Let’s assume something.
Let’s assume that you’re great at writing subject lines. So much so, that you’ve got your readers tripping over the rest of the junk in their inboxes just to get to yours. And let’s assume that you’re just at great at writing stellar email copy. Every subject and verb’s in perfect agreement and not one participle’s dangling. You’re just that good.
Well, you should stop wasting your time.
Sorry, but it’s true. If you’re spending all your time drafting the greatest subject lines and email copy only to haphazardly cut/paste it all into an email template before hitting send, then you’re wasting your time. And your readers will soon find out your wasting their time too.
Your email content—and all the elements surrounding your content—need to look appealing. Your emails need to entice your readers to start reading and keep reading…to soak up every word and click every link.
Here are three quick design changes you can make to spice up the look of your content.
No one wants to see a novel when they open an email. Make your content look more enticing simply by breaking it up into manageable sections. Use the extra white space to your advantage and help the readers’ eyes move down the page.
Consider opening your emails with 1-2 sentences of appealing intro copy and then break up the rest of the content into 2-3 sections. These sections should include a subhead at the beginning and 1-2 paragraphs of copy. Also, use short, succinct sentences as needed in these paragraphs, but try to limit the number of one-line sentences.
And finally, utilize bulleted and indented text when applicable. You don’t always need to speak in complete sentences. This isn’t your high school English class anymore. Make quick, short points in these sections.
You can set the tone of your email just through the use of a powerful or applicable graphic. In the header section of your email, include an image that catches your readers’ attention and gives them an indication of your email’s subject matter. This simple addition has proven to be very valuable in getting a reader to click and open your email.
But don’t choose just any picture to fill this space. Treat it like a billboard on the side of a highway. You have just a second to catch or lose someone’s attention with it. Don’t settle for an image that isn’t sharp and clear. Nothing looks tackier than a blurry or pixelated image, and you certainly don’t want that to set the bar for your email.
Sidebars can be great places for holding concise text and appealing graphics, but they can also be meaningless wastelands.
Only use sidebars when needed. If you have nothing to place there, then use a different template. Don’t dump words and graphics there just to fill the space. More often than not, keeping your template simple is actually much more attractive to a reader. Don’t over-stimulate your readers. Having too many things going on in your email may actually deter a reader from staying with you until the end.