How To Turn A “Bad” Email Into A “Good” Email (With Examples!)

Good vs Bad email copy

What’s the difference between a “good” and a “bad” email?

While performance can be a great indicator, sometimes it’s not as clear cut, as a “bad” email may still get opens, clicks, etc.

However, when you compare the performance of a “bad” email to an email that’s been optimized for clarity and conversion, the results are usually pretty clear cut (this is especially true for e-commerce).

To show you what I mean, I picked an email from my inbox and broke down everything from the subject line to the email content to show you how you can make an email more effective in just a few minutes.

But first, what’s the email?

Today, we’re breaking down an email from a floral company that has great products, but could use a little help in the email department.

This particular email was meant to promote their sustainable flower collection and a partnership with a florist, but that crucial information is completely buried in the email (more on that in a sec).

For reference, here’s the original email:


An example of a bad email from a copywriting perspectiveAt first glance, this email doesn’t seem so bad; the structure is good, it looks clean, and uses beautiful, high-quality imagery.

But if you look beyond the surface, there are plenty of ways we can optimize this email to make it more effective, starting with the subject line.

Let’s start with the subject line

The original subject line, “The AFloral newsletter” is pretty generic (and honestly, kind of lazy).

It could be used by any company and it doesn’t give me any sense of what’s inside the email or why I should care about it.

Here’s how I would update it to make sure I’m using more relevant and specific information to grab my attention:

Good vs Bad email subject line

To come up with this new subject line, I didn’t do much — I just read the blurb inside the email and learned what it was actually about (sustainable artificial flowers).

I also clicked on the link to “Nectar & Bloom” and read the first paragraph of Jen’s bio to learn that she’s based in California.

From there, I simply combined the two ideas (“Sustainable Bouquets”) with “Inspired By Cali Summers” to create a subject line that’s not only clearer and more specific, but has a visual and emotional component, as well (when you read it, your mind starts conjuring images of California, summer, flowers, gardens, beaches, etc).

It’s also tied to the season — now that it’s June, we all have summer on the mind, so why not use it in the subject line?

Now, let’s get into the actual content within the email

The first issue is the hierarchy of the email content; the most important information (the sustainable collection/partnership) is buried in the middle vs highlighted at the top.

The second issue is with the email header; this is the most important copy in the email, but it’s not being used to give us new information or reasons to care.

In many cases, it’s a good idea to repeat the same or similar information in the email header as in the subject line (this is a form of “message match”), but only if the subject line is good (and in this case, it’s not).

Check out the visual below (featuring the original email) to see what I mean:

Good vs bad email content - example 1

Here’s how I would update the copy to make sure I’m focusing on the most important information in a way that’s relevant to the audience, while making sure it feels connected to my new subject line:

Good vs bad email - updated examples

As you can see from the rewrite, the email is now much more focused and aligns with the original intent of the business (to promote this collection/partnership).

It’s also now more likely to capture the attention of the right customers: those who care about sustainability (or perhaps those who want that “California look” in their bouquets).

I didn’t have to change the images or structure of the email; I just changed the subject line and copy. It’s that easy!

Want to learn how to write more effective emails?

Fellow conversion copywriter and email marketing expert, Tarzan Kay, is offering a FREE live masterclass that will teach you how to build revenue-generating, long-term relationships with your email subscribers.

And the best part? Tarzan is offering 3 different sessions, so you can pick the date/time that works best for you.

This is not a paid promotion; it’s just something I think you may find valuable if you’re trying to write more engaging/more effective emails (plus, it’s free, so why not?).

Sign up today to save your FREE spot!

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