Design tips for perfectly crafted emails

While it’s the oldest channel of digital communication, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are roughly 4.3 billion email users around the world. That’s one good reason that the importance of email marketing is growing exponentially. However, with audiences being bombarded with emails in double digits every day, design should play a vital role in making your crafted emails stand out from the crowd.

Not a designer? Don’t worry. Just because you’re not an email marketing master doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. There are tons of great resources that can help you learn email marketing design, including guides and courses you can follow. Even learning some of the basic email marketing design fundamentals can help you craft better emails that are attention-grabbing and easy to read.

So, here’s everything you need to know about designing perfectly crafted emails.

Why is a perfectly crafted email design important?

People have short attention spans these days and too much information is hard for them to gauge and retain. No one has the time to go through everything you communicate, no matter how engaged your audience is with your brand. Most people just scan for anything that catches their attention and simply read that.

So how can you communicate what you want in a way that can grab their attention? Here’s where style and design tips to help your perfectly crafted emails.

8 crucial features of any design

  1. Content: Readability is key.
  2. Visuals: Incorporate on-brand and engaging images, videos, GIFs, animations, etc., to complement the written content and create a memorable experience.
  3. Structure: The best way to structure your email design is to add logical visual separation.
  4. Headings: They should be simple, concise, and to the point. 
  5. Links: Use links as links.
  6. CTAs: Whenever you are designing an email, make sure that your CTA stands out and tells the user exactly what to do.
  7. Colour: Take advantage of colour psychology in your perfectly crafted email and use it according to the gender, age, situation, brand identity, value, and tone you are targeting and desire. 
  8. Typography: With emails, you have to be super careful with fonts. It influences aesthetics, readability, and user experience.

The 3 types of email designs

Plain text email

Plain text email design

This type of communication is a simple text-based email that is usually used in personal correspondence. The benefits of crafting this email design include:

  • It’s easy and simple to create.
  • It gives the impression of a personally crafted email.
  • Includes only to-the-point, concise information.
  • This type of design is very responsive and mobile-friendly.

However, the disadvantages of plain text email include:

  • It lacks any attractive design and wow factor that might draw in your audience.
  • It’s difficult to market your products/services in such emails.

Rich HTML email

Rich HTML email design

This email is more like a mini landing page in your inbox. It has a novel structure, colours, images, typography, and other fancy elements. These types of emails are created using HTML and CSS.

  • Rich HTML emails are responsive and mobile-optimized.
  • They’re attractive and appealing.
  • Rich HTML emails are more structured.
  • They offer flexibility and customization.
  • They can include all kinds of information, images, animations, GIFs, etc.
  • Easy to access.

However, there are two major cons of using HTML emails:

  • It requires coding knowledge. And if you don’t have those technical skills, you’ll need to use a tool like Mailchimp to help you out.
  • With so many different browsers and screen sizes, there can often be display issues. This inconsistency can frustrate users. However, there are fully responsive and mobile-friendly solutions to ensure compatibility with your perfectly crafted emails.

Interactive email

Perfectly crafted interactive emails

It’s tough to imagine, but there was a time when you couldn’t do much with email besides delivering plain text. So much has changed since the invention of email, and it continues to present new methods for reaching subscribers in innovative ways. Interactive emails are one of those innovations.

A relatively new thing in email marketing, interactive emails are pretty impressive and have high engagement. It utilizes real JavaScript-based interactive details. It has a wow factor and can win over any crowd easily. Most likely, these crafted emails are going to become our new future. However, for now, the majority of email readers do not support JavaScript. In other words, only a small number of users can enjoy these emails.

To get around this, for now, you can fake interactivity using CSS-powered dynamic effects and GIFs.

7 best practices for perfectly crafted emails

Your email template says a lot about your brand. The 3 main elements that decide whether someone will open your email or not are name, subject line, and preheader text.

  1. Use an attention-grabbing subject line: Your subject line is the first thing anyone sees in their inbox. It’s that brief moment that will either grab the attention of the recipient or cause them to ignore it. Use as few words as possible (ideally 6 to 8 words)
  2. Add a captivating pre-header: The pre-header is a preview of what the email is all about, and it should be designed accordingly. Customize the pre-header to provide an engaging summary of what the recipients are about to read in your message.
  3. Craft your email design on-brand: Any communication from your business should have a consistent voice, look and feel. Your audience should know they’re looking at your emails as soon as they open them.
  4. Layout: It’s important to have white space in your email layout. Cluttered and unorganized emails decrease readability and make the recipient feel overwhelmed. Organize your email with user experience in mind by strategically placing your written and visual content and leaving space to give some room to breathe.
  5. Place CTAs strategically: Call-to-action (CTA) is used to give direction to your audience on what steps to take after reading your email. You can use a CTA to get your audience to follow you on social media, visit your website, sign up for a newsletter, book a demo, etc.
  6. Add an “unsubscribe” button: Always provide your audience with the option of opting out. Your readers may change their minds about your content over time – especially if your business grows and evolves. Plus, according to the Federal Trade Commission, GDPR, and CAN-SPAM Act, you’re legally required to include a “clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting emails from you in the future”.
  7. A/B test your email design: Email design depends on your audience’s response and analytics to determine what works and what doesn’t. You might need to make changes and updates to the design and layout to get the most out of your email design. Don’t be afraid to test out as many elements as you can to make sure the design you select works best in terms of reach and engagement.

Your final design should be a perfectly crafted email that converts the greatest number of recipients.