three arrows on an email target
February 3, 2016
Marketing  |  14 min read

Email Anatomy: Creating the Best Marketing Emails Ever

by Jared Kimball

How many emails are you sent every day and don’t read?

Ten? Twenty? Hundreds,or maybe thousands? I’m guessing it’s a lot. The email inbox is a very crowded space.

How do you get a subscriber to notice your email, open your email, and then do what you want them to do in the email? Especially, when there are hundreds of other emails competing for their attention.

The 3 areas you need to focus on for creating the best marketing emails ever

  1. The relationship—Everything begins and ends here
  2. Subject lines—Get your emails opened
  3. The email body—Connect, enrich and set the stage

The relationship—Everything begins and ends here

Don’t gloss over this.

Think about it. Whose email would you open first: an email from a stranger or a friend? 

I’m not saying your subscribers have to be friends, but ask yourself, “What can I do to build an amazing relationship with my subscribers?”

Sometimes we forget that there are people on the other end of our emails. At one point and time they were interested in getting our emails. Because they are interested, your job is to not mess it up.

Here are some examples of how other email marketers are successfully building relationships with their subscribers:

double your sales.png

Breaking down how this email builds relationships

The first email you send to a brand new subscriber has the highest open rate on average of all emails.

For example, if the average typical email open rate is 25 percent then your first email typically gets a 50 percent-plus open rate.

The first email is your chance to standout and make a big impression.

I couldn’t screen grab all of Ryan’s email above, but he does an excellent job of:

  • Introducing himself, his brand and Digital Marketer’s mission
  • Setting expectations for future email communications
  • Gives people the opportunity to get out if they want to
  • How to whitelist his email address so future emails get through
  • Invites them to join other Digital Marketing social networks
  • Plus, an unexpected bonus video at the bottom of the email

His initial welcome email does an excellent job of building the relationship and expanding how people can connect with this business via other social networks, too. 

How can you improve your initial welcome email?

Step 1: Get people to buy into your mission

Your business exists for a reason. It helps solve a problem, adds convenience to a person’s life, speeds up something, give peace of mind, or adds value in other ways.

This is your chance to brag and connect with people in a real and authentic way that makes them remember your business.

Share your mission, share something personal, show proof, be real, and let people know what your business is all about and how it will help them.

Step 2: Set expectations

People often don’t let people know what they can expect after subscribing to your email list. Why not seize the opportunity and tell them that you like to send an email a day or two emails per week or just one email a month.

Don’t leave them in the dark.

Setting expectations will help you stand out as well because it’s more than likely that your competition doesn’t do this. 

By being open and real in the beginning will build more trust with your subscribers, so why not start things off on a good note?

Step 3: Invite your subscribers to connect on other channels

I’m sure there are other ways for your potential customers to hear from you, whether that’s through social media, webinars, direct mail, or even telephone calls.

Let them know all the ways they can receive communication from your business. You’d be surprised how many of your email subscribers would welcome your promotions and offers through Facebook or the mail.

Open up the options and let them choose. The more ways you can communicate with them the more opportunities you’ll have to sell your products or services.

Step 4: Give something unexpected

Most people like surprises. Give them something extra they weren’t expecting.

This is a great opportunity to share an extra video or e-book, because they are highly likely to check it out and who knows they might buy your product relatively quickly.

When you give something unexpected it only builds good will between you and your subscribers. Everyone can use a little more good things in their life, so why not give them something a little extra?

Checkout this example on building relationship with your subscribers:

 useful articles.png

How many people on your list read all of your content? Very few.

When Noah sent this out to his email list he wanted to give them a variety of interesting topics to consume and remind his subscribers that he has a wide variety of resources he’s created for their success.

He also uses the relationship building email above as a way to share useful gadgets and even introduce his subscribers to another buddy of his that they might find interesting to follow.

Then he wraps up the email with a nice little “P.S.” to spark an email conversation with his “word of the year” by making a claim on how he wants to approach the next year of his life. Rather than doing what everyone else does (aka New Year’s resolutions) he puts a subtle spin on it by asking his readers what their word of the year is.

Start building a relationship with your email subscribers today and you’ll harvest more sales tomorrow.

Subject lines—Get your emails opened

Can I state the obvious? Subject lines are important if you want to get your emails opened and read.

How do you approach writing email subject lines that stand out in today’s crowded inbox? Check out this useful post that will show you How To Write Subject Lines That Read Like Buttah.

When it comes to email subject lines you can grab free ideas from one of the most abundant resources on the Internet—your own inbox.

Sitting inside your email inbox is a treasure trove of email subject lines that people you relate with and follow send to you every day.

Ask yourself, “How can I use the email subject lines that got me to open and read their emails and use them for my email subscribers?”

Here’s a quick way you can start: Open up some sort of spreadsheet software and also log into your email account. Skim through your emails and flag the ones that got you to open. Copy and paste those subject lines onto your spreadsheet. 

Viola! Instant email subject line resource that you can refer to over and over again.

Here are a few example subject lines that you can learn from as well.

