Modern Email Marketing: Anatomy of an Email

Modern Email Marketing: Anatomy of an Email


We all know how important it is to have a strong foundation on which to build or expand. That’s why we often talk about a house having good bones, or why we stress the importance of humans having strong, healthy bones. Your emails are exactly the same. If you build your emails from the ground up with a strong foundation, your email will be less likely to break or come tumbling down around you.



Below is a quick primer for those who may just be starting out or, if you’re like us, you may want to print it out and tack it to the wall right next to your desk as a reminder not to skimp on the basics. Please note that not every email will have all of these components, but most emails should have almost of them.



Sender Name & Address:

Otherwise known as the “From” line, this part of the email is all about you. If you’re just one person, use your real name. If you’re a business, use the business name. Or, if you want to get fancy with it, use a combination of your real name and your business name. This shows the recipient that you are willing to put your reputation on the line. Thinking about disguising an email as coming from someone other than your company in hopes of luring people to open your email? Consider this: 82% of consumers open email from companies. (Source: Litmus)



Subject Line:

The subject line is what the email is about and is often the first or second thing (after the sender name) that an recipient sees when he or she enters their inbox. And while it’s not always the case that a subject line will completely make or break the success of an email, one consumer poll of email activity revealed that 64% of people say they open an email because of the subject line. (Source: Chadwick Martin Bailey).



Just like it says, this is the section at the top of the email that comes before the header. It’s usually all text and often contains the very helpful “Having trouble viewing this email? See it in a browser” link. It’s also known as the “snippet.” Because it’s the first text in your email, most clients like Gmail, Outlook or the iPhone email client will show this text (or part of it) in the area underneath or next to the subject line.




Consider this your email’s billboard. It can be an image or text or both, but it’s meant to give the email an identity, grab people’s attention, and entice them to read the rest of the email.




This is where you address the recipient of the email. One tactic, if you have the capabilities, is to address every email directly to an individual, though some research says that may work against businesses. You don’t have to use an individual’s name to add that personalized touch, however. You can address the group as a whole, such as “Hello Friends and Neighbors” or “To All the Girls I’ve Known Before.”




The body of an email is where you put the juicy bits, or the meat and potatoes that support the topic introduced by the subject line. Just be careful not to overstuff your email with content here. Have a lot of information? Consider using a brief introductory paragraph with a link to the rest of the article hosted on your website.



Call to Action:

The action you want your recipients to take after reading your email, i.e. – sign up now, go to our website to read more, redeem this offer, etc. They can be subtle or in your face. There can be second and third calls to action, but a focused email is a successful email.



Social Sharing:

Expand the potential reach of your marketing efforts and help your email recipients help you by including social sharing or connecting icons – “Forward this email to a friend,” “Share this email on Facebook,” “Tweet this email,” “+1 this email,” etc.



Social Connecting:

Enhance your social media presence by including links to all your relevant social media profiles. Though sometimes conflated with Social Sharing, it’s important to note that they perform two distinct functions.




Found at the very bottom of the email, this section usually contains the following elements: contact information, an indication of why recipients are receiving this email (helps combat spam filters); disclaimers, fine print and legalese; and recipient email preferences, including unsubscribe links.




There are other elements that can be included in the structure of your email, such as sidebars, menus and more, but these basic building blocks should get you started on the path to a healthy, functional email.


  • Tags: Email Marketing

Categories: Marketing Mojo

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest. Optional login below.

Client Testimonials

  • Sounds Essential is a trusted partner on several demanding and highly complex development projects. Their technical skills, creativity, and most importantly, their grasp of our business needs has helped our company deliver sophisticated solutions to our (very happy) clients. Even when projects reach the "intense" stage, we really enjoy working with Sounds Essential.

    Pam Henry, Managing Partner
    Digital Spark LLC
  • Sounds Essential worked with our staff last year to create the first digital plant database in our organization’s history. This milestone not only benefits the day to day work flow of our organization, it creates the opportunity for us to share our data with others worldwide. Due to our niche high elevation ecosystems, we can share valuable insight about native plant communities and how they are adapting to climate change. Without the help from SE and funding from Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust this project would still be in conception. Working with SE made the development and implementation a pleasure for us gardeners.

    Kelly Holdbrooks, Exec. Director
    Southern Highlands Reserve
  • Sounds Essential is the best! Our company website and database are essential parts of our business. The website and database give us the professional look of who we are while also making our work flow so much easier! We highly recommend Sounds Essential.

    Charles Dwan, Owner
    Chefs Trading
  • Sounds Essential's team is the perfect combination of creativity, aesthetic vision, and technical expertise which enables them to provide innovative products. They are always responsive with questions, issues, and technical support and as the technology changes they adapt accordingly. We highly recommend Sounds Essential and they are indeed ‘essential’ to our business model.

    Wesley Wofford, Owner
    Wofford Sculpture Studio
  • Sounds Essential was a pleasure to work with from start to finish. With their guidance, we were able to update our website quickly and present a more polished and modern interface for our church. The documentation provided was clear and easy to follow, and they have been quick to respond to any questions.

    Kirsten Huscusson, Parish Administrator
    Church of the Incarnation
  • Between their exceptional level of service and versatility of skill, Sounds Essential is my first stop for anything from IT to creative... and they're my favorite partner, hands down.

    Leah G. Fallon, Owner
    Eleven Eleven Creative

Get the Latest

We occasionally send out news of general interest in our fields of specialty. If you'd like to stay up to date, please sign up according to your interests below.
Please wait