Anatomy of an Email: How to Craft Emails That Get Opened and Clicked

Why do some of your emails get high open rates, while others sit in people's inboxes collecting dust? If your open rates and click-through rates are inconsistent, it could be because you're not following a strategic email blueprint.

This article will outline the specific elements that should be included each and every time you email your list. The more consistent you are in including these items, the more consistent your open rates will be!

Email Body

Write the body of your email first. Once you know what your email is going to be about, you can create a strong subject line, headline, and call to action that will complement the 'meat' of the email.

Use lots of white space in your email body - it is difficult to read large chunks of texts on a computer or smartphone screen. Keep in mind: "The sentence is the new paragraph!"

Be sure to include links in the body of your email. Don't be afraid to link different words or phrases back to the same blog post or landing page on your website.

It's also a good idea to include at least one "ugly" link in your email (with full http://) in case the other links are broken or some kind of technical glitch occurs.

Greeting and Headline

Make sure the email greeting and first sentence (AKA the 'headline') are "on brand." If your brand is fun, casual, and conversational, a "Dear Sir/Madam" greeting just won't do! Include the customers' name if appropriate (all major email programs give you the option to personalize your greeting when crafting your email).

Follow your greeting with a dynamite first sentence that's on a line all by itself. This sentence serves as the introduction to your email. It should be relevant to the body and text and encourage the reader to keep reading.

For example, an email about The Internet of Things might begin like this: "Hey Amy, It's official - the future has finally arrived." Amy is then encouraged to keep reading to find out what kind of future you're talking about!


Never underestimate the power of the "P.S." Marketing experts and researchers have found that the "P.S." is actually the first thing people read, not the last, so make your P.S. count.

The postscript is a great place to reiterate the call to action from the email body. For example, if you want the reader to click on a link to your latest blog post, use the P.S. to give them yet another reason to visit your blog beyond what you've presented above.

The Subject Line

There's no point in putting all of that work into a knockout email if the email never gets opened. That's why your subject line is the most important part of your email blueprint.

The #1 job of the subject line is to make the reader open your email. That being said, the subject line must also be relevant to the contents of your email.

If your subject line reads "Aliens invade Utah next Monday," you'd better tie that to your content somehow or risk making the reader feel tricked.

Great subject lines engage the reader by piquing their curiosity and hinting at what's inside the email without 'giving away the farm.'

What's the anatomy of your latest email blast? Which of the above elements do you always include, and which have you been missing?