10 top tips for email design and delivery

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Email marketing expert and Junction Managing Partner, Steve Kemish, offers his top 10 tips for email design and delivery, part of a larger new best practice guide on delivering business growth with email.

1. Know your market

Ensure you start to measure the percentage of recipients using desktop or mobile (or tablet). This means you can optimise your design for the right audience. But before you start to use this insight to form a segment, remember that much of your audience uses multiple devices, so don’t assume an open on a mobile device will happen every time; an individual may well use their desktop or laptop next time.

2. Go responsive

If you want to solve the conundrum above, you could take a look at responsive design. Re-engineering your email templates to ensure the underlying code will flex to give the best user experience for multiple devices can be a worthwhile investment.

3. Don’t ditch the desktop just yet

Even if you have no primary data to confirm this, it’s a pretty safe bet to assume you have mobile traffic for your emails already and this will only grow. But be careful – Outlook is still the workhorse of many businesses so will be a key email client. Make sure your design also supports this audience.

4. Make it easy

Make sure the the primary call-to-action (CTA) of each of your emails is really clear. Fall-off-a-log clear. Test the location, size and colour of your CTAs – they’re the most vital part of the message, so ensure you work to understand what drives the best click rate.

5. Timing

There is no ‘best’ time to send emails – you’ll need to identify this by looking at your own data. Also ensure you map your sends against your broader business operations. Don’t send when your call centre is closed or about to close – instead, try and understand peak patterns from the telephony logs of your support and sales team, and again look at web analytics for clues around busy times for your website.

6. Images – less is more

One of the biggest reasons that legitimate emails end up in junk, or are treated as spam, is the image-to-text ratio. Images are a great way to get a message across, but sadly email clients will often view these with caution because spammers so regularly over-use them.  A simple rule here is to use text where you can – don’t make headlines an image. Ensure you educate your email designers so they know about this challenge.

7. Embrace the small print

A brilliant way to maintain the use of images in your emails is to add further small print to the footer. It’s common to see this area on nearly all emails. Users often simply look for the ‘unsubscribe’ button in this area; rarely is it actually read. So harness this insight and add an extra paragraph of information there – make sure it’s meaningful, but know its primary goal is to help balance the use of images in the rest of that message.

8. Enter the golden triangle

The sender name, subject line and preview pane (the part of the message your email client shows you before opening) constitute the ‘golden triangle’ of email marketing and have the greatest impact on whether you achieve an open or a deletion. Test different names; aim for one that’s most relevant to each audience and don’t let opinion get in the way of fact. Test all three to gauge the optimum.

9. Don’t forget the landing page

You may have sent the perfect email to the perfect list at the perfect time, but what happens after they click? Your landing page is the next place users will look – is this easy to use? Is it in keeping with the email that went before it in terms of both design and tone? Lavish this page with as much love and attention as the email itself.

10. Keep it real (time)

There’s now a wave of technology providers that help you bring real-time dynamic content to your emails. The likes of Movable Ink, LiveIntent and Liveclicker are among many that allow you to pull in third party real-time content (think the latest weather forecast for the area you’re travelling to) to help you differentiate and stand out in their inbox.

These tips were extracted from B2B Marketing’s latest best practice guide, Deliver business growth with email. Download the guide now or get in touch with us here at Junction for any advice or help on how to tackle email and digital marketing within your organisation.

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