3 Tested Email Marketing Templates You Can Use Right Now

image of vintage post office sign

If there’s an art to email marketing, it’s being able to write messages that are simultaneously:

  • Interesting content, and
  • Persuasive sales pitches

Unfortunately, most emails are either pure content or pure pitch.

But when you merge those two elements, you can see a large (and long term) increase in sales.

I’m going to give you precise examples of what I mean.

And by “examples,” I mean “ready-to-use templates.”

Get ready to learn to write emails The Settle Way.

Just fill in the blanks in the following three “plug ‘n play” email templates with your own information — the details about your product, service, or market. Then load them up for your email list, and send — starting today.

They can help you sell almost any kind of product or service.

You may look at these and say they’re not in your voice — but that’s fine. Since they’re 100% generic, you can adapt and modify them as you see fit. Go ahead and tweak them until they sound like you, but keep the essential structure in place.

So, without further ado, here are three email marketing templates, each using different approaches:

1. The Story Email

Subject Line: The strange solution to your ________ problem

NOTE: fill in the blank with your market’s most pressing pain or problem.

Name,

Just like you, I used to suffer from ________.

The constantly ________ and the ________ were miserable.

NOTE: fill in the problems/symptoms your market is experiencing. This is a good spot to expand a little. Go into as much detail with this as you want, the more the merrier.

It was just miserable.

And I really feel for anyone else putting up with ________.

But you know what?

It doesn’t have to be this way.

You see, one day while I was ________ I had a kind of weird idea about how to solve my ________ problem. I decided to ________!

NOTE: Try to think of the most counterintuitive and unusual aspect of your product that most people would be shocked to hear and that can actually work/help with the problem.

So I tried it to see what would happen.

And much to my surprise … it worked!

In fact it worked so quickly I almost thought it was a fluke.

But it wasn’t a fluke.

It DOES work.

And I believe it can eliminate your ________ problem, too.

I show you exactly what I did and how you can do the same thing in my ________ product over at:

Link to your website here.

But hurry.

Right now it’s priced low.

That won’t be the case forever.

Grab it today and watch your ________ problem vanish by tomorrow.

Your name here.

P.S. If you buy ________ today, I’ll also give you ________.

NOTE: Describe your bonus in as much detail as you want — fascinating bullets are always good here.

But you can’t put this off.

Go here for the details:

Link to your website here.

2. The Historical Solution Email

Subject Line: How the ancient ________ conquered ________

NOTE: This email takes some thought and research, but it’s well worth it. Talk about how an ancient culture or notable person solved the problem or achieved the benefit your product gives customers.

Name,

Ever hear about the ancient ________?

They were kind of an unusual people with some rather unusual philosophies.

Especially about ________.

You see, they didn’t suffer from ________ problems.

I suspect they probably even laughed at all the other tribes/nations/countries around them who DID suffer from ________.

What was their secret?

Well, believe it or not it had to do with ________.

NOTE: Be purposely vague, do NOT get too detailed with this, just a generalization of how they solved the problem.

I’ve actually done a ton of research on this while creating my ________ product.

And I must say their solution to ________ IS weird.

But it works like crazy.

You can see what they did at:

Link to your website here.

Your name here.

P.S. How does that saying go?

Those who refuse to learn the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them in the future? You can avoid the pain and frustration of ________ by doing what the ancient ________ did.

I’ll show you exactly what they did at:

Link to your website here.

3. The Credible Testimonial Email

NOTE: This email template uses a testimonial from someone with “celebrity” status within your niche/market. These kinds of testimonials are extremely powerful. And when used with the following template, can persuade even the most hardcore skeptics to give your product a shot …

Subject: ________ Digs ________

NOTE: The first line is the name of a testimonial provider with celebrity appeal, the second is the product they gave you a testimonial for.

Name,

Here’s a question that came in:

“Ben, is there really anything in your ________ product that most of us don’t already know who study ________ all the time?”

I can’t possibly answer that.

After all, I don’t know what you know.

