The Ultimate Checklist: 5 Things Every Email Should Have

Oleksandr Rohovnin
Oleksandr Rohovnin

Content Writer

About the author

Published on: October 27, 2022

Last updated on: June 5, 2024

With 306 million emails sent and received daily and an average email open rate of around 20%, email marketing is alive and well, growing at around 13% a year and yielding a mind-blowing ROI of up to 4,500% in the e-commerce, retail, and consumer goods sector.

But don’t let those numbers mislead you. Only strategically crafted emails stand out in congested inboxes, enticing recipients to click, read, and take actionable steps. To create such emails, you have to respect basic email creation rules and spruce up your message with something special.

Read on to learn five basic components of effective sales emails.

1. Intriguing Subject Line

The subject line is the most important part of an email, as it renders the first impression of your message and determines whether the recipient will open or ignore it.

So, what is the perfect subject line? It’s anything that will make your subscribers open the email – it’s as simple as that. “I want to know more” is the response you want your subject line to trigger.

A compelling subject line needs:

  • A limit of 40 or fewer characters to ensure full visibility on mobile devices
  • A clear, concise message to educate recipients about the content inside
  • Eloquence, curiosity, and scarcity – for example, “90% off on Mondays” – to entice viewers to click

However, as salesy as the subject line can be, it should reflect the content of the email so your recipients don’t feel deceived when they open the email. Avoid blatant clickbait and spam at all costs.

The most frequently used subject lines in business email compromise (BEC) emails

Source: Statista

There’s no universal formula for crafting a perfect subject line, though. Depending on your audience and goals, you can try a question, command, teaser, announcement, list, or some other method.

2. Eye-catching Images

The power of visual marketing is undeniable:

A high-quality story-telling image should do the job, and you can do so without overloading recipients with numerous images or stock photos. Remember, your image should push the user toward the desired target action.

Source: PrettyLittleThing

  • Pro tip: using AMP technology in emails will give you an advantage over classic HTML emails. AMP emails enable in-email purchases and pull relevant content at every open – for example, the number of tickets left – transferring the action to the email itself.

Source: MailModo

3. Persuasive Call to Action

A call to action persuades viewers to move forward with your offering. Whether you want your recipients to subscribe, buy from you, or leave feedback, make sure to locate your CTA in a visible place while respecting these rules:

  • Unambiguity: ask for one desired action only
  • Simplicity: keep your CTA short and easy to follow (click a single button, for example)
  • Personalization: target your CTA at a particular recipient (for instance, do not offer a subscription to a men’s health newsletter to women)

Source: SendInBlue

4. Value to the Recipient

An enticing subject line can give you a head start, but that alone won’t boost conversion rates. Conversions are directly influenced by the content of your email, which should explain how you solve a particular problem while conveying that your value proposition is better than the competition.

To ensure your emails provide value, segment your subscribers by location and demographics. This will allow you to deliver the right email to the right people at the right time. For the best results, add interactivity (the ability to click and do something with an email – like a poll, for example) and take advantage of psychological triggers like FOMO, loss aversion, and reciprocity.

Source: HubSpot

5. Constant Performance-based Updates

As cool as your emails may seem, you have to objectively assess them using good old time-tested metrics: open rate, clickthrough rate, conversion rate, bounce rate, list growth rate, social media metrics (shares, likes, etc.), unsubscribe rate, and, of course, ROI. Remember, though, that the KPIs should align with the campaign’s goals.

Navigating email marketing metrics will allow you to serve customers better and fit the ever-changing narratives of email marketing.

Learn More About Email Marketing at the World’s Largest Email Marketing Conference

The top minds in the industry will unite again on April 17 to 19 in Las Vegas at MailCon 2023. Book your tickets to learn from the most successful email and omnichannel marketers, and stay tuned for updates.

About the author

Oleksandr Rohovnin
Oleksandr Rohovnin

Content Writer

Oleksandr Rohovnin is a writer and expert in deep research around subjects in email and omnichannel marketing. He breaks down complex topics into easily digestible bite-sized segments to educate and inform any inquisitive mind through profound and delightful messaging.


We take your privacy seriously. In order to process your request we require your personally identifiable information (PII)


Say it ain't so — we'd hate to see you go!


    Please provide

      In order to process your request under the California Consumer Provacy Act “CCPA” we require you to please provide any two (2) of the following pieces of your information. This is required under the CCPA before we can fullfill your request

      Select one or more of the following requests



      You will no longer get marketing emails from us.


      Get your tickets before you leave

      Get Tickets