How to Create an Engaging Email Marketing Brief [Plus a Free Template]

The question of “boxers or briefs?” may reveal one’s undergarment preference or even their personality, but for marketing teams, the question of whether they use an email marketing brief is crucial. While it may not be about underwear, email marketing briefs play a significant role in supporting creative vision and strategy. So, if you’ve never used one before, let’s explore what goes into creating an email marketing brief and how it can benefit your campaigns.

What is an Email Marketing Brief?

An email marketing brief, also known as a creative brief or marketing brief, is an internal document that sets the foundation for a project. It communicates essential details, dates, and strategic guidance. Digital marketing agencies often use creative briefs to ensure clear communication from person to person, passing along special requests from clients and important ideas from creative directors to copywriters, designers, and developers.

Whether in hard copy or digital format, the marketing brief acts as a shared reference point for team members and stakeholders, ensuring everyone is aligned and following the same plan. It is especially useful for larger internal teams or remote teams working asynchronously, helping freelancers manage client projects and keeping one-person email teams on track.

Types of Creative Marketing Briefs

Various types of creative marketing briefs can communicate different requirements and details depending on the specific project. Here are some examples:

  • Design creative briefs: Provide brand information and style guidelines, along with specifications for sizes, file types, and links to assets and examples.
  • Ad campaign briefs: Detail ad placement, targeting, budget, timeline, key performance indicators (KPIs), and expected results.
  • Content marketing briefs: Offer instructions on word count, SEO keywords, research resources, and outline key points for articles or blog posts.
  • Web development briefs: Include website features, key pages, and technical specifications such as domain, hosting, and functionality requirements.

Similarly, an email marketing campaign requires its own set of details, answered by an email marketing brief. Now, let’s break down the components of an email campaign brief.

Essential Components of an Email Campaign Brief

When you step back and consider all the puzzle pieces involved in launching a new email campaign, you realize the benefits of having an email marketing brief. Here’s a breakdown of the information typically found in an email marketing brief:

Type of Message

Identify the type of email you are producing, such as newsletters, promotions, or transactional messages. This information helps guide your team on the components and email modules required. If your team has pre-made email templates or an email design system, knowing the message type ensures consistency and efficiency.


Place the project deadline prominently in your email brief, reflecting when everything needs to be ready for launch. Consider setting the deadline a day or two before the send time to account for any last-minute changes or adjustments.

Campaign Description

Give a concise explanation of the email campaign, including its purpose and relevance. Whether you’re redesigning automations, updating the brand style guide, or highlighting the core message, provide insights that describe what you aim to create.


Clearly articulate the campaign’s goal. Are you solving a problem, delivering educational content, or communicating product updates? Provide concrete outcomes beyond generic objectives like “increase sales” or “drive traffic to the blog.”

Target Audience/Segment

Specify the intended recipients of the campaign. Segment your subscribers based on relevance to ensure your message resonates with the right audience. Consider factors such as customer status, geographic location, age demographic, or job title. Clearly communicate how segmentation plays a role in your email strategy.

Copy and Design Assets

Indicate any existing material or marketing collateral that will be used in the campaign. Link to these assets or indicate where your team can access them. Share completed asset links as they become available to ensure a smooth handover to the email developer.

Subject Line and Preheader

Separately address the subject line and preheader, as they heavily influence open rates. Include them in your email marketing brief for easy review and improvement. Provide options for split testing subject lines and ensure any changes made during the production process are reflected in the brief.

Sender Name and Reply-To Email

Specify the sender name and consider using a “friendly from” if applicable. If different sender names are appropriate for specific segments of subscribers, clarify those distinctions. Additionally, provide the correct reply-to email address if a specific person or department should handle email responses.

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Define the primary call-to-action for your email campaign. Identify which CTAs work best with specific segments or types of emails based on A/B tests and email analytics. Include the landing page URL associated with the CTA button to facilitate seamless coding.

Testing and QA

Outline the quality assurance process to catch potential issues before deploying the campaign. Include information about spam tests, email accessibility, and email previews across various clients. If your email contains GIFs or interactive elements, specify the need to ensure fallbacks in unsupported clients.

Send Time

Communicate the exact date and time for launching the email marketing campaign. Time-sensitive campaigns, promotions, or events require timely delivery based on specific time zones. Consider how geographic regions may influence segmentation and send times.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Define the KPIs that will evaluate the success of your campaign. Measure metrics beyond opens and clicks to include registrations, video views, or average order value. Align your team’s efforts with the desired outcomes by setting clear performance indicators.

Additional Instructions

Include any supplementary notes that couldn’t fit within the standard sections of your email marketing brief. Address any personalized email elements or suggest elements for A/B testing. This section serves as a catch-all for necessary information that didn’t fit elsewhere.

4 Benefits of Using an Email Marketing Brief

Creating an email marketing brief may initially feel like busywork, but it can dramatically enhance your email marketing efforts. Here are four ways an email marketing brief can make your life easier:

1. Clear Communication

An email marketing brief acts as a living FAQ document for your project or campaign. Instead of constantly reminding teammates about deadlines or searching for asset locations, direct them to the brief. Clear communication improves understanding and reduces response time, ensuring everyone is on the same page.

2. Stronger Strategy

A well-defined email marketing brief keeps your team focused on the campaign’s goals and objectives. Documenting your marketing strategy leads to greater success and higher returns on investment. Without a clear strategy, you risk missing the mark and wasting valuable resources. A brief serves as your roadmap, eliminating blindfolded guesswork.

3. Fewer Mistakes

Clear communication and a defined strategy minimize mistakes during the email production process. While an email marketing brief doesn’t guarantee error-free campaigns, it greatly reduces the risk of embarrassing or costly mistakes. Avoid time-consuming revisions by using the brief as a roadmap to guide your team.

4. Streamlined Collaboration

An email marketing brief facilitates collaboration with teams outside your core group. When customer service, sales, or HR require an email campaign, the brief provides essential information. It acts as a starting point, guiding colleagues through their request and helping them understand how to write and design an effective email.

Remember, the quality of your briefing determines its effectiveness. Unclear and unfocused briefs often lead to subpar work. Take the time to strategize, add all the necessary details, and don’t underestimate the importance of writing a comprehensive brief.

Get Your Email Marketing Creative Brief Template

The format of your email marketing brief can vary depending on your team and workflow. Whether a Word document, spreadsheet template, or digital form connected to project management software, choose what works best for your team.

To help you get started, we’ve created a free email marketing brief template. It’s a fillable PDF that you can print or share digitally with your colleagues throughout the production and email quality assurance process.

Download the Email Marketing Brief Template Here

How Email on Acid Can Help

At Zenith City News, we understand the complexities of email marketing. That’s why we’re excited to introduce Campaign Precheck, our automated pre-deployment checklist. This tool simplifies the email marketing process by guiding you through each test and optimization, from inbox display and accessibility to email previews on all major clients and devices. Trust the process and consistently deliver an ideal inbox experience with Email on Acid.

To learn more about Campaign Precheck and how it can improve your email marketing efforts, visit Zenith City News.

So, don’t delay—start using an email marketing brief today and experience the benefits it brings to your campaigns. Download our template, trust the process, and create compelling email campaigns that resonate with your audience.