Here are my main takeaways from this article by Ken Magill on email creative:
- Test, test, test: view the e-mail on as many platforms as possible, such as Yahoo and Gmail accounts, an Outlook address, and on mobile devices. E-mailers can gain insight into which e-mail readers they should be designing for simply by eyeballing their lists.
- In e-mail design, less is more. You don't have to package every offer under the sun. Make sure your call to action is clear and keep it simple.
- Employ so-called ALT tags, or HTML instructions that provide alternative text to appear when graphics are shut off.
- Mind the preview pane: You always want to put your branding and your prime content as far to the left and as far up as possible. The default state of the preview pane is either under the list message view or to the right, meaning the preview pane will cut off things on the right and on the bottom.
- Test the impact of site navigation. Site navigation [such as, say, ‘shoes,’ or ‘shirts’ on an apparel site] is a familiar way to browse content. If I can get better clicks and conversions from [including] site navigation, why am I not putting it in e-mail? I just think it's an opportunity, and that marketers should be at least testing it.
- Don't forget the subject line. Marketers tend to create the subject line at the last moment even though it is easily one of the most important parts of the message — if not the most important part. As is the case with traditional direct marketing, the most effective subject lines are often not the ones a marketer would predict to win. How much time would a direct marketer spend on an outer envelope? Subject lines don't get the same kind of attention. Yet they're just as important.
- As for the “from” line: brand the company in it and nothing else because the majority of people decide whether or not to open an e-mail based on who sent it.
Source: Multichannel Merchant