Writing for Emails
Email is one of the most effective ways we communicate with Zapier users. Every week, we send different types of emails to keep people in the loop about new content, feature updates, and changes to their account.
Goal of Email
Every email has a primary goal. Whether you want someone to read a blog post, use a new feature, or review their account usage, keep your messaging simple.
If you start adding multiple links, buttons, and messages to an email, your reader won’t know what to do next. Define one reason why you’re sending this email.
What We Send
Our emails fall into three categories:
We send these emails to direct readers to published blog content, webinars, and share our monthly updates. These are usually promotional in nature.
- Monthly marketing emails
- Blog post emails and tips for increasing productivity
- Event invitations
We send these emails to update customers about new features and provide product education. These are usually informative in nature.
- Weekly product update digest to share new integrations and updates we make to existing integrations.
- Announcements about the product or features
- Automated email series to help new customers learn how to get started and use Zapier
We send these emails as a reaction to an action. A transactional email would trigger when a Zap runs into an error, or when a customer requests a password reset. These are usually caused by some behavior.
- Password resets
- Payment confirmations and invoices
- System alerts about Zaps and account activity
Email Writing Guidelines
When you’re writing emails, follow the points outlined in the Voice and Tone and Grammar and Mechanics sections of this guide.
Here are some additional points to consider before sending an email, too.
Know why you’re sending
Send with purpose. Identify why your reader would be interested in this message.
Send relevant content
Not everyone is interested in every message we send. Use segmentation and good timing to give readers content they want, when they want it. If you want to keep readers engaged, send emails that add value.
Be a good guest
Your reader invited you into their inbox. Respect their interests and remember that they can ask you to leave at any time.
Get to the point
Don’t dawdle. Find the fastest way to get your message across and guide your reader to the next point in their journey. You don’t need to tell the whole story in an email.
If you’re sending a long email, keep the hierarchy in mind and put the most important information at the top.
Make it scan-able
Most people scan an email for interesting content before they read it. Use clear headings and styling to communicate the overall message and capture attention.
Ask yourself: Can the reader decide on a course of action by scanning the email or do they need to read multiple paragraphs to understand?
Know the next step
Most emails should have a single purpose and a focused goal for the reader to achieve. This could anything from reading a blog post to fixing a Zap. Know where you want your reader to end up.
Write like you speak
Use conversational, everyday language. Use contractions where they make sense. If you’re sending an email on behalf of Zapier, use “we”. If you’re sending an email as an individual, use “I”.
Pro Tip: Read your email out loud to yourself to see if the content flows naturally. If it’s hard to read out loud, revise the content.
Emails are permanent (yikes!)
We can’t pull an email out of someone’s inbox—once it’s sent, it’s final. Double-check your email before you send it, and get a teammate to proof it, too.
Elements of a Good Email
Every email has the following elements. Make sure you have them in place before you press send.
This quickly identifies who the email is from. This is usually “Zapier” or, when you’re sending an email as an individual, the name of the sender—like “Melanie at Zapier”.
In most cases, you want to use “Zapier” as it is the most recognizable name to the reader.
The subject line is the most important element of an email. Take time to think about the best subject for your email. Here are some general guidelines for writing a good one:
- A subject line should be captivating and informative. You’re fighting for attention with every message in your reader’s inbox.
- But don’t say too much. Try to pique interest without telling the whole story. Give them a reason to open your email.
- Lean towards helping the subscriber rather than selling to them.
There’s no perfect subject line length, but ideally you want to aim for 30–50 characters, including spaces.
All subject lines should be lowercase after the first word (sentence case)—unless the subject line itself is a title or headline. If the subject is a title or headline, follow our guide for headlines.
Preview text appears under your subject line in the inbox and gives you a second chance to capture the reader’s attention. Make sure this relates to the subject and provides additional information to help the reader decide whether they want to open the email.
Some email clients show up to 140 characters, but others only display around 40. To get the most out of preview text, follow these guidelines:
- Think of the preview text as a second subject line. Write with the same strategy.
- Put the most important content up front, so the message still has value even if the last chunk is cut off by an email client.
- Make it long enough to still fill the space provided by email clients with more room.
- Don’t repeat what you’ve already said in the subject. Use this space to be creative, compliment your subject line, and further encourage someone to open your email.
Tips for subject lines and preview text
- Use personalization. This can increase open rates by up to 20%
- Sum up the email without giving too much away. Leave a reason to open the email.
- Be honest. Never try to trick our readers into opening an email. The subject line should accurately describe what the email is about so the reader knows what to expect when opening the email. Don’t break trust with your reader.
In email, every word matters. Aim to be clear and concise in the way you communicate. Stay focused on the goal of the email and write short, simple sentences.
Write in a natural human language. If you would say “you’re” instead of “you are” when talking to a friend, then use “you’re”. Email content is meant to be casual and friendly—so write like you’d talk.
Avoid large paragraphs of text—aim for 3-5 lines per paragraph. Use headings to break up sections, and use images to support your content.
Calls to action
Be very clear what the next step is or the action you want the reader to take. It should be clear what will happen when the reader clicks a link or button.
Avoid generic calls to action like “click here” or “learn more”. Be creative in the call to action to encourage the reader to take the next step.
Images should supplement your content—they should never be the main content. Many email clients block images by default, so make sure your email still makes sense without images.
Use alt text to display any content in an image when people are unable to see it.
Create images that are twice the size you need so they’ll look crisp on high-resolution displays. For example, make the image 1,200px wide if you need an image for a 600px space.
Run images through TinyPNG or another image-optimization service before using in an email.
All emails must follow the CAN-SPAM rules and include an unsubscribe link, mailing address, and permission reminder in the footer of each email.
Exception: Transactional emails, such as billing receipts and password resets, do not require an unsubscribe mechanism.