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Email Layout: How to Impress Your Client

Email Layout: How to Impress Your Client

A good email layout design will capture the attention of your busy subscribers—and make content easier to read.

The right design will direct your focus to the content itself, not the structure holding it in place, and it should be simple, well-organized, and have an intuitive flow. Here, we share three types of email layouts, along with some pointers on how to pick the right one for different campaigns.

Email layouts: 3 types

Email layouts generally fall into three groups: single-column, multiple-column, or a hybrid. Whichever you choose, the important thing is to keep the design simple and mobile-optimized.

1. Single-column layout

A single-column layout consists of one or more modules that fill the full width of the email and are all stacked on top of each other. Stanley, a company that makes hand tools, uses a single-column layout email, as seen below:

stanley email layout

Benefits of a single-column email layout:

  1. Easy to read. Single-column emails have a clear hierarchy: they start with the most important content at the top, and more content is consumed as you scroll down. You view one module, then the next. There are no sidebar distractions.
  2. Optimized for mobile viewing. Multiple columns do not render well on smaller screens, which is why multi-column emails should always be responsive, reordering content into a single column. When scrolling on a mobile device, multiple columns also make content harder to read, forcing zoom in with fingers, which doesn’t make for a seamless experience.
  3. Focused on a single call-to-action. A single-column email is optimal for storytelling, taking readers through each component of the message until there is a clear, obvious call-to-action. This intuitive, sequential nature leads readers directly to your CTA.

2. Multiple-column layout

A multi-column layout typically separates content into two or three columns, sometimes so content appears arranged in a grid, like in this example from the shopping curation site, Shop: My Domaine. Here, columns are defined by pink boxes:

shop mydomaine email layout

Benefits of a multiple-column email layout:

  1. Organized product display. Arranging products on a grid allows you to showcase a lot of items quickly, maximizing the amount viewed above the fold.
  2. Optimal for image-driven content. If your email is almost entirely image-based, and the images don’t require descriptive text, multiple columns will probably be the best layout.
  3. Displays a lot of content quickly (on desktop). Since your multiple-column email layout should be mobile responsive and switch to a single-column layout on smaller devices, it may require a lot of scrolling. But desktop viewers will be able to quickly scan through a lot of visual content arranged on a grid.

3. Hybrid layout

Many publishers send emails with a feature story at the top, with secondary content in multiple columns underneath it. This hybrid layout, which goes from first a single column then to multiple columns, has plenty of uses, like making product announcements. Here’s an email example from the notebook company Moleskine, where columns are also defined by pink boxes:

moleskine email layout

Benefits of a hybrid email layout:

  1. Maintains a strong hierarchy. By starting with a single-column module, the first and most important module of content won’t be missed.
  2. Easy to present multiple calls-to-action. Having a clear and focused message with a single call-to-action is a wise strategy for busy readers, but if you have more than one call-to-action and no strong hierarchy to your message, multiple columns can be used.
  3. Ideal for linking to secondary content. A hybrid layout can be used to focus readers’ attention on the most important piece of content but still provide additional information

Email layout design: Choose the best one for your content

Now that you know the three different layout designs, how do you choose one? In order to choose an email layout, think about the purpose of your message and ask yourself: Is it to deliver an important update? Show subscribers a new product feature? Inform about a change to privacy settings? Send a roundup of upcoming events? Offer a limited-time discount? The type of message you plan to send—and the amount of content—will inform which layout is optimal for your campaign.

Often, designers use templates to establish consistent, branded foundations for various email types. Templates improve workflow efficiency and provide a framework for delivering well-designed emails that are always on brand. That’s why using the BEE editor, which includes plenty of templates and layouts, will make your life easier. And, with BEE Pro, the new advanced version of BEE, you get even more professionally designed templates and layouts to create a new email campaign.

BEE Pro templates email layout

Whether you choose from a selection of professionally designed templates or you start from scratch, determining the best layout for your email starts by identifying the message you’re sending. Below, we highlight specific types of newsletters and the best email layout to choose for each one:

Text based email

Letter or text-based templates are useful for sending subscribers a personal message or a serious update, like one necessary for legal reasons. You might use a letter to welcome a new subscriber, apologize for an error, or announce a company change.

Email Layout to Choose: 

A basic single-column layout and keep the message straightforward, simple, and short.

BEE basic email layout

Round up email

For lists, roundups, or blog/article digests, an email’s layout can reinforce consistency around the number of items included and the format of each item in the list.

Email Layout to Choose:

A hybrid layout with a list format that features one headlining item followed by more content.

BEE hybrid email layout

User invitation email template

An invitation template is a valuable go-to for your online lead generation efforts. Think about the promotional content on your website. Are you inviting subscribers to participate in an online webinar, offering them a free report or e-book to download? You can use an email template builder like BEE to create a responsive email design for your next invitation.

Email Layout to Choose:

A single-column or hybrid layout where the first module includes the most important details about the offering, along with a CTA button.

BEE invite email layout

Promotional emails

To generate buzz around your product, create an email template for promotional offers that’s short, well-branded, vibrant, and has a clear call to action.

Email Layout to Choose:

A single-column or hybrid layout to focus readers’ attention on your offer.

BEE coupon email layout

News alert or product announcement emails

To quickly communicate a single, clear message to readers—like a big promotion alert/reminder or a product announcement—a layout that’s dedicated to delivering an important piece of singular information is key. These email types are often most effective when designed with simplicity.

Email Layout to Choose:

A single-column or hybrid layout to make sure the most important information is in the first module (just avoid additional modules!).

BEE alert email layout

Catalogue or multiple products feature template

Most product feature emails break from the single-column structure and use a grid-based layout. Since keeping a grid formation often means items are difficult to see on mobile devices, make sure these messages are responsive so products reposition into one column. (All BEE templates are 100% responsive).

Email Layout to Choose:

A multiple-column layout that’s responsive to mobile screens.

BEE newsletter email layout

Remember: BEE Pro has dozens of beautiful, professional-quality email templates with great layouts. Create the best newsletter design with BEE Pro for more design options, from newsletter templates to notification templates including this order notification template, and many more!

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BEE Team