Beefree blog

A Publisher’s Guide to Email Advertising

Beefree team
Beefree team
Nov 4, 2015
A Publisher’s Guide to Email Advertising
A Publisher’s Guide to Email Advertising

Advertising revenue continues to be the bread and butter for many publishers. Over the last years, advertising revenue has changed its form, moving from traditional media to digital, mobile and beyond.Following this digital shift, many publishers are using advertising in their email newsletter publications to generate a steady revenue source. In some cases, email advertising accounts for over 20% of total ad revenue!In this blog post we'll shine a light into how ads in email are used by a number of publishers and provide you with a snapshot of how they're incorporating ads in their email newsletter publications — including which email ad types are being used and what's the technology behind.

Email advertising commonly accounts for over 20% of total ad revenue.

In This Guide

  • Email Ad Types
  • How Top Publishers Use Ads in Emails
  • How Top Tech Publications Use Ads in Emails
  • How Newsletter-Only Companies Use Ads in Emails
  • How Mid-sized Publishers Use Ads in Emails
  • Ad Technology Providers & Ad Networks
  • Best Practices for Email Ad Design

Email Ad Types

The way ads appear in emails differs from brand to brand and publisher to publisher, but they tend to fall into three main categories: display ads, native ads and sponsored emails.

1. Display/Banner Ads

Display advertisements, also known as banner ads, are a form of ads embedded into a website — or in this case, into an email — that typically include static or animated images, a video and/or text that communicates a marketing message.You’ve seen them before. Check out this example from PureWow, a digital publication featuring women’s lifestyle content. The newsletter included a Forever21 display ad at the bottom of the message:

advertisement in email newsletter

Display ads have been around pretty much since the internet has existed, and that means they’re in our email inboxes, too. But these days, banner ads are often considered outdated eyesores that people have learned to tune out. Click-through rates on banner ads have reportedly fallen to a meager 0.06% (way down from 78% on the first banner ad ever in 1994).However, despite fears of “banner blindness,” brands still use them. As you’ll see in our section on Display Ads in detail, advertisers and designers strive to be increasingly creative and clever with banner ads — so you can count on continuing to see banner ads in emails.Many display ads you see in your browser while surfing the web are targeted, interest-based ads that are displayed based on your browsing history. These ads can be based on the content of the page you’re visiting or the registration information you provide. They could also be shown based on predictions about your interests generated from your visits to other websites (via cookies).You’ve probably seen the AdChoices logo in the corner of a display ad. AdChoices gives readers some control over the content of these targeted ads:

adchoices logo

The AdChoices program has been around since 2011 and is managed by the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA). Its stated goal is to provide consumers with information about how online advertising works and the choices you have. Click on an ad with the AdChoices logo, and you can control whether you receive interest-based advertising and from which companies.This type of display ads exist in email, too. Some publishers use a separate platform (like LiveIntent, which we'll revisit in the Ad Networks & Tech Providers section) designed to place real-time advertising in email. The moment an email newsletter is opened, a user-interest ad populates via HTML code.Here’s an example from email newsletter Cut. See the “Recommended by PowerInbox” text? PowerInbox helps publishers and brands provide personalized ads that subscribers are more likely to engage with.

sponsored email ad

2. Native Ads

Native advertising — we’re sure you’ve heard the term. But if you’ve wondered what exactly it means, you’re not alone. Native ads can look different for different publishers. Essentially, native ads are ad content that fits seamlessly into the existing content of the brand or publisher.The IAB describes it this way: “Native advertising is paid ads that are so cohesive with the page content, assimilated into the design, and consistent with the platform behavior that the viewer simply feels that they belong.” It’s emerged more prominently in the last few years as a way for marketers to engage with consumers on a new level — a way to connect with a built-in audience by providing quality content that could already be there, making it feel like a “native” or natural experience.Because there is no “standard” in native advertising, the approach has faced a lot of controversy. Readers have, at times, felt fooled by native ads that appeared to be “pure” journalism or regular site content only to find out what they’re reading is a paid advertisement.That’s why it’s become critical for native ads to be easily distinguished if brands want to maintain readership and consumer trust and loyalty.The Interactive Advertising Bureau advocates that, for paid native ad units, clarity and prominence of the disclosure is paramount. The disclosure must:

  1. Use language that conveys that the advertising has been paid for, thus making it an advertising unit, even if that unit does not contain traditional promotional advertising messages.
  2. Be large and visible enough for a consumer to notice it in the context of a given page and/or relative to the device that the ad is being viewed on.

Simply put: Regardless of context, a reader should be able to distinguish between what’s paid advertising and what’s publisher editorial content.Here’s what a native ad looks like in the OZY Weekender (see: “Reap the benefits of a sustainable closet”). OZY let you know at the beginning of the message that the email was sponsored by Cariuma.

email advertising best practices

An oft-cited benefit of native ads — when they're transparent and not “sneaky” — is that they're way more relevant for a target audience than traditional ads. The same holds true for interest-based display ads. The more an advertiser understands a person's interests and behaviors, the more targeted the ads can be. In theory, this benefits both parties.Plus, native ads are less in-your-face than typical banner ads. The approach forces brands to create content that many readers perceive as higher quality than traditional ads, making native advertising a particularly exciting and appealing advertising method for many publishers right now.

3. Sponsored Content and Sponsored Emails

Sponsorships through email can take multiple forms. One common approach is to allow a third party to sponsor your content in exchange for an advertisement or endorsement in your email. Here’s that approach in practice from Product Hunt Daily. Check out the section at the bottom from Zendesk Suite:

email newsletter with sponsored content

The sponsorship approach allows Product Hunt Daily to make money through advertising while maintaining control and trust with their readership. They accomplish this by keeping the ad on-brand (see how the ad looks similar to the “Yesterday’s Top Hunts” section?). Like a native ad, this sponsorship fits in with Product Hunt’s content.Another sponsorship approach is to send out an entire email to your audience from a third-party sponsor. It’s kind of like you’ve rented out your email list in that you’re accepting payment from another organization in exchange for sending a promo email to your list. It’s a common practice among publishers.Below is an example from Listings Project, a weekly curated email of real estate and opportunities listings for artists and creative communities. In this case, to maintain that trust and transparency with readers, Listings Project does two things: 1) They’re upfront about what they’re doing. At the close of each sponsored email, they include this statement: “In addition to our regular weekly newsletters, we send out occasional dedicated email offers and promotions from our sponsors.”And 2) They clearly label sponsored emails in the subject line, so readers understand what they’re getting even before they click to open.

