- Email width. Most email client preview panels are set as default to approximately 600 pixels in width, so the accepted width of emails should be no more than that. Maintaining an email width of 600 pixels max ensures the email displays correctly for desktop email clients with a side preview pane.
- Mobile usage. Most smartphone email clients display content at 320 pixels to 480 pixels wide, so if your email design is wider than that (for example, if it uses different columns for content) consider using responsive design to ensure optimal readability on a smartphone.
- Call to action. Most outbound b-to-b emails have one call to action. These email wireframes should incorporate a 2-column design with 2/3 width attributed to a body column and 1/3 width attributed to a secondary column. This wireframe can also be used for events, with the smaller column highlighting event logistics.
- Testing time frame. Multiple content blocks can be used for newsletters or as a testing ground for more than one call to action. The goal of this busier email template is to give multiple offers to the prospect or customer. I recommend using this type of wireframe if you have a lot of content you are trying to test within a short period of time. Once you have established the best-performing offers and content, use a two-column email wireframe to serve that offer in subsequent campaigns.
- Audience preferences. In addition to creating wireframes with multiple columns or graphics, consider the impact of a simple text-based email. Recipients in some industries seem to prefer a non-HTML email. For example, I had a client whose text-based emails outperformed HTML emails by 40%; the target audience was an IT vertical that preferred simple emails with little to no graphics.
Emma Hall on 01.27.2015