Exciting News for Freelance Writers: Email Copywriting is Hard

Good news for freelance writers: Email copyrighting is HARD. Makealivingwriting.com

You probably write emails every day. But emails that make sales? That’s not so easy — and that’s good news for freelance writers looking for lucrative writing opportunities.

In a recent interview for the Litmus.com blog, Ann Handley (bestselling author of Everybody Writes), spoke about how hard is it to write an email.

In fact, it’s one of the most difficult tasks in marketing.

I couldn’t agree more.

In my experience, companies struggle every day to craft effective emails that engage their audiences, generate leads, and bring in the business.

To them, success is just a click away. But so is failure.

Why email is tough for companies

Consider what happens when you’re on the receiving end of an email marketing message. You’re thinking: Who is this from? What do they want? Why is this important to me now? Maybe I’ll just ignore it. Whoa, that delete button is tempting!

Even if the email is from a company you want to hear from, it requires a potent blend of engaging content and motivating copy to get you to open it, read it, and take the requested action.

Not easy to pull off.

In my own business as a marketing consultant and copywriter, I often get calls from prospective clients who say getting their newsletters, follow-up emails, and other email campaigns written — and written well — is one of their biggest challenges.

As one marketing VP of an association put it to me recently, “If we could get better email copywriting, our revenues would soar. But finding that skill set is tougher than we thought.” By the way, her association sends out more than a hundred marketing emails (newsletters, alerts, event promotions) each year.

The opportunity for freelance writers

At this point you might be thinking, “Okay, email copywriting is hard. Why is that good news for me, as a freelance writer?”

It’s simple. Companies need your help.

Or, to put it more specifically, they need the help of a freelance writer who:

  • Understands the basics of email marketing
  • Knows the best practices of crafting an email that works
  • Is a good writer

If you can hit those three notes professionally, you can tap what is, in my opinion, one of the best-paying specialties in copywriting today.

The reason is obvious. As a skilled email copywriter, you’re helping your clients get better email marketing results, which means more leads, orders, customer loyalty, brand awareness — and ultimately, more revenue — for them.

Is email copywriting really that hard?

Let me give you an example…

One of my clients sells a subscription-based service online. They offer a free 30-day trial, during which the prospect receives a series of emails encouraging them to sign-up for the paid version.

The company tried writing those emails in-house, but didn’t get good results. So they hired me. I rewrote those emails and sign-ups increased by 27%.

I was their hero! Yet, all I really did was apply some simple email copywriting techniques that any good writer can learn. Honestly, it’s not rocket science. You just need to be able to put the right words together. And that’s what we freelance writers excel at.

So if you’re interested in offering email copywriting services, where do you begin?

Breaking into email copywriting

Well, you’re already a third of the way there. You’re a good writer. All you need to do is master the other two criteria I mentioned earlier: learn the fundamentals of email marketing (just the general basics), and learn how to craft effective emails.

In a few weeks you can get good at this. In a few months, you can get great. (And great email copywriters are in high demand these days.)

Will you enjoy email copywriting? I don’t know. I enjoy it. I like the short format (usually less than a page), the conversational style, and yes, the challenge of crafting a message that gets opened and read.

It’s not the only type of project I handle, but it is one of my favorites — and one of my most lucrative.

My suggestion? Give email copywriting a try. At the very least, it can potentially become a well-paying complement to the other writing you do.

Steve Slaunwhite is a marketing consultant, award-winning copywriter, and author/co-author of 7 books including the bestseller The Wealthy Freelancer (Penguin/Alpha).

Freelance Writers Den

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44 comments on “Exciting News for Freelance Writers: Email Copywriting is Hard
  1. Hi Carol
    I subscribe to your regular email newsletters and find them very useful as a freelance medical copywriter based in the UK. I’ve only just become aware of the Freelance Writers Den so missed the copywriting webinar by Steve. Will you be running any further boot camps or live/recorded webinars on email copywriting as part of this den? I’m not a den member yet but want to know if it’s worth the money. Being in the UK, I find seeing the ‘live’ US webinars can be difficult due to the time difference.
    Thanks.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Corinne, Steve’s bootcamp is archived and available in the Den to future members, along with all our other past bootcamps, so you can still see those materials.

      We have members from all over the world — and if you can’t make live sessions you can ask questions ahead of time and hear answers later. But we usually present at 11 Pacific which is mid-evening your time, so it’s technically possible to attend. And we have a non-US members forum that’s a busy place where writers based elsewhere share best practices on finding good clients.

