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  • Writer's pictureIan Morris

What makes a great email design?

Image of hands holding a phone and a Threeroom's email on screen

Many companies want to design great email marketing that converts. Who wouldn’t? One of the most important things is to develop them with the recipient in mind. When it comes to best practice for email design, we’ve got it covered.

Think of your audience first

One of the most important things about great email design is to develop emails with the recipient in mind. Whether you’re an occasional sender or seasoned campaign veteran, there is still a lot to learn. We’ve compiled our top tips for great email design to help you deliver better email campaigns that engage your audience and ensure they take action.

Here’s what you’ll learn

Setting up your email Some of the basics about settings and best practice that are often overlooked.

The rules of great email design Creating great email designs that people actually want to read.

Creating a reaction Get more from all your hard work by getting your readers to do what you want them to.

Setting up your email

  1. Use a recognisable ‘From’ name

  2. Ensure your reply address is correct and from a branded URL

  3. Add a short subject line (4-7 words)

  4. Include an enticing pre-header (6-11 words)

  5. Ensure your footer includes your company name, address and contact details

  6. Include personalisation if your list data includes it (if not, get better data)

  7. Always include an ‘unsubscribe’ option so users can easily opt-out of your mailings

  8. Using ‘Forward to a friend’ and ‘View in Browser’ links is good practice

  9. In the footer, explain why your user got this email to reassure and avoid spam complaints. Also, add in a link to your privacy policy and any relevant terms (if you are running a promotion)

The rules of great email design

  1. Ensure your logo is prominent at the top, so recipients instantly recognise you

  2. Make sure your logo links to your website

  3. Use colour, fonts and design elements to match your branding

  4. Make headings around 20pt and body text at least 14pt (16pt for shorter messages)

  5. Keep emails focused on a single topic

  6. Make sure your emails are mobile-friendly (most promotional emails are opened on mobile devices)

  7. Stay accessible – use high-contrast text for visually impaired readers

  8. Break up longer content with regular headings, bulleted lists and suitable spacing – this helps the skimmers

  9. Include several quality images or pictures, but don’t overdo it. Avoid stock photography if possible

Getting a reaction from your emails

  1. Keep text bite-sized and easy to read – most people will only scan the content

  2. Write in a more human, conversational way

  3. Make messages interesting and customer-focused

  4. Offer a destination (click-through)

  5. Aim for one primary call to action per email, and no more than 5 to avoid confusion

  6. Make your call-to-action compelling and direct, and prominent

  7. Adding social buttons with links means people can share

  8. Think about the longer-term relationship with your customers

In summary

Email marketing is quite simple these days, but it is still easy to get wrong. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be well on your way to creating compelling content that will create a great experience, retain subscribers and convert.

And what’s the ultimate aim? To make your subscribers look forward to your emails.

Happy emailing!

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