5 Things Every Email Needs

  •    Carrie is a designer and content marketer. She works promoting the Roanoke Region of Virginia and has more than 10 years of media and marketing experience.

Email marketing is one of the best ways to appeal to your audience and get them to visit your website. From general design and layout to specific words and images, all your email pieces must work together to achieve success. Here are five things that every email needs to stand out in a crowded inbox.

1. A Good Header

The header is the very first thing someone will see when they open your email. Make a great first impression by including your logo and elements of your brand identity.

A good header adds credibility and legitimacy to your message. It will set your email apart from all of the other clutter and create a powerful visual statement.

Look at the example below from musician Allen Stone. The header features an interesting and relevant background image, clear branding and a headline that generates immediate interest.

Allen Stone Email example

This email header features all the right elements to capture attention once the email has been opened.

2. A Direct (and Specific) Message

Your email should do one thing: present a direct and specific message to the user.

Every image and word in the email should support this message. The language should be clear and readers should not have to guess why they are getting an email from you.

Keep the message simple, using as few words as possible. Think about what you want users to do and use your message to help them get there.

The Allen Stone email accomplishes this with very clear messaging from top to bottom. The email describes in as few words as possible the contest rules and prize offered to fans.

3. A Call to Action

No matter how great the rest of your email is, it needs to prompt users to take action. Are they clicking a link back to your website, watching a video or filling out a form?

Users don't spend a lot of time with branded emails so you have to design a call to action that is easy to see on the screen and demands to be clicked. Consider using an oversized button that tells users precisely what to do.

Think of it this way: Your call to action should be “an offer users can't refuse." Allen Stone uses a large "Enter Now" button to drive clicks.

4. A Great Image

You don't have to be a superstar designer to create an effective email. All you really need is one good image. Don't clutter the message with too many visuals. Select an captivating picture and go with it.

Here's are elements of a stellar visual:

  • Clear and well-composed presentation (no blurry photos)
  • Includes a simple focal point
  • Offers appropriate color choices and mood that relates to the message
  • Avoids overused or cliché imagery from stock photos
  • Entices users and invites them to be a part of or own the item in the image
  • Features tight crops or includes people (for more appeal)

5. A Killer Subject Line

None of the previous points matter if users don't open your email, right? Crafting the perfect subject line is often the final step before clicking send, and it is likely the most important.

Subject lines have to be rather short (aim for 50 characters of less) to be fully seen and should pique the interest of users. Be wary of phrases that sound like spam and make sure to edit carefully. (Nothing will prevent opens like a typo in the subject line.)

Think of the subject line as an introduction to the audience. Here are several types to try:

  • No-nonsense approach: Tell users something factual, such as “Your order has been shipped."
  • Ask a question: Play with curiosity as it relates to your message, such as “Do you check email before making your morning coffee?"
  • Teach users something: The how-to approach is popular, particularly if you know your users well, such as “How to design the perfect email."
  • Scarcity approach: Commonly used for sales to make people buy a product now, such as “50% off, today only."
  • Fast facts: Number or list-style subject lines can make users want to learn more, such as “7 ways to get more sales."

Are you ready to get started with email marketing? It can be a perfect tool to help connect with users or encourage shoppers to return to your website. If you aren't ready to send your first email quite yet, add an email signup to your website to collect information — you'll already have a list once you are geared up to send that first message.

Thinking about your own email marketing ideas? The brand new Weebly Promote gives you all the tools you need to start today.