Getting Started with Email Marketing Part 5: Designing Your Emails

The first step to begin email marketing is choosing a platform. Most email marketing platforms offer a variety of templates that you can customize for your brand. You should have a guideline for the designs for your emails so that you can schedule them in advance instead of rushing to get them set-up the day they need to go out. (Don't miss out on my email marketing series! Make sure to subscribe.)

There is no such thing as a one-size-fit-all approach to designing an effective email, but here are some things to keep in mind while building your email campaigns:

1. Creating a "From Label"

In most cases, your "from label" should be the name of your organization -- as opposed to the name of an individual. Your recipients need to immediately recognize that the email is from a company they know (since they should have subscribed to receive your content!) -- otherwise they're likely to skim right over it without opening it.

For example, if you subscribe to receive emails updates from KP Kreative and you see emails in your inbox from Kimberly Portuondo, and you have no idea who that is, you will likely delete the email and possibly even mark it as spam.

A lot of companies think that using an individual's name in the from label will make the email seem more personal, but this usually ends up in emails being unread.

2. Subject Line

Think of this as the headline for your email. Keep it short and informative. I know that is easier said than done so here are a few tips:

  • Keep the subject under 45 characters. Many email service providers cut the subject line off around 45 characters. If your recipients can't see the entire subject line, they are less likely to open your emails.
  • Write clear subject lines. Don't write something misleading in the hopes that it will get people to open your email. Your subject should describe the content or purpose of the email.
  • Avoid ALL CAPS and overusing punctuation!!! We know you're excited about your emails, but you'll find your emails go into the spam filter.

3. Email Body

Preview Pane: A lot of email service providers display a preview of emails before recipients actually have to open them. So make sure that your call to action or some of your attention-grabbing content will show up if your email is being viewed in their preview pane. The size of the preview pane will vary, so the easiest way to make sure your content is where is needs to be is to place it at the top of your email so that it will entice them to read more by actually opening the email.

Write Short Paragraphs: Your content should be very easy to scan. (Similar to a blog post but much shorter!) Use short paragraphs with bullet points and a call to action that stands out.

Keep in mind that, in almost all cases, recipients aren't going to read through your entire message. They need you to show them the important content and where to take action.

Link often: Don't just link back to your website at the end of your email. Make it easy for people to access your website by including links throughout your email. Turn all your images into links as well since they are good attention grabbers.

4. Images

If you are including images in your email, they should be the correct size to display properly in an email. The smaller an image the faster it will load. The file size of an image for email should be 25kb or smaller.

You also need to create alt-text for each of your images. This back-up text displays in place of an image for those email services that automatically block images. Also, if you have any vision-impaired subscribers the alt-text will be read aloud to them.

5. Testing

No marketing has a one-size-fits-all method, so you will have to test different layouts and content to segments within your subscribers and use analytics to see what's effective and what's not.

If you have any specific questions or want to add to my guide with your own advice, leave a comment below!