The Anatomy of a Winning Email

Email marketing can be an extremely powerful tool for reaching your customers. Compared to other channels, email continues to outperform in relation to open rates and click-through rates (CTR). Recent data indicates that the average open rate for email is nearly 17% with just above a 10% CTR. This is in contrast to an average CTR of 3.17% for Google search, 0.46% for Google display, and 1.32% for Facebook ads.

However, in order for an email marketing campaign to be successful, the emails you send need to be created strategically. This ensures that your email campaign helps to reinforce your brand in a positive way and inspires your readers to take action. The end result is that you can turn your emails into a tool that helps nurture new leads, improve brand loyalty, and increase revenue.

In this guide, we’ll help you get started by breaking down the anatomy of a winning email into five key segments. For each segment, we’ll offer you quick tips on optimization, allowing you to design the ideal email for any marketing strategy.

1. The Subject Line

The first thing that your readers will see when you send an email is the subject line. The subject line is your initial chance at gaining the attention of your audience. It is also critical in differentiating your email from spam.

Use the following optimization tips to create a winning subject line:

  • Don’t overdo it: Your subject line should not be too long, as subjects are cut off at a certain point. On average, it is recommended that you keep your subject line to around nine words or 60 characters.
  • Be clear and concise: With your limited space, be sure to include a subject that is easy to understand and quickly gets to the point. For example, if your email includes a discount on a service, your subject line might say something such as “Limited time deal! Open for an amazing offer.”
  • Include keywords: Another way to effectively grab the attention of your readers is to include keywords in your subject line that indicate what is inside. For example, if you are sending out an email inviting readers to watch your latest video, your subject line might state: “Your Weekly HVAC Repair Tip Video Awaits.”
  • Inspire action: Ultimately, you want your readers to open your email. One of the best ways to compel them to do so is to inspire action through your words. Do this by implementing action verbs such as “open,” “read more,” “learn,” or “check out.” Additionally, consider including words that indicate urgency, such as “limited time” or “today only.”
  • Personalize when possible: Including your customer’s name in your email’s subject line is a powerful way to stand out in a crowded inbox. In fact, data shows that emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.

2. The Sender Name

Along with the subject line, the sender name is one of the first things a reader will see when your email lands in their inbox. This is also one of the most important data points readers will consider when deciding whether your email is trustworthy or spam. For this reason, use the following key tips to ensure your sender name contributes to a powerful email message:

  • Test out a few options: You can send your email with your company name as the sender name, or you can use the name of an employee, such as your CEO or founder. Using A/B testing, try sending out emails with different options and determine which one has the highest open rate for your audience.
  • Remain consistent: Whether you decide to use your company’s name for your emails or you opt to personalize it with the name of an actual person from your company, stick with the same strategy going forward. Consistency helps reinforce that your email is trustworthy. Not only that, but if you deliver quality value through your emails, your customers will begin to associate strong value with your sender name.

3. The Header and Greeting

If you successfully draw in your readers through a compelling subject line and trustworthy sender name, the first thing your customers will see when they open your email is the header and greeting. These two components should be eye-catching and invite your reader to continue scrolling through your email. This is your first chance to showcase your email’s value.

Use the following guidelines when building your header and greeting:

  • Brand it: Every email should include a header that is clearly branded. This will help build trust and reinforce who the email is coming from. This is extremely important in cutting down on the number of times your emails are reported as spam.
  • Personalize: When possible, use your customer’s name in your greeting. This will help engage your reader and make the email feel less like a generic marketing tactic and more like a personal communication.
  • Be engaging: Is your email about a promotion? Is it about a recent video you posted that answers a common question? Whatever the case, use your greeting to draw your reader in by indicating what they will gain by continuing to read. For example, rather than “Hi [Customer Name],” try something more engaging, such as “Welcome [Customer Name] to your weekly FAQ video!”

4. The Body

The body is the bulk of your email. As such, it is where you will spend the majority of your efforts. The body copy needs to compel your audience to keep reading and ultimately lead them to the desired action.

Use the following tips for creating the ideal email body:

  • Clearly express the value of your email: Every email you send should have a purpose. Whether that is to offer your customers a discount on a service or to invite them to read your latest blog, make sure you clearly express why your email is worth reading right away.
  • Keep it short: People are busy. They don’t have time to read through long paragraphs. Make sure you keep your copy short and to the point.
  • Make it easy to read: Implement headings and bullet points to break up your email. This will help guide your readers’ eyes across the email, directing them to what is important.
  • Add images: Images are a great way to turn a bland email into something compelling. Be sure to include high-quality images that are relevant to the copy.
  • Use a consistent template: By choosing a template that features your brand logo, brand colors, and font of choice, you can ensure that every email you send remains consistent. This is extremely helpful in building brand loyalty and trust. Additionally, it helps ensure your emails look professional.
  • Have a clear call to action (CTA): Your email should invite your reader to take an action. Make sure every email has at least one clear CTA. In some cases, you might have more than one CTA included in an email. Use powerful, strong language to invite your reader to take your desired action, and make it easy for them to follow through. For example, if you want your reader to clip a coupon for an upcoming oil change, include a large, easy-to-read button that states something such as “Clip Your Savings!”

5. The Closing and Footer

At the end of your email, include a compelling closing and a branded footer. These elements will help round out the professional look and feel of your email, as well as provide you with the chance to include a few more key elements.

Optimize your closing and footer with these key tips:

  • End with a final CTA: Make sure you conclude your email with one more opportunity for your customer to take action. This could be as simple as a “Learn More” button, guiding your customer to a relevant article. Don’t miss out on the chance to create one more click-through opportunity.
  • Social media links: In the footer of your email, include links to all your social media pages. This is a great opportunity to invite your audience to interact with you across multiple channels.
  • Contact information: Also included in your footer should be your company name, address, and phone number. This helps establish your brand and builds trust.
  • Email preferences: Your footer should include a link that allows your readers to change their email preferences. This is a good way to prevent unsubscribes, allowing people to simply change the frequency of emails instead.
  • Unsubscribe link: Not only is it a legal requirement in the U.S. to include an unsubscribe link in your emails, but it is also a fair business practice. An unsubscribe link can also diminish the number of times your emails are reported as spam, as you are providing a clear and transparent way for people to opt out of your emails should they choose to do so.

Bonus Tip: Optimize for Mobile

Nothing is worse than when you open an email on your mobile device, and you can’t read the font, or the entire email is a confusing mess of misaligned images and headings. Today, 81% of emails are opened on smartphones, which means that optimizing your emails for mobile devices is a must.

The good news is that most email marketing platforms will allow you to build emails using templates specifically designed to be easily read on any device. However, it is always worthwhile to test out your email before you hit send. Begin by sending a test copy of the email to yourself and other employees at your company. Have everyone test out opening the email on numerous devices to ensure it is easy to read and doesn’t break apart when opened on certain devices.

Optimize Your Email Marketing With J&L

If you are interested in using email to market to your audience, we are here to help. The key to running a successful email marketing campaign is to start by building high-quality, professional emails that will compel your audience to take action. Our team will be happy to assist you in designing the ideal email to target your customer base. With years of experience, we know exactly what it takes to create emails that convert. Reach out for a consultation today.

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