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Ali Sedivy

Total posts: 5
Last post: October 23, 2020

Email Design Best Practices

Email Design Best Practices

By Ali Sedivy on  October 23, 2020

There are a lot of details to consider when designing an email campaign. Questions that are bound to come up might include: What dimensions should I use for the email template? How can I ensure the design is on-brand? How long should the subject line be?

All of those details, and many others, are important to think about when designing an email that not only looks amazing, but also converts. Here are some best practices for designing your next email campaign – from subject line to footer – to make sure your emails are noticed, opened, read, and acted on.

Email Content


Think about sifting through an email inbox as you would sift through USPS mail. You quickly glance through it and weed out the junk mail and flyers, only keeping the envelopes or mailers that catch your attention or are, you know, important bills. Treat an email inbox the same way – people scan and quickly determine what’s important or worth opening. Therefore, your subject line and preview text (also known as a preheader) are two of the most important parts of your email design.

When writing your subject line, you’ll want to be compelling, clear, and concise. It should tell your reader what to expect when they open your email. If it aligns with your brand voice, you might want to be clever with your words to create a catchy, attention-grabbing subject line.

It’s also important to think about how your subject line will render when a reader opens it on a phone or a desktop computer. When writing a subject line, less is usually more. Research shows that it’s best to keep your subject lines under 65 characters for better open rates. Not to mention, longer subject lines could get cut off, which could lead to some potentially awkward subject lines showing up in your reader's inbox. (Consider using a tool like to avoid sending an embarrassing subject line!)


Your email preheader is the text that typically comes after the subject line and briefly describes what the email is about. Your preview text should provide a quick inside look or snippet of what your readers can expect in your email message. Don’t sleep on the preheader – it is a great opportunity to engage your subscribers and convince them to open your email.


When it comes to writing the actual copy inside of your email, you’ll want to avoid long, text-heavy emails that require a lot of scrolling. Rather, be concise with your messaging to keep your audience’s attention and interest. Think of it more like a quick snack than a three-course meal – short and sweet! You want to communicate your message in a way so that in just a few seconds, you inspire your readers to act. Include a short phrase or a few sentences, rather than long paragraphs, so that it’s easily skimmable and quickly directs readers to where you want them to go.


Speaking of where you want your readers to go, calls-to-action (CTAs) are necessary to convert your email recipient. Think about what you are trying to achieve with your email. Do you want to drive subscribers to your website? Read a blog post or download a whitepaper? Request a product demo? Whatever your goal is, include a clear CTA or next step in your email that is visible, enticing, and clickable. A common best practice is to incorporate a button or make linked text stand out with a brighter or contrasting color using straightforward verbiage.

Building Your Template


When your subscriber opens your email, you want it to be very clear that the message was sent from your company. When designing your email, think about your website and marketing materials. Does the tone and voice match your other content (think: blog articles or social media posts)? Do the colors, fonts, and logo match the branding on your website? Being consistent with your branding will only help create awareness while achieving your other goals like boosting conversions.


Emails should be organized, easy to read and navigate, and aesthetically pleasing. Readers should be able to scan it quickly and know what to look at first, second, and where to go from there. Create an information hierarchy and break up content with headlines and images to help focus your readers’ attentions and navigate them through your email.

There are three common approaches you can take with your email layout:

  • Inverted pyramid model: Structure your email so the placement of the header, imagery, text, and button resembles an upside-down pyramid. This approach draws the subscriber in with a large heading and guides the eye down the page to the narrowest shape (the CTA button). Check out this really good example, on Really Good Emails, of an inverted pyramid in action.
  • Zig-zag layout: This approach uses angles through images or blocks of color to guide the reader through the email. It’s a way to break the email into sections that makes it easy to read and pleasing to look at. Here’s a great example of the visually pleasing zig-zag layout.
  • One column email: This is a fairly straightforward approach that is created with desktop and mobile users in mind. In this layout, the header, image, text, and button are laid out one after the other in a one-column format. Here is an example of a great one-column email from Netflix.

To achieve a beautiful and strategic email layout, consider using an email template builder like Stripo. Stripo is a drag and drop template builder that allows you to create professional looking emails without any HTML coding skills. It’s easy to use and highly recommended by many email marketing professionals.