How Top Publishers Use Ads in Emails

With the decline in print media advertising thanks to the internet, the publishing industry has faced a sink-or-swim environment in which publishers have had to reinvent how they reach their audiences, create content and sustain themselves, with effective advertising playing a critical part. Let’s take a look at how some of the top publishers use ads in emails.

New York Times

Leading header display ad followed by two larger ads

Let’s take a look at this email from the New York Times. This newsletter includes three ads total: one display ad at the top (Cariuma), another large ad (Gilt) in the middle and a second Gilt ad near the bottom. The ads are spaced out throughout the email so you can browse through the headlines without being interrupted too often.

email advertising example

Lit Hub Daily

Display ad

In this newsletter from Lit Hub Daily, a display ad for Castro is featured near the bottom. Take a look:

email advertising

Right away, we noticed there’s no banner ad at the top. It’s easy to get straight to the meat of the content, which is what readers are looking for.

Key takeaways from how top publishers use ads in emails:

  • Major publishers tend to use more interest-based display ads than other types. Depending on the publisher, it could be because certain ad slots were not sold to major sponsors, and interest-based ads provide more revenue than typical remnant ads.
  • Ads are evenly distributed throughout an email with at least three stories or headlines between ads. Some are placed in breaks between sections.

Remember to consider:

  • First impressions. Think about how readers might feel when they open your email to see an ad at the top, first thing.
  • Space. Balance content with ads. Top publishers dedicate 60%+ of email real estate to content and the rest to ads.
  • Placement. Are ads eyesores in the middle of your content, or are they well-integrated with the design of your newsletter?

How Top Tech Publishers Use Ads in Emails

The major technology publications treat advertising similarly to the top publications we reviewed above. They may be cutting edge when it comes to covering the latest technology news and innovations, but are very traditional when it comes to how they use ads in email. Let's look at a couple of them.

Techcrunch

Sponsored content done well

Techcrunch, the longstanding popular technology blog now owned by AOL, typically uses a combination of display and sponsored content in their email newsletters. In this email, we see just one ad — a sponsored ad cleverly disguised to look like just another news item. Can you spot the ad? Yep — it’s the “Find Keywords to Boost Your SEO” section.

sponsored email example

CNET

Targeted ad

CNET packs a lot of content into its daily dose of technology news. Here, you’ll notice an ad for Capital One Shipping in the bottom right column of this message. See the AdChoices logo? That means this is a targeted, interest-based ad.

advertising in email

Key takeaways from how top tech publishers use ads in emails:

  • Top tech publishers advertise in emails just like other publishers, using multiple approaches including sponsored content and interest-based display ads.
  • Tech publishers tend to avoid placing banner ads at the top or header of an email, but aren't afraid to place multiple ads within an email.

Remember to consider:

  • Transparency. Sponsored content and native ads need to be clearly distinguished with text and design elements like background color and/or labeling.
  • Layout. Using multiple columns in an email, where ads distract and clutter along the side, is not a best practice. Use a single column layout that's easier to read, better for mobile viewing and doesn't make the email — including ads — feel cluttered.

How Newsletter-Only Companies Use Ads in Emails

The past few years have seen the emergence of a new kind of publisher: the email-only newsletter. The Skimm, Thrillist and the now-defunct Daily Candy are all examples of this type of publisher. Though they may republish their content online, the purpose of these publications is to reach people by email. That means doing in-email sponsorship right is even more important — these publishers don’t necessarily have a website to rely on for their “real” advertising revenue.These publishers tend to feature well-integrated advertising sponsorships with content and ad placements throughout the email to maximize revenue. Take a look at how two of these companies handle these sponsorships successfully.

Inside Deals

Inside Deals curates the best deals from around the web and delivers them straight to your inbox. The newsletter is presented by IBM Watson and there are two ads included throughout the email (clearly earmarked with text reading, “A message from IBM Watson”).(This image no longer exists)

The ads don’t include images or take up too much space. If you aren’t interested, it’s easy to just keep scrolling. But if you do want to check it out, it’s easy to do that, too.

Morning Brew

Morning Brew is a daily newsletter with a goal of helping you become smarter in just 5 minutes. This recent newsletter was presented by AthleticGreens and we see one sponsored ad that’s presented in the same format as the other news items in the email.(This image no longer exists)

Key takeaways from how newsletter-only publishers treat advertising:

  • Sponsorships and advertising are even more important for email-only publishers, since they don’t have additional advertising revenue from a website to rely on.
  • Email-only publishers can be especially innovative with their advertising campaigns, with integrated email headers, atypical banner sizes and color choices.

Remember to consider:

  • Full sponsorships. Email takeovers and fully integrated sponsorships from one brand work best for this type of publisher.
  • Labels. Label sponsored content appropriately, and use visual cues to demonstrate that it’s a different type of content, such as a different color background or a different color CTA button.

How Mid-sized Publishers Use Ads in Emails

The mid-sized publishers whose newsletters we pulled for this analysis use a variety of ad types. But in general, fewer ads appear in emails compared to the bigger, top-tier publishers we looked at earlier.

Practical Ecommerce

Sponsored ads throughoutPractical Ecommerce sends a daily roundup of down-to-earth articles and commentary for ecommerce businesses. In this recent example, we see two total ads, both sponsored: “A message from Wynter” at the beginning of the message and “A message from Zentail” in the middle.

email ad design

Sidebar

No mid-email ads

This email from Sidebar is easily skimmable, without too many ads cluttering it up. There’s just one advertisement total — a sponsored ad at the bottom (that’s clearly marked as such).

advertising in email

Key Takeaways from How Mid-Sized Publishers Use Ads in emails:

  • Unlike top publishers, mid-sized publishers tend to avoid interest-based display ads. Because the mid-sized publishers we featured here are more niche publications, they may have niche advertisers and rely less on ad networks to fill their ad inventory.
  • Mid-sized publishers use fewer ads in emails than top publishers — typically about two — even if they’re sending just as much content as bigger publishers.

