10 Tips for Creating Eye-Catching Emails

Most companies use email to stay connected to their customers and prospects throughout the education marketing cycle. Some do it well; others don’t.

We all recognize the hallmarks of a “bad” email when we see them:

  • Trying to communicate too many messages in a single email
  • Focusing solely on self-promotion
  • Using too many images
  • Including too much text
  • Not branding emails appropriately, thus creating an ambiguous sender
  • Not optimizing messages for mobile viewing

What do all of these email “don’ts” have in common? Poor planning and design.

10 Email Template Design Tips

Good design is essential to email marketing success. When the reader opens your message, you want the email to capture their attention — in a good way. Once engaged, the design should guide readers to instinctively click through the call to action (CTA).

All major email clients and marketing automation software offer drag-and-drop email templates. No matter what program you use to design your templates, follow these best practices to ensure your emails stand out.

  1. Brand your email template. Make sure your company logo has a presence “above the fold.” Adopted from newspapers, this term refers to the first screen a reader sees before scrolling to read more.
  2. Use plenty of white space to help focus the reader on your core message.
  3. Place your CTA above the fold as well. If a reader has to scroll to find the CTA, this diminishes the response. Better yet, include two or three CTAs in each message that all lead to the same action.
  4. Keep your copy clear and concise. It should be immediately clear what the purpose of your outreach is whether readers choose to skim the email or read the entire message.
  5. Images are important to overall design, but plan for filters to block them out. Prepare for this by adding alt text that appears when an image isn’t available. Also be aware that too many images may trigger spam filters.
  6. More and more educators are keeping up with emails on their smartphones and tablets. Keep small screens in mind when designing, and make sure the template is responsive on mobile devices.
  7. Create your most important messages in HTML and text. This ensures that readers can see and understand your message even when filters block images out.
  8. Test email formats against one another to see which garners the most positive response. Then use that format consistently to create easily recognizable messages.
  9. Personalize your emails. You may be able to do this on a granular level through personalized URLs (PURLS) that customize messages with a reader’s name, geographic location, custom images and more. You also can add a personal touch simply through your choice of pronouns. Use “you” and “your” to seem as though you’re addressing the reader directly.

For more email marketing tips, download Agile's Email Marketing Best Practices guide.


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