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Email Marketing Design Best Practices to Boost Engagement

Beefree team
Beefree team
May 20, 2020
Email Marketing Design Best Practices to Boost Engagement
Email Marketing Design Best Practices to Boost Engagement

Email marketing is one of the marketing techniques with the highest potential for revenue - for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect a return of $42. But that word “potential” is important - some email marketing campaigns will rake in the big bucks and others will flop. It largely depends on one thing: skillful and strategic email design.To thrive and cook up a campaign that’s worthwhile, you have to keep up with the ever-changing email design best practices. As long-standing experts in the email marketing field, we’re here to help. We’ve created this guide of the top email design best practices for 2023.

What is email design?

Email design is the development of an email through strategic designing that ultimately engages and resonates with your business’s target audience. Your email design should be eye-catching and optimized for all email subscribers. Effective email design can be the difference between an email that wastes away unread in inboxes and one that compels readers to click and make a purchase. At the risk of sounding dramatic, the revenue potential of a well-designed email is practically limitless.

Benefits of effective email design 

Strong email design has the ability to significantly impact your email marketing metrics. An engaging, attention-grabbing email brings plenty of benefits to your business including:

  • Increasing audience engagement and excitement
  • Building brand awareness and recognition
  • Establishing credibility with the audience
  • Boosting conversion rates

Strong email design is a win-win, bringing your audience a more engaging and useful email and bringing your business more revenue. But how do you make your email design effective, exactly? Let’s dive into practical tips you can start using today.

Email Design Best Practices

Expert graphic design skills aren’t needed to create impactful email designs and templates, simply follow along with these best practices, and you’ll be on your way to reaping the benefits that we shared above.

Choose an Email Layout that Suits Your Email’s Goal

The way you lay out your email will depend on what type of message you’re sending. A transactional email, an email newsletter, and a DEM email (direct email marketing) are all very different, and your layout for each one should create a visual flow that leads readers toward the goal of that email.While every email’s layout will be unique, there are several common types of layouts that can each suit specific purposes and goals. These include:

  • Inverted pyramid layouts
  • Gutenberg diagram email layouts
  • Z-pattern email layouts
  • F-pattern email layouts

There’s no singular email layout that’s more effective than the others; it all depends on the situation and what you’re trying to accomplish. Let’s talk about each of these layout types and what they can do for your email design.

Inverted pyramid email layout

An inverted pyramid email uses an upside-down triangle as its guide: It grabs your attention with a broad headline, explains more with a few lines of copy and then narrows in on the main CTA. This MealPal email showcases an inverted pyramid layout.Subject line: STOP waiting in line and get 40% off

inverted pyramid email layout

Gutenberg diagram email layout 

The Gutenberg diagram divides your email layout into a grid with four sections — primary optical (top left), strong fallow area (top right), weak fallow area (bottom left) and terminal area (bottom right). People’s eyes generally move in this pattern as they read, so using the Gutenberg diagram can ensure your email is easy to skim.

Gutenberg diagram

Source image

Z-pattern email layout

The Z-pattern email layout is effective because the zigzag pattern follows the path most readers’ eyes will take. Z-pattern messages are a great option for simple emails without much copy where you’d like to highlight the CTA. Here’s an example of a Z-pattern:Subject line: Load up on all your grooming essentials

z-pattern email layout

F-pattern email layout

Another common scanning pattern is the F-pattern, in which readers’ eyes move across the page in the shape of an F. With this pattern, people tend to catch the top headline, any bullet points on the left side of the page, and subheadlines across the page.Subject line: New arrivals | Sets to love

f-pattern email layout

Email layout is an essential step in email design best practices. Choosing the right layout can make an enormous difference in how likely your customers are to convert.

Additional Layout Tips

Here are a couple more tips to keep in mind as you consider your email layout options:

  • Modular structure. An email with a modular structure is mobile responsive and adaptable. It ensures that recipients can view the message on any device.Pro Tip: Your email should also be no more than 600 pixels wide so people don’t have to scroll horizontally.
  • Rule of three. Another way to keep your email layout simple and skimmable is to focus on three main email design elements.

Coordinate Each Element of Your Email Structure

Each element of your email’s structure will play a part in how effective your email design is. They need to all coordinate with each other to create the on-brand, compelling effect you want. Let’s look at each element in a well-structured email and how to optimize them.

Subject line and preheader

Your subject line is the bold title of your email that readers see in their inbox, and the preheader (AKA preview text) is the text readers see below or next to that bold subject line. Depending on the email program a reader is using, it will look something like this:

optimized subject line and preheader

As you can see, the subject line and preheader are the only pieces of information (other than your name) that a user has when they decide whether to open the email. These pieces need to be enticing and clear, grabbing readers’ attention and giving them a reason to click. Think about who your audience is and what appeals to them most.

Body

The body text of your email should be engaging and personal, accurately representing your company’s personality and making a connection with the reader. Be clear about what you’re asking the reader to do and stay focused on your main message. Remember, your reader is bombarded with messaging all day every day. If you want to stand out in their memory, make your email body creative and relatable while keeping it concise and on-brand.