White space, or negative space, is the area in between different elements (text, images, buttons, etc.) in a design. Incorporating plenty of white space helps focus the reader’s attention on one element at a time. This visual separation can also encourage readers to click through your content.
Using white space, though, can be a bit of a balancing act. You want to ensure the copy and button are separated enough to stand out, but not so much that subscribers don’t know the two are related. Envision white space like the canvas of a painting. It’s the background that holds the elements of a design together, while enabling them to stand out.


The size of your email is also important when creating your template. It can affect whether your email is delivered or rendered correctly in every email client, like Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, etc. Of course, you’ll want to make sure your design is responsive (but we’ll get to that later). Most email marketers recommend keeping the width of your template to 600-640 pixels (px). It’s okay if you go a bit bigger, but you’ll want to keep your template at a reasonable size to ensure it renders well in every email client.


Images should be used in email to add to the messaging. They are not intended to be the messaging. Considering many people have image viewing disabled, any images in your email may not be automatically visible to your readers and therefore won’t be seen. Before sending, try viewing your email with the images turned off to ensure your message is still clear.

Here are a few other considerations when it comes to using images in your emails:

  • Number of images: Too many images can trigger spam filters. To ensure deliverability, it’s best practice to follow an 80:20 text-to-image ratio.
  • Dimension: As previously mentioned, your email should be about 600 pixels wide. But, to keep your image looking sharp on a high-resolution display, make the image twice the size (1,200 pixels). You can use the image attributes and CSS to keep the image at the width you want.
  • File size: The bigger the image file, the longer it will take to be viewed. Keep your image file sizes under 200k to ensure the email loads quickly.
  • Alt text: Don’t forget alt text! This is the text that displays if the image doesn’t render or if someone is using a screen reader. Alt text will ensure your email is accessible for every subscriber to read and comprehend, regardless of a visual impairment or disability.



Consider including links to your social media accounts in the footer of your email. This is a great way to show your readers where else they can follow your company and increase your followers on those platforms. As a best practice, we recommend only including the social platforms where your company has an active presence.


Typically placed at the bottom of the email in the footer, the unsubscribe button is a must for two reasons. First, you are legally required by the Federal Trade Commission and CAN-SPAM Act to include a clear and visible unsubscribe or opt-out link.

Second, when people opt-out, it can improve your metrics. Email marketing is highly effective when the content is relevant to your subscribers. When that’s no longer the case, making it easy for them to unsubscribe can improve your click-thru rates, open rates, and other email marketing metrics, thus improving the health of your email list. You want rock-solid lists of engaged subscribers, so when those who aren’t interested opt-out, it is a good thing.

Optimization and Testing

Before sending your email out to hundreds (maybe even thousands) of subscribers, some reassurance that your email design is responsive and will render correctly on every email client is always good to have. Consider using an email testing platform like Email on Acid or Litmus. These tools will allow you to test your email to see how it will render across 90+ email clients – both on mobile and desktop – to ensure it looks just the way you intended.

Additional Email Design Ideas to Consider


Using an emoji in an email, specifically in the subject line, can be a fun way to grab attention and increase your open rate. However, you’ll want to keep in mind that not all emojis are supported by all email clients, meaning, the recipient might see a ☐ character instead. This is another scenario where a testing platform like Email on Acid or Litmus comes in handy.


Emails can be personalized to your subscriber by using data such as name, birthday, last purchase, and so much more. Personalization can be as simple as adding the subscriber’s name in a subject line (emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened) or within the email copy. Taken a step further, personalization could be a form of contextual marketing, where subscribers are served emails based on data regarding their habits, location, or the local weather. Spotify’s annual Wrapped campaign is a great example of using data to personalize emails.

Need help designing the perfect email to attract and engage your recipients? Aztek’s team of email marketing specialists can help! Contact us today to see how we can help generate high-quality leads and increase engagement through our email marketing services.

Starting an Email Newsletter: What Businesses Need to Know

Starting an Email Newsletter: What Businesses Need to Know

By Ali Sedivy on  September 23, 2020

You’ve built up your email list by adding opt-in forms on your website, collecting addresses from lead magnets like contests and gated content, and adding opt-in checkboxes to online orders. Now, you’ll need to determine how you will take care of your list and nurture and support your subscribers. After all, they signed up to receive communication – your subscribers want to hear from you!

