Skip to main content

The Anatomy of a B2C Marketing Email

The Anatomy of a B2C Marketing Email

You spend hours writing killer emails, but your open rate hovers at 10%.

Every time you start a new brand campaign, more people unsubscribe from your mailing list.

Your bounce rate is out of control.

Whatever your reason is for wanting to improve your B2C marketing email game, it’s a valiant endeavor and one that could net your business huge returns.

Unfortunately, you’re not the first business out there trying to make waves in someone’s inbox. There are more than 117 billion consumer emails sent per day to 4 billion daily users, which means that you’re competing with, on average, 29 other email marketing campaigns for one person’s attention.

What can you do to increase brand awareness, garner customer loyalty, and execute a more successful email marketing strategy?

It starts with understanding the basic anatomy of effective B2C promotional emails.

The Anatomy of an Effective Email Marketing Campaign

Much like the human anatomy, email marketing anatomy largely depends on each element functioning properly in order for each other part to do its job. All effective email marketing campaigns contain optimized versions of the following parts.

Think of this overall, general structure as the skeleton upon which you build the real muscle of your automated emails.

The Header

Your header is the real workhorse of your campaign performance. It sets the tone, and in many cases, decides whether or not your subscribers pay attention to what you have to say.

After all, the subject line alone determines whether 64% of people even bother to open the email.

The header is the first thing your mailing list sees, so treat it as the invaluable email marketing tool that it is.

Subject Line

Your subject lines should evoke some kind of emotion from the recipient– curiosity, excitement, familiarity, etc.

They should also prove definitively that the email isn’t just clickbait that wasn’t caught by email service providers’ spam filters.

Dos and Donts of Your Email Subject Line

  • DO tease your subscribers about what they’ll gain by opening your email
  • DON’T overuse language that’s going to land you in the spam folder. Avoid words like “free” and “urgent” as that is the language used often in unsolicited emails.
  • DO personalize your subject line, as it can produce more engaged subscribers and almost 3% higher open rates (18.3%) than those without personalization (15.7%).
  • DON’T overdo it with caps, exclamation points, and emojis. It comes off as aggressive and spammy, and just about any email service provider will redirect it as such.
  • DO limit the length to around 60 characters. That’s optimal viewing length for mobile, which is where people check their emails 188% more often than desktop.
  • DON’T neglect A/B testing. Try two different kinds of headlines to see which your subscribers are more likely to open. Email marketing software like Constant Contact can automate that process for you.

Good Examples of Subject Lines

  • Richard, don’t forget to checkout for double points!
  • Thanksgiving is coming, Danielle… Are you ready?
  • Shh! This deal is for new customers only!
  • It’s your birthday, and we got you a gift, Phillip. 🎁

Bad Examples of Subject Lines

Sender Name and Reply-to Address

Your default [email protected] sender name could be hurting the efficacy of your promotional messages and click-through rate.

Put a name to the face of your marketing emails by using an actual, human name as the sender.

Better yet, stop using “do not reply” inboxes altogether.

You want your customers to be able to get in touch with you, and they are most likely to reach out to the email addresses that send them the communications.

It can be very damaging if your subscribers are forced to search around for a contact address despite having messages from your business in their inbox.


One of the most frequently neglected email marketing strategies is optimizing your snippet, the first bits of the body content that show as a preview in your subscribers’ inboxes.

If you don’t put in your own snippet, which can typically be around 10 words long, most email marketing platform providers will use a default message that does nothing to bolster your email marketing efforts.

Worst yet, it may just pull the HTML code for the image names and place that in the snippet:

The Body

Now that your header shows exactly what you want your email subscribers to see when they open their inbox, it’s time to expound on the body of your communication.

This is the part of your email marketing strategy that will drive sales and increase your online presence as a leader in your industry.

Providing content that is worth their time to read will help you generate leads and increase your click-through rates.

Design Template

Emails are one of the marketing tools that leans most heavily on visual design. Each communication is like a mini landing page, and you have a very short amount of time to prove it’s one worth paying attention to.

When your new subscribers open their welcome email or your loyal fans eagerly search for a link to your latest blog post, you want everything to look clean and user-friendly.

Keep things clean, uncluttered and as image-based as possible. Leave plenty of white space for your content and visuals to breathe, so your subscribers have a pleasant time consuming the information.

Personalization (Again)

One key way to set yourself apart from spam messages is personalization. Adding in a salutation that includes your subscribers’ names can go a long way.

You should also use your campaign reports to build targeted emails tailored specifically to the products and services the recipient has shown interest in previously.

A few demographics you can target include:

  • Basic information, such as name, age, gender, and occupation
  • Location
  • Site pages they’ve interacted with
  • Level of engagement with previous email campaigns
  • Products that they’ve researched through your online store
  • Branching “if-then” decisions. For example, “If they opened the welcome communication from our first email marketing campaign, then they receive follow-up A. If they did not open it, they receive follow-up B.”

