We’ve all at some point received a really good marketing email campaigns – you might not be able to think of one off the top of your head but you’ll know it when you see it!
First things first, make sure the email you’re sending has a purpose! Is it an order reminder? A newsletter to help build your brand and stay in touch with your audience? Retargeting and abandoned cart emails to reel people back in and get them through the checkout process? Whatever it is you’re sending, make sure you’re doing it for a specific reason, and not just because you feel like it or someone told you that you should.
Of course, like almost every marketing channel, email marketing is a balancing act between form and function, and it’s easy to skew one way or the other – while this is a guide on making stuff look nice, please please please don’t forget about the genuinely important bit, which is your targeting, your content and your overall message. Without them, your email campaigns will fall just as flat, just with a flashy exterior you’ve wasted your time on! So, without further ado…
1. The obvious stuff
This is the common sense bit – make sure you don’t have any typos, empty spaces or weird-looking elements. Most email builders will take care of the majority of this for you, but some can be notoriously glitchy, so if something looks a bit strange, give it a test and fix it up. If your emails are hardcoded, it might take a bit more effort to get it sorted but it’s worth it in the long run!
Another obvious one, know your brand! Understand the visual identity of who you’re sending on behalf of, including colours, shapes, TOV, style and overall feel in order to make email campaigns that are perfectly aligned with all the rest of your marketing efforts.
2. Your lovely CTA’s
CTA buttons are an essential part of pretty much any email, unless you’re actively not trying to sell anything (which does happen every now and then). Your CTA buttons should be clear and thought out, with text that is interesting, gripping and relevant. “Buy now” often does the job nicely, so don’t worry about being too cliche with your CTA’s – after all, everyone uses them for a reason! However, A/B testing your CTAs is a surefire way to know that you’re making the right calls when it comes to their shape, size, position, colours, message and tone.
Campaign Monitor also recommends putting your CTA’s in an “inverted triangle” structure to draw the reader’s eye down to exactly where you want it to be, like so:
Alternatively, if you’re feeling ✨jazzy✨, they recommend a zigzag layout, again with the purpose of drawing the eye where you want users to look.
3. It’s all about the fold
Above the fold, below the fold, origami crane the fold – it’s important! Everything above the fold refers to the bit of your email that users can see before they need to scroll down (of course, every email client will have the fold in a slightly different place, depending on screen size, whether you’re on desktop or mobile and a whole bunch of other factors. Handy, right?), while everything below needs to be scrolled to be seen. Common sense reigns supreme again when I say put the important stuff at the top and the less vital bits at the bottom.
4. It’s even more about the mobile optimisation
Closely linked to the fold is email optimisation for mobiles. More people than ever look at their emails on their phone today, so if you’re not making at least a cursory effort to check that your campaigns look nice on mobile, you’re straight-up doing it wrong 🤷♀️ There are loads of tools out there that can help you envision your emails on mobile, and the vast majority of builders will have one built-into the software already, so it’s not hard to do!
For example, spacing that looks really nice and centred on desktop might well be all over the place on mobile, and you just wouldn’t know until it’s too late!
5. Images + GIFS, and why you can have too much of a good thing
Choosing lovely images that catch the eye and really do speak a thousand words is super important to creating lovely looking email campaigns, however, there are a few things to be wary of:
- Big images can affect your deliverability – large file sizes clog up inboxes and can easily be flagged by email providers.
- Big images take longer to load – it’s all well and good having a beautiful image header until someone’s opening it on their mobile data and it a) uses up half their allowance and b) just doesn’t load in time. If your images are too big, then all your lovely “above the fold” work has been completely wasted. Alas and alack!
GIFs can be a fantastic storytelling tool, but it’s important to note that they’re even more prone to the issues that big images have. As long as you compress your GIFs and images, and don’t go too hard on the visuals, you should be okay, but it’s always worth keeping in mind!