top of page
  • Writer's pictureTJ Neathery

Use emails for email campaigns: three reasons to simplify your email design

Updated: Jun 11, 2019

Are you sending your customers emails that look like emails? Or are you sending them your amateur photoshop portfolio?

Busy design is a big turn-off to potential customers. It kills click-through rates. Here are three reasons why you should simplify your email design to make them look more like emails.

1. People read emails (not artboards)

I ran A/B design tests when when working for a Colorado Springs non-profit.

The original email template tried to do too much. It used a dark gray background, multiple shades of blue and black text, and placed important links over gray shapes. All these design elements were meant to emphasize important parts of the email. But they didn't at all.

So I stripped back the email. The second template had a white background, no colored text background and only two font color variations. I also matched the font colors more closely with the brand colors.

Then we ran two tests seeing which email received more clicks. The second email won. Consistently.

One of my favorite services is App Sumo. I'm sure a lot goes into their email design, but I’m drawn to the simplicity. I know what they're offering and the simplicity makes me feel like I'm not being sold to. I recommend studying their email campaigns to get a feel for clean email design. Check out their website here.

2. Good design is hard!

Good design requires balance and relationship. The more elements you have, the more complicated those relationships become. If you’re not a world-class designer, then don’t try. I’m not a professional designer. Keep it simple. You've got other things to worry about.

“Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.” Paul Rand, designer

3. Simplicity keeps you focused.

With a simple design, your bad copy will become obvious. Don’t hide poor content behind flashy image galleries or multiple header styles. Your job is to develop relationships and positive experiences with your customers.

What are you offering your subscribers in your email? And I'm not talking about your product. I'm talking about the value proposition you're communicating. If subscribers see some cool gifs but don't understand how you're making their lives better, you've already lost.

Start Simplifying!

Experiment with your emails by adding elements one-by-one, not by subtracting them from an already cluttered design. Start with a white background, a single font, a single image (or two) and one highlight color. Add your stellar copy. Hey, looks like you've got a solid email right there.

If you have a new idea that you think your audience would appreciate, make that the only variable in your next A/B test. Maybe your audience loves GIFs. Test out a GIF! But don’t throw in a Youtube video, a green background and three different header styles as well. Patience.


Did this advice help your email marketing? Did your test results turn out differently than ours? Let the rest of us know by posting a comment below! Really, I’m curious.

For more posts like this, subscribe!

18 views0 comments


bottom of page