Marketing emails must contain certain elements to lie within the law, such as an unsubscribe link. Other elements are recommended if people are to have a good experience reading the email, such as a “View in browser” link and alt text. You can read more about these elements here.

However, once you’ve mastered these key elements, you can begin to think about how to make your email more exciting.

Textual elements

What’s number one in terms of email design?

I don’t just say this because I am a writer by trade. It’s the truth. Emails that resonate best with people tend to look a lot like the plain textual-based email you get from your friends and work colleagues. It makes complete sense really. There’s nothing that screams “marketing” better than an array of glossy images.

So the words definitely count.

There are those who love a good read, and for those, lengthy text resembling a letter is pure delight.

But keep in mind, some of our recipients are not avid readers, so you need to do three things: get their attention, give them an easy way to process the information, and most essentially (and I know this is a big marketing cliché!) you need to give them value.

So how can you achieve this?

Colour and design help to attract attention, but in terms of textual elements, you can use a range of headings to highlight the key messages.

Don’t forget to split your text into bite-size chunks, using short paragraphs or bullet points, and quotations or call-out boxes can lend aesthetic appeal while imparting an important fact.

Don’t forget to highlight your message with a call-to-action button.

Review site links and icons

Are your reviews making your nan super proud? Then you should be showing them off. Build the Trustpilot logo into your design and actively encourage people to click to see your reviews. You could even point to the icon with an arrow gif.

Are there particular reviews that show evidence of your brand values? Include them in one of the sections below your main message.

Testimonials are your best sales tools, so make sure everyone is reading them.

Payment Symbols

Do you accept PayPal, Apple Pay, Mastercard or Visa? Having these icons present leaves people feeling more confident about checking out with your brand. It also indicates to readers that there are easy ways to pay, which saves them finding out later on that you don’t accept their preferred payment method.

App download banner

Do you have an app as an alternative to your mobile site? If so, then use the section above your email footer to encourage more downloads.


Yes, words are the most important aspect of your email, but that doesn’t mean you should never ever use images. Professional images are the best advert for your product, so give them pride of place in your email if you want conversions.


It’s always exciting to receive emails with a little movement. To bring your products to life, consider creating an animated gif out of 3 or 4 photos of your product in different contexts. If you have a clothes range, you could develop a gif from the existing poses. And it’s all very simple. Just upload your images to, which will do the hard work for you (much easier than on Photoshop, believe me!)

With these extra features, you can level up your basic email to something that creates trust with your brand. You can also have some fun with the design. So what are you waiting for?