Email Marketing Design for 2016

Jan 14, 2016

Email marketing campaigns are essential to any marketing strategy. An email is a powerful tool to communicate and build relationships with your clients and prospects. They provide important insights, generate leads, and (most importantly) convert sales. In order to get the most ROI out of email campaigns, the email design should be cohesive with corporate brand elements such as the website, advertising campaigns, and collateral to make it resonate with customers.

Creating a successful email campaign goes beyond just keeping the subject line short and catchy. It's also important to use great design, strong messages, appropriate templates, and to target the right audience. There is more to design than meets the eye and this column will cover multiple components involved in helping marketers understand email marketing design best practices.

Images in email are an important part of its impact. We live in an era where images have a strong influence. The better the photo, the more it drives engagement. However, if used incorrectly, images can send an email straight to the junk folder. Be careful with image size and load times, especially for mobile devices.

Keep these image tips in mind:

  • A high ratio of images to text may trigger spam filters.
  • Many email programs block images by default. Don't rely exclusively on images to present important content.
  • If marketers optimized their emails for image blocking, ROI would increase 9+%.
  • Always use "alt' and "title "text to ensure that there is still copy appearing even when your images do not load.

Follow a visual design checklist. While every project is unique, every project also has a set of processes as part of your workflow. That's where having a good design checklist comes in. Here are some of the most critical features that well designed projects have in common:

  • Primary color palette is on brand
  • Image sizes total less than 200kb
  • Width of 640 pixels or smaller
  • Uses system fonts
  • Appropriate ratio of images to text
  • Important content is presented in html and text
  • The "alt" and "title" tags are placed behind images to address blocked images
  • Responsive design
  • Optimized for image blocking

Take quality assurance seriously. The worst time to discover a problem with an email is after it has been sent. Testing an email campaign is the best way to ensure that you are not sending out a disaster to your subscribers. Effective email marketers have practices in place to test and validate emails prior to the message launching to the subscriber list.

Consider these quality assurance-testing guidelines to be certain your emails are ready to send:

  • Different email clients (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo)
  • Different web browsers (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome)
  • Different devices (desktop, mobile, tablet)
  • QA each link
  • QA each landing page
  • Content is error-free

It's no surprise that all email programs should be optimized for mobile. Fifty-seven percent of all emails are opened from a mobile device, and that number will continue to rise. Therefore, it is critical to develop an email template that is responsive and specifically designed for mobile. An ideal width for a mobile email is 320 pixels, allowing for a more user-friendly experience.

Email marketing continues to evolve and in 2016 email campaigns will remain an effective customer engagement component. Utilizing and understanding email marketing are powerful ways to interact with your customers, and to move the customer journey forward. Ultimately, companies who are more creative and innovative with email marketing, the greater chance they have of building stronger relationships through this important channel.

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