Anatomy of an Email

There's a lot to keep in mind when you're writing an email. Here are 6 things to look out for:

  1. From address

    • Who is this email coming from?
    • Does the recipient know this person?
    • Is a generic or personal email address best?
  2. Subject line

    • Don't sell what's inside—tell what's inside. Be direct and clear.
    • Avoid the words "help" and "reminder." Overused and ineffective.
    • If going to a broad audience, include "Bethel" in the subject. Use familiar words to build legitimacy.
    • 50 characters or less. Expect that your recipients will see this on their phone.
    • Don’t use the "important" status. It's a bit presumptuous.
  3. Body copy

    Do:

    • Speak like a human. If you want to be formal or classy, send a letter.
    • Avoid humor and sarcasm. They don’t translate well.
    • Use short paragraphs, bullets, and numbers. Make the email easy to scan.
    • Link actionable words. Please no http:// or "click here."
    • Only underline URLs.
    • Limit yourself to 2 unique URLs. And be sure to test the links before you send.
    • Keep the font simple. Times or Verdana, it doesn’t really matter what you choose—just choose one and stick with it.

    Don’t:

    • Use "dear." It's not very friendly or conversational.
    • Use all CAPS. Shouting?
    • Use more than one exclamation point.
    • Overuse bold. If everything is important, then nothing is important.
  4. Call to action

    • Clear and singular. The recipient shouldn't have to guess what you want them to do.
    • Facilitate a quick response. Don’t make them wait to respond—if they're ready, they should be able to.
  5. Signature

    • Who to contact with questions.
    • Can be an office or individual.
    • No images, disclaimers, slogans, etc. Save the inspirational sayings for the card you're sending in the mail.
    • Should include: 
      • Sender's name
      • Title/Office
      • Phone number
      • Email address
  6. Footer

This let's them know why they're getting the message, what they need to do to unsubscribe, and where to find you. It’s the right thing to do—and it’s the law.

You’re receiving this email because you’re a Bethel [role]. If you’d no longer like to receive [role] [category] emails, please reply with “unsubscribe” in the body.

Bethel University | 3900 Bethel Drive | St. Paul, MN 55112 | 651.638.6400 | www.bethel.edu