Email Design: What Is It, Why Does It Matter (2024 Guide)
Last update: 14 November 2023 at 10:52 am
A lot of emails flood the inbox of your target audience weekly, if not daily. So, it’s important you show up with engaging emails if you want them to read from start to finish. The only way to make this happen is to get your email design right.
As an online business owner, I design and launch email marketing campaigns frequently.
In this article, I’ll discuss email design with you, why it matters, and show you how to design an email that will achieve your set goal in 2024.
What Is Email Design?
Email design creates visually appealing emails that capture the reader’s attention and send a clear message to achieve a marketing goal. Think of it as decorating your home. You look at how you can use flowers, furniture, wallpapers, and a lot more to make it attractive to a visitor who comes in.
Why Does Email Design Matter?
People have short attention spans. On top of that, many businesses are competing for their maximum attention by sending them emails. That has led to subscribers scanning emails while looking for something that catches their attention, making it more challenging to craft an effective email marketing campaign.
So what happens when nothing captures their attention?
They hit the back button and don’t take the desired action.
This is a challenge email marketers face and why design should be part of your email marketing strategy.
Email design captures and holds the subscriber’s attention, sometimes having them read the email from start to finish and then take a desired action. An email design that is on point not only creates more awareness for your brand but also boosts lead generation and sales.
Guide to Designing an Email in 2024
When designing an email, you make it plain text, rich HTML, or interactive.
Plain Text Email – This is a simple text-based email that is common in personal correspondence. It’s easy to create and has a personal feel but lacks an attractive design that can wow the recipient.
Rich HTML Email – It resembles landing pages due to colors, images, and other elements created using CSS-powered dynamic effects or HTML.
It offers customization features that allow the creation of designs, adding images, animations, and other visual files that respond perfectly on mobile devices. The downside is that it requires coding skills and can have display issues on browsers.
Interactive Email – Interactive emails allow users to interact with the content in the email. They can swipe, tap, copy, zoom, and hover various interactive elements in the email.
According to a 2018 online poll by Litmus, 32% think interactive email is gaining popularity in the marketing industry.
It provides better behavioral analysis of your subscribers, has a higher engagement rate, offers a great user experience, presents subscribers with appealing visuals, and increases the chances of a user completing the stages in a sales funnel.
A significant downside is that some email service providers don’t support it, which may look awkward for subscribers who view it.
Now let’s look at the guide to designing your email in 2024.
As you plan to generate more leads and sales in 2024 using email, the guide below will help you achieve it:
1. Get Your Copy Ready
Before you design or create emails, have your copy ready. This contains the essential details or message you want to convey to your audience and the action you want them to take at the end.
But there are basic guidelines you should follow to have an excellent email copy:
- Avoid bulky text that would be difficult for your audience to read. Instead, break them into small chunks of three or four sentences to create white space.
- Communicate an idea in a sentence and use transition words to tell your audience what to expect next.
- If you want to blend your text color using colors from the color palette, preview after doing it to see if your audience can read them easily on their device.
- Format your text and highlight key points in bold, so they won’t be missed if an audience scans your email.
2. Craft A Strong Subject Line
When you receive an email from a business you follow, what makes you click to open it?
The enticing subject line?
That’s the same way your audience reacts when your email lands in their inbox. With a strong subject line, you boost the chances of having your audience open and read the email, click on links, and probably take the desired action – This increases your click-through rate.
But what makes a strong subject line?
I know that’s the question on your mind. A strong subject line has the following features:
- Commands the attention of your audience with a few powerful words
- Offers value your audience expects, which makes them want to open it.
- Summarize what your audience will gain from the email.
Take a look at this email I received from Content at Scale:
You can see the subject line is ” Replay of today’s live stream”
Looking at it, I already know it includes the link to watch the live stream replay.
Nowadays, email marketing platforms leverage AI to help customers generate catchy email subject lines. For example, Mailmunch has an AI subject line writer.
