Email marketing is one of the most powerful forms of promotion. There are 3 times as many email accounts as Facebook and Twitter combined! (Kiss metrics). Social media is a medium where a lot of content is ‘consumed’ but in terms of communication, email is on top. Because email is a trusted communication path it can be a very effective marketing avenue.
Another interesting email fact is that 94% of internet users send or receive email, but just 61% use social media (HostPapa). This reinforces the popularity of email, something that a lot of modern day marketers tend to forget. There is a big focus on social media currently, but email is still the most professional and common form of communication. Some might argue that there is little personal interaction in a bulk marketing email but they can be a lot more targeted than social media posts can be.
Whether it’s a beautiful Mail Chimp template or a creative email signature, a well designed email can work wonders for any brand. But it’s not as easy as it sounds; a well designed email needs to have a good balance of images to text, be ‘mobile friendly’, and have well positioned ‘call to actions’. See below for my suggestions.
Image to text balance
Filling an email with images and crazy colours is not a well designed email. The more images you have, the less likely that the recipient will read your email. When an email arrives into the inbox, most people will still have to click on ‘display images’ to see your images. Before they chose to display the images, the email will just look like a blank white box. This is why the balance of text and images is important. Before inserting an image think about how important it is, because ultimately it is the text that will get your message across.
Obviously images are still hugely important, there is nothing more boring than an email with hundreds of words without anything images. But as with anything, it’s the balance that is key.
For some great examples of image to text balance and email template inspiration check out campaignmonitor.com. There you can scroll through endless amounts of examples to suit your desired layout.
We all know that smartphones are taking over the world. According to Litmus, Apple iPhone is the most popular email client in the world with 24% of the market share and Outlook is the 2nd most popular with 13%. Therefore, ‘mobile friendly’ emails should be a big focus.
When considering the layout of your email I strongly recommend using one column; this makes the email a lot easier to read on a mobile device. You don’t have to master the art of responsive email design to make mobile friendly emails, it just requires some testing. Use a single column layout and focus on having everything ‘centered’ to begin with. There is usually a large selection of ‘mobile friendly’ templates on most email marketing services, this is a great place to start.
Call to actions
The goal for every email marketing message is to drive attention to a ‘call to action’. This might be a link to a free trial download or a reservation button for a restaurant. The call to action is arguably the most important part of the email, so it needs to be placed where it will catch the most attention and has the highest chance of being clicked.
The optimal placement of your call to action will vary, depending on your product or service. Most are placed towards the bottom of the email, but if it’s a long email I often place the same button half way through as well (e.g. a recent email that I sent). You can either simply link a group of words or you can create a button. A button does stand out more, but it’s up to you.
The best way to test if your call to actions will standout is to perform a ‘squint test’. In the image above you’ll notice the button still stands out even when it is blurred.
It does take 3-4 versions to get the perfect email design, but to help I have pulled together some helpful resources: