Why Your Email Layouts Are So Important

Have you got your call-to-action button in the right place?

Have you got your call-to-action button in the right place?

Designing your marketing emails is completely different to designing a website or leaflet for direct mail. Subscribers and audiences react differently to your emails than they do to any other form of content. Get your layout wrong, and your campaign could be completely disregarded.

How Is Email Design Different?

Firstly, subscribers tend to open email campaigns in three stages: envelope, content and landing page. If you fail to optimise your subject line, pre-header text or sender information, then your audience could be dissuaded from opening your email in the first place. To get people to continue reading your email, you will need to design the content so it matches any promises made in the pre-header text. Your landing page will also need to build on those promises as well.

Secondly, you could struggle with the difficulties associated with coding. There are no standards for email coding between inbox providers. As there are ever more inbox providers, there are numerous codes to consider and therefore, getting your emails to display as you intended on all inboxes can be problematic.

Finally, the growth of mobile devices has made it more challenging for businesses to produce email designs that perform well on all devices. Emails are being opened on mobile devices more often than on desktop devices, so a mobile responsive design should be a priority.

Image Implementation Matter

Another consideration is that some email inboxes will automatically block images which can make certain email designs look ugly. A design that isn’t visually appealing will not attract your audience to take the next stage of the sales path.

Another consideration is that if you contain all the content in images, this can reduce the effectiveness of your email campaigns. Also, because there is less speed on mobile devices, campaigns might have very small open rates.

Therefore, while images are important, they should also be used sparingly – when they will be most effective.

Reading Heat-Map

How we read documents on computers and mobile devices is vastly different to how we read documents on paper. While on both sets, the reader is most likely to scan the document first to pick up key points, the reader is likely to see the whole page on a paper document. In contrast, on a digital document, the reader tends to look at what is in the left column and at the top of the page the most.

The bottom section of any page is often disregarded. Another consideration is scrolling. Most readers will not scroll down on a computer to continue reading. Therefore, the majority of the information should be contained above-the-fold.

The call to action button should also be above the fold and to the left of the page to encourage more people to click through.

Top Tips For Email Design

There are many considerations for you when it comes to designing your email. Here are some top tips for you to use in your next email design:

  1. Ensure all links are obvious on the page.
  2. Be CAN-SPAM compliant with all the necessary information included in the email.
  3. Minimise image use and ensure they are optimised for download and quality.
  4. Always have the call to action and link above the fold.
  5. Minimise your text. Keep it to below three hundred words.
  6. Minimise the use of spam words (i.e. free).
  7. Test your emails on multiple platforms and email clients.

If you follow these design tips, your emails will be more acceptable to your audience, and you will see better results.

What design tips do you have for email? What results do you get?

Let us know in the comments below.

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5 Examples Of Successful Small Business Email Newsletters

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Email marketing is one of the best ways to communicate with your target audience. Research has proven it can contribute significantly to your sales.

Sales isn’t the only factor of success. Email marketing can open up new avenues to increase brand awareness and generate more traffic to your website or physical store.

Many of the best performing small business email campaigns have several common attributes. Looking at some of the best examples can give you ideas on how to improve your own email campaigns and achieve great success.

Here are five examples of successful small business emails:


The high quality business card supplier does not focus its content on the business card but rather on giving creative inspiration, news and business tips to their audience.

The emails have images related to the content that help the reader to ascertain quickly what the email is going to be about. At the end of the short, easy to read content is a clear call to action (CTA). The CTAs are invitations rather than demands – so appeal to the inquisitive reader. They also have clear social media sharing buttons both at the top and bottom of the page.

Bicycle Adventures

This company combines bicycling tours with staying in five star hotel and lodges. Their newsletter is very clean and simple – making it easier for the audience to read. The header image is often one of a spectacular view with a clear header above it to describe what the particular edition is about.

Underneath the image is the subtitle, often describing a new available offer and then the newsletter rounds off with two locations their readers can book. Each location includes an image, not of the hotel but of the scenery they will be cycling around.

At the bottom of the page is a clear call to action, with the text larger than the rest of the page to draw attention to the reader.

What makes this email so successful is not that it sells a lot, but that as soon as the email is sent out, the website has double the traffic, often 1,400 unique visitors on day of release.

Wine Station

Next on the list is Wine Station, who doesn’t have an online store. Instead they rely on their readers visiting their physical store. Their emails have a feeling of luxury with clear labelling and pictures focusing on their products.

At the bottom of the page they include a special offer to entice people to visit their store.

Traffic into their store can be significant after an email has been sent out, with some emails generating 10 times the amount of traffic they usually get.

Build It Green! NYC

This small environmental group uses its emails to encourage signups and volunteer participation. The emails include a clear call to action at the top of the email and detailed information in the body. There are also some clear images demonstrating what the event is.

Generally the success of this email is regarded in telephone calls. According to the organisation, every email they send out receives 40 telephone responses.

The Pajama Program

While technically not a small business again, this organisation does have an excellent email which raises $1000 per email sent. The charity raises funds for children in need and uses its emails for donation collection and thanking those who have participated.

The emails always include images of those who they support and carry short messages with a clear call to action at the bottom.

What Do These Newsletters Have In Common?

These emails have three main concepts in common. Firstly they all have a relevant image that portrays exactly what the email is about, they have limited text and thirdly they invite the reader to continue on the journey with a clear call to action.

Action steps:

  • Sign on to some of the above examples and see what their emails look like.
  • Take some of the lessons learned here and incorporate them into your small business email.

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