Avari Blog

5 Quick Wins on Designing Emails for Conversion

[fa icon="calendar"] Jul 30, 2018 / by Elliot Ross

Design plays a big part in holding your readers attention, attracting clicks and making it as easy as possible, or in some cases, extremely difficult, for them to navigate. Conversion is not about manipulating your subscriber into buying something, it’s about understanding them and ultimately, making it easier for your customers to do what you want them to do; click/tap/share. And also because they want to, of course.

It’s easy for me to tell you what genuinely will aid your email design to create a comfortable and easy environment for your subscribers, but testing to see what works for your customer base will be the key to a successful conversion optimization strategy.

1. First thing’s first, stand out in the inbox

Not necessarily design, but subject lines still need your creative skill. In one sentence: Your subject line should be colloquial, personalised and relatable. Phrasee have a great report on ‘Email subject lines that sell’. 

2. Present information in an orderly fashion (and keep it concise)

  • Pre-header
  • Hero image
  • Body
  • CTA
  • The legal stuff

No need to mix it up - keep it logical and easy to follow. Especially if your newsletters are purely informational. Keep it simple and let them click through if they want to learn more about the content.

3. Design for every scenario

With only little insight in to what device or client your customers will be using at the time of open, it’s best to play it safe. You hear a lot of people talking about designing for ‘mobile-first’ but your campaigns should look good everywhere. A few possible scenarios...

  • Images don’t load? Who needs images when you have pixel art and alt text? It’s a great way of utilising hidden space. 
  • Opening on multiple devices?  For the best possible outcome, we always suggest using hybrid or responsive templates. If you’re sitting there thinking ‘What’s the difference?’, this may help
  • Opened on an Apple Watch? You never know, include a text version for now.

4. Typography

Pulling in custom fonts is a good way to keep communications consistent. Staying on brand is important for obvious reasons but mainly for trust. If an email looks completely off brand and nothing like the website, it may be hard to persuade users to trust the communication, and click. Make sure you have a fallback font that still works with the design as these are only supported in Apple Mail and incase of any of the above scenarios.

Example email from our client Finery:

5. Use smart/bulletproof CTA's

Being able to see the message and click the CTA without having images downloaded is a bonus. If your subscriber is out and about with a limited internet connection then they will still be able to see and click. Smart CTA’s can also use personalised language to speak to your user on an individual level. More on the psychology of CTA’s here

Sure there is a lot more we could talk about but these fundamental steps should see you in the right direction.


#EmailCRO is an Email Optimization Experts Series featuring best practice advice and technology insights from email marketing and conversion rate optimization thought leaders and industry experts. Subscribe to the #EmailCRO Twitter list to learn more and join the conversation.

Topics: Email Optimization, Email Design

Written by Elliot Ross

Elliot Ross is Managing Director of Action Rocket, the creative agency for email. You can find him on Twitter at @iamelliot

AVARI Blog Updates

Download Guide