One of the best ways businesses can engage with subscribers is with an email newsletter. As one of the most common and useful types of email marketing, newsletters can be used to keep your subscribers up to date with your company in a way that adds immediate value to their life. Here are our tips on why you should send an email newsletter, what you should include, and how often to send it.

Why Send an Email Newsletter?

The purpose of an email newsletter is to nurture your prospects and customers with a consistent stream of content, so you can stay top of mind. It can also help position your business as a thought leader in your industry.

Keep in mind, newsletters are not something that’s generally used as a hard sales tactic. Newsletters should feel like an update from an interesting, helpful friend, rather than a pushy sales pitch. However, that’s not to say newsletters are used only to keep in touch. Due to its very nature, email newsletters can spark sales. By maintaining regular contact with your subscribers, you will build trust with your audience that can ultimately motivate them to act, whether that is making a purchase or driving them to your website through your latest blog post.

What to Include in an Email Newsletter

When thinking about what to include in your email newsletter, you’ll want to consider your company’s goals. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Improve customer loyalty and retention? Establish your brand as a thought leader?

Think of your newsletter as a way to nurture new leads in a slow, non-invasive way, while engaging your current customers with consistent communication that will help maintain those relationships. While you can certainly pepper in a promotion or a sales opportunity here and there, you’ll want to first seek to establish your company as a thought leader by sharing engaging and valuable content. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 87 percent of B2B marketers use email marketing to distribute their content. This makes email the third most popular distribution channel, just behind social media at 91 percent and the company website or blog at 89 percent.

Within your email newsletter, consider including:

  • Updates on your business, products, or services
  • Links to blog posts that your audience might find useful
  • Case studies that highlight your recent wins
  • Links to third-party content to establish yourself as a thought leader

By continually demonstrating your expertise, you will develop credibility with your subscriber base and enhance your value with your customer. Subscribers will start to associate positive feelings with your brand and will be more likely to seek you out for help when they need a solution to a problem or a job to be done.

How Often to Send an Email Newsletter

Once you’ve established your goals and content strategy, you’ll then want to think about the frequency at which you will send your email newsletter and how this will directly tie into your goals. While it can be tempting to send out an email newsletter every time you have something new and exciting to share, it’s considered best practice to show some restraint and stick to a schedule. Aim to send a newsletter at least once a month, but generally no more than once a week.

Depending on how engaged your subscriber list is can help you determine how frequently you should be connecting with them. Companies with highly engaged audiences may want to send a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter. For other companies, it may make more sense to send out a newsletter on a monthly basis. Use key metrics like open rate and click-through-rate (CTR) to help you decide what will best nurture your audience and not push your subscribers to unsubscribe, so you can keep your list engaged, connected, and informed.

Need help building up your mailing list, crafting the perfect email campaign or increasing engagement with your subscribers? Aztek’s team of email marketing specialists can help! Contact us today to see how we can help generate high-quality leads and increase engagement through our email marketing services.

Understanding Email Marketing Metrics: How to Analyze the Success of your Email Marketing Campaign

Understanding Email Marketing Metrics: How to Analyze the Success of your Email Marketing Campaign

By Ali Sedivy on  August 25, 2020

Email marketing is one of the more easily measured marketing tactics because most email platforms enable you to track who opened and clicked your messages. More important, however, than knowing who opened and clicked your messages, is understanding how to use these metrics to measure your efforts and hit your goals.

First, you’ll want to think about what the goal is for your email marketing campaign. Do you want to grow your subscriber database? Maybe you want to focus on lead generation? Once the goal is established, you’ll know which metrics can help you track your progress.

Now, we know email metrics can be confusing, but we’re here to help! Below, we broke down five key metrics we look at when analyzing email marketing campaigns.

Open Rate

What is this?

The open rate is the percentage of email recipients who open an email.

How is this calculated?

(Total number of emails opened / Total delivered) x 100 = %

Why is this valuable?

