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Email Design Tips to Increase Click-Through Rates

Download: Email Marketing Templates for E-Commerce

June 26, 2023

By Jena Blanck

Great email content is ... well ... great! But if that content isn’t paired with outstanding design, you’ll never get the best possible results from your campaigns.

If you want to maximize the impact and efficacy of your emails, remember that how they look and function is just as important as what they say. 

How Does Design Impact Email Success?

You can spend hours drafting the world’s most compelling email copy, but if the recipient isn’t motivated to read and engage with that copy, your efforts will be wasted and your messaging won’t get through.

A well-designed email does more than look good; it has the power to drive customers and prospects to feel a certain way, engage with your brand, and take a desired action. 

Let’s look at seven ways to make your emails more clickable and engaging with some user-focused best practices in design.

7 Ways to Use Design to Drive Email Campaign Success

The average consumer’s attention span is already overcommitted, so your emails need to provide fast, easy, accessible information that takes the guesswork out of what you are offering and how to get it. Good email design can catch a reader’s eye and let them know at a glance that you’re delivering that snappy info.

These seven tips will help you design low-friction, high-impact emails to increase your click-throughs.

1. Be brand-consistent but not restricted. 

The design of your email should be visually appealing and should clearly support your messaging. Don’t fall into the trap of being too simple or too rigid. Emails have a short lifecycle, so take the opportunity to connect through design where it feels appropriate. Trends can be fun; play into them. 

2. Optimize for mobile devices.

More than half of all emails are opened on mobile devices, so make sure your email is optimized for mobile screens. Use a responsive type that adjusts to different screen sizes, and make sure your fonts and images are easily readable on smaller screens.

3. Use high-quality images.

Use high-quality images that are relevant to your message and complement your brand. Make sure your images are optimized for fast loading, and use alt tags to describe the image for users who have disabled images or who use screen reader software. No, iPhone images aren’t going to get the job done, as much as we wish they would.

4. Use a clear and compelling call to action (CTA).

Your CTA should be prominently displayed and clearly communicate the action you want your audience to take. Use action-oriented language that creates a sense of urgency and use contrasting colors to make your CTA stand out. Play with size, copy, and color to drive the consumer’s eye to your target.

5. Make it personal.

Personalized emails tend to have higher open and click-through rates than generic emails. Use the recipient's name and other relevant information to create a personalized experience that resonates with your audience. Expand past the main copy block, include personalized feeds through segmentation or work on interesting banners tying your consumer back to their loyalty points. 

6. Keep it (mostly) short and sweet.

Your audience is busy, and if they open your email and see a wall of text, they won’t bother. Keep your email content concise and to the point, and use design to highlight that brevity. Short paragraphs, bullet points, and subheadings will make your content scannable and easy to read. Because every deliverable is industry- and message-dependent, you may occasionally be asked to design an email for long-form content, but this is definitely the exception.

7. Test and iterate.

Finally—and, arguably, most importantly—test your email design and content to see what works best for your audience. Use A/B testing to assess different subject lines, CTAs, and design aspects, and iterate based on your results. Run long and short tests to see what resonates with customers. 

Use Your Design to Drive Click-Throughs

It’s easy to become laser-focused on the copy when creating a new email campaign, but—as with most content marketing—it’s crucial that you don’t underestimate the power of design. By implementing these email design tips and best practices, you can measurably increase your click-through rates and improve the overall performance of your email marketing campaigns.


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Topics: Email Marketing, Digital Design, E-Commerce Marketing