The key to email marketing: Subject line, content, or design?

Which is the more important part of an email when it comes to fetching opens and driving conversions—its subject line, content, or design?

This question has lingered in the minds of many email marketers. This is because while a great subject line creates instant recognition and clarity, good content addresses the subscribers’ pain points and establishes trust with them. But then unique email design with images, fonts, colors and interactive elements increases the visual brilliance of an email. Let’s delve deep and explore more about these three aspects and find out which among them plays the most important role.

If you missed our webinar, here’s its recorded version. We’ve also put up the questions and answers that revolve around the webinar topic. Above all, do write back to us in the comment box below if you have any other questions apart from the ones answered. We’ll happily answer them as soon as possible.

What is subject line and what role does it play in email marketing?

The subject line, as the name indicates, talks about the subject of the email within just a few characters. It introduces the email and is one of the first elements besides the sender name and preheader that the recipient notices even before opening the email. Therefore, a clear subject line helps the recipient decide whether to open the email or not.

What should a good subject line contain?

Your subject line should clearly mention the purpose of the email. With this, it should help the reader make the choice whether or not to open the message. If you are sending the email to someone for the first time, maintain brevity and convey your message accurately. Don’t forget to play around the subject line if you also wish to instill curiosity among recipients.

How do I create more effective subject lines?

To create an effective subject line, you have to ensure it properly reflects the email’s content. Determining whether your content will appeal to your reader is only possible using unique segmentation that informs you about your recipients’ tastes and preferences. Being well-informed, now you need to cite the purpose of the email while being precise and maintaining a conversational tone.

Apart from this, ensure that your subject line contains no more than one punctuation mark. For example-

“Wondering what to choose this summer?”

You should use upper cases and lower cases appropriately—limit your use of upper case to avoid giving the impression that you’re shouting at the reader. Some techniques such as incorporation of numbers and literary techniques in the subject line can also work wonders in providing credibility and uniqueness to your subject line. Lastly, you should use A/B testing to check which subject line works best among your email recipients.


What is the relevance of content in email marketing?

Content occupies the majority of the space in marketing emails and newsletters, hence it is most noticeable to readers. Content communicates the crux of the message and initiates interaction with elements like CTAs. The continuity in content will help you justify your motives and build trust among your subscribers. Due to the the presence of these interactive elements in your content, you can evaluate your recipients’ engagement metrics via open rates, clickthrough rates, and more.

What are the best ways to create email content that resonates with the recipients’ tastes and preferences?

You should aim to put the spotlight on the subscriber or email recipient. Write the content in second person and focus on the recipients, their benefits, and their pain points. Make your content a platform to resolve your customers’ problems or make it an avenue of information for your customers. Try to maintain consistency between your content and subject line so you can offer your subscribers much-needed clarity every time they open your emails. Your aim is not simply to convey your message to your subscribers but also to ensure that it is done so properly. For this you need to adopt simplicity and avoid complex words and technical jargon. Continue this modest approach and craft a signature tone or voice to build trust among your subscribers.

What are some factors in content that a spam filter uses to judge an email? Like links or spammy words, etc?

Indeed, spam filters will look for spammy words and multiple redirection links in the content. We elaborate on all of this at length here.

How different should our approach be while creating newsletters?

Newsletters are not too different from marketing emails. They tend to inform subscribers or resolve their problems at a bigger scale. The number of subjects covered in a newsletter can be varied, or there can be different types of content based on one topic. Since not everything can be covered in one newsletter, providing links to the actual readables and watchables is a must. The best way to authenticate your newsletter content is by providing facts. Try to maintain an active tone and prevent your content from being too persuasive.

What are the other aspects of design in email marketing apart from increasing its aesthetic value?

By design, we actually delve into an area consisting of images, fonts, layouts, buttons, and more. All of these contribute towards representing the brand, product, and message in a more accurate and interactive way. The elements in your email design, such as fonts, colors, and images, will create consistency with your message, brand, and products. The layout of your email acts as guide to lead the viewers and readers to the most important part of the email—for example, a CTA button. These elements will not only initiate interaction but also help you evaluate it.

Does using HTML result in more email going to the spam folder than using plain text?

The result of an email going to spam folder is purely based on the content you use in the subject and content part.

How do I craft and incorporate fruitful design elements in my emails?

Always remember that emails these days are mostly read from mobile phones, thus you should make the email template responsive to different platforms and devices. In addition, follow these methods:

  • Keep the font size of your email content between 10-16 points
  • Add alt text to your images to inform your recipients about the image on devices or platforms where it is not rendered properly
  • Provide bulletproof button so that your buttons are rendered well across all ESPs

    Note: Bulletproof buttons are designed on top of HTML, CSS and VML codes. As they don’t contain any images, the email recipients can access the CTA button even if they don’t download the images or allow images to be displayed 

Last but not least, you should use your email designs to create a recognizable pattern among your subscribers and newer customers. Your use of images, colors, fonts, and other elements should be continued for a considerable time so that every email recipient recognizes you via these elements.

How do I add alt text to images in Campaigns?

You can access the image editor option while designing your email template. There you can click on the ‘add image‘ option and add alt text to your image.


A marketing email is an amalgamation of various aspects with the subject line, content, and design each playing important roles. None of these individual aspects can dictate your email’s success, but a careful curation of all three will make your email effective.


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