Main Content

Precision and concision are the names of the game in your main body content. Best practices dictate that you say what you need to say in an interesting way, then move on to your call-to-action as soon as possible.

Before finalizing your body content, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the content convey our business’s tone and personality?
  • Is the writing concise, yet interesting?
  • Have I researched multiple marketing channels to see what content my demographics are most likely to engage with?
  • Is my target audience going to feel seen and acknowledged?
  • Have I written with our overall content marketing strategy in mind?

Once you’ve answered, turn your attention to finding a few ways to improve for your best chance at creating an effective email campaign.


As much as is possible while still remaining relevant, you can use images to convey the message you’re sharing.

Incorporate infographics, charts, small illustrations, and relevant photographs that guide the reader’s eyes down to the bottom, where the CTA buttons are waiting.

Call to Action Buttons

Your call to action should drive the purpose of your email campaigns.

By the end of your communication, the recipient should know precisely what it is that you’re asking them to do, and you should be explicitly clear about how they can go about doing it.

One of the most important email marketing tips is to think about how people interact on mobile devices. Smaller screens mean that it’s harder to click on little links.

Instead, your email campaign should use large, eye-catching buttons that redirect to the next phase of the customer acquisition process.

The Footer

Finish strong with a footer that continues to provide valuable information to your email contacts.

Any trusted email marketing service will let you create a default footer that attaches to the end of all of your outgoing messages. Be sure that the following things are included:

Social Media Links

You’ve seen these on most marketing emails, but if you haven’t done so yet, add small icon graphics that link out to your social media accounts.

It’s a great way to transform a successful email marketing campaign into an effective and comprehensive strategy.

CAN-SPAM Compliance

All businesses are required, by law, for their emails to be CAN-SPAM compliant. NATIV3 has talked about it quite a bit in the past, but there are two key things to keep in mind for the footer of your future campaigns.

Physical Address

Rule #4 states that businesses must have a “valid physical postal address,” which can include “your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulation.”

Unsubscribe Link

Unsubscribes links are essential to email marketing while remaining in line with the law. According to the Federal Trade Commission website, “your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt-out of getting an email from you in the future.”

While it might seem counterproductive now, you wouldn’t want people who aren’t interested in your communications receiving them, then tagging them as spam to “punish” your business for continuing communications.

Monitoring Email KPIs

Once your emails are in your customer’s inboxes, it’s time to track your key performance indicators, or KPI, so that you can further optimize according to the data you get back from your campaigns.

The 5 most valuable KPIs are going to be:

  1. Open rate is simply a metric of how many people opened your messages. If your customers aren’t opening your emails, it’s time to circle back around to optimization points like your subject line or reply-to address. B2C email marketers typically see a 19.7% open rate.
  2. Click-through rate is especially helpful in A/B tracking because it gives feedback on which version of your emails your customers are actively engaging with. The industry benchmark for B2C marketing is around 2.1%.
  3. Bounce rate measures the percentage of inboxes that returned your email. A high bounce rate can be a sign to email clients that you’re peddling spam or that you don’t have a quality contact list. Across all industries, the bounce rate is around 0.7% as of 2020.
  4. Unsubscribe rates can sting, especially when they start creeping up to more than .17% of your total mailing list. If you have a high unsubscribe rate, it’s time to evaluate the timing and language of your emails.
  5. Return on investment is the number most businesses are honed in on. Email is well-known for its 3600% ROI, but those kinds of numbers require an expert touch. With a little help, though, you could make huge gains, even if you spend less time on other forms of marketing.

Are Your Email Marketing Campaigns Optimized?

There are boundless email marketing benefits, but first, you have to know how to tap into them. Getting started often comes with more questions than answers:

  • Interested in email marketing automation, but don’t know where to start?
  • In need of email marketing services, but don’t know who to ask?
  • Wondering what email marketing platforms exist, and which you should choose?

As a business owner, you have enough on your plate. Why not leave your email automation in the hands of the expert email marketers at NATIV3s?

We’ve spent years crafting successful, data-driven campaigns that drive traffic to your site, encourage more click-throughs, and drop bounce rates considerably.

NATIV3 will focus our efforts on increasing your email deliverability and tempting customers to learn more about your business.

We pool our knowledge and resources to:

  • Segment your email list and create communications that cater to the individual’s specific experience with your brand.
  • Build triggered responses that net you higher open rates.
  • Relationship-build through automated campaigns that target your growth goals, then track that data to see where we can make real-time improvements.

From there, NATIV3 will help you build out an exhaustive digital marketing strategy that covers content, website optimization, social media, SEO, LSO, and more.

NATIV3 is passionate about helping businesses that are hungry for growth find just what they’re looking for. So, let’s get started!

Share this post:

If you have any questions, feel free to call us



400 Cedar Lake Rd S.
Minneapolis, MN 55405
Sales: 612.354.6164Support: 651.900.7834

Washington, DC

Sales: 202.505.2763

© 2024 NATIV3, All Rights Reserved.