When you think about what factors and processes you need to get the most out of your email marketing campaigns, these may be the first things you consider:
While these are important, another, more fundamental aspect of email marketing is equally critical to success: email design. Additionally, with more than 333 billion emails sent and received every day and adults using more screens than ever before, it's even more important to have well-crafted emails that can quickly cut through the clutter in your inbox. Capture the recipient's attention and entice them to take the desired action.
Whether you want to enhance your email communications or breathe new life into your lifecycle email marketing strategy, here are 11 email design tips and examples that can increase website traffic, purchase intent, conversions, and revenue.
All elements of the email come together to form the overall design. Whether the design is cohesive or advances the goal of the email depends on how well the individual elements are executed. Here, we have 11 tips for making email design work for you.
First and foremost, the mobile-friendly newsletter design is a must. However, the exact % of emails opened on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets varies by source; it is estimated that more than half of all emails are accessed via mobile devices. Ensuring emails display correctly and can be read effortlessly across devices, screens, and resolutions is crucial. If an email appears poorly, it may be deleted within three seconds.
Responsive email templates will automatically adjust your emails to fit the screen they're being viewed on, whether a desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Most drag-and-drop email builders have built-in responsive design templates, but you must also keep mobile formats in mind when considering image size plus the length of copy blocks in emails.
A key aspect of email design that goes hand in hand with responsiveness is accessibility. Moreover, accessibility refers to the ability of people with disabilities or those using assistive devices to receive and understand email. So, just as responsive email design ensures that it is accessible across device formats, good accessibility practices keep emails usable regardless of the sender's circumstances.
Furthermore, an accessible email will have a logical flow and high readability with descriptive subject lines, links and headings, and large, well-spaced fonts. It will also use high color contrast and fully use alt text. Perhaps most importantly, accessible emails don't rely too much on visuals or hiding information in images, which can be challenging to convert with adaptive tools like screen readers.
Prioritizing accessibility is vital to reaching the maximum percentage of subscribers or target audience and helps improve the overall usability of your email marketing. Making Your Data Emailable with Our Email Verifier.
The text before the headline used to be an afterthought, with many marketers defaulting to the first few words of the email body. Due to how emails appear in mobile and desktop inboxes, pre-headings are the second most crucial text element after the subject line. Pre-header text indicates to readers what the email is about; it is essentially the visible meta description of the email.
Therefore, the pre-headline text should complement the subject line and reinforce the key call-to-action in the email. Like the subject line, it should entice the recipient to open the email and continue reading while providing a preview of the information in the email itself. It needs to do all of this briefly in a brief space.
Crafting a compelling subject and title pair can feel like writing poetry, but it can significantly impact open and conversion rates when used correctly.
Layout is the most easily identifiable aspect of email design and is the first thing most people think of when considering design elements for an email. Layout determines the flow of content and the order in which readers consume information. Moreover, the most basic principles of email layout are maintaining organizational and logical consistency, attracting attention through beauty, and controlling the recipient's attention to where you want it.
Essentially, this means establishing a clear visual hierarchy. Display the most important information and convey essential details early (higher) in the email/ Incorporate white space to give your content room to breathe and a more premium look. The clutter and "walls" of text are difficult.
The color scheme is essential in any design, and email is no exception. Plus, the right combination of colors (or the strategic limitation of a color palette) can inspire emotion, direct attention to important content, reinforce a brand image, or differentiate a single email from a series or campaign.
There's a lot of room for experimentation with color in email marketing. Still, a good general rule of thumb is to avoid color clashes or using too many colors, use bright colors sparingly, and be consistent with the color usage of your brand's marketing assets. As with accessibility and responsiveness, it's important to consider how your email will be viewed; for example, solid black text may appear illegible if read on a mobile device in "dark" mode.
It's important to remember that color isn't limited to graphic elements or images in emails. Also, consider the color of text used and the dominant colors in embedded images or photos. These colors should be coordinated to support your content, branding, and the purpose of the email.
Next, an organized layout and strategic use of color will go a long way toward improving the readability and effectiveness of your email. But ultimately, the message you want to convey comes from the email copy itself. One hard rule for text in email is to be clear and concise.
However, remember the 333 billion emails sent and received last year? Your target audience receives some of these emails, but they almost certainly don't need to read every word they receive. Many of these emails may never be opened due to poor subject lines.
Emails should have an attractive design that catches the eye yet is easy to scan. Get to the point quickly, or risk being tossed in the trash.
Of all the potential touchpoints a recipient could have with your business, the email you just sent them is unlikely to be their first. This makes it important to keep your email design consistent with your overall brand design.
Strong branding—not just a logo or tagline, but brand-specific colors, imagery, typography, and content tone—can help email recipients identify the message's source and provide more information from the inbox to the landing page. This can reduce your bounce rate when users interact with your brand through different channels.
Using consistent fonts in your email design can reinforce your brand image and identity, but, like color, there are opportunities for experimentation. The most important thing about typography is that it should be easy to read quickly and not distract from the information or add to the clutter.
Emails can also contain more than one font; for example, one font looks better in larger sizes for headings, while another font looks cleaner throughout sentences in the body. Too many different fonts in an email can make reading easier. Limiting the use of three fonts per email is an excellent common-sense rule. Likewise, drag-and-drop email builders often feature multiple font options and suggestions for particular email elements or sections.
Personalization is one of the dominant themes in the marketing and advertising industry right now, as technological advancements and the rising importance of zero-party and first-party customer data enable true one-to-one, brand-to-customer engagement. Email marketing was the first marketing medium to make widespread use of basic personalization (such as mail merges and autocomplete salutation lines). Still, it can and should be combined with more sophisticated personalization techniques.
Personalization should make the email meaningful and valuable to the recipient. This means incorporating customized content based on customer data, including insights such as purchase history or position in the customer lifecycle or buying journey. Narrow segments can help target specific customers, while personal touches (such as incorporating profile information or preferences) can help humanize your brand and build stronger relationships.
This may seem like essential email marketing content, but only an email marketing optimization tips list would be complete with addressing your CTA. A call-to-action (CTA), typically represented graphically as a button, should briefly describe the exact action that email readers can expect when they click it and should be placed in the design where it logically includes the next step.
Effective calls-to-action typically appear at the bottom of the section in a color that contrasts with the overall color scheme of the email. Multiple CTAs can be used (some studies show that having multiple CTAs can increase click-through rates), but only if the natural progression of the content indicates they will occur. Like many design techniques covered here, CTAs should be used consistently.
Consistency isn't just essential but important in all activities. The impact of design or suddenly introducing a completely different creative to an existing audience (such as your subscriber base) can impact the success of a single email or an entire campaign.
When updating your email design, consider rolling out changes frequently or testing the new design among a small group of subscribers before rolling it out to the entire audience.
Design is an important aspect of email marketing performance, and executing it correctly can make the difference between a positive ROI campaign and a memorable brand experience. You might think of the many marketing emails in your inbox that combine a basic template with bland (and bland!) copy and call it a day. Or not, because you removed it without going beyond the subject line.
Your email marketing campaigns can help solidify relationships with customers and prospects with an accessible design that includes strong design principles, branded typography and imagery, concise and engaging themes and headlines, logical CTAs, and engaging text. Ultimately, you'll also generate more opens, leads, conversions, and revenue for your business.