Every email message consists of the message header and message body. In this article we will explore the best practices for creating the email header and body to get a highly responsive email newsletter.
The email header is the information that travels with every email, telling about the sender, route and recipient. Email headers determine who sent the message to whom, and record the path the message follows as it passes through each mail server. The header consists of numerous fields such as “From”, “To”, “Subject”, “Return-path”, “Received”, “Content-Type”, “Message-ID”, etc.
The two most important header fields are the “From” and “Subject” because this is what the recipient immediately sees when he receives the message. They form the first impression about the sender and must be used wisely.
1. From. In these days of SPAM, the “From” line should ensure the recipient that they know the person or company who sent the email. If the sender is unknown, most people delete the message straight away. With that said, make the “From” header field show your name or your company name. If you prefer using the email address instead of the name in the “From” line, to create credibility use the email address from your domain and not from a free domain like @gmail.com, @aol.com, etc. Make sure you send the message from the email address beloging to a real person, sometimes the email address like [email protected] is acceptable. Do not send from a [email protected] email address. People should always know that they can reply your email in case they have any queries.
2. Subject. The importance of the subject line is incontestable. It serves to 1) grab the reader’s attention since your message will be competing for attention with many other emails in the user’s Inbox, and 2) stimulate interest and desire to open the email. The bad thing is that you have a limited number of characters to get your Subject across — 30 characters (6 or 7 words). Or at least keep in mind that anything beyond these characters can be deleted or unseen.
The body of a good email newsletter typically contains the following elements:
1. Body header. A header in the body is most often used in HTML emails because cannot have the same effect in plain text messages. The function of the body header is to reassure, inform and offer more. With that said, the header typically contains the company logo and name to reassure the recipient it is a well-known brand or credible organization. The header can also have a slogan to give more information about what is on offer or to reinforce the Subject line. The header can be clickable and send the recipient to your website or special page where your offer is. Finally, the header can include the line “If the message doesn’t display correctly, click here to see a web-based version” to let the recipient go to your site and read an online version of your newsletter.
2. Salutation. It’s not the most important part of the email that influences the response rate, but it still forms the reader’s impression. It can set the tone of the email as official or friendly. Choose the appropriate salutation according the content of your email newsletter. A good thing is to address the recipients by their first names if you have that information on record. You can easily do this by using the mail merge option in your bulk email software.
3. Introduction. After the header and salutation there will probably not be enough space left above the ‘fold’ (the space for viewing the email newsletter before the reader needs to scroll down). So, the purpose of the introduction is to develop the interest and encourage the recipient to scroll down to read the full copy and click the call-to-action. Write 2-3 quick yet smashing sentences for the introduction. If it’s appropriate, put your call-to-action above the ‘fold’ or immediately below the introduction. This way, if the reader decides to act, he can do it immediately.
4. Main copy. If the reader did not lost the interest and got to the main copy of your email newsletter, they most likely want more details and reassurance. So, the main copy should give a detailed description of the offer or product. A good practice is to use bullets with bold headings in order the reader can catch the meaning when scanning the copy. Though you have enough space here, you should focus on what the reader wants to know, needs to know or both. Put yourself in the readers’ shoes and focus on answering their questions instead of telling about yourself, your company and its achievements.
5. Conclusion. The main purpose of the closing part is to make the reader take the action if he has not done it yet. So, the link to execute the action must always be placed in the final part of the email newsletter.
6. Unsubscribe link. If you do a permission-based marketing, it’s a must-have. The unsubscribe link should be prominent and straightforward. The process should be quick and clear. Here you can read more about how to send bulk emails with the unsubscribe link
7. Footer. The footer typically contains the company contact information (postal address, web site URL, email address, contact phones) and link to the privacy statement on the sender’s web site. It’s possible to put the unsubscribe link into the footer too if there is no appropriate place for it in the main copy. Sometimes the footer can also include a “send to a friend” link and social buttons like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.
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