According to a report from Litmus Email Analytics, the average time spent reading an email is 11.1 seconds, up 7% from 2011. The percentage of emails read for more than 18 seconds has also grown to 44.4% compared to 38.4% in 2011. The bad news is that 11.1 seconds still isn't a lot of time.
Less is more
Time yourself and read your content and see how long it takes to read and look at the pictures. The best emails will be under 750 words total. You want to put enough content in to get your message across, but at the same time you run risks if your content is too long. Those risks include:
- Ending up in the spam or junk folder
- Having users be overwhelmed by the amount of content in your email and not reading it
- The email content is heavily formatted and is so long that it creates display problems in various email clients.
Simple is safer with email. Create an email that is easy to read on all email clients. The fancy design can happen on your website.
You can view your email in different browsers by subscribing to an email testing service like Email on Acid or Litmus.
Single column design
Start with a single column layout to make your email cross-device-compatible. A single column design is sufficient for most emails (other than product-based or newsletter style) and makes it easier to accommodate mobile devices.
Email designers should use a “mobile-first” design. This means that they design the email with mobile primarily in mind, then make sure it also works on a desktop client.
One way to conform to different devices is using Responsive Design.
A white or very light color background is best as it enhances the font colors and ensures readability. If using a color for background, consider contrast guidelines when it comes to accessibility. Limit the use of color so as not to confuse the user about what to focus on.
Use email-safe fonts
Arial and Georgia are IU brand-compliant fonts and supported in most email clients.
It is essential to keep your email design professional; hence, use less than four types of fonts in a single email. A good practice is to use one font style for headlines and another (a simple font) for the email body copy. Having a good fallback font is also a good practice. Your fallback font ensures your design still looks good without custom web fonts.
As far as colors of the fonts are concerned, restrict it to less than four to maintain that formal touch. A light color background is best as it enhances the darker font colors.
Make links obvious
Underline and color links so users are enticed to click on them.