If your email marketing program was an ice cream sundae, what would you be scooping up for your customers?

A sad, lonely lump of vanilla at the bottom of a styrofoam cup?

Or a magnificent, complex masterpiece that makes anyone who bears witness drool?


Today, we’re talking about email marketing and how, if it’s done right, it should be like an epic ice cream sundae.

Your From Address – The Bowl

This is how you’re presenting your content—it sets the scene. Are you using a beautiful glass or a sad paper cup? Is your from address a bland “noreply@company.com” address? Or are you painting a picture with the name, like “yourweeklyupdate@company.com?”

(An alternative way to think about it is, does your from address illicit people to respond and engage with your brand? Or is it a one-way message with a glaring don’t take this as an invitation to speak to me undertone?)

We’re big fans of the “friendly from” and encourage senders to think about the user experience for their recipients. Put your best foot forward by having a thoughtful, branded from address.

Your Subject Line and Pre-Header Text – The Toppings

This is the taste of what’s to come and entices people to dig further. The inbox is a crowded place and grabbing your recipient’s attention is required to get an open. Humor, wit, and mystery are just a few tactics you can use to catch your recipient’s eye and entice them to see what’s inside.

The sprinkles or chocolate fudge drizzle can sometimes be an afterthought, just like composing a wonderful subject line and pre-header. Make it part of your email marketing strategy from the start and you’ll set yourself apart.

Your Header and Copy – The Ice Cream

Without the ice cream you really don’t have the sundae, and without a header and copy, you’re making your users guess the main purpose of your email. The other pieces of an email we’ve mentioned so far (from address, subject line, and pre-header text) have all built up to this point, so you really need to deliver on this part.

Make your message concise with distinct copy. Your time is limited to get your point across, so try and avoid long paragraphs of text. Think about your use of images and the part they play in helping the recipient get the point. (Though images are a powerful tool to illustrate what you’re communicating, keep your image to text ratio in mind!)

Also, consider what you’re asking your recipient to do…

Your Call to Action (CTA) – The Cherry on Top!

You’ve explained your purpose with your header and copy, but you need to get your subscribers to take the next step. How will you inspire them to take action?

Make sure you craft your CTA to help fulfill the ultimate purpose of your message and complete the recipient experience. Whether it’s shopping a sale or checking out a new product feature, make your button text fun! Instead of using “Our Big Deals” kick it up a notch with “Take me to the sale!”

As always, you have to get to know your audience and their specific tastes. A gummy bear extravaganza of a sundae may not be everyone, so don’t forget to monitor your engagement metrics and make sure you’re serving up the right kind of content.

If you’re hungry for more inspiration and best practices around becoming an excellent email marketer, take it back to the basics with our A-Z of Email Marketing guide!



Kate Schmeisser
When Kate isn't trying to teach herself the ukelele, make it through the mountain of books on her nightstand, or figure out if they are actually being serious about suggested serving sizes on ice cream, she is the Creative Content Manager.