What is Creative Copywriting [& how are you going to use it in email marketing?]

Creative Copywriting

Creative copywriting is one way email marketers can stand out in crowded inboxes. As you probably know, billions of emails are sent each day. And that number seems to be rising as fast as the U.S. national debt. 

That means big trouble for emailers trying to get subscribers just to open their emails. Much less click on them and then become a customer, client, or donor in the case of non-profits.

Don’t panic. It won’t help! What will help is the following examples of creative copywriting and tips on how to use it to your advantage.

What we will show:

  • Copywriting basics
  • What creative copywriting is exactly
  • Skills needed for creative copywriting
  • Examples you can swipe and tweak
  • Creative copywriting examples that stands out 
  • Examples in newsletter ads
  • Summary

Copywriting Basics

Writing copy is writing words to move readers to take action.

Whether you want them to:

  • Buy your Rolling Stones fan-art t-shirt (probably get sued)
  • Sign up for your newsletter
  • Become a paid member
  • Donate to a cause
  • Fill out a survey
  • Share your email or social post
  • Subscribe to your YouTube / Twitch channel

Oh, and good copywriting on Twitter is when your words move people to get mad at everybody, I think!

Copywriting is used in emails, SEO articles, SMS campaigns, ads, scripts, letters, and on and on. 

It’s crucial to have a goal for each marketing message. Without a clear goal, even the best copywriter will struggle to get the words right. Make sense?

Now for how creative copywriting differs and what’s involved.

What Creative Copywriting is Exactly

Creative copywriting is meant to stand out from regular copywriting.

All copywriting should grab readers’ attention and hold it. 

But creative copywriting takes this to the next level. It’s especially helpful in certain industries. We’ll touch on that with one upcoming example.

An easy way to picture effective creative copywriting is with sports analogies. 

Brash athletes like Muhammad Ali and Conor McGregor did not wait on crowds to wander in and watch them. They drew crowds with creative antics that grabbed everyone’s attention. Even those who didn’t like them could not look away.

Creative copy may be:

  • Bold
  • Controversial
  • Strange
  • Contrarian
  • Braggadocious
  • Funny
  • Irreverent 
  • Poetic
  • Sarcastic
  • Self-deprecating
  • Hostile even

Imagine how any of those types of copy would stand out versus ads and emails you normally see.

Let’s take controversial creative copywriting. 

Most organizations are terrified to say the wrong thing, right? Their “hot takes” on LinkedIn are as bland as Cheez Its. If they were “hot”, no announcement of their hotness would be needed.

Or funny copywriting. 

Hard to pull off and the bigger the brand, the more bland the allegedly funny copy has to be. They’re too afraid of losing customers who don’t get the joke or customers desperately seeking to be offended – some people are bored.

Even when organizations want to be unique and creative with their marketing, there’s still a problem. 

Skills Needed for Creative Copywriting

Yep, they have to find a creative writer. It’s not natural for every business owner or leader.

And even solid marketers may not be good at unique writing. Or may not like the process of writing.

I read where The Hustle noted that one ingredient to good creative copywriting was… childhood trauma. I think writer friends of mine agree.

Seriously, it takes a different character to write copy that stands out. Logical, right? Copy that stands out has to be written by a unique person. Someone who stands out.

So here’s what to look for in a creative copywriter:

  • Someone with experience 
  • Fearless (not job-scared)
  • Studies psychology
  • Enjoys writing
  • Understands user experience
  • Hardworking— real artists don’t like being hungry

⭐Also, if you’re hiring a freelance writer, their pitch should stand out from the average pitch. And they shouldn’t have to be told to make the pitch stand out. To a creative copywriter, this should be obvious.⭐

Ready for creative copy examples?

Examples You can Swipe and Tweak (feel free)

I’ll start with a current ad we (Inbox Mailers) are running in our sponsored newsletter, Inbox Hacking. Pasted below…

Hell, I Get It

  • You’re behind at work
  • Boss breathing down your neck
  • You’re behind at home 

Behind on your taxes for all I know!

So I get why you would put off testing Inbox Mailers. You. Are. Busy.

Bad thing is – there’s no Time Lottery you’re gonna hit and magically Have time.

I’m asking you to Make time to demo Inbox Mailers. If you’re not impressed by the demo, you can call me up and cuss me out for as long as you like (and have time for) 706-224-4241.

I believe you’ll be impressed though:

  • Open rates of 50% on up to 70%
  • Higher click volume
  • Reviving inactive subscribers
  • Improving sender score & deliverability
  • Higher inbox placement rates 

Please Make time and schedule an Inbox Mailers demo. It’s a free one-on-one demo and if it doesn’t impress you, again, call/text me personally to unleash 100% of your rage (even about stuff that’s not my fault – your boss, homelife, whatever) 706-224-4241.


