What makes a responsive email template?
You may be keen to get your email marketing campaign sent out as soon as possible, but it is really important to make sure the responsive email design as a whole is up to scratch.
You may be keen to get your email marketing campaign kicked off and sent out as soon as possible, but it is really important to make sure the responsive email templates and indeed the email design as a whole is up to scratch first. A poorly designed email campaign will not only result in a high bounce and/or unsubscribe rate, but can also go as far as to damage your brand reputation, as users may think the design reflects on your company as a whole.
Although every email campaign we design is bespoke, typically, email design can be broken down into different sets of elements that, when combined correctly, are responsive, beautiful and worthy of your brand. These elements are:
Clear Brand Marketing
Your brand is one of the first things your recipient will look for, as they’ll want to see if they know your name and logo. Buying decisions are heavily influenced by trust and prior transactions, so if they’ve bought from you before and can see your name/logo on first glance, this vastly reduces the chances of a straight delete/send to spam action and should increase the amount of time spent viewing the email.
Your logo should be prominent on the email, same as it would be on any other type of marketing material, and if your logo by itself doesn’t say who you are, your brand name as well. It should be clickable straight through to your website and be large enough to be easily seen on first view.
The imagery used should reflect the message of your email – so if you’re promoting your sale on Winter boots and shoes, then make sure the overall theme of the email reflects this. A top banner of snow and ice would tie in with the theme, with then at least 3 good quality images of your products on sale to follow. B2B service type emails should follow the same format, using relevant images for your sector and promotion.
Regardless of sector and purpose, all images used in a good email template need to be high quality and well placed, and preferably above the fold. It is also important to consider the Alt tags you’re using, as viewers who have their default settings in their email client to disable images will only be able to see the Alt tag when the email is first received, so images with alt tags that don’t reflect the images won’t be well received.
Lastly – don’t overuse images. If an email is really image heavy it will be slower loading even for users with images automatically enabled, and also a lot longer on a mobile device, which over 50% of people view emails on. Don’t go overboard – you don’t need to showcase your whole product range, just the bestsellers or best reductions to capture interest and encourage click through rates!
The text used need to be written first and foremost with email users in mind! Most email addresses receive a fair amount of spam, so users are very quick to delete and move on if their interest isn’t piqued quickly.
The title is your first chance to grab attention, so it needs to be clear and to the point, ideally promoting your USP. Something like “50% off on all Winter Shoes and Boots from website.com” works a lot better than “We’ve got a sale on. Shop now” because this isn’t as clear as saying outright what the sale is and the product lines included.
Emails with reams of text aren’t typically received well – ain’t nobody got time for all that! Email users tend to read in short bursts so well designed emails that contain short paragraphs or even one liners are better received. This text should also be very clear and to the point – if you can get them to click through to the site, you can make sure your landing pages have more copy on if you think it’s needed.
In addition, if you are using simple and clear imagery, you can tailor your design to include text that describes the images, so if users have disabled them, you can still present your copy in such a way that the images aren’t essential to describe what it is you’re offering.
Call to Actions
These are really the bread and butter of your email and should be a huge priority, but you don’t want to have too many. You need to decide what the primary purpose of your email campaign is and stick to it, so your primary CTA(s) need to reflect this! A 50% flash sale should have clear images and text references throughout in the title, body text and any short paragraphs, with potentially a second CTA to capture any other traffic such as a smaller sale on a different product range.
Always make sure you include and test your links before a campaign goes out. If a user clicks on a product image only to find it doesn’t go anywhere, or the link is broken, this is a sure-fire way of losing a potential customer before they’ve even got to the website.
It’s also important to keep your links relevant and don’t overuse them. Showcasing a small range of your products or services is fine, but don’t then add in your entire site navigation in the hope that you’ll get a few more clicks that way. You won’t, and worse, you may end up putting users off by the amount of choices they’re being given. A link to your homepage through the logo is always a good idea and you can include your top line nav in the same design as your website if you keep it small and low key with primary focus still on your CTA and USP, but 20 links to products plus a contact link plus everything else is just overkill.