Designing emails for Outlook

Professional design flows for your emails, improving your customers journey.

You have a great product or service. Your marketing efforts are working and you are building up a following on social media. On top of that you have started building a small email list of potential customers. Along side the list of current customers who you are already helping.

You want to email people on these lists on a regular basis. But are worried about the structure and design of the emails you want to send.

It can be challenging promoting your business to potential customers. Or if you want to inform your clients of new features or products. You want the emails you send using Outlook to be professional.

Each email needs to be eye catching and branded to match you business. Interactive, so people can take action if they are engaged by the content. As well as taking your customers on a journey showing the benefits of what you do.

We are going to run through two examples of how to design an email for Outlook that takes the recipient on a journey. Hopefully this will help you to design and build your emails moving forward.

Professionally designed emails

This blog post shows you two email templates that you can use to create a flow through an email. The way these email templates are structured is very similar to how you would construct a website landing page or brochure.

Each template is designed to take the recipient on a journey, with calls to action along the way. The basic structure is based on how we read from left to right, gradually moving down the content. Just like reading a book.

Template 1

This template is a great way to take the recipient of the email on journey, by using a combination of a header text with some detailed content. Alongside an image of what you are describing.

For your email, start with a banner image. Which I recommend to be very similar to your website header or at least contains your company logo. Make sure you make the image clickable, linking back to your website.

Next, split the remainder of the email into two equal columns. Start by putting a header and content text in the left column. With an image relating to the content in the right column.

Now, move down a row and do the same again with next lot of content and related image. However, you should reverse the columns. Putting the image first, then the description.

This technique is very similar to how many web-pages are structured, so people will be familiar with the flow of the email. If you take a look at our features page, we use this in the main section of the content, describing the benefits of our product.

Here is a visual representation of how the email template is laid out.

Keep repeating the process of alternating the image and content on each row until you have added all the content you require. This works really well when using high quality images.

The image below shows how an email recipient may flow through the template and view the content.

This template works really well for emails promoting businesses such as restaurants. You can use the first row to detail your most popular appetisers or snacks.

Then, moving onto to say main courses, or sandwiches. Finishing off with promoting your newest desserts. This template is an excellent way to mirror the experience you would have if you ate at the restaurant.

I have also seen this work well for goods and products. From clothing to fishing equipment (I love to go fishing).

If you want to focus on the email content and already have excellent images to back up each description. You can’t go far wrong with this template.

Instead of spending time trying to design and layout your email, just use this basic structure to think about the “customers journey”. Tailoring the content and images as needed.

Template 2

This template is very similar to template 1 with how the flow works. The key difference being how the content in the two columns is structured.

With this structure you start a banner image just like template 1. However, you want to create a block of content straight after the banner.

Use this content to give a bit of context about the purpose of the email and describe what you are going to run through in the rest of the email.

Finish this section off with a clear call to action. Allowing the recipient to go straight to your website if they want.

As before, split the remainder of the email into two equal columns. In this template, for each section. You should use an image as a background, overlay a brief description and call to action.

Here is a visual representation of how the email template is laid out.

Keep repeating the process of the image and overlaid content on each row until you have added all the content you require. This works really well if you want to link directly to a specific product or service in each section.

The image below shows how an email recipient may flow through the template and view the content.

Many of the popular travel websites use this structure to promote discounted hotels, flights and other offers. It is a great way to get quite a lot of information into one email.

You can also use this template for product promotion. You may see emails from Amazon promoting ‘Black Friday’ deals in this way.

If you want to focus on driving people to specific product pages on your website and don’t want to put a lot of content into the email. You can’t go far wrong with this template.

You can spend your time planning which products to promote in the email. Instead of spending time creating content that is already listed on your website.

Simple and Effective

I hope the two templates I have described above will provide you with a structured way to compose your emails.

Enabling you to quickly and effectively create an email. Allowing you to focus on selecting the correct content and not have to worry too much about the design.

If you have any feedback or would like to share an email design template that you use. Please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thanks for reading

Phil

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