Email Design Basics to Engage Your Members

Updated: Oct. 12, 2018  |  Categories: Member Communications  

Email Design Basics to Engage Your Members

You diligently create compelling content that captures attention of your membership. But for some reason, they aren’t opening your emails or visiting your website. Why? Beyond simply not wanting to click through to read further, it could be a matter of design issues blocking your communication from reaching your members.

Without getting too technical, there are some common design basics that will help engage your members with your communications:

  • Limit images in your emails. While content on your website and shared on social media does better with images, emails do better with the less is more approach. In fact, some services disallow the pictures from showing, leaving only text. We suggest not relying on images to convey an important message but instead to use the images for design elements to go along with your content.
  • Select an email friendly font. It is true. Some fonts work better than others in the design of an email. In fact, selecting a font that is easy to read may just be the most important aspect of your email design. With this, avoiding symbols or emojis that might not translate properly on everyone’s system is advised. Also, be consistent with sizing and color.
  • Manage your SEO within your email. Yes, this is important to email as well as websites. This is especially true when including images, which should have a behind the scenes alternate description. This includes everything from following the 80/20 rule to how you name the email within the subject line.
  • The use of links. In this day with hyper-cyber security threats, the use of links, also known as URLs, should be kept to a minimum. Of course, being a trusted source gives your recipients’ peace of mind that clicking on your hyperlinks will take them where you want them to go. Keep the URL consistent with the voice and feel of the email content, by not including the actual website address as links. Rather, include hyperlinks of a few key words or images (if using images). That is, don’t use “click here” – instead make the call to action relevant to what they will be doing/seeing when they click the link. Finally, try not to overdo the number of hyperlinks. Less is usually more in this case as well.
  • Have a consistent from name. This may seem a simple thing, but many times people overlook this step. It should be the name that you want everyone to see that inspires recipients to not only read an email but also take action on its content.
  • Maintain a consistent look and feel with the chapter website. This inspires branding uniformity. Although every aspect of your website will not be able to transfer into your emails exactly as on the website, keeping everything as similar as possible will benefit the relationship between the two platforms and enhance your branding. Keep font, button, and link colors the same, use the same font if possible or use a secondary or similar font, and keep the tone of your content consistent. By having a consistent look and feel between your website and email, you give the right impression and you create credibility and trust between you and your readers.  StarChapter offers templates within each web design that make it simple to add content and then send the email.
  • Send a test email to different service providers. This helps you see what happens when different design aspects are employed. You can take a look at your membership and what email service providers they use to select the most common to test on. Be prepared that there are differences between email providers, so everything will not look the same on the receiving end. Take the results in appearance to help edit the email design in such a way to provide the most uniform and consistent outcome across email platforms.


You don’t have to work too hard to make your communication engaging.  But, you do have to consider that it is more than the content included, it is also how the email looks.  The email design is just as important to engage your members. Take the time to create your emails with deliverability and engagement in mind.

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