Email Marketing: Formatting Do’s and Don’ts

Email marketing has advanced to be a perfect combination of low cost marketing, technology infused outreach and social networking. It can easily take on a bad reputation by being classified as bulk email or even worse spam, but with the proper content and formatting, what once would have been seen as “just another worthless message” can easily be a perfectly designed company communication instead. While the content has to be yours, the formatting needs to be consistent so your message is easy to view. Ready to get started?


Typeface matters. Choosing a font for your email is actually a pretty vital choice. You can’t go too boring because it won’t catch the attention of readers. But you also can’t get too complicated because no one will be able to actually read the message. There are thousands and thousands of choices for fonts. Go with one that matches your company’s logo or website already. Once a font is selected, do not try to spice up the email by changing up the typeface during the body of the message. The typeface is the family of the font. Using different sizes of the font for headers and more important points is fine but changing up the typeface is too confusing on the eyes. If you choose Arial for your font, your options also include Arial Bold, Arial Narrow, and Arial in italics or underlined. Pick two. If you must, use three but absolutely do not use more than three. It causes your message to get lost in the design which defeats the purpose of sending the email.


Make your call-to-action obvious and repeat it at least thrice. You do not have to use the exact same graphic or banner each time but make sure that the link is included. An easy first use is with your company logo. Use one as a basic hyperlink in the body of the text and have one be a main header or banner near the top of the email. This gives readers more opportunity to notice the link which makes them more likely to click it.


Pay attention to the fold. With more and more people using email viewers that give a limited preview pane or smart phones that only show part of the email up front, the fold matters. This means, get your point made in the first few lines. If you can’t grab your readers’ attention in that first couple of sentences, they may not put forth the effort to continue reading.


Screen width matters. Make sure your message is no more than 650 pixels wide. Preferably stick with 500 just to be extra safe. Readers do not want to use the horizontal scroll bar. On tablets or smart phones, the scrolling may not be difficult but readers still won’t do it. It also makes understanding and interpreting the message unnecessarily complicated. You should talk with a mobile marketing company to form a strategy to format your emails properly for tablets and smart phones.  This is important with so many people on the go nowadays.


Keep your logo in the top left corner so no scrolling is necessary. This gives viewers a quick glance at your company name with an image to burn into their memory. Even if they choose to delete the email without reading the information, they know the email was from your company and that will stick with them. Hopefully, rather than deleting bulk mail without paying attention, that logo will capture their attention and your message will not in fact get tossed.


Aside from formatting your email, the content itself is important so be sure to also read about email marketing best practices. Once you learn the formatting tricks, it will become second nature. Your emails will be easy to create and bring good, positive attention to your company.


Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for She specializes on the topics of internet and technology