Email is still king. Even as other channels become more popular, email remains popular among Internet users. Marketers still value email as a way to communicate with consumers.
It's important for designers to understand the value placed on email and email design.
With this in mind, let's look at the essential elements of e-commerce email design.


E-commerce companies work hard to build their email subscriber lists. These folks realize the importance of having a list. To have a consumer opt-in to an email program is a sign that they want to receive valuable correspondence from a company. If you can create great email designs you will be a valuable resource for any company looking to hire.

1. Visual Brand Relevance



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If you are looking for email inspiration you can't go wrong with Fossil. In the last year or so their program has been stellar. The design really establishes what their brand is about and these days the Fossil brand is cool, laid back and stylish. Fossil has become known for way more than just watches. Their apparel and accessories are sought after by folks that have a little funky and organic style. Use brand images and photography in emails for e-commerce brands like Fossil. It's a great way to really entice people to click through to the site to shop, but it's also something they'll actually look forward to seeing in the inbox each week.

2. Purpose & Call-To-Action



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The simple concept and design of the LL Bean Signature emails are great. They focus on simplicity. You won't see a ton of calls to action. Instead, each email has a basic purpose and a call-to-action to support that purpose. In this case, LL Bean Signature is promoting their polos. There are two main calls to action. Shop the featured polo or shop all polos. Simple. Easy to understand.

3. Cohesive Theme



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Levenger often has a theme for their emails. This email featured a theme for graduates. The entire email was focused on items a graduate would need for their professional career. Cohesiveness is important when creating emails like this. It is relevant to a target customer. The email is not relevant to everyone, but there are still a few small links near the top and the logo for others to click through to the website.

4. Descriptive Headline




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Johnston & Murphy did a great job with a headline in a recent email. The headline is only two words, but you instantly understand what the email is about. This is important. Headlines are key to letting the email opener know they are looking at the right email. The subject line needs to lead to the headline, which leads to the landing page. Johnston & Murphy did this plus they took advantage of a timely event, The Kentucky Derby.

5. Enticing Links


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Danner takes a little different approach with their email program. Every month they send out their Danner In The Details email. It's a great series with a focus on content. The design is simple. There is quite a bit of content for each section of the email, but what is really important here is the enticing nature of the content. It leads you just enough to get excited and then the links call you to action to click through to the website. This is good email design and strategy. Get the consumer to the website.

6. Obvious Links or Buttons


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Old Navy's emails are entirely unique. They are flashy and in your face. The brand has changed marketing strategies in recent years. They are promotional and fun. Their email program reflects this brand strategy. Another good aspect of the Old Navy email design is the obvious links. On the left side of this email you'll notice four links for Women, Women's Plus, Maternity, and Men. These basic looking text links, but that's what consumers are comfortable clicking. Don't get too crazy with buttons and links. Make them obvious for users so they are comfortable clicking.

7. Consumer Focus




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Woolrich has a great email program. The design is visually appealing. The company very much communicates their brand message with their design and imagery. In this example you see the photo of the woman. It's something the target audience of Woolrich will see and understand. Photos like this are great for connecting with an audience.

But what I love even more about this email is the customer-focused list of benefits. It can be difficult to focus on the customer benefits when referring to products. Woolrich does a good job. They understand that a customer is not just buying a shirt. The customer is getting something that will keep them dry in the summer months. This email is selling more than just a shirt. It's selling comfort.

About Guest Blogger

Dayne Shuda is a contributing blogger for Fluttermail, email marketing for small businesses.

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