Email Design Best Practices In 2017

Oksana Zhylka
Email Design Best Practices In 2017
4.9 (97.5%) 8 votes
Email Design Best Practices In 2017
June 26, 2017 | 3,670 views

Getting started with new email template design you always search for new trends and try to implement them in your own sample, investigate competitor solutions or dive into creative ideas without realising what actually people want to receive. Even if you are considered in the best know-how email design tips you don’t have any guarantees that your email will actually work the way you expected to.

How to be sure that your work will bring the best results? In this article, you will find the answer and examples of the best email design practices in 2017.

How to choose proper email template?

Actually, email structure varies from industry to industry as well as from topic to topic. A lot of emails have two columns structure but there is a statement that it’s better to choose a single column structure because it looks better on mobile devices.

Nevertheless, if you use a responsive email template with a two column structure it will be adapted into 1 column email for mobiles. So, actually, it doesn’t matter how many columns will you use if your template is responsive. Due to statistics, 67,2% of users observe their inbox using mobile devices so it’s better to take care of your mobile audience.

The main requirement while designing email template is to provide favourable content review and not to break the company or product brand consistency. If it’s a welcome message try to make email design similar to the web concept that you use. The main option that worth concentrating attention is a possibility to change the template without changing content. The Stripo editor affords it.

Choose the email template which is able to fit these basic needs and just add the missing blocks using the drag-and-drop feature. No matter if you have chosen the right amount of blocks because they could be easily deleted or added like it’s easy to make in Stripo editor:

how to choole email template, basic blocks

 

The optimal width for creating email will be 600 px and 320 px for mobile devices. The length may be different due to the content length, but don’t send an email that no one will never read until the end.

If you decide to make an outstanding or unusual email that you have never seen before and no one of your competitors does, you should create your own custom email template. The best practices for email design that we have collected for you will definitely bring new ideas and inspiration so take them into consideration. It’s better to create several email templates for the same purpose and test which one brings better results.

How should the email header look like?  

The email header often contains the company name and the logo. It’s a good choice to identify your company brand and to make your email marketing campaign more recognisable.  

It’s a good practice to add the menu bar or an email navigation just in a header. The recipient may visit your official website even without reading the email or easily find the interesting info in one click.

Don’t use decorative fonts in email header because they will not be displayed properly. Use only standard fonts. Don’t write a long sentence as well as don’t use a caps lock for writing the email’s topic. The only exception for caps lock is when the menu on header has such a style so it doesn’t look annoying.  

Here is the perfect design solution with a menu on the header:

the best email design practices, menu on header

What is preheader and why is it important?

Preheader is a text line which provides a short description of your email subject. You have 70-100 symbols to ensure the email recipient to open and read the whole email.

There are two types of preheaders exist: visual and hidden. You may manage a visibility option. The invisible preheader could be read before opening the email but it will not appear in the email itself.

Here is the example of visible preheader that could be shown due to text alignment:

email design, best practices, preheader structure

If you don’t write a preheader your online correspondence recipients before the opening may see the standard message about the troubles while reading an email and an option to view one as a web version or alts (the short description about what the picture illustrates)  from social media buttons, logo or icons. That’s not good because there is no any word that persuades the user to open an online mail.

A lot of email marketers duplicate and place at the very beginning the unsubscribe button or link which is always used in the footer or after it if their message is too long and it scales down by Gmail client. If you haven’t made a preheader your users will see the word unsubscribe just after the message topic which is not a decency.

A lot of online stores use a preheader to notify the users about discounts, sales on so on and so forth. Actually, a preheader is an additional option to amplify your email topic.

Which font to choose?

Don’t use decorative or author fonts because there is no guarantee that they will be displayed in a proper way in different email clients and on different devices. In order to use a nonstandard font, you should load them from the separate file which is extra code and extra efforts.

In my opinion, there are enough standard fonts and it’s more crucial to match the line spacing.

email design best practices, web safe fonts

 

The best HTML email design practice claim that you may use only one font for the main content and use another one only for headers and subheaders. It’s not the rule to absolutely follow but it seems logical.

If you misapply the fonts you may make your online mail almost unreadable. Be user-friendly and better show your creativity with the content itself but not the formatting.

Minify the image size

There are actually two most popular formats of images in use: PNG and JPEG. Less often marketers use animated GIF picture because of their size. Usually, GIF files attract much more attention than other images but their size is much bigger too, so don’t use more than one GIF file in an email and more than 3 PNG or JPEG images.

