Most of the commercial email delivery services now come with lots of attractive-looking templates for your company marketing emails, designed by professionals and tested in all the different applications in which customers are likely to be reading your emails. As the majority of people can – and do – see their emails in HTML-compatible readers nowadays, you’d think it would make a lot of sense to use these, wouldn’t you? But unless the aim of your company email newsletter is to impress your own managing director, rather than get customers reading it, I would argue against getting too artistic.
The problem is that most of these templates try to mimic magazine layouts, probably just because they can. While we’re used to reading panels and columns of text in a magazine, we’re not comfortable with them in an email, and indeed probably never will be, because it’s not the most efficient way to do things on screen. If you’re reading the emailed version of this article, you’ll notice that things are sequential. I haven’t tried to put the advert for our services in a sidebar down the left or anything, I’ve left it where it should be …at the end.
What happens if you assault your readers’ eyeballs with a jumble of information is that they end up switching off and seeing nothing. Just keep the objectives of your email simple (in fact, try to keep the objective single!), and let the design reflect that simplicity.