The Basic Structure of an Email

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  • 0:00 The Value of a…
  • 0:38 Composing a Message
  • 2:16 The Purpose of Your Message
  • 4:05 Wrapping Up Your Email
  • 4:53 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tara Schofield

Tara has a PhD in Marketing & Management

Creating an engaging and effective email requires some basic structural elements. Use the tips in this lesson to improve your emails and your marketing results.

The Value of a Structured Email

Let's imagine you own a bakery and café in your local town. You've created an email list and want to send a weekly message to your customers. Your café, Delicious Delights, is new and currently unknown to most people.

Email is a valuable and effective way to communicate electronically. Consumers receive many emails every day, and capturing the attention of your clients requires thought and organization. The most successful emails follow the basic structure of an email marketing message.

Composing a Message

The from address identifies who has sent the email. Make sure you set up a from address that will be recognizable to your customers and one that's clear and straightforward. You set up your from address as 'Delicious Delights Café and Bakery.' Customers easily recognize email from your business and they're encouraged to open it.

The subject line is a brief phrase (about five words) that sums up the focus of the email. The subject line is the biggest factor in determining if an email is opened or overlooked. When you create a subject line for Delicious Delights, make it engaging and use phrases that will entice your customers to read your message. Some of your most successful subject lines may include 'Treats for Your Summer Barbecue' and 'Mouthwatering Lunch Boxes to Go.'

Some email programs allow the recipient to see the subject line followed by a line or two of the message content. This short piece of text is the preheader. It offers a brief insight into the content of the email without having to open the entire message. When sending your café emails, ensure your preheader is attention grabbing to encourage your customers to open the message. Try phrases like 'Get a free cookie' or 'Lunch specials you won't want to miss.'

Within the email, there may be several sections, each beginning with a header. The header adds organization and distinguishes when the topic changes within an email. You've decided to break your email into two sections, one for the bakery and one for the café. By using a header for each section, customers can tell when the focus of your email is on bakery items and when it switches to café-related content.

The Purpose of Your Message

Depending on the length and complexity of your email, you may need to include a table of contents. This portion of your email identifies the different topics that will be discussed in the email and allows the reader to find the section they're interested in easily. If you have a short email with few sections, you may not need to include a table of contents.

What is the purpose of your email? Creating a call to action helps you identify what it is you want your customer to do after reading your message. This helps you focus your efforts to get the desired results. If you want your customer to make a purchase, your call to action will ask your customers to buy something. A clear call to action can improve the likelihood of your customers doing what you want them to do.

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