With email driving 25% of Cyber Monday sales, thoughtful holiday email design is crucial to holiday retail success. And that includes choosing the proper fonts to make your emails easy to read, on mobile devices as well as PCs.

Anthony Chiulli, director of product marketing, 250ok

Anthony Chiulli, director of product marketing, 250ok

The holiday season brings good tidings and cheer, along with billions of dollars in sales for retailers. According to data from Adobe, Cyber Monday led to $6.5 billion in sales in 2017. What is behind those sales? Loads of emails. In fact, 25 percent of those Cyber Monday sales were driven by promotional emails. Experts predict an increase of as much as 15 percent in holiday e-commerce in 2018. Needless to say, email marketing will become even more valuable during the holidays this year.

A survey from 250ok and Lab42 found 80 percent of respondents are more likely to act on a well-designed marketing email. Unfortunately, though, a third of respondents said promotional emails are not well-designed. Thus, consumers believe brand emails have room to grow. There are many elements to good email design, but the areas respondents cited as needing improvement include ease of navigation, fit on device screens and readability. Instead of chasing the latest trendy GIFs and emojis subject lines this holiday, make sure the basics are taken care of first.

The last thing an email should do is scare off the reader with strange or uncharacteristic content.

In order to stand out in the inbox and see a healthy ROI from email, here are a few reminders to make 2018 your best holiday season yet.

Be selective with images

A carefully selected image can go a long way in a marketing email, but only when formatted correctly. It is important to consider how an image will fit inside an email. If it is too big or too small, the email will appear unprofessional and sloppy. Also consider how the image will appear on different desktop and mobile devices. The image will likely look different depending on the email client, and some providers automatically block images. All of the images within should be consistent with your brand and values. The last thing an email should do is scare off the reader with strange or uncharacteristic content. Exercising caution with images is crucial to success.


Typeface and fonts are key

Readability is a major concern for consumers in promotional emails. Marketers can easily address readability with appropriate typeface and font selections. Typeface refers to the design of the letters. Most people are familiar with typefaces like Helvetica, Arial and Times New Roman. Font refers to the size and weight of the typeface.

It’s important to note there is a difference in good design for content intended for screens versus a physical publication. Experts say to use a sans-serif font for text appearing on a computer. Examples of common sans-serif fonts are Courier, Times New Roman and Verdana. When it comes to the size of the text, you can improve readability by increasing font size and breaking up large blocks of text.

Giving mobile the attention it deserves is especially important, as 67 percent of respondents say they read marketing emails on their phone. Emails for a mobile device require larger and more accessible fonts. Finally, consider adjusting the design by demographic. A majority of respondents in age 55 or older named readability as a key issue. Larger fonts are likely more important if your audience falls into this category, versus 18 to 24 year olds.


Practice makes perfect

They say practice makes perfect, and this is especially true for marketing emails. No marketer wants to be responsible for a faulty link landing in millions of inboxes, or worse, the dreaded “oops!” follow-up after an email misfire.

Testing emails before your audience opens them should be a priority for marketers during the holidays, especially since an email not fitting a device screen is frustrating for consumers. A rendering software is the best option for email testing. Utilizing a rendering solution allows a marketer to see exactly what the reader will see based on their device. The marketer can then make adjustments before sending based on visual insights the renderings provide.

Once you’ve optimized and tested your email designs, you will likely face the temptation to start sending immediately. Resist the temptation to hit “send” too frequently leading up to the December 25. A sudden increase in email volume will be more of a hindrance than a help. When an inbox is hit with a sudden wave of your perfectly designed emails, they are likely to end up in a spam folder.

Email marketers can feel confident knowing that more than 86 percent of survey respondents report they read marketing emails at least once a week. Once your design is nailed down, watch the conversions fly.


250ok provides email analytics and deliverability technology designed to provide insights into performance, reputation, and compliance with DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting & Conformance) standards.