8 | Minute Read

Do you want an email that not only looks amazing but also converts? Yes, we all do. That’s why we have put together a shortlist of Swift Digital’s top email design and best practices for all of the moving parts of your email. There is a bonus email marketing cheat sheet at the end for you.

1. Plan For No Images

Most email clients will block images in emails and often give the recipient the option to ‘Download Images’. This means you need to plan and design your emails in a way that they can still be interpreted without the images. Make sure your body copy and headlines are interesting nad targeted. If you do use images make sure you add descriptive alt tags to them which will display when images are turned off.
Top tip! Use persuasive content and headlines which make your reader want to download your images.

2. Prominent CTA

Make sure your designs include clear and big CTA’s. Your CTA’s should make people want to click on them and designed in a way that makes them stand out and direct the readers eye. Make sure you use a colour that works with your branding, a powerful block colour is advised or a bold outline. It is important that the CTA’s look like they are clickable. You don’t want your readers thinking they aren’t there to be clicked. Use persuassive language in your CTA’s e.g. Find Out More, Learn More, Download Your Guide

3. Three Column Rule

Most email clients display emails at 600px in width. A great design tip is to use 2-3 columns in your email to compliment this, side by side for maximum visual impact.

4. Test It On The Go

Test, test, test your email design as you build it. This way you will be able to see if your email is looking just as great across each email client as it is in the editor.  The Swift Digital suite allows you to send test emails to any email client or address and you can send as many as you want until it looks perfect. Also, try using a testing QA platform like Email on Acid and Litmus

5. Make Use Of White Space (Padding)

This top design team actually comes from our Swift Digital design team. Our design team have been building and designing emails for over 10 years and this is one of their top tips.
“Consider using padding and white space to make content stand out. If there’s a lot of content and no spacing it can make an email look busy and cluttered and difficult to read.”

6. Keep Message Focussed

What is the aim of your email? Who is the focus of your email? Before designing and building your emails, it is important that you have identified the message of your email. Once established, stick to it.

7. Keep Copy Short and Sweet

Sometimes less is more. If somebody receives a long email, the likelihood is that they aren’t going to read it. Get to your point, and quickly!

8. Visual Hierarchy

Plan and maintain a visual hierarchy for your emails. Your subscribers aren’t going to read your email from start ’til end; keep your email design easy to scan. Use the first fold (above) for the most important information.

Studies show that readers eyes are more attracted to imagery than text, even if the text is very large and somewhat important. Be sure to use striking, good quality imagery towards the begginning of your email and text directly below. headline.

9. Experiment With Fonts

Although very tempting to use fancy fonts, web-embedded fonts won’t show up on your emails, which means your content won’t look exactly how you want it to. For body copy, stick to the basics like, Times New Roman, Tahoma, Arial, Verdana, Courier and Georgia.
Top tip! Font size 14 to 16 is favourable with email.

3 Top Tips To Help You Craft Beautiful And Effective Marketing Emails.

1. Encourage User Engagement

First impressions count, so make sure you include your most important information near the top of the email and start with something that will grab the reader’s attention such as a sale or offer.

Using eye-catching, high-quality images or graphics with bright colours and bold text can help to focus the attention on this area and guide the user through the email.

Most people don’t read emails (especially marketing emails) thoroughly, but instead, they scan through them quickly. For this reason, you need to design your emails to be scannable. Use small blocks of text, headings, bullet points, and try to keep your email as short as possible.

Don’t forget your links – feel free to include lots of links in your email so that if the reader decides to click an image or header, as well as a contextual link, they’ll go somewhere. Create optimised landing pages for your email links and make sure you include your social profiles at the bottom.

 

2. Create a Clear CTA

A clear call to action is vital in your email so that readers know exactly what to do next.

Don’t bury your CTA in content – make sure it’s bold and clear. You can highlight your CTA with arrows, buttons, or boxes to draw the reader’s eye to the right place.

Creating a sense of urgency with a countdown timer or using language such as “last chance” can also help to make your CTA effective. People rarely go back to marketing emails twice so if you don’t grab them the first time they read your email, you’ll lose them.

Your CTA is also vital for measuring the impact and effectiveness of your email campaign, so make sure it’s clear if you want people to click, call, or something else.

Don’t put too many CTAs in your email – if you’re linking out to multiple products you might have multiple CTA buttons, but otherwise stick to one clear message.

 

3. Layout is Everything

The layout of your email is just as important as the content, if not more so.

You should guide the user through your email from top to bottom visually, drawing the eye to any CTA’s or focal areas as they go.

Nobody likes to be faced with a wall of text, so make sure your content is broken down into readable chunks with plenty of headings and subheadings.

Break up the text further if attractive visual content such as graphics, illustrations, typography, and photographic images. Don’t forget to include plenty of white space.

Make sure you use suitable images that support your content and branding. You should also always include your brand logo at the top of every email and use your brand colours for design elements where appropriate.

It’s crucial that your email design is optimised for mobile, as there are more mobile web users than desktop web users around these days. Test your design and layout on several different platforms and make sure text and images aren’t too small when viewed on mobile.

4 Things Netflix Can Teach You About Engaging Email Content

Images Win the Day

According to Netflix, 82% of the time a user spends browsing is spent viewing images. They report that users spend as little as 1.8 seconds viewing the title or description. This gives the preview image a much greater impact than the associated text. While choosing a movie is different to scrolling through your inbox, it’s important to keep in mind that we are very visual beings and parse images much faster than text.

High-Resolution = Higher Engagement

A better quality image – high-resolution, saved for the web, with an appropriate aspect ratio – means more video views. This one is a no-brainer. If the images are the heroes in your content, you need to ensure they’re bold and beautiful. This is particularly true for any logos and brand elements. Email Composer, the new module and content editor in the Suite, can automatically resize your images for both desktop and mobile.

Less is More

Interestingly, despite the popularity of ensemble movies and TV shows, Netflix also found that images composed of more than three people were far less popular. Where you’re working with a smaller image size, consider keeping the composition of your hero images relatively simple.

Keep it Interesting

However, simple doesn’t have to mean boring. Images of people with complex or interesting facial expressions brought in higher levels of engagement. Innate recognition of emotion from facial expression enables users to pick up on the compelling tone and feeling of the content.

**Bonus Email Marketing Cheat Sheet**

Avoid those common email marketing mistakes, download our Email Marketing Mistakes Cheat Sheet Today!
Download Email Marketing Cheat Sheet

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