But, I will say it’s certainly been unique and helpful to people who have “seen it all” when it comes to ________ and ________ products and courses.

NOTE: Fill the blanks in with your product’s topic, i.e. “blogging” “SEO”, “dog training”, etc.

Take, for example, ________.

NOTE: Celebrity name.

He/she is no fluke.

NOTE: Talk up the celebrity here — who is he/she, what have they done, what their credentials are?

Not exactly your “average” person, is he?

Probably, he’s seen quite a few ________ products.

And here’s what he says:

NOTE: Place the celebrity testimonial here.

There you have it.

Proof that ________ is NOT just more of the usual suspect info.

But you can only get it at a ________ discount until tonight.

Click this link to get it for only ________ while you still can:

Link to your website here.

Your name here.

And away you go …

That’s all there is to it — three fill-in-the-blank email marketing templates designed to give your readers an interesting read, while simultaneously selling your product or service.

Give them a shot and watch what happens.

I think you’ll be pleased with the results.

For even more advanced training on how to write emails people love reading and buying from, click the link in my bio below and subscribe to my email list.

About the Author: Ben Settle is a direct response copywriter and email marketing strategist. Although Ben no longer accepts clients, he gives away over 700 pages of his bestselling ideas and insights free at BenSettle.com.

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Comments

  1. Awesome. I’ve tested different versions of email marketing letters, and it is always great to get a fresh perspective. It’s difficult to market directly to college students. But I think with a little tweaking, these letters might prove very worthwhile in the end.

    Thanks!

  2. Just keep in mind that successful templates are often overused (like good, free web design templates). Most of your customers are smart enough to sniff out a generic e-mail campaign. Make sure you add your brand and your personality into your e-mail marketing so you can stand out!

    • It also depends on your audience. If you’re selling to folks who are likely to read Ben, or to read Copyblogger, they’ll spot it. If you’re in a market that has nothing to do with marketing, it’s much less likely.

      The addition of a few lines of your own voice will radically change the flavor of a simple template like this, in my experience. The simplicity of the framework is what makes it easy to customize.

      • I think that’s the key with these, it doesn’t have to be easy to detect if you can customize it to match your brand correctly, but at the same time the fact that you framed your message using one of these strategies won’t be obvious to most people due to the fact that (relatively) few people are used to selling things online.

  3. Ugh. Really? I’ve got to be honest – all three of these are a huge turn off for me. These kind of emails go straight into the recycle bin (and possibly spam folder) within about 5 seconds. But perhaps I’m part of the 95% you know you won’t attract the interest of.

    • Agreed!

    • Out of curiosity, do you ever buy from email? If you do, what works well for you?

    • And follow-up question, do you ever sell from email? And again, what have you found is working best?

      There are always multiple ways, and usually multiple right ways. I’m curious about what yours are. :)

      • Hey Sonia!

        I do buy from email – it’s not a medium I have a bone to pick with. I would say that any purchase I make via email comes from a trusted source. And just to qualify that further, if a trusted source sent me an email based upon one of the above templates, I would be extremely disappointed, they would go way down in my estimation, and I certainly wouldn’t be buying from them.

        I can give you an example of what I would consider “good” sales copy actually. I was recently very tempted to buy something through James Clear of Passive Panda’s email list. This was probably a mixture of good sales copy, my trust of the product James was endorsing (created by Chris Guillebeau), and my desire to achieve what was being promised.

        What stopped me from buying? The fact that I already have my own clear direction, and distracting myself with a whole new strategy would probably not be good for me in the long run. In fairness to James, he probably couldn’t have sold that product to me if he had tried all day. But it did get me going along that track, until the logical side of my brain kicked in. And maybe I will buy something off him in the future…

        And to answer your second question – I don’t sell from email. I actually haven’t monetized my blog at all; my newsletter is a completely free guide. No product, no affiliate endorsement, nothing. Why am I here? One day I will sell :-) And I think my method would be to rely upon the trust I have built with my readers, combined with honest and heartfelt copy that reflects the belief in my product, or the product that I am endorsing. As you no doubt know, it’s a lot easier to sell when you 100% believe in what you’re selling!

