Best Practices for Email Design




Content is critical to the success of your email marketing efforts. With Zift123, you can take advantage of all your supplier-provided syndicated content. Also with Zift123 you can create your own (cyo) content. Here are some recommendations to get you started if you decide to work "outside the box" and use your own content.



  • Build emails with a mobile-first mentality and ensure all email content is responsive. 
  • Make text large enough to read on a mobile device.
  • Use F-shaped reading pattern, using key words in subheadings, use bold words and type treatments on the left.
  • Keep it simple!
    • Emails should be easy to scan and quick to digest.
    • Limit text, images, links, and call to actions.
    • Use white space. Our eyes need a break from all the words.
    • Section your content.
  • Emails should be 800 pixels maximum width.
  • Here are some image sizes that will be helpful when designing emails. You may want to use different sizes but these are a good rule of thumb.
    • Partner logo is 200 x 65 pixels
    • Image in the body of the email 540 x 300 pixels
    • Three images horizontally places across the email 180 x 100 pixels
  • Keep images on the left.
  • Assume images will initially be blocked by email clients.
  • Follow the 60/40 text to image ratio.
  • Use fewer than three typefaces.
  • Optimize for plain text and HTML.
  • Add the ability to use print media, library content, and asset URL.


  • Avoid elements that require flash, javascript, or any other kind of executable code.
  • Use basic, cross-platform fonts such as Arial, Verdana, Georgia, and Times New Roman.
  • Use email-friendly HTML and CSS.
    • Inline all CSS.
    • Use table element to control design layouts.
    • Use simple CSS.
    • Use spans and divs sparingly.
  • Code for Google Mail and Outlook (multiple versions).
  • Use Notepad for any copy and pasting.


  • Use smart subject lines.
    • Avoid all caps.
    • Avoid trigger words (free, exclusive, etc).
  • Personalize to each recipient.
  • Write for easy scanning.
  • Use bullet points to summarize.
  • Offer something that will improve your recipients' lives.
  • Include a clear Call to Action. Call to Action text padding 20px standard


Here are some industry standards. Research standards for your industry and then start measuring!

  • Bounce Rate should always be less than 5%.
  • SPAM complaint rate should never exceed 0.25%.
  • Open Rate varies by industry.
  • Click Through Rate varies by industry.
  • Click-Through Open rate varies by industry.
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