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Components of effective emails

There are certain components that contribute to writing and designing effective emails:

  • Audience
  • Sender name
  • Subject line
  • Copy/Email text
  • Design
  • Calls to action (CTA)
  • Imagery

Sender name #

The sender name that displays in the email is the first thing a recipient looks at to see if they recognize who is contacting them. Then they will decide whether to engage further. The sender name is sometimes a person’s name and the company name, for example, “Simon from the Digital Marketing Institute”. A sender name should not be generic or just an email address, for example, info@yourcompany.com.

Your email subject line should be relevant to your subscribers and motivate them to open your email. The subject line should also match the content of the body of the email. In fact, this is a legal requirement of the CAN-SPAM Act in the US.

There are various themes you can apply when creating a subject line for your email:

Elicit curiosity. For example, ask a question like “Want to know how I get 10 million SEO visits per month to my website?”

Plainly state an offer. For example, use a subject line like “Receive 10% off everything in our Summer Sale.”

Demonstrate urgency. For example, use a subject line like “Hurry, just two days left in our Huge Seasonal Close Out” or treat the subject line like a news headline such as “Announcement, All of our stores will be open until 11 p.m. Monday through Friday.”

Focus on social proof: For example, use a subject line like “80% of people would recommend our company to a friend.”

Now that you’ve worked carefully on the subject line and know it will be opened, you need to focus on the content of the email itself. Here are some best practices for writing strong email copy:

  • Create a sense of urgency.
  • Keep your sentences simple and strong.
  • Have a singular goal for each email you send. If you have two goals, send two emails.
  • Make your email easy to scan.
  • Use less ‘we’, and more ‘you’.
  • Align your email copy with the subject line.
  • Know your target market and use language that resonates with them.

Value of design #

Before you start designing your email, you need to consider why layout and visual appearance is so important. Emails often look and feel like a webpage. In fact, emails can be like a mini-web experience inserted into someone’s inbox. They have images, clickable links, titles, and text content just like a landing page. Well-designed marketing emails enable personalized connections with customers, and contain customized relevant content to motivate engagement, action, and purchase. Emails should be designed to be clear, concise, and motivating, and they will still be visually appealing and true to your brand’s personality.

Emails should be designed to be clear, concise, and motivating:

Include all the information a recipient needs to consider your offer.

Make it easy for recipients to act on the email – for example, information on how to reach out to a contact for more information

The following are some of the main reasons why an effective and appealing design is important to implement throughout your email campaigns.

User experience: Having a good email design creates a better user experience, making it more enjoyable and compelling for the reader.

Consistent experience: Good design should drive a consistent brand experience between your emails and your website, and make that transition seamless.

Drive conversions: If the email is well-designed and contains relevant information, the user is more likely to take action and convert.

Layout: Good layout will support your calls to action. Organize layout for skimming because people tend to scan email. Don’t add too many elements in your design and allow some white space in your layout. Align your content into blocks, columns, and defined scalable modules. And create definition between content areas or blocks. Aim for a width of 600 pixels to optimize design for mobile environments.

Imagery: Using brand colors, style, and imagery effectively will increase brand recognition.

Placement of CTAs: Clicking the call to action is often the main objective of an email. Having a clear CTA at the top and bottom of an email will make it easier for the reader and help them click through to the landing page.


It’s important to give

Images #


Now, let’s consider the use of images in email campaigns. Emails with images should not be considered a replica of a print mailer or brochure. Also, not all ESPs will display images in email, so your email message copy needs to support and convey the ideas you want to illustrate. You can this through alt text, which is a snippet of text that sits behind an image, provides a description of it, and displays when images don’t. However, be aware that overuse of images may unnecessarily increase email message file size, resulting in deliverability or poor user experience issues.

Best practices

The best ways to use images in an email include the following:

Use your brand assets.

Follow your brand style guide, if you have one.

Include product photos.

Make sure your images are the correct size for your layout.

Use pixel tracking images – images added to email code that indicate if an image was viewed. Check with your ESP if you need to do this manually or if it is already provided automatically.

Use a balance of text and separate images.

Include the alt text and title behind each image.

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