Email Design: 12 Best Practices to Increase Click-Through Ratesby@Sharmaa
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Email Design: 12 Best Practices to Increase Click-Through Rates

by Ashish SharmaDecember 16th, 2021
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To conduct a successful email marketing campaign, the design of your emails is essential. Attractive and well-designed emails can increase your conversion rate and give your prospects confidence. Easy-to-read text, well-arranged images, and an intuitive layout enhance the reader's experience… while increasing the click-through rate. Here are the 12 best email design practices to stimulate the interest of your prospects and boost clicks in your emails.

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To conduct a successful email marketing campaign, the design of your emails is essential. Attractive and well-designed emails can increase your conversion rate and give your prospects confidence.

Your subscribers spend, on average, just over 13 seconds reading your emails. It is little and it often leads to leaving your message without clicking on your website.

However, a well-designed email can be a game-changer! Easy-to-read text, well-arranged images, and an intuitive layout enhance the reader's experience… while increasing the click-through rate. Over 77% of small businesses have an average email click-through rate between 0% – 10% (Source).

But how do you make the reader want to click at first glance? Here are the 12 best email design practices to stimulate the interest of your prospects and boost clicks in your emails!

  1. Take care of your information for the inbox

The main thing is played here, on the reader's first impressions when he opens his inbox. You have to attract their interest with these three key elements:

Sender's name

The name of the sender is an essential factor when it comes to the open rate of emails because it is linked to the feeling of trust. Indeed, the reader first wonders if what he receives is not spam, so he reflexes to check the name of the sender.

You must integrate your brand name in your sender address to gain the confidence of your reader. You can also incorporate an employee's first name to add a personal and authentic touch.

Mail object

A good email starts with a catchy subject, without falling into outright "clickbait" - by the way, avoid spam words at all costs, which could send your message straight to junk mail.

Your email subject line should be both short and informative. You only need to summarize the content of your email in a few words to grab the reader's attention.

It is advisable to make an email subject line of 50 characters or less. Feel free to personalize your subject line by including the name of the subscriber in particular.

Warning: Avoid special characters or capital letters, this can damage your reputation, and send your newsletter directly to spam!

A header row or preheader

This short text snippet follows your subject line closely. This is the best way to add information to the reader's attention and increase your open rate. Your header line must be consistent with the subject and remain in its continuity.

  1. Structure the email design

Web marketing specialists use the visual hierarchy to design emails. This allows you to quickly analyze and understand the content of the newsletter. It is also a technique for directing the reader's eye to the most important elements of the email.

Choose a layout that tells a story while guiding the reader to the action to be taken. Always start by integrating your logo into the email content to instill a sense of trust and promote the reputation of your business.

Note: you can also add your logo directly to the recipient of the email using BIMI

Here are different structures you can use:

The inverted pyramid

The inverted pyramid is often used by specialists, it is a reliable framework for structuring your email content.

It is a question of "guiding" the reader towards the call-to-action thanks to the arrangement of the various elements of the mail: a large image, a narrower text, followed by a button, the whole drawing a kind of triangle.

Zigzag email

The zigzag layout is an angular structure that you can use blocks of colors or remove backgrounds of images. This technique helps guide the reader through each step and simplifies the various parts of the email content.

Column structure

The one-column structure has the advantage of being responsive, it is simple and efficient.

Think about it: Also, taking into account the width of the email, it is advisable not to go beyond 640 pixels and to favor an average of 600 pixels.

  1. Create the mood with color

Important for the user experience, the color immediately gives information to recipients. First of all, it influences brand recognition, since it recalls your graphic charter. But it can also add an atmosphere, depending on the season, events, etc.

Color helps your subscribers to embrace the emotions conveyed by your email marketing. However, if they experience positive feelings, they will be more apt to convert!

  1. Use images well in your email design

It's hard to find the right balance between images and text in the body of an email. On the one hand, 2/3 of subscribers prefer emails containing mainly images, according to a study by Litmus.

