The Pinnacle

Stories and ideas from Big Blue Digital.

Halve your word count, double your email marketing impact

Everyone touts the benefits of email marketing - it’s still one of the most effective digital marketing channels available!

It works B2C and B2B, for almost every industry, for loads of different outcomes.

Ok, you’re convinced.

But what do you actually put in your email?

How much should you write? How should it look?

How many different parts should it have?

How many different calls to action?

Like most people, I get a lot of email campaigns or newsletters from lots of different people and companies

Some emails are highly designed with images and different sections, full of little snippets vying for my attention.


Simply Measured - Great product, busy newsletter

Others are simple.

They focus on a single message and ask for just one action.

Just text.

Copy Hackers - All about the words

Still others are inbetween. They use images sparingly, to highlight one major message or article, plus one or two extra points or calls to action.

Death to the Stock Photo - Visual but focussed

So what do I think works best?

(This post focuses on content-based marketing rather than ecommerce, but similar principles apply.)

Get engaged

Your reader needs a reason to stay.

Make sure your readers keep that email open long enough to take action.

Your email content must be genuinely interesting and engaging. Ditch the 156 character article summaries - at least for your main section - and write something special.

Start strong and say “Hey! This email is going to be super interesting!”.

It might be extra commentary on the same topic as the full article, or it might just be a more casual, interesting introduction.

Spot the difference

Hi John,

Welcome to December’s monthly newsletter.

[Title of article]
Are your pretty emails falling flat? Find out how to focus and simplify your email campaigns for optimum results. Read more >

{insert list of other articles and images and a few other pieces of content that distract from our main article...}


Hi John,

Digital marketers (us included) are always saying how email marketing is still the best, but a lot of people struggle with what to actually say.

But it’s actually pretty simple!

I’ve written a handy guide to filling your emails with interesting, engaging content that will actually get your readers to read and click, not just bin and forget.

It’s on the blog right now, so check it out here and let me know what you think!


Now, this example is fairly extreme. It goes from a standard, overly complex (yet strangely also too simple) “newsletter” format, to the kind of email you might get from a friend.

Your sweet spot might be in the middle.

But the second email grabs your attention and “sells” the article a million times better! I know which one I’d read and click on.

(Interested in more tips on improving your writing and content creation skills? We've got you covered!)

Put it into action

You need to consider your audience and your brand.

It might not be appropriate for you to send super casual, “hey, how’s it going” messages to your corporate clients. Or your business requirements might dictate that you need a few more bits and pieces in your emails.

But the basics are the same. Here we go!

1. Grab attention

Use your subject line, pre-header text, main headline or graphic, and main content carefully and thoughtfully. Would you read this yourself? Does it say anything interesting or useful, or promise something exciting? Does it then deliver?


2. Focus the message

Each email campaign should be about one thing. You can have supplementary information, but shouldn’t rely on them getting your readers’ attention.


3. Clarify the action

With one message, comes one action. Read, buy, sign up, learn more, find out how, call us now.

If you have a couple of extra pieces of content in your email, make sure each one has a really clear action. Your reader wants to know what to do next. Just make sure that the main call to action is the most prominent.


4. Simplify the layout

There are many reasons to keep your email design simple.

They’re cheaper to build in the first place, easier to manage and update for each send, and more reliable in how they appear to your readers, in all their different email clients.

Most importantly, a simple layout puts the focus on your message and what you want the reader to do.

This doesn’t mean you can’t brand the email - definitely brand the email - or include the odd eye catching image, but put your money and energy where your readers want it; into creating an interesting, useful, targeted email campaign.

Now it’s your turn!

What is the first thing you’re going to change about how you send email campaigns?

Will you change up your content and overhaul your design?

Or just write more specific and obvious calls to action?

Do you have more ideas for how to write emails that people will be excited to see land in their inbox?

If you're still undecided, have a read of our article about the principles of email marketing design.

It's also important to remember - once you're campagn has been sent, make sure you are monitoring what is happening, so you can measure what is working and what's not.

Make sure you learn from the results!

Have a read of our do's and dont's of measuring email campaign success for more information.


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