Optimise your email templates: 2021 and beyond

by Kyle Blacker - November 15, 2021
Optimise your email templates: 2021 and beyond

In a report conducted by Litmus in April of this year, Apple iPhone continues to grow its email client market share, followed by Gmail, Apple Mail, Outlook and Yahoo Mail. Within the world of email marketing, we all know how fiddly some email clients can be (looking at you Outlook), each client supports slightly different features than another. So how do you know: Where to optimise? How to optimise? And what should you focus on to stay ahead of the competition?

Where do I start?

When it comes to email template optimisation you should first get to know your audience. Using Pardot’s advanced email reports can help you identify where your prospects are engaging and using this data, optimise your templates accordingly. It’s all well and good reading that the iPhone is the most popular email client, but is that the case for your audiences? Additionally is your audience segmented and do they engage with emails differently? Your email client breakdown and engagement metrics will most likely differ between your segmented subscribers.

Be sure to thoroughly analyse your email template engagement, compare that to what a successful email marketing campaign looks like in your case, and what metrics based on your analysis are you looking to improve? From there you’ll have a solid foundation to work with on where to revise your Pardot email templates and what needs improving!

Get optimising!

When it comes to building fresh email templates (or even updating old ones), the rule of thumb is to optimise for all email clients, adopting a mobile first approach and catering towards dark mode as it becomes more and more popular. If you’ve noticed in your reports that there’s a drop off of subscribers on mobile clients, it could be that your emails aren’t fully responsive.

Keep in mind the following points :

  • Build your templates with an email hierarchy in mind for ease of focus.
  • Adopt a mobile first approach!
  • Ensure your images have transparent backgrounds where possible to avoid dark mode highlighting white backgrounds.
  • Keep accessibility in mind. Which leads into the next point…
  • Avoid an image heavy email. Not only can it cause issues with responsiveness across devices, but accessibility is a must! There will be a portion of your subscribers that use screen readers. You won’t be able to provide enough context through alt text alone and could be excluding them from important communications. Lastly, subscribers that are opening your emails off their data plans may have issues with images not downloading.
  • Break up your templates to keep focus, such as; headers, images, spacers, bulleted lists. You don’t want one long email that looks like a wall of text.
  • Consider adding email interactivity.
  • Test, test, test!

Emails aren’t what they used to be

With everything else in mind, it’s not just about testing and getting emails to render as intended, it’s also about adding unique functionality to stand out. Despite the pitfalls of some email clients, there are several that support CSS more than others.

Coupled with Pardot’s advanced email reporting tool, there are some great resources online that can help with identifying the most popular email clients’ do’s and don’ts when it comes to styling. Identify what features you can leverage on the clients most of your prospects engage on, build and test! Interactivity in emails comes in all shapes and sizes and can help improve your CTR, such as:

  • CTA/image hover and rollover effects
  • Animated buttons
  • Image carousels; products or speakers at events
  • Forms or surveys for things like product or service reviews
  • Email gamification

Think strategically about your target market and what could be beneficial. An example could be that you have email automations set up to send customers a “review your product” email several days post purchase. Within that email is an interactive review form. If the customer opens the email they won’t need to leave it to provide a review of your product, they can do it all within the email itself. This can improve the number of reviews you receive over time by making it more accessible.

Reach out

Now you’re one step closer to building a stand-out, client-wide supported email. If you still have questions or would like our support with your Pardot email marketing and other channels, get in touch with our team. We have a plethora of email templates that have all been built to support all clients.

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