Exciting News for Freelance Writers: Email Copywriting is Hard

Carol Tice

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


  1. Corinne Swainger

    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.

    • Carol Tice

      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.

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