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Basic Layout Elements for E-Mail Marketing Messages

The layout of your marketing e-mail directs your audience’s eyes to specific content. Use visual anchors to draw readers’ attention to your content. The variety of visual anchors you can use is limited only by your creativity and the layout of your e-mail template. (Most EMPs allow you to create visual anchors from an e-mail template.)

Visual anchors abound in this e-mail. [Credit: Used by permission from Under Armour]
Credit: Used by permission from Under Armour
Visual anchors abound in this e-mail.

Basic visual anchors, with explanations of how they draw attention to your content, include:

  • A headline draws attention to itself first then to the content immediately below it. Differentiate headlines from surrounding text by using a different font, color, or style of text. Types of headline include

    • Block appears in front of a background color different from the main background color

    • Bold appears darker or heavier than the surrounding text

    • Border appears inside a boxed outline

    • Graphics are images of text with special design elements

  • Images and graphics draw attention to themselves then to adjacent text either to the left, right, or below the image. Image types include

    • Portrait: Taller than wide

    • Landscape: Wider than tall

    • Top-bar: At the top of an e-mail, spanning the entire width of the page

    • Background: Behind the text

    • Bordered: Surrounded by a border line

  • Text links, when embedded in a larger body of text, draw attention to themselves followed by surrounding text. Standalone links draw attention only to themselves. You can also group links in a list:

    A horizontal list of links.
    A horizontal list of links.
  • Horizontal lines and borders draw attention to the content above them; vertical lines and borders draw attention to content on the left or right depending on the strength of the visual anchors on either side.

    Boxed borders draw attention to the content within the box beginning in the upper left of the box.

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