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7 important elements to include in your email marketing design

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A great email design plays a huge role in email marketing success. And, with email marketing returning on average £35.41 for every £1 spent, it’s worth your time in creating quality emails.

If you’re investing time and money in email marketing, you want to make sure you get that return. People’s inboxes are busy places, but you can make sure your email stands out.

In this post, I’m going to take you through what you should include in a master template for your emails. One that will help you capture your readers’ attention.

Create a master template

If you want to achieve a consistent look and feel for your emails, consider creating a master template. This is where you can put all your effort into making sure your band is represented in the way you want.

It’s also a great time-saver. Create it once, use it multiple times. But what should your template include?

The 7 important elements of an email

Let’s go through the 7 parts of an email you’ll want to pay attention to.

  1. Header and metadata
  2. Preheader
  3. Logo and colours
  4. Images
  5. Body
  6. Call to action (CTA)
  7. Footer

Here’s what you should consider for each one.

1. Header and metadata

This is what people will first see when they receive an email. Email marketing tools normally pre-populate the “From” and Reply To” parts with information you provide in your account set up. But you can edit this information. How varies from provider to provider.

“From” name and email address

I would advise you to use an official email address – one ending your company’s domain name. This increases the deliverability of your emails and the likelihood they will be received. You can change the “From” name to display your business name, which your subscribers will instantly recognise. This is going to help increase your open rates and reduce your unsubscribe rates.

“Reply To” name and email address

My advice here is to use the same email address you use to send from. I’m not a big fan of hello@ or info@ email addresses for small businesses. It’s just too impersonal. If you think you’ll be inundated, set up a slightly different email address using your name.

A big no-no for me is a noreply@ email address. To me, that says I don’t care about you, I just want to broadcast my message to you, and I don’t want to hear from you.

Whatever you decided to do here, make it easy for your subscribers to interact with you and ask questions. After all, you’re trying to build a relationship with them.

An effective subject line

A good subject line is the second thing that encourages people to open your email. Alongside your “From” name, it’s the first thing they see in their inboxes.

So, avoid boring (March newsletter), irrelevant (5 meats that are great for BBQs to vegetarians) or spammy (BUY NOW!!!) subject lines. At the very least, people won’t open your emails. At the other end of the scale, your emails will end up in the Spam folder.

Minal’s Tip: for creating great subject lines.

Keep it snappy – around 8 words or 35 characters.

No clickbait. Be open about what’s in the email.

Be clever – maybe use a pun but check it will work.

Avoid spam trigger phrases such as FREE or SAVE £££ and excessive use of punctuation.

Do use emojis but limit them to one or two.

Another great way to make your subject lines stand out is to personalise them. I always get a higher open rate when my subscribers see their names in the subject line.  

2. Preheader

Have you ever noticed sometimes there’s an extra line of text under the subject line in emails you receive?

If you get The Marketing Morsel, you’ll see it every time. This extra line is called the preheader. And it’s an important space.


Because it’s an additional place you can promote what’s in your email and entice your readers to open it up.

Now, you don’t have to use this space. If you don’t, it will be populated with the first few words of your email.

But why wouldn’t you want to give your readers that extra push to open your email? Pair your preheader with your subject line so they work hard to get you that all-important open.

Here are some examples:

Subject line: John, schedule your consultation today!
Preheader: Personalised tips to lead a happy life.

Subject line: Last chance! Register by Friday.
Preheader: Save your place today. Our classes fill up quickly.

Subject line: Read between the wines.
Preheader: Enter your photo for a chance to win big!

Subject line: You won’t want to miss this!
Preheader: Get our 3 secrets to growing your business.

Minal’s Tip: I leave crafting the subject line and preheader till the end. Once I’ve written the body of the email, I have a better idea of the type of subject line I want to use.

3. Logo and colours

You’ve worked hard to be recognised in people’s inboxes with your from name and return email address. Don’t lose that momentum with an email design that doesn’t fit with your brand. Remember, you’re building an on-going relationship with your list, so you need a consistent look and feel. Here are the things that will help you.

