A Five-Step Guide to Writing a Winning Race Email

5 steps perfect email

At the heart of effective email marketing for race directors is a pretty simple concept: a well-written letter. A superbly crafted race email can yield powerful results. In fact, in 2012, Magill Research estimated that brands earned $39 for every $1 they spend on email marketing. But you’d be surprised at how many marketers send out poorly written notes that end up in the junk folder. So, instead of firing off a quick email to your registrants, take a few extra minutes to think about what you’re sending out.

Below, we break down the complete anatomy of a masterful email from head(er) to toe:

1. An Attention-Grabbing Subject Line

It’s one of the first things your subscribers will read, so it’s important to nail down an appealing subject line. Put your most compelling point first. The shorter the better, so make it 50 characters or less. Model it after newspaper headlines and use an active voice to get people interested. For more subject line writing tips and tools, check out 5 Tricks for Killer Email Subject Lines.


2. A Poignant Pre-Header

A pre-header is the first line of text in your email and it should complement your subject line. It helps to increase open rates by showcasing more of what’s in the email. It enhances the subject line, prompting the reader to open the email by adding a little more detail, so make it powerful. Try to limit the pre-header to 80 characters.


3. A Beefed-Up Body

Once you’ve convinced your readers to open your email, they need to continue being wowed or at least informed in an efficient way. Use the following email copywriting guidelines to craft a flawless message:

  • Connect at the very beginning. Remind your subscribers why they’re getting an email from you in the first place by opening your note with a connection. Maybe they’ve participated in a race in the past, or signed up to receive event updates or training tips. It’s always a good idea to reiterate your association with them.
  • Use personalized language. The best way to reach out to your subscribers is to write in a friendly, everyday tone and avoid corporate jargon. Try to write to them as if you’re connecting in person. Address them by first name and write in second person (“you”, “me, “us”).
  • Keep it short. When drafting email copy, the shorter, the better, because, let’s face it, most people don’t do much more than skim over emails. Subscribers should be able to quickly scan your email and figure out the message.
  • Format it. Breaking down your copy with punchy subheads, bullets and lists that help create a more digestible format. People on the Internet have a very short attention span, so you want to avoid paragraphs of relentless copy.
  • Call-to-Action: Whether you want them to sign up for an event or remember to bring their confirmation email to the race, you’re asking them to do something when they’ve read your email. The call-to-action is often a text link or button that stimulates to “read more”, “click here” or “register now.”
  • Images: Break up the monotony of text by including some visual references. Whether it’s photos from a past event or a cool infographic, try to include images to draw in the reader.
  • Links: Make sure to include links to content on your website whenever relevant or useful. If you’re promoting a race, link to the registration page within the body copy.

4. Social Media

Social media is the perfect companion to email marketing, so make sure every email includes links to all your social networks. Use social sharing buttons to enable your readers to share your email on their social networks.
5. Footer

The footer typically includes the unsubscribe link, the website, a postal address and disclaimer text. Program it into your email template and make sure to update it periodically as your business expands.

Need more information on why, when and how to send race emails? Start from the beginning—check out earlier posts in our email marketing series