Given that 2017 is the year of email, it is predicted that almost 2225.3 billion emails will go out this year! Understanding the anatomy of email template design practices can be a tough game for businesses. So how would you up your game this year to deploy smart email template design practices for your email marketing?
It all starts with the aesthetics of email template design. Images, fonts, color palettes, copy – all of these elements make up for a good email. If your design is well thought of, it will boost your email open rate.
Here are 13 mistakes that you can avoid when you are designing your email template to grab your user’s eyeballs.
1. Settling for a Non-Responsive Email Template
Research shows that almost 56% emails are opened on mobile devices. It is important to keep the layout as a single column and make it no wider than 500 to 600 px. This would make your emails readable on mobiles. If you include buttons for CTAs or even links, make sure they are in the resolution of 44X44 px. This is the guideline that even Apple gives.
Also, according to a recent survey by Email on Acid, it has been revealed that email marketers are opting for responsive email template design as compared to fluid hybrid design. eMarketer reports that 19.9% respondents of this survey (of 3500 US Marketing professionals) use both fluid hybrid designs and responsive email template design. In this same report, it is also reported that
56.9% respondents opted for responsive email template design
2. Pre-header and Header Size is more than 150 px
When you are designing a header, make sure it is less than 150 pixels. This will not deviate your audience’s focus for the main message or the call to action buttons below. For the Johnson Box, make sure that it is at 400X 300 pixels. This also drives maximum engagement for your emails.
What is Johnson Box?
Johnson box is the box that usually contains the main message of the email, and is found on the top of a direct email. The main purpose of this box is to get the reader’s attention to the key message first and keep them glued to the content so that they read through the full email.
Image Source: SmartInsights
3. Using All Caps or Spammy Words
When you are doing your email template optimisation, your branding should take the upper hand. Reflecting your brand identity in your email designs is important. The first tip is to remove All Caps in your subject lines. Keep it short and crisp.
When you are using all capitals, it is more like shouting out loud. It hampers the readability and makes it all too loud. Use a capital letter in the starting of the sentence or for Pronouns or for short string words that require emphasis. This will make your email design look sleek. After all, this is exactly how people are used to reading.
Spammy words such as ‘4U’, ‘Address on CD’ , etc. are a big turn off. Readers are not to be fooled in this age and time. The moment you use these over-emphasised and spammy words, readers will know. So, avoiding such words will only enhance your design quality. To know what are the most common spam words, check this list from Comm100
4. Not focusing on the color palette for your email template design
Almost 90% of the reasons why consumers buy a product is because of the colored adverts. For email templates, colors play a significant role in understanding the reasons that lead to a higher email open rate. For example, Red is a color that defines popular online platforms Youtube or Netflix. It is known to be eye-catching and can be used to highlight important elements in the email. The color palette you choose should define your brand identity, and people should be able to recall your brand from the emails you sent.
One amazing example to understand how colors play a vital role in email designs is to note the Holiday emails from Apple. You can see below in the image how they have created a visual pattern throughout the message and how uniform is their color scheme.
5. Choosing the right font
Choosing the right font is as important as picking the right color palette for your email. According to a recent Bloomberg article, designers think certain fonts always work for an email while some are an absolute no-no. For instance, Helvetica is the font that Apple Mail uses while Gmail sticks to Arial. It also reveals that nerds love Helvetica because of the neutrality in the design. Font designers, on the other hand, call ‘Aerial’ font to be ambiguous.
This article is an eye-opener because none of these two fonts work. Rather, font designers suggest Georgia and Verdana as the best fonts to use in an email design.
Aligning your font with your brand proposition is imperative. Choosing the right font gives your email template design that extra edge.
6. Embedding Videos in Emails
It can be a distraction for your audience if you embed a video in the email. Often they tend to ignore the CTA button below. The best tip is to create an image and redirect it to your landing page. This way you can also track how many people clicked on the link and how many people landed on your page.
