At last count, it was estimated around 300 billion emails are sent on a daily basis.

"Sometimes we have to spend a little time with the numbers."
“Sometimes we have to spend a little time with the numbers.”



A day.

That’s a damn lot of emails.

So, with so much other email copy competing with yours, it hardly seems worth spending much time on it, right?


Even a small improvement in your email copy can make a huge difference to the bottom line.

But as copywriters, we forget this sometimes. We think of email copy as being a quick job to be swept up after you’ve done the main job.

That’s why I wanted to spend a little time here to consider the numbers.

The magic numbers

Think of it like this…

You’ve got two competing businesses online, both working in the information publishing niche.

Business A is led by some of the greatest copywriters that ever lived. Every promotion they write is an enormous success and converts at such a high percentage, they don’t feel as though they need to worry about anything else.

Business B is led by some fairly decent copywriters, but even they would admit they don’t stand a chance against the writers of Business A. They write some good copy that converts well most of the time, but sometimes it’s not up to scratch.

With me so far?

Good stuff.

Now, one day, both businesses are approached by a list vendor who is selling a double-opted list of 100,000 people who have expressed an interest in receiving promotional material about information publishing.

Business A buy the list and send out their strongest sales letter, which we’ll say converts at 10%. They use the same email copy they’ve always used and when they check the sales 24 hours after the initial send, they see the following results:

List size: 100,000
Unique Opens: 50,000
Unique Clicks: 25,000
Sales at 10% conversion: 2,500

The list performed as expected, with a 50% open rate, and a 50% click through. And, as usual, their sales letter converted at 10%. A good result and everyone involved in Business A pats each other on the back. A job well done!

Or is it?

You see, Business B tries a slightly different approach…

They’ve been advised that even though their sales letter converts at 3% less than Business A’s, there is no reason for them to miss out on so many sales.

And best of it is, they don’t have to make a single change to the sales letter: instead, a simple change in their email copy could increase conversion by nearly 1%.

So, Business B chooses to split the list into two segments and send a different piece of email copy to each segment.

Remember, they use the very same sales letter and only change the email copy.

Now, when Business B come to check the sales 24 hours after the initial send, they see these results:

Split A:
List size: 50,000
Unique Opens: 25,000
Unique Clicks: 12,500 
Sales at 7% conversion: 875

Split B:
List size: 50,000
Unique Opens: 25,000
Unique Clicks: 18,750 (50% increase)
Sales at 7% conversion: 1,312

As expected, Split A – which used the same email copy as always – produced to the level expected from the list: a 50% open rate and a 50% click through.

And of course, because it was only going to half the list and because the sales letter only converts at 7%, sales were much less: 875.

But when we look at the results from the small change they made to the email copy, we see a totally different picture.

Yet what’s interesting is that the open rate is the same (50%) and the sales letter conversion is the same (7%). The only thing that has changed is the click through rate, which has increased by 50%.

It means that the second segment of the list produced a significant number of extra sales, increasing from 875 to a much sturdier 1,312.

Not bad, right?

But the real impact comes from when you zoom out a little and consider how total sales from the whole list compare:

Business A:
Total sales: 2,500
Conversion from Total List: 2.5%

Business B:
Total sales: 2,187
Conversion from Total List: 2.2%

Effectively, Business B has been able to close a what would have been a 0.75%* gap in overall conversion to a minuscule 0.3% gap.

(*Business B would have had 1,750 sales if they’d stuck to their original email copy for the whole send, resulting in a 1.75% conversion from the total list.)

But remember that Business B did not make a single change to their sales letter. Instead, they improved their email copy and increased the click through rate by 50%.

In no clearer way will you see just how effective good email copy can be for your business and the overall performance of your sales letter. Believe me, it is much easier and quicker to improve the click through rate of your email copy than it is to improve the conversion of a sales letter.

I don’t often like to dwell on the stats – and next time we’ll look at some practical tips for increasing your click through – but if you want to work smarter as a copywriter, it pays to spend a little time with the numbers now and again.

I hope that gives you something to think about.



Glenn Fisher is an author, copywriter, podcaster and speaker. After a number of years working in the local council, he left to become a copywriter and founded, a free online resource for direct response copywriters and marketers. For over a decade he worked with The Agora, a multi-million pound international financial publisher before leaving in 2018 to write freelance. His first book, The Art of the Click, has quickly become an Amazon bestseller and was shortlisted for the Business Book Awards. He is the host of the popular All Good Copy Podcast and regularly writes and consults for numerous businesses, brands and ad agencies. He lives happily with his partner Ruth and dog Pablo on the east coast of England.

Write A Comment