Email marketing brings more ROI than all social media sites combined, and many companies are now turning to agencies like yours to help them create and send email campaigns.

But do you know how to design an email campaign that grabs attention and gets people to click?

If you’re not designing your clients campaigns the right way, then they might not be getting the best results possible.

That’s where the inverted pyramid model comes in. In this post, we’ll teach you what the inverted pyramid model is and show you how to use it to create more effective email marketing campaigns for your clients.



What is the inverted pyramid model and why does it work?

Research shows that an adult’s attention span is, on average, eight seconds.

With such a short attention span, you can’t assume people will actually read your client’s campaigns word for word. Instead, it’s likely that people will just quickly scan over them.

Because of this, it’s important to deliberately structure your client’s campaigns so that they draw in these scanning readers and focus their attention on the key elements of the campaign.

The inverted pyramid model can help you do exactly that. It’s essentially a framework for structuring the elements of your client’s email campaigns (headers, imagery, buttons, etc.) so that they work together to draw people in, deliver the key message and get them to click-through.

freshbooks email newsletter pyramid
As the example above shows, emails following the model start with a succinct headline that highlights the key message of the campaign before presenting supporting information and imagery to help convince readers of the benefits of clicking-through. Finally, once the reader has been convinced of the benefits, they are presented with a prominent call to action button that makes it crystal clear what they should do next.

As you can see, the inverted pyramid model works particularly well for campaigns with a single message and a single call to action, but what about email campaigns that contain multiple messages and calls to action, such as a newsletter?

Turns out, the inverted pyramid model also works extremely well for those types of campaigns too.

InVision’s weekly email newsletter is an excellent example of this:

performing-invisionDespite containing multiple pieces of content, the information is broken down into easily consumable sections and the inverted pyramid model is used within each section to draw scanning readers in and focus their attention on the prominent call to action button.



How to use the inverted pyramid model in your client’s campaigns

The inverted pyramid model is a relatively easy concept to understand as it’s highly visual. However, your success implementing the model in your client’s campaigns can vary based on your chosen imagery, copywriting skills, and a number of other factors.

So to help you use the model more effectively, we’ve broken down the execution into 4 simple steps:

1. Create a killer value proposition

A value proposition is a short statement that concisely explains the benefits readers would get from using a particular product or service. A good value proposition explains to the reader what the offer is and why they should care about it.

Take a look at this great example from Campaign Monitor customer Rip Curl, whose succinct value proposition “The World’s Fastest Drying Wetsuit” explains clearly what the product is and why their audience should care about it.

Rip Curl value proposition

There are 3 elements of an effective value proposition that, when combined, can help grab reader’s attention and deliver your client’s key messages.


A great value proposition clearly explains what the product can do for readers. Consider this example found in Peep Laja’s excellent article on value propositions:

Consider this example found in Peep Laja’s excellent article on value propositions:

Revenue-focused marketing automation & sales effectiveness solutions that unleash collaboration throughout the revenue cycle

From reading this, do you know exactly what this product is and what it can do for you? Not likely.

On the other hand, have a look at the value proposition seen in the first campaign from Freshbooks:

Turn Unpaid Invoices into Cash

As you can see, the value proposition Freshbooks uses in their campaign makes it very clear to the reader what the product is and what it enables them to do.

Clarity is the single most important aspect of a value proposition, so it’s critical that you work with your clients to craft one that clearly explains to readers what the product is and why they should care about it.


People don’t buy a product or service because they love spending money. They buy because they want to solve a problem or receive a benefit.

So in order to write a killer value proposition for your client’s next email campaign, you need to focus on the benefit a user will get from using their product.

Looking at the Rip Curl example above, the logical thing to put in the headline would have been something like:

Introducing the world’s most advanced wetsuit

However, they didn’t. Why? Because people don’t care about the advanced technology inside the wetsuit, they care about the fact that it’s not going to be wet and cold when they put it on.

So when you’re crafting the value proposition for your client’s next email campaign, make sure to double down on the benefits the product or service provides to readers rather focusing on how advanced it is or the amazing technology it includes.


Although unfortunate, nearly all businesses have competitors offering similar products and competing for a similar customer base.

So in order to help your client’s standout from the competition, the value proposition in their emails campaigns must also differentiate their product or service from competitors.

Let’s again look at the value proposition from Rip Curl’s campaign:

The world’s fastest drying wetsuit

Rip Curl isn’t the only company in the world producing wetsuits. In fact, it’s a $100 million industry with many competitors.

Because of this, Rip Curl has to differentiate their product from their competitors, and they do so very well by focusing their value proposition on the fact that it’s the fastest drying suit on the market.

So when creating a value proposition for your client’s next campaign, make sure you also consider what differentiates their product from the other options and highlight that in the value proposition.

2. Use amazing imagery

Research shows that the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text, making them a critical part of the inverted pyramid model.

Take InVision’s campaign as an example. They use well-designed imagery that specifically supports the key message they are trying to get across in each content section.

email newsletter invision imagery

As an agency, creating beautiful visuals for email campaigns should be easy for you. You can leverage your in-house creative power to design amazing visuals, and then use tools like Campaign Monitor to simply drag-and-drop them into your client’s email campaigns.

3. Write succinct copy

In today’s world of increasing distractions and short attention spans, it’s clear that long paragraphs of text in email campaigns isn’t the best approach.

Instead, you and your clients need to be including short, succinct copy that gets the key messages across in the most simple way.

As an example, take a look at HelpScout’s campaign promoting their latest blog post. They use succinct, easy-to-read copy to explain what the post is about and the benefits reading it will bring.

Help Scout email newsletter using the inverted pyramid

Good copywriting can be challenging, but fortunately there are a number of copywriting formulas you and your clients can use to write succinct, compelling copy that gets results. These include:

4. Include a prominent call to action

The final step in creating an effective email campaign for your clients using the inverted pyramid model is adding a prominent call to action.

There are a number of ways you can do this, but our own testing shows that using a large button delivers the best results. In fact, we were able to get a 28% increase in conversions when we tested using a button as opposed to just a text link.

Authentic Job’s does a good job of this in their email campaign promoting their new Applicant Dashboard. They include a prominent call to action button at the bottom of the email to make it very clear to readers what the next step is.

createCTA-09-v1 (1)

For Campaign Monitor customers, adding a beautiful button to an email campaign is as simple as dragging and dropping the button wherever you need it.

email newsletter button

Once added to your email, you can easily customize the style, color, size, alignment, and other attributes of the button, and it’s guaranteed to look great on all devices and email clients.



Wrap up

Email marketing is a powerful marketing channel that more and more companies are turning to, and with your in-house design and creative skills your agency is in a fantastic position to help your client’s get great results from email.

So next time you’re creating an email campaign for a client, leverage the inverted pyramid model to help structure the different elements of the campaign and ensure it gets great results for your client.

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