Email Marketing Part 3 – Mastering Content Basics

Nicole Porter
  • Client Services Manager
Text Block

The last posts from the gm. blog on the topic of Email Marketing looked at The Marketing Offer and Deciding on Content Type. Continuing in this series, we will now look at the Content Basics you need to consider when creating your attention-grabbing copy and head-turning imagery.

Having decided on your offer, and how you will communicate this – whether that be in a dedicated stand-alone email, eNewsletter, email digest or relationship-building series – it is crucial to approach your text copy and image content in the right way to not only ensure your email is opened and read, but your call-to-action (CTA) is acted on! We have explored a number of email content basics below that you can apply to any email marketing message and email format…

First Thing’s First

Set Your Text Content Objectives

You have already decided what your email marketing offer and message will be, and what marketing format you will use to deliver this. Now it’s important to think about what you want your recipients to do, think and feel when reading your email.

Structure Your Copy

Follow the AIDCA model when structuring your text content from the top to the bottom of your email: Capture their Attention, generate Interest, create a Desire, encourage Conviction and then get them to take Action.

Tone of Voice

Remember that your email marketing is a direct channel of communication to your potential customers – it’s important to take this opportunity to help them understand your brand and reassure them that your contact is authentic by keeping your tone of voice consistent with your corporate identity. However formal this may be, you can still keep it personal to create the feel of a one-to-one conversation with the use of “I”, “we” and “you”.

Large Centred Image
Text Block

The Text

Subject Line

This is usually the first content your audience will read and with email previews only displaying 30 – 35 characters, it is important to choose your text wisely for the maximum impact. Consider…

  • Including your CTA
  • Teasing the content of the email (make sure your email content substantiates this to avoid this feeling like click-bait!)
  • Posing a question
  • Using “Pay Less” type statements – customers love a saving
  • Listing benefits
  • Personalising with the customer’s name
  • AND REMEMBER: Optimise for mobile

The “To” and the “From”

Show a name rather than an email address, where possible. Your sender name should be easily recognisable and relatable to your business to avoid being classed as spam!


Sitting above the main body of your email content, this text should expand on your subject line – not just repeat it. This element of the email is vital as it can’t be obscured and won’t interfere with content below, making it the perfect position to communicate the main offer and encourage scrolling through the email content.

Body Text

Generally, Email Marketing emails lead recipients to a landing page on a website – this landing page will contain much more detailed information on your offer/message than your email will need to. This allows your email content to simply be the highly-engaging driving force that pushes traffic to your page. It is therefore important to not give too much away in the text content, but engage the user, set the tone and explain the offer with standout CTAs to encourage them to click through to the next step in the conversion process.

Remember that some email programmes will block images in your email content from being downloaded – initially, the user will only see your text until they have chosen to download images – so make sure your text content is effective when no images are shown. Is it still attention-grabbing?

The Close

When concluding your email content, repeat the CTA and consider adding a time-limited secondary offer to encourage immediate action (“20% off until midnight”). Include a personal sign-off from a well-known figure in the company to give a personal, authentic touch.

Go Viral and Encourage Sharing

Does your email contain a clever bit of design or an attractive offer that you want to be shared? Make sure you add a ‘Share with a Friend’ and ‘Subscribe’ link at the bottom of your email. This will encourage users to spread the word, increase your email list and enable you to keep track of where your traffic is coming from.

The Mandatories

With the introduction of GDPR, it is more important than ever that your email marketing is legally compliant. Ensure the following are included at the bottom of every email you send to your list:

  • Unsubscribe/Opt-Out/Profile settings (vitally important!)
  • Privacy Statement (can link to your website policy as long as this covers privacy terms for email recipients)
  • Point of Contact
  • T&Cs

Avoid Your Content Being Blocked

It is incredibly disheartening when you have worked tirelessly on creating an effective piece of email marketing, to find out that it hasn’t reached your intended audience. To reduce the chances of your content being blocked, avoid the following:

The Design

Use a Template or Go Bespoke

If you have specific needs for your email, it may be worth considering designing a bespoke template. These can be costlier, however, they can be designed to exact requirements to meet your marketing objectives.

If you are opting for a more common email format that can be easily adapted for each send out, there will be an array of set email templates you can use to lay out your content, depending on the email marketing client e.g MailChimp. These are easier and quicker to put together to ensure a consistent approach to your email campaign, with minimal clutter and clear CTAs, however, are less adaptable than a bespoke design.

Consider Layout

Do you want your audience to read your content top to bottom; a short message with a single CTA? If so, a single column layout will be best suited to your email. Multi-column layouts give you the freedom to showcase a variety of content, messaging and CTAs – this layout is more commonly used for product-based or e-commerce emails.

Direct the Recipient

Make it easy for the recipient to navigate the email content. This can be achieved through the use of content tables, a navigation bar and internal linking taking users to relevant content on the website.

Two Inline Images
Text Block

Prepare for All Eventualities

It’s important to consider the design elements of your email with the worst in mind – that is to say, what is the worst-case scenario in which a recipient will be viewing your content? If it works in this scenario, it will work in all scenarios! Therefore, select a width that displays in most browsers; create high quality images at the lowest possible file size to reduce load times; tag all images with relevant keywords; host video content on your website and link recipients to it; make sure offers are displayed in body text and not just in imagery; use tinted backgrounds for visual interest and high contrast, clear fonts for clarity.

Design for Mobile

With a large proportion of users accessing their emails via mobile devices exclusively, it’s crucial to adapt your design to work on smaller screen sizes and touch-screen functionality. Consider how your content will look in portrait as well as landscape, and how links will work and react if touched rather than clicked.


Using these tips as a basis for your email content, you will be able to confidently push the creative boundaries with your design and copy to create a piece of email marketing content that will get your brand noticed, engage your audience and encourage the greatest conversion. Anything to add? We would love to hear if you have any more top tips from your email marketing efforts! Why not tweet us @gmdesignltd

*All fields marked with an asterix are mandatory

By submitting a Contact Form enquiry, you confirm you have read our Privacy Policy.

"*" indicates required fields

Accepted file types: pdf, doc, docx, ppt, pptx, xls, xlsx, jpg, gif, png, csv, Max. file size: 5 MB.
Max Filesize Upload is 5 MB
No File Chosen
By ticking this box, you confirm that you have read and understood our Privacy Policy*
By ticking this box, you confirm that you have read and understood our Privacy Policy

Latest News

Interested in joining our team?

If you are an experienced Content Marketing Manager, we'd love to hear from you. You will be an extremely valued team player in our service delivery, working directly with our high-profile client base. Our approach is very much quality over quantity as we strive to deliver the best service possible.

Apply now and create a fresh start for yourself within our growing business.

Newsletter Sign-up

Sign-up to our newsletter

Inspired by the world of creative design and content marketing? Keep updated with seasonal highlights from our blog, events and projects. By submitting your details, you confirm you have read our Privacy Policy.

"*" indicates required fields

By ticking this box, you confirm that you have read and understood our Privacy Policy*
By ticking this box, you confirm that you have read and understood our Privacy Policy