Designing a viable Email template can be trickier than you may think, but it is very important for the success of your Email Marketing campaigns. There are many variables with different email clients and making sure you have an effective message which communicates with the recipient is key.
To make your email template successful you should keep the design of your template simple and consider how your clients might view their emails, possibly on their smart phone, in the middle of work or while they are on the go. So you must make your design pop and impress in a few short seconds.
Tips for your design
- Research – Do your research as to what functionality is possible. You don’t have to totally understand the functionality just enough to know what you can and cannot do. For example, don’t use one huge image.
- Keep it simple – Most of us have stopped using tables and other ancient techniques, so now is the time to get back to the basics again. Try to fit all content into the first screen – or above the fold, which is what is viewed before scrolling down. Always try to keep it short.
- Keep it dynamic – Email templates are a much smaller and can be a bit “buggy”, because there are so many different variables you need to consider when designing your email template. Keep standards for an email width at 600 – 680 pixels, so keep the design within this width. The template auto-fits on mobile devices.
- Testing, testing, testing – Email templates need to be tested against as many email set ups as possible – Outlook, Mail, AOL, Gmail, Yahoo and so on. That is the reason you need to be more flexible with your designs. Each of these email clients will preview the email different.
- Layout – Always layout your logo and top content to appear in the preview of each email, this will help with both avoiding spamming and making that all important first impact. Contrast dark text on a white background is best for body copy and in general, e-mails should follow a format that includes an image header, body text and a footer. Keep it vertical or square — Most email clients have a small window to display content, so a vertical design is best.
- Images – Often when you open an email you see the message “Images are not displayed. Do you want to display images?”. This creates a design challenge for your template. So it is best to assume images will be blocked — E-mail clients commonly block images so important information should be built as text. Try to maintain an even ratio between images and text and never put your message in images. Use the alt-text tag with your images as this will help your recipient know what your images are.
- Design it like it’s 1999 — For better or worse, e-mail clients often render HTML in ways that are more similar to 1990s web design practices than current ones. If you make any major coding (i.e. HTML) changes to the templates, be aware that tables are essential for correct cross-client rendering
Email Templates are an effective piece of communication when performed correctly. Email Templates can be the first element to put off readers and if done poorly, your emails will not get a look in.
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