7 Deadly Email Template Sins

Posted under Email

Is your email bounce rate too high? Click through rate too low? Are people just not opening your emails? It could all be down to the email template you’re using.

If you are committing any of these sins it is time to stop!

1. Uninviting

Make sure to include a pre-header snippet in your email. This is a little snippet of text, which comes before any another content or images.

This simple little addition makes sure you have control of what the reader sees in their preview on certain email clients. It will act as a way to ‘invite’ readers to click through to your email.

Here is what it looks like while looking through your emails:


So as you can see, there isn’t space for a lot of text, the character length will depend on how your subject line length.

Here is how it looks in the email:


Sometimes this space is used to provide a ‘View in browser link’. If someone, for whatever reason has difficulty displaying your email in their email client, offering an opportunity to view it in their browser instead increases the chance that they will actually read it.

2. Unbalanced

An email must have balance. There are three types of balance you have to think about when creating an email.

  1. The balance of text content to white space
  2. The balance of text to links
  3. The balance of text to images

The balance of text content to white space

If your email content is too text heavy it can appear quite over whelming which can cause people to just skip over to their next email. We live in such a fast paced world, ‘I want the information that I want, and I want it yesterday’ – so get to the point quickly.

The balance of text to links

Having too much text without a healthy sprinkling of links can wreak havoc with your click through rate. Mailchimp has carried out some research on the effect that different text to link ratios can have. They discovered that including a link for every 8 words results in a click through rate of 14%, while for 341+ words per link the click through rate falls to just 3%.

The balance of text to images

Avoid using image heavy emails, as this will very likely send you south of the inbox and into spam. If you like to include images in your emails a good ratio to aim for is 60% text.

3. Uncompromising

Send a plain text email as well as your HTML version.

Most devices and email clients can render a HTML email, however not 100% of them. It is important to cater for this by making sure that when you send a HTML email you also send a plain text version that closely matches the HTML version.

Additionally, spam filters like to see a plain text version of the email, so if I have failed to convince you to do it to cater for email clients and devices that don’t support all HTML, then do it to get past the spam filters.

Most good email marketing software will provide you with an option to send a plain text version of your email along with your HTML version.

4. Illegal

Make sure your email complies with the law.

Include your company details, such as the company name and address as well as a way for the user to unsubscribe from further emails from you. Spam filters also look for these on your emails.

Note: Although this doesn’t directly relate to your email template it is important to remember nonetheless, you must have permission to send to the email addresses you are sending to! The person must have opted in to here from you; this means no buying lists of email addresses or scraping them from the internet, unless of course you want to be blacklisted.

If you want to read more about the legal aspects of your email marketing, you can read Karen’s blog on email marketing and the law.

5. Anti-social

Include ways for your subscribers to share your email. Social sharing buttons and a forward to a friend link are great ways to expand the potential reach of your email.

6. Incompatible

Test your email in different email clients before sending.

Not every email client displays emails in the same way. Gmail is different to Outlook is different to Hotmail.

Also, on top of the desktop email clients, you have mobile and tablet. Your email template should be responsive to different screen sizes. Remember that mobile now makes up 51% of all email opens.

7. Inconsistent

Is your template properly branded? Does it look professional and reflect how you want you and your business to be perceived?

Make sure your email template is consistent with how your brand looks elsewhere. This is not only for branding purposes, but also for reassurance to the receiver of the email that it is genuine.

Laura McGill

Laura is our digital guru – she loves the opportunity to be both creative and analytical, digging into clients’ analytics and developing insights to help creatively solve problems and fuel successful marketing campaigns.

She is Google Certified and eats, sleeps and breathes the latest developments in digital marketing. She’s passionate about it – and that is great news for all our clients.

She says she loves working with supportive and friendly colleagues at Media Matters. She describes herself as being tenacious, forthright and loves puppies and kittens! She also possesses an incredible attention to detail.

Away from work, she is busy renovating her home with partner Stef – and perhaps not surprisingly loves gaming and socialising.