The open rate can help you determine the engagement of your subject line. Higher open rates mean your subject line resonated with your audience.

Now here's a curve ball: An email is only counted as “opened” if the recipient has their images turned on in their inbox. This means if someone has image-blocking enabled for their email, and they open your email, it won’t be included in your open rate. Therefore, open rate under-reports on true numbers, as many people do have image-blocking enabled.

So, how is this valuable? Open rate is valuable as a metric if you use it to compare to previous subscribers on the same list. This means that it can show how your subject lines are performing with that particular audience since the variables are controlled in that instance.

Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

What is this?

The click-through-rate is the percentage of email recipients who clicked on one or more links in an email measured against the total number of emails delivered.

How is this calculated?

(Unique clicks / Number of delivered emails) x 100 = %

Why is this valuable?

Click-through-rate, or CTR, measures the percentage of recipients who clicked through to your website. It is a percentage that tells you how many emails successfully achieved one click from a subscriber.

Why do you need to look at this metric?

This metric gives marketers a direct look into how many people on their list are engaging with their content based on the email as a whole: keywords, subject line, time the email was relayed, sender name, etc.

Click-To-Open Rate (CTOR)

What is this?

The click-to-open rate is the percentage of subscribers who clicked on the email as related to the total number who opened it.

How is this calculated?

(Unique clicks / Unique opens) x 100 = %

Why is this valuable?

Click-to-open rate, or CTOR, is a leading indicator of how valuable the content is that you’re sending. It indicates how effectively the email message, design, and content performed, and whether it created enough interest in the recipient to take action. It helps separate the performance of your content from other factors that might otherwise affect the stats, like the “from” name, time of day the email was sent, and subject line.

How is click-to-open rate different than click-through rate?

Unlike click-through rate, click-to-open rate is the number of clicks out of the number of opens (instead of the number of delivered emails). Again, this gives you a better gauge of how the content of the email resonated with your audience, since these clicks are only from people who actually viewed your email.

Unsubscribe rate

What this is?

The unsubscribe rate is the percentage of subscribers who choose to opt-out of receiving any more emails from your company.

How is this calculated?

(Number of unsubscribes / Total emails delivered) x 100 = %

Why is this valuable?

Evaluating unsubscribe rates allows marketers to see if their content and sending frequency matches the expectations and desires of their audience. Striving for an unsubscribe rate of less than 2% is standard across most industries.

Deliverability rate

What is this?

The deliverability rate is the overall rate at which your emails are being delivered to their intended inboxes.

Why do marketers look at this metric?

Looking at this number can help marketers gauge how likely it is that their email campaign will reach their subscribers related to delivery factors like bounces or spam issues.

What can hurt email deliverability?

Elements that hurt deliverability can include:

  • Sending an email without domain authentication
  • Using a single opt-in procedure for new subscribers
  • Sending from a free domain email address
  • Making it difficult to unsubscribe
  • Using URL shorteners (e.g., links)
  • Lack of engagement

How can you ensure a healthy deliverability rate?

To ensure a healthy deliverability rate, it’s key to maintain good list hygiene. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Keep an eye on inactive subscribers. Consider a re-engagement campaign, and ultimately remove those from your list who do not engage to improve the hygiene of your list.
  • Implement Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) and Sender Policy Framework (SPF) to authenticate your domain.
  • Use double opt-in rather than single opt-in for new subscribers.
  • Make unsubscribing very easy.
  • Monitor your KPIs to ensure you’re sending the right content to the right people at the right frequency.
  • Lastly, never use URL shorteners.

Next Steps: Optimize Your Email Strategy

By tracking the metrics listed above, you should have a good sense of how well your email campaigns are performing and identify areas of your strategy you can optimize. If you need help putting together or optimizing an email marketing strategy, or measuring the success of your campaigns, let us know! Aztek has multiple email marketing partnerships and a team of certified email marketing experts with years of proven success.

Tips for Writing an Engaging Welcome Email to New Subscribers

Tips for Writing an Engaging Welcome Email to New Subscribers

By Ali Sedivy on  June 23, 2020

When building any digital marketing strategy, it can be challenging for businesses to know where to begin. The same holds true for those looking to dip their toes in the email marketing waters or improve their current email workflow. In this case, the welcome email is a great place to start.

