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The BeBold Email Marketing Guide | Part 2: the design

By Emily Lippens

The BeBold Email Marketing Guide | Part 2: the design

Welcome to the captivating world of email marketing, where the power of appealing emails goes beyond surface beauty. It delves deep into the realm of building trust with your readers and achieving a remarkable return on investment. In this second part of our BeBold Email Marketing Guide, we’re diving headfirst into the captivating world of email design. 

Brace yourself for insights, strategies, and techniques that will elevate your email design to new heights. Your readers are waiting, and we’re here to help you seize their attention, inspire their trust, and unleash the true power of your emails. Let’s dive in! 

Emails and web design 

Alright, let’s clear up the confusion. Is this about email marketing or web design? Well, we’re about to unveil the striking similarities between the design of your emails and the design of a website. Get ready to discover the shared principles and desired outcomes that tie them together.

Reading tip: 5 tips to make your website user-friendly. 

The foundation of your email 

A solid foundation is indispensable, both in building houses or building relationships. The same goes for your email. Therefore, it is very important to always keep things like contrast, fonts, email width and brand recognition in mind. 

1. Contrast

Make sure there’s enough contrast between your text and the background. It’s visually way more appealing, and it gives your reader visual clarity and calmness. It also makes your email much more pleasant and less tiring to read. Which in turn leads to your reader sticking around a little longer.

2. Fonts

Based on your corporate identity, you can use virtually any font in your email. But save the extra special ones for text on images only. Your body text should consist of a readable system or web font. What’s the difference? System fonts are fonts that look pretty much the same on any operating system or device. Web fonts don’t always give you that exact guarantee.

In terms of font size, we recommend body text to be between 14 and 16 pixels and headings between 22 to 24 pixels.

3. Email width

An important aspect that can make a big impact on your emails: size. The perfect width for an email is between 500 and 640 pixels. It seems a bit odd, especially since screens generally get wider and bigger. However, keep in mind that not every email client works the same.

4. Recognition and your corporate identity

As a business, using your brand guidelines should come naturally. Your newsletter is no exception. Consistently using your corporate identity steadily increases the recognition and trust of your reader. If you don’t do this, your reader will grow more suspicious. Which, in turn, results in little to no conversions.

Don’t use your artistic freedom to the fullest, keep the fonts readable and simple. The convenience of the user is your top priority.

Structure your email

Structure is the key that unlocks your readers attention and directs them straight to your desired action. Picture this: when your reader opens your email, they shouldn’t have to wonder what to do next. You hold their hand and lead them effortlessly towards your irresistible call to action. You can bring structure in different ways, both visually and in your copy. 

1. White space

Think of white space as the visual pause that allows your content to shine. It creates a sense of clarity, highlighting where you are and where you’re heading. Without sufficient white space, things can get cramped and stuffy, leaving a less-than-professional impression. You want your reader to feel valued and attended to, not rushed or overlooked.

There is no specific best practice for white space in email design. Test it out and see what works and looks best.

2. Text structure

By using headings, subtitles, bullets, and lists you create a clear structure. This way, your reader can scan your email. Nowadays, no one has time to read newsletters from A to Z, so making your text scannable gives you a huge advantage.

3. Images

Let’s talk visuals, the powerhouse of structure. From headers to captivating images that complement your text, they play a vital role. But here’s the secret: balance is key. Aim for a 60:40 ratio of text to images, keeping things harmonious.

When selecting images, prioritize quality and dimensions. Opt for web-friendly images at 72 dpi to prevent your email from becoming a heavyweight that gets bounced. And here’s a pro tip: for full-width impact, crop your images to match the email’s width. It’s simple logic, right? As for height, stay within 250 pixels to spare your readers unnecessary scrolling.

A friendly reminder: before uploading your images, crop and resize them to ensure consistency across different devices. Steer clear of serving your readers a text overload. Embrace structure by trimming unnecessary text, incorporating white space, and choosing the perfect visuals.

So, go forth and conquer the art of visual storytelling in emails. Strike the perfect balance, embrace the right dimensions, and unleash your creativity. Your readers will thank you for it.