Now, Inbox Hacking’s writer seems unhinged. Probably is, a little! But the ad is meant to grab attention. 

The headline does that.

And the copy below it builds on it to keep readers’ attention.

It’s based on being truthful. He knows everyone is busy so he plays it up. 

Also, you really can call him or text him to cuss him out. He simply doesn’t care… more crucially, he knows Inbox Mailers does what he promises in the copy. That’s key too. 

Be 100% sure your products / services live up to promises made. Whether the copy is standard issue or super creative.

We’ve got more creative copywriting examples below from my inbox so check it out.

Creative Copywriting that Stands Out in My Inbox 

Scott Galloway is professor of economics but writes like an angry linebacker, regularly referring to Mark Zuckerberg as a sociopath. He pulls no punches. Which makes his emails worth reading. 

They stand out because he takes a stand. He has bad takes sometimes, but his creative copywriting is why I open most of his emails.

Ben Settle is a self-described recluse. An email marketer with bold takes in every email though. Uses no images in any email campaigns ever. And shapes tons of metaphors around Marvel films and Narnia. Strange, huh? Yeah, that’s why I’m talking about him! Strange and bold stands out in the inbox.

One more example is a guy I consulted once.

His company sold industrial parts. Big business, but who wants to read emails about sprockets, temperature gauges, and commercial dryers? So they started making their email newsletter 90% entertainment.

Just jokes and interesting stories related to their industry and he said their open rates shot up and sales too. It never hurts to test creative copy, especially if your niche doesn’t have constant news coming out or is on the boring side.

I’ll show more creative copy examples from a few newsletter ads I’ve snipped lately but first… an opportunity if you have a newsletter or are considering starting one.

Creative Copywriting to Leverage Content Already Available 

We’re not short on info. Very few tidbits are unknown for long these days.

Yet, there is a shortage of creative ways to distribute that same info.

The Hustle and Morning Brew are insanely popular newsletters. And they do a good job with some humor and engaging copy.

Even so, the content could still be more creative if the right person took a shot at it. All the stats could be meme-ified for example. Hardcore reactions to the biggest story in each episode is another option. 

Creative Copywriting Examples in Newsletter Ads

Once, I read about a popular comedian’s podcast running a super-successful ad for 1800-Flowers. The ad was basically an unscripted rant and it produced major sales. 

Proof that creative copywriting can be used directly in ads.

Example #1 from my inbox

Creative Copywriting examples

The Hustle is known for keeping it pretty real. And this ad is creative – it doesn’t self-censor.

Example #2 

The Marginalian’s author makes a heartfelt request to donate to her labor of love. This in-depth newsletter is just that and the pitch to contribute is anti-corporate-speak.

Example #3

Creative Copywriting examples

A unique product offer filled with stats for proof but also a little wordplay keeps readers slightly entertained. And mentions the artist Banksy. Not who you think of in terms of investments, right?

Example #4

This webinar ad from Validity features some creative copywriting about AI (“a trusty sidekick”). Mixes in how everyone’s on the AI bandwagon… and highlights faces of those putting on the webinar. Creativity means visuals when it fits.

Example #5

Creative Copywriting

Email offer from Venmo. The creativity is in the QR code, plus offering a custom rewards experience. It even goes on to mention how to avoid scams (helps readers trust this email is truly from Venmo).

Time to summarize.

Creative Copywriting Summed Up

Don’t worry if you don’t have a flair for creative copy. 

Or if you’re early in the email marketing game and don’t have the budget for a skilled creative writer. 

Clear and concise copywriting is more vital than creativity. 

Yes, creative copywriting is a nice tool to have in the marketing tool bag, but not mandatory. 

Donald Miller, of StoryBrand, says “Customers do not walk into a fog.” In other words, customers want clarity above all. 

His books are a hit. They are crystal clear. Yet, his ideas are packaged inside the idea of a creative story, over and over.

Bottom line. When you combine clarity, valuable information, and creativity you can separate yourself from the pack of other emailers. 

And the best news? 

Almost anyone can get better at writing. Or, if your products and services are a hit, your email campaigns will expand sales, which increases revenue so that one day your budget will allow for outsourcing some of the writing.

⭐Don’t want all the pressure on your copywriting skills to make your emails stand out? Demo Inbox Mailers to help you stand out in the inbox with triggered emails that are producing up to 70% open rates.

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John Gardner

John Gardner is an expert email marketer and co-founder of Inbox Mailers. He specializes in email segmentation and improving overall deliverability, helping top brands and businesses optimize their email marketing strategy.