3 minute read

5 Email Design Tips & Tricks

Love at first sight. No, we aren’t talking about you and your high school sweetheart. We’re talking about emails, and how first impression can determine whether or not an email design is effective. Contrary to popular belief, a good email design begins before the email is even opened. Yep, that means your email design better be on trend from start to finish. Sound a tad overwhelming? Don’t fret, we’re here to help.

Here are 5 Email Design Tips & Tricks to keep your emails looking smart: 

1. Subject Lines 

Keep your subject lines clear and concise, and make sure the message aligns with the body of the email. Don’t mislead your audience with an irrelevant, gimmicky subject line just to get them to open. Be smart and enticing without using trickery to gain the trust of your email subscribers. 

Trying to promote those hot new products? Let your readers know, but limit the subject line to 5-10 words. Here’s an example of a solid subject line for a clothing retailer: "Make room in that closet for these Summer essentials." Short, to the point, but still captivating enough for the reader to click-through. 

2. Pre-header Text 

Can’t fit all the necessary information into the subject line? Take advantage of the pre-header text. The pre-header text should be a continuation of the subject line, and is a good way to squeeze in a few extra details to capture the attention of your email subscriber. 

Let’s take the subject line from above and add pre-header text: “Make room in that closet for these Summer essentials- Tops and dresses under $40!” This pre-header text provides more context to the email subject without repeating any information, and allures the shopper into reading further.

3. Email layout

When talking about how an email should be laid out, it’s important to do the research: Are your emails being primarily opened in desktop or mobile? Which design format is better for you-- is it a static desktop, mobile-first approach, or hybrid responsive design? These are all questions to answer before you begin designing your email.

For the most part, though, every email should meet these criteria:

-The email layout should be simple and clean. 

- The email should be no wider than 600px.

-An email should not be cluttered with irrelevant content that strays from the purpose of the email. 

-Make the purpose of your email the focal point of the messaging, and limit all distractions. 

4. Bullet Buttons

Let’s be straight, here. DO NOT use images as buttons. We understand that this has been a traditional practice for email designers when crafting CTA buttons, but many email clients and subscribers block image-loading by default. In fact, 43 percent of Gmail users have images turned off, and prefer to view emails with images disabled, rendering your image buttons absolutely useless.

Instead, create buttons to use as your CTA. With Campaign Monitor’s Bullet button tool, you can build buttons with code instead of images, designed to your specifications, simply by swapping your GIFs, PNGs, and JPEGs for HTML and CSS. These buttons will show even when the subscriber’s images have been disabled.

5. Personalization

Data personalization is a great way to engage a user. In fact, 86 percent of consumers say personalization plays a huge part in their purchasing decisions. By utilizing the information they’ve given you, you can message to them on an individualized basis, showing that you value and recognize them as an important customer.

A simple, but effective way to do this is in the subject line. For example, instead of saying “Hey CUSTOMER,” opt for the more personalized approach of using their first name: “Hey Maria!” This shows that you’ve taken the extra step to make them feel special, and it suggests that the rest of the email will be relevant to them as well. 

For more email best practices, check out 5 Email Trends We’re Tracking in 2017, or take a look at our Email Marketing Playbook to see what email campaigns are necessary for your marketing strategy.