offer a discount? or Get people to download your latest whitepaper? 

Let’s say we want to offer our audience a 50% discount for our online clothing store via our email newsletter. And from our list of 10,000 people we want 50 sales using that discount code.

Once you know this, you have a greater focus, not to go straight in and offer your discount, but to build a compelling email that has a clear and easy CTA for the user.

Whatever your goal, your emails are there to help you achieve this.

Once you have a really clear idea of what that is, you can work out how best to get it. 


Number 3, use the right language

When used in a clever way, marketing “power words” can help to increase the likelihood of readers taking action. 

For call to actions, in particular, the best action-inspiring phrases are often brief, clear, and have strong verbs. No Verbs.

Focus on speaking directly to the user, using their pain points and opting for specific words that speak directly to the desired outcome.

Instead of a simple ‘click here’ – not very inspiring – think about the outcome, and go for something a bit more imaginative.

So going back to our clothing store example we could use the following as effective CTA.,

“Discover the new you” or “If you don’t, your friend will” – make it sound fun and personable and interesting, and like something they actually want to do.

This will differ naturally based on your sector and your industry, but you know your audience – use your understanding of them to help you target them in a really focused way. Use the language you would use if someone came into a physical shop and you wanted to wow them with your offer.

And if you’re still a bit stuck, then remember to split test and work out what your audience responds best to. 


Number 4, keep things simple

It’s a fact that the average person online has a short attention span, and so the same must be true, if not shorter, for people looking at their email accounts.

Which is why it pays to keep things simple when you’re looking to inspire action with your emails. 

Not only can you make sure that your language is clear, and your CTAs are hyper-targeted, but also think about all of the other noise on the page.

From the email design to the way you arrange the words on the page, make things easy to navigate and understand for your readers.

An oldie but a goodie is the AIDA model. A good way to structure your email to deliver an action. Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action. This tends to works as readers left to right.

Awareness- Make them aware of what is in it for them in reading on, Hook them with a subject line.

Interest – Stand out, spark their attention

Desire – Make them want the thing before you have even offered it

Action – Hit them with the CTA.

Remember when it comes to email marketing, if you can use 3 words instead of 9 then that’s the approach you should take.

It’s a tough balance because you need to keep things interesting enough to grab their attention while keeping things simple enough that they stay engaged.

But once you get that balance right, you’ll see your clicks and conversions start to follow that all-important upward curve. 

Split your page into the 4 sections and work out what words are an absolute must. And then plan around that. Don’t try the hard sale unless your audience is used to it and appreciates it.


So, that was a quick run through some of the key things to keep in mind if you’re looking to write emails that inspire action – whatever that action may be. 

Bringing you from your customer’s spam folder, into their important folder and making a GIANT impact.

Just remember, with great power comes great responsibility, so make sure that you’re using your newfound powers of persuasion for good and not evil. 

If you have any more advice, or if you think we’ve missed anything make sure you leave a comment and let us know! 

Here’s today’s Giant CheatSheet on this topic – click the link in the description to download it, or just take a screenshot if you’re on mobile!

As always, make sure you subscribe to our channel for more great content every week.

Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you next time for another GIANT Wednesday.

Sign Up For Giant Wednesday In Your Inbox


Use the form below to sign up and we'll send you fortnightly update emails when a new episode of Giant Wednesday is launched.

Want results like these?

So, you’ve seen how we do it — and you know what we’re capable of. If your brand or business could benefit from results like these, get in touch with us today to unleash your potential.

Sign Up For More

Stay up to date with the latest happenings, learnings, events & more with our GIANT Newsletters.

Contact Us

Top Floor, The Civic Centre, Castle Hill Avenue, Folkestone CT20 2QY.

 Show me directions

 01303 240715

 Send us a message

Copyright © 2022 Sleeping Giant Media. All Rights Reserved.