Elements of an Effective Email Blast

effectivenessA sale is closing soon, an election is drawing near, a new product is being announced. An email blast is a single-purpose, single-topic campaign email sent to an established customer base. There should be a sense of urgency, a call to action, and a sense of timeliness.

You care about this issue, and you want your subscribers to share your enthusiasm.

Some important questions before you send an email blast:

  • Have you used your email marketing software’s analytics to target your email blast to the best sub-list(s) in your database? Do you need to alter the content, image, subject line, or format by demographics, or latest click-through or open-rate?
  • Don’t assume your audience has read every email your company sends, or even remembers the last one. If your email blast is in reference to a past email, re-introduce your readers to the issue in one introductory sentence.
  • Your subject heading should be 15-30 characters. You should phrase it so it states the email blast’s topic clearly.
  • Subject lines that ask for help, donations, support, or assistance have low open- and click-through rates. Subjects that appeal to readers’ personal interests are 17% better received.


Grammar, tone, and spelling matters! If you aren’t an adept writer, hire a copywriter.

Break the text into short, easily scannable chunks with subject headings, bulleted lists, and CSS text boxes. Present each packaged bit of information as: “Here’s the issue or problem, this is how it can be solved, and this is what you can do.”

Determining how long an email should be is extremely variable based on industry, audience, topic, and other elements, so you should test your emails and keep track of response rates with your email service provider’s analytics. However, 750 words seems to be the upper limit, and text chunks should be around 100-200 words.


Including images is risky. On the one hand, an image is an asset if it is:

  • Visually dramatic and complex
  • The subject of the image is close and clear.
  • Makes the text ‘pop’, illustrates a topic, and draws the reader in to the text that they might otherwise not stop to read.

However, due to image-embedded viruses, up to 60% of your readers turn image loaded off in their email readers and prefer to delete your email rather than turn them on. Good practices for making the most of images in emails are:

  • Embedded images can give you email a higher spam score, so host the image on a webpage and write the link into the template.
  • Keep your images under 1/4 of your email’s content
  • Don’t put important text in an image.
  • Use descriptive alt text in the email’s HTML code, so if an image doesn’t load, readers will see something other than a white or gray box.
  • Always provide a link to the web version of your newsletter with the phrase “Trouble reading this email?” or similar.
  • Don’t place pale colored text over a dark image — when the image doesn’t load, the text will be illegible, and your email will go in the trash.

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