      Our next bootcamp coming up is going to be on Business Blogging Mastery, and taught by me, FYI — I’ll be sharing everything I’ve learned over a decade of blogging for many business clients and driving 3 million visitors to my Forbes channel.

  2. robyne arias says:

    Good post , I learned a lot from the info . Does someone know where my business could get access to a fillable NJ CRI-150-I version to fill in ?

  3. Hi, thanks for the very inspiring article. I myself have done some freelance jobs and made the mistake of quitting because of pay. I’m a native spanish speaker and all I can tell you is that it can be done with hard work and determination.

  4. Steve Slaunwhite says:

    Hi Ravi,

    I know many writers from India who have clients in the United States, and vice versa. You can work with local companies, companies across the country, and companies internationals. There really are no restrictions.

    Steve

    • Steve Slaunwhite says:

      TYPO CORRECTION: … and companies internationally.

      • Ravi M says:

        Thanks for the good news. But what about my English? And is it must to SPEAK high level of the language to get copywriting clients, or writing-only approaches could also work?

        • Steve Slaunwhite says:

          Your English needs to be as good as the audience you’re writing to. As a copywriter, the audience is your client’s prospects and customers.

          • Ravi M says:

            Yes, but I am asking about my English. Is my English okay?

            These are my doubts in clear:

            * Usually writers would write greatly but they feel shy to speak especially when the language is not their first language. Is it possible to get clients by approaching them via emails without speaking to companies’ staff?

            * What if we have no experience?

            • Steve Slaunwhite says:

              Let be answer your second question first. We’ve all started with no experience. Where you start doesn’t matter as much as actually starting! I know that sounds like an empty platitude, but it’s true.

              As for your English, I’ve never spoken with you. So I have no idea how you come across during a live conversation. You may be able to get by dealing with clients only by email, but that’s going to be tough. What are you going to do when a client wants to discuss a project on the phone? If you’re worried about your conversational English skills, I recommend improving those skills. Put that on your to-do list for building your freelance business.

  5. Ravi M says:

    Hi Steve Slaunwhite

    Glad to know that you’re going to conduct Email Copywriting Bootcamp. I have a few thoughts in my mind.

    I heard that copywriting works only if you have firms in your area. Beginners cannot get copywriting clients from the firms outside the surroundings if they have no past experience. Is it true?

    I’m from India. I am not telling you that my English is great, but telling that my English is not bad. And I improved my English after I was advised to improve—to avoid writing mistakes—a few months ago by Carol Tice.

    The question is am I eligible to join this bootcamp? I have no past experience in copywriting.

    Regards
    Ravi M

  6. Great to see you back for another bootcamp, Steve! This one’s really timely – I just got a really big project writing the communications strategy and email series for the merger of two associations. Some of it’s just informational, but some of it is selling the benefits of the new combined association, so I’m sure I’ll pick up some great tips from you along the way. 😉

    • Steve Slaunwhite says:

      You will! In fact, I’ll cover your scenario during the bootcamp. (There are different techniques writing informational vs. promotional.)

  7. Dennis says:

    I am thinking of venturing into email copy-writing soon. I am sure this tips will help me a lot. Thanks for the list.

  8. maria says:

    Can’t wait to watch the replay. Ive been looking for the perfect niche to start my freelance writing career in, this might be it.

  9. Eldo says:

    Steve is a great writer and an
    excellent teacher.

    Would be interesting to have a
    list of the top 20 industries
    that use email copywriters
    regularly.

    Looking forward to the webinar,
    Carol & Steve. 🙂

    • Steve Slaunwhite says:

      Thanks for saying that, Eldo! I’ll be covering industries that are most likely to need email copywriting help in today’s webinar.

  10. Eric says:

    Nice, I’ve been trained but some really great people in regards to email copyrighting and yes, it does make a big difference.

    Responses are turning out at a much higher rate, relationships are building, and sales are driving up.

    Recommended.

  11. Sukhnandan Singh Chauhan says:

    I write literary novels , poetry books in safe condition with copyright reserved . If necessary guidelines you have then suggest me about it .
    S. S. Chauhan

    • Steve Slaunwhite says:

      I think you might be confusing “copyright” with “copywriting”. I lot of people get those two mixed up! Copyright refers to protecting intellectual property, like novels and poems. Copywriting refers to writing persuasive marketing materials.

