You’ve heard it a thousand times before: your email marketing campaign is only as good as the copy you write.

But we’re here to share something else.

If you’re not getting the desired results from your email marketing campaign, the problem might not be the content. While the right emails have the potential to create impressive revenue increases, missing out on important details can cause the unsubscribe button to work overtime.

An effective HTML email template can set your email apart from the masses. Increase your response rates by tweaking your email template to include all the small details that add up to a big visual impact.

The Right Subject Line

You only have a couple of seconds to entice the people on your list into opening and reading your email. Possibly the most important factor in this decision is the email subject line. Even if you have the most valuable information in the world in your email, no one’s going to see it if you have a subject line that’s poorly written.

Keep the subject simple and straight to the point. Let the reader know what’s in the email. Keep it under 60 characters and avoid using all caps. Most importantly, be sure the subject line makes sense. Don’t rely on excess punctuation marks or symbols to get the point across.

To templatize your subject lines, consider keeping a swipe file handy. A swipe file for email subject lines would include templatized versions of only your top performing email subject lines, so you can come back to it and re-use similar structures for future campaigns.

For instance:

  • [Firstname], you’ll want to read this before the weekend.
  • [Firstname], are you really happy with [subject]?
  • Top-secret flash sale, but only until [time].


Personalizing your marketing emails will guarantee more engagement, but today, personalization goes far beyond inserting merge fields into your email copy. Create an email funnel to separate users into different interest groups. Segment respondents by the offer they signed up for or by which emails they opened or clicked on.

With your subscribers properly segmented, you can send offers and value-added content that more clearly resonates with their motives and pain-points. The result is increased engagement in your marketing emails.

The Pre-Header

In other writing it’s known as the hook, but in emails it’s the pre-header. It’s that first sentence that grabs your readers’ attention and makes them want to keep reading. Pre-headers are important for two reasons. The first one is that it keeps the readers wanting more. But they also work because many email programs show them as part of the subject line, sort of as a subtitle for the email. Keep this in mind and use your subject line as a theme to work off of for your pre-header.

The Right Images

Images are crucial for both branding and creating conversions. The key is finding the right images to enhance your email’s performance. Highlight your products or services in a way that appeals to your potential customers’ visual sense. Make sure every image complements the text in the email.

Choosing the right image is only the first step. Image best practices include the following considerations:

  • Make images no more than 30 percent of the entire email’s contents
  • Avoid using an image as a call-to-action link button in an email, since many email clients don’t display images.
  • Include title text and alt text with every image
  • Compress images to keep their files from being too large to send or load

Social Media Links

The purpose of a marketing email is twofold: to increase sales and to increase customer engagement. If you only include a link to your website in the body of your email, you might miss out on the opportunity for your customers to follow you on social media. From there, you can engage in a more two-way conversation that social media affords, increasing brand awareness and engagement.

Set up your HTML templates to include links to all your social media profiles in every marketing email, and encourage email readers to join in. (In Hatchbuck, you can get even more insight into your customers’ interests by assigning them specific tags and “points” when they click on a social link.)

An Unsubscribe Link

According to the CAN-SPAM Act, you must include an unsubscribe option in every marketing email. Email recipients must have a simple way to opt out of your email list. The easiest way to do this is to include the word “Unsubscribe” at the bottom of the email and link it to your email program’s unsubscribe option. Your readers may also want to reply to your email with the word “Unsubscribe” in the subject line. This should trigger an immediate removal from your list as well.

A Strong Call to Action

Your call to action, or CTA, is arguably the most important part of your marketing email. Your invitation for the reader to respond in some way can be the galvanizing force behind them taking action. Calls to action can go anywhere in your email content; in fact, a bit of testing can help you determine where your call to action works the best.

No matter where you choose to include your CTA, your reader should know exactly what to do next, whether it’s download, sign-up, schedule a meeting, reply to the email, etc.

With these email template essential covered, you’re sure to see a boost in your HTML email template conversions over time.