Email Marketing Email Design Mistakes to Avoid

Published on August 5th, 2013 | by Eli Menaker

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3 Simple Mistakes You Might be Making with Email Design

There’s an art to creating an email that your customers will want to open and read. With the ever increasing number of businesses using email marketing, it’s important that your email stands out. And while there are lots of great tips on best email practices, sometimes it’s the little design mistakes that can send your email straight to “unsubscribe prison.” Here are 3 key mistakes to avoid when designing your next email.

3 Common Email design mistakes to avoid 1. Hard to read font size, style or color

You want your customers to be able to read your email with ease. Though this seems obvious, it’s important to take into account that many customers are now reading emails on smart phones or tablets; increasing your font size is a good idea, however, you don’t want to get too big. Size 14 for body text tends to be a good rule. Also, keep your fonts simple, consistent and web-safe – not just within a single email, but also in all your follow-up emails. If you choose to use various fonts, stick to two max – one for headlines, the other for the body of your email. And, avoid script-like fonts, as they’re usually harder to read. The goal is for your marketing communications to be recognizable. With font color, avoid color on top of color; keep it simple and dark, such as black or dark grey against a white background. Lighter colors make for tough reading. Save your brighter, richer colors for your call-to-action buttons. Also avoid text on top of a patterned background

2. Complex or confusing images

Compelling imagery is an important aspect to grabbing your readers’ attention, but you don’t want to use an image that’s going to overpower your content or potentially distract or offend your customers. Keep your images simple, relevant and fun. It’s best to use basic, clear images that everyone will immediately associate with your message, and then move on to the content. Avoid images that could be puzzling or confusing. You don’t want your customers to stop and wonder why the image is there or what it means. Also, consider your audience when you’re choosing an image. If the image is referencing something specific, take a minute to make sure the majority of your audience will understand the reference. You’d hate to use an image that unintentionally alienates a potential customer.

3. Inconsistent messaging or templates

You want your emails to have a consistent look, style and voice. If you continually change the tone of voice or personality you use in your messages, the template structure, contact information location, etc. you also run a high risk of confusing customers and possibly having them unsubscribe. Without consistency, loyal customers may receive an email, glance at it, then unsubscribe from your mailing list without realizing it’s one of your emails, simply because it looked, at first glance, nothing like the last several emails they’d received. Certain things should remain the same from email to email. Your contact information should always be easy to find and in the same place. Your color schemes and template design can change somewhat (always make sure to test), but don’t make the change too drastic. Keep recognizable elements in each email and always stick to your company branding, your readers will know it right away. The main things that should change include subject line, headline, body copy and images. The rest should stay fairly the same. Own your style, make it yours and stay consistent.

Keeping these common mistakes in mind the next time you draft a marketing email will help decrease unsubscribes, and increase loyal customers who engage with your content. Oftentimes it’s the simpler emails that get read and the consistent styles that retain readers.

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About the Author

Eli Menaker

Eli Menaker is a contributing author for VerticalResponse.



One Response to 3 Simple Mistakes You Might be Making with Email Design

  1. Conrad says:

    Some great points. I think consistency from week-to-week / month-to-month especially is an aspect where some tend to forget that the audience isn’t half as ‘in the know’ as you. It’s better to keep things plain then test launches of new layouts / designs / themes when they’re ready. If you can’t commit to an email design, your audience will find it especially difficult :)

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