Remember to consider:

  • Readers. With a smaller readership comes fewer ads. In order to build up your audience, it’s wise to focus on content first.
  • Size. If an ad is the first thing readers see in your email, consider making it a narrower, less obtrusive ad.
  • Format. Avoid putting a display ad right next to a story headline without a barrier between the two. Always be clear and transparent.

Email Ad Networks and Technology Providers

If you're looking to implement email advertising in your email newsletter publication, we've listed a few resources and providers to take a look at.First, check out an email ad network. Email ad networks connect publishers and advertisers so that publishers can easily monetize emails. For publishers without existing advertiser connections, it’s an opportunity to generate revenue through email. The advantage for advertisers is that emails provide a unique opportunity to get exposure to an audience through an established brand trusted by readers who have opted-in to receive content.

LiveIntent

LiveIntent is one of the most well-known companies operating in this space. LiveIntent targets well-established brands: They require three million monthly ad impressions (emails opened) to use their service. Publishers that do use LiveIntent simply place static HTML tags into their email templates, and the ads populate.

Gold Lasso

Gold Lasso specializes in native ad monetization. Like LiveIntent, the company provides code, but it’s customized to match the template and format of your newsletter.

PowerInbox

PowerInbox specializes in animated product displays and real-time tickers, helping to make ad content stand out. They also offer an option to use “personalized content” — in other words, interest-based ads that populate upon opens.

Wrap-up: Email ad design tips

Ready to start designing? First, take a look at these email ad design tips:

  • Ads should never make up the bulk of your email. Use them sparingly, to properly balance the content and advertising space allotments.
  • Consider your readers. If you’re going to include ads, strive to make them relevant. Don’t put an ad for kitchenware in your email newsletter for car mechanics.
  • Be transparent. Native ads need to use language that conveys it’s been paid for (think: “advertisement,” “sponsored,” etc.) that’s large and easy to read. Use design tactics to make your native ad look different from the rest of your content, like a different background color or a special icon or label.
  • Design still matters. Consider the size and format of ads you choose, if you have control over it.
  • Remember placement. If an ad is the first thing readers see in your email, consider making it a narrower, less obtrusive ad.
  • The current standard format for most interest-based or square display ads is bulky, with lots of padding surrounding each display. Consider the real estate they’ll take up in your email and use them sparingly.

Use the BEE email editor to build emails that incorporate ads in the best way possible to engage your readers and earn more revenue!

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Marketing Agency Email Templates to Enhance Your Communications

Learn how your agency can balance multiple brands and email campaigns while saving time with HTML email marketing templates.
Emily Santos
May 17, 2024

For marketing agencies and their clients, email marketing serves as a powerful method of acquiring and retaining clients. In a 2023 survey, 50% of B2B marketers name email as their most effective marketing channel, performing 13% better than social media posts and 11% better than social media ads.

This emphasis on the importance of email marketing, while opportunistic, also presents a new wave of challenges for agencies to tackle.   

Unique challenges in agency email marketing

As a marketing agency in the digital age, staying on top of evolving trends, strategies, and algorithms is hard enough. The pressure to perform doubles when paired with client expectations to quickly develop, monitor, and execute the latest. 

So, how can agencies balance multiple brands and clients wanting to experiment with the newest trend with tried-and-true best practices while maintaining brand integrity?  

Email templates have proven to be a great asset in cutting down email production speed and increasing efficiency and productivity. Jim Maddock, Freelance Email Developer and CRM Consultant has developed over 670 emails for a wide range of departments, artists, and organizations, all extensions of only a few templates he built with Beefree customized to fit different brands. 

Benefits of using HTML email templates vs. custom coding or text-only emails

The days of email specialists and developers being the only ones involved in the email design process are long gone. Text-only emails are now mostly reserved for everyday communications, while HTML emails are used by a wide range of brands and organizations for internal communications and marketing material. 

Unlike text-only emails, HTML emails are dynamic, engaging, and personalized to showcase a brand’s identity and instill brand recognition in readers. 

Because all email-sending platforms support HTML,  email makers benefit from peace of mind knowing that their emails will display as intended across devices and email clients. 

While historically, manually coding HTML emails is known to be time-consuming and tedious work, the rise of no-code email builders is saving agencies valuable time and resources when building emails. To take it one step further, HTML email templates are becoming standard practices. Much like Jim Maddock, agencies only have to create these templates once and reuse them for multiple brands. 

Another option is to source an HTML email template that has already been built and tested for responsiveness, allowing your team more time to work on other deliverables. 

How to choose an HTML template

When choosing an existing HTML email template, there are a few considerations to take into account:

  • Customizability and usability: When working with multiple brands, it is crucial that your agency delivers on-brand designs. When choosing a template, the ability to customize it to fit into any given brand identity easily is non-negotiable. This means colors, fonts, font sizes, images, and more.

  • Versatility: Whether you’re creating an HTML email template from scratch or sourcing one, you’ll probably want to start with a few templates that can be used in multiple ways to decrease the amount of time spent on repetitive designs. An effective template should have all of your email's basic elements: hero, footer, and nav bar, and it should be flexible enough to add or remove blocks as needed. 
  • Best practices: The right HTML template follows email design best practices, including mobile-first design, dark mode, and spam prevention guidelines, to ensure an optimal viewing experience and delivery. 

By choosing an HTML template that fulfills all of these elements, you can quickly iterate the template to try new strategies (pleasing your client) while standing upon a strong foundation of what makes an effective email campaign (pleasing your agency). 

3 Essential email templates for marketing agencies

If you’re unsure where to start on your search for an HTML template, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ve curated three essential email templates for marketing agencies in the Beefree catalog. 

The Beefree HTML template catalog hosts 1,700+ templates for a wide range of industries, holidays, and usage. All templates are free to use on the Beefree editor and completely customizable to fit any brand style guidelines. The email builder also ensures that all emails created with Beefree render properly across all screen sizes. 