CTA

The header and body of your email should lead the reader straight to the CTA button. Create a sense of urgency if you’re having a sale, and prep a specific landing page for this CTA. When you design your CTA button, make sure it’s bulletproof so it will render correctly in any inbox.As much as possible, stay focused on the message you want to send with your CTAs. Multiple CTAs in an email can actually hurt your conversion rate — having too many choices is overwhelming. Think about your primary goal for conversion (is it most important to you that people visit your website or social media?) and use that as your CTA.Keep in mind that using descriptive CTA text instead of a generic phrase (“click here”) can encourage readers to act. Moleskine uses the words “Personalize now,” which helps the reader envision themselves purchasing the customized product.Subject line: Unique notes

email cta example

Footer

For brands, an email footer usually includes social media links and the business’s physical address, as Groove Life does here. Solopreneurs or CEOs might craft their footer as more of an email signature with personal contact information. The footer of your email is also required by law to include a visible unsubscribe link.

optimized footer for emails

Learn more helpful footer tips in our blog post outlining best practices for email footer design.

Be Strategic with Visual Design Elements 

When the structure of your email is ready to go, it’s time to consider what design elements to include.

Typography

Typography is an important part of your company’s visual branding. For the body of your email, use a font that’s easy to read. Consider font color, spacing, and size. Don’t use more than two fonts in order to keep it on-brand so customers read it as professional. If you decide to use a custom font, make sure to preview the email on multiple devices. We love the simple but effective typography in this Tuft & Needle email.Subject line: Save 10% on new sheet covers

email font design idea

Color

Color is essential when it comes to how your customers view your brand. Use a non-white background color to make your email look like one cohesive image. Then choose accent colors (such as the shade of your header or CTA button color) based on your brand colors and the email’s overall color scheme. For example, MealPal uses a pale blue background and adds a pop of color with the orange CTAs (which match the company logo at the top).Subject line: NEW: groceries for 40% off with MealPal Market!

email cta design

Animated content

GIFs and videos are popular when it comes to email design best practices. Animated GIFs can grab a reader’s attention with humor or they can demonstrate how to use your product. If you choose to include video in your emails, create educational content and post it on your website or YouTube. Many ESPs don’t allow videos to play in messages, so sharing the video link in the email is best.

Optimize Your Email Design 

Your job doesn’t end once your email is structured and designed. You must also optimize your email settings, test your emails, and check that they are accessible to everyone.

Personalization

It’s natural for your customers to pay more attention to information that is more relevant to them, and you can signal that your email is relevant by personalizing the design. This doesn’t mean you have to hand-customize every email that goes out - there are ways to automate this in a practical way.You can use simple strategies like adding the customer’s name in the email and including suggested products in the email based on the customer’s purchase history. You can also create several versions of your email designed for different segments of customers, like one version for customers ages 18-30, another for those ages 30-45, another for those who are 45-60, and so on. Adjustments like these make your emails more personalized and relatable.

Responsive email template design 

A responsive email template design ensures that your message will change size to be viewed on any device. Since nearly half of all email opens, take place on a mobile device like a smartphone, creating responsive emails is essential. Here at BEE, we have hundreds of responsive email templates that you can use to make sure your email design is mobile-first.

Test emails

Don’t send your email without testing it first to make sure you catch any mistakes. Testing your email can confirm whether your message is mobile-responsive. It also gives you a final chance to take in your color choices, images, and text all together. When you design with the Beefree, you can easily test your email when you’re through designing by sending it to yourself or previewing it on mobile (both found under the “Actions” tab in the upper left-hand corner of the editor). Most ESPs have built-in testing options too.

A/B test

In addition to testing your email with an internal review, consider running A/B tests where two groups of subscribers receive slightly different emails. By doing this, you can see which variations of the message get the highest open rates, conversions, and other performance metrics.A/B testing is a powerful strategy because no two audiences respond the same way to the same emails, so these tests can show you what works best for your specific audience. You can conduct A/B tests on nearly any element of your emails: the subject line, the preheader, the body, the CTA, and so on. Just be sure to only have one differing element in each A/B test so you know what caused one version to perform better than the other.

Accessibility

Many people consume online information in different ways due to varying physical, mental, or developmental abilities. For example, someone might use a screen reader that verbally reads the text on the screen. To make your emails accessible to everyone, use real text instead of images and structure the layout of your message so it’s simple and easy to read. Use these tips to ensure accessibility:

  • Size all text to 14px or larger
  • Add alt tags to your images to accommodate anyone who might not be able to see the photos or graphics; this text describes your images and is visible when the image cannot be shown (as shown in the image below). 
  • Keep your contrast high so it’s easy for readers to distinguish the elements of the messages. Who Can Use, a tool that shows you how people with visual impairments view different colors can be a huge help in making your emails accessible.

One other email accessibility best practice is to keep your image size small (around 600px). You don’t want your email to be too “heavy,” with large images that might not load on all devices and ESPs. Small images are best.

Enhance Inclusivity in Email Design

An inclusive email is one that takes into account the many ways in which your audience is diverse — from gender and race to ability, culture, age, and more. Your customer base isn’t made up of just one type of person, so your marketing emails shouldn’t address only one type, either. Do your photos show people of different races, genders and abilities? Does your language reflect the reader’s location and any potential cultural differences? If you’re not sure, find someone who can look over the emails and let you know. Your company can also focus on hiring people with diverse backgrounds to help create content that’s truly made for everybody.In addition to testing your email with an internal review, consider running A/B tests where two groups of subscribers receive slightly different emails. By doing this, you can see which variations of the message get the most opens.

Wrap-Up: Optimize Your Email Design With BEE Pro

Ready to create effective marketing emails? Try Beefree. Our thousands of drag-and-drop, customizable email templates can give you a launchpad. Or opt for a blank template to design your own email from the ground up — no coding knowledge required. Put the email design best practices you’ve learned into action and start designing today.

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The Ultimate Guide to Email Design best Practices

Editor’s Note: This post was updated on July 2023 to ensure accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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
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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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