  12. Joe says:

    This is a great opportunity. I’ve joined lots of lists to see how I can improve their email copywriting. Most people do it badly, or just don’t see the full possibilities for making money via this channel.
    The hardest part is getting businesses to pay me to do it for them. When I can write a cold email that persuades someone to trust me to do it for them, and actually gives me money…then I’ll know I’ve arrived. So far, this has been extremely difficult.
    Just who are these marketing VPs willing to pay writers to write their marketing emails?

    • Steve Slaunwhite says:

      Hi Joe,

      I’m be covering that in today’s webinar. But here’s the short answer: Don’t try to convert prospects into wanting to hire a freelance copywriter. That’s like trying to persuade someone to join a gym when they have no interest in exercise. Instead, find those marketing directors who are already looking for email copywriting help and just want to find the right professional. I’ll give you some tips on how to do that in today’s webinar.

  13. Helen McCrone says:

    I’d love to join your webinar, Steve. Unfortunately, it clashdd with a hospital appointment. Is there any way to see a recorded version of it later?

  14. Holly Bowne says:

    Yeah! So happy to see Steve Slaunwhite here! :o)

    I recently completed my very first email campaign for a current client. I’d never done one before. They appeared to like my work but I’m very interested to learn more about this niche (which I didn’t even realize was a niche!).

    • Carol Tice says:

      Since I’ve only written marketing emails for my own businesses and never for clients, I can’t wait to learn more about how to do this in a pro way. 😉

      • Ravi M says:

        Hi Carol

        Didn’t you write marketing emails for clients until now? I wonder.

        Thank you for coming always with no-BS bootcamps and courses to let us make careers in writing.

        • Carol Tice says:

          I really haven’t, Ravi — I’ve written marketing emails for my own courses and the Den and my ebooks, but for clients it’s always been informational stuff — articles, blog posts, white papers, case studies, and informational Web pages. So I’m excited for this one, too!

          The question is, what topic should I do NEXT…for the fall bootcamp. Mulling that now!

  15. Hey Steve, very happy to see you at Carol’s blog. 😀 Waiting eagerly for the webinar!

    I love writing emails, so this is definitely something I’d like to try.

    My big question is how to find email copywriting clients — it may not be clear that a business – currently without a mailing list or a newsletter – may need or want to create one. How can I find out?

    ~ Luana

  16. Robert says:

    Thank you for such a great article! E-mail copywriting is such a lucrative business that can intimidate any freelancer who’s not used to it. I am actually thinking of taking the plunge soon and seeing if I can cut it.

    • Steve Slaunwhite says:

      Thanks Robert. Email copywriting isn’t rocket science. There are some things you need to know, and skills you need to hone. But, in my opinion, any good, business-savvy writer can succeed in this niche.

  17. Sabrina says:

    Hi Carol,

    Is the purpose of the webinar to get us to sign up for a course on email copywriting? If so, how much is the course? And will we still get good information out of the webinar if we don’t want to sign up for it? Just don’t want to waste my time. Thanks. 🙂

    • Carol Tice says:

      I’d say the purpose is to introduce you to this opportunity and give you some basics about it — there IS a lot to know, so yes, there is an upcoming Den bootcamp. If you’re already a member, there’s no additional charge. 😉

      I never put on free events to only sell something — they have to deliver useful information.

  18. subrata says:

    Hi steve,

    Thanks for this great post. I have started my journey as a freelance writer recently but to paint myself as “email writer” before clients never crossed my mind. I will defenitly try this one as well.

    But what is the current pro and beginner rate of an “email writer”???. I usually charge $40-60 per 1000 word usually.

  19. Todd says:

    I hope you are right. Would be a good way to break in even more! Looking forward to the webinar tomorrow!

  20. Linda says:

    Thank you for sharing the info, Steve. Good to know there is another lucrative niche out there.

    Linda

  21. Venkatesh says:

    Hi Steve,

    Happy to see you here. An awesome post. Yes, email copywriting is a lucrative industry these days.

    Freelance writers need to try their hand on it.

    Best wishes,
    Venkatesh

    • Steve Slaunwhite says:

      Thank Venkatesh. Sounds like you have experience in this speciality. If you have any questions for me, let me know. I’ll do my best to cover them during the webinar tomorrow.