The layout of your email 

1. The inverted pyramid

The inverted pyramid is a clever symphony between your copy, your images, and your CTAs. This unknowingly directs the reader’s eye straight to your CTA.

An inverted pyramid always starts with an attention-grabber, for example an image at full width of your email. Below, you’ll have some copy in which you build up the expectations or give the reader a taste of what’s coming. Typically, this text is not as wide as the image. The bottom of your inverted pyramid is a triggering call to action.

2. 1-column template

When it comes to email templates, simplicity reigns supreme. A one-column layout ensures consistency across desktop and mobile devices, which is key in this mobile-dominated era. It’s the safe and smart choice that keeps your message intact.

But we know some of you can’t resist the allure of a two-column template. Just remember, on mobile, those columns stack on top of each other. That left column from desktop? It ends up on top of the right column. So, if you placed your copy on the left and the image on the right, guess what happens on mobile? Yep, the image sits below the text. A little detail with big implications, wouldn’t you agree?

So, skip the fancy templates with multiple columns. Embrace the 1-column template and apply the reverse pyramid approach. It’s all about putting your message front and center, ensuring it shines brightly on any device.

Stay ahead of the game, choose wisely, and rock that email template like a true champion.

The call to action (CTA) of your email

Your email has a mission: to ignite action in your reader. Whether it’s driving them to your website, clicking on a specific product, or responding to your message, each step they take brings you closer to that sweet moolah. But here’s the deal: you’ve got to persuade them to act.

1. Attract attention

A call to action that fades into the background won’t do you any good. Here’s the deal: stick to one CTA if possible, but if you absolutely need a second one, make sure they stand apart. Give your primary CTA a vibrant button, and make your secondary CTA an underlined link.

Remember, less is more. The fewer CTAs you have, the stronger they become. So, go ahead, give your CTAs some extra love and watch those clicks roll in. It’s all about grabbing attention and unleashing the power of persuasion.

2. Be clear

Create clear call to actions. Use active language, but also keep it short and concise. Avoid buttons with “click here”. Rather, use “start your free trial now”, “subscribe to our newsletter” or “adjust your email preferences”. Those CTAs say a lot more and convince your reader faster.

3. Offer value

It’s time to shift the spotlight to your reader – after all, they’re the real star of the show. When it comes to CTAs, it’s all about answering the golden question: “What’s in it for me?” And by “me,” we mean your reader.

Your CTAs should clearly communicate the benefits to your reader, not just your company. Forget about passive CTAs buried at the bottom of your email. We’re talking about making your CTAs stand out, because eventually they are the money-maker of your email.

Check out the preview 

You just crafted an incredible newsletter, filled with pride and excitement. You thought, “This one is a winner!” But when you sent it out, disappointment struck. The CTAs were off, the font was distorted, and the links were a mess. Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Here’s our advice: Test, test, and test again. It’s the only way to ensure your email appears exactly as you intended.

At BeBold, we rely on the Litmus tool to preview our emails across various clients, especially mobile devices. Don’t make the mistake of assuming it looks perfect in your program and hitting send. Take the smart approach and use a tool to assess how your email performs in different email clients.

A/B testing, email marketing’s best friend

Are you caught in a web of uncertainty, wondering if the perfect email exists? Well, it’s all about your brand and target audience. That’s why A/B testing is essential. Experiment with different lengths, structures, tones, and calls to action to uncover what truly engages your audience.

Here’s a pro tip: Some tools allow you to customize content specifically for the mobile version of your email. You can remove the header, add an enticing “download the app” option, or use concise copy. It’s a perfect A/B testing opportunity! Don’t assume your email is fine. People can react differently to the same message. Instead, embrace A/B testing and optimize your emails based on the results.  

With a touch of creativity and adherence to the insights from this blog post, you’re guaranteed success! 

The next part of our BeBold Email Marketing Guide is about the timing and frequency of your emails. You want to know more about the settings of your emails? Take a look at the first part of our BeBold Email Marketing Guide

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