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  • Writer's pictureRachel Meyer

Poor Email Copy Breakdown: Grae Cove Marketing Email

There is amazing email copy out there. But for every great email, there are twice as many with poor or downright lousy writing losing their company sales.

That’s why I created this companion to my “Great Email Copy” series. In this one, rather than talk about awesome copy samples, we’ll look at less-than-stellar copy and how you learn from their mistakes. Not to make fun of these companies but to use their copy as a learning tool so you can do better.

And the best part of this series? The fact that it’s from the point of view of an email copywriter- me! I’ll use my experience and knowledge to give you a look inside email copy tactics, good and bad.

Today, we’re looking at a marketing email from Grae Cove. It has good points, but it lacks in the overall execution. I’ll show you what they did wrong and what you should do instead.

Grae Cove Marketing Email Breakdown

Subject Line

The subject line is what initially got me to click on the email. It sounded like a fun educational email, which would be a nice break from the regular sales.

subject line

But it has two major problems.

1) It’s not well worded. It should be rewritten to highlight that it’s not a sales email.

2) The subject line doesn’t align with the email content. Which is a problem, as you’ll see in the next section.

Above the Fold

As soon as you open the email, it hits you with not one but two discount codes. It would be fine if the subject line had said this was a sales email. But since it didn’t mention anything about a sale, this gives you copy whiplash.


The above-the-fold section of your email is vital to keep subscribers reading. It needs a clear headline, making a promise about what the email contains (which you should follow up on). Don’t waste the space by giving readers something they didn’t expect to see.

Product Features

Next, we have a section about the key features of Grae Cove’s products. It’s okay, but I’d change two things about it.


1) Rewrite it for clarity. Focus the section on product benefits rather than features.

2) Move it to the bottom of the email. Here, it feels awkward, like a roadblock on our way through the email.

Educational Content

Finally, we reach what the subject line promised—a section featuring seven dresses, one for each day of the week. Once again, it’s passable, but it could be better.


For example, I’d make it more about how you could style each dress rather than a straight-up “Here are our products”. Give readers ideas for accessorizing the dresses. Or give a reason why the customer should wear that dress that day.

Creating a section like this would engage the reader and make it more of an educational email that happens to feature their products than a hard sell. Which would make subscribers much more likely to check out the products on their own.

The Button

Following this section is an “Explore More” button leading to the entire Grae Cove catalog. If you liked what you saw in the email and clicked the button, you’d have to sort through the hundreds of products they carry to find the one you wanted. Once again, things aren’t lining up for a seamless shopping experience.


I’d link the button straight to their dress section since the email is about them. I’d also rename it to something more specific, like “Shop the Looks”. This tells people exactly where the button will take them and gives engaged readers a chance to shop for their favorite look.

Additional Selling

The email ends with a section promoting other product categories, like bottoms and bedding. It gives subscribers four more things they could click on, making them less likely to click anything. It should either be removed or made into small, word-only links in the footer if the company wants to include them.


What We Can Learn

Give Readers One Action to Take

This email has multiple CTAs- shop the sale, shop their clothes, shop all their products. It’s too much. Subscribers won’t understand the point of the email, so they won’t bother to take action.

You need to give your emails a single, clear CTA. If it’s an educational email, only give them a link to the products mentioned or a blog post for further reading. If it’s a sale email, only talk about the sale. And so on.

Deliver on Your Subject Line

This email would be much better without the discount codes so it could focus on the goal of educating customers on styling Grae Cove dresses. That’s what the subject line promised, but the email failed to deliver.

You need to make sure your subject line and body copy align. If they don’t, subscribers will feel tricked, and you’ll lose their trust. The best way to make sure they match is to write the email first, then create a strong subject line to intrigue subscribers.

Copy Order Matters

Even if the subject line aligned with the actual copy, it’s still a confusing email to wade through. It goes from announcing a sale to talking about product features to showcasing a bunch of dresses. There’s no flow to it.

It would make more sense if it started with the dress recommendations and then included the section about the benefits of their products. They’d intrigue customers with the pretty products, then show them why they’re so good, flowing easily from one to the other.

Don’t throw stuff in your email in any old order. Look at your sections and create the most logical flow from one to the next. If one section raises a question, answer it in the next one. Keep your subscribers reading and engaged from start to finish.

As you can see, this email had the potential to be great. But poor copy and execution brought it down. Even the best ideas can be badly done, which gives us a chance to learn to avoid making the same mistakes.


Has this post made you realize you need to up your company’s email marketing game? I’d love to work with you to create strong, clear email copy that follows the concepts discussed here. Fill out this form to set up your free discovery call and get great copy ASAP.


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