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Dotdigital insider: how to create click-worthy email templates

Struggling with email engagement? Sharon Godfrey a Senior Digital Creative at Dotdigital shares valuable tips and best practices for crafting effective email templates that resonate with your audience and boost conversions.
Marketer learning about essential Dotdigital email template tips.

Are you worried that your emails are not engaging enough? It’s a common problem. Generic templates just don’t cut it anymore. To stand out and generate successful email campaigns, you need expert assistance. Meet Sharon Godfrey, a Senior Digital Creative at Dotdigital, who is part of our in-house team of experts dedicated to supporting our customers.

Sharon Godfrey, Senior Digital Creative at Dotdigital.

In a recent interview with Sharon, she shared her extensive experience in creating impactful email templates and how she works with Dotdigital customers across different industries. The creative team at Dotdigital, including Sharon, is always on hand to provide valuable guidance and support.

Keep reading to learn Sharon’s secrets to crafting attention-grabbing email templates within the Dotdigital platform. Let’s delve in and get started.

Maximizing Dotdigital features

During our interview, Sharon revealed some powerful features she uses daily within the Dotdigital platform to create impactful email templates for clients. Let’s explore these hidden gems and show you how to use them to craft email templates that truly connect with your audience.

Image editor

Creating graphics for campaigns can be a time-consuming task, especially for those who lack access to photo editing tools like Photoshop. Relying on design teams can also slow down the process and create obstacles in your campaign creation, taking up valuable time for marketers. 

However, Sharon highlighted that the image editor available in Dotdigital under “Images” (Manage) helps you to design striking images. You can easily crop, resize, and add text overlays to create captivating hero sections and establish the tone for your email.

Image editor in action on Dotdigital.

Consider the frustration of spending hours creating the perfect email campaign, only to later discover that some links are not working. Not only is this inconvenient for your subscribers, but broken links can also damage your sender’s reputation and impact the success of your campaign.

Manually checking links in old email templates is a time-consuming task, and it’s all too easy to overlook a broken link. With Dotdigital’s link checker, you can automatically scan your templates for outdated or broken links – this is a huge time saver for Sharon and her team. This tool helps you provide a positive user experience and improve sender reputation.

Custom building blocks

Are you tired of typing the same email content over and over again? Creating emails from scratch can be time-consuming, especially if you must include common elements such as product listings, CTAs, or social media icons. Sharon revealed that using custom building blocks can dramatically improve your email creation process.

These blocks allow you to save frequently used content sections like a CTA block, and then simply drag and drop them into your emails whenever you need them. By doing this, you can create your own content library and save significant time on future campaigns. By focusing on crafting strategic email content, you can let Dotdigital take care of the repetitive tasks.

Custom building blocks being dragged into a campaign on Dotdigital.

Display options

Picture this: you’ve crafted a stunning email complete with an eye-catching hero image, only to discover later that it’s cut off on mobile devices. In today’s mobile-first world, your emails need to display perfectly across all devices. Failing to optimize emails for different screen sizes can result in subscribers missing important information or having a negative user experience. 

Sharon highlighted the importance of using display options to create a seamless experience across all devices. This feature gives you control over how your email content appears on different screen sizes, enabling you to create a consistent and user-friendly experience for all recipients. 

With our display options feature, you can choose whether to show or hide specific sections for mobile or desktop viewers, catering to the unique preferences of each audience. By customizing your emails for each device, you’ll keep subscribers engaged and satisfied, regardless of how they access your emails.

Email template best practices

Email templates are a powerful tool to streamline your email marketing efforts, but crafting effective ones requires following key principles. Here are some email template best practices that Sharon uses daily when working with clients. By following these tips, you can create email campaigns that resonate with your audience and drive results.

Balance HTML and imagery

It’s important to strike a good balance between HTML text and engaging visuals. Finding this perfect balance allows your message to stand out across different platforms, ensuring that your audience receives a clear and compelling message. Excessive images in the top section of the email (above the fold) can make the email less engaging when images are turned off. On the other hand, large blocks of text can overwhelm readers.

Above the fold focus

When scrolling through a crowded inbox, you only have a few seconds to decide which emails to open before moving on. That’s why the above the fold section – the initial screen view of your email – is prime real estate. It’s your chance to grab attention and convince recipients to delve deeper. Here are some tips for a captivating above the fold section:

  1. Lead with a compelling subject line: Use a clear, concise subject line that sparks curiosity and entices readers to open the email. Feeling stuck crafting the perfect subject line? Consider using a generative tool like WinstonAI.
  2. Use visible HTML text: Ensure your HTML text is placed above the fold and is concise, complementing your subject line to engage viewers to open the email.
  3. Showcase a powerful image: A captivating image can instantly grab attention and set the tone for your email.
  4. Highlight key content: Feature a strong call to action, a new product launch, or a special offer to pique interest.

By prioritizing visually appealing and informative content within the above the fold section, you can significantly increase your email open rates and engagement.

Accessibility for all

Make your emails accessible to everyone. Use alt text to describe images for those who use screen readers, structure your content with clear heading hierarchies, and leave enough white space for readability to cater to a broader audience.

It’s important to ensure that all individuals can fully engage with your content. Creating accessible emails not only demonstrates inclusivity but also extends the reach of your message to a wider audience.

Code cleanliness

When it comes to email design, maintaining code cleanliness is important. By keeping your email code clean and minimizing nesting tables and columns where possible, you can avoid rendering issues – particularly on platforms like Gmail. A streamlined and well-structured code ensures that your messages are delivered effectively without any unnecessary bloat.

Font fundamentals

Fonts can make or break your email’s visual appeal. Opt for widely supported fonts like Arial or Times New Roman to ensure consistent display across different devices and email clients. Avoid fancy fonts that might not render properly and result in a confusing presentation.

Campaign design review

If you’re uncertain whether your emails are performing well, our creative team provides a campaign design review service. We’ll analyze five of your campaigns, provide feedback, and offer best practice advice and suggestions to enhance their effectiveness. This can help you pinpoint areas for improvement and ensure that your emails are reaching their full potential.

Start creating engaging emails today

Crafting compelling emails doesn’t have to be a mystery. By utilizing Dotdigital’s features and following best practices shared by our talented creative team, you can create email campaigns that engage audiences and deliver results.

Power up your emails with strong visuals, clear communication, and a focus on user experience. Instead of using generic templates, unleash your creativity and get support from our dedicated in-house experts. With Dotdigital, you can design email campaigns that stand out, attract attention, and drive results.

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