While assigned to a specific category, the following templates have been chosen due to their versatility. With a little creativity, each of the following templates can be used for a wide variety of email campaigns, industries, and brand styles due to their layout and simplicity.

Welcome email template

A welcome email template is just as it sounds - an introduction to who you are. While the contents of an email template may vary depending on the industry or purpose, there is usually a similar story told through them: this is who we are and this is what we do. Here is an example of an email template designed for an agency: 

At the top, the email provides a space for a logo, a nav bar, and a title. 

Above the fold, the template kicks off with an introduction of “Who are we” which answers to a welcome emails main purpose: introduce new audiences to who you are and connect with them off a first impression. 

As we scroll, the email layout changes to help guide the reader through “what we do” and an introduction to the team with clear CTAs with next steps.

The email ends with a footer containing vital information. 

Browse all Welcome email templates: https://beefree.io/templates/welcome

Newsletter template

A routine newsletter is an excellent way to nurture leads and maintain relationships. Depending on the business, a newsletter offers readers various resources, updates, or offerings. An effective newsletter template offers multiple content block formats to pick and choose from. 

In this example, the template contains a prominent hero section with a bold CTA leading to resource #1. We recommend starting emails with a strong hero section to grab the attention of the reader above the fold. 

As you scroll, new resources are presented using a different layout to help differentiate the multiple pieces of content. 

The final resources in the template are presented in video format, which can easily be interchanged with an image to suit different brands' needs.

Browse all Newsletter templates: https://beefree.io/templates/newsletter

Survey email template

Surveys are excellent ways to gather feedback from different audiences. A survey email template should be short, clear, and concise. The purpose of the email should be easily digested and understood. 

The following template pulls the reader in with a large and clear header and body that clearly communicates to the reader that their feedback is wanted and why.  

This template offers two different ways to collect feedback, making it versatile for a brand’s needs. Below, you’ll see the survey embedded in the template and a CTA linking readers to the brand survey. 

Browse all Survey templates: https://beefree.io/templates/survey

The value of email marketing for agencies

The value of email marketing for agencies and their clients is undeniable. With an ROI of $36 for every $1 spent and being generally low-cost, it is one of the most effective ways to communicate to multiple audiences in one location—their inbox. 

Email templates help agencies save time and resources in email production so that your team and clients can benefit from more time to: 

  • Refine a brand’s messaging to ensure it aligns with its ideal customers. 
  • Personalize emails for the segmented recipients 
  • Grow the brand’s emailing list
  • Optimize email communications and increase conversion
  • And so much more.

Explore Beefree’s email marketing template library

HTML email templates can empower your email marketing agency to create responsive, high-performing, and engaging emails with ease. Beefree makes this process even quicker with its extensive template library and intuitive drag-and-drop builder. In addition, Beefree’s agnostic nature allows you to easily integrate with your client's sending and marketing platforms making it a seamless experience from start to finish.

Choosing the Best Email Marketing Software for Agencies

With a multitude of email marketing software options available, the process of comparing them can be time-consuming. Here are some top tips for choosing the right email marketing software for your growing agency.
Beefree team
Apr 25, 2024

The ideal email marketing software has two jobs: support your growing agencies marketing and deliver exceptional results for your clients. So, how do you know which tool is right for you?

Types of email marketing software

Email marketing encompasses a multifaceted process, involving strategic planning, creative design, content creation, list building, targeting, analysis, and more.

Different software tools cater to different facets of this process, each offering distinct features and functionalities. Broadly categorized, there are four types of email marketing software to consider:

1. Automation

Automation softwares can increase productivity by taking over of mundane and repetitive tasks involved in the email creation process. More importantly, automation solutions can help send the right emails at the right time. For example:

  • Emailing a cart abandonment reminder to customers who put items in their cart but don’t buy them
  • Sending a multi-email introduction campaign to customers or clients who sign up to a mailing list
  • Sending product or service recommendation emails to users based on their past purchases
  • Emailing a re-engagement email to clients or customers who haven’t made a purchase in a long time

2. Design and campaign creation

Email design software allows you to create effective, engaging email campaigns quickly and easily. These tools offer a user-friendly interface, often times with drag-and-drop functionalities that enable even those with limited design skills to create visually appealing emails swiftly.

Email design tools vs. email service providers

Moreover, these platforms often include features like A/B testing, dynamic content capabilities, and integration with other marketing tools, enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of email campaign creation.

An email service provider serves as the platform through which you send your emails, while an email design tool is specifically designed for creating visually appealing and professional emails. An effective email design tools should easily integrate with your ESP to ensure a seamless workflow.

3. Analytics and reporting

An email marketing analytics tool monitors and analyzes the outcomes of your email marketing initiatives, encompassing metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and engagement rates. Additionally, it should report details about your audience, such as demographics and behaviour, to help you make data driven decisions on the type of content that appeals to your readers and who is the most engaged.

4. List management and segmentation

A list management and segmentation tool facilitates the efficient management, organization, and maintenance of your mailing lists. These tools empower agencies to create distinct segments based on demographics or user actions.

For instance, when promoting your agency, you can create segments for existing clients and prospects. Alternatively, you might segment based on industry, such as retail, healthcare, or B2B sectors. These segmentation capabilities streamline targeted marketing efforts and enhance campaign relevance and effectiveness.

Factors to consider when choosing email marketing software

Selecting the right email marketing software is a crucial decision for agencies. Given the vast array of options available, each offering unique features and capabilities, many agencies use multiple tools to maximize their email efforts.

Whether you're looking for an all-in-one solution or exploring different options, it is essential to carefully assess several factors to make an informed decision:

  • Usability and interface: While there may be a learning curve with any new software, opting for a user-friendly interface ensures that your team can quickly adapt and efficiently create campaigns.
  • Pricing and plans: Budget considerations are paramount. Most software providers offer various plans tailored to different needs, so ensure you compare the appropriate plan options to your organization's unique needs.
  • Specialization: Some email marketing tools specialize in specific industries or niches. For example, certain tools are tailored for healthcare and life sciences, while others cater to tech companies. Considering the specialization of each tool ensures that you select one aligned with your agency's industry focus and requirements.

