Ask any web designer or developer about email designs. And they’ll tell you that this landscape is far behind as compared to their field. One of the reasons behind is that email clients have not optimized quickly to the changing digital design landscape. For example, they didn’t catch up the rise of responsive design.
But the game is changing now. Before 2016, there weren’t many web features available to email clients. Now, email clients have a lot of support capabilities. A notable example is from Gmail that allows responsive design using embedded CSS and media queries.
Web developers enjoyed tools for many years, but email people got similar tools and techniques now. Still, there are a few things email designers can learn from web developers. Here they are:
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Ensure Responsive Design, Especially On Mobile
Here are few statistics that will show the importance of mobile:
- There are over 3.5 billion unique mobile internet users globally.
- ComScore noted that users spend an average of 69 percent of their media time on smartphones.
- Not only that, but mobile devices will drive 80 percent of global internet usage as reported by Zenith.
If we start digging into statistics, we’ll find several interesting ones. But the above three are enough to emphasize the importance of mobile devices.
More emails are being opened on mobile device than on desktop. So it becomes a key challenge for email designers to prioritize mobile devices without sacrificing readability on desktop or tablets.
Enter responsive design. It simply means that your design will look good on the device it’s read on. It does so by adapting to the screen size and resolution of the device it’s on.
If you have a non-responsive email, it’s likely to give small text that’s hard to read.
On the flip side, if you have optimized the email for mobile reading, it will read way better.
Here are a couple of suggestions regarding mobile responsiveness:
Create three different wireframes for each email (or each email template): one for mobile, one for desktop, and one for tablets. Web developers do a similar thing.
Use media queries to tell the layout how to render based on factors like screen size. Also, cater to the needs of email clients who don’t support media queries. Use the fluid method for web developers.
Keep Design Simple To Improve Readability
I was talking about readability in the above section. I’ll repeat it again here.
You have to focus on it. Email is still an email. It should not be filled with graphics to the extent that it destroys readability.
Let’s talk about mails. I know I’m taking you a trip down the memory lane, but stick with me. What were those mails, really? Those were simple letters, filled with words like you’re reading right now.
With the advent of computers, those mails converted into emails. But again, they were filled words. People didn’t get used to seeing crazy graphics in emails.
Simple design is best when it comes to mobile readability. Readers will have a hard time navigating multiple columns or creative fonts and designs on smaller screens.
Here are a couple of tips to keep the design simple:
Use A Single-Column Layout
They render most clearly on smaller screens like mobile devices. Users will be guided towards the call to action. Plus, you’ll be giving a better user experience.
Reduce Visual Clutter
Do you have stuff that can be removed but still won’t impact the message? That’s visual clutter. Reduce it. Make a clean design, and you will likely enhance the user experience.
Have Only One CTA Button
In a world of short attention spans, asking readers to take multiple actions is a recipe for disaster. Developers know that many conversions happen by one CTA. And so designers should learn this simple trick.
Also, make it larger, and give it a contrasting color. Avoid hyperlinked text. Instead, use a button. A button is always easier to tap with a finger on a mobile device or tablet than hyperlinked text.
Craft A Strong Subject Line
What do you see when you visit a website’s homepage? The headline or subject line. That’s the thing that makes your first impression. The same goes for email. The subject line is the thing anyone sees first when you send them an email.
Spend a lot of time on it. Some experts spend more time on headlines than their entire copy, because there’s no point in writing a 1,000-word email if you don’t get a hearing.
Open your email inbox. On one screen, there may be a dozen email lines. But only a couple of them attract you. Study them. See why they got your attention. Learn from them and apply those learning to your email lines.
A/B Test Your Email Design
Like many of your marketing efforts, there’s no one-size-fits-all email design. You have to iterate. Perform multiple tests and see which one brings the most results. Then, keep that design.
CTA, colors, images, layout, and tone are a few things to test with. See which ones have the highest ability in terms of reach, resonance, and conversions.
Incorporate Unique Visual Content
Unfortunately, paragraphs of information can make it hard to hold attention. So to keep users interested in your message, incorporate content, such as on-brand and engaging images, videos, GIFs, animations, etc. It will break up the written content and create a memorable experience.
Do you have any suggestions related to email designs? Let me know in the comments below!