Email Marketing: How to Design High Performing Emails | Jaz Infante | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Email Marketing: How to Design High Performing Emails

teacher avatar Jaz Infante, Designer // AIGA Board Member

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (21m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Foundations

    • 3. Some Technicals First

    • 4. Using Negative Space

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class


Email marketing is one the most effective channels for reaching individuals and spreading a message. But over 4.4 billion active email users, and the billions of emails sent everyday, it's easy for your email to get lost in the shuffle. 

In this course, we’ll discuss best practices when it comes to designing emails, to ensure your hard work doesn't get lost in spam or junk folders. We'll also discuss how to work around the limitations of email platforms to design beautiful and interesting emails that turn into clicks and conversions.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jaz Infante

Designer // AIGA Board Member


Hello, I'm Jaz! I'm a full-time visual designer and Board Member for the AIGA Los Angeles chapter. 

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: There are about 4.4 billion active email users. Making email one of the most effective channels for reaching individuals and spreading a message. Which is why email marketing is a core strategy for most businesses today. However, the flip side to this is that it's a very crowded space and virtually every consumer is bombarded with emails on a daily basis. With this in mind, if you want your emails to be opened and prompts some kind of action, it's important that the emails be relevant and easy to understand. It starts with an effective email campaign strategy, but it ends with a well-designed email, which is what we're going to cover in this course. We'll discuss best practices to ensure your emails don't get lost in spam or junk folders. And how to work around the limitations of email platforms to design beautiful and interesting e-mails that turned into clicks and conversions. It's important to note that while I'll be working in Mail Chimp, the topics and ideas that I cover can apply to all email platforms. So let's jump in. 2. Foundations: Every email that scent is sent for a purpose. And more often than not, that purpose is to get a customer to buy a product or subscribe to a service. In order for that to happen, a lot of things have to go right. The audience has to be, the subject line, has to be eye-catching. The message within the email has to be clear, and the price point has to be appealing. But before any of that can happen, you have to first get into the customer's inbox. Everything else could be perfect, but if your email gets flagged as spam or junk, it will get filtered. And all of that hard work you put into it will have been for nothing. So when it comes to designing emails, your very first priority should be to get past the spam filter. Let me pull up an example. This email here is really well-designed. There's just one problem. It was designed as one big image. Because you see this is the easy way to design an email. You make everything in Photoshop, export it as a JPEG, drop it into male chimp and press send. The problem is that this is exactly what spam filters look for. An email containing only images and no text will almost always get flagged. And even if it does make it into the person's inbox, most e-mail clients have images turned off because it saves on data usage. So when they opened their emails, it actually looks like this. The customer has to be willing to use their data plan and then manually allow the image to download. And that's too many steps to ask of a customer. Most will delete the email instantly. So why do designers, including those that work for big brands do this? Well, it's simple. Email was not designed for marketing. It was created as a replacement for fax machines so that people could send and receive text-based messages. Somewhere along the lines, it became a method of communication for marketing. And while the technology has made some progress, it's still remains really limited in what you can create and send. Simply put, e-mail was not designed to be creative. And that's why email marketing platforms are so limited and confined to the sort of drag and drop templates and the same library of lackluster web fonts. So what do you do? Does this mean that you as a designer are limited to creating the same boring emails over and over again. Not exactly. Thankfully, there are some really clever workarounds that you can use to still make stunning emails. And in this lesson series, I'm going to show you these email design cheat codes. 3. Some Technicals First: The very first consideration you should have when designing emails is using text. It is a standard email best practice that you need to get into the habit of doing. Here's an example of an email that does this really well. As you can see. It uses a lot of text. And wherever there's an image, if the image isn't loaded, it defaults to a predetermined text. That way, when someone's reading your email, if the, even if the images don't download, you can still get a sense of what's happening in the email. So for example, right here, you can see the as low as APR. You can see where it tells you that, that there's a logo here. And even without with everything turned off, you can still understand them. Follow the email based entirely off of the text. So let me show you how to do this in Mail Chimp. I have this email here and it's just a basic template that I used within Mail Chimp, not the best looking email, but for illustrative purposes you'll get a sense of what I'm doing. So this content block up here contains the brand logo sums. Gonna go ahead and edit that block. And then here as you can see where I uploaded the logo, right? And so in these options where you can replace it, edit it, link it to somewhere else. You have this option here for alt. And if you click that, here's where you will enter