email design

It is no secret that email is the most favored marketing channel regardless of the organization’s size or spending capacity. With that being said, designing HTML email templates is a basic task for all marketers. This can be tricky if you go overboard with creativity, but sticking with basics can surely help. In this article, I will share the top five email design best practices that you must follow. Let’s get started:

#1 Select Compatible Colors And Fonts 

You should select the email design elements in such a way that your audience can read your messages effortlessly. The full-color palette of email plays an important role in how it is perceived. Selecting better-suited colors is no rocket science and can be done without getting any professional help. Just try to follow these few things in mind: try highlighting sections using a contrasting color rather than the background; the text and background colors should mix well, keep your brand’s color palette in the loop. Never use multiple colors, as it can make your email overwhelming. 

With appropriate colors, it is also necessary to use email-friendly fonts which display on all the screens. You may choose web-safe fonts like Times New Roman or Arial, which render correctly across the devices from different brands, browsers, and email clients. If you are worried about choosing fonts, you should remember the following points: use a maximum of two fonts in one email, your font should be readable, on-brand, and easy to read. 

#2 Maintain A Proper Flow Of Your Email With Visual Hierarchy And Images 

Including images and other visuals is a good way to draw engagement, and if used smartly, it can extend great value to your audience. However, your emails should not include too many images and visual elements and no auto-play elements as well. This will slow down your email load speed and leave your subscribers confused regarding what to view even if your message renders successfully.

As far as the visual hierarchy is concerned, it can prove to be one of the most useful design attributes for your HTML email templates. It simply refers to placing email design elements in line with the subscribers’ normal content consumption methods. Generally, these patterns are identified as F-pattern, zig-zag pattern, and inverted triangle like in the below example:

#3 Use Rich Multimedia To Bypass Lengthy Email Copy And Make Your Call-To-Action Notable 

A lot of email marketers would agree to the fact that subscribers don’t find lengthy pieces of copy worthy of their time. A good way to convey the message without including exhaustive email copies is to use rich multimedia. It allows you to convey your message in an even more convenient and engaging manner which also consumes less time for your subscribers. 

For instance, using GIFs helps explain complex concepts without using too much space. According to email marketers, a combination of video and email brings higher click-through rates and enhances conversations. You can make use of videos in emails to explain how to use the product, entertain your clients, and convey your brand message and story. 

If you want to drive click-thrus, use smartly designed and tactically placed call-to-action buttons. Generally, you have one primary CTA in your HTML email templates that direct people’s attention and lead to the landing page. To make your CTA effective, you’ll want to make it highly visible and quickly accessible. For this, you can use a contrasting color and create plenty of whitespace around your button so that your readers will not only be able to see it but also click on it with their finger or thumb. Other than this, you should also keep in mind the standard copy that you can use for them like ‘order today’ or ‘buy now’. 

#4 Try Using Interactivity And Personalization Together To Grab User’s Attention 

To make a mark in the recipient’s inbox and get them to engage with your emails, all you need is to make them highly personalized and interactive. The traditional approach of sending the same email to many does not work anymore. It is important to target and follow proper segmentation to develop personalized content for each individual recipient. 

You can use elements such as polls, surveys, add to cart functionality, and offer release, which will turn your emails into microsites. This will enhance the chances of engagement as the recipients need not leave the email to complete the actions. An email template and few CSS and HTML skills is all you need to develop perfect interactive emails. And when you send emails that are interactive and personalized, it helps to increases the engagement metrics. 

#5 Use Responsive Design To Impersonate Other Software

Email and Chatbots, for instance, are the two diverse marketing channels that have little in common. But pairing them can attract considerable attention from your recipients. You can try sending your emails with in-mail chatbots as they offer real-time customer support and help your clients to find the desired answers without leaving your email. 

They are always available, 24/7, to provide your customers with timely, precise, and relevant information. Moreover, they also collect the valuable information needed about your recipients and offer personalized messages about services and products. The same is applicable to other software. Have a look at this example of using chatbot inspired email:

Summing Up

Throughout the article, you can see that the email design best practices are focused on delivering value through a phased approach. Instead of designing HTML email templates with only a few considerations in mind, creating a powerful reader experience ground up should be your priority. I hope this article on design best practices helps you design better emails than before.

Author: Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest growing full service email marketing agencies that specializes in crafting professional email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and free HTML email templates in addition to providing email automation, campaign management, and data integration & migration services. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz and eats and breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on his blog.