Natalia Ustimenko

Head of Direct Marketing

10 Rules of Composing an Email

Email is one of the most popular communication channels. A lot of emails are sent every day but not everyone really thinks about correct composition of campaigns and whether they meet the recipient's expectations.

Before building any message, decide who your target audience is. Clearly formulate the type and purpose of the campaign:

  • bulk or triggered;
  • promo, informative, educational, service, etc.;
  • what is a conversion action.

The more carefully you think over all email components at the very beginning, the easier it will be to compose the message. To help you take care of all concerns, we've come up with 10 basic rules to consider when making a new email message.

1. A sender name must be recognizable.

The "From" line shouldn't be impersonal. You emails shouldn't be sent from a no-reply address. Choose a sender name and do not change it too often. Your address and name are the face of the company! They must be easy to recognize and resonate with your brand.

If you have several sender names (for different campaign types), make sure the subscribers know they all are from you, for example eSputnik Blog, eSputnik Events, eSputnik Updates, eSputnik Sales, etc. 

How to write a good email

2.  A subject line shouldn't be misleading.

Your subscribers shouldn't be confused by that the content inside doesn't correspond to the subject line. The line determines whether your email would be opened or deleted straight away. Try to intrigue the reader but don’t reveal the entire message at once. One short sentence is enough; forget long phrases, clichés and fortnight advertising text (among others, it can be a trigger for spam filters). Also, the subject line isn't a place for a sender name.

Subject lines, as well as campaigns in general, shouldn't be monotonous or repeated over and over. If you've already sent campaigns, analyze what subject lines had the highest open rate. Follow this style but avoid repeatings. Consider running an A/B test to see what variants work the best for your audience.

How to write a good subject line

3. Get personal when applicable. 

Treat your subscriber as a friend but don't overdo it. Addressing by name doesn't always mean personalization. You can address people by name in campaigns they are directly related to - welcome email, birthday greeting, milestone celebration, transactional message, etc. Such emails are triggered by certain person's actions or personal info, and so a personalized greeting looks appropriate. 

But putting Hi Tom in regular promos, blog newsletters, news or system updates won't gain you much following. These campaigns are impersonal by default, so there is no need to make them look friendly and human-like. 

Personalized email

4. Ensure your reader that the email is addressed directly to them.

Compose emails making the effect of a long-lasting communication. Add dynamic content to show that you're aware of the customer's shopping history and payments. When sending promos with product recommendations, consider configuring AI to optimize them based on each recipient's behavior and preferences. 

Drag-n-drop editor for easy & efffective emails

5. Less can be more. 

Don’t overload email text with unnecessary details and descriptions. Your copy should be digestable, and the info inside - easy to scan. Sometimes, a nice image and encouraging CTA are enough to promote the offer.

If you write about services that require more text (like new functionality, system features, event announcement, etc.), organize it in short paragraphs and highlight the most important words or phrases (bold, underline, capital).

How to write a good email message

6. Be consistent. 

Stick to one topic, don’t lose the basic idea of the message. One email should encourage one target action - purchase, registration, review, friend forwarding, etc., and the design should be organized in order to support this targeting. Make it clear what a particular email needs to achieve, and build the layout correspondingly. 

7. Get rid of specific terms.

Don’t use words and abbreviations that are understandable only to you. Text must be easy to read and perceive.

Compare:

These shoes with steel-toes will protect you from a maximum shock load of 200 J. An anti-puncture insole is used to protect against punctures according to GOST 25507. The sole of polyurethane has wear-resistant properties according to GOST 12.4.137.

to

Produced in accordance with GOST, these shoes are designed to protect your feet from mechanical stress and climatic factors

Last post

8. A footer is a must.

Make sure all your emails have a footer with the following info:

  • sender;
  • contacts;
  • social media;
  • unsubscribe;
  • preference updates (if any).

How to compose an effective email

You can also opt for a photo of any team member to make your emails more human-like. Sarah from CardPost may sound more appealing than CardPost.com.

Email footer examples 

9. Double-preview.

Preview and edit all the email components to create such a message that you would like to receive yourself. Check all links, preview images, ensure that the alternative text is provided. Open your message in different browsers and see whether it's displayed as intended everywhere. Email text shouldn't contain spelling errors or broken links. An email with poor grammar and broken layout looks unprofessional and doesn't add to your reputation.

10. Run experiments.

Don’t forget that even a minor detail may affect the result. Change the content of emails, monitor the factors motivating subscribers to read your emails and react to them.

Test the effectiveness of your message by changing little details. For example, change the color of the CTA, its placement, font, or size. Split your customers database into smaller segments and send them emails with different options. Then, compare the result and choose the best variant for further campaigns.


This list is only a part of information on how to write a good email. Check our blog for more material, and also don't forget about other channles like SMS, Web Push and Mobile Push. An omnichannel strategy can help improve your marketing performance and reach your audience on multiple platforms. 

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Natalia Ustimenko

Head of Direct Marketing

The author of 200+ articles in the eSputnik blog. A speaker at industry conferences, a lecturer at email marketing classes.

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