Email Marketing Tips: The Anatomy of a Killer Email

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SMS on brick seamless wallWe’re certainly not the first to post an article called the anatomy of a killer email, but we’re thinking our way of explaining it might help you appreciate why it’s so important to get the different elements just right.

Let’s use the analogy of an invitation you extend to a potential houseguest. You really like this person and want him or her to visit. But this person is incredibly popular and receives tons of invitations. So what will make the person accept your invitation instead of others?

Let’s have a look…
1. Make your invite sound enticing. If you want people to take time out of their schedule to pay you a visit, you should probably make the invitation sound interesting and relevant to their needs, likes, and desires.

Email element #1: create enticing subject lines. Your subject line serves as that initial invitation you extend to someone. It should beckon. It should compel. It should encourage people to take that next step and accept your invite, which in the world of email marketing means opening the actual email itself. (Psst. Here’s an article we wrote on how to create email subject lines that work.)

2. Greet them warmly. You’ve extended the invitation, and they’ve agreed to come. What happens when they arrive? You wouldn’t scowl as you opened the door, right? Of course not! You’d greet them warmly and by name in an effort to make them feel wanted and comfortable.

Email element #2: include a personalized salutation. Your email’s greeting will set the tone for the rest of the message. Make sure you have one that’s appropriate to your audience, such as “Hello,” “Hi,” or “Dear” and personalize it with the person’s first name.

3. Make sure everything is clean and in order. If you’re expecting a special houseguest, you’ll likely vacuum, put fresh sheets on the beds, and make sure everything is neat and orderly.

Email element #3: make sure your email’s design is neat and clean. Your email should be easy to read with accessible font types, font sizes, and easy navigation. It should look good regardless of the device people read it on (in other words, you should most definitely test your emails on your smartphone before sending).

4. Engage your guests with clever and interesting conversation. Facing a houseful of guests, you wouldn’t suddenly go silent, right? No, you’d talk to them. You’d talk about subjects of interest to them, and you’d do so in a way that was easy and comfortable.

Email element #4: include relevant, conversational copy. From a tone perspective, your copy should be friendly. It should reflect the overall tone you’ve established on your website, social media, and so forth. At the same time, you shouldn’t deliver “empty,” irrelevant words. You should be talking about something that you know will interest your reader, something that he or she will consider valuable.

5. Offer them something to drink. Hey, you’re the one who invited them in, right? So you better have something special to offer, like a cold beverage and cheese and crackers on a lovely silver platter.

Email element #5: provide an irresistible offer. You want to go above and beyond the warm greeting, the clean layout, and the relevant copy…you want to give the cheese platter as well. Your cheese platter could be in the form of a…

  • Free white paper
  • A free consultation/demo
  • A helpful ebook
  • A coupon/discount
  • And so forth

Regarding that silver platter we mentioned above…you’ll want to make sure the presentation of your offer stands out, yet fits the overall design and reflects your company’s overall messaging.

6. Say goodbye as sweetly as you said hello. Your guests are ready to depart. Just as you greeted them, you’ll see them off and thank them for visiting.

Email element #6: include an appropriate closing. The person took the time to open and read your message. Thank him or her for doing so. Your closing should match the tone of your email. If you have a conversational, friendly email, “sincerely” might sound a little too formal. A softer closing, such as “best wishes,” might be more apt. Again, it depends on your audience and your marketing’s overall tone.

BONUS: Here are two more helpful articles we wrote on the subject of email marketing:

What do you think? Are there any other important elements in a killer email? Share in the comments.

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