Anatomy Of An Email Message

An email message is divided into these three separate and distinct parts:

  1. Headline (Subject)
  2. Message Body
  3. Call To Action

It doesn’t do any good to get just one or two parts right. You need to hit all three squarely on the head if you want to make sales.

I already covered the fact that it isn’t the “job” of the email to make the sale.

Its job is to simply get the person to the point where he or she clicks on the link (“Call to Action”) that takes them to the sales or landing page.

Here’s a more in-depth look at each part:

Headline (Subject)

The subject of an email message is exactly the same as a headline in a classified ad.

They both share the same properties and they both share the same goal of enticing the reader to read more.

Because so many people scan the subjects of their email in order to decide whether or not they are interested in reading more, you need to put as much work into writing that one sentence as you will put into writing the body of the email.

Before you even begin writing your subject headline, stop and think about which of these headline types will work best with your offer:

Effective Headline Types

Benefit Headlines

Benefit headlines should clearly state whatever the benefit is of the product or service that you are promoting, or the benefit of reading the body of the email.

Avoid using hype, buzz words, ALL CAPS, or lots of exclamation points!!!!!

None of these tricks work and you’ll only turn your reader off.

Example Benefit Headlines:

  • Save 50% on most printer supplies
  • You can lose 10 pound in 10 days
  • “Erase” Wrinkles Instantly

These headlines clearly demonstrate to the reader what the benefit of reading your email will be.

People who are interested in gaining that benefit will read your message.

Those who are not, will not.

Problem Headlines

Problem Headlines are similar to Benefit Headlines in that they do convey an “assumed” benefit.

The headline works by asking a pointed question and then leaving the reader to conclude that the answer to the pain that question elicits can be found in the email message.

Example Problem Headlines:

  • Embarrassed By Age Lines?
  • Is Your Vocabulary Holding You Back?
  • Does Sexual Intimacy Embarrass You?

Problem headlines should never beat around the bush. The reader has a pain and you have the cure.

All you’ve got to do is stick your finger right in the middle of that pain and give your finger a good twist.

You’ll be rewarded with more sales as a result.

Question Headlines

Although Question Headlines may appear to be identical to Problem Headlines, there is one important difference.

Problem Headlines are designed to make people squirm, while Question Headlines are designed to make them dream or say “aaahh.”

Example Question Headlines:

  • Would you like more money on your paycheck?
  • Want to retire in 2 years?
  • Need An Affordable Vacation?

Question Headlines should be structured so that a “Yes” answer is a good thing and a “No” answer is a bad thing.

Guarantee Headlines

Guarantee Headlines are designed to remove any doubt from the reader’s mind that what you are offering is the sure-fire cure for what ails them.

Example Guarantee Headlines:

  • Stop Smoking – Guaranteed
  • Guaranteed Mortgages
  • Earn A Guaranteed Income From Home

It’s important to note here that you need to make sure the product or service you are selling really does have a guarantee that matches what you promised in the email.

Offer Headlines

Offer Headlines are designed to entice the reader to take action now in order to avoid missing out on a limited-time opportunity or a special opportunity.

Example Offer Headlines:

  • Free Shipping Today Only
  • Buy One DVD get One Free
  • Free Upgrade To Deluxe Cabin If You Book By Tomorrow

If you make sure your offer is a strong one, you will increase your chances of getting a good response.

Message Body

The body of the message is the area where you build upon the emotions that you touched upon with the headline.

The way to start is by repeating the exact headline at the top of the message body.

When you repeat the headline exactly, it reinforces the headline and it reminds people of the reason why they are reading the email.

It’s never a good idea to load the message body with a bunch of hype or too much text.

Remember that the real job of the message body is to lead the person to the landing page or the sales page which is where the actual selling is going to take place.

If you load the email up with too much content you’ll simply lose the reader’s attention and if you lose their attention, you’re going to lose sales as well.

Here’s a good example of a headline and message body that are short and to the point:

Subject: “Erase” Wrinkles Instantly

Message Body:

“Erase” Wrinkles Instantly

 Clinically tested and Dermatologist approved, Wrinkle Eraser is a cosmetic product that instantly removes the appearance of wrinkles around the eyes, mouth and forehead.

Discover why over 3,000 women swear by Wrinkle Eraser and why they swear AT other products.

In the above example we started right out by establishing the product’s credibility.

It tells readers that the product has been tested in a clinical setting and that one or more Dermatologists have endorsed or approved the product for its intended purpose.

We went on to challenge readers to learn more about the product by telling them that over 3,000 women already are using it.

Finally, we imply that readers will learn the reasons why these women were unhappy with the other products that they tried before they tried this one.

At this point we already have 2/3 of the email written. The first 1/3 is the headline. The second 1/3 is the message body. All that needs to be written now is the “call to action.”

Anatomy of A Call To Action

The purpose of a Call to Action is to tell your readers exactly what you want them to do next.

You should never assume that they already know what to do, and you should never assume that they will decide to visit your web site all on their own.

You need to design your Call to Action so that it takes them by the hand and leads them to where you want them to go.

If it’s at all possible, you should combine your Call to Action with a free offer.

This takes the pressure to respond off of them. After all, you’re not selling anything, you’re giving something away.

Here is an example of a call to action that works with the above example:

Visit right now and get your FREE 30-day trial supply.

Now that the final 1/3 has been written, let’s take a look at the email letter in its entirety:

Subject: “Erase” Wrinkles Instantly

Message Body:

“Erase” Wrinkles Instantly

 Clinically tested and Dermatologist approved, Wrinkle Eraser is a cosmetic product that instantly removes the appearance of wrinkles around the eyes, mouth and forehead.

 Discover why over 3,000 women swear by Wrinkle Eraser and why they swear AT other products.

 Visit right now and get your FREE 30-day trial supply.

Did you notice that the entire letter accomplished its intended purpose in just 55 words?

This is proof that you don’t have to write a wordy sales letter in order to convey your message.

The best way you can end up with a sales letter that is short and to-the-point is to start by writing one that is as long as you have to make it in order to tell your story.

Then you take out your electronic scissors and you start cutting and rewording the text until you have an email message that’s no more than 100 words.

Remember – less is better!