Tips for designing marketing emails that get opened and help your business grow
First impressions matter. And when someone opens your marketing email for the first time, what they see is going to determine what they do next. Chances are you’ll want them to read your email and take a next step. Maybe you want them to visit your website, register for an event, or buy something. This is where a beautiful, professional-looking email designed to drive action is crucial and that’s why we made a guide dedicated to helping you make the right impression with every email you send. We’ll take you through the reasons email subscribers delete emails and how you can encourage people to take those next steps.
The Reasons Readers Trash Your Emails
Let’s start off with a heartbreakingly obvious fact: people make snap judgements about whether or not to read your emails based on a quick glance. That’s how everyone reads emails these days. We choose an email message, give it a two-second glance, then decide if it’s worth our time. If it is, we keep it and read it. If not, we hit the delete key and send the email to the trash. How can you keep your email out of the trash? The secret is good design. In those first two seconds, email design is all your reader sees.
1. Forgetting to say hello
Your emails should feature an instantly-recognizable, consistent header image. Over time, your header image will be associated with the high-quality information you share.
Ideally, this email header should relate to the business or product your reader signed up to learn more about. So if you’re a dog groomer and you have a special email newsletter just for poodle owners, your header should identify the information you’ll share and look visually related to your overall dog groomer brand.
2. Hard-to-read fonts
Your email newsletter’s main goal is to communicate, but what if the words are hard to read? Be sure to avoid these two errors:
Using fonts that are too small.
This is especially important if some of your readers are older, and may have eyesight problems. And with so many emails being viewed on smartphones, it makes sense to increase font sizes.
Using too many fonts.
Combining too many different fonts makes your email look messy. Pare it down to no more than two fonts, and only use the italic and bold styles to add variety.
3. Color catastrophes
For your email to look professional and inviting, you have to master color. The biggest color mistakes are choosing ones that are overly bright or florescent. Don’t use too many colors, either. Use a color palette with two dominant colors and tone down the rest.
Finally, don’t use light text on a dark ground. The most readable combination is dark text on a light ground.
4. Muddled information
When a reader glances at your email, they should know right away which information is the most important, what they should look at next, and what’s the least important. Make this obvious by using a large, bold headlines for newsletter’s main topics.
5. Awful images
There’s nothing that says “an amateur designed this email” like cheap-o clip art.
6. No base to stand on
Featuring your contact information, your company mission, and your social media profiles in a consistent footer area in every email makes you look professional.
7. Frequent makeovers
Once you’ve got an email looking good, resist the urge to keep changing it. Choose a look and stick to it for a while so people recognize who the email is coming from.
Make your emails ‘keepers’
Use these tips to create a recognizable brand experience with every message you send. It’s the best way to ensure that the great information you share doesn’t end up in the virtual trash heap.
Email Design in Action
So, what does all of this look like in action? To find out, we intereviewed Mari Irizarry, the Director of Communication for ReelWorks, a nonprofit dedicated to offering teen filmmakers the resources they need to turn their dreams into a reality.
1. Email newsletters aren’t the same as regular newsletters
When ReelWorks started sending email newsletters, the content was very similar to regular, direct mail newsletters. “We thought emails had to mimic newsletters,” Mari says. “But we decided it’s more about grabbing attention, not creating a big newsletter with different links and pages.
2. Things need to be focused
Emails from ReelWorks slowly evolved into focused, concise newsletters. “We found out that the longer the email was, the less likely it was for people to actually get the information in it,” Mari explains. “If we send out emails about a specific topic, then it can reach the right people a lot better.”
3. Make things visual
Mari started using email newsletters as a way to showcase ReelWorks’ projects. “Putting up a nice image really helps grab attention,”
she says. Mari was able to take the design tips she had learned over the years and create the Reel Works newsletter that goes out today.