Businesses spend countless hours and quite a lot of money to ensure their websites and landing pages are designed to create the best user experience. However, it’s rare for them to spend anything close to those resources on email design and experience. This is in spite of research showing that email marketing can generate 38 dollars for every dollar spent.
Writing great email content is certainly important, but that goes hand in hand with email design. Content conveys the necessary information, but design is the element that allows the reader to navigate the content as the writer intends. In addition to this, good email design catches the readers eye and entices them to keep reading once they open the email.
In this article, we’ll discuss the various elements of great email design, and why great design matters in the first place. With these tips, you should be able to produce emails that generate leads, engagement, and conversions.
If you want to really get to grips with the world of email design, then you need to look closer at the numerous benefits it provides. Take a look at the following ways a really good design will help, and ask yourself whether your business can afford to do without them.
First things first, if you’re not tracking your metrics, what are you really hoping to achieve? If you don’t know how your target market is responding to your efforts to engage with them, then you’ll have no way to iteratively refine your approach.
Plain text emails don’t allow you to track the open rate of your email campaign, which means you’ll be none the wiser about your performance. Take the time to build metrics into your campaign, however, and you’ll soon be able to make the tweaks and adjustments that will prove pivotal to your success.
Here are some KPIs and other metrics that you should be tracking:
● Open Rates
● Email Sharing And Forwarding
● List Growth
● Subscriber Engagement
Keep in mind that many of these cannot be tracked if you aren’t unless you are using HTML based emails, a necessity for good email design. To set your email metrics, consider the overall goals of your campaign. Then, choose what to track based on those goals.
Did you know that peoples’ brains can recognize images in as little as 13 milliseconds? Your brain has evolved to respond far faster to imagery than to text, and this is something that a well-designed email should take into account. It’s all about figuring out how your customers’ brains work, and imagery is a major part of it.
If you lead with a strong hero image, it will instantly catch the eye and ensure far more people stay engaged — just what you’re looking for if you want recipients to read through your email copy.
HTML emails can help you create an appealing email design that will visualize your content in the best way. There are even many great visual email template builders that you can use for free.
Mobile browsing rates now exceed desktop browsing, but both are still common. This means that you need to be able to create email campaigns that adjust to the user’s device type and screen size. Get it right, and you’ll be able to present your products and services in the palm of your (potential)customer’s hand. Get it wrong with an email that doesn’t display properly, and your email will quickly be deleted. Responsive email design definitely has a huge impact on click-through rates. Using a responsive email template builder will help you create emails that will render perfectly on all devices.
There are no exact guidelines to email design. Your final product should be a design that’s based upon your branding, the aesthetics you want to present, and your target audience. In addition to this, you’ll also want to consider your goals. Good email design works to direct your customer’s eyes (and mouse) to the information you want them to see, and gets them to answer your call to action.
It’s a good practice to include your email at the top of every email. It creates a consistent look. That helps with branding and recognition. Include it at the top of your email so that they know who they are dealing with right away. This is just one small way of connecting with your reader.
If you haven’t already, consider using a logo that has been created or modified specifically for your emails. This ensures that your size and formatting are perfect. This can then be stored in a digital assets library for use across your organizations.
First, select your images carefully. They should be high quality and optimized for mobile. Ideally, they will be images that are original to your brand.
Clip art and mediocre-quality stock photos can create a spammy look and feel to your emails. This can put readers off. If you do opt to use stock photos, use a reputable site such as Getty Images, and pay for a premium membership. This will give you access to the best images without watermarks. We have a more in-depth article where you can find sites for your design inspiration.
Consider using banner-style images. They fill the reader’s field of vision, and the right images can really communicate your message.
Keep in mind that most emails are going to be read on a scrolling display. Take that into consideration, and format your text so that it flows naturally down the page. Test your emails on the most popular email devices.
The serial-position effect indicates that people tend to best remember the first and last things that they see (primacy and recency). Use that to your advantage. Lead your email with something that you really want your customers to take in and remember. Then, end your email with something equally as important.
