Anatomy Of An Email

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I don't believe templates should be a plug and play affair.

It's too difficult to convey authenticity when you're only changing the occasional word to fit your scenario.

However I do think templates are great to get your started with a framework - they are the parameters in which your creativity can go wild without running away with you.  

That is why this article is a framework to let yourself loose on - especially when you find it difficult to compose an email in the right order.

I'm a big fan of keeping things as simple as possible, so this anatomy breakdown is how your email can be structured in a few sections to make sense, but also keep your reader reading.

However, please note, even if your email is written like Hemingway, there will be people who skip to the end because of the type of people they are, no amount of lyrical poetry or slick word-smithing will prevent that.

This framework uses the age old advertising acronym of AIDA but we should remember that each line and each paragraph has the sole purpose of getting the person to read the next one.

Section 1:  Attention

The opening should grab your reader’s attention. This is often the place where we introduce a ‘hook’ or idea behind the email.  

We want our reader to sit up and take notice.

Section 2: Interest

This is where we can share more of the story, position a problem, or speak to the current situation our reader is in.  It creates the connection of you know them, you understand what they are feeling or going through - this is where empathy is established.

Section 3: Desire

You frame your email to position a solution to their problems to get them to want to know more, or want to implement the solution that you are offering through the purpose of your email.

Section 4: Action

Finally we want to invite them to take an action.  This should be very clear and highlight what the benefits are to them of why they should do what you ask.

Remember to have only one call to action in your email - it can appear a couple of times, but the action should be the same thing so it’s clear of the intention and what’s in it for them.

Section 5: The P.S.

Your P.S is golden real estate and can be used for a variety of things - usually it’s a very quick summary of what’s in the email with another clear call to action.  This is perfect for those ‘skimmers’ who didn’t read the full email but want to know what it’s all about. It is also a place where you can hit home a particular bit of information within your email that you feel needs highlighting again.

If you write your emails using this structure you can’t go far wrong - I would recommend planning your email, then writing it one sitting.  You can then go back and edit it to make it clearer and more concise whilst still using the framework of AIDA.

But…. before you load up your email and hit send, make sure you’ve covered all your bases with the content by doing a quick email audit.  

Get The Ultimate Email Checklist

An easy and quick, keep-at-hand-16 point checklist of everything you should double check before hitting send on your emails, to save you any embarrassing “oops” moments!


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    Sarah Alford