Review of 5 email marketing software for agencies

There are countless email marketing software solutions on the market, each with its own pros and cons, so you could pour months into comparing each one. Ultimately, each agency needs to choose the right tool or combination of tools to suit their needs, but here are a few of the best email marketing software for agencies to consider.

Omnisend

Omnisend is a comprehensive email marketing platform, offering an array of features including a drag-and-drop email builder and automation capabilities. However, its standout feature lies in its robust email list management and segmentation functionalities. Omnisend simplifies the process of collecting email addresses and building lists while providing tools to segment these lists for highly targeted campaigns. Additionally, its A/B testing feature enables you to gauge the effectiveness of different designs and messages for each audience segment.

While there is a free plan to get you started, standard plans start at $16 per month and increase based on the number of contacts you’ll be managing.

Beefree

Beefree is an agnostic email design tool focused solely on delivering top-notch email design solutions. Boasting a collection of over 1,700 expertly crafted templates, Beefree emphasizes best practices while offering a user-friendly email builder and editor for customizable email and landing pages.

Beefree offers advanced functionalities such as responsive and mobile-friendly design, AI-driven content creation capabilities, and built in collaboration solutions. The platform follows a "start for free, upgrade as you grow" pricing method that makes it the perfect solution for agencies of any size.

Mailchimp

Mailchimp is a versatile email marketing platform that encompasses a wide range of functionalities, including list management, email design, and data tracking. However, due to its all-in-one nature, Mailchimp's advanced options within each feature category may be somewhat limited. For basic usage, Mailchimp offers a free plan and for advanced controls plans begin at $13 per month.

Learn more: Integrating Beefree with Mailchimp

Drip

If you want to take advantage of the latest in automation, Drip is a helpful tool to have in your toolbox. Drip is a robust marketing automation tool designed to streamline targeted email campaigns and multi-channel marketing initiatives. While it excels in catering to e-commerce clients, it may not be as suitable for B2B clients or internal agency marketing. Drip does have certain limitations, particularly in email design functionalities such as spam testing. However, it shines in efficiently managing substantial contact lists.

Pricing starts at $39 per month with a 14-day free trial.

Unlayer

Similarly to Beefree, Unlayer is also an email design tool with a drag-and-drop email editor. Due to its simplicity, Unlayer is a great solution for a broader audience, including marketing agencies, businesses, and individual designers. It's comprehensive set of features, include template and module organization, collaboration, and integrations with third-party apps.

Unlayer offers a free plan with basic essentials, as well as plans starting at $15 per month and $30 per month.

How to choose the right email marketing software for your agency

Now that we’ve taken a survey of the landscape and the types of email marketing software solutions available, how do you know which tools are best for your agency? Here are some key questions to ask as you’re narrowing your options:

  • Can this tool manage multiple accounts effectively? As an agency, you'll likely need to handle your own email marketing as well as manage accounts for each client. Assess the tool's capabilities for managing multiple businesses or brands in an organized manner.
  • Is this tool suitable for the types of clients I serve? Consider whether the email marketing tool is designed for retail, e-commerce, B2B, or specific industries. Ensure that the tools you choose align with the diverse needs of not just your agency, but your clients.
  • Does this product or plan offer support? Evaluate the available support options, such as phone support, online chat, etc., as you may require assistance with software features or technical issues. Understand the support provided with each plan to make an informed decision.
  • How scalable is this platform? Hopefully, your agency will grow to take on more clients. Anticipate future growth for your agency and assess whether the software can accommodate an increase in clients. Determine how seamless it is to upgrade to more advanced plans as your agency expands.
  • How does this tool integrate with or enhance my current workflows? Choose a platform that aligns with your desired email marketing workflow, such as easy internal or client approvals, integration with customer management software, and other related tools.

By addressing these questions, you can narrow down your selection to the top email marketing software options that best meet your agency's requirements and goals.

How Beefree helps agencies with email marketing

Selecting the appropriate solution for your growing agency is pivotal in not only enhancing the success and efficiency of your agency's email campaigns, but that of your clients.

While finding the perfect fit for each aspect of your email marketing program can be challenging, when it comes to email design, Beefree simplifies the process. Due to its agnostic nature, integrating Beefree into any sending platform is seamless and with a myriad of resources, there is minimal learning curve. Through its accessible pricing plans and enterprise-level solutions, Beefree paves the way for agencies to elevate their email marketing strategies and drive impactful results for clients.


If you're a growing agency looking to see Beefree's full collaboration features in action, sign up for a 15-day free Business plan trial

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Discover the perfect email banner size for your campaign with our comprehensive guide, including design tips, best practices, and inspiration to enhance your emails.
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Apr 17, 2024

Every marketer knows that branding, visually engaging branding, matters. In a recent HubSpot survey, 20% of marketers reported to see a direct correlation between their design choices and an increase in email engagement.

In email marketing specifically, one of the first design elements a recipient views is your banner, making it crucial to grab the attention of the reader at first glance. An email banner should effectively convey your message, resonate with your audience, and be responsive regardless of what device your recipient uses to view your emails.

Let's discuss email banner best practice to follow that will ultimately lead to improve results of your email campaigns.

What is an email banner?

An email banner is a strategic design element element that appears at the top of your emails to catch the immediate attention of your reader. Sometimes called an email header, your banner is where you’ll introduce the main purpose of your email, like that amazing sale you’re advertising or the product launch of the century, and reel in customers’ so they scroll through the rest of the email.

Your email banner is your chance to make a fantastic first impression. Let’s explore the best email banner sizes and best practices to keep in mind.

Ideal email banner sizes

It is an outdated solution to automatically set all email banners to a width of 600px. With screen sized of both mobile and desktop devices varying so widely, it's important to ensure your email banner size is responsive for optimal viewing experience.

  • For desktop users, a banner 650-700 pixels wide and 90-200 pixels tall is ideal
  • For mobile users, the ideal banner is 350 pixels wide and up to 100 pixels tall

These updated dimensions follow responsive design best practices allowing email banners to render properly in a variety of email clients and devices.
Responsive design allows your email design to automatically adjust to the screen size of a customer’s device.

