Due to email software turning off images by default and the rise of non-graphically rich mobile email usage, many email marketers are minimizing their email design to provide a more “lowest common denominator” approach to their marketing messages.
Even though designers may no longer be creating the graphically rich designs they did in the past, design is still important in email marketing!
What good email designers must understand is that quality design has to work in conjunction with the display and technical limitations of the current email landscape. Designers should strive to make their email campaign aesthetically pleasing while keeping functionality in mind.
Here are a few helpful design tips to help you achieve that goal:
1. Minimize the big, bold, beautiful banner header
The days of including a big image header should be a thing of the past. Keep your email header design minimal, and have it take up as little height as possible. This tactic will give the audience a taste of your creative juice and satisfy the thirstiest of creative expectations, but still allow your content and offer be visible in the preview pane or stay above the fold in your email inbox.
2. Forget about trying to emulate the website
The email should have touches of the website look and feel, but because it’s another medium with another set of guidelines you should treat it as its own entity. And as much as you may want it, the full website navigation should not be a part of your email design. Just highlight the navigation necessary to fulfill the marketing offer.
3. Use graphics sparingly
Graphics should only be used to support the message copy. Call to action buttons (CTA’s) should be bulletproof buttons or HTML code/text as much as possible. This will ensure they display when images are turned off. You can include those beautiful photos and graphics to support the text-based buttons. And in some cases, you can use inline CSS to create unique effects that provide an aesthetically pleasing design.
4. Lowest common denominator is key
With the emergence of mobile email marketing you now have more parameters to consider in your design and layout. Choosing fonts and font sizes has become much more important and can lead to some serious frustration if not implemented correctly. Large, legible and well spaced out buttons and text links should be common practice. Strategic placement of your links and CTA’s can also be a critical component that could be the difference between a successful or unsuccessful campaign.
Email designers are constantly charged with staying current with the ever-changing technical requirements of email marketing that directly impacts email design. Following these tips can help you flex your creative muscle and keep your creative within the current guidelines to create successful campaigns. And after all, isn’t that the purpose of great design?