You may use free online compressors for GiF or PNG & JPEG to reduce the image size or to choose an appropriate one and, as a consequence, the whole message size will be reduced. The best practice is to use an email builder which optimise images automatically like Stripo email editor does.

One more option of Stripo editor is that you don’t have to use Photoshop or any other tool for image editing. You may use a built-in photo editor and save the time on routine actions. Here is how it looks like:

the best email design practices, stripo email builder has an built-in image editor

 

The next important issue is to add alts for images constantly. The mailing clients that don’t display pictures still exist so it’s better to provide one to make sure that you email will be understood in a way you have expected.

There is a cool practice in an email design which recommends using icons instead of pictures in order to reduce the message size but nevertheless structurize the text block.

Here is an example where this practice is adopted:

the best email design practices, using icons instead of full images

 

Looks great, isn’t it?

Personalization

Making a personalised email campaign is an old-old practice used in email marketing. Due to statistics emails with a personalised subject are 26% more likely to be opened than non-personalised emails. One more statistical fact is that personalised mail provides 6x higher transaction rates than other emails as well as provide 14% higher click through rate it total.

the best email design practices, email personalisation

 

The only advice about the email personalization is to collect only info that you use. Don’t spend the time for grabbing the analytics that you will never use in other words.

We recommend to collect you such kind of info as:

  • Name.
  • Age.
  • Gender.
  • Family status.
  • City and Country.
  • Interests.
  • Sales history (for online stores only).
  • Activity history.
  • etc.

All this set of data helps to make a buyer persona of your email customers. There are two ways to find out this info by using surveys and tracking the user activity on your website.

Personalization is more than using a customer’s name, it’s more about giving the info that corresponds user expectations.

Banners in Email Design Practices

The main target of banners is to catch the eye and to quicken the interest in reading the online mail. One of the best practices of email template design is to use banners in the beginning of your email just after the header.

The classical banner is a picture with few welcome words that intrigue or grab the user attention. It’s a really good practice to rarefy the text with few banners. You may pace a call to action button, link to a landing page of your official website on a banner which is used in the message and your chances to have email leads will go double.

Here are examples of a good banner design so get inspired:

the best email design practices, email banner creation

 

Here is a minimalistic banner solution:

email design best practices, banner design for email mailout

 

Buttons & Call to Actions

There is a rule to create an email with one intent, one topic and, obviously, you should use one call to action. The buttons grab more attention than links. If you anyway use links make them with anchors and place in the beginning of your email.

If you ask the user to buy something, to subscribe to your regular newsletters and to read the new post within one email, the recipient will probably don’t do any of this actions. That really annoying when you duplicate the call to actions: “Buy this, buy that, buy now!”. At least the only thing that user want to do is to say goodbye to this subscription.

Use clear call to actions and place them due to context. It will be weird than you break up the news about new features that you recently implemented in your service with a call to action to subscribe to the new blog.

Here is an example of a clear call to action design in the email creation practice:

email design best practices, CTA elements in email

 

So everything is clear thanks to the short description and visible button with a short and catchy call to action. If you design your call to action this way, you’ll win no doubt!

This variant has a cool design but the main feature of the call to action is almost invisible which is bad:

email design best practices, almost invisible CTA

 

 

Footer VS Signature: What to Choose?

You may have a question what is better to use a signature or a footer while making email template design. You may think that if you make a personalised email campaign you should use a signature but that’s incorrect. The footer complies more functions than just showing who this message was sent from.

All promo emails, newsletters and targeted mail should constantly have a footer with social media sharing buttons, contact info and an unsubscribe option. It’s a good practice to show the menu with links to high-value pages.

Due to results of practical experiments, users are more likely to use the menu bar in footer than in header because they have an opinion about the message value only after reading it.  

Use signature only in private conversation via emails.  For all other situations use footers, here’s an example for your inspiration of a classical footer which provides full information about the company, contact info and navigation menu:

email design best practices, big footer size

 

Quite big, isn’t it? If you want to save space don’t provide the company address and make a minimalistic footer like that:

email design best practices, short footer

 

Here is the example where all the rules were disregarded:

email design best practices, too long footer because of text section

 

In my opinion, to write a lot of text after footer which is the marker of the email’s end is one of the worst email design practices ever.  

Conclusion

There is no doubt that after reading this article you’ll have a plan to redesign your old email templates and create new ones. If this article has brought you an inspiration, we are satisfied and reached our goal for this post.

Create more than one online messages on the same topic and set up the A/B testing in order to measure which email works better. Remember not only about creativity and original approach but also about email optimisation and content relevancy. Hope that these email design practices will help you to reach the best results as soon as possible.

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