Check out this email that was sent by Kissmetrics. The P.S. at the end seems simple enough, but it’s a great example of this being put to practical use.
Finally, use plenty of white space, headings, and bulleted lists. This makes your text easier to read and helps readers to digest the information easily.
Here you have two choices. You can stick with branding and familiarity. Alternatively, you can use color to create a mood or to better communicate the specific message you’re sending. If you choose the former option, you create more recognition, and can help familiarize newer subscribers with your brand.
If you choose something more attention-grabbing, bright colors can really work. As your readers notice those colors, they’ll read key phrases. For example, if you send an email announcing a sale or special event, consider highlighting pertinent words and phrases (e.g.: 50% Off! Or Buy One Get One Free!) in a bright color that stands out.
Emails from Kate Spade frequently use the color yellow. That’s because it’s been shown to produce feelings of happiness. That’s the perfect mood for enticing people to buy items like purses and accessories.
Keep in mind that culture impacts color perception as well. For example, the color white is often associated with innocence and purity in western cultures, but is associated with death in Japan. A localization specialist from a service like The Word Point can help companies identify these cultural differences, and modify their email designs accordingly.
Take the time to create a button that entices the readers to take action. By doing so, you can help to ensure that your recipients are more likely to move from the email you’ve sent them to your website or landing pages. In terms of space, your CTA button makes up a small part of your email, but it is one of the most important elements. The best CTAs are simple and clear. This one from Zendesk uses a contrasting blue to stand out, but sticks with very simple button copy.
Good email design makes it as easy as possible for your readers to understand your message quickly. Think of it this way: You’ve already asked a lot of your reader, simply getting them to open your marketing email. Once they do that, meet them halfway and make reading it an easy and enjoyable experience. By using GIFS and other animations, you can communicate your message with fewer words.
This takes away the need to read long texts. A GIF or other animation can deliver a message, show an emotion, or even highlight your products in a way that is unique and memorable. Even better, if you work to establish a signature style with your animations, that contribute to your branding efforts and improve consumers’ brand recall.
Rather than forcing recipients to read a lot of text about their new product, see how The Pur Company combined both text and a picture of their product into a GIF. The result is quite effective.
Most marketing emails are opened on mobile devices. We’ve gone beyond the point of emails and other content needing to be mobile compatible. At this point, mobile users should be a priority when designing marketing emails.
At the very least, responsive design should be the standard. With responsive design, the email code can detect the screen size and device type. The reader then receives the email formatted in a way that is ideal for their device.
However, it may be time to move beyond that. Instead, the initial design of your emails should be done with mobile users in mind.
Don’t reinvent the wheel here. The footer, along with contact information, is generally expected at the bottom of your email. Just make sure it contains all of the valid information your readers might need. Include your company name, location, website, hours, and links to your social media pages.
There are several reasons for providing this information. First, it gives mobile users and low funnel customers the ability to quickly find the information they need to:
● Call you for more information.
● Go to your store.
● Learn about your availability.
● Visit your website to learn more about your products.
● Follow your brand on social media.
By providing this information, you remove any friction your audience might encounter in answering your call to action, and moving closer to a conversion.
It’s also a matter of credibility. By providing as much contact information as possible, you’ll be seen as trustworthy and forthcoming by your readers. The last thing you want is to give any impression that you are obscuring your information.
Every marketing email should contain a link for unsubscribing. It should be easy to find, and the process of unsubscribing should be as simple as you can make it. Obviously, nobody wants to see subscribers go, but the negative reputation you’ll create by obscuring the process is going to be worse than simply losing some subscribers.
Keep in mind that this isn’t just a nice thing to though. Many countries have anti-spam laws in place that require you to include this in every email you send.
As you create marketing emails, content should definitely be a priority. However, without good email design, the best copy simply will not be read by your audience. Create emails that are formatted for readability, use images to enhance your message, and ensure that your email copy is as easy to read as you can by implementing better email design principles. Using a professional email template designer will help you create an appealing HTML email within minutes, without any coding!