• Design
  • 4 min

Beginner Friendly Ways to Design Emails

  • Author
  • Ian Bower
  • Published
  • Dec 21, 2021
4 min

Beginner Friendly Ways to Design Emails

"This is a gentle reminder to..."

 

"This is noted."

 

"Please see attached..."

 

Writing emails is a lost art. We have gotten so used to all the typical office jargon and cliche's and it shows. It has gotten to the point that our emails are so rote, Google has an algorithm that helps us draft them without any thought!

 

Let us be honest with ourselves: nobody needs help writing an email in general. Even when writing our bosses, we can just word things formally and get away with it. The minute we need to come up with something more dynamic than just a block of text, it gets a whole lot more tricky.

 

Josh Bernoff didn't mince words when he spelled out how damaging bad emails (and other forms of bad writing) can get: $400 Billion. Imagine costing your company a potential client just because you didn't take the 5 minutes to write your email properly.

 

Now imagine how many people are writing poorly in the USA alone. Imagine what $400 Billion worth of terrible writing would look like. You simply do not want to be part of that statistic.

 

Now that we are sufficiently terrified, we can start thinking about how to improve our emails. Foremost : they can be more than just text.

 

Beyond Basic Email

 

Constructing an email newsletter is no mean feat. If you are just starting out with your business, it's tempting to dispense with all the design elements. After all, why bother with all that when you can go straight from the heart?

 

The bad news is you can't take your EDM for granted. It really demands a great deal of effort and attention. If you really want your email to be worth reading, a lot of care goes into it.

 

That's because the good news is, according to fundera.com, direct mail open rates can reach up to 90%. Despite not being as glamorous as display advertisements or as viral as videos, the lowly email gets the job done.

 

Even better, direct email response rates can be 5 to 9 times higher than any ad channel. Remember that viral video campaign that cost thousands of dollars to get going? A solid EDM campaign for a few hundred would likely get more results.

 

True, not all of us are born with an eye for design and layout. Despite that, it's important to know the elements involved in creating engaging and effective emails. Let us break each of them down and what you could do to make the most out of it.

 

The Subject Line

 

Yes, even the word choice here is incredibly important. A subject line that's catchy, interesting, and snappy can get people clicking. And everyone knows that you've won half the battle the minute they open your email.

 

Inc.com recommends you avoid 3 mistakes when writing your subject line. These tips should help you construct a subject line that works. Watch people open your email long before they know what it's even about.

 

First, don't write the whole email in the subject line. It's tempting to be as thorough as possible, but let the body of your email do the talking for you.

 

Second, it's one thing to do snappy and catchy subject lines. It's another to make it clickbait. We know the type: "you won't believe what happens when you click this!" It's a scream of desperation that turns people off.

 

Lastly, you have one chance to write the subject line. Make every word count because you know it has to be short. Don't bother with empty words and make every single one work hard to get your point across.

 

The Layout

 

How you arrange your visuals and your copy matters. We already know that when people feel it is too much effort, they would pass on reading something. This is why a clean-looking layout does wonders for any EDM.

 

Email design doesn't mean over-design. Like the idea behind the no-makeup look, a clean layout trains the reader to look where you want them to. A simple layout where you have one visual aid per section should more than suffice.

 

The layout is one of the first things your readers will notice once they open the email. It needs to serve the purpose of reading. This dictates how your layout will flow. The layout also needs to work both on the desktop and on mobile.

 

And, oh. This tip should be obvious, but people forget all the time: it's enough that we scroll vertically. Don't make your EDM layout so wide that we also need to scroll that way, too.

 

Signpost Well

 

Signposting would let your readers know when you're about to say something important. A well-signposted email could be easily broken down and digested even by the shortest of attention spans.

 

To accomplish this, you need to break up your copy into digestible segments, much like this blog post. Each heading has its own salient point. If we want to make multiple points in a row, then bullet-point away!

 

When you signpost your EDM correctly, it's much easier to retain information for your readers. This allows them to make better decisions about you and your products or services.

 

Visual Appeal

 

Choose the right color palette for your newsletter. You can base it on your logo, or use color psychology. It starts from the very top of your newsletter, in fact.

 

Getresponse.com helpfully points out that the heading itself does a lot of the work for setting the tone. It's usually a huge block of a single color, maybe two at the most. We don't need to get into what each color means here just yet. Just know that your color choices will affect how your target audience feels.

 

Aside from colors, your illustrations or images also need to be handy. Don't just go with random images with no rhyme or reason. Let them be just as hardworking. Let the images tell a story or provide data, much like an infographic does.

 

Content Is Still King

 

As little emphasis as we've put in copy this whole time, the meat of what you have to say still has to be here. Snappy, concise, and clear copy will help your audience respond how you want them to.

 

There's so much room for you to navigate here. Do you like being edgy and snarky? Then lean into it and make it a part of your newsletter! How about formal and distinguished? By all means, go ahead!

 

However you go about it, always remember that your copy will end up doing 90% of the work.

 

Putting It All Together

 

This is as basic as it gets for the beginner. By just avoiding the most obvious mistakes others have made, you already have a leg up on them.

 

But if you really want to take the guesswork out of your EDM, then why not turn to the experts? We at graphicrhythm.com are more than happy to help you build that game-changing newsletter. Explore our work today and we'd be happy to serve you!

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  • Ian Bower
  • Ian is the owner of Graphic Rhythm as well as other businesses that revolve around design, copywriting and Amazon marketplace selling. He's an expert in communicating persuasively and loves helping business owners and digital agencies breathe life into their projects and ideas.

    He values generosity and attention to detail and strives to make sure these values are apparent in the services he provides and the businesses he owns.

    When Ian isn't working, you can find him outside hiking, camping and spending time with his wife and children

  • Ian is the owner of Graphic Rhythm as well as other businesses that revolve around design, copywriting and Amazon marketplace selling. He's an expert in communicating persuasively and loves helping business owners and digital agencies breathe life into their projects and ideas.

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