Email design

Email Designs Matter

Bland Emails Make You Look Less Professional and Send Mixed Messages

How long would you look at this email?

Next to the email subject line, the design of your email is the most important aspect of your email campaign. There is so much to keep in mind while designing an email, that it can be very difficult for a small business or small marketing team to effectively design a great looking email.

I know that if the content of the email isn’t great, that your email campaign will have lackluster results. I do agree that the message conveyed in the email is the utmost important part of the emails that you send, but it is much easier to convey a clear message on top of a solid foundation.

Though I can do a lot of HTML and graphic design myself, that stuff takes time. On top of it taking more time than I would like to spend in some cases, I spend a lot of my creativity putting emails together. By the time I have finished tweaking my design, my creative spark for writing killer content is gone. If you are in this camp, I would suggest trying out our new Email Design Builder product, it will save you time and save your creativity for where it matters: in the message.

If you haven’t tried building an email from scratch, here are some things that you might look over in your designs.

Image to Text Ratio

The image to text ratio is regarded by many SPAM filters. Not only will image-heavy emails get a higher SPAM rating, but there is much more information to send. An image can be very heavy and may not make it to the desired inbox.

PROTIP – Try to use an 80:20 Ratio of Copy to Images. If you are cognoscente of your text: image ratio, then some of my later tips will already be taken care of.

Pre-Header Text

Pre-header text in your email designs is an absolute must. Roughly 2/3 of email recipients have images turned off by default and 30% of this population don’t even realize this is their default setting. These statistics should open your eyes when you are designing your emails. You may have these great images and a fantastic looking email but most people will not see it immediately.

With Pre-header text, you can get your point across quickly and entice the user to view the complete email. You need to hook the users in, with the Pre-header text. There is nothing worse than opening an email that is just one blank image (because my images are turned off by default). Some people advise to use alt Text in these cases, but if your recipient is viewing your email on Outlook, they will not be able to easily see your alt-text. Instead, they see this:

How it Renders in Different In-boxes

Not all inboxes are created equal. You need to know how your email will look in different inboxes. It is best to keep your code simple, as different email programs and ISP render emails differently. Here are some things that cause rendering issues:

  • External Style Sheets – Most email programs ignore style sheets. A safe bet, use inline styles, i.e., a style assigned to each line of text, image, and cell.
  • Extraneous HTML Code
  • Pasted from a Microsoft Product, e.g., Word or Outlook

Alt Text

If you have read this far you know that most people have images turned off by default. Use Alt-Text to ensure that the user knows the content of the images!

How it Looks with Images Off

Similar to Alt-Text, if you have read to here you know that your email needs to have a great flow with images off. Balance the ratio of our text to images as well as format it in such a way that it is engaging to a user.