    • I agree with you 100%. I would see right through all of these emails. Then again I’ve been a marketing consultant, so the average prospect might not.

      @Sonia, to answer your question, I personally don’t usually buy from email, but when I do the messaging is straightforward and gives me a clear rundown of the benefits and what’s included.

      The emails above are also too long. Think about how many emails you receive on a daily basis (work email, personal email, notifications from social networks, other promotional emails, etc.). Are you really going to take the time to read the above (and those are just templates, not even filled in yet)?

      • I’d be very wary of shortening these without testing.

        Copy that sells nearly always looks too long, in my experience. And yes, people who aren’t very interested in the solution will skim it & move on.

        Not to say there’s no possible way these could be improved … of course there is. They could be deployed, tested, tweaked, and deployed to a fresh segment of the list to find what works best for that list.

    • Agreed. Especially that first one. Why is it always a “weird” tip? I’ve seen that for teeth whitening, losing weight, etc., etc. and it’s always an irritant or a turn off. No way would I use them.

  4. Ben,

    Thanks for sharing these examples. The first 2 really pique one’s curiosity nicely. For the 3rd, I think you’d see a better response by adding “Why” to the beginning of the subject line, i.e. “Why _____ Digs _____” — especially if there’s some question as to whether the person in question is a known quantity for your readers.

  5. Oh wow, I’ve been trying to get a response from my email list for months and this is going to be a HUGE help. This truly is an art form and it takes a lot of work to get it right! Seriously, thanks for this. Bookmarked for sure.

  6. The thing I liked best about the first template was the idea of incorporating a counterintuitive or unusual component. And I love the testimonial one.

    The one addition I’d make, and maybe this plays to Tom’s point, would be adding a bit more valuable content. It does make the email longer, but it can also keep people reading. I know that the more someone gives me valuable information in the email itself, the more likely I am to keep reading the email… and get to their pitch. And providing a content is an easy thing to do.

    Thanks for the templates, Ben. I was just working on a sales letter to send out and will take a tip or two from this, of course not copying because, like Sonia says, they may be reading!

  7. I like the first one best. Very relatable, very straightforward, less spammy in my opinion. Tucking it away to use down the road (with my own spin, of course). Great resource!

  8. I agree with Tom. I’d delete these, or read them just to laugh. I respond to emails that sound authentic. All of these sound like the have the word scam written all over them. Unfortunately, people do seem to respond to them because people like hype. I don’t want to land those types of customers, so I won’t use these approaches. Best wishes to those who do use them though.

    • I don’t really agree with using anything as a true template — my writing style is very different from Ben’s, so any attempt to mimic him would be silly.

      But the structure and key elements work. So, pay attention to that and spin it your own way. Dismissing something that works outright is not what smart marketers do. They adapt what works to their audience.

      • I’m not saying these techniques don’t work. It’s evident that people score customers with these tactics, as the Internet is flooded with messages that resemble the techniques Ben’s using in his templates. If this type of messaging fits a marketer’s brand and attracts the type of customers he’s after, who remain loyal buyers and refer new business, that’s great. I’m merely saying it does not work for me because such messaging makes me feel more like a fraud than a solution-provider.

        • Effective copywriting makes you feel like a fraud? Because that’s what this is.

          Sonia could take these exact approaches, put them in her voice and style, and no one would get an icky feeling about it.

          Adaptation for your audience is the art.

          • Krista Carnes :

            “Adaptation for your audience is the art” – just printed that out in 38pt font and posted it next to “The Writer Runs This Show” – my other recent gem from you, Brian. Thanks! (Or, perhaps more appropriately, mahalo!)

          • Awesome, Krista. :) You’re going to get some great use out of that.

    • The way I find it useful to work with something like this is to work through line by line and do the same thing (for example, have a call to action where he puts a call to action), but write it all fresh so it sounds like me.