3. Leverage Templates
Email templates are meant to kick-start designing your email on the fly. You don’t need to begin from scratch. The email layout is already there. It’s just for you to choose a template, edit, and customize using the drag-and-drop editor to suit your needs. Every email marketing software, like Constant Contact or their alternatives, has templates for various emails. Whether you want to promote your webinar, inform your audience of your products, or offer price discounts. There is a template for it.
Here are examples of email templates from GetResponse:
It recently upgraded its customizable templates giving you more features you need to design and customize different kinds of emails you send to your clients.
However, not all templates are responsive. Preview any email template you want to use to be sure it responds on mobile devices.
4. Add Quality Visuals
Your email will look dry if you don’t include visuals. It won’t hold the attention of the audience that opened it as they will likely hit the back button. That means they haven’t given you the chance to communicate with them.
Screenshots, custom images, stock images, videos, emojis, infographics, and GIFs are popular written and visual content you can include in your email. But make sure they add credibility to the message you pass across; otherwise, they are just fillers.
5. Keep Branding In Mind
Brand identity is vital when you send emails. It makes it easier for your audience to know the email they receive is from your company. You can include a company logo, email signature, or any other trademark associated with your brand when designing the email.
Choose your brand colors when you select colors from a color scheme. Let your email tone be consistent with content on your website and social media pages, and link to your social media accounts. These help to maintain authenticity, create more awareness, and boost lead generation.
Look at this email Payoneer sent me informing me of the payment one of my clients made:
You could see they used brand color to design their logo and customize the call-to-action button, plus social media icons which lead to their accounts when you click on them.
6. Personalize Email
Personalization is part of email design because it humanizes your brand, speaks to your audience, and makes them feel you understand their problem.
This works better when you segment your lists. A common way of personalizing email is to address your audience by their first name, letting them know the problem they face, how they got to your list, and the solutions you offer.
This boosts the relationship between your business and your audience, leading to an increase in email retention and conversion rate.
7. Give Room To Exit
Your email content may evolve as your business grows. Chances are some of your audience may not find it relevant again.
Give them room to exit by adding the “unsubscribe” button at the end of the email.
This is a mark of professionalism you shouldn’t miss in your email design. It provides a great user experience and is backed by the Federal Trade Commission and CAN-SPAM Act.
8. A/B Test Your Design
You won’t know which email design does the magic for you until you run the A/B test.
Email marketing platforms have A/B testing features that allow you to test different elements in your emails.
For example, GetResponse allows you to test four elements while comparing two email designs. Whether it’s to modify your subject line, CTA, or visuals, always carry out A/B tests because that’s the way to achieve your email design goals.
9. Design Email Signature
Your email isn’t complete without an email signature. It’s a way of reinforcing professionalism and giving a human face to it.
It boosts the confidence your audience has in your emails and can give them a reason to take a desired action. Think of it as a business card you give to potential clients who visit your brick-and-mortar store.
Do you want to build trust and for them to locate you quickly?
Hence, the reason you design a business card with your name, store address, contact phone number, etc. Email signature does the same in the digital realm.
When designing your email, the signature shouldn’t only contain your name. It should include your professional-looking photo, like the one you would like to upload to your LinkedIn profile. Also, state your role in the company, add links to your social media profiles, and, if possible, link to book a meeting if you offer services to email clients.
You can take a clue from the screenshot below:
10. Mobile Responsiveness
A study has it that over 1 billion emails are opened on smartphones compared to emails on desktops which is around 900 million.
This shouldn’t surprise you because the number of mobile device users increases daily.
This is why you should ensure your emails respond ideally on mobile devices. Otherwise, mobile users will hit the back button, denying you the opportunity to convert them to lead.
The solution to this lies in the email marketing platform you use. Make mobile-friendly solutions one of the features you seek when choosing an email marketing tool. Use their free plan to confirm. Always preview your email to see how it will appear on mobile devices before you hit the send button.
A final thought on email design
To have your audience open your email, read it, and take a desired action depends on your email design. I have shown you key things to implement, starting from getting your copy ready to running and ensuring your emails respond ideally on mobile devices. It’s up to you to implement them as you plan to launch your next email campaign.