From Mess to Success: 5 Email Marketing Design Ideas To Inspire Captivating Campaigns

Email marketing is one of the most powerful digital marketing tools available. And one of the most cost-effective, too: with an ROI of up to 4,400% (nope – not a typo), it’s no wonder that email is now one of the top free distribution channels used by B2B and B2C marketers alike. But with over 306 billion emails sent each day, getting noticed can be a challenge.

So, what can you do to stand out among the sea of emails piling up in your audience’s inbox? Well, of course, creating captivating content and engaging subject lines is vital (and you can learn how to do just that here), but most marketers and business owners understand that. Where many fall short – especially in the world of B2B – is the design side of things. Whilst plain text emails are fine for private communication, when it comes to your email marketing campaigns, you need to get creative. Be bold. Make an impression so powerful your audience will have no choice but to remember you. 

Looking for inspiration? Here are 5 email marketing design tips to get you started. 

Stay true to you 

To maximise the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns, you need to ensure each message you send is on-brand and feeds into your wider marketing strategy. When someone opens your email, you want them to immediately recognise that it’s from you; this means making use of your brand colours, logo, imagery and fonts to create a clear and consistent image. The goal is to raise awareness of your brand and build an image so powerful that consumers will recognise you instantly, no matter what the channel.

email marketing example - HP branding


Generally, you’ll want to stick with 2 fonts (one for headers and one for the body copy) to keep things looking clean and simple, and you’ll also want to ensure your logo is displayed prominently to help improve brand recall. Additionally, if you’re not too keen on the idea of colour but still want to make your emails recognisable, you can opt for a more subtle approach. Demonstrating this is HP, who incorporate their brand colours discreetly, using them only to emphasise key areas, such as the CTA button. 

Get animated

Email is an enormously popular channel (and with good reason) which means getting noticed, and more importantly, avoiding the trash folder, can be difficult. But there is a solution: GIFs. Animated GIFs are a great way to engage your audience, draw attention to key information and make your brand more memorable. Whether you’re looking to add more depth to your emails, engagingly promote a range of products or simply make your campaigns a little bit more exciting, with the help of GIFs, you will be able to do all of this and more. Don’t, however, try and achieve all of this in one email; if overused, GIFs can become distracting, overwhelming and annoying for users, so stick to one and keep it simple. 

Now, this may seem highly technical, but it isn’t; it’s as simple as But, just be warned – animated GIFs are accompanied by a lot of weight (i.e. larger file size), meaning they can cause your emails to load slowly in some cases. Cue the alt text: the (sometimes) slow-loading nature of GIFs emphasises the importance of adding alt text to describe visual elements included within your email. First and foremost, the purpose of alt text is to enable the visually impaired to understand your content, but it also serves the same purpose for those who are unable to see your visuals for other reasons, such as a slow connection. That being said, as a general rule, if you aim to keep your GIF file size at 1MB or below, you should be okay.

Make it picture-perfect

Whilst text is important, if you truly want to engage your audience, you need to get creative. With eye-catching visuals increasing the desire to read by up to 80%, this isn’t something you can afford to miss out on. They are a great way to grab attention, separate text and emphasise key pieces of information. Again, when including images you’ll want to ensure you remember to add appropriate alt text to ensure your content is accessible by all. 

Plae image email marketing example

Block with colour

Colour is a great way to grab the attention of your audience whilst breaking up text-heavy emails and drawing attention to key points. When it comes to selecting your colour palette, there are few things you should always bear in mind: 

  • Are the selected colours in line with your branding guidelines? 
  • Have you thought about colour psychology? Certain colours evoke specific emotions and can be used to highlight key points. 
  • Do any of the colours compromise legibility? Think: stylish and practical. Your audience needs to be able to read your content, not just admire it. 

Educate and engage

Your emails should be created with your audience in mind; after all, their purpose is to communicate key messages efficiently and effectively. But, of course, in practice, this isn’t always the case: far too often, businesses will overwhelm users with enormous amounts of information, which in a lot of cases, is completely irrelevant to them. So, how do you overcome this? 

First thing’s first, you need to segment your audience – but we won’t talk too much about this as that’s another topic completely (which you can learn more about in our ultimate guide to email marketing here). Once you have an understanding of who is going to be viewing your emails, you can then work on creating content that is both relevant and valuable to them. 

An effective way to engage your audience and drive them to take action is through the use of infographics. We’ve already spoken about the benefits of including visuals within your emails, but infographics take it a step further. They are not only engaging and memorable but informative, too. This means your audience will not just notice you: they will listen to what you have to say. You can choose to create infographics surrounding key topics within your industry or to demonstrate the success of your products or services, or even go down the contextual marketing route and focus on 1-to-1 engagement, like Peloton. 

Peloton infographic email marketing example

So, there we have 5 tips to help inspire emails that engage (and convert). For more helpful email marketing advice, be sure to check out our ultimate guide to email marketing or if you are looking for that extra helping hand, contact us for a free consultation with one of our marketing experts. 

All images credited to: 


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