Email Design Basics: Best Practices

Email Design Basics: Best Practices

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When planning email campaigns, your focus shouldn’t solely be on developing effective content. While strong content creation is important, even strong content can fail to deliver results if your email design isn’t engaging.

That’s why you need to familiarize yourself with email design best practices. Examples like those below will help you plan campaigns that yield the strongest possible return-on-investment.

Design Emails for Mobile

When considering email marketing best practices, you need to account for the types of devices people are using to consume your emails when you plan campaigns. For instance, research indicates that the majority of emails are now read on mobile devices.

That means your audience is primarily reading your emails on a small screen. Thus, you need to make sure your emails are optimized accordingly across both desktop and mobile. 

So, what do email design best practices look like for mobile?

Don’t bombard your recipients with large blocks of text. These are difficult to read on a small mobile device. Instead, stick to short paragraphs, and use headers and similar formatting elements to organize the content more effectively. You can also use images and other media to break up the monotony. Your goal is to ensure readers can easily “scan” your emails on a small screen.

Stay Up to Date on Responsive Email Design Best Practices

The way in which your emails are displayed on the screen isn’t the only factor you need to keep in mind when designing for mobile. You also need to consider the fact that the device someone is using to consume one of your emails will affect the way in which it loads.

Thus, you need to coordinate with your developer to ensure you’re adhering to responsive email design best practices. This simply means your emails are designed to load quickly, consistently, and reliably across all devices.

Use Email Marketing Templates

This email design best practice won’t necessarily apply to everyone. If you have confidence in your ability to design an impressive email, you may not wish to rely on a template.

However, for many people, templates can make the design process run much more smoothly. Many important email marketing best practices have simply already been considered for them. If you’re that type of marketer, considering browsing Mailchimp templates to see if there are any that appeal to you.

Strong Email Content is A Part of Email Design

Though this blog is focused specifically on design elements of an email, email content can make or break your design. Even if your email is optimized for mobile and incredibly responsive, if the content is not eye-catching or of a high quality, it’s all for nothing. When crafting your email content, be sure to use short sentences and paragraphs. Short, digestible paragraphs are not only less intimidating for audiences, but they’re more visually pleasing as well. Bullet points are a great way to condense a lot of information in a short, easy to comprehend fashion. 

Another way to make sure your content is more appealing from a design standpoint is to use design elements such as dividing lines or white space to break up content sections. Subheadlines or subheaders are a great way to separate content, as is using bold typeface. When it comes to font styles, stick to web-safe standard fonts such as Arial, Arial Black, Arial Narrow, Comic Sans, Courier New, Georgia, Impact, Tahoma, Times New Roman, and Verdana. If you’d like to use a non-standard font, you can setup a web-safe font as a fallback font.

As far as font sizing, the  ideal font size for body copy is 14 pixels and title is minimum 22 pixels, this will ensure readability on mobile devices. Finally, always be sure to check your emails before sending for spelling or grammar errors. There's no bigger design flaw that will stand out to readers than misspelled words or silly grammar mistakes. Take the time to proof-read your emails and you will avoid any potential embarrassing mistakes.

Test Different Designs and Adhere to Email Marketing Best Practices

It’s important to not overlook basic email marketing best practices when improving your approach to email design. For instance, you may already know that it’s smart to A/B test two different versions of email content (and subject lines, and CTA’s, etc.) to determine which is most effective.

The same principle applies to the way you design your emails. Consider testing multiple designs to learn which yield the most engagement. While these tips will help you improve your design skills, the best education comes from experience and experimentation.

You also need to remember that email design best practices are constantly changing. It’s essential that you continue researching new developments each year. By staying on top of these changes, you’ll be far more likely to plan campaigns that succeed.

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