Email Design Best Practices for Dedicated Emails

by | Feb 13, 2016 | Agencies and Consultants, Email Marketing, Small Business Online Marketing

If you’re promoting a single offer with a single call to action, you’re creating a dedicated email, or “stand-alone email”. You see these all the time. This common email format is used to promote whitepapers, events, and sales of products and services. Follow these email design best practices to ensure you maximize results.

Email Design Best Practices

When considering any web or web-like communication, it’s always good to remember some basic user experience and internet marketing principles.

Write effective subject lines. Your subject line is the most critical element of your email for one obvious reason: It determines whether the recipient will open your email. And the only thing an unopened email is good for is to tell you that you can write a better subject line.

Writing subject lines is a whole subject unto itself in which an enormous amount of research has been done. As a general rule, use concise, action-oriented language that conveys a sense of urgency. Focus on value to the recipient. Avoid stop words that may trigger spam filters. And test, test, test.

Write for scannability. Assume recipients will minimize their reading effort. Two of the most important email design best practices are to keep your message simple and write for scannability.

  • Use inverted pyramid style. The sequence of your copy is critical. Recipient must make a series of micro-conversion within your content before they respond to your call to action. Use what journalists call inverted pyramid style. Put the most important information first.
  • Structure content in an “F” pattern. Nielsen Norman Group studied the movement of subject’s eyes when they view web content. Readers scan pages in an “F” pattern. Their eyes move from left to right across the top of the page content. As they move down the page, they scan down left edge with shorter horizontal movements.
    Use bulleted and numbered lists. Break up paragraphs into lists to make content easier to scan. Start each bullet with a short in-line heading. Readers will get the key points of your message as they scan the left side of your content.
  • Use visuals. Make every effort to make your message more visual. Use images to break up the copy and give readers another entry point into content.

Create a strong call to action. Avoid confusing your readers about the action they should take. Your call to action should be visually distinct and promote a single action. Don’t invite them to learn more or sign up for your newsletter or follow you on twitter or call if they have questions.

Design for a variety of devices. Your recipients will open your email on a variety of devices. An essential email design best practice is to use responsive design techniques. Responsive design will ensure your design looks good and is easy to read on any device.

Using these principles will help you to put your best foot forward when starting a dedicated email campaign. Of course, you should continue to test and re-test to improve performance.

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