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Email Design Best Practices

Designing Emails Today

When sending out emails to large lists of potential clients, it’s important to design your emails with the recipient in mind. Each element of your email from header to footer should be clear and concise. Equally important is the structure and design of your email, leading to more sales.

Email Design Best Practices

From Line

Your from line needs to include your company or brand name. It should also be no longer than 25 characters and should be consistent across all campaigns. Doing this will prevent your emails from being white-listed and can even help keep your email out of spam boxes. Additionally, keeping your emails from the same sender will help establish brand recognition for the recipients. Growth in brand recognition leads to higher email response rates and ultimately more sales.

Subject Line

It is recommended not to use more than 40 characters (including spaces). Subject lines should also entice your recipients to open the email, without being misleading. Remember, this is the first contact point your email makes with the recipient which is why you need to do your best to capture their attention. If you are ever curious about how well-written your subject line is, try using a Subject Line tester like Send Check It. Websites like Send Check It will help provide a spam grade for your email subject line and provide some pointers for optimizing your subject line.

Ask a question In Your Subject Line

A good subject line strategy is to ask a question since it offers the customer something to think about. Almost every client should be thinking about your question. And by opening your email, they are responding to that query by expressing an interest in it. You can even answer the question in your subject line. Here are a few examples of question-type subject

  • Running through too much dog food? We can help
  • Need a cool employee gift for Fall? We’ve got ’em
  • Looking to get in shape for summer? This workout works

All of the subject lines above ask a question, give an answer, and all come in under 55 characters. Ask a question and you’ll see your open rates improve.

Use the phrase “customer fave(s)” to sate curiosity

Most individuals are at least interested in what other people are buying. If a product has a large audience and a lot of positive feedback from consumers, your receiver is more likely to buy it. As a result, we feel that a “customer favorite” product mentioned in a subject line is a no-brainer. To make this tactic even more effective, use this phrases like the below:

  • Our newest vacuums are selling fast
  • More than 1,000 Pop-Sockets sold
  • Our customers can’t get enough of this…

Make it a list

A list is a simple method to provide value, promote a product or service, and avoid being too blatant about it. A list sends a subliminal impression to a consumer that your email is well-organized and easy to read. They’ll be more inclined to read your email if they know they won’t be confronted by a wall of text. Add products or services to this list and you’ll not only get them interested in opening your email, but you can showcase various products at the same time. Here are some good examples:

  • Top 5 customer faves for Fall
  • 10 products you can’t live without
  • 3 ways to save money on dog food

Email Design

Design your emails for clarity, persuasion, and responsiveness.

  • Clarity – Your message needs to be well written, free of grammar and spelling errors and designed to be easily read.
  • Persuasion – Make it clear what action(s) you would like for your reader to take and make sure your text compels them to take action.
  • Responsiveness – Today’s emails need to be designed with Desktop, Tablet, and Mobile Phone users in mind.

Ensure your most compelling content is at the top (and preferably to the left).

  • Call to action should show in the initial email view pane without scrolling. You can either have them as part of your text, button or have them in a clickable image.
  • Include your “offline” contact information, including your physical mailing address, phone number, etc. It will help people
    remember who you are and they might trust your unsubscribe link more, instead of reporting your email as spam.
  • Make sure the content is text-based and can always be read.


Use compelling images that accurately represent your company/brand’s product or service. One of the last things you want to do is mislead your potential clients into thinking they will be receiving a product or service that doesn’t match up with what is actually being offered. Also, when selecting images make sure the images are high-quality, bright, and sized appropriately. By selecting high-quality photos, you eliminate the risk of photos displaying as blurry or distorted. Bright photos tend to resonate well with the email reader and can help your email stand out among the competition. With so many devices being used, it’s important to use an image that looks good on both desktops and mobile devices.

Call To Actions

We’ve come up with a list of the most commonly used call to action phrases.

Triggers for Spam Filters

Avoid usage of the following words in the subject line and body of your email:

  • exclamation marks !
  • $
  • 100%
  • free
  • limited time
  • click here!
  • act now
  • affordable
  • reasonable priced
  • bargain
  • best
  • congratulations
  • no cost
  • no fee
  • no obligation

  • guaranteed
  • new – improved
  • special invitation
  • what are you waiting for
  • while supplies last
  • discount
  • winner
  • you have been selected
  • single image emails
  • low ratio of text to images

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