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Design the Perfect Email: Dimensions & Design

Welcome to part 4 & 5 of this 10 part series. This post looks at the ideal dimensions of the perfect email followed by a main design checklist for your email campaigns.

Dimensions:

  • Maximum width of 600 – 650 pixels to prevent horizontal scrolling and accommodate most preview panes
  • Size of email restrictions:
    • Text (including CSS) without images – no more than 25kb.
    • With images (after rendering in email client) – no more than 60kb.

Design:

  • Leave room for a text link at top of email for access to web-based version
  • Leave room for a permission reminder at the topmost area of your email. This tells recipients why they are receiving the email and helps to establish trust & loyalty.
  • Never use flat images with copy that contains your primary message, headline or content. When images are blocked in an email client, your recipient will miss your key message.
  • Use rotating gifs sparingly as they’re not supported in all email clients. They also greatly increase size of email.
  • Stick to the ‘F’ pattern for overall design. As email recipients scan emails in their preview pane before reading further, your most important message should always be located in this ‘hot spot’ at top-left (when the message is read from left to right).
  • Consider a 2-column design. Emails with the secondary column at right side of message are the most widely-used and effective design style.
  • Use a table of contents if your content is lengthy and requires vertical scrolling. TOC’s can greatly improve user accessibility to content, ultimately increasing clicks.
  • No background images and no tiled/repeated images. Not all email clients (significantly Gmail and Outlook 2007) support background images, even when used as inline CSS with a tabled mark-up.
  • Always leave room for any legal requirements at the footer of your email. When sending to North America, always add the physical address and phone number of the email sender.
  • Always leave room for the unsubscribe link at the footer of your email. This is Rule #1 for any email marketing initiatives. Most ESP’s automate this step in the sending process, removing responsibility to include it from the email marketer.
  • Include a text link to your Privacy policy.

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