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The Anatomy of Email #4: Content and Footer

Here’s Part 4 in the ‘Email Anatomy’ series, where Andy Thorpe from Pure360 takes a looks at footers and the all important content of an email.  He talks about legal stuff as well, it’s essential stuff.


This is the main bit of the email where your words and links are. Obviously the content varies greatly depending on the reason you are sending the email, e.g. it could be a newsletter or a single call to action like an event invite etc.

There are some general things you should bear in mind to make sure the experience is good.

  • Appearance
    Ask yourself ‘Does it look pretty, is it on brand, is it readable?’ Don’t fall into the trap of making it so pretty that no one can read it. And don’t try and say too much. You should have a bag load of room on your website, so put the blurb there and use the email to get the click.
  • Relevance
    Will someone quickly be able to decide if they are intrigued and click through? If they have to concentrate too hard they’ll get bored and move on.  Does the content connect to the reason they opened the email?  Is it on track with the subject line, the from name and anything else they might have seen on their route to the content?
  • Call to action
    A newsletter will have multiple call to actions, in this case make sure the read on bit for every article is easy to find.  Make your images clickable too as some people just like to click images.  If you have one main call to action, go for a button over a text link – buttons are more successful. You don’t have to use an image either, you can use a little table with a border, a back-ground colour with some text in the middle, the table looks like a button but renders without having to load the images.
  • Mobile
    More and more people are reading emails on their smart phones. Most smart phones will normally load the images automatically. Obviously smart phones have tiny screens compared to computer monitors and all smart phones have auto zoom to fit in the text column or focussed image to the width of the screen. If your column is very wide, the text will be tiny and the reader will have to zoom in a scroll left and right.  So, try and keep the text column widths consistent, around 300px and don’t make the fonts too small.

Footer – legal stuff

As of 2006, as well as the opt-out link, company information must be included on all electronic communications. You must include the full registered name, number and office address of your company, as well as country of registration, on all email marketing. This is to ensure full accountability of the email in the same way as marketers must do for direct postal mail.

  • Reg details
    Normal stuff just stick the registration details at the bottom of the email, not too big and not too small.  For more information on this you can check out my ‘Email Marketing and the law’ blog.
  • Optout link
    The optout link has to be obvious and not cryptic and not an image button. Essentially if someone wants to optout they will, if you make it hard for them they’ll only hit the spam button and that’s 100 times worse.
  • Preference Centre
    If you have a preference centre – well done!
    Make sure people can still optout easily once they get there and don’t ask them to login in order to be able to optout. If your preferences are stored within a login site, you will need to have an unsubscribe link and a preference centre link in the email. If you do, put the unsubscribe link to the right of the preference centre link.

Look out for the next blog in the Email Anatomy series which will be all about testing and rendering.  If you are on twitter you can even follow the #emailanatomy hashtag.

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