Design V/S Content: Check the Balanced Approach to Translate Into Results

Whenever you open an email in your inbox, what is the first thing that you are likely to notice?

Now different people may have different approaches to this question. Some might say that an email’s first impression is its design. Others argue that it is the content that matters.

Consider yourself in a situation where you find an unattractive large paragraph placed before you in an email. It is not hard to guess that in most of the cases you would find it boring and turn it down.

Marketers have never been able to pick any one right way, out of content and design. Design and content both can be considered as building blocks of a good email strategy.

Both of these essential components go hand in hand to create a balanced approach towards increased conversions. When you pack a gift for someone, you make sure that the packing is attractive as it creates a sense of excitement.

On the other hand, if the gift (in material) is not appealing to the one who is receiving it, there is no point wasting time to wrap it up.

Are you still confused with the metaphor?

Consider this successful campaign by Dropbox

dropbox email design

The whole point of the design is to make your email more presentable and engaging. If you create high quality content but your design is boring, nobody will read it.

And vice versa, if your email looks quite fancy but has poor content you are ought to lose the interest of your precious audience eventually.

While designing your emails you should make sure about how subscribers will interact with it. The more they are able to interact with your campaigns, the more interested will they be.

Consider MailChimp’s minimal style campaign example

mailchimp email

Source: www.kunocreative.com

Going by the statistics provided by Kissmetrics, captions under images are read on average 300 percent more than the body copy.

According to a recent post by Forbes magazine,

“Design can play a major role in whether or not people will interact with the emails you send out. This is especially important for readers on mobile devices who will be less likely to engage with emails that are difficult to read on a smaller screen. Keep your message as focused as possible, with one clear call to action that you want them to take.”

So, in this war of Content Vs Design, we look forward to adopting a balanced approach that befits conversions in an email marketing strategy perfectly and can be tested through A/B approaches.

What is A/B testing?

A/B testing is a mechanism through which you can find out the best promotional activity for your business.

Basically, you segment your audience and send one variation of your campaign to one segment and another variation to the other segment. This way you record the response such as high CTR, open rates and get to know what works best for your company.

Results of a balanced approach through A/B Testing.


Length has been one of the most debated topics by the marketers as it takes the essential charge of representing your email. After analyzing various outcomes of A/B testing, it was found that optimal length of a subject line should be around 61-70 characters.

Consider the graph that shows the average read rate as per the increasing subject line length.

subject line length

Source: Return Path

However, your subscribers and the needs of your business might be different. In case your audience is more susceptible to open your emails on mobile devices, try shorter subject lines as they are much easier to grasp.

Also, the arrangement of your words in a subject line should make sense.


With more and more people opting to open emails on devices other than laptops, it is essential to design responsive designs. By doing so, you are basically reducing the grainy images and providing a better visual to your customer.

Also, according to a research human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text, which means that using images in your email campaigns can be a strong way to convey your message.

However, the requirements of your business can be different, so you can A/B your campaigns by providing images or no images and noting the responses from each.

Consider the following campaign that uses images as attractive visuals.

pawtoon email



You can play with different styles of content in your campaigns. Consider yourself sending a newsletter in your campaign that has different pieces of information put together, then you can test by adding different pieces of your content.

It can be an intriguing way to know what interests your audience the most.  Consider an A/B test campaign by Buzzfeed.

When there is more than one post in a single newsletter, you can conduct an A/B test featuring different content pieces in the subject line to observe which drives the most opens.

buzzfeed subject line

buzzfeed email


Source: Pinterest


The use of style for your campaign entirely depends on the purpose of your business. For example, if you are selling laptops you might opt to show a screenshot of the interface displayed by your device.

In other cases, you can use a template similar to your website’s design for increased familiarity.

Consider the following different styles

email style

Source: Campaign Monitor




According to Ogilvy, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”


Thus creating an effective body for your campaign begins with a creative headline.


According to a recent study, the average human attention span has decreased from 12 seconds to eight seconds today.


This means you need to catch your customer’s attention in minimum time. While creating the body of a successful campaign you need to consider two things:

Tone: Whatever it is that you have to say, let it be in a positive tone. According to a recent market survey, it was found that using positive language increased the email conversion rate by 22%.

Call to action: Your call to action can be a link or a button, but it has to speak out loud. Using buttons is a better approach as businesses were able to get 27% increase in click-throughs by using a button instead of a text link.

Sarv AB testing

Source: Sarv



Instead of just making assumptions on a particular design or a specific content, it is much better to do a little research. Test different combinations and know what works best for your business.

Don’t simply pick content over design or vice versa. Adapt a diligently balanced approach between the two, to get amazing conversion statistics for your campaign.

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