PRO tip: using an email design template that is already built to be responsive makes following this best practice a breeze.  

Impact of email banner size on campaign performance

A banner that’s poorly sized could become distorted when customers open it in their Gmail, Outlook, or whatever email platform they use.

This makes your email look less professional and it can also be harder to read so it doesn’t get your message across as well. A poorly sized email banner can also affect the user experience. If the banner is too wide, for example, it forces customers to scroll horizontally and it doesn’t allow them to see the entire banner in one view.

Not only do these issues affect the overall experience customers have with your email but they can also squander the excellent engagement opportunity that a well-designed email banner can be. According to Opensense's data, email banners can have 5-10% engagement rates,  a significant enhancement compared to the average click-through rate of 1.4% in emails.

Best practices for email banner design

Your banner size is an important part of designing an effective email banner, but it’s one of many. Check out these best practices to make your email banner even more powerful in garnering the engagement of your recipients.

  • File size: Any image in your email, but specifically your email banner, should be of high-quality. The ideal image should be download as a PNG at a resolution of 72dpi at 40kb or below.
  • Inverted pyramid: This "rule" in email design relates to adding the most important information at the top, working your way down to the least important information. When designing your email banner, make sure it clearly communicates the most important message in your email.
  • Brand consistency: As important as it is that your email banner makes a positive impression and communicates the main purpose of your email, it also should align with your brand. Make sure the design uses your brand colors, logo, or other aspects that make it consistent with your brand’s visual identity.
  • Text: Your banner needs to communicate your message, but less is more. Keep your copy sparse so it isn’t visually overwhelming and so the focus stays on your core intention. Ideally, 45-75 characters on a line is the sweet spot.
  • Email-friendly fonts: Make sure you use email-safe fonts that render reliably on major email platforms.
  • Accessibility: You want your banner’s message to reach as many customers as possible, and that includes customers with disabilities. Make sure to include accessibility features like using alt text so viewers with visual impairments can understand your message and using color combinations that viewers with color blindness can see.
  • Interactivity: Your email banner doesn’t have to be just a plain image or text. Consider making it interactive, such as with a GIF or a video that grabs your viewers’ attention.
  • Testing: You can follow all the rules for proper email banner size and design, but it’s still important to test it in action to make sure it shows up the way you want it to. Always send yourself a test email and see how that test email looks on different devices and platforms before you send it to your subscriber list.

For inspiration, check out these excellent email banners. This one from Beefree's template catalog clearly communicate the purpose of the email, remains consistent in branding throughout and plays with visual and text hierarchy to guide the reader's eye.

color of the year beefree email template
Use this template

This other email banner uses a navigation bar to keep the reader in the brand's ecosystem allowing readers to learn more about the marketing agency. This simple, yet effective email header communicates clearly the purpose of the email using imagery and text and has a clear CTA to lead the reader to complete the desired action without needing to scroll.

free beefree webinar email template
Use this template

Common mistakes in email banner design

When creating a strong email banner, it’s just as important to avoid doing the wrong things as it is to do the right things. Watch for these common pitfalls in email banner design:

  • Over-designing: Your email banner is prime real estate in your email, so of course you want to make the best use of that real estate. If you try to cram too much into that banner, though, you may lose your core message entirely because viewers don’t know where to look. 
  • Hard-to-read fonts: Your email banner is a wonderful place to get creative and build visual appeal, so of course you want to use fun design elements and fonts.
    But at the end of the day, the purpose is to send a message, so make sure the ornamental fonts you use are still clear enough that they’re easy to read.
  • Lack of responsive design: We’ve touched on this above but it’s also a common misstep that’s worth mentioning. Considering that 46% of emails are opened on mobile devices, every email and banner you create must be responsive to maintain its visual quality on any email platform.

Leveraging Tools for Email Marketing Banner

There’s a lot to consider as you’re designing an email banner, but we have great news: there are tools that can make it easier.

Take Beefree for example. Our extensive email template library has over 1,700 pre-built templates that already use banner design best practices like responsive design, minimal text for maximum impact, and proper sizing. Our HTML email editor makes it easy to customize these designs for your brand and messaging.

Start designing with ease and sign up for a free account today! 

Marketing Agency Email Templates to Enhance Your Communications

Learn how your agency can balance multiple brands and email campaigns while saving time with HTML email marketing templates.
Emily Santos
Emily Santos
17 May
2024

For marketing agencies and their clients, email marketing serves as a powerful method of acquiring and retaining clients. In a 2023 survey, 50% of B2B marketers name email as their most effective marketing channel, performing 13% better than social media posts and 11% better than social media ads.

This emphasis on the importance of email marketing, while opportunistic, also presents a new wave of challenges for agencies to tackle.   

Unique challenges in agency email marketing

As a marketing agency in the digital age, staying on top of evolving trends, strategies, and algorithms is hard enough. The pressure to perform doubles when paired with client expectations to quickly develop, monitor, and execute the latest. 

So, how can agencies balance multiple brands and clients wanting to experiment with the newest trend with tried-and-true best practices while maintaining brand integrity?  

Email templates have proven to be a great asset in cutting down email production speed and increasing efficiency and productivity. Jim Maddock, Freelance Email Developer and CRM Consultant has developed over 670 emails for a wide range of departments, artists, and organizations, all extensions of only a few templates he built with Beefree customized to fit different brands. 

Benefits of using HTML email templates vs. custom coding or text-only emails

The days of email specialists and developers being the only ones involved in the email design process are long gone. Text-only emails are now mostly reserved for everyday communications, while HTML emails are used by a wide range of brands and organizations for internal communications and marketing material. 

Unlike text-only emails, HTML emails are dynamic, engaging, and personalized to showcase a brand’s identity and instill brand recognition in readers. 

Because all email-sending platforms support HTML,  email makers benefit from peace of mind knowing that their emails will display as intended across devices and email clients. 

While historically, manually coding HTML emails is known to be time-consuming and tedious work, the rise of no-code email builders is saving agencies valuable time and resources when building emails. To take it one step further, HTML email templates are becoming standard practices. Much like Jim Maddock, agencies only have to create these templates once and reuse them for multiple brands. 

