Email Marketing Page Layout - Divide It Into Thirds

By John Bradley Jackson

The "Rule of Thirds" describes the rules of art and design which also works for an opened e-mail. Basically imaginary lines are drawn dividing the page into thirds both horizontally and vertically.

When you place important elements of your composition where these lines intersect, it is more pleasing to the eye. In addition to using the intersections you can arrange areas into bands occupying a third or place things along the imaginary lines.

Good places to put things include a third of the way up, a third of the way in from the left. You get the idea. Using the Rule of Thirds helps produce nicely balanced, easy on the eye copy.

Thus, an opened e-mail is divided into thirds: a top, a middle and a bottom with the top containing a headline and salutation, a middle containing the body of letter, and a bottom or footer containing the call to action and signature.

Writing headlines may be the most important copy writing skill. Most writing designed to persuade sinks or swims right out of the gate. Readers make snap decisions based on a quick scan of the top of the page. More often than not, they'll simply move on to something else unless your copywriting skills have been put to use crafting an excellent headline. A great headline can also communicate a full message to its intended audience and it absolutely must lure the reader into your body text.

The opening or lead paragraph's purpose it to give you the basic facts while persuading you to read more. The first sentence in an opening paragraph is called the lead sentence and it must be written to intrigue or make the reader want to read more. Often this means that the lead sentence needs to be slightly controversial or different to entice the reader to read more. This is often called the "hook".

Your offering's uniqueness needs to repeated through the body of your copy---this is what makes the reader take action. The benefits of your offering are placed in the middle of the e-mail or the paragraph that follows the lead.These benefits may be best presented as bullets:

- three to five bullets will suffice

- benefits must crisp, clear, and tangible

- they must be written in the reader's language

One more thing: only one subject per e-mail. Respect the reader's busy schedule and get to the point but make it only one point. Customers tend to scan e-mails, and if several propositions are presented, even the hook will go unnoticed.

The call action (CTA) of your e-mail tells the reader what to do and what to expect after they do it. It tells them what is in it for them? Marketing messages that support a product or service purchase should direct the reader to the CTA; this could be a landing page where they can "buy now" or "learn more". When the call to action is to direct the reader to get the full story at the website, you need to tell the reader not only what to do but what he can expect by doing it.

John Bradley Jackson brings street-savvy sales and marketing experience from Silicon Valley and Wall Street. His resume also includes entrepreneur, angel investor, corporate trainer, philanthropist, and consultant. His book is called "First, Best, or Different: What Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know About Niche Marketing".

Check out his website at: or his blog at

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Email Marketing Basics

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