Statistically, your email has 7 seconds to make an impact on someone. And one of the easiest ways to do that is with a clear and simple design. Something your readers will get value from within a few moments or at least be engaged enough to read for longer. We’ve already discussed creating the ideal subject line – whether emojis are good, the ideal length and why you should use a pre-header. And we’ve covered how personalisation and dynamic content can help make your email more relevant to your reader. So now we’re focusing on email design, and what you can do to make sure you get noticed.
As we’ve mentioned before, Outlook style emails have worked well in generating leads previously. There are no unnecessary aspects involved, it’s simply the most important message as the focus of the email. They’re quick to produce, render well and convey a more personal feel, all of which can help get better open rates. This style of email is entirely text-based, meaning that copy is the real star of the show. Make it focused on your aim, and relevant to your audience.
The inverted pyramid model is essentially a framework to help structure your email. Imagine an upside-down triangle and use this as the guidelines for your elements. It means that your elements, perhaps a picture, heading, buttons, etc. will all guide the reader down to the call-to-action. This method helps focus your readers and prompt them to click-through to the more important information hosted on your website.
As the title suggests, a single column design is another popular option. With every element organised in a column, this design works great for both desktop and mobile viewing. As a ‘mobile-first’ design, it is typically compatible across devices. This format helps inform the reader of what the most important information is, and what to read next.
Using multiple columns in an email design allows you to include more information in a smaller space. This allows more relevant information to be conveyed in a visually interesting way. There is the potential to look cluttered, however. With multiple columns, you should also consider how the email will render on different devices, and adjust your layout accordingly. See our guide on Responsive Email Design to see how to adjust yours.
The F in Email
This design is based on the fact that people naturally read left to right, and skim down the left-hand side of an email. To see the eye-tracking study which proves this, and more information on the topic, see our guide here. This indicates that all your most important information should be left-aligned. Include your CTAs to the left and have your most important feature at the top of your email. Things like images and text can be distributed across your email according to the location of key elements.
Considerations for Every Email
Whilst there are variations and disagreement on which email design produces the best results, there are always several aspects which every email should consider.
Email Width: Before sending, you should always test that your email renders well in different email clients. Gmail, for example, will not display background colour when the width is wider than 640px. We recommend an email width of 600px for the best of both worlds.
Fonts: Not every font is supported by email clients, and so it is best to use a web font wherever possible. However, certain email clients won’t render all web fonts correctly, so check your email across multiple providers before sending.
The Footer: Rounding off your email with a good footer can give all the information not included in your email (as well as making your email legal). Include social links and contact information, as well as the option to unsubscribe and your registrations details (it’s required by law).
How your email looks can be a big part in prompting readers to click. There’s no one-size-fits-all for email and so the best way to discover what works for your readers is to test your emails regularly. This will help to identify the top performing designs. It may be that particular pots of data even respond differently to each as we recently found from our A/B design testing.