Embedding video in emails is surely a cool trend, but there are certain problems with the user experience. According to Wistia, when users are reading an email with an embedded video on mobile phones, they are forced to go to a different webpage to view the video. According to Ezra Fishman
Getting people to watch our videos and read our content is great, but I want a lot of things that can’t be accomplished from my viewer’s email client. I want interactions, not just views.
When your video is on your own landing page, you have more control over your viewers’ next action. They can leave a comment, ask a question, or start a discussion immediately after watching. They can explore the other content on your site and consider signing up for an account. They can share your content, and the people they share it with can do it all over again!
7. Using too many images in one email
If you are confused as to why not to use images in your emails, there is a simple metric that says most of the consumers tend to disable images on their mobiles.
It was revealed in an analysis by Gmail:43% users read emails on their mobile devices without turning the images on Click To Tweet
For instance, take a look at this example from Net-a-porter:
Too many images in one email ultimately showed up like this on a mobile device that has images turned off. Many times, images may be turned on, but because these images take so much time to load, users tend to quit! So, why take this risk when you can design sleek emails without stuffing unnecessary images!
8. Spoiling your audience for choices
Unlike the physical world where we want to be pampered for choices, on the web it is just opposite. We have the attention span lower than that of a goldfish! What you should avoid is stuffing your emails with multiple links, offers, images and confusing your audience. This will also lower your conversion rate. See below a highly confusing email:
There are so many offers to check that will only leave the readers confused which one to check first. Also, too many offers makes the email template look clumsy. Add to that, the splash of so many colours shouting for attention is too much to take. Keeping your email to-the-point is essential. When you are designing the email template, it is important to zero-down on which particular feature you would want to focus on and what purpose are you looking to serve with that particular email.
Here is a simple email template design with just one CTA:
The design is minimalistic in approach, has one single focus point and is clean.
9. Not providing a browser version of your email template design
You know that link down below. Yes, it is important for people who might face loading or rendering problems in the email. Help them to see a browser version so that they are not driven away. To build a user experience for your email readers, just test it out first to see if you can identify all the elements.
10. Not allowing users to Unsubscribe
This is important, and you should treat this as an email marketing mandate. If you do not give them this option to unsubscribe, they might end up marking your email as SPAM. You would not want this to affect your deliverability reputation. Make sure your email design template helps them easily locate this option!
Other Errors that Impact Email Design
Some errors are not directly related to the email designing, but designers should take caution. These are such errors that can hamper the design quality and cause audience engagement to take a backseat. For instance-
11. Not optimising the ‘To’ and ‘From’ fields
Yes, it may look trivial, but these areas should be optimised to personalise your emails.. Include your brand name in the “From Name” field, use a valid address in the “From Address” field and the “To” field should have your recipient’s name. These small tips can help you go a long way to start engaging with your audience. For more tips to land your emails in the inbox, check out this article: 14 Tips to land emails in the inbox
12. Telling a long story through your email design
Remember you are using email marketing to engage with your audience. If you write a letter, they will simply DELETE it. Use short and crisp text to embed your message. Try to get into that short attention span your readers will have. You can hyperlink texts, and they can always come back to you to read more.. Give them a summary and induce them to come to your landing page or blog. For instance, this short email from HubSpot:
The design is clean. The spacing is perfect. The purpose solved. HubSpot sent out this email for an eBook download. Instead of telling the whole story here in the email itself, they have nicely hyperlinked the words. The email design is minimalistic in its approach and is good enough to convince you to follow the links and see what else they have got to offer.
13. Sending out emails without testing them with major email clients
If you are using a particular email client, it is not necessary that your audience would be of the same. Test out across all the major email clients like Gmail. Hotmail, Yahoo, Outlook & AOL. Try and select an ESP whose templates work awesome across all email clients. Keep testing before you hit send.
These are few errors that often dampen the whole purpose of an email newsletter. An email template design that has less white space, good colors and fonts, the right amount of texts and is short- yep! That’s almost the ideal email template design for you. If you think there is more to this article, let us know in the comments below. We will keep updating the post with all your inputs.