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Email design best practices to captivate and convert
Email Marketing

Email design best practices to captivate and convert

Ever wondered how to design event marketing emails that steal the spotlight? Take a deep dive into email design best practices to help pave the way for creating unforgettable experiences.

Kait Huziak
July 23, 2024

We’ve all heard the line, “If you build it, they will come,” but just putting together an event doesn’t cut it. Event promotion is a crucial part of the planning process to help build awareness, spark interest, and draw in the right crowd. 

That’s why email marketing is a key player in event success. Aside from being an inexpensive and simple way to promote events, email marketing allows event marketers to talk directly to fans, send personalized messages, keep subscribers updated, and, most importantly, get more people to attend without breaking the bank.

However, the structure of an email can determine whether it gets sent to the trash or drives ticket sales. From click-worthy elements to persuasive copy, a well-designed email can significantly step up your event marketing game, bring in more engaged fans, and sell more tickets.

How to design event emails that steal the spotlight

The anatomy of an email plays a vital role in keeping fans interested and encouraging them to take action. Just getting subscribers to open emails is a challenge in itself. But once they do, it’s important to make sure they’ve been designed in a way that’s easy to read and act on. Let’s take a look at why great email design matters and how you can create emails that lead to more memorable experiences.

Generate interest with an attention-grabbing subject line

Like a catchy headline in a newspaper, the subject line is the first thing subscribers see. It determines whether emails get opened or ignored. Creating subject lines that stir up feelings such as curiosity, excitement, or urgency can make a big difference in getting subscribers to open emails.

To come up with subject lines that hook subscribers and make them want to know more, try to:

  • Spark curiosity: Tease recipients with a bit of mystery to encourage them to open and learn more.

    Example: [Event Name] lineup just dropped…
  • Ask a question: Pose a question that piques curiosity or addresses a pain point.

    Example: Ready for an unforgettable night?
  • Highlight benefits: Focus on the benefits or value recipients will gain from opening the email. 

    Example: Get VIP perks for [Event Name] attendees
  • Create urgency: Use words that convey urgency to prompt immediate action.

    Example: Last chance to secure [Event Name] tickets!
  • Use segmented targeting: Tailor subject lines based on audience segments to make them more relevant.

    Example: Calling all [City] hip hop lovers!

Keep in mind that people open emails on all sorts of devices, each with its own limit for characters before it cuts off. To play it safe, keep your subject lines under 60 characters. That way, everyone sees the whole message.

Leverage personalization to build fan connections

Email personalization is about making emails more tailored for each subscriber. It's using what you know about them, such as their names, preferences, or past interactions, to make the email feel more relevant to subscribers.

Why does that matter? Personalized emails make people feel like you truly know them. This makes them more likely to open your emails, read what you have to say, and take the actions you want them to, such as buying tickets to an event.

In practice, this could mean using their name when you say hello in the email, recommending specific events they might like based on what they’ve been to before, or giving them special offers or discounts based on what they’ve bought in the past.

Drive action through engaging copy

Copy is the glue to your campaigns. It ties together the creative design, subject line, and call-to-action (CTA). It also helps create a connection with subscribers, build excitement, and guide them toward the actions you want them to take.

Good copy makes emails interesting, relatable, and persuasive. Here’s how to achieve that:

  • Use conversational language: Keep it casual. A conversational tone makes your emails feel personal and approachable. Write as if you're having a one-on-one chat with subscribers. Avoid overly formal language and use words and phrases your fans can relate to.
  • Be clear and concise: In a world of limited attention spans, clarity ensures your message is easily understood. Keep your sentences and paragraphs brief. Use bullet points for important details to allow subscribers to scan and absorb information quickly.
  • Evoke emotions: Similar to subject lines, email body copy should create emotion that inspires action. Use language that conveys a limited-time offer, exclusive access, or the idea that the event is not to be missed. Drive your subscribers to take action through convincing language.

Create designs that draw people in

Did you know that half of the human brain is devoted to processing visual information? Since humans are naturally drawn to visuals, email design plays a key role in getting across important information in an easy-to-understand way.

