How to create a high-performing email

How to create a high-performing email that will engage your audience.

There are two main themes to creating high-performing emails.

  1. Selecting the correct goal
  2. Optimizing every part of the email towards your goal (driving clicks, conversions)

I’m going to teach you the main components and the best processes inside each of these themes. Alright, let us take a deeper look at both of these so you are able to build high-performing emails that will grow your business.

Correct Goal

First is setting the correct goal because it is the most important part of your email. The goal is what all the other parts of your email will be built on.

Have you ever gone to a meeting or function of some kind where there was no central goal? Everything is a mess and you come away wondering, what was that all about, what was the main theme about? You end up thinking that was a big waste of my time.

Your email is the same way. Without a goal in place, your email will leave your audience in the same mindset. Your audience won’t understand why you are sending the email. Therefore you are not adding any value to your audience and you won’t get the results you want.

This is why you have to start with your goal first. Yes, I know it sounds obvious but we all get into that autopilot mode. True fact: The human brain does more on autopilot than we actually think about doing something.

Setting the goal of your email, you will have to consider how you are going to send the correct email to the right person at the right time. Look at it this way, you have to figure out what content you are going to send which segment of your contacts and the best time.

Who, What, When, Where, Why

Who, what, when, where, and why are the five questions of why’s that will help us to break this down further.

Use these aspects to dig deeper into your marketing, sales, and services to create your goals for each. Not only will these 5 why help you in those areas of your business, but you will be able to create a bigger goal for your email marketing strategy overall.

You should know what each email is for and what you are trying to accomplish. The 5 why’s will allow you to narrow that down to a single email, allowing you to get better conversions.

Let us have a better look at these 5 why’s


Who is going to receive your email? How relevant is your content to Who will receive your email? This is crucial to part of your email marketing, relevancy equals who. Even if you are sending awesome content, if you send that email to the wrong set of contacts it will provide no value.

You need to look at the information you are sending and match up your contacts accordingly. Pay attention to where your contacts are in the buyer’s journey to help in sending the correct information.

At the core, you are wanting to send emails to those people that want to hear from you.

One of the worst things you can do to your business for email marketing is to have low engagement rates. A low engagement rate will hurt your domain’s reputation and your ability to contact future customers. If they are not opening your emails Stop mailing them.

This is why you should always be providing value to your contacts.


What is it that you want your contacts to do in your email? Read a new blog post you wrote, download content, sign up for a webinar, watch a YouTube video you made, etc… The What needs to be clear and easy to understand what it is you are wanting them to do.

An awesome framework to use for defining your What is SMART. This is defined as Specific: Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely, S: M, A, R, T.

By using the SMART framework for your emails goal, you can create a segment from your list. You will be able to say whether a particular contact will receive your email or not.

The email autoresponder you use should give you all of the data of an email send. Most autoresponders call this information simply “data”.


When has more to do with When in the buyer’s journey are you sending more than it means when is the best time. Of course, all of this relates back to which contact will receive your email. When will your information be most useful to your contact?

You want to take a look a the different buyer’s journey stages with the When question. Understanding When to send different types of content will help further your conversions with all your contacts. Knowing When to give your contact a specific kind of information is a very important part of setting your goals.

Look at it like this, When a contact is in any of the three buyer stages, awareness, consideration, or decision, they are all looking for different types of content. The awareness stage is not looking to make a decision.


Where is for the device your contacts are using to read your emails not just location? This would be what type of mobile phones or computer. Myself, I have found out that most of my contact read my emails from an android mobile phone, next would be an iPhone and so on down the line.

The data told me the most important part of all, the data told me more than half of my contacts use mobile to read my mail. In doing so, tells me to make sure my emails are mobile-friendly, font size, load speed, pictures, or not.


Last but not least Why. You need to ask yourself Why because this is the most important question you can ask. Why relates back to your total overall theme for setting your goal.

You are asking yourself, Why have I decided to send this email. To help you with this I have written out some Why questions below.

What should your email’s desired outcome be? Who will benefit the most from your email, your contact, or yourself? Will your contact receive value from your email? With all your other conversions from your contacts where does this email fit?

As you can see, Why is an important part of your inbound marketing. Simon Sinek has built a whole philosophy around asking why. He has stated, “people don’t buy what you do but why you do it”.

Deciding the Why you are sending the email will help your contacts know Why you are doing what you do.

Optimizing Your Email

Okay, we have now defined your emails goal so let us now take a look at the next section of your email’s theme to creating a high-performing email. You will be optimizing your email towards the conversion of your emails goal.

High-performing emails are optimized to get the conversions for the goal of your email.

When every part of your email, is aligned and working together is when your contacts will get the most value from your email. Just so you understand better, an awesome effect is that you will see better ROI from your send.

In order to optimize every part of your email to get a better conversion on your email’s goal, you need to look at the two key actions your contact must perform, the open and the click.

Let us first define what a conversion is so that we can optimize for it.

A conversion is defined as – the completion of the desired action. Now, remember every email of yours has a predetermined goal that you have set, and that goal is your desired action. In other words, your emails goal is the desired action you want your contacts to make.

Always think of your desired goal when optimizing.

So, to optimize your emails for the desired conversion, you need to first, have to have your email opened and then pointing them to click.

As with most things in marketing, think of it like a funnel. Your subject line is the landing page, with the words being your Headline, think, the front page of a newspaper, before your contacts are able to click your link. They must first open your email before they are able to click your link.

