13 Essential Elements For an Effective Email Marketing Message

There’s no lack of “email marketing” checklists and templates, but… If everyone can just follow these formulas, why do some email campaigns perform significantly better than others?

Turns out, it’s more than checking each individual element off the list. You’ve to understand the interaction between these pieces to craft an effective email.


In this article, we’ll look at the anatomy of an effective email marketing message…. from head(er) to toe:

  1. “From” Name And “From” Address

Recipients want to know who’s sending the email before opening it by considering the sender’s name and email address.

The “From” name should be straightforward and personable, e.g. John Doe, Company X, or John from Company Y.

The “From” address should be professional, ideally with your company’s domain (john@companyx.com) instead of a free email account (companyx@gmail.com.)

You can configure these elements in your email service provider when you send your marketing emails.

  1. Subject Line

It’s displayed next to the “From” name and most likely the second thing recipients see. It should indicate what the email is about.

Subject line has a huge influence on getting recipients to open and read the email, and is one of the most tested elements in email marketing. Focus on crafting a great subject line that will get reader’s attention. The subject line is the most important thing as its basically the first thing your subscribers see, so make sure to invest time in research and testing.

  1. Pre-Header Or Snippet

It’s the first line of text in the email, located above the header. On most email clients (e.g. Gmail) and mobile devices, it’s shown after the subject line.

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Use it as an extension of the subject line to entice recipients to open the email.

Many people neglect to fill out this part so recipients see something like “can’t see images? Click here” next to the subject line… which is not exactly appealing!

  1. Envelop

“From” name, subject line and pre-header make up the “envelop” of an email.

People do judge a book by its cover, so make sure your envelope is attractive enough to get recipients to open, read and engage with your content.

  1. Header

This top part of an email typically contains the logo, tagline and the brand’s color palette. It’s often displayed in the preview pane and the first thing recipients see when they open the email so make it immediately recognizable and visually appealing.

  1. Navigation Bar

Some marketers may choose to include navigation at the top of their emails to highlight important sections on the company’s website.

  1. Index

In long and multi-topic email newsletters, an index at the top can help recipients navigate the content.

It helps readers see what’s covered, and quickly find the content they’re most interested in.

The index can link to content within the newsletter or link out to a website.

  1. Email Body

It’s the “meat” of the email.

It has to take the readers from showing interest to taking action and should be crafted with the end goal in mind.

The formatting of the body can vary depending on the type and intention of the email.

For a regular newsletter, it could include summaries of several articles and links to read more. For long copy newsletter, it could be a single-topic article. For sales email, it could be a few paragraphs written to pique enough interest for the recipients to click on the call-to-action and read the sales page.

  1. Offer

Your content should end with one or multiple relevant offer(s), which can be about your products, services, special promotion, content or other actions (e.g. responding to a poll.)

  1. Images

Images can increase engagement and conversion. They can help strengthen and drive home the main message of the email.

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It’s particularly critical for visually oriented industries, such as fashion, design etc.

Unfortunately, many email clients don’t display images by default. Make sure to craft your email such that it’d render well and communicate the message effectively even without the images.

  1. Call-To-Action (CTA)

CTA is one of the most critical components in determining the success of an email campaign by telling the recipient what to do next.

Specific CTAs tend to generate more clicks than generic CTAs.

It’s often a text link or button, formatted to stand out from the rest of the message, starting with an action verb such as “read more,” “click here,” or “buy now.”

  1. Footer

It’s the bottom part of the email, and typically contains an unsubscribe link, sender’s physical address and disclaimer text.

You can also include content to support your company’s sales or communication goals in the footer.

  1. Social Media Links

More and more people like to connect with brands on social media. If it’s part of your marketing strategies, include social media links in your emails.

The most common way is to display buttons or icons that points directly to your company’s social media pages.

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