When it comes to email design, it can be tough to know where to start — especially when you factor in the type of email to be sent (drip emails, autoresponders, webinar blasts, etc), images, HTML, rich text, and more. Having a tool like marketing automation that makes it possible to build emails with limited HTML knowledge is a step in the right direction, but there are still a lot of factors to consider before hitting that “send” button.
One of the biggest considerations is your layout. An appealing, easy-to-read email can make the difference between your email being read, opened and deleted, or just plain deleted. If you’re looking for some guidelines when it comes to template design, or wondering which style of email performs best for certain types of messaging, check out a few examples from real Pardot users below. Each of these emails exemplifies certain email template best practices, whether it’s call to action placement, organization, content, or colors and design.
Holiday Email: Audaxium
This email from Audaxium boasts a 34% open rate, and is a great example of how a clean, simple design can still portray a lot of personality. The tone is casual and humorous yet informative, and the copy does a great job of showing off Audaxium’s personality.
Best Practice Tip: Whenever possible, show off your brand’s personality and culture through your emails. Your readers want to see something that looks like it came from a human, not a textbook.
Best Practice Tip: Use bullets to make it easier for your readers to scan through important points. Long paragraphs can scare your readers away before they even get to the real meat of your email.
Event Email: Cloud Sherpas
Cloud Sherpas’ event email features a colorful image at the top to draw the eye, and shows how an email can still be informative while being clean, short, and to-the-point. Text is broken into bullets to make it easier to read, the call to action is prominently placed (at the top right), and the email consistently reinforces its value proposition: the benefits of attending Australia’s biggest cloud computing event.
Best Practice Tip: Use colors to draw your reader’s eye and pull them further into the email, like Cloud Sherpas does with their header image. You want your email to stand out from the rest of the black and white emails landing in your readers’ inboxes.
Best Practice Tip: Research has shown that people scan emails in an “F” shaped pattern. Keep this in mind when creating your templates. Important information should be at the top, including your company logo, your call to action, and any key points that you’d like readers to take away from your email (in the case of this Cloud Sherpas email: event, date, and time information).
Training and Events Email: Javelin
This email from Javelin showcases the value of providing the exact information your clients, customers, and prospects are looking for — without all of the fluff that can make emails lengthy, intimidating, and difficult to read. The design is simple, appealing, and easy to scan, with a call to action set apart on the side and emphasized by both a different color and a border.
Best Practice Tip: Keep emails simple so that the actions required by your prospects or customers are always obvious. In today’s day and age, your readers are often just going to be skimming your emails for important, relevant points. Calls to action need to stand out and should be emphasized by either color, placement, size, or a border.
Customer Feedback Email: Javelin
This email from Javelin is a great example of what can be done with HTML emails in your marketing automation system. The template design and images are clean, and the template has been broken into smaller sections to make it easier to read. The email also features an obvious call to action, a “Contact Us” section, and social share buttons.
Best Practice Tip: Make sure your call to action is featured at the top of your email (it can also be sprinkled throughout the rest of your email, but the most important place for it to appear is at the top). Many people don’t bother scrolling all the way to the bottom of emails, so calls to action placed at the end of an email could end up being overlooked.
Best Practice Tip: The “Contact Us” section and social share buttons are often neglected during email template design. It’s important that your email recipients can contact you with any questions or comments, or share your email across other mediums. Missing either of these elements can hinder communication between your clients and company, your clients and potential clients, or your prospects and company (depending on the type of email).
Webinar Email: Audaxium
The content of this webinar follow-up from Audaxium is what makes it really stand out. In addition to providing all relevant contact information, the content of the email is tailored based on the known interests of the recipients (in this case, web marketing and marketing automation). The links to the webinar slides, recording, and white paper function as calls to action. The template also includes a personalized signature from the Director of Sales and Marketing, along with all relevant social sharing buttons.
Best Practice Tip: If you know your readers’ interests, send them content that’s specifically related to those interests. Don’t just send a thank you email — add value by including additional content that your recipients might find useful. Audaxium’s email does a great job of this by providing links to more useful information based on the recipient’s past actions.
Rich Text Drip Email: IVCi
While most emails work best as HTML emails, we’ve found that drip emails are the most successful when they’re in a rich text format, which makes them appear as though they’re a one-to-one communication between a sales rep (or someone else at your company) and a prospect. This email from IVCi is short, conversational, and includes a personalized signature to enhance the impression that the email is coming directly from a sales rep.
Best Practice Tip: Do your best to ensure that drip emails appear to be one-to-one communications. Keep them informal and conversational while still including a value proposition, and send them from a specific person at your company, like a sales rep.
General Communications: Zerochaos
The language of this email from Zerochaos is benefit-focused, educational, and casual, and text is broken into bullets and smaller paragraphs. Social sharing buttons are featured prominently in the top right corner with additional links present at the bottom of the email.
Best Practice Tip: If you are sending emails to prospects who are in the early stages of the buying cycle, keep your content light and educational. Focus on thought leadership articles and blog posts instead of promoting late-stage sales collateral like buyers guides, white papers, and recorded webinars.
Best Practice Tip: Consider creating a sidebar in your email template if you have important information that you’d like to set apart. Think of it like this: if your readers can only read one part of your email, which section would you want them to read? This is the type of information that would be great to display separately for readers who love to scan.
These are just a few examples of some great email templates we’ve seen from our clients. What other best practices tips do you have for email template design?
Have any templates that you’d like to share? Send them our way!