Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to generate leads and connect with your audience. Did you know that around 333.2 billion emails were sent each day in 2022? [1] There is a high chance that your inbox is swamped with emails sent by different businesses and a majority of those emails remain unread. Some send it to the spam folder and at times, even worse, simply delete the mail. Can you guess why? A poor email design to start with coupled with dull and grey subject lines. 

This is why it is imperative to have an excellent email marketing design. Your emails should invoke interest and curiosity each time they reach your recipient’s inbox. A simple glance should be enough to convince them to open your emails. It goes without saying, a well-crafted campaign with a captivating email marketing design will generate a high return on investment (ROI) and leads. 

What are the best email marketing design practices that successful companies follow? 

Read along to find out.

Before we take a look at them, you can also learn more about our email marketing services and how we help our clients. 

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What exactly is email marketing design?

Email marketing design, as the name suggests is the overall process that overlooks the design elements of an email to make it more readable, engaging, and captivating. The ultimate goal is to eliminate fluff and craft pertinent emails. 

Email marketing design best practices

Now that we know what email marketing design is, let’s examine some of the most effective email marketing design practices. 

1. Write a catchy subject line 

“The first impression is the last impression” and this applies to the subject lines of your marketing emails. The subject line is the first thing a recipient is likely to see when they receive an email from you. This is exactly why you need to write an interesting subject line that immediately grabs the attention of your recipients. Did you know that around 64% of email users decide whether they want to open an email based on the subject line? [2]. It is simple. Even if you have the most visually appealing graphics supported by well-written content, it is in vain if your emails are unopened. 

There are a few things you need to keep in mind while writing a subject line. One, do not overuse CAPS, emojis, and punctuation (especially the exclamation mark). Besides, you need to know the different words that trigger spam filters and use other words instead. Start using “power words” such as “update, invitation, news, sale, event, and new” to name a few. But what are power words? Power words are words that typically have a high open rate when they are included in the subject line of emails. 

Does size matter?

Now, let’s talk about the length of the subject lines. Does size matter? When we speak about the length of the subject lines, size does not really matter. That said, you need to keep in mind that your users will view your email on various browsers and devices including mobiles, tablets, laptops, and computers. Data from ReturnPath suggests that 65 characters are the ideal length for the subject line – this is around 15 characters more than average [3]

Use of symbols and emojis in subject lines

“A picture is worth a thousand words” and it is an apt statement when we talk about using emojis in emails. Emojis have changed the way we message and compose text messages. Now, they have made their way to the subject lines of emails and immediately created a huge impact. Why? 

Emojis are visually more appealing, add a unique graphic element in a subject line which was missing, and most importantly, they replace words. Therefore, subject lines with emojis in them are likely to have a higher open rate. If an email client does not support emojis, the recipient is like to see ☐ instead. 

Keep in mind that utilising emojis in Gmail requires some extra specific considerations. If you use an emoji in the subject line of an email in Gmail, you might notice that the icon appears differently both in the inbox view and once the email has been viewed. This is because the opened email view utilises Google’s own emoji design, while the inbox view uses the Android version of the emoji. Even if the emoji essentially appear the same, it’s still important to check that both versions convey the same emotion. Additionally, the browser version of Inbox by Gmail does not presently support the addition of emoticons to Inbox messages.

2. Preheader

Preheader text is that section of the email that immediately follows the subject line while viewing an email in the inbox. Why are preheaders relevant? They play the supporting role to your subject line and provide context, explaining to readers what they can expect in the rest of the email. 

Your subject line and preheader text should be in sync and work in tandem to tell a compelling story to your readers. If you do not customize the preheader text, it will show the text that first appears in your email. Typically, that text is ‘view this email in your browser’. That creates a very poor first impression and generates zero interest. Therefore, never forget to customize the preheader text. 

3. Utilize email templates

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We understand that not everybody is a design ninja and that is exactly why you should consider using email templates. Using newsletter templates is one of the best email marketing design practices and worked really well for millions of businesses worldwide. These templates help you create professional-looking emails with a proper structure, accelerating the design process. 

Since your recipients may open your emails on different devices including tablets, desktops, and mobile devices, you should use responsive email templates. Such templates automatically the overall layout of the content on tablets, mobile devices, and desktops. It is always a good idea to choose an email marketing platform with a drag-and-drop editor. A drag-and-drop editor enables you to create content without any coding knowledge. All you need to do is rearrange the design and different elements according to your taste and then add the email copy. 

4. Add images if and when necessary

A person holding a mobile phone scrolling through his inbox

Adding images is another email marketing design practice you should know about. Adding images to your marketing emails add value and also keep your recipients interested. Now that does not mean that you populate your emails with the latest images. 

Although images make it easier for readers to digest your email, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Avoid using too many images, infographics, and illustrations in your email for the following reasons:

  • Emails with heavy images take a lot of time to load
  • The content of the email is not displayed properly, especially when the network is poor
  • It could distract your audience from the main message

Thus, it is crucial to know when and where to add images without removing the spotlight from the email’s main message. 

5. Use interactive content 

Using interactive content in emails can be a good way to engage and interest your readers. However, it’s important to consider whether it is appropriate for your audience and the purpose of your email. Here are a few things to consider: 

  • Compatibility: Make sure that the interactive content you use is compatible with the email clients and devices your readers are using. Some types of interactive content, such as video, may not work on all platforms.
  • Loading time: Interactive content can take longer to load than regular text and images, which can be frustrating for readers. If you do use interactive content, make sure it loads quickly.
  • Purpose: Think about the purpose of your email and whether interactive content is the best way to achieve it. For example, if you’re sending a newsletter with updates about your company, a simple text-and-image layout might be more effective. On the other hand, if you’re promoting a 

new product and want to show it off in a fun and interactive way, using interactive content could be a good idea.

6. Personalized email marketing with dynamic content

We are in 2023 and as we move forward, we are likely to gradually move away from B2B and B2C marketing and head toward a future of H2H – human-to-human marketing. We are likely to see one email marketing design practice garner immense popularity in the future, and that is a shift from a one-generic email fits all approach. It is now time to create and deliver personalized emails and nurture one-to-one relationships with customers. 

Thanks to lead scoring, email automation, and segmentation, content creation is more personalized than ever before. Therefore, now, you can easily create innovative, customer-centric, and dynamic emails to improve your open rate and eventually convert leads to customers. 

Parting notes

It is a new year and there is no reason for you to resort to dated email marketing design practices. As email will continue to be one of the most used and effective marketing channels for all types of businesses, it is critical to know the best email marketing design practices. 

While writing an email, the focus should always be on the recipient and the message you wish to convey. Email design plays a key role in boosting open rates by making your emails more engaging and appealing. 

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Continue reading iTMunch for the latest email marketing trends and articles. 

Check out our email marketing services to know more about us and how we help our clients. 

Feature Image Source: Email marketing by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Pix4free

Image 1 Source:

Image 2 Source: Photo by Yogas Design on Unsplash


[1] Kolmar. C (2022) “75 INCREDIBLE EMAIL STATISTICS [2022]: HOW MANY EMAILS ARE SENT PER DAY?” Zippia [online] Available from: [accessed January 2023]

[2] Chang. J (2022) “52 Email Subject Line Statistics: 2022 Trends & Effective Ideas” FinancesOnline [online] Available from: [accessed January 2023]

[3] (2019) “Email Design: The Best Practices Guide (+ Bonus Checklist)” Campaign Monitor [online] Available from: [accessed January 2023]