Email Marketing 8 Components of an Effective Email [GUIDE]

Published on June 30th, 2014 | by Lisa Furgison

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8 Components of an Effective Email [GUIDE]

Every email your business sends has the potential to build relationships and boost sales. VerticalResponse is here to help ensure each email you send is effective. So, we’ve created a guide that breaks down eight components of an email. With this handy information, you’ll be on your way to creating successful email campaigns in no time.

1. From label

We start with the “from” label. Everyone pays attention to where an email comes from, it’s the first thing a person sees when they scan their inbox. Since this is such an important piece of inbox real estate, you want to make sure that the from label matches your company name, or whoever your recipient signed up to hear from when they subscribed to your list. This helps easily identify an email’s source.

 2. Subject line

When an email lands in your inbox, you decide whether or not you’re going to open it in a matter of seconds, right? One of the things you base your decision on is the subject line. Your subscribers do the same. This is why subject lines are so important. You could offer your customers the best deal or information in the world, but if you have a poorly written subject line, your customers won’t get far enough to take advantage of that great deal.

Beth Nagengast, who uses VerticalResponse to promote Cinquain Cellars, a winery in Paso Robles, California, says subject lines should be straightforward. “Tell your customer what’s in it for them,” she says. It’s good advice. Take a look at the subject line examples below.

8 Components of Effective Email Marketing

The email from VerticalResponse tells customers the information they can expect to read about. The email from the electronics giant offers a deal. Both subject lines tell readers why they should open the email.

Tips to creating subject lines:

  • Keep it short. Stick to 40-50 characters.
  • Don’t overuse punctuation (i.e. !!!) or symbols.
  • Don’t use all caps.
  • Don’t repeat the from label.

For more tips, check out our Savvy Subject Line guide.

3. Pre-header

The pre-header is like a subject line’s sidekick. It’s the first line of text in your email. Some email programs, like Gmail or mobile phones, include the pre-header after the subject line so the reader can get a little more information before opening the email. See the grey text after the subject line? That’s the pre-header.

8 Components of Effective Email Marketing

It’s another way to grab attention. Whether it’s displayed next to the subject line or not, that first sentence in your email is vital. You want customers to keep reading. Try to write something that builds on the subject line and tells readers exactly what the email is about.

4. Content

Now it’s time to get to the meat of your email marketing: content. The message that you create should provide value to your customer. Teach them about your business, offer a promotional deal, or keep them informed about new products or services. Whatever your goal is, make sure the content is succinct and informative.

To set your emails apart from the rest, make a commitment to quality. Create content your customers want to read and then keep it coming. You want your customers to look forward to your emails. Importantly, every email should be error-free. You don’t want to sink your credibility with an email that’s riddled with misspellings and grammatical errors.

You’ll also want to vary the kind of content you send. You can’t fill your customers’ inbox with dozens of promotional emails. If you try to sell too hard, you’ll push customers away. Offer an array of content. A company newsletter is the go-to email marketing for Cinquain Cellars. It helps the company build a relationship with customers. From product tips to a company newsletter, the name of the content game is diversity.

5. Call to action

The point of every email is to get subscribers to take some kind of action. Whether you want them to make a purchase or take an online survey, a clear call to action makes it easy for the recipient to follow through.

When you’re creating an email, ask yourself, “What do I want the recipient to do?” If the answer is to make a purchase, you could include a “Shop Now” button in the email. If you want customers to take a survey, you would include a link that takes the recipient directly to the questionnaire.

The main thing to remember when creating the call to action is that it should be clear. We’re talking blatantly obvious. Take a look at this email.

8 Components of Effective Email Marketing

The call to action is easy to identify. Recipients click on the “Shop now” button, which takes them directly to the online retail mecca in seconds.

One of the best ways to create a clear call to action is to use a clickable button. Check out our button creator to get a killer call to action button for your next email.

Tips to creating a strong call to action:

  • Keep it short: A call to action should be no more than five words; most are only two words. You want something that’s simple and effective. No need for flowery language here.
  • Use active language: You want customers to act now, not two days from now. Use active words to get your customers moving. Phrases like “Purchase now” or “Try our new service today” are good examples.
  • Create a sense of urgency: Give customers a reason to act now. For instance, put a limited time frame on deals so customers won’t wait.

6. Images

There’s an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, and it especially holds true in email marketing. Using an image in an email is a great way to appeal to your customer’s visual nature. One of the easiest ways to incorporate images is to highlight your product or service. Take a look at the example below.

8 Components of Effective Email Marketing

This email wouldn’t be nearly as effective without the pictures of the product. The images give customers an idea of what the new product looks like. It’s invaluable information for customers and gives them a reason to shop.

If you’re trying to market something that isn’t product-related, such as a service, you have to think outside the box. For instance, think about whom your product or service helps and try to use an image that relates. Take a look at the example below.

8 Components of Effective Email Marketing

This online university uses a picture of a mom and a child in its email to encourage adults to come back to school. Notice how the image complements the text. That should be your goal.

7. Social media buttons

Don’t forget to include social media buttons in your email. You want your customers to engage with your brand as much as possible, so make it easy for them to check out your feeds. Take a look at the email below. Notice the Facebook, Twitter and YouTube options near the bottom.

8 Components of Effective Email Marketing

8. Unsubscribe option

You may not be aware of it, but there are laws regarding email marketing. The CAN-SPAM Act says your email must include a way for customers to opt out. You can go about this in a couple of ways. You can put the word “Unsubscribe” at the bottom of the email that is linked to an unsubscribe option so customers can click on it and remove their names from your list. Or your readers can hit reply and include Unsubscribe in the subject line. At VerticalResponse, we manage all your opt outs.

This guide is just the tip of the email iceberg. We have tons of resources for you. From our digital marketing blog, to our weekly newsletter packed with tips and trends, we’ve got you covered. VerticalResponse will help you make the most out of every email you send.

Get started today. It’s free!

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About the Author

Lisa Furgison

is a media maven with ten years of journalism experience and a passion for creating top-notch content.



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