Your logo

Your logo should be front and centre when someone opens your email. Make sure you add a good-quality logo to your email marketing tool. It will be there whenever you want to add it to an email.

Also, make sure you don’t distort it or stretch it so it’s unrecognisable. You want to portray a professional image, and your logo, used correctly, will help you do that.

Minal’s tip: Don’t forget to link your logo to your website. Remember, do it once, use it multiple times.

Your brand colours

I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve seen that have used a plethora of colours. Now is not the time to be a rainbow unicorn (unless, of course, that’s what you are!)

You should have a brand colour palette. If you don’t have one, look at your website. What are the main colours you’ve used? Use those same colours for your email template.

Choose 2-3 colours you will consistently use. Then work out which colour you’ll use for the different design elements.

Below is a screenshot of my weekly email, The Marketing Morsel. You’ll see that I use the purple and green that are the two main colours in my colour palette.

How to create an email marketing template

4. Images

A picture paints a thousand words. How many times have you heard that? Using images can help you to quickly communicate or support your message. Here are a few things to remember when you do use images.

  • Make sure you are allowed to use it! Don’t grab images from Google.
  • Better still, use your own images. You can take great photos with your phone.
  • You can include your brand elements using tools like Canva.
  • Make sure your image displays well when included in your email.
  • Link the image to the same place as your Call to Action (see point 6.)

5. Body

OK, this is the bit you want your subscribers to pay attention to. But, and this is a BIG but, they’re only going to do that if they can see what’s in it for them. So, when you’re writing the body of the email think about these two questions:

  1. What are you offering? Turn this into a captivating headline in your email.
  2. How will it help your reader? Tell your readers the benefit to them and give them more information.

At this point, I’ll tell you that you don’t need to write chapter and verse in your emails. More than half of emails are opened on mobile devices and the last thing anyone wants is to scroll and scroll.

But what you do need to do is make sure your message is clear. This is what’s going to help you convince your readers to take action.

Talking of which…

6. Call to Action

The call to action or CTA is typically a button in emails. The call to action is a really important part of any email design. After all, you want your readers to DO something.

That’s why you need to make it obvious. Buttons are a great way to do this. We all know what to do when we see a button in an email.

A button alone isn’t going to get that all-important click. No! You need to be clear about what you want your readers to do with the text on the button.

Here are a few examples:

  • Order yours today!
  • Buy now and get 10% off
  • Like us on Facebook
  • Have 5 minutes? Leave a review.
  • Register now

If you have a quirky or fun brand, you can get extra creative with your call-to-action buttons.

7. Footer

At the bottom of emails is the section known as a footer. This is the place for some official and mandatory information.

The footer includes:

  • Your company’s name and physical address
  • An unsubscribe link (which is required by GDPR)
  • A way for subscribers to update their preferences
  • Your company’s privacy policy (you should have one!)
  • Details about the service provider (the email tool you’re using)

This is automatically populated. In addition to this, if your business is a private or public limited company or a Limited Liability Partnership, you should provide:

  • Your registered company name
  • Company registration and place of registration
  • Registered company address.

And that’s it! Those are the 7 essential things you should include in your email template. Save yourself time in the long run and create a template for your emails.

The complete small business marketing platform

If you’re looking for an email marketing tool that helps you send your newsletters and more, look no further than Constant Contact!

Here’s what you also get:

  • Build relationships with email automation
  • Build an awesome website
  • Run Google, Facebook or Instagram ads to get more website traffic, find new customers on social media or grow your email list
  • Manage your social media by scheduling posts, replying to comments and viewing analytics
  • Create a logo to build your brand
  • Build an online store, promote your products and track stock

It really is the complete small business marketing platform, and you can try it free for 60 days.

No credit card needed, and you’ll be assigned a marketing coach from Constant Contact to help you.

Get started today!

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