      If you’re doing effective content marketing already, that should be very easy.

      • You made it click for me more, Sonia, by talking about that approach. Looking at the intention of the line or paragraph and reworking it for my own style. Now that makes a lot of sense.

        • I did a whole sales letter that way, it worked brilliantly. :) Took something that converted well, rewrote it section by section in my own way. The conversion element stayed, even though the language was totally mine.

  9. Sounds too pitchy-it’s been done. I’d be skeptical.

  10. First, I find this to be a very informative post. I would like to share it with some friends. The only thing is I like to share articles via emailing “article” directly to friends that I think would enjoy the information. I do not see the “share by email” button… have I overlooked that feature, or have you not added it? If you have not added it can you please explain why it has not been added with the other sharing features in the Bookmark and Promote area?

  11. Very helpful post, Ben always delivers great stuff!
    -AJ

  12. I always find it difficult having to write marketing emails out of the blue. These templates act as a good outline to follow. Thanks

  13. Krista Carnes :

    I think the main takeaway of the templates is the style suggestion they hold – the conversational tone, a real “voice”, action oriented but not shaming, the feeling as though someone just popped into your life (inbox) to make things a little easier (or a little more fun, or less stressful, what have you). That, coupled with the brevity makes for a successful pitch.

    In vamping these for our own use, it might help to keep one person, one client, or one customer in mind – converse with them singularly and then see what transpires.

  14. “they’re too long”

    “I’d see right through these”

    “they make me feel fraudulent not like a service provider”

    “I’d delete them on sight”

    “Too pitchy”

    These responses are kind of amusing.

    Telling stories (template structure #1), using testimonials (template structure #2), and giving interesting facts (template structure #3) in emails have worked for a long time — even selling to “sophisticated” people who think emails with a sales pitch are the devil. How telling a story or showing testimonials (so the customer feels safe buying from you) or giving them an interesting lesson on how others conquered the problem they are suffering from can be seen as spammy or pitchy or whatever is beyond me.

    I sell to “marketing” people every day with emails like these.

    (People who know and see all the usual “tricks.”)

    I also sell to consumer markets every day with these kinds of emails, too.

    What’s the difference?

    None.

    They don’t feel tricked and they don’t “see through”‘ anything.

    Because there’s nothing to see through.

    There’s no tricks here.

    I don’t deal in tricks in the sense of “fooling” someone, I think they are harmful as they dial down the trust notch a little every time they’re used. (And rightfully so.)

    So these aren’t tricks.

    Just structures — kind of like cake molds and are neutral in that sense.

    You can fill them in with nonsense and hype or to give your reader an interesting experience relevant to their pains, problems, desires, etc that makes it easier for them to want to buy from you instead of your competitor.

    Anyway, it’s not worth debating — you either test them or don’t.

    That’s my too many cents…

  15. Great templates in all. I’m particularly fond of the “take action” email template, but that’s only really applicable in very specific scenarios.

  16. These templates are yet another example of Ben unique and incredible genius in the the email sales game. Those of you who are delivering the heavy-handed criticism are thinking about this way too hard, and are TOTALLY missing the point.

    The templates Ben’s offering up here are classic copywriting devices that have successfully engaged and connected with consumers for ages, and will continue to do so for ages to come. Furthermore, I guarantee if you you received an email hawking a product relevant to you, framed in one of these formats, you would be totally HOOKED. And anyone who refuses to admit this fact is being way too cool for school.

    For anyone who hasn’t signed up for Ben’s daily email list – do so right now! Before you check your email for the thousandth time, crack open your next door, or wander to the bathroom – do it right now! It’s literally chock full of invaluable insight and inspiration, and delivered countless Ah-Ha moments to me personally.

  17. Ben Settle has such a distinctly brilliant manner of writing that I can generally sniff it out a mile away.

    Within the first couple lines of this post, without knowing the author, I immediately thought of Settle when I read “Unfortunately, most emails are either pure content or pure pitch.”

