The Four Elements of Effective Email Marketing.

Author: K. Ong, Email Marketing Specialist

Is your online business propagated primarily via email marketing campaigns? Are you wondering what impression your emails are making to their recipients? The tracked statistics of HTML newsletters tells you something but not everything. For example, what makes a newsletter persuasive enough for the recipient to act on what you’re offering – whether it’s a product or an idea that you’re trying to sell?

Here are the four elements of effective email marketing campaigns that you might want to keep in mind during your next bulk mailings.

Test emails

Test your email before you deploy it to your list. Test to different email providers (Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, etc.) to check if the message renders properly. Send it to friends or to people whom you trust to provide honest feedback. Is it clear to them what you are trying to convey on the email? Are they persuaded to buy from you or to act on your offers?


Design your mailings the way a professional would. Do away with garish colors, wacky font-faces (stick with Times Roman, Arial, Tahoma, or Verdana), grammatical and typographical errors, and dubious claims peppered with exclamation marks.

Do not mix different fontfaces; use a maximum of three different font types in one newsletter. Minimize graphics as some people can only read plain text messages. The width of your newsletter must not exceed 650 pixels because the recipient will end up scrolling horizontally to read the full message. Using a horizontal scroll bar is annoying, and in direct marketing, annoying your subscriber can mean losing a sale. Plain text emails from merchants are sometimes perceived as more “sincere” than their HTML counterparts. You might want to bank on that idea and occasionally send a short plain text email to your recipients.


Concise mailings make the cut. Exploit headers and sub-headers for maximum impact. Those headers show up in the preview pane of your recipient. Take note that maximum impact means a carefully worded copy. The tone must be professional-sounding, sincere, and warm.

If you have done pre-sales during your previous mailings and you’ve come to the point when are about to blast a mailing that asks for your subscribers to buy, then ensure that your advertising copy is powerful and well-written.

You only get one chance to clinch the sale, so the first few paragraphs of that mailing must grab your recipients’ attention enough to click the buy buttons. Do not forget to test all the links, too, before you click send.


Battering your subscribers’ inboxes with email after email is a lousy selling strategy. Timing is crucial. Ask for the sale at the most opportune time. The best way to do this is to build anticipation. Send only two short emails during a one-month period. The email will state that something’s coming up and how the recipient can benefit from it. It can be an impending sale, a contest, a giveaway, etc. On the third email, you go for it: cash in on the sale and make an offer to your subscribers. That’s far more effective than two emails per week that say the same thing: buy this and that.