the alt text. And so in this case I would say worn logo. Update. Ok, so now if this person that opens this email, does it have images turned on? What they'll see up here in this content blocks is the text that I put in here, the warned logo. Okay, I'm gonna go ahead and do that for this image as well. Okay, same exact thing, and go to alt-text. And here I would use the headline that we have here. Gear up for spring with our new collection to make sure that everything is spelled correctly and update. So now again, if someone opens this email and doesn't have images turned on, what those C here will be this gear up for spring and our new collection. And so that already tells them what this image or what this email is about. And it's just a way to safeguard your emails in case people don't have images turned on. And I would do this anywhere. There's a, there's an image, right? So this is text, this is a by n, So these will load just fine. But down here, I would do the exact same thing. This is an image, right? So I would go ahead and change this. Actually this is text, so never mind, this is an image. So do this here. And then I would just do what we have down here. Hello, cool and casual tanks. And again, this is just one, prevents your emails from getting cut and spam filters. If your emails have alt text in them, the spam filter will read the alt text and will help. That will help first like green light it and make it go through the inbox. And it's also a way for that one. The customer opens the email, they still get a sense of what the email is about and can read through it. So that is the first thing that you should be doing for your emails is alt texting them. Another consideration that I have is the actual links that you use. So where you're taking your customers is really important and how you track that is also really important. So every part of your email can have a different URL to go to. But melt him doesn't have any built-in tracking capabilities for if your emails. I mean, so what I would do is use something called a Google UTM, which is a free tool offered by Google, right? And so she's called a campaign URL Builder. As you saw there, I just typed in google UTM builder. And so here you would type in the actual URL that you want your customers to two, so let's say this is Okay, now, here's where I put in my own custom tracking information. So let's say the campaign source. Well, this is an email, so I am going to say email. Let's just say actually make it a bit more defined for space, a spring promo, because that's where it is. The Campaign Medium is email. I sent it over email. I could spell. And the campaign name, let's say if I go back to it was called Project Pink. And so all of these will just be TOM discretion what you decide to label these things. If you have a campaign term, if you paid for keywords, you can insert that there. If you want to differentiate for different ads, you can put this in, in pairs. Well, I don't really ever use the term in the content. But as you can see here, now it's generated a URL for me, and this is really long complicated URL. But essentially what it does is that afterward I send this email, I can go back and actually look at the statistics of this URL. Who opened a, who came to my website based off of my off of my email. So I would hear that copy this URL. So now it's copied and it will go here. And in here we'll put the link, enter there and insert. Ok. So now I have this email with a custom URL tracking code in there. So that when someone opens this email on No. If they clicked on this link and went to my website on know that it came from this specific email. And this is where a lot of email campaign builders have some limitations because calcium can tell you how many people opened your email, how many people clicked on your email, but that's about it. It doesn't tell you what portion of that they clicked on. It doesn't tell you where it took them, it doesn't tell you. It doesn't give you that deeper analysis that you are looking for. So by building these custom UTM codes, I can get really granular and see exactly how much of my traffic on my website was generated by this email. And so I would do the exact same thing for every image anywhere that there is a button, create link pasted in there, and then insert. And so now this entire email, every image, every button will have this UTM link in there. Here we go. And it's just the best practice to get into the habit of, especially on smaller teams. We don't necessarily have a really flushed out marketing team. Using this free campaign URL builder is really helpful for getting a deep dive into how you emails are performing. So that's just two really important things, best practices from a back-end care technical perspective. Now in this next lesson, we'll go into actually building out interesting e-mails in addition to these best practices. So Sokoloff design. In the next lesson. 4. Using Negative Space: So as I said before, let's talk about design. I'm here in male chimp. And the first design principle that I want to go over is using negative space in your emails. So I'm gonna go ahead and pull up a template that I made. Now, this is not the most exciting email, but it will illustrate the concept that I'm talking about. These images here are our aren't actually circles, they are squares, right? The template block in male chimp basically only lets me have the, let's see here. Let me have the image on the left and the tax on the rate for this contact block, it's reversed. It's the image on the right and the text on the left. And the content block basically just lets me have a square image. Now what I did to give the illusion of having this rounded image is when I made these individual planet images. I just made them on a white background. I knew that the body of the email was going to be a white background. And so pre-planned having the white background on the image. So if you look here, you can actually see that the image, if I drag this over, has the whitespace built-in. It's a square image, but it's just when it loads on mel chamber, when it