Welcome emails are your chance to make a good first impression and set the tone of your email relationship with your subscriber. The welcome email can also be a wonderful opportunity to encourage your new subscribers to take some type of action, like filling out a contact us form, requesting a demo, downloading a whitepaper, etc. It’s an important email you won’t want to overlook, as welcome emails typically have a higher open and engagement rate than more standard marketing emails. Research shows that subscribers who receive welcome emails show 33% more engagement with the brand.

Because new subscribers are so eager to engage, your welcome email should be sent as soon as possible. Most email platforms will let you trigger a welcome email immediately after someone subscribes, so if you’re still sending welcome emails manually, it’s time to upgrade to an automated platform like Act-On or ActiveCampaign. Doing so will save you time while also increasing customer loyalty and engagement right from the start.

What to Include in a Welcome Email

At this point, you may be thinking, this all sounds great, but what should I include in my welcome email? Here are some useful tips to consider when building your welcome email.

Share more information about your business

Bombas welcome email.

Your reader was interested enough in your company to subscribe, which makes a welcome email the perfect time to share more about who you are. Take a moment to clearly and succinctly introduce your company to generate more interest. This could be conveyed strictly through text but is also a chance to get creative and incorporate a beautiful image or graphic that showcases your brand and what you’re all about.

This email from Bombas is a perfect example of how to use an image with minimal text to give more information about the company. It’s easy to look at the email and quickly understand that Bombas is all about socks and comfort.

Thank the reader for subscribing

Bombas email discount code.

Whether it’s with a simple and straightforward “thank you for subscribing,” or a special offer, such as a discount code, free shipping, or another coupon of some sort, it’s best practice to show gratitude. Copy that’s short and sweet should do the trick. Again, looking at this great example from Bombas, they offer a 20% discount to all new subscribers.

Offer value and share useful resources

The welcome email also serves as a great opportunity to share content. This could be relevant blog posts, videos, or a whitepaper that may be helpful for new subscribers to learn more about your company and the products and services you offer. Content like this not only showcases more of what your company does but also provide value to this new potential customer.

Set expectations

Glenlivet welcome email.

This is your chance to briefly outline what your new subscriber can expect by being on your mailing list. How often will you be emailing them and with what type of content? Establishing this expectation can help increase your chance of future emails being opened. This email from Glenlivet clearly communicates, in just one sentence, exactly what the subscriber will receive. It also showcases a great call-to-action (CTA) inviting the subscriber to explore more on their website.

Personalize your welcome email

Additionally, in the above Glenlivet example, note that the greeting at the top included the subscriber's name. Using your Email Service Provider's (ESP) ability to personalize the email with the subscriber's name is a great way to start building that relationship and establishing trust.

Share your contact information

Another welcome email best practice is to include information on how a subscriber can best reach you. This is especially important if the sender mail is from a [email protected] or a generic [email protected] email address. For example, you might consider including copy along the lines of, “If you have questions about [product name], we offer support via our help center and training courses.” Of course, hyperlinked to the appropriate contacts and pages.

Get social

Lastly, do not hesitate to include a section at the bottom of your email with links to your organization’s social media channels. This best practice is one more opportunity to generate a higher click-through rate and engage with your subscriber on additional platforms.

More Welcome Email Examples

For more inspiration, below are three more great examples of B2B welcome emails from our friends at Really Good Emails. In these examples, note how each brand employed the practices we’ve discussed. Most emails do not include everything mentioned, but instead focus on what serves their business best. The main takeaway is to include information that will benefit the new subscriber first and your company second in order to build the foundation for a strong and successful relationship.

This example from Xero includes information about the business, a personalized greeting, a thank you, value, two good CTAs, how to contact the company, and social media links.

Booz Allen's welcome email is straightforward and includes a thank you, brief description, a CTA to customize email preferences, and, of course, social media links.

Squarespace’s welcome message includes an abundance of resources, how to reach someone from their team for additional help, an engaging CTA, and social media links.

And last, but certainly not least, check out this example from nDash! This email is personalized, says thank you, describes the company, provides resources on the next steps to take with a straightforward CTA, includes how to contact them, as well as providing social media links.


