Email Banners - Do's and Don'ts in 2022

Email Banners - Do's and Don'ts in 2022

Alright, so you've already:

  • Built brand recognition so recipients will recognize who's sending the email? - check!
  • Chosen a catchy headline that gets readers to open your email? - Check!
  • Now what??

The first thing that someone sees when they open your email is your email banner. This is your first opportunity to communicate your message and convert them to a lead so it's crucial it captures their attention, communicates your message, and entices them to follow the call to action.  

Here are a few key Do's & Don't to keep in mind when creating eyecatching email banners that build brand awareness & drive engagement.

DO

  • Make sure your banner image is responsive! There are a multitude of devices and email clients that your target audience could potentially view your emails on. Make sure that you test using a tool like Email on Acid to ensure that your email banner (and the rest of your email) is responsive and that your copy and images are easily legible at all device sizes in both normal and dark mode.
  • Make sure that your styling is consistent with your brand. Font, colors, use of gradients, graphic elements, and image stylings - these should follow your company's brand guide (don't have one or need to update yours? Keep an eye out - I'll be writing a blog post that will help you do just that!).  This way, when they open your email, they will recognize that it is from your brand. Conversely, when they see your ads and brand materials on other marketing channels, they will be quicker to recognize your brand and engage!  
  • Use eye-catching, high-quality imagery related to your email messaging and CTA - you want to SHOW the reader what is it that they’re going to read more about in the email. Your target audience - regardless of who they are - is busy! Make sure to include a CTA button in your banner image and link it to your landing page. Your banner image should give the reader all the information they need to take the action you’re driving them to take and the button they need to do it!
  • If your CTA is a content piece, showing a thumbnail gives the reader a preview of the high-value content, and encourages conversion. Make sure that the title is either legible on the thumbnail or you include it in the copy on the Banner image itself.
  • When guiding your audience to watch a video, use a frame from the video with a play button. These are universally understood and an easy way to simplify your design while getting your message (and CTA) across.      
  • Keep your banner images cohesive throughout your campaign! Use similar layouts/styling throughout your campaign for extra cohesion & familiarity. This goes for all of the channels that you’re using in your campaign - ads, postcards, etc. Having a basic template to use throughout your campaign will also save you precious time!
  • Include your logo in the email banner or above it so that your brand name is the first thing they notice when opening the email.      

DON'T

  • Don’t use an image that's the same color as the email background - this blend will be visually confusing and will strain the reader.  
  • Don’t use background images that are so visually complex that they make your banner copy illegible. Especially if you’re using live text, make sure that your background image doesn’t distract from your text at any device width.
  • Don’t use too many CTAs. For most types of emails, you’ll want to focus your messaging on one topic with the goal of driving one specific action. To increase the chances of conversion, limit it to one CTA to decrease decision-making fatigue & increase the chances of click-throughs. Make sure your banner image strongly communicates just this one CTA.    
  • Don’t forget to incorporate live text and include an alt tag in your HTML for accessibility and SPAM filters. Using large images and limited live text can land your email in spam folders. For email clients that don’t show your email banner, you still want to get your message across to those recipients - using live text and an alt tag are two great ways to make sure you do this!    
  • Don’t use long copy in your images! You want to use copy sparingly so that you can grab their attention with large enough text that it stands out, and gives them the main info they need quickly.  
  • Don’t overcomplicate your design! Adding too many design elements can make your message muddled, difficult to read, and cause your reader to click away. Focus on projecting your main messaging points, and highlighting your CTA.    
  • Don’t make your images too large! Banner images should be 600px wide and 200 kb max for static images and 500 kb for GIFs. Minimizing file sizes helps ensure that they load quickly and eat up less data for people with limited data plans that access your emails on their mobile devices.  

Now think back to past email banners you've created and try to identify how many of the 'Do's' and the 'Don'ts' you've done. When creating future email banners, feel free to use this as a checklist to make sure you're creating images that are optimized to build brand awareness and drive action.  

Do you have any other best practices you follow when you're creating email banners? Share them in the comments below!