Designing Emails That Work
Not all email marketing strategies are equal, and not all strategies should be applied to the same kind of business or the same type of audience. As with most things in business, “it depends” is usually the answer. Test your marketing strategy and adapt to what your market wants. Over the years, marketing professionals have learned what works. With trillions of emails sent every year, data backs up some fundamentals that can help you get started.
Understanding good design principles
Email design has a few universal rules:
Keep it simple stupid.
The old KISS rule holds true with email. People don’t want to read a lot when they’re on a computer or mobile device. They want the information to be relevant and short, not long-winded and hard to understand. Like with most writing your audience determines the reading level, but usually 6th to 8th grade works best.
If you’re writing email content for technical recipients, you may write at a higher level, but be cognizant that email has a shorter attention span than blogs or whitepapers. Email recipients generally are trying to get through their inboxes and tend to scan, rather than read for deep comprehension.
Use a one-column layout.
Traditional print marketing is usually wider, with folds and multiple columns, because the eye has more “real estate” to scan.
Unfortunately, email has less real estate. With over 60 percent of emails being read on a mobile device, assume your message recipients scan a single column. A good rule is to design for 600 pixels width at most. If you must have two columns, the left column comes first so put the most relevant information there.
Use responsive design.
Email should adjust for the size of the reader’s screen.
Well over half the emails you send are read on a mobile device. It’s critical that you design your emails to respond to a smaller screen while still making your message easy to read.
Responsive design can be tricky, so test your design on as many platforms as you can. Check that your ESP makes email within its system responsive, too.
Keep articles short with links to more information and video content.
Don’t try to cram everything into your email. Get your point across and provide a link for more. Your message is short and you also determine which contacts are interested in learning more about something. This click data is very useful for salespeople and for sending further targeted messages.