An Email Format When You Don’t Know What to Write

An Email Format When You Don’t Know What to Write

You’re the new chair of the National Chocolate Donut Association Conference. You’re stoked because you get a year’s worth of chocolate donuts as a bonus.

In addition to being praised for consuming your body weight in the sweet pastries, you’re also responsible for writing an enticing email to attract early signups.

Those who opt in for the early bird special save $200 over those who wait until later in the year.

The deadline looms.

Your mind is a vast wasteland with the occasional tumbleweed blowing through.

So how should you begin?

Before I introduce the format I’m using, consider these opening lines:

“How would you feel tossing $200 in cash out the car window? Because that’s essentially what you’ll be doing if you wait until [deadline date] to get your tickets to the NCDAC.”


“Imagine if you accidentally threw $200 into your fireplace along with the kindling wood and watched as it all went up in flames. Because that’s essentially what you’ll be doing if you wait until [deadline date] to get your tickets to the NCDAC.”


“… be sure to register early for the National Chocolate Donut Conference to take advantage of our special price.” (Hint: *yawn*)

The takeaway is the same in each: Act now and you’ll receive a $200 discount off the registration for this event. 

The first two examples trigger an emotional “wait, what??” response.

Seeing dollar bills flying out a window or going up in smoke triggers a feeling of distress for most people.

(Unless you’re Jeff Bezos. Although I doubt even he likes to see money flying away.)

Grabbing your reader’s attention starts with the subject line, as I’ve mentioned in THIS earlier post.

Capturing your reader’s attention by stirring the emotional pot, so to speak, demonstrates the first part of a tactic used by beginning and advanced copywriters alike: AIDA.

A – Attention

I – Interest 

D – Desire

A – Action

When you’re not sure what to say or how to arrange your emails, use the AIDA format.

Here’s how it breaks down:

A – Attention – grab your reader’s attention

This usually means ditching the first paragraph. Called “warm-up copy,” most first and second sentences of emails are useless info everyone skips. Take a look at a recent marketing email you sent out. Eliminate the first sentence or two. How does it read? Chances are, you didn’t need them.

Capturing attention means getting right to the action. Of course, be sure to keep aligned with the brand voice and goal.

Ask yourself: Is this opening memorable? 

I – Interest – attract their interest

Lead with the word “you” here. If it’s a sale announcement, for example, start with something like, “By registering early, you’ll not only save $200 but you’ll be first in line… etc.” 

D – Desire – make them desire your offer

Whether it’s a blog post link or a product – what will they experience that makes them feel glad they signed up early? A bulleted list of workshop topics works well here, for example. Build interest by listing how they’ll benefit by taking this action.What does their early bird response earn them that will give everyone else FOMO? 

This is also a good place to include testimonials.

A – Action – end with a call to action finish with the close

To entice them further, talk about who else uses your offer, how quickly they will receive the item, their result, how easy it is to buy, for example. 

Keep in mind that ideally, you want to keep to ONE goal per email. If you have more than one, try to include the second offer presented only once they’ve opted in to your first one.

Keep AIDA alongside PASO as your two email formatting options for emails that land every time.

Bonus tip: As with PASO, use AIDA on website pages as well as emails. Basically, whenever you want readers to take action.


Other posts you may enjoy:

How to Write Ridiculously Captivating Headlines

Email Subject Lines that Win Every Time (includes a valuable resource you’ll want to bookmark)

How to Make Your Copy Conversational… so people actually read it

Write on,

P.S. Could your copy use a little fixer upper? Hire me for a day or half a day for quick turnaround needs. CLICK HERE.

Check out these examples of AIDA out in the wild:


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