The Dream of the '90s is Still Alive in Your Email Design

April
7th, 2016
Keyhole - Content Marketing - Joe Dudeck
Joe Dudeck
President + Founder
Categories: Email Marketing
April
7th, 2016
Keyhole - Content Marketing - Joe Dudeck
Joe Dudeck
President + Founder
Categories: Email Marketing

You remember the ’90s when everyone was using 19 different typefaces and hyperlinking every third word? People were placing everything in tables and creating their own clipart in Microsoft Paint?

Remember when everyone was drop-shadowing and adding borders to all their images? People were using gradients like solid colors had never been invented? Oh boy, oh boy. It’s the dream of the ’90s, and it appears to still be alive in your email design.

But it’s 2016. It’s time to “cut…it…out”—to steal a line from that decade—and fix the following seven mistakes still found in emails today:

1. Be concise in your email content.

Gone are the days of emails written in long-form content blocks. Unlike the ’90s, your readers want to see emails closer to tweets than textbooks. Say what you need to say in as few words as possible. Try to make it easy to skim. Chances are, people aren’t going to curl up by the fireplace with your email and settle in for the long haul.

2. Use headings and subheads.

Once you reduce your email content, break it up using H1, H2, and H3 tags. These will help organize your content into hierarchies so readers know what’s most important. These tags actually assist the brain and eyes to follow along easier and finish going down the page. But don’t go overboard. The goal here is to make the verbiage in your emails more appealing to read, not distracting with excessive heading options.

3. Limit your colors.

Unless you work for Sherwin-Williams, limit the colors of your rainbow to 2-3 options. And make sure the colors you select still align with your brand, while playing well together. If your company has a style guide, make sure to refer to that. A free color wheel tool like Adobe Color CC can be helpful.

4. Limit your typefaces.

Here again, less is much, much more. If you have three or more different typefaces in your emails, you have way too many.

5. Use irresistible photography.

Clip art was a bad idea in the ’90s, and it’s still a bad idea today. Stop considering it an option. A few years ago, I would have said the same about stock photography. (I mean have you and your coworkers every high-fived each other in a field?) But lately, some new players have started offering much better photo options. Here are some of my favorites:

6. Use calls to action (CTA) buttons.

It was cool in the ’90s to see how many words you could hyperlink in one email. Not so much in this era. Rather than pointing your readers in a thousand different directions, create 2-3 CTA buttons that give them obvious launching pads to where you want them landing. Make it easy for the reader to determine where you want them to go next.

7. Never use “www.”

Congrats on dropping the “http://” somewhere along the way! Now take the next step and drop the unnecessary world wide web abbreviation.

Follow these and you’ll soon be “all that and a bag of chips.” (Ok, I’m done.)

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