Any chef worth his salt knows that presentation is everything. The first bite, as they say, is with the eyes, and the appearance can make the difference between escargot and just a snail on a plate. Marketers have taken this advice to heart in their email campaigns, working to create eye-catching templates that will be more likely to be opened. But there is so much to consider in creating the perfect template, where should you begin? I’ve given this a lot of thought in my email strategy, so let’s examine a few best practices.

Don’t underestimate the power of email

First of all, your email marketing shouldn’t be an afterthought, or something that is thrown together at the last minute. Email is one of the most effective marketing tactics, and studies have shown that each dollar spent on email marketing can be worth more than $40 in ROI. A well thought-out email delivers great value, so take the time to do it right.

Start with your company’s branding

If you don’t know where to begin, take a look at your company’s branding. You should have colors and fonts that form a part of your image, and that’s a great place to start with your email templates too. And it may sound obvious, but be sure to put your logo in the email masthead, helping to fix your company in the mind of the reader.

Keep it clean

One thing sure to drive away the reader of your email is to make it too cluttered. The email should pass the blink test, meaning that the eye should immediately be drawn to the most important part of the email, which is the offer you want to highlight the most. Take a look at this email from Woot:


It’s immediately obvious what the offer is in this email. The logo is up at the top, and so is something else very important, which leads us to our next point.

If you love them, set them free

Even the best-crafted email isn’t right for everyone. Someone may have signed up without fully understanding what your company does, or they may simply have decided that they are receiving too many emails. Make it easy for them to unsubscribe from your list. Most companies place these links at the bottom. In the above example, Woot does this at the top, which is a great move for improving the opinion people have of your company, even if they aren’t interested in being a customer right now. In fact, they also include it at the bottom of the email, seen here:

Think about your audience

A large part of creating your email is knowing who you are speaking to. This is something that comes with market research, which should have been done earlier. You may have established several different target audiences for the different products you sell, but be careful not to target too many of them in a single email. Casting your net too wide may cause a total lack of interest and poor response rate. If you want to target more people, send more emails.

It’s not all about you

At the heart of effective marketing is helping your customers to solve their problems. While you hope that the best way to do that is to sell them your products, you may need to prove yourself to them first. Sometimes they just need useful information, and when you deliver them valuable information that shows you are a company they can turn to. In addition to actual sales offers, your emails should include tips and links to useful articles that will help them in a real way. Over time, this tactic build brand loyalty, and you’ll see the result in sales.

These are just a few things you can do to make sure your email template blends the right elements together to draw people in. A great email starts with an excellent template, which will help you leave a pleasant taste in the reader’s mouth.