Another option is to source an HTML email template that has already been built and tested for responsiveness, allowing your team more time to work on other deliverables. 

How to choose an HTML template

When choosing an existing HTML email template, there are a few considerations to take into account:

  • Customizability and usability: When working with multiple brands, it is crucial that your agency delivers on-brand designs. When choosing a template, the ability to customize it to fit into any given brand identity easily is non-negotiable. This means colors, fonts, font sizes, images, and more.

  • Versatility: Whether you’re creating an HTML email template from scratch or sourcing one, you’ll probably want to start with a few templates that can be used in multiple ways to decrease the amount of time spent on repetitive designs. An effective template should have all of your email's basic elements: hero, footer, and nav bar, and it should be flexible enough to add or remove blocks as needed. 
  • Best practices: The right HTML template follows email design best practices, including mobile-first design, dark mode, and spam prevention guidelines, to ensure an optimal viewing experience and delivery. 

By choosing an HTML template that fulfills all of these elements, you can quickly iterate the template to try new strategies (pleasing your client) while standing upon a strong foundation of what makes an effective email campaign (pleasing your agency). 

3 Essential email templates for marketing agencies

If you’re unsure where to start on your search for an HTML template, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ve curated three essential email templates for marketing agencies in the Beefree catalog. 

The Beefree HTML template catalog hosts 1,700+ templates for a wide range of industries, holidays, and usage. All templates are free to use on the Beefree editor and completely customizable to fit any brand style guidelines. The email builder also ensures that all emails created with Beefree render properly across all screen sizes. 

While assigned to a specific category, the following templates have been chosen due to their versatility. With a little creativity, each of the following templates can be used for a wide variety of email campaigns, industries, and brand styles due to their layout and simplicity.

Welcome email template

A welcome email template is just as it sounds - an introduction to who you are. While the contents of an email template may vary depending on the industry or purpose, there is usually a similar story told through them: this is who we are and this is what we do. Here is an example of an email template designed for an agency: 

At the top, the email provides a space for a logo, a nav bar, and a title. 

Above the fold, the template kicks off with an introduction of “Who are we” which answers to a welcome emails main purpose: introduce new audiences to who you are and connect with them off a first impression. 

As we scroll, the email layout changes to help guide the reader through “what we do” and an introduction to the team with clear CTAs with next steps.

The email ends with a footer containing vital information. 

Browse all Welcome email templates: https://beefree.io/templates/welcome

Newsletter template

A routine newsletter is an excellent way to nurture leads and maintain relationships. Depending on the business, a newsletter offers readers various resources, updates, or offerings. An effective newsletter template offers multiple content block formats to pick and choose from. 

In this example, the template contains a prominent hero section with a bold CTA leading to resource #1. We recommend starting emails with a strong hero section to grab the attention of the reader above the fold. 

As you scroll, new resources are presented using a different layout to help differentiate the multiple pieces of content. 

The final resources in the template are presented in video format, which can easily be interchanged with an image to suit different brands' needs.

Browse all Newsletter templates: https://beefree.io/templates/newsletter

Survey email template

Surveys are excellent ways to gather feedback from different audiences. A survey email template should be short, clear, and concise. The purpose of the email should be easily digested and understood. 

The following template pulls the reader in with a large and clear header and body that clearly communicates to the reader that their feedback is wanted and why.  

This template offers two different ways to collect feedback, making it versatile for a brand’s needs. Below, you’ll see the survey embedded in the template and a CTA linking readers to the brand survey. 

Browse all Survey templates: https://beefree.io/templates/survey

The value of email marketing for agencies

The value of email marketing for agencies and their clients is undeniable. With an ROI of $36 for every $1 spent and being generally low-cost, it is one of the most effective ways to communicate to multiple audiences in one location—their inbox. 

Email templates help agencies save time and resources in email production so that your team and clients can benefit from more time to: 

  • Refine a brand’s messaging to ensure it aligns with its ideal customers. 
  • Personalize emails for the segmented recipients 
  • Grow the brand’s emailing list
  • Optimize email communications and increase conversion
  • And so much more.

Explore Beefree’s email marketing template library

HTML email templates can empower your email marketing agency to create responsive, high-performing, and engaging emails with ease. Beefree makes this process even quicker with its extensive template library and intuitive drag-and-drop builder. In addition, Beefree’s agnostic nature allows you to easily integrate with your client's sending and marketing platforms making it a seamless experience from start to finish.

Choosing the Best Email Marketing Software for Agencies

With a multitude of email marketing software options available, the process of comparing them can be time-consuming. Here are some top tips for choosing the right email marketing software for your growing agency.
Beefree team
Beefree team
25 Apr
2024

The ideal email marketing software has two jobs: support your growing agencies marketing and deliver exceptional results for your clients. So, how do you know which tool is right for you?

Types of email marketing software

Email marketing encompasses a multifaceted process, involving strategic planning, creative design, content creation, list building, targeting, analysis, and more.

Different software tools cater to different facets of this process, each offering distinct features and functionalities. Broadly categorized, there are four types of email marketing software to consider:

1. Automation

Automation softwares can increase productivity by taking over of mundane and repetitive tasks involved in the email creation process. More importantly, automation solutions can help send the right emails at the right time. For example:

  • Emailing a cart abandonment reminder to customers who put items in their cart but don’t buy them
  • Sending a multi-email introduction campaign to customers or clients who sign up to a mailing list
  • Sending product or service recommendation emails to users based on their past purchases
  • Emailing a re-engagement email to clients or customers who haven’t made a purchase in a long time

2. Design and campaign creation

Email design software allows you to create effective, engaging email campaigns quickly and easily. These tools offer a user-friendly interface, often times with drag-and-drop functionalities that enable even those with limited design skills to create visually appealing emails swiftly.

Email design tools vs. email service providers

Moreover, these platforms often include features like A/B testing, dynamic content capabilities, and integration with other marketing tools, enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of email campaign creation.

An email service provider serves as the platform through which you send your emails, while an email design tool is specifically designed for creating visually appealing and professional emails. An effective email design tools should easily integrate with your ESP to ensure a seamless workflow.