Okay, we are now going to break both of these actions to see how you can better optimize your emails to creating high-performing emails.


As we both know, someone has to open your email first, right? And there are several things you can optimize to get your emails opened. Things like your subject line, the sender name, the email address you, plus your preview text.

You will need to optimize each of these to influence your contacts to your overall goal.

Subject Line

The first thing we are going to look at is your Subject Line. As I said before, think of it as a headline of a newspaper. You want it to grab your contact’s attention like a newspaper headline does.

Here are some best practices to follow for creating an awesome subject line.

Just like a newspaper headline, shorter is better. Now, remember more and more people are moving to mobile. So, the number of characters used needs to be mobile-friendly. which, is about 41 to 50 characters long. By aiming for this character count, you will be optimizing your subject line for mobile users, as well.

Just like most parts of inbound marketing, you will want to avoid using certain types of language, wording like Free or Percent off. Those two terms plus some others can and will get your email sent to the spam folder by triggering the spam filters. When your subject line does not sound like a real person sent the email, it will trigger the spam filters, as well.

Keep in mind the Newspaper headline, straightforward, short and sweet, attention-grabbing. Also, when you have a chance, use your contact’s personal first name, company name, and even sometimes their location in your subject line, do so. Mix it up, be creative, spy on your competition (sign-up to their emails), and run an A/B test to see what works best.

Sender Name & Email address

Do not forget to think about what sender name and email you are going to use. This should be personal as well, and if you or a person working for you, are mailing for your brick & mortar business, you still want to use their or your personal name, and the email should be from your business. That way your contact will know who it is from, as well.

Your email address helps you build trust, by showing you are a Real Person and of course by providing real value in your email text. The sender’s name and email address, that appears in the from section of your email, you will want to keep these as familiar as possible.

Do not use a no-reply email address, use a personal business name address. You will want any person that emails for your business to have a personal business name address as well. 

Remember, emailing is a form of communication, and you need to treat it as such. Having a conversation with a person is what email was meant to be for, thus showing your contacts you are a human being.

Preview Text

The preview text job is to pique your contact’s interest to open your email to keep reading. Unlike your Subject line’s main job of grabbing your contact attention, your preview text’s main job is to get your contact to want to keep reading. Show the value that is inside of your email.

Hint: Asking a question in the preview text works wonders people want to answer and hear the answer to a question that interests them.

With all of these optimized, to successfully get your contacts to open your email, you are then ready to focus on the value you will be providing inside your email.

Email Body

Let us now discuss your email body text. You need to give your contacts valuable content, all the while guiding them to a specific action. If it is downloading some valuable content, joining your blog, a webinar, etc. You need to be providing valuable content while guiding your contacts to do the action you wish them to do.

In order to effectively do this, you have to write an effective email copy. You could design the best email in the world, but without an awesome copy (text), your contact will not find any real value in your email.

Writing an awesome email consist of three main things you need to make sure you do. The first is to write with your main goal in mind, the second would be to write with clarity, and the next is with purpose.

Your email copy is where you will show your contacts why you sent the email. Remember what Simon Sinek said, Show them why you do what you do and the value they will get from your email. You are creating engaging copy for a conversion, this copy is also the core of your email.

Like with everything, every business has their own style and brand. You, need to consider this when creating your emails, and there are a few best practices that you should follow that will keep your email’s copy conversational and very helpful.


The first best practice you can do for your contacts is to make your emails scan-able. An awesome side effect of this is that your metrics will improve.

To make your email scan-able use bolding, bullet points, headlines, and short paragraphs in a way that your contacts are able to scan your email in a blink of an eye and get your email purpose and value.

right tone

Next, you will want to use the right tone in your email. This one is a little more difficult because every person is different but can still be-grouped. So, you should also adjust your email tone depending on that person’s persona or context.

Here is an awesome question from Seth Godin, “Why waste a sentence saying nothing.” People have less time than ever before in this world, so make every word count to get your goal accomplished.


You will want to personalize your emails when it is appropriate to do so as well. Personalization is way more than just using your autoresponder’s personalization tokens. You need to make your content relevant and engaging for your contact to read and use your autoresponder’s personalization tokens to amplify your email’s copy.

In order to provide a personalized experience to your contacts try using their first name, talk about their interest, not yours, or talk about a recent action they have taken with you.


You need to take the time to proofread all your content, check your spelling. Us, people are funny, we will lose trust over the littlest things, like a misspelled word. Do not lose some awesome contacts over a misspelled word.


Last but not least, your call-to-action needs to be optimized to help your conversation toward your goal.

This could be the most important part of your email. Your call-to-action is what gets your contacts to move from just reading your email, but onto your email’s end goal.

In order to make an awesome call-to-action, CTA, there are three key questions that need to be answered. First is, What do you want your contact to do, the second is, Why should your contact do it, and the third is, How will they know to do it?

Remember, your email has just one main goal and your CTA needs to reflect that and drive your contacts towards that goal.

Besides just hyperlinking some text or using linked images, did you ever think of editing the alt-text to your images to show your link?

All of your links need to point your contacts toward your email’s main goal, which should provide value to your contacts AND give your business and yourself a benefit.


With your CTA and open optimized for your contacts to engage with, you will be giving them value, thus giving yourself success.

Remember these two themes work together for the best results: You need to select the right goal and optimize every part to drive conversations toward your emails goal. By doing this, you are able to create a strategy for developing awesomely high-performing emails.

In other words, when all of this is brought together correctly, you will be giving your contacts value, which in turn helps grow your business.