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Email Design: 9 Best Practices for 2021

Beefree team
Beefree team
Apr 26, 2016
Email Design: 9 Best Practices for 2021
Email Design: 9 Best Practices for 2021
Originally published on April 25, 2016. Last updated August 13, 2021.

Never overlook the value of your email marketing strategies. While some may say email is dead, the data shows otherwise. Over 306 billion e-mails were sent and received every day worldwide in 2020, and it continues to be one of the most effective communication channels available to marketers. Now is the time to level up your email design. Design components make your email more engaging, with the power to increase both open rates and click through rates. Quickly enhance your emails and increase your open rates with these 9 email design best practices:

1. Optimize for mobile

We love to stress this best practice because it’s so vital to creating your best email design. About 50% of email opens occur on mobile devices. This means responsive email designs are no longer a “nice to have” —proper rendering is a must. The good news is that email editors like BEE Pro allow you to build a fully responsive mobile email without specialized coding or designing skills.

weblow-compare

Desktop and mobile versions of Webflow’s well-designed responsive email.

In addition to using a responsive editor, you can optimize your messages for smaller screens by implementing these bonus design best practices:

  • Minimalistic design (no complex headers, extra CTAs, or clutter)
  • Large, easy-to-view content
  • Clickable links and bullet-proof buttons
  • Small image file sizes (allow for quicker load times)
  • High-contrast design for mobile screens set to low brightness
  • Proper balance of images and plain text (ALT text used for images)

2. Format text to improve readability

If you send newsletters, feature launch emails, or other text-heavy emails to subscribers, you’ll want to have a consistent, balanced approach to formatting text. As you build your email, make sure to:

  1. Stick to 1-2 email-safe fonts. Arial, Georgia, Verdana and Helvetica are popular email-safe fonts. They are reliable, classic, and easy to read. Once you’ve established your font, create structure and improve readability with styling techniques (bold, caps, size, color, and spacing).
  2. Include headers. Headers establish structure and break up sections of content. Generally, using a font size that’s 2-3 times the size of your body text will make your email easy to scan and clearly show readers when a new section begins.
  3. Use short paragraphs and bullets. Make your email content scannable by giving readers short bits of information. Nobody wants to read a long paragraph.
  4. Don’t over-format. It can be tempting to overdo styling techniques like bold, italicize, underline, color and more -but resist that temptation. A minimalistic approach to body copy is best for readability.
Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 2.30.06 PM

The Skimm newsletter uses solid font sizes and bold styling to create clear structure.

3. Don't underestimate color

In email, color is used to call attention to content, reinforce your brand identity, improve content organization and more.Background colors are a great way to organize content in email. HTML background colors are a great tool because they render across all inboxes (unlike images) and they’re easy to implement. Using different background colors in your email modules will properly organize your content and provide a seamless reading experience for subscribers.Looking for other creative uses of color in email? Try these quick tips:

  • Labels. Organize long emails with eye-catching color tabs.
  • Match photos. Grab attention with a monochromatic color scheme.
  • Divide content. Use colorful lines and background colors to get organized.
  • Photo collage. Break up images with blocks of color.
  • Text. Use a high-contrast color other than black, like blue or grey.
  • Links. Step away from that boring blue and create branded links.
  • CTA buttons. Make sure they stand out more than any other message component.
  • HTML backgrounds for ads. Improve transparency and make sure ads stand out from other content.
Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 1.41.56 PM

Refinery29 uses color tabs to organize content in this portion of their newsletter.

4. Create bold CTA buttons

All effective marketing emails have a call-to-action. You can ask your audience to sign up for an event, download white paper, snag a discount on a product or to share content. Whatever your CTA, it’s the driving force behind the entire email campaign. The goal of your email is to get subscribers to click on what you’re offering them, so it’s critical that your CTAs stand out. The best way to optimize CTAs is to form them into buttons. That way they will be clearly seen and clicked more frequently.Buttons written in HTML—also known as bulletproof buttons—will always render across all inboxes. Editors like BEE Pro generate bulletproof buttons with no-coding required on your end. Drag-and-drop your button into your email template, and you’re good to go.CTA button best practices:

  • Write action-oriented, personal and compelling copy for your button. Keeping it direct and clear will ensure readers know exactly why they’re clicking
  • Check that your button visually pops out. It should be quick and easy to find
  • Make sure the color of the button is different than your email background and the copy inside the button is different than the button color - visibility is key
  • Keep the style simple. Avoid gradients and multiple colors
  • Place your button in an easy-to-find spot that fits organically in the story of your email (probably below the fold)
Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 3.18.41 PM

Tastebook’s CTA button is easy to spot and click, and it’s a brand color that contrasts against the white background.

