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Dissecting Your Emails

By Jessica Brown

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Email marketing is almost like science. In biology, you need to learn how individual cells work before you can understand how they work together to create an organism. Similarly, you should understand how each part of your email works in order to have a clear understanding of the full effect your email will have.

We’ll touch on 7 parts of your email:

  1. Subject line
  2. Preheader
  3. “To” and “From” lines
  4. Greeting
  5. Body copy
  6. Signature
  7. Unsubscribe link

Subject Line

The subject line is the first (and sometimes only) thing that readers will see in their inbox. As previously discussed, your subject line should be catchy. It should make your reader think, “This is intriguing… I want to know more.” This can be achieved by asking the right question, hitting a funny bone with a joke, or by getting straight to the point. There are plenty of tactics to getting more opens, and you have to figure out which your audience responds to best.


The preheader is, most of the time, a summary of email content. It follows the subject line on many platforms, including in mobile inboxes and in your Gmail inbox. It should flow nicely with the subject line and also be engaging enough for someone to want to open your message. It works in a similar way as the meta description in SEO, which supports the SEO title. The preheader also shows up at the top of emails when you view them on the web.

“To” and “From” Lines

Like a well-done holiday gift tag, these lines clearly state who is sending your message to who. And also just like a gift tag, these should be personal. Don’t send your emails from, but from business emails of actual employees


Greet customer online in the same way you would greet them in person. If you usually stay formal with your customers, taking a formal tone in your emails makes sense. But if you tend to be conversational, make sure that your greeting reflects that also. Believe it or not, there are big differences between these greetings:

  • Hi, Frank!
  • Dear customer,
  • To our valued client,
  • Dear [First Name],
  • What’s up?

Body Copy

Keep the body copy short and to the point, throwing in some fluff only to reflect your/your business’s personality. It’s overwhelming to have to digest an email that is trying to get across too many points. Instead, direct recipients to reply, call, or take another action to learn more.


Sign your emails with your name and contact information so that readers know that they are communicating with a real person. Use a signature statement that reflects your tone. And don’t forget a thank you!

Unsubscribe Link

Because of the CAN-SPAM act, all emails must include an unsubscribe link so that recipients can easily remove themselves from your list. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You don’t want to spam readers, and you don’t want to waste your time communicating with leads who just simply aren’t interested. The unsubscribe link helps you to narrow your list down to more valuable leads.

Thinking about your emails in separate pieces will help you craft a better overall message. So the next time you go to send an email, take the time to optimize each piece of it in order for your best chance at an open, and maybe even a reply!