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By 2023, nearly 348 billion emails will be sent every day.
You need to make sure your emails stand out from crowded inboxes if you want them to be an effective part of your digital marketing toolkit.
In this post, we’ll take you through how you can use email design to rise above the masses, and we’ll give you specific strategies to help you reach your audience.
Let’s get started!
Email design refers to the process of creating and crafting your message in a way that engages your audience.
This process includes the choices you make regarding the following elements:
Your email’s design needs to be attractive enough to make your leads open it but simple enough to communicate your message and sell your offer to them.
To achieve this goal, here are some top-tips and easy-to-implement strategies that will have you building compliant and creative messages to send to your audience.
Your leads are more likely to open an email from an account they know and trust — you can’t be sneaky about this because it’s the first thing they’ll see!
Your sender name should mention your business, department, or a specific employee identity.
Trustworthy sender names might look a little like this:
There are loads of different combinations that make for a more trustworthy sender name.
Research your audience, and choose what suits each customer type, and each campaign, best.
Another handy tip to ensure your email sender name is trusted is to get your leads to add you to their trusted contacts list.
Do this as soon as they opt-in to your lead magnet, subscription, or offer — make it part of your welcome email, and drive home the value that your leads don’t want to miss out on.
The second element that’s likely to get your emails opened is your subject line — what your email is about is second only to where it’s come from.
Remember, your subject line needs to interest your leads enough that they won’t move on to the next email.
If your subject line is too long, you may lose readers before they’ve even seen your content, so always keep it short and sweet.
Here are some subject line tricks you can use to get your email open rate ahead of your competitors:
Remember, using “FW:”, “RE:”, or spammy words to trick people into thinking your email is a personal one violates the CAN-SPAM Act, and you could get yourself stuck on an email blacklist.
These are pretty much the same as a meta-description — but for email.
You could just leave this to reflect the first line of your email, but why not make it more enticing?
Use preheader text to extend and expand on your subject line by:
With preheader text, shorter is better, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring.
However, you do need to be mindful that your contacts will view emails across devices, so make sure whatever you include is optimized for that too.
User experience (UX) is the be-all and end-all of your business’ success.
If your subscribers find your emails cluttered and difficult to navigate, you’ll lose their trust and interest.
These are some email layout best practices that you cannot do without:
Your brand’s voice should be reflected in the layout of your content, so make sure your structure includes appropriate branding too.
While some emails are text-heavy and have a basic structure, others let the pictures do the talking.
If your email is a long one, you might want to consider including some images and buttons to separate your information and emphasize what you’re saying.
However, there are some considerations to take into account when including graphics in your emails:
Remember, images and videos make it harder for your emails to be delivered because they significantly increase the file size.
Whatever you decide, remember that certain phones do have email image downloads automatically disabled — it’s a common data-saving trend.
One way to ensure that no image is wasted is to add meaningful ALT text so that they’re still supporting the rest of your content.
Creating a personalized experience for your leads goes beyond including their name in the subject line.
72% of customers say that they’ll only engage with emails that make use of tailored and personalized messaging.
Push the personalized envelope by using the following tactics:
When you tailor your communication like this, you’ll build a relationship with your leads and be far more likely to convert them into customers.
Powerful digital marketing platforms, like systeme.io, use automation rules and workflows that can be set up in advance to automatically send these highly personalized messages at the right times.
To increase your click-through rate, you’ll need to use calls to action (CTAs).
In each email you send, you should have at least one main CTA, toward the beginning of your email — to catch skimmers who don’t read below the fold.
Then, add several secondary CTAs. Try to strive for balance so that they don’t steal your main CTA’s attention.
You can make your CTAs stand out in your emails by:
While more than half of global web traffic is generated by mobile devices, nearly 20% of emails aren’t optimized for mobile devices — a shocking marketing oversight.
You can make your emails more mobile-friendly by implementing the following techniques:
It’s also important to make sure that your landing page (or wherever your CTAs take your contacts) is also mobile optimized.