5. Make sure your message can be read with image-viewing turned off

It’s tempting to build your email as one big image or as a series of images, but doing so means you’ll risk encountering a number of inbox and mobile rendering issues. Skip the image-only email and follow these design best practices:

  • Don’t rely on images to be the only visually interesting part of your email. Clean, simple design best. Capitalize on this by using flat design tactics and bold colors to get the attention of your readers and to ultimately create an elegant, interesting email.
  • Find a proper balance of live text and imagery.
  • Bulletproof your buttons. Using HTML instead of an image ensures your call-to-action buttons look great on all devices and always render. (Bonus: With BEE Pro, you don’t have to actively use HTML. Your visual will automatically turn into code and render almost anywhere with the design-suite).
aveda

A side-by-side view of an email from Aveda: on the left, image-viewing is turned off, revealing that most of the message is composed solely of images.

6. Be selective with social media buttons

Social media buttons are secondary calls to action that invite readers to follow your social accounts or to share your content on social media.Because they aren’t usually as important as your email’s central CTA, social media buttons shouldn’t compete with your main content. That’s why they’re typically placed in the header or footer. If they need to be included in the body of your email, along with each featured story, choose no more than two sharing options (e.g., only Twitter and Facebook). Otherwise, an overwhelmed subscriber won’t take any action.Here are some social media button best practices:

  • Social media buttons in email are usually secondary CTAs. Wherever you place them, these buttons shouldn’t compete with your main content. Try the header or footer.
  • Choose a shape, size, color and customization that fits your visual identity. Make sure the buttons are clickable on mobile by including ample white space around buttons.

Decide which buttons to include based on the nature of your content and subscribers’ needs. Don’t overload readers with too many options.

miccheck

Mic includes two social media buttons in its header and two accompanying each story.

7. Incorporate dynamic content

Visual storytelling in email is growing increasingly sophisticated and effective. Animated GIFs are big contributors to that growth. GIFs communicate quickly and break down complicated concepts into a few frames of fluid messaging. To maximize their effect, use them intentionally and follow these tips for GIFs:

  • Make sure your GIF serves a purpose in the story you want to tell. Does it improve your readers’ understanding of your message?
  • Position GIFs to lead subscribers directly to your CTA. Let it show them where to click.
  • Remember GIFs are image files - link them to your website and always use ALT text.
  • Communicate your message in the first frame. There’s no guarantee your GIF will animate for all subscribers. Make sure the first frame is as effective as the whole animation.
  • Don’t send out a huge file size. An enormous GIF may not load and can eat up mobile user’s data.

Like animated GIFs, countdown timers are another great way to call attention to special emails and compel readers to act. Position your timer at the top of your email, giving it room to breathe with some padding. Pair it with a CTA button, and choose a look and feel that aligns with your email and brand.

skillcrush

Skillcrush uses a dynamic countdown timer to urge readers to sign up for a workshop. 

8. Enhance your footer

Even though they come last, email footers shouldn’t be overlooked. They’re often where readers go to find details about your brand, additional perks, and social media links.If you’re sending commercial emails (i.e., messages that sell or promote a product or a service), these pieces of information are typically required by anti-spam laws such as the CAN-SPAM Act of the USA, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), and many others:

  • A link to unsubscribe
  • A link back to your site
  • Your mailing address
  • Contact email address

Footers can quickly become crowded with buttons, icons, links, and fine print. Before stuffing your footer with information, first evaluate what makes the most sense to include, and go with a minimalistic approach. Overwhelming readers with too much information can lead them to skip over the footer altogether. Keep it simple for subscribers.

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 7.42.37 AM

This footer from Medium is simple and well-organized.

9. Don't get clipped

Message clipping is especially common for Gmail users, where HTML emails larger than 102 KB get trimmed. The Gmail app for iOS clips messages larger than 20 KB. This can cause an inconvenient roadblock for brands with Gmail subscribers, as their email is not fully shown, but rather clipped with a link to view the entire message.

clipclip

Prevent clipping by:

  • Optimizing for mobile. Don’t overload your emails with content, and be sure to use a mobile responsive design tool like BEE Pro to prevent clipping. Mobile design mode in BEE allows you to edit your email in mobile view while ensuring that your emails will look exactly the way you want them to upon sending.

Create in BEE Pro for long-lasting success with great email design

Enhancing your email design will provide your subscribers with a better understanding of the value you bring to their lives. While email design trends and best practices are constantly evolving, staying up to speed will result in increased email opens and higher conversion rates.Create authentic, eye-catching emails in BEE Pro, and be sure to refer back to this quick guide of design best practices before sending out your next email campaign.

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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

Elevate Your Email Campaigns: Optimal Banner Size & Design Tips

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