Frank Kern examples:

  • Jared what’s in this box??
  • RANT ENCLOSED (Some people...)

Frank likes to use short subject lines and all caps for many of his email subject lines. Probably because it helps the email stand out a bit more inside the inbox.

Notice how he leverages warning type messaging as well as questions. When people are warned about something they typically pay attention. Using questions in your subject lines will feel more personal as well as open things up for dialog.

Melanie Duncan examples:

  • “I hate setting goals...”
  • Lead magnet ideas for your business
  • [Video] How to Fail Like A Winner

This is only a small sample set of Melanie’s subject lines, but I did notice a trend on how she uses “quotes” in her subject lines. When I read these quotable subject lines I’m guessing she’s paying attention to what her audience is saying and creating solutions to help them solve their problems.

Using [brackets] within subject lines can help your emails stand out as well. Notice how she uses “video” inside the brackets—it’s a way of blatantly telling you what you can expect if you open and read this email. There’s a video inside. examples:

  • 3,858% ROI from YouTube…
  • Email List Building: Why you’re stuck
  • “I just want the recordings…"

People like numbers and cold hard facts. When I see a percent sign in my inbox, I instantly associate it with a statistic and in the above example it makes the claim that they are getting a 3,858 percent ROI from YouTube. People crave tactics that will help them get results and that subject line is an instant hit if anyone is trying to leverage YouTube for their marketing efforts.

The email body—Connect, enrich, and set the stage

“What do I write in my emails?” I hear that question all the time from busy business owners.

Let’s look at writing email content the way we would when making a pizza.

How writing emails is like making a pizza

One way is to buy the pizza from someone. This is the quickest and easiest way to make a pizza, whether you buy from a popular pizza chain, a mom and pop pizza shop, or from your local grocery store.

All you have to do is pick out the brand, the toppings, and size of the pizza and your pizza is delivered to your door or after a few minutes of baking at home you can pull it out of the oven and enjoy its chewy, cheesy goodness.

The other way is to make your pizza from scratch. This takes a little more time and skill, but by following a proven recipe or inventing your own the end result is normally a super delicious pizza (if you’re a good enough baker that is).

You can do the same thing with your emails.

There are thousands of email copywriters online, in your local community, and around the globe who would be delighted to take your order of toppings, size, and flavor for creating emails that you can start using almost immediately.

Or if you prefer to not pay someone for your email writing you can purchase an email recipe and follow the instructions and create your own emails based on the directions. This way might take some practice, but if you’re the DIY kind of guy or gal then this might be all you need to get started.

Let’s take a look at some great examples/recipes you can learn from:

Leveraging Relevant News Recipe via Ramit Sethi

Email example 1.png 

The time Ramit wrote this email the U.S. Lottery Powerball jackpot was sitting at $1.5 billion. This was an extremely hot topic around the entire country.

He leveraged this newsworthy topic and crafted his own little spin on the hot news item and blamed those so called “experts” who tell people to take their $2 and put it into an index fund and in 348 years they’ll have $32,000.

Ramit’s formula for this email goes something like this:

  1. Leverage hot news topic
  2. Talk about so called “expert advice” that is horrible advice
  3. Turn the bad advice around and inspire with a story
  4. Share a free course/e-book/PDF/resource
  5. Get email clicks

No matter what market your product or service is in, I’m positive you can find a hot news topic like recent government regulations, laws, or recent market buzz that can be used with this formula.

To get started use sources like CNN,, or even local news stations to help you implement this formula with your next email. 

Derek Halpern’s Close The Gap Formula:

email example 2.png

Derek is a smart marketer—probably one of the top 10 in the entire world, in my opinion. He knows that a certain segment of his subscribers are interested creating information products online. 

He uses this email to capture their interest and educate them on how they can be more successful with their idea for a course they want to create or a current course they have already created.

Derek’s Knowledge Gap email formula looks something like this:

  1. Top of mind topic for specific group of people: With his subject line, he clearly targets people who want to sell online courses.
  2. There’s a secret to go from average to superstar: In the email body he mentions that “nobody else talks about this” which creates a knowledge gap and the only way for the reader to fill this gap is to watch the video and learn the secret.
  3. Show proof: He invites the reader to watch a video (this could be read a blog post, article, listen to an audio recording or whatever) that proves the secret is real and eludes the idea if you learn this secret it could make a huge difference in your sales.
  4. Exclude or include: He specifically targets people who want to create a course or have already created a course. If you aren’t interested in creating a course then you probably won’t click and watch the video.
  5. Invite conversation: He invites people to comment on the post after watching his video, which assumes that they’ll click on the link and watch the video. He’s assuming the sale—a popular closing technique.

These examples are just a small sample set of emails that we analyzed, and you can learn from.

These emails work. How can you start leveraging these formulas, subject line examples to build better relationships with your subscribers? 

Maximize Your Email Deliverability - Download Now

jared kimball.png 

Jared Kimball openly shares his strategies and techniques for email marketing on his site He's also a conversion marketing strategist at Infusionsoft.

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