The Best Email Design Tips from #LitmusLive Boston 2017

Last week, email geeks came together for some serious knowledge sharing at #LitmusLive 2017 in Boston. Sessions at the two-day conference touched on data mining and manipulation, email workflow insights, the ins and outs of personalization, and a lot more. But if you missed it and have a case of FOMO, fear not. We rounded up the best email design tips from #LitmusLive and put ’em all in one place: right here. Read on to brush up on the tips, tricks, and trends in email design!

Tip #1: Learn from your inbox.

We love this tip, and we abide by it! We subscribe to pretty much all the emails. It’s what makes the Email Design Workshop possible, and it’s how we learn. Knowing what other brands are up to is a must-do for any email marketing team.

But knowing what’s out there and learning from it is different from copying. Take what you see and make it your own.

Tip #2: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes (and apologize when you need to).

Pushing your email design boundaries means everything won’t always go smoothly. That’s okay!

If you make a mistake, don’t be too hard on yourself! Instead, know how to send a great apology email, and do it sincerely, humbly, and even with a sense of humor.

Tip #3: Optimize images for mobility.

As emails are increasingly read on mobile devices, it’s critical that images are optimized for smaller screens—and for different data plans.

When sizing images, considering device disparity is as important as network disparity.

Need tips on how to optimize? Catch our easy tutorial on image optimization.

Tip #4: It’s time to personalize!

There’s no denying that readers appreciate personalized content. When it truly feels like a message was sent with you—and your preferences and behaviors in mind—it makes an impact.

Without personalization, emails start to look and feel like this…

Good personalization begins with good data. Product Manager Vicky Ge suggests starting with these 5 elements.

For more, scope out 7 brands that get email personalization right and our tutorial on how to create personalized images in email.

Tip #5: Be clear; write less.

From #LitmusLive and beyond, by now we all know that emails are not websites.

But getting clear takes reminding, and practice. So here is your reminder!

The 3-second rule is a tough test. Do your emails pass?

Simplifying will probably mean less text.

But that’s ok! Get people interested enough to click, then tell them more later.

Tip #6: Go boldly into that interactive world (and be sure to test!)

Designing email can be a lot of fun. One of the most exciting areas of experimentation is with interactivity.

It’s becoming more and more widely supported.

So now’s the time to dive in, if you haven’t already. Just do your due diligence with planning, including having fallbacks and thoroughly testing.

Want ideas and resources? Find them here.

Tip #7: About those CTAs…

Good emails have a single objective and call to action. It should always be clear to the reader what to do next (and why).

That means designing effective CTA buttons that are always bulletproof, clear, and compelling.

Tip #8: Is there such a thing as too much white space?

We always appreciate simple, clear emails that lack clutter. But that doesn’t mean everything needs to be bare and white.

Too much design simplicity can mean your email gets lost. One way to stand out? Background imagery!

Pro tip: make sure the text you use with background images is live. We show you how in our tutorial: How to Add Background Images in Email.

Tip #9: Be thoughtful with photography.

It bears repeating that gorgeous photography is one of the best ways to differentiate your brand and emails.

Of course, custom photos aren’t always available. In that case, be conscientious about how you choose stock photos. Consider your brand and, importantly, your audience. Great tip from email designer Logan Sandrock:

Tip #10: Test!

Take your inspiration from these great #LitmusLive tips and run with it! But always remember, as you experiment and try new things with email, test and track your results. It will improve your knowledge and outcomes.

Remember: Email is a privilege

A final reminder from #LitmusLive? Always consider email a privilege. This is creative, exciting work we all get to do, but it’s not something to be taken for granted.

Without your audience, there would be no email to send. The wisest email geeks remember this every time they build a campaign.

Want to use these design tips in an email campaign right away? Get going with BEE Pro. Sign up for a free trial here.

*Photo from #LitmusLive published courtesy of Genna Matson,

  • NiftyImages

    Thanks for the great recap. Our team hopes to be there next time!

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