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6 Secrets to Email Marketing: Design for Impact

April 07, 2015

If list generation and content creation are two fundamental components to creating a sound email strategy, design is what brings it all together. Good email design is a critical part of ensuring a high response rate.

This is the fifth article in a six-part series on email marketing. Read part four

If list generation and content creation are two fundamental components to creating a sound email strategy, design is what brings it all together. Good email design is a critical part of ensuring a high response rate.

One of the major frustrations in graphic design and marketing circles is the lack of specific standards for emails. But there are some basic design rules including:

  • Use a width of 600 to 620 pixels.
  • Optimize images so that they load quickly. Large images will cause your email to clog your recipients’ inboxes
  • Don’t use flash as it may not work with all email clients.
  • Be sure that your email incorporates responsive design so that it is easily viewed on both PCs and mobile devices.
  • Be sure that your email properly renders in all popular web browsers.
  • Don’t supply forms directly in the email; provide your readers with a link to a form instead.

Keep in mind that many email programs have a preview pane, and many users find them useful to read their email. As a result, you’ll want to put your branding and prime content as far to the left and as far up as possible. The default state of the preview pane will cut off things on the right and on the bottom. This is an important consideration when you’re vying for inbox attention.

Marketers must also consider what the email will look like when the recipient chooses to turn graphics off. Designing with ALT tags – or alternative text when images are turned off – ensures that the complete story is told even when the images don’t appear.

Finally, before hitting the “send” button on your email, you want to be sure that you’ve also given your subject line proper thought. As with any headline, the subject of your email determines if it will be read. Data from a study by MailerMailer confirms that messages with shorter subject lines result in higher open rates. Succinct subject lines containing less than 35 characters tend to get more attention than subject lines with more than 35 characters.

If all of this seems a bit much to handle, you may want to consider using one of the many email marketing companies available including Constant Contact, Emma, MailChimpiContact and Campaigner. They give you access to hundreds of templates you can customize with your company’s logo, colors, photos, and content.

Next: Email Secret #6: Time it right

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