Sabre Thinking

05 Dec / Design and build a better email for your audience

Could your emails use a few improvements to keep your subscribers engaged, or are you just starting out with your email marketing program and need a guide on best practices? The truth is, with 269 billion emails flooding into inboxes daily around the globe, the challenge for us marketers is not just what we’re writing about, but how the email looks and functions. Thankfully, with some attention to the email design and formatting details, you’re sure to capture the eyes of more curious subscribers who are looking to learn about your brand, message and services.

To optimize your emails and deliver maximum value to your audience, here are 6 design and formatting tips for your next email campaign:

Tip 1: Break up copy into easy-to-digest paragraphs

It can feel quite overwhelming to readers if you have extra long paragraphs and run-on sentences in your emails. You’ll likely lose them long before they get through your email. With over 50% of all email opens taking place on a mobile device, you’ll want to pay close attention to the length of paragraphs, and try to break up the content into easy-to-digest sentences and paragraphs for a smooth reading experience no matter what screen size you’re on.

Tip 2: Create stand-out images and graphics

We love to see brands incorporating their photos, graphics and other visuals into emails. It’s another great way to break up the content and bring in the visual element that we all crave today when consuming content. If your company is using any photos or graphics in emails, make sure that they are high quality so they do not appear grainy, blurry or generally low quality to your readers, as this will have an adverse effect on your brand. Additionally, you’ll want to be sure that all visuals are sized so they are easy to see (or read, if there’s any text).

Tip 3: Make buttons easy to read and click

An often overlooked element in emails is the style and functionality of call-to-action buttons. Adding bright colored buttons is a great way to get readers to take action, but it can lead to issues with the user experience if the buttons are hard to read or too thin to click on from a phone or tablet.

We like making buttons thick with a larger text size than the body text of the email. This way, the button will stand out more as a call-to-action, and when reading on a tablet or phone, the user should have no issues tapping the button with their finger. Here’s an example of a good vs. bad button:

An orange button with large, white text makes it easy to see the call-to-action where as the yellow button with white text is too small and too difficult to read.

Tip 4: Let it breathe

Don’t fear the white space! Just like the use of smaller paragraphs to break up text, having white space throughout the email offers relief and allows readers to more easily digest the content, without it feeling like they’re being blasted with information and busy visuals.

When it doubt, leave space rather than trying to fill up every last possible text or image block with more information. The more simple the messaging and overall look of the email, the easier it will be to get your subscribers to not only read the email but to take action as well.

Tip 5: Follow your brand guidelines with fonts and colors

Fonts and colors in your ongoing emails or e-newsletters should be used according to your branding style guidelines. By the way, do you have branding guidelines yet? By establishing and committing to the use of your brand’s standard fonts and colors, your brand will become more recognizable over time. Consistency is critical and there are no exceptions when it comes to email marketing.

We like to make sure the fonts are easy to read and large enough to be seen on both desktop and mobile views. As for color, bright and vibrant colors are best used to get someone to take action. Having the entire email full of bright colors can distract the reader from the content so be sure that any use of color as a background, button or design element, does not take away from the overall readability of the email. Additionally, if you do include a background color with your copy, be sure there is enough contrast between the two colors to make for an easy read. Generally, knockout text is best saved for buttons and callouts – but not body copy.

Tip 6: Test, test, and test again

You’ll want to test your emails on multiple screens and email accounts before sending it out to your list. This is your opportunity to catch any issues that could arise with different email providers or screen sizes before your entire email list receives it. Things to check for are that images are displaying correctly, making sure there are no text formatting issues, and making sure all links and buttons are going to the correct place.

Don’t forget that once your email goes out, you’ll want to track the statistics on how many people opened your email, and how many took action by clicking on any links or buttons. This will help you develop even more effective emails the next time around.

For help in designing eye-catching and effective emails for your subscribers, as always, be sure to reach out to our graphic design and branding experts today at 508-652-0012. We’re here to help!

Strategic Thinking. Creative Everything.

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