Responsive vs. Attractive Emails

When it comes to email marketing is it responsive vs. attractive? In my earlier days of being an email marketer, I would automatically assume if a click-through rate was below average it meant the email wasn’t attractive enough. However, thinking about it today, I realize it’s not quite that simple anymore. It’s no surprise that people spend a lot of time on their beloved smartphones or tablets, which allows them to check their emails whenever they want. So I go back to my original question: Responsive vs. attractive.

I enjoy seeing if email campaigns performed to my expectation. To my surprise, I find that complex email layouts with a lot going on often leave me disappointed. At first, I thought my expectations might have been too high due to the appearance of the email. Especially given the increased time it takes to design these beautiful emails, code them from PSD to HTML, and possibly troubleshoot issues with the way it renders in various email service providers—it’s not always worth the time. The main problem I often run into is making complex emails responsive to all platforms and email service providers. Simply ignoring responsive designs will show in your email metrics as well.

The simple one column email where it may not even have an image inside will perform better than most other emails. At first, I thought it was a fluke. There was no way such a boring looking email was so effective. Nonetheless, the trend grew and as my email templates became simplified. I’ve come to learn that responsive email templates that adapt to whatever platform the user is on will outperform those emails that don’t.

With increased number of users opening emails on various devices, the need for responsive email designs has grown. I’ve come to redefine what an “attractive” email is to me. So when it comes to responsive vs. attractive, the days where graphically appealing images were all it took to make an email work are over.

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