3. Analytics and reporting

An email marketing analytics tool monitors and analyzes the outcomes of your email marketing initiatives, encompassing metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and engagement rates. Additionally, it should report details about your audience, such as demographics and behaviour, to help you make data driven decisions on the type of content that appeals to your readers and who is the most engaged.

4. List management and segmentation

A list management and segmentation tool facilitates the efficient management, organization, and maintenance of your mailing lists. These tools empower agencies to create distinct segments based on demographics or user actions.

For instance, when promoting your agency, you can create segments for existing clients and prospects. Alternatively, you might segment based on industry, such as retail, healthcare, or B2B sectors. These segmentation capabilities streamline targeted marketing efforts and enhance campaign relevance and effectiveness.

Factors to consider when choosing email marketing software

Selecting the right email marketing software is a crucial decision for agencies. Given the vast array of options available, each offering unique features and capabilities, many agencies use multiple tools to maximize their email efforts.

Whether you're looking for an all-in-one solution or exploring different options, it is essential to carefully assess several factors to make an informed decision:

  • Usability and interface: While there may be a learning curve with any new software, opting for a user-friendly interface ensures that your team can quickly adapt and efficiently create campaigns.
  • Pricing and plans: Budget considerations are paramount. Most software providers offer various plans tailored to different needs, so ensure you compare the appropriate plan options to your organization's unique needs.
  • Specialization: Some email marketing tools specialize in specific industries or niches. For example, certain tools are tailored for healthcare and life sciences, while others cater to tech companies. Considering the specialization of each tool ensures that you select one aligned with your agency's industry focus and requirements.

Review of 5 email marketing software for agencies

There are countless email marketing software solutions on the market, each with its own pros and cons, so you could pour months into comparing each one. Ultimately, each agency needs to choose the right tool or combination of tools to suit their needs, but here are a few of the best email marketing software for agencies to consider.

Omnisend

Omnisend is a comprehensive email marketing platform, offering an array of features including a drag-and-drop email builder and automation capabilities. However, its standout feature lies in its robust email list management and segmentation functionalities. Omnisend simplifies the process of collecting email addresses and building lists while providing tools to segment these lists for highly targeted campaigns. Additionally, its A/B testing feature enables you to gauge the effectiveness of different designs and messages for each audience segment.

While there is a free plan to get you started, standard plans start at $16 per month and increase based on the number of contacts you’ll be managing.

Beefree

Beefree is an agnostic email design tool focused solely on delivering top-notch email design solutions. Boasting a collection of over 1,700 expertly crafted templates, Beefree emphasizes best practices while offering a user-friendly email builder and editor for customizable email and landing pages.

Beefree offers advanced functionalities such as responsive and mobile-friendly design, AI-driven content creation capabilities, and built in collaboration solutions. The platform follows a "start for free, upgrade as you grow" pricing method that makes it the perfect solution for agencies of any size.

Mailchimp

Mailchimp is a versatile email marketing platform that encompasses a wide range of functionalities, including list management, email design, and data tracking. However, due to its all-in-one nature, Mailchimp's advanced options within each feature category may be somewhat limited. For basic usage, Mailchimp offers a free plan and for advanced controls plans begin at $13 per month.

Learn more: Integrating Beefree with Mailchimp

Drip

If you want to take advantage of the latest in automation, Drip is a helpful tool to have in your toolbox. Drip is a robust marketing automation tool designed to streamline targeted email campaigns and multi-channel marketing initiatives. While it excels in catering to e-commerce clients, it may not be as suitable for B2B clients or internal agency marketing. Drip does have certain limitations, particularly in email design functionalities such as spam testing. However, it shines in efficiently managing substantial contact lists.

Pricing starts at $39 per month with a 14-day free trial.

Unlayer

Similarly to Beefree, Unlayer is also an email design tool with a drag-and-drop email editor. Due to its simplicity, Unlayer is a great solution for a broader audience, including marketing agencies, businesses, and individual designers. It's comprehensive set of features, include template and module organization, collaboration, and integrations with third-party apps.

Unlayer offers a free plan with basic essentials, as well as plans starting at $15 per month and $30 per month.

How to choose the right email marketing software for your agency

Now that we’ve taken a survey of the landscape and the types of email marketing software solutions available, how do you know which tools are best for your agency? Here are some key questions to ask as you’re narrowing your options:

  • Can this tool manage multiple accounts effectively? As an agency, you'll likely need to handle your own email marketing as well as manage accounts for each client. Assess the tool's capabilities for managing multiple businesses or brands in an organized manner.
  • Is this tool suitable for the types of clients I serve? Consider whether the email marketing tool is designed for retail, e-commerce, B2B, or specific industries. Ensure that the tools you choose align with the diverse needs of not just your agency, but your clients.
  • Does this product or plan offer support? Evaluate the available support options, such as phone support, online chat, etc., as you may require assistance with software features or technical issues. Understand the support provided with each plan to make an informed decision.
  • How scalable is this platform? Hopefully, your agency will grow to take on more clients. Anticipate future growth for your agency and assess whether the software can accommodate an increase in clients. Determine how seamless it is to upgrade to more advanced plans as your agency expands.
  • How does this tool integrate with or enhance my current workflows? Choose a platform that aligns with your desired email marketing workflow, such as easy internal or client approvals, integration with customer management software, and other related tools.

By addressing these questions, you can narrow down your selection to the top email marketing software options that best meet your agency's requirements and goals.

How Beefree helps agencies with email marketing

Selecting the appropriate solution for your growing agency is pivotal in not only enhancing the success and efficiency of your agency's email campaigns, but that of your clients.

While finding the perfect fit for each aspect of your email marketing program can be challenging, when it comes to email design, Beefree simplifies the process. Due to its agnostic nature, integrating Beefree into any sending platform is seamless and with a myriad of resources, there is minimal learning curve. Through its accessible pricing plans and enterprise-level solutions, Beefree paves the way for agencies to elevate their email marketing strategies and drive impactful results for clients.


If you're a growing agency looking to see Beefree's full collaboration features in action, sign up for a 15-day free Business plan trial

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