To help enhance the visual appeal of emails, some email design best practices include:

  • Create a consistent brand look: Consistency in design reinforces your event's brand and helps in brand recognition. Use the same colors, fonts, and images to help subscribers recognize your event’s brand. Also, make sure all your event promotional materials follow the same theme.
  • Opt for high-quality images: Good images make your email look sharp. You might want to consider investing in professional photos or design services to create eye-catching graphics that really show off your event. If that’s not possible, there are plenty of free websites for stock photos and graphic design tools to amp up your emails.
  • Make it easy to read: A well-organized layout ensures subscribers can quickly absorb information. Choose clear fonts, maintain proper spacing, and use a clear order for information to guide subscribers through the content easily.
  • Use headlines and subheadings: Break up the text with headlines and subheadings to highlight important details. Use different fonts and colors to make them stand out and catch the reader’s eye.
  • Incorporate white space: Let your content breathe. White space, the empty areas around text and images, helps avoid visual chaos and makes everything easier to read. Keep things spaced out so it doesn’t feel overwhelming.
  • Ensure emails are mobile-friendly: Many people check emails on their mobile devices, so your design needs to work well on both big screens and small ones. Test it out on different devices to make sure it looks good and works smoothly.

Include a clear CTA to convert subscribers

The purpose of a CTA is to grab attention for your main message or offer. No matter what you want your subscribers to do, these interactive elements let them take action with just one click. But there are some things to remember about the copy and design to make your CTAs work better:

  • Use action words: Instead of basic phrases like "Click here," go for more interesting options like "Upgrade your ticket" or "Get on the waitlist."
  • Choose a standout color: The color of your button matters. You want something that catches the eye but doesn't get too distracting. Pick a color that stands out against the rest.
  • Think about size and placement: Put your CTA in a smart place and make sure it's the right size. It should be easy to see without overwhelming the other elements.

Provide options for communication preferences

It's essential to give your subscribers options for how they want to hear from you. This way, you respect their different preferences and let them shape their experience with your brand. This builds trust, enhances engagement, and makes sure your communication lines up with what your diverse subscriber base wants. It’s also a legal requirement if you’re dealing with a North American subscriber list.

At the very least, make sure people can easily unsubscribe, and always include a link that's clear, user-friendly, and stands out. If you want to go above and beyond, think about creating a special webpage or portal where subscribers can pick how they get messages, especially if you're using various channels. Just make sure to include links to this page in your emails and on your website.

Ensure email design follows accessibility standards

In simple terms, making emails accessible means using small design changes to make things easier for people with disabilities. Aside from being a legal requirement, following accessibility standards shows your commitment to giving everyone a user-friendly experience. This can help grow your subscriber list, make fans happier, and boost your brand image.

Fortunately, a couple of the steps to make emails accessible overlap with some of what we have already covered. Here are a few more things to consider:

  • Use descriptive alt text for images: People with visual impairments might use screen readers that rely on alt text to describe images. Put descriptive alt text for all images in your emails, explaining what the image is about.
  • Provide text alternatives for non-text content: For things like audio and video, offer alternatives for those who can't access them. Include video transcripts and text alternatives for audio content so everyone can get the information.
  • Implement keyboard accessibility: Some people navigate the web using keyboards instead of mice. Make sure your emails can be moved through and interacted with using just a keyboard. 
  • Include accessible forms: Forms can be tricky for those with disabilities. Label your forms right, give clear instructions, and provide error messages. Think about the order and structure of form fields.
  • Avoid relying solely on color: People with color vision issues might struggle to understand information based on color alone. Use other visual cues like patterns, icons, or labels along with color to get your message across.
  • Ensure appropriate color contrast: Low contrast can be tough for users with visual impairments. Make sure there's high contrast between text and background to make things easier to read.
  • Provide a plain text version: Some users prefer or need plain text emails. Include a plain text version of your email or make sure the content is still clear when images and formatting are turned off.

Wrap up

While content is important when it comes to email marketing, don’t overlook the importance of good email design. Without it, even the best writing won’t get read. By following email design best practices, you’ll ensure your emails captivate subscribers, are formatted for easy consumption, and pave the way for unforgettable experiences.