On the other hand, 43% of recipients turn off images, and some mailboxes do not display background photos. This is why you must:

  • Use relevant alt text to describe any visuals you use, so that they remain understandable even when turned off.
  • Avoid hiding key information in images.

However, these can help readers connect to the content of your email and focus their attention in the right place. Preferably use authentic images that match your brand.

If you use visuals, make sure they are engaging, clear, and optimize them to display correctly when the reader opens the email. The width of emails is generally between 600 and 640 pixels. For your image to remain sharp and also adapt to Retina screens, it should be 1200 pixels.

It is also necessary to use image attributes and CSS. Your files should not be too heavy to promote the opening, especially on mobile devices.

  1. Use Web Safe Fonts

Typography is a key element in the design of your emails. Since the display of fonts differs among ISPs and web browsers, use web-safe fonts. You are sure they will display correctly!

However, don't overdo it. Use different fonts for the headings and body text, and optionally use a different font for the call-to-action buttons. But that's all! Keep it simple and prioritize readability.

Finally, stay consistent with your graphic charter by integrating the same typography in your emails. This improves brand recognition.

  1. Add interactive content

You can embed interactive content in your emails to provide a fun experience for your readers. It's a great way to boost engagement and create a better user experience since your audience can interact without clicking on links.

Here is a list of elements to integrate to create interactive content:

  • Call to action buttons
  • Search options
  • Integrate a product carousel
  • Functionality to add to cart
  • Polls or surveys


To turn your newsletters into microsites, you will need some HTML and CSS skills or call on freelance email integration experts.

  1. Favor a clean email design

Choosing a clean email template avoids distracting your customers and prospects from your main goal. They can focus on the links to click. This does not prevent the interactions described above!

One of the main benefits of simplicity is that it's easier to lead readers to your CTA. This is a crucial point if you want to increase the click-through rate of your emailing campaigns! For this purpose, prefer a design with a single column, easier to browse at a glance.

  1. Pay attention to readability and accessibility

Respect the text hierarchy (bold title, smaller written paragraph, etc.) for better readability. The texts accompanying your images must provide real value (and encourage the reader to click).

Don't neglect accessibility either: to make your email readable for everyone, the text size should be at least 16pt. Don't forget to fill in an alternative text for each of your visuals.

Finally, be as concise as possible for clarity.

  1. Focus on the main call to action

Ideally, an email = an objective, therefore a single call-to-action. However, it is possible to have multiple calls to action, especially if you have a lot of promotional offers.

In this case, organize them according to a hierarchy. Your main CTA should be at the top of the email and have a lively design that stands out fully from the message.

  1. Guide the gaze downwards

The layout of your email should encourage the recipient to continue reading. Create a top-down flow to plan the visual elements of your post.

Start with a strong sentence, which takes up the main message, followed by a visual, then detailed information. To discover your offer, the recipient will have to scroll.

Feel free to add a down arrow, which encourages the subscriber to continue reading until the call-to-action.

  1. Personalize emails

We are talking about marketing focused on the human experience. This is one of the major current trends, it consists of moving towards more and more personalization which adapts to the behavior of the user.

There is advanced automation such as prospect segmentation which allows you to create personalized, dynamic, and innovative emails. It is possible to modify entire sections of content to adapt them to the behaviors and interests of your readers.

  1. Think mobile friendly

We can't say it enough, but think about mobile signage! In 70% of cases, emails that display poorly on mobile phones are deleted in less than 3 seconds!

The design of your email should display perfectly on all screens. Moreover, it is advisable to create a template from the mobile. This ensures that you send newsletters that are perfectly readable on your smartphone.

And that's not all! Leave spaces between images and call-to-action buttons. If you want to boost clicks, links should be easy to click with your finger.


Email is one of the most engaging marketing channels, with a very positive return on investment. However, every day your subscribers receive dozens of emails. It is essential to capture their attention with a clean design, which leaves room for main information ... and call-to-action!

You now know all the elements to create an attractive and structured email design to increase your conversion rate and run a successful email campaign.

Be careful, however, the email design and especially its HTML integration require very specific technical skills for an email suitable for all inboxes.