Need help building up your mailing list, crafting the perfect email campaign or increasing engagement with your subscribers? Aztek’s team of email marketing specialists can help! Contact us today to see how we can help generate high-quality leads and increase engagement through our email marketing services.

7 Tools and Tips for Remote Onboarding Success

7 Tools and Tips for Remote Onboarding Success

By Ali Sedivy on  June 3, 2020

As the newest Aztek digital marketing team member, I've had the unique experience of starting my new role as an email marketing specialist during a pandemic. Talk about nerve-wracking! Fortunately, leading up to my start date, the Aztek team maintained close communication with me. Already, I could tell that onboarding a new hire successfully was important to Aztek and that they were taking extra measures and employing creative solutions to ensure the success of onboarding me remotely. Below, I’ve shared some of the keys to my remote onboarding success.


Whether onboarding someone remotely or in-person, Aztek uses Trello, a collaborative list-making and productivity tool, to outline a new hire's first week. Having a list of things to do and review throughout my first week was exactly what I hoped for when I learned I would be onboarded remotely.

The Trello board had a list of tasks to complete on day one, on day two, in the first week, etc., and I was able to jump right in and contribute from day one. The board also included resources that I've referenced throughout my first couple of months, like information about payroll and time off, details about Aztek's wellness program, and even a digital “people wall” with names and photos of my new co-workers! Looking back, the Trello board really guided me through standard onboarding procedures and gave me an excellent overview of the ins-and-outs of the company.


Slack has been amazing for daily communication and getting to know the team and understand the different roles and responsibilities within the organization. It's also given me a glimpse of what the day-to-day office chatter would be like, get a feel for the company culture, and know who to turn to for certain questions.

Speaking of which, Slack has also served as a great platform for quick, off-the-cuff questions. I may not be able to walk over to someone's desk to ask a quick question, but I can send them a message that they'll reply to at their convenience. It's been a godsend for productivity and helped me pick up the nuances of my new role as quickly as if we'd been in the office.

A word of caution, however, about the effectiveness of group chat; it's not without its flaws. Although Slack has helped me feel included, it’s harder to get a feel for people's personalities without being in the office. Words, reaction GIFs, and emojis are helpful, but they can't replace body language and the tone of someone's voice.


Having someone on the team to train me and serve as my guide and go-to resource has been the most critical element of a smooth onboarding process. Each job has its unique challenges and processes that can be difficult to figure out in a remote environment. Having someone to turn to for all sorts of questions (thanks again, Slack!) has been indispensable.


Kicking off each morning with an all-team Zoom video call was another important piece to my onboarding process. It helped me see what each member of the digital marketing team does each day and provides another opportunity to get some quick facetime with my co-workers. These daily stand-up meetings have made me feel included and a part of the team from the start.


I was invited to monthly client meetings within my first two weeks at Aztek. Even though I was just observing, being included in these meetings really helped me understand the work that I'd be doing for that client. Connecting the dots early on between our clients' goals and my role within Aztek has been enormously helpful.

If you're not in an agency environment, you can create a similar experience by inviting new hires to sit in on meetings for projects that they aren't directly working on. This gives employees a more holistic view of the organization and demonstrates how their contribution positively impacts the company.


Meeting my new co-workers through small "Meet & Greet" Zoom video calls over the first few weeks really helped me feel connected. It was wonderful to get to know everyone on a more personal level, while gaining a better understanding of their position within the company and how we would work together.

Like many of these tools and tips, meet and greet meetings are also useful in a traditional office environment. Aztek has found that the small groups work best for these in-person meet and greets, but it's even more important to limit these calls to three or four people to keep the conversation flowing.


Weekly check-ins with my direct supervisor have been so important and beyond helpful on many levels. We blocked out this time to ask questions, make sure I’m on track, plan out my week, prioritize tasks, manage my workload, and prepare for what's on the horizon.

Overall, as I reflect on my onboarding experience, I’m really proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish in a short amount of time at Aztek, and a big part of that is because of how supportive the team is. I’m excited to keep improving my skills and growing within the company. I can’t wait to see what awesome email marketing projects I’ll be able to work on in the future!