    My first thought, reading this on my little iPod touch while bumping around on the school bus this morning, was “This has to be Ben Settle’s writing…”

    It has almost become a part of my daily routine reading Mr. Settle’s emails.

    Get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, get on the bus, pull out my iPod, read a Godin post or a Copyblogger post, maybe study some geometrical postulates for my math test later… But, I ALWAYS seem to read Ben Settle’s emails.

    They’re enjoyable and educational at the same time.

    Great work Mr. Settle, and thanks for being so awesome.

    - Jared Silver,
    The Teenage Internet Marketer

    P.S. – To the people whining and complaining about the templates: Do you have anything better to offer?

  18. Wow, I should have seen this post sooner. I can definitely apply these templates and styles of writing to potential buyers, even with such a boring niche (real estate). This will actually make it a bit interesting, which I hope would lead to more sales. Thanks Ben!

  19. Could not resist opening up the page to comment. Here I was, following a seven day course from a person who claimed to have been there, experienced all the pain etc. The first method does relate exactly to how he is marketing his product. Yep. Marketing his product – w/o even possibly knowing how the pain feels. But he says he knows it, so plenty of people fell for the product – including me?!

    Thanks a lot. While I have been improving my copies, your inputs are further helping me understand the market – right from wrong and more importantly, TRUE from FAKE.

    Thanks again.

    Arun Kumar

    • You seem to be assuming the person marketing to you is not telling the truth, but I’m not sure why.

      Ben’s not telling people to be dishonest here. :) He’s just giving some templates for a more effective way to present our businesses.

  20. Thanks for the templates, you guys are awesome, or as they used to say in the 50′s, “you are the bees, knees.”
    I immediately copied and pasted one of your templates for an email to my list of possible dead list of followers and now I’m waiting on their reaction.

  21. I do think these are well-written sales letters, but on my first read-through they felt “pure pitch” to me – the content didn’t seem very educational the way it is presented. I think it may be because the style is so different from mine, so I think I’ll try Sonia’s suggestion in an earlier comment about concentrating on the structure and completely rewriting in my own style and see how that works.

  22. Ben,

    I like the email templates. I agree that they may not sound like me and I may have to edit them some to make them what I want, but it is always easier to edit something then to come up with it from scratch.

    To all of the people who have been so critical I would say these are templates. Edit them to make them what you want them to be.

    I am always looking for ideas and think these are great templates.

    Thanks,

    Dee Ann Rice

  23. Great Ideas,Great templates,Thanks

  24. Nice post with great ideas. I am definitely going to implement them in the future. Thanks a lot !!

  25. great and useful template but make sure not to overuse these…..

  26. Great templates. I’ve been looking for new formats for some of my work and i may well give these a try. I don’t see anything wrong in trying something new and giving it a shot. The thing with email marketing is to try something, if doesn’t work very well, then try someting else. That is what I love about this job.

  27. Thanks so much for sharing these templates Ben. I’ll report back shortly with the results from testing them to my various lists. Best wishes.

  28. These are great templates to spark email marketing messages. I especially like the last which features a testimonial – nothing beats the influence of reviews, especially for online stores. Perhaps if I were to write an email, I’ll add this line “You can also share your experience on ______ via our Facebook Page, (etc.)”

  29. Great stuff Ben.

    I think this works for those who like your 3 examples
    as well as those who did not. The person who likes
    can learn from it and put their own spin to it and the
    person who does not like it can look at it and see how they can
    make it better to their standards with their own little tweaking.

    At the end of the day you info rocks and I thank you for sharing.

  30. You can’t be serious. These old come-ons are exactly the sort of thing I got in the early ’80s. Suffering from X, secrets of the ancients, a promise all solution. We laughed at them then. If I saw them today they would go right in the garbge, AND I’d think the person WAY out of date.

  31. E-mail marketing is another marketing tool use to generate leads. Doing this task is not easy. Though, if done right plus the compelling content no doubt, prospects will follow.

    By the way, thanks Ben for the post. It made me think for while and hoping to tweak some of my email copies.