A guide to email campaigns

Today we’re dissecting all the different parts of an email marketing campaign to help you strengthen your campaign. Get ready for some strength training - we’ll get your campaign in tip-top shape before your next send.

Email design can take many shapes and forms depending on the goal you are trying to achieve. We’re going to focus on common email marketing parts, section by section, to ensure you are covering the basics without us stifling your creativity.

Sender name and subject line

Your sender name and subject line is often overlooked when you compile your campaigns, but they are actually crucial to your campaign. You need to ensure that you are using a sender name that people can recognise over time. Your sender name is one of the first things people see when your email lands in their inbox. Don’t change your sender name all the time as this leads to confusion and often people then don’t know who an email is being sent from (which can lead to increased unsubscribes).

When it comes to subject lines there are many resources available to help you craft a compelling subject line that will make people want to open your email.

You can learn more about subject line formulas and test out different subject lines that will appeal to your audience.


Most email campaigns have a strong header. Your header image for any email campaign will aim to grab your readers’ attention straight from the word go. Once you’ve gotten your reader to click to open your campaign you want them to be focused on you. They’ve already taken the first step to find out more, now they’re ready to size you up.

Whether you do this with an image or a catchy header strapline, you’ll want to keep the 4 U’s in mind.

You’ll use the 4U’s to ensure that your header (whether an image or a text-based strapline, stands out). When reviewing your header ask yourself:

  • Does this header make me UNIQUE?
  • Is this header ULTRA SPECIFIC to what I’m trying to communicate?
  • Does it convey the necessary URGENCY for someone to take the action I want?
  • Is my header USEFUL?

When designing or considering what kind of header you are going to use, the number one thing to keep in mind is “how is this useful or valuable to the end reader?” If you’re not providing value, there’s no point in sending your email. How can a reader benefit?

The body

Now that you’ve thoroughly set the scene and get your readers to actually scroll further than your header, you need to ensure that your body copy or body section of your email is talking directly to your audience.

  • Don’t be afraid to use both text and imagery - in fact this is recommended. Too many email marketers overload their emails with imagery with no supporting text.

  • Don’t write to your subscriber as if you are writing to a group. Although you know you are sending your email to a group of people, you want your audience to feel like you are speaking directly to them. Always in the first person.

  • Try to stay away from image-based text! These kinds of graphics don’t really enhance your readers’ experience and can render horribly or scale strangely on different devices, making it hard to read. If you do use image-based text, don’t forget to add in alt text to these images, just in case images are turned off in your subscribers’ email client.

  • Before you start selling your product, sell the value. Again this is the time and place for you to tell a story, unveil the value and benefit of what you have to offer. Don’t just sell.

  • Keep your body content concise to ensure that there aren’t mountains of content a subscriber needs to sift through.

Calls to action

An email without a call to action is much like a smoke signal. The wind blows the smoke away and now no-one knows where to find you. Without proper calls to actions in your email campaigns your readers won’t know what you want them to do next.

Depending on the type of service or product you’re selling, you’ll want to try out different kinds of CTA’s.

For smaller purchases clear calls to action will work well as they are low commitment purchases for a subscriber, whereas more expensive (larger items) might require more non-committal calls to actions.

An example would be if you’re selling high end watches, it might work better to lead your subscribers to a page with a button that says VIEW WATCHES rather than BUY NOW.

It’s really important for you to use action words when crafting your calls to action. It also doesn’t hurt to use urgency as a motivating driver. People respond to exclusivity and the feeling of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).


Yes it’s the last element of your email and by now you may feel like you’ve reached the end, but a footer is a really important part of your email.

Footer links are useful to a reader, especially if they’ve reached the bottom of an email and they haven’t found anything to click on.

Some top tips for your footer:

  • Include a physical address in your footer. This complies with the POPIA Act that came into effect on the first of July 2021.
  • Don’t be afraid to mirror your top navigation in your footer. It’s useful for your subscribers’ as they don’t need to scroll back to the top of your email.
  • Add your social media accounts to your footer, even if the content didn’t get your subscriber to take action, they might still go visit one of your social media channels for more content.
  • Have some form of subscription management page link at the bottom of your email. This includes your unsubscribe link, but can also include an email address change or a link to the preference centre.

Don’t hit send before...

You’ve tested your email of course.

You should test your email across different mobile devices, including iOS and Android as well as Desktop email clients. Don’t forget to also test on internet-based services such as Outlook and Gmail.

Look at how large your email is. If it’s too big, it won’t load as quickly and people will abandon reading your email. Try to stay at a max size of 100KB.

Some other things to consider around your email campaign:

How often should I send?

Frequency is a question that comes up quite a lot, “how do I know how often I should be sending to my email base?” The rule of thumb is that you should only send when you have something to say, but this does sometimes lead to marketers not setting up a frequent sending schedule.

Other experts recommend looking at the newness of your list and interacting with your audience based on when they subscribed. If you have an opted-in list that you haven’t emailed in quite some time, you could start by sending your emails once a month and then upping the frequency to twice a month. This would help you weed out old email addresses and optimise your campaigns until you get back to a once-a-week schedule.

Frequency of send depends on your unique needs. Your business might want to engage with your audience 3 times a week and due to the type of business you run your audience may expect this level of interaction.

Ultimately you need to find an email schedule that works for you - one that you will consistently stick to.


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