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The anatomy of an Email

Create the perfect email campaign

lbfl ConsultancyEmail anatomy
The anatomy of an email

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What email elements make up an effective marketing message?

Email-wise, this is all about how the various elements interact with one another. Occasionally, none of us realise the importance of ensuring that ‘anatomy of an email‘ is considered as part of the email planning process – we do.

There’s a lot to consider and we can help manage your business through this important development stage. We always ensure that (as part of the design process) email anatomy is carefully considered and addressed, so that you avoid the most common email pitfalls.

We’ll touch on the elements which contribute towards a successful email marketing campaign including, ‘the envelope‘, ‘header‘, ‘navigation and index‘,  ‘body‘ and ‘footer‘.

The email envelope

The Envelope

This is simply the sum of from name, subject line and pre-header. The more attractive the envelope, the greater the chance of the email being opened, read and acted upon.

From name and from address

Obviously, recipients want and need to know who the email has come from. There are 2 elements here, the ‘friendly’ from name (Adestra) and the from address ( Both are configured when sending an email.

Subject Line

The subject line gives an indication of what the email is about. This is displayed next to the from name and is the second thing a recipient sees.

This has a huge influence over whether or not an email is opened.

The pre-header or snippet

The pre-header is the first text found in the email message. This is shown immediately after the subject line usually on mobile phone inboxes, and acts as an extension to the subject line. If no specific pre-header text is used, the first part of an email could be ‘click here to see the online version’ or an image URL.

The email header

The Header

The top part of the email is called the header. The header should include recognisable elements, a Logo and the colour scheme of the sender. This is simply because the header is the first thing a reader will see of your email newsletter. The header is also displayed in the preview pane, so it’s extremely important to make it recognisable.

Email navigation and index

Navigation bar

A navigation bar may or may not be included at the top of an email marketing newsletter. The primary purpose of the navigation bar can be to include links to the most important parts of the your website, however, it doesn’t have to duplicate your websites navigation.


Very long or multi-topic newsletters can benefit from the addition of an index of “topics in this newsletter”. The index is typically used to give a quick overview of the content in the newsletter, and also to provide a simply way of navigating to items of interest. The index can link to the items inside the newsletter itself or directly link to a webpage of the topic in the newsletter.

The email body

Email Body

The body is “the flesh” of your email marketing message. In newsletters it could include multiple articles. In sales or long copy newsletters it might just be all about a single topic. The body is where you can influence readers, taking them reader from initial interest to reading and action.


Sales driven email should contain one or more offers. Your product, service, content and desired actions should be well presented and engaging.

Hero shot and Images

Images are used to convey the main message of the email. Many email clients however, do not display images by default. If you’re really smart, you should craft email messages to render well when images are off.

Call to Action

The Call to Action (CTA) tells the recipient what action is expected of them. The CTA is often a text link or button that stimulates the reader to “read more”, “click here” or “buy now”.

More descriptive CTA’s tend to outperform simple CTA’s generating a higher number of click throughs. A good CTA button should stand out from the message.

The email footer

The email Footer

The last part of the email is referred to as the footer. It usually includes an unsubscribe link, and a disclaimer text.

Social media links and call outs

If your business is active on social networks, then you should include links to your social media pages. Ideally, you should use a button or icon to link directly to your company social media pages

Creating engaging email

Creating an engaging email is very different from creating a printed newsletter or any other form of communication for that matter. Email communications are usually cross-channel communications. That is, emails are usually linked to off and online campaigns, which could potentially include, call to action, text, off the page, social media and web amongst others.

Email considerations

When creating an email campaign you have to consider other elements of your marketing activity. More often than not, an email campaign will involve the design and creation of tailor made website landing pages. Once an email recipient responds to an email, there’s an immediate requirement to engage and retain the interest of visitors who come via this channel. It’s extremely easy to lose an email visitor when they arrive on your website, so take time to ensure that the creative and landing page content match and expand on the points raised in the campaign.

Considerations and Objectives