Maximizing the results of your email strategy is easier than you think.

This is it. This will be the foundation to creating every email moving forward. You may want to bookmark this page, as it will have some long-lasting knowledge that you can apply to each campaign you design in your career.


Anatomy of a well-performing email

Each facet of your email composition will contribute to the success of your campaign. Putting a little extra thought into each one won’t take that much time and, when you’ve put them all together, you’ll see results greater than the sum of your email’s parts.


1. Subject lines

Did you know 35% of subscribers will open your email because of the subject line? A good subject line entices the reader to open and keep reading.

You should:

  • Keep it short.
  • Create urgency.
  • Clearly define the purpose and value within the email.
  • Be creative, but not deceptive.

More information on subject lines here.


2. Preheader text

Preheader text is the short text that immediately follows the subject line. Think of it as an extension of your subject line: extra room to catch your subscriber’s attention and convince them to keep reading. A lot of email marketing platforms give you the ability to edit this directly.

You should:

  • Provide new information.
  • Personalize by including your subscriber’s name.
  • Keep it short, too.
  • Consider how preheader text will appear within your email.


3. Sender name

A lot of people look to the sender name when deciding whether or not an email is spammy or malicious. So be clear that an email is being sent from your brand.

You should:

  • Clearly identify your small business.
  • Keep it short and recognizable.


4. CTAs

Your email’s call to action needs to be powerful. For most campaigns, getting your subscribers to follow through will be a key part of how you gauge your success—whether you want them to start shopping, return to their cart, reserve their spot at an event, or keep reading.

You should:

  • Create urgency.
  • Keep the copy concise using active words.
  • Make it stand out using bold colors.
  • Explicitly describe the action your subscribers will take when they click or tap through.
  • Focus on only one or two CTAs to avoid overwhelming your subscribers.

Learn more about creating strong CTAs that get clicked.


5. Images (and the rest of your branding)

In today’s visual world, images are a key part of your small business’ branding. Just look at how well visual platforms perform—think YouTube and Instagram, for example—and you’ll realize that your branding matters to consumers.

You should:

  • Keep your images consistent (bold vs. simple, colorful vs. understated) in accordance with your small business’ branding.
  • Choose beautiful, high-quality images.

Small business email examples with beautiful photos

Source: Noe Valley Bakery

  • Avoid cheesy stock photos (there are plenty of quality stock photos!).
  • Be consistent with your imagery across email, your website, and even your social media profiles.


6. Copy

Most people scan emails, while commuting or standing in line for their morning coffee. So you’ll want to ensure your copy can be easily digested at a glance, keeping the most important information front and center. Even if you have an email that requires more text such as an email course (hypothetically speaking, of course), you’ll want to include plenty of headers and paragraph breaks to ensure your copy stays organized and clear.

You should:

  • Keep your copy short and sweet.
  • Find ways to break up your copy with paragraph breaks, headers, and/or visuals.
  • Be as direct and specific as possible.
  • Use strong, active verbs to convey urgency and keep your copy impactful.

Keep reading to discover how to write copy that converts.


Today’s Challenge

What were the biggest hurdles you faced when you created your emails and how did you overcome them? Join the conversation and help other small businesses with their struggles.

[Tweet “My biggest hurdle in email creation: — #SmallBusinessBigResults @Campaign.Monitor” “Share your solutions on Twitter using #SmallBusinessBigResults.”]

Start with a template. End with perfection.

Keep that personal touch with your customers as your business grows. That’s the power of unforgettable email marketing.