What do I write? Craft emails that open hearts, minds, and wallets with these free email copywriting templates

Can you write great email copy, even if you aren’t a copywriter?

David Ogilvy, the advertising legend, says yes. All you have to do is “tell the truth, but make the truth fascinating.”

The goal of writing better email copy isn’t to do whatever it takes to get clicks and conversions. The true goal of better email copywriting is to connect the needs of the subscriber with what you have to offer.

You don’t need to be a professional copywriter to make that happen. Trust us. Together, we’ll explore making the truth fascinating with these free email copywriting templates.

What you get:


Quickly write better email copy with these automation recipes

Welcome Series

This is a crucial moment within the customer lifecycle because it's an opportunity to introduce new, interested prospects to products and convert them into customers.

Abandoned Cart Reminder

Customers abandon carts all the time. What's more important to know is that you can still get them back -- with an automated abandoned cart reminder email.

Ready to put these email copywriting templates to use?

Start a 14-day free trial of ActiveCampaign. No credit card, no setup, no hassle.


According to McKinsey, every single week, most people spend nearly one full day writing emails.

Sound like you?

Can we give you that time back?

Staring at the blank page before you can be… intimidating.

There’s no reason to sweat the small stuff every single time you sit down to write an email, so let’s use the time-tested email copywriting templates below to help shortcut your next email.

What to put in your email

A great email copywriting template has four key components:

  1. Subject line
  2. Pre-header (most templates miss this)
  3. Email body
  4. Call to Action (CTA)

1. Subject line

How can a templated subject line ever work?

Aren’t people going to see through that?

Won’t it make you sound… generic?

Is this clickbait?

These are all great questions, but first let’s answer something crucial: Why do people open your emails?

A few reasons:

  • They’re expecting you to send them an email
  • They already know, like and trust you
  • Your subject line makes them curious enough to open the email

Since your subject line isn’t going to directly influence the first two points, let’s focus on the third: making the subscriber SO curious that they can’t help but open your email.

Here’s five ways to write subject lines that get your emails opened:

  1. Ask a curiosity-inducing question
  2. Start a sequence of events, but don’t finish (e.g. an unfinished story)
  3. Violate expectations
  4. Imply that you have information they don’t
  5. Imply that they used to know something that they’ve since forgotten

Write out your best email subject line, add in at least 3 of the above (bonus points if you can hit all 5!) and you’re well on your way to an irresistible email subject line.

Want more help? Check out our free email subject line generator.

2. Preheader

What’s an email preheader?

An email preheader is the small line of text that follows the subject line in your subscriber’s inbox:

Most email marketing platforms will allow you to add that text directly into your email before sending.

The most common question people have about the preheader is: how long should it be?

Your email preheader text should be between 40-130 characters long.

Here are four more email pre-header best practices:

  1. Add a call to action — Promise a benefit tied to the subject line that will help the subscriber understand the value of opening your email.
  2. Don’t repeat the subject line — Most inboxes only show 30-75 characters of your subject, but adding preheader text gives you another 100 characters. No need to repeat yourself!
  3. Make your subject line and preheader text work together — Some of the best preheaders continue the same sentence or thought process as the subject line for one cohesive message.
  4. Use the preheader to build curiosity — Remember the five tips above to create curiosity in your subject line? If there was one you didn’t get to use, add it to your preheader.

3. Email body

Now that we know somebody will open the email, what should we say? 

It can be hard to know exactly what to say in your email, but there’s a simple 3-step tried-and-true format that works perfectly for email copywriting:

  1. Hook — The hook inside our email will build on the curiosity that we’ve created with our subject and preheader, as well as possibly creating yet another open loop that will entice the subscriber to read through to the end.
  2. Story — Our goal in telling a story is also twofold: Build a connection with the reader and qualify yourself to help guide them to a solution to their problem.
  3. Offer — The offer can be anything that will help them get closer to their goal in reading your emails. It could be to purchase something, but could also be to take a specific action.

The hook, story, offer formula is extremely effective at building enough tension with the reader that they can’t wait to see the solution at the end of your email.

4. Call to Action

Alright, let’s do this!

Your subscribers have opened your email, engaged with your story and are ready to take the next step. But, we have to do more than just put a big button at the end of our email.

A strong call to action includes 3 things: 

  • Begin with a verb (action) such as call, contact, click, download, or read.
  • Imply urgency if there is reason to do so using words like “today,” or “now.”
  • Tell your audience WHY they should take the recommended action.

Want the plug-and-play version of this guide? Keep reading.

Get a sample email copywriting template

You shouldn’t have to feel like you’re gearing up for battle every time you try to write a new email.

The pro’s don’t.

And neither should you. 

Because as long as you’re including the right things in each email, the format really doesn’t matter.

Make sure you include everything that needs to be there with these email copywriting templates.

Ready to put these email copywriting templates to use?

Start a 14-day free trial of ActiveCampaign. No credit card, no setup, no hassle.