loads into the email, it looks like a rounded image. And the fact that I altered these back and forth, left side, right side, left side, right side. Mix the e-mail or a little bit more interesting, I did the same thing with the logo words, just whitespace, but I made it on a white block. And if I show you what this will look like if I hadn't pre-planned it. Let's say the body of my email was going to be this blue color. Suddenly now it looks a bit obvious. You can see exactly what I did. But again, I'd pre-planned this and made it made it wait. So that's a really basic way of illustrating the concept, but let me show you what this looks like if you actually put some more intentionality and pre-planned things a bit better. So I'm going to pull up a different campaign that I made. Great. Now you can see on this one and made the shape a lot more intricate. And this email is actually pretty interesting. It looks like a kind of made this I camo effect kind of coming down now rounded across and the button even as rounded. So there's a motif going through. The colors are all in sync. And this is already a lot more interesting than just a basic image, text, image text, right? And it's the exact same thing. A made this as an image with just weight. The weight is claimed as built-in the Missy FAQ and show you what this looks like. Here we go. So the image is basically just waits, await rectangle with this blue shape already built in. And the other one is the exact same tool. And so you can get really, really creative with this if you just pre-plan what you're trying to do. You pre-plan with the background color is going to be. You can pre-plan what kind of shape you want to create. You make that in Photoshop. Do the same thing that I mentioned before about Altair out texting using custom UTM codes. But now you get a little bit more creative license with your emails. And like I said, if I change this background, you can see when I'm actually doing here, right? So this is a weight. This weight because the image is actually wait, what's the actual body of the email is right here in green. But if they tended to weight, now it looks seamless. And so I can show you some examples of other emails that do this exact same thing and do it really, really well. So this email, the body is yellow. They have or the, sorry, the background is yellow. This was probably made one image and the image at the top matched the background color. And the bottom of this image, the seam is probably ray in here, is where the image actually stops. This is actual text that's actually built in and these are icons that you can add in, in male chimp. And it looks seamless and the same thing adheres to this content here is all actually in the email. This is an image with a white background. To do something like this, you have the image with the white on top, the red at the bottom. And so this content block, the background is white. And then this content block, the background is read. This designer pre-planned it to know that the top half of this image needed to be weight and the bottom half of it needed to be red. And this kinda goes down into knowing exactly what the RGB values are. So Jared's match exactly. And so, and then the rest is pretty straightforward. Same thing with this. To get these rounded thumbnails, they probably did. What I showed you with the planets where you make it, make the clipping mask shape rounded in the background is white. This is where it gets really interesting because with custom brushes in Photoshop, you can actually get really playful with your edges to. So as you can see here, the image is probably a rectangle where it goes across here, down here, and then cuts across here. So there's actually wait in the image. But then they painted in with Photoshop the mast out and created this nice little seam here. And so with this technique, you can get even more creative. Like let's say he had done it on the top as well. So now the top and the bottom have this really interesting custom seem you can make diagonals with it as well. Maybe instead of coming straight across the image, like the mask kind of comes across this way or this way as well. And so that gives you a lot more creative license as well. You get to play with new shapes, with new edges, as long as your background color, your content body color matches the edge of your image. It'll look seamless and it'll look like you did it on purpose. And then the rest of this email is pretty straightforward. It's just rectangles and the text and the bones. This is another really clever or e-mail. So the top of it, the seam is probably rate in here, right across here. So they have this top of the image and they knew that the body of the email was going to be this really dark blue color. And so they made sure that they matched the image. Police stops right around there, then it's text. Then here they probably use that same content layout that I had before with the text image, text image, text image. So this is all actually in the email. And this most likely is a image with the background as we take a rectangle with them, the background is just matches this blue color. This is probably the same thing. It's a full bleed image and they just measure at the top and the bottom, match this background color. And they did the same thing here. And so when you're looking at it, because the colors match exactly, you don't see the seams, you don't see where the image starts and stops. You just see when continuous content block. So using negative space, you can get really creative with how you design these emails. It just takes a bit more pre-planning than just going into male chimp, working with rectangles, dragging and dropping, et cetera, et cetera. So with this technique, like I said, you can just, it just takes some amount of pre-planning. You sketch out your email first you understand where your background color is going to be. You understand how, how you want your seams to look and then you just play with it and you can get really, really creative. So that's the first technique, is using negative space to your advantage.