8 Tips for Designing an Email Template that Sells
Your email template plays a massive part in the overall performance of your email marketing campaign. A template that has no design features, or is plain text, will appear boring, and will not demonstrate how fantastic your brand truly is. A template that has too many design features will be overwhelming and distract from the product you are selling.
You have to find the perfect balance, and if you are managing your email marketing yourself, this may involve trial and error.
We previously looked at why you should use a professional email template and how it can affect your email campaign. In this post, we’ll look at 8 design features that will help your email template sell on your behalf.
1. Keep the template narrow
Email clients will display content differently. And whilst this can cause problems, and can be frustrating, it’s something that must be kept in mind at all times.
Email marketing best practices usually state that the width of your design is between 500 and 620 pixels. Of course, if your email is being viewed on a 20” monitor, you’ll need a full background colour to ensure it doesn’t look lost in the middle of the page.
If you build a template that is around 550 pixels wide, consider limiting the content to around 480 pixels. The content will be surrounded by content, and it should render correctly across the majority of email clients.
2. Give users options
One major pitfall of email marketing is that sender’s have gotten used to sending hundreds of the same email out to a variety of people. This technique does not work, and can even push contacts away. Your email should display the value you can offer to customers, whilst remaining as personal as possible.
If the email is not rendering in an email client, or across all devices, create a preference centre with a link from the template, and ask contacts what they’d prefer to receive. Would they like to receive mobile or tablet optimised emails? Or are they always on a desktop?
3. Create defined sections
Companies like to use HTML emails over plain text (in general) as you can include a lot of content that looks appealing.
Businesses that use email marketing want to let their contacts know about sales, promotions and updates in the same email. And without defined sections, you’re left with an email that won’t make sense to the contact or look appealing.
Consider placing different content in different sections, with a defined break between them. If you send regular emails, the contacts will begin to learn where certain sections are.
4. Keep it simple
Some template designers can go overboard with bold colours and stunning graphics, whilst other designers prefer to keep template simple and straightforward.
Whilst HTML has opened many doors for designers, sometimes you’ll need to reign it in, and focus on the objective of the campaign.
A simple template allows designers and marketers to make changes easily, without the fear of breaking the template. The simplistic route also allows you to get straight to the point, and the contact won’t be distracted.
5. Include the brand
You’re sending emails because you want to improve sales, but don’t forget; you can build brand awareness at the same time. Include your company name, logo, slogan or a personal photo, so that the contact recognises your brand and your email immediately.
After time, the contact will be accustomed to your brand emails, and if you’re providing value, they’ll look forward to receiving them.
6. Test modern techniques
The words email marketing and modern don’t usually go hand in hand, but it may be worth testing something new if your engagement levels aren’t where you want them to be.
Curling up the corners of the email creates the illusion of paper, which is great if you’re sending newsletters. This isn’t a ground breaking technique, but it may make your email stand out in the inbox.
It turns a bog standard design into something a little different and interesting.
7. Use a repetitive background
Simple, solid backgrounds are currently very common with HTML emails. Although too many images are associated with spam, don’t be shy of using them.
Consider using an image as a repetitive background. Obviously it shouldn’t be something garish and over the top as you don’t want to distract away from the email content, but it should be something that makes your email pop. A white template on top of a grey or black background will work well.
Remember to test your template through a spam checker before sending.
8. Include social sharing
Just about everyone who receives your email will have a presence on at least one social media site. If your business is involved on social media too, so you shouldn’t be shy of including your links.
The majority of email templates feature social sharing icons in the footer or near the bottom of the email, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be placed where you want it.
Not all of these tips will be suitable for your business. Think about how you can improve your template with these tips or come up with interesting and innovative ideas.