The key to a well designed email template

Email advertising isn’t exactly a secret in the marketing world, I’d bet that you have a handful of emails from businesses sitting in your inbox right now – and depending on the design of the email, I’d also wager most go unopened.

Sending out an EDM (electronic direct mail) is a useful way to reach your customers and keep them invested in your brand, but be wary of diving into this practice without taking time to think about the look and feel of your template.

Design is vital when it comes to the success of EDMs, so let’s dive into the steps for creating a beautiful, functional template for your emails. These tips apply to those creating a template with Campaign Monitor, MailChimp, or any other email marketing services.

Think preview


Whether you’re sending out a newsletter or a special offer, it’s important to think about how the email will look as a preview. The preview is what is shown of the email before the receiver actually clicks it open, and the look of this varies across platforms and devices.

If your preview is swimming in copy, hard to decipher, or poor quality, you’ll find users throwing it in the trash quicker than you can blink.

A good rule of thumb is to keep the top of your email free for the key messaging, a strong banner image and call to actions. These are the most important aspects of any piece of marketing collateral. Any imagery you use in the email should be clear, and key messages should be easy to find.

To capitalise on preview widths, your email template should be roughly 600 pixels wide with the key information within the top 300 to 500 pixels.

Don’t write War and Peace

Here’s a hot tip that applies to everything really – long copy doesn’t necessarily mean good copy.

The template for your EDMs should feature spaces for text, but don’t allocate too much room. If you can’t get your points across in a concise manner, consider if an EDM is right for the content.

If you want to include more than 300 words in any section, it’s probably worth thinking about whether a blog would be better for the information, and don’t forget you can link out to a blog in your EDM if you want to expand upon any points.

Design with purpose

The purpose for your EDM should be clear at all times, and 99% of the time, that purpose is going to be generating clicks through to your site. Whether those clicks link to a blog, a landing page, a product, or a particular service, the ease of getting to that destination needs to be considered.

Call to action buttons should be clear, enticing and prominent in the template, increasing the chance of a click.

Make sure your links are identifiable

Most EDMs will feature a few links scattered throughout, so it’s important to ensure these links are easy to identify. Your template should highlight links in a different colour and underline them to make sure they are clearly identifiable and easy to access. You can do this in a number of ways, and if your programme doesn’t automatically underline hyperlinked text you should be able to manually underline the relevant sections.

It’s always best practice to include a link for your audience to view the email in a web browser of their choice, as this will minimise people missing out on content that their email provider doesn’t show.

The bottom of your email should include links to all of your social channels and website if applicable. You should also include a clear unsubscribe button so that users can easily disengage from your emails if they so choose.

Don’t send a gallery of images

When picking a number of images to include in your template, keep in mind that different email clients and security settings mean that some email providers might not even display the images, so don’t over do it. Any key messages included within an image should be repeated in text so they aren’t absent should the image not load.

The images you want to include should be optimised for the template, as high file sizes will result in poor load times. For example, Mailchimp recommends file sizes that are less than 1MB.

Make different templates for different needs


Now that you have the basics down, you should remember to create different templates for different needs. For instance, an email advertising a sale should look different from your newsletters.

Whatever you do create, you should make sure your template is consistent with your brand and that receivers have opted in to receive your emails.

If you want to discuss your EDM needs with an expert, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Emote Digital today. And as a limited offer for those who read this post, if you send us your past email templates, we can provide three tips to help you improve your EDM effectiveness.

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