When it comes to your emails, what you say is important — but so is how you say it. Great email copy helps keep your subscribers interested and can make all of the difference between emails that convert and emails that fall flat.

Of course, it’s really hard to craft unique email copy that dazzles your leads, especially when you’re not a professional writer. Many marketing teams bring on copywriters to help create content and establish a specific tone, but that’s not always in the budget. Fortunately, there are things that you can do on your own to get creative, elevate your email marketing copy, and optimize your message. Here are seven tips for getting started.

1. Lose the Stiffness

Effective email marketing copy builds your brand’s authority without coming off as rote and dry. Highlighting your expertise doesn’t mean being boring since that will likely backfire by removing any sort of relatable personality from your copy.

It’s okay to talk to your prospects like they’re friends. Make your language more casual, and eliminate all of that confusing marketing jargon that makes sense to you but just serves as a barrier to understanding for your readers. If you write your copy with a friendly, approachable tone, your subscribers will be sure to have a more positive response in return.

2. Reference Viral Content or News

As a voice in your industry, it’s helpful for both your campaign and your email subscribers if you tie in some of your copy to current viral content and news. While we don’t recommend relying solely on this sort of time-sensitive material (or dragging out its relevance for longer than necessary), popping in to say your piece on things that matter to your leads helps humanize your brand. It also brings in an element of commonality that serves to strengthen your connection further.

3. Get Poetic

Writing tricks like puns, rhymes, and alliteration add variety to the cadence of your copy and keep your readers hooked. Not a poet? That’s fine! Take a stab at something simple, and when in doubt, make it funny, too. As for alliteration, it’s always appropriate and awfully arresting to read (see what we did there?). As with all writing tricks and flourishes, be sure to balance it out with a more editorial tone elsewhere that your copy doesn’t come off as unprofessional.

4. Tell a Story

Narrative writing engages your subscribers and keeps their eyes on the page, especially if it’s a story that they can relate to. Don’t be afraid to use storytelling in your email copy and to use newsletters and other marketing emails to share narratives that expound on the value of your product, service, and/or the people around it. Customer stories, in particular, can enhance your strategy by offering a peer-to-peer connection that you just can’t get out of other types of copywriting.

5. Make it Personal

Unlike press releases, where words like “I,” “you,” and “they” are strongly discouraged, you can feel free to get personal with your email copy. This furthers your mission of creating content that’s written by real people for real people, making your copy seem more like a message between friends than just another piece of marketing material.

6. Keep it Short and Simple

There’s a place for long and elaborate descriptions — and your emails aren’t it. Effective email copy is short, punchy, to the point, and should clearly let your subscribers deduce what the email is about and what further action you want readers to take. If you bog down your copy in elaborate language and drawn-out verbiage, you’ll end up losing your readers’ interest or confuse them so that they’re not exactly sure what they’re looking at or why it matters.

7. Highlight Your Call-to-Action

Every section of your email copy has an important role to play, but it’s your call-to-action that really needs to jump off of the page. At the end of the day, email marketing content is about inciting leads to take action. If you don’t make it clear what that action is, you’re going to end up with much lower conversion rates. This speaks to point number seven, but also the necessity of designing and crafting a call-to-action that’s eye-catching and obvious.

Place a priority on creating email copy that’s driven to delight and engage. If you can keep your leads’ interest, you’ve already overcome one of the major hurdles to moving them through the customer journey. And as always, have at least one extra set of eyes review your copy before hitting “send” so that you can be sure it comes off correctly.