There’s nothing worse than having a high CTR but then losing out on conversions because the second step isn’t optimized too.
Compliant email marketers are clever email marketers, so don’t forget to add an unsubscribe button.
Unfortunately, not all of your subscribers will love your content, so you need to give them a way to say goodbye to your business on a positive note.
Here are some other elements you must include in your footers:
Remember, governments around the world require you to include at least your company name and a way to unsubscribe in your footer.
Check out the CAN-SPAM Act to see what elements of your business’ email are affected by these laws and if they’re compliant.
The design process is an extensive one, but luckily there are tons of tools out there to help you along the way.
Choosing a tool that works for your business can be tough — don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered!
Keep reading to see our mini-review on 3 of the most all-inclusive email marketing platforms around.
On top of these powerful email marketing tools, you’ll also get the ability to build sales funnels, create websites, construct online courses, sell your products, and automate your business.
Did we mention that you can sign up for our Freemium plan without entering any credit card details?
That’s right, you join for free, and it can stay free, forever.
We recommend systeme.io if . . .
Already got an email list? Opt for one of our annual payment plans, and we’ll even migrate your contact lists for you, for free!
Seriously, what are you waiting for?
This platform promises to unite your sales and marketing to get your content in front of people and start converting them.
HubSpot enables the following email marketing and design functionalities:
While their email marketing suite is technically free, to access more advanced features you’ll have to pay for one of their pricey plans.
These plans begin at $45/month for the Starter plan, and it includes just 1,000 contacts.
Got more contacts? You’ll have to scale at an extra $45/month for each top-up of 100 contacts.
We recommend HubSpot if . . .
There’s no denying that HubSpot has some powerful features, and their CRM makes email personalization a breeze.
However, these features come at a price that would be better spent reinvesting in your actual business.
Mailchimp is an old name in the email marketing game that’s recently made the shift to being more all-inclusive.
The pricing plans on the Mailchimp platform are complicated — you’ll need to decide whether your focus is email marketing or ecommerce from the start, as they’re seen as separate business goals.
Mailchimp’s free marketing plan includes the following email marketing features:
Transactional emails form a separate part of Mailchimp’s pricing plans and are sold in 500,000 email blocks, starting at $20/block.
While the platform includes most of what you need to support your business, the complicated pricing plans mean that you’ll end up paying more than you bargained for to actually run your business.
We recommend Mailchimp if . . .
Overall, Mailchimp is a useful tool if the only thing you need is email marketing.
The digital marketing space is moving toward more all-in-one solutions, and purpose-built platforms might leave stalwarts like Mailchimp in the dust.
We checked out some super successful email designs to show you what works and to get you inspired!
A simple and elegant plain-text email for Foundr’s newsletter, proving that images aren’t necessary to tell your story.
This email could be improved with clearer CTAs, but it’s for already subscribed fans, so we’ll let it slide.
Clever use of color, branding, and an inverted triangle layout make this email from Tock stand out in any inbox.
Staying on-brand across your marketing is important for customer retention.
A humorous GIF in a funky color palette makes this deal announcement email a top pick for us.
It’s a perfect example of how to integrate video into your email in a small but effective manner.
An example of dynamic content in promotional emails sent by leading athletics apparel brand, Nike.
It targets male and female customers differently, to optimize conversions with personalized content.
There are tons of examples of excellent emails out there, but often they’re built by design teams with serious budgets.
If you’re just starting, why not check out the mobile-responsive email templates on systeme.io?
They’re tried and tested to boost conversion rates.
Email marketing has the highest return on investment (ROI) compared to any other channel of digital marketing — a whopping $42 for every $1 spent.
Excellent email design combined with a capable email marketing tool, like systeme.io, will help you cash in on those returns.
No matter the size of your business, or the niche you’re in, systeme.io has a plan and solution tailored to your needs.
Sign up for a Freemium account today, and get to sending — the possibilities, and emails, are limitless!
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