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Four Timeless Email Copywriting Commandments

January 4, 2012  

Any successful email campaign begins with a good offer. But you won't close the sale or earn the click-through if your copy doesn't do its job.

For instance: Are you discussing features without explaining benefits? Or placing your call to action "below the fold" where subscribers won't see it unless they scroll?

In a post at The Point, J. Sewell outlines his 10 Commandments of email copywriting—including key takeaways like these:

Don't bury the "lede." In journalistic lingo, burying the lede means obscuring an article's most important information in the fifth or eighth paragraph when it belongs in the first paragraph. The same rule applies to your email message: Within the first few sentences, subscribers should understand your offer, why they want it, and how to get it.

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  • by Scott Wed Jan 4, 2012 via web


  • by Vahe, MarketingProfs Wed Jan 4, 2012 via web

    Hi, Scott. Check out and readers' social-media comments below the definition. Also see

  • by Scott Wed Jan 4, 2012 via web

    Thanks, Vahe. I had no idea. I guess I'd never seen "bury the lede" in print before.

  • by Derek M. Thu Jan 5, 2012 via web

    This new design and format is kinda terrible- especially since you no longer contain the full write ups in these get to the points. The best thing about these emails before was they were an insightful, quick read (in one place- your readers inbox). You all should take some of your own advice and not force readers to go to a website to finish reading these. You already have the marketingprofs newsletter that shares your articles in a link format- which now you pretty much have turned these into. I am sadly disappointed..

  • by Mary Thu Jan 5, 2012 via web

    I agree with Derek M. I don't like the new email format at all. The beauty of the old style was I could quickly read the article and get on with my day. And because of this simplicity, I read almost every one. Now your emails are in danger of becoming like many of the other enewsletters that I subscribe to but don't really read.

  • by Jim Thu Jan 12, 2012 via web

    Why do I have to go through multiple pages and sign-ups to get to the content? I used to retweet your articles but if you make it so hard for people to read the content I will stop. It reflects on me if I send pain in the backside links!

  • by Keith Atkinson Mon Feb 13, 2012 via web

    SHould it be Lede or Lead?

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