by Dave Fuller

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes


A question that should be asked often is ‘How can I improve my regular eshots’? It’s an unfortunate truth that many companies send out regular marketing emails to the same recipients without reviewing how the message is being viewed or taking the time to see through the eyes of a client.

The email design might’ve been adequate 5 years ago but designing for the internet moves as fast as the torrent of new devices being used to access your eshot each month.

Whilst many companies maybe happy with a 1% open rate the negative impression left by an untidy eshot on your brand damages your relationship with existing clients whilst jeopardising potential prospects.

So how can you improve your email design? This article isn’t intended to include everything required for a successful email marketing campaign. Future articles will concentrate on the content, context and frequency of eshots and a practical guide for tracking the success of an email campaign.

So below I’ve listed the basics, the foundations of a successful eshot, focusing on the appearance of the email first. Onward…

Compliment the Brand Identity

Your subscribers trust you, they like you so much they want to receive regular messages from you so it’s important to have every message clearly identifiable.

Representing your style, and design values through the email will allow your clients to instantly recognise every message received as being sent correctly from you before dismissing the email.

Easy on the Eyes

This is the science of design. Research has proven the human eye digests web-based content (like an email) using an ‘F’ pattern. Use this information to position your logo, headline and main call to action at the top of the email. Ensure the main content is ‘above the fold’.

Give and you shall receive

Grab your recipient’s attention by offering something of value in your email campaign. A promotion, an interesting snippet of information or something they won’t find anywhere else.

Think like one of your subscribers. Offer relevant information based on the needs of your clients. The more appealing the greater the chance of them taking an action from your email campaign.

Improving your Response

Your audience is hooked. What next? Make the most of your situation with a primary call to action in the top left of the eshot. Grab their attention but don’t go over the top. Remember a little can go a long way. Entice clicks by creating relevant & easy to read content. And if you want your readers to take action then don’t be afraid to ask.

Pixel Perfect

It’s been recorded that over 60% of email clients block images by default. So it’s worth designing a version of your email campaign with no images. A HTML email with web-safe fonts, alt tags when using images and a plain text version of your email is important.

Avoid designing emails too wide and don’t use client-side scripting languages like JavaScript in a desperate effort to make your email more interesting.

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It’s important to remember content and the promise of something more is what makes for a successful eshot.

Testing, Testing 123

Test your email campaign across multiple email clients. Accent uses the awesome Email on Acid service to review compatibility across 76 combinations of email clients including mobile devices.

Don’t forget the mobile users as it’s important to test how the email works on smaller devices. A recent survey reports that the checking of email is the most popular activity on a smartphone with 91% mobile users consumers checking their email once a day.

Pride in your Appearance

Emails have a positive response from subscribers when they are well designed, composed effectively and performance tested across multiple devices.

All of the above will take some planning. Email campaign design is an art and it’s crucial to understand what’s involved to make the most of your subscribers.


In our next article we’ll discuss ways of improving your email campaigns delivery rate. But if you have any questions or requests then send us an email.

Dave Fuller

Armed with a BA Hons Arts Degrees and decades of experience as a Web Developer, Dave manages all aspects of Web Design and Software Development at Accent and is also our technical guru.

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