Getting your email design right is tough, not least because everyone has different tastes and design itself is incredibly subjective, but also because it doesn’t just refer to how pretty it looks.

Email design runs deep into the content, calls-to-action (CTAs) and even the way in which you allow people to unsubscribe from your mailings.

There are, however some common likes and dislikes, no matter what your aesthetic taste, and in this blog post, we’re going to look at five examples of each.

5 things people hate about email design

Let’s start with the bad stuff; the stuff people absolutely hate about email design, because we think these are the easiest things to fix!

1. Making it difficult to unsubscribe

Picture the scene: you’ve received an email you really have no interest in and you’d rather not receive anything like it from that sender again in the future. So, you look for an obvious way to unsubscribe.

But there isn’t one. So, you get frustrated and end up spamming or reporting the email instead.

Clearly, you don’t want to be the sender in this instance, so always make it ultra easy to unsubscribe with a clear link and as few steps as possible (one will do).

2. Way too much text

It’s important you use words to get your point across and highlight whatever it is on offer, but hit your audience with the email equivalent of War and Peace, and they’ll quickly get bored.

3. Poor imagery

We know how it is; you had limited time to put together that last email newsletter and had to grab some naff images (probably illegitimately) from Google Image Search.

Unfortunately, that means your email looks terrible, and won’t gain the engagement it deserves.

Always source high quality or unique images for your emails, even if it means you’re later sending than you would be normally.

4. Vague, dull subject lines

See? We told you email design runs much deeper than the pretty stuff!

If your email features a dull subject line or one that doesn’t make it clear what’s on offer, people are far less likely to open it.

Spend more time on your subject line than anything else – it’s that important.

5. Irrelevant content

Unless you’re segmenting your subscriber base and using those targeted lists to send personalised, relevant emails to people, you’ll regularly come up against the issue of people receiving stuff that simply doesn’t interest them.

You’re smarter than that – make sure the emails you send contain content that completely suits the audience.

5 things people love about email design

We said the rubbish stuff was easy to fix, but it’s beaten hands down by the stuff people love about design when it comes to explaining why.

And to prove that, we’ll explain each of the following in a single sentence:

1. Simplicity

People love receiving emails with a clear subject line, engaging, short introduction, beautiful image and big button that tells them what to do.

2. Easy unsubscribes

There’s that word again; people want to unsubscribe quickly if they no longer want your content (no hard feelings!).

3. Clear footers

Avoid filling your footer with endless detail and contact options; focus on the latter and leave the rest for your website.

4. Responsive design

Most people will open your email on their smartphone, therefore it needs to function flawlessly on screens of that size.

5. Comprehensive testing

They may not pin it on a lack of testing, but if your audience receives an email that hasn’t been put through its paces, it’ll be obvious when it arrives broken, illegible and missing that all important CTA.

Wrapping up

There are of course many more techniques you can use in email design, but the above represent the most common likes and dislikes. Ignore them at your peril!

About 

Mark is one of mailingmanager's email experts. His contributions to this blog openly share the tricks, tips and best practices he's learned while running multiple e-marketing campaigns.

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