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4 Fresh Ideas for Email Design - Guest Blog by Audrey Howes @Swiftpage

by on ‎11-01-2011 12:10 PM (2,535 Views)


We'd like to welcome Audrey Howes to our guest blog family!  Audrey will be a regular contributor here in the Journal.  Enjoy!


by Audrey Howes, Swiftpage


Email design standards are constantly evolving. It is challenging to keep up with the latest and greatest. To help you out, we’ve gathered together 4 of the freshest thoughts in email design. All of these ideas are relatively simple to implement and could have a significant impact on your emarketing ROI. Let the refresh begin!


1. Consider Mobile

Mobile devices are everywhere and are drastically changing how email readers interact with their inboxes. According to eMailMonday, “Mobile email will account for 10 to 30% of email opens, depending on your target audience, product and email type.” With mobile readership on the rise, it is crucial to add mobile friendly design elements when creating your emails. Here are a few basics to get you started:


      • Use big buttons that are easy to click with a finger. It is also important to give your buttons extra padding in the template so they don’t compete with the phone’s navigation.
      • Keep copy short and sweet. Most mobile users read their emails early in the morning and have a lot to scan through. Don’t get lost in the crowd.
      • Use a text size of at least 12px. Smaller text gets resized by many mobile devices and can skew your design.
2.  Make Multiple Connections

Branding has been and is still a hot topic in email design for good reason. Your customer’s subconscious connects your emails to other elements of your marketing campaign from your logo to your storefront or website. Think about the email as simply one domino in the chain leading to a purchase.
Here are some ideas:


    • Shoot a simple video and use a screen shot of the video posted on YouTube as a link/Call to Action in your email.
    • Create a landing page with a similar look and feel as your email. Use the landing page to provide more information about your promotion and collect details from customers.
    • Send a post card that looks similar to your email to further entice customers or engage those customers who didn’t read your email.
    • Design an infographic presenting product comparisons, study statistics, or other useful information. Include a link in your email and on your website to download it in PDF form.

3.  Use the Sweet Spot

Email design experts give a lot of attention to avoiding too many images in your emails and making sure to use alternative text on images, etc.  We all know many users choose not to view images or have to click to download them. While often overshadowed, it is equally important to use the right images in your emails.
When your recipients open your email the first image they see is ‘the sweet spot.’ The sweet spot is a make it or break it image. It should speak to the reader and draw them into the email. Choose images that are:


  • Relevant to your message.
  • Clean and uncluttered.
  • Include a related Call to Action as part of the image or located nearby.
  • Easy to identify.

While the sweet spot is the most important image in your email, the same principles should be applied when selecting additional images for your emails.

4. Break a Rule or Two

Keeping with email marketing standards works, most of the time. However, if you notice a drop in open rates or a high unsubscribe rate, take a serious look at what you are sending to your recipients. It may be time to create something totally different and break the mold of your current email program.
Segment the readers who have ceased to respond to your emails and try one of these ideas:


  • Send something unexpected. Normally send newsletters? Try sending a memo style email, flashy announcement, or simple promotion.
  • Change up the look of your emails and create a brand new look for your email efforts.
  • Rethink your call to actions by moving them to a different area of the email or rewording them.
  • Using images for call to actions? Try using more text and text links then compare your results.
  • Write subject lines with less information. Entice your readers to open your email without giving all of the content away.

Best case scenario: you regain their interest and they become active readers and customers again. Worst case: they still don’t read your emails. What do you have to lose?


Take these tips and slowly begin to integrate them, testing to see how your audience responds. What works for one company or industry may not work for yours. Email design will always and only be the most effective when you focus on your audience first.