Email Copywriting: The 4 Best Proven Email Copywriting Formulas for E-commerce

The 4 Best Proven Email Copywriting Formulas for E-commerce.

If you want success for your email marketing, you need to use proven email copywriting formulas.

Why email? Well, despite continual death knells, email marketing still generates £29bn in sales every year.

You’ve already embraced the power of segmentation. Only the right people get the right emails at the right time. Thanks to integration, your e-commerce and email platforms work seamlessly.

But getting the most out of your email marketing depends on how you write them. So proven email copywriting formulas are a major factor in achieving higher sales.

But that blinking cursor is taunting you. The empty ‘compose’ box isn’t getting any less empty. You’ve got the back-end right, but you still don’t know what to write for this new sequence. What’s the use? No one reads emails anymore, do they?

Remember, your customers don’t just want your emails. They need them. So, you change your opinion of writing them. Sketching out a framework takes a matter of minutes. Filling in the gaps is a pleasure as you’re excited to talk to your customers. They reply and tell you how they use your product, teaching you things even you didn’t know.

The difference? Copywriting formulas. They’re a tried and tested way of getting your audience from their current state of mind to a preferred state of mind. With a specific framework to follow, they take the guesswork out of writing copy.

And the beauty of copywriting formulas is they work. Some of them come from the golden era of advertising when people still read long-form adverts.

There are at least over 25 formulas in use in current marketing best practice. So, how do you know which formulas work best in e-commerce emails? We’ll show you the top 4.

Proven email copywriting formulas No1 – NES

No, not Nintendo Entertainment System. This refers to Nurture – Excite – Sell. You can drip it out across a series of emails or – if you’re brave – use it in the same message. It works well in onboarding sequences or a welcome series.

Step 1 – Nurture your subscriber. Give them the content they signed up for. Get them used to clicking links in your emails. Don’t ask them to buy anything. If this was dating, it would be the ‘getting to know each other’ phase.

Step 2 – Excite them. Give them solutions to their problems. Prove you’re an authority on the topic. A curated newsletter is a great way to get them excited about receiving your emails. If you’re a clothing store, you might send them styling ideas or trend alerts. Collect resources about the type of fashion you sell. Think of this as the relationship.

Step 3 – Sell to them. Make your offer. You’ve gotten to know each other and shown why they can trust you. Because you know what you’re talking about. Making the sale is like popping the question. It’s asking them for a commitment.

The reason this formula works is that it moves a cold subscriber through the spectrum to a warm lead. Yes, you probably gave them a discount code to get them to sign up. But to turn them from a one-off customer to a long-term fan, you take time before you ask for the sale. The length of this sequence depends on your product and why they signed up. It might take three emails across a week. Or it might need more emails throughout a trial period.

It also means you’re not stuck for what to write next. Draft the structure, outline the emails, automate, and away you go!

Proven email copywriting formulas No2 – AIDCA

Perhaps the most famous of the copywriting formulas, AIDA is the one we’ve mentioned most around here. This is a modified formula that works well in e-commerce. It stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Conviction, Action. Outside of e-commerce, this is best used across a series of emails. But for e-commerce, you can use it within the same email.

First, you get the subscriber’s Attention. This is your subject line to snag their attention in their inbox. That’s why good email subject lines are crucial.

Next, you earn their Interest with a laser-focused introduction. Answer the question, “Why should I be interested in this email?”

Generate Desire for your product through the main email. That could be available products or the items on special offer. Show them other things they can buy that are similar to what they’ve already bought.

Appeal to their Conviction to buy. Don’t give them the opportunity to think “Well, I don’t really need a new pair of jeans…”. If you’re promoting a single product, add customer reviews to the email. Or images that let the customer think “I could look that good too”.

Last, prompt them to take Action. This is a literal call-to-action button. If you can, make this the only thing they can click in your email. If you give them too many things to click, they might not click any of them.

It’s a basic formula, but it works.

Proven email copywriting formulas No3 – PAS

This classic copywriting formula works well in e-commerce. It depends on positioning your products as a solution to a problem. And you can spin anything into a problem/solution if you’re creative enough. It stands for Problem – Agitate – Solve.

Define the problem the subscriber has. Paint a picture so they feel the frustration associated with the problem. Say you sell plant-based skincare. You’d start off by talking about the problems faced by those with skin complaints. Write them as if you suffer too.

Agitate by making it worse. What might happen if the subscriber does nothing about the problem? In the above example, you’d heap on the extra problems faced when sufferers try too many ‘solutions’ at once. Or they waste money on things that don’t work and create further issues.

Finally, show why and how your product solves the problem. Maybe your skincare products don’t contain preservatives that irritate existing conditions. Or they’re chock full of the vitamins skin needs to thrive. Whatever it is, paint an even better picture of the solution.

If you’ve got a before/after image, now is the time to use it.

Then add your call-to-action.

This formula is ideal for a single email format. You don’t want to leave subscribers on a downer after the Problem and Agitate phases. Include Solve in the same message. Go out on a high note.

Proven email copywriting formulas No4 – PAPA

This stands for Problem – Advantages of solving the problem – Proof you can solve it – Action. Start by describing, or painting a picture, of a problem. Say you’re Warby Parker and you sell glasses online. Your customers already know their problem – they don’t have 20/20 vision. So, their problem might be finding affordable glasses. Or worrying they’re committed to a style they haven’t tried on yet.

Move onto the advantages of solving the problem with you. For Warby Parker, this is where you’d mention happy customers getting the glasses they want at a good price. Or trying on glasses for free at home before committing to buying them. You might mention you donate a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair bought.

These problems aren’t unique, but your solution is.

Provide proof you can solve the problem. Reviews or testimonials are great here. If the customers have bought from you before, remind them of their purchase.

Then ask them to take action and buy.

This formula works well in single emails. It invites the subscriber to empathise through a shared problem. And it lets them see how they’re better off solving the problem with you. Remember, customers are probably subscribed to other brands selling the same things.

This formula also works elsewhere. You can boil it down to its essentials and use it on landing pages or even in sign-up widgets for your email list. Sprinkle it through your social media posts. Or use it in blog posts and adverts.

Think of these formulas as content frameworks for your e-commerce email marketing

You might baulk at using formulas in case your copy sounds trite or… well… formulaic. But these formulas have worked for decades because they play to human psychology. You’re in business to help people, and the best way to do that is to reach the part of them that will accept your help. Think of psychology as the bridge between their ‘before’ and your ‘after’.

Looking for a new email marketing partner to help you achieve these lofty goals? Then get in touch. We’ll get you set up with all the tools you need to send emails your customers will look forward to reading.

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