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Creating Effective Email Marketing Messages

At Newfangled, we’re constantly talking to our agency partners and their clients about how to use their website to attract, inform and engage visitors. However, the website is only one of the 3 pillars of a successful conversion-focused web marketing strategy. The other two pillars are a database driven customer relationship management (CRM) tool, and a marketing automation platform.

One of the key components of any marketing automation tool is it’s email marketing. Email marketing is one of the best ways to get your messages in front of your consumers. According to HubSpot, 91% of online consumers check their email daily. But to really get the most from the emails that you are sending, be it via marketing automation, or more traditional email services, you need to carefully consider a few things about the messages that you send.

Subject Line

The first step to a successful email is an engaging subject line. You want it to quickly entice the recipient to open it, while giving them a clear idea of the content of the message. You also want to make sure that your message is not stopped by spam filters.

The subject line should act like a call to action, and the action you want the recipient to take is not to just open the email, but to click-through from the message to your website. If you’re giving a special offer, lead with that, but don’t be “spammy,” limiting the use of all-caps, punctuation, and words like “free” or “act now.” If it’s your monthly email newsletter, don’t use the subject “Company X March Newsletter,” instead, let the recipient know what the subject matter is and why they should read it. What’s in it for them? This is your first impression and it has a huge impact on the open and click-through rates of your messages.

Here is a good article that goes into more detail about some best practices of email marketing subject lines


It’s one thing to have a recipient open your email, but the true test is whether or not they click through from the email to your website. To help insure good click-through rates, take into account the following when creating the content for your message:

  • Does the email have a strong call to action? Make it clear what you want the user to do and what the benefit is to them.
  • Is everything they need to know in the email, or are you asking them to click through? Don’t put your entire newsletter in the email. Instead, just put the intro and provide a link to click through to read the full post. That gets the recipient on your site where they can further engage with your brand.
  • Be clear and concise. Everyone gets more email every day than they want to deal with, so make it easy for them. Don’t send an essay, use bullet points and be as direct and straightforward as possible. This will make your message more likely to be read and clicked through.

Also, make sure that the content of your email serves a clearly-defined purpose. For example, you should be sending messages with a links to specific content on your site that will help you determine where in the buying cycle the prospect is, or what products/services they may be interested in. This will help you nurture your leads and determine which leads are the most sales-ready.


The days of the highly-designed, graphic HTML messages seem to be coming to an end. Too much clutter and design makes the reader have to work to figure out your message. Plain text emails on a white background are not only easier to read and understand, but they seem more personal and less spammy. Consider ditching your showy custom templates for the simplicity and friendliness of plain text emails. Get rid of the header and footer – include this information in your signature. Make your emails look like you wrote them individually for each reader.

If you need further proof, consider this: Since switching our own monthly email newsletter from HTML to plain text, we have seen a roughly 10% increase in click-through rates.

However, there are some instances where you do want to use HTML, which is fine, but make sure it renders well across major email platforms and that you’re also providing a text version and a link to view the email in a browser. The biggest thing to keep in mind to increase click-through rates is to just keep in simple and focused.

As you’re planning your next email drip campaign or even just putting together your email newsletter, keep in mind the role that email plays in your overall web marketing strategy and the goals you want to achieve with each campaign and I’m sure it will be a success!

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