Email Marketing Layout and Design - Design Type

Before designing your email you will hopefully have consulted internally on the campaign objectives and ensured your creative ideas are aligned with the brand direction. Now it is time to turn to the type of email you are going to send, and then decide on an appropriate template for delivering the message. We will cover this over two blogs.


Your email type will be largely influenced by the commercial focus. This could be, for example, creating awareness, becoming part of the consideration set, converting prospects over to your product/service, promoting greater use of your product/service or building a long-lasting relationship.

Either way the format is usually either editorial or promotional in design and tone. These can be short or long, depending on the complexity of the message, and how quickly you wish people to follow a particular call to action.

Short Editorial

A short editorial is typically used to deliver alerts, updates, press releases, "tips of the day" or information around product launches. These emails tend to be short and to the point with the purpose of informing your subscribers. The balance should lean more towards editorial content rather than promotion, though there will be some promotional content contained in the email.

Long Editorial

A long editorial gives greater content and information on the product, service or event. These are typically newsletters, longer press releases, whitepapers or industry guides. They allow you to write more, and the goal is to inform customers and prospects. It is not a sales pitch; however there is also an element of promotion and further information on the buying process.

Short Promotional

Unlike the editorial, a promotional email has a more specific call to action. It is designed to move the reader away from the email and on to a sales process as quickly as possible. They are also short and direct, and would typically have one key message to promote - e.g. buy this, sign-up for that etc. There must be a clear benefit to the recipient. Examples would include e-cards, sale announcements and certain types of groupon offers.

Long Promotional

The long promotional format allows you to present the benefits of your product in more detail, or multiple product and service offerings in one email. It is ideal for more complex messaging or "bundled" offers that require greater explanation. It is a direct sales approach that should be reflected in the content. Typical examples include sales letters, catalogue emails etc. (e.g. from large retailers like Argos).

In the next post we will look at some template formats.