We all know that beautiful, simple, and engaging email designs that include plenty of dynamic content are capable of drawing in readers and customers.
If your goal is to increase customer conversion – and, let’s face it, that is your goal – it’s imperative to truly understand what your customers are looking for. And how you design your email templates will play a part in whether you’re meeting their expectations.

Consumers want to be understood and feel like the company’s messaging aligns with their thoughts, standards, and core principles.

A well-designed email is effective in allowing customers to interact directly with your brand, thereby forming a relationship that may last for years to come.

In this article, we will dig deeper into 5 ways you can create amazing emails to boost your conversion rates!

An introduction to conversion-centered design

So, how exactly does email play a crucial role in lead conversion?

Different aspects of your email design will connect and influence the way that a subscriber interacts with your brand.

Design grids, gorgeous imagery, simplified layouts, compelling calls to action, and responsive design are essential elements that should be used in your emails to engage with your target demographics.

But, what are the crucial principles of conversion-centered design?

the 7 principles of conversion-centered design

Source: Slideshare

When drilling down into the principles of conversion-centered design, we can split it into seven fundamental pillars:


From the outset, you need to grab your readership’s attention to achieve your desired outcome from your email. Example: sending readers to your blog, selling products, attracting email signatures or gaining listeners for podcast episodes that you create.


You need to convince your reader that by taking the desired action, such as clicking on your CTA, they can learn all the information they need to solve their problems.


Explain the value of what your campaign can bring by describing what it is you’re offering and why it’s worth taking the time and effort to read it.


Put your copy and design at the center of your goal.


Showcase your social proof, such as reviews and client testimonials, to prove that you deliver what you say you do.


Make the most of the impact that your CTA offers and ensure that your audience understands why it’s so essential for them to take action while they still can.


It doesn’t stop at the first six points. You need to encourage follow-ups and create customers with a lifetime value to your business.

Conversion-centered design owes a great deal to the psychology of marketing, which is a discipline that has gained some serious momentum in recent years. Despite this, many marketers often fail to fully grasp psychological cues when creating their email campaigns.

It’s super important to think that everything you send out to your mailing list will produce an emotional reaction, whether that be positive or negative. The issue you have here is that you really need to generate a strong enough response for that recipient to then go and perform the action you want in a finite time period.

In other words, you have a limited time to convince your reader that your email is worth reading. And in a society where email inboxes are more saturated than ever before, it becomes far harder to make the desired impact.

How to create conversion-centered email designs

Fundamentally, as a marketer, it’s up to you to design something that appeals to your target audience while making them feel unique and special. This isn’t easy when you’re sending your emails out to hundreds, if not thousands of recipients. But, by gaining some critical insights into how design can impact your audience’s psychology, there are a few things you can do to turn your email from drab to fab!

Use grids to guide conversions

Using grid designs, you can guide your customer’s eyes throughout the email content.

The inverted pyramid

The most common example of this is the inverted pyramid design by Vero, which is a fantastic way of focusing your readers’ attention on your email’s key elements.

inverted pyramid design

However, in order for this design to work effectively, you need to ensure that your messaging is on point and is delivering what your readers are expecting from your brand.

Even if you’re launching a Minimum Viable Product, you will need to know what your target audience wants and how they can help you build your product or service to make it better.

The pyramid should always lead the reader to a strong call to action. Alternatively, you can also use several different inverted pyramid designs within the same email if you’re covering a couple of different topics.

Just take a look at this email from FreshBooks:

Fresh books - inverted email

The angular design

Another significant design to keep readers engaged is an angular zig-zag layout, similar to the one below from Sephora:

Sephora angular design

The angular layout is so impactful, as it is both engaging to look at and can incorporate lots of images and content without appearing too busy.

You can create these angles through creatively placed imagery or color blocks, which can be used to guide the reader through every step of the email.

This not only looks aesthetically pleasing, but it can also simplify each section to make it easier to read.

Design grids are especially helpful in the design phases and are great for grabbing your reader’s attention. Organizing your email in this way helps consumers find the right information quickly and makes it far easier to read.

Use attention-grabbing images, colors & graphics

Similar to the process of constructing a website, filling your emails with brightly colored images and graphics is proven to increase attention span and conversion rates.

However, these colors, images, and graphics must align with your brand design guidelines.

Remaining coherent with your brand messages and brand voice increases brand awareness.

Colors in email

While bright colors attract attention and color blocking helps to keep the reader focused on the key messages, there is a lot of value in utilizing white space to highlight products and the accompanying content.

Using different type sizes and grayscale color gives readers an understanding of what is considered crucial and what is less important. This is why colors, font sizes, and branding are crucial elements when designing email templates.

Colors elicit an emotional response from human beings. Commercial psychologists approximate that a reaction to color can account for as much as 60% of how someone will react to your product or service.

If you know exactly what kind of response you’re trying to create in order to drive conversion, understanding the psychology behind the colors you select can be an incredibly useful tool in your armory.

Of course, though, bear in mind that color is a “very personal experience,” so it may be a case of trailing which of your brand colors can really impact your audience the most.

Images in email

Images are also key factors for improving customer engagement which contributes directly to business growth. So make sure those pictures are chosen wisely.

Again, all the images you select should match your brand tone and appear relatable and emotionally driven.

Starbucks put out an awesome array of images that matches their subtle and refreshing style.

starbucks - images

Read more | Everything you need to know about embedding images in your emails

Plain-text emails are absolutely fine in some circumstances. However, remember that you’re working with a hugely saturated marketing format. So you need to ensure that you’re standing out from the crowd. Use a design that incorporates attention-grabbing imagery, colors, and graphics to give your readers something to remember and engage with.

Break down your content

While the last point advocates for bold and aesthetically pleasing visuals and colors, it’s still important that you keep everything as simple as possible.

When you’re sending out emails with multiple key messages, it’s important that you divide each section of the email so it is easy to read and digest. Horizontal borders, geometrical shapes, and interactive features are ideal for this.

This method is perfect when you’re sending emails out to different email lists. For example, if part of your email list consists of listeners to the podcast episodes you create, you’ll want to add a divider between that and the section of potential customers for your tangible or digital product.

In short, you should divide up the information within the email that is most relevant to each list of subscribers.

Using an email service such as Mailchimp means you can drag and drop elements into the email, without the need for any specific design know-how, to break down the content into digestible chunks.

Separating your content like this is a vital way to grab the attention of the email scanners.

Email scanners

Email scanners are those subscribers who open an email and only skim it for few seconds. If you can present them with vital information and a call to action quickly, you would have a higher chance of converting these readers into new customers.

Here’s how the weather app Poncho was able to add humor in their newsletter to catch the attention of their audience quickly.

Poncho conversion-centered design

Breaking your email down into bite-size information is more crucial. Some designers fear whitespace. But when used strategically, it helps simplify your content and makes your email easier to digest.

Creating bold calls to action

If you hope to drive up customer conversion, then every single one of your emails must include an actionable next step or “call to action”, to encourage subscribers to engage with your brand beyond the email itself.

Your CTA might be a “buy now” button which links customers to a certain product. Or a “read more” CTA which sends readers to insightful resources on your website. Calls to action are the most effective way to measure and increase conversion rates.

Believe it or not, your CTA’s placement and color should be a serious consideration for you too; after all, you need to ensure that your readers can get to a product to take a closer look or access that helpful content that might solve their pain points.

Here is an example of how Car Keys breaks objections of their first-time users with different types of bold CTA’s. Not only are the CTA’s in big red buttons, but they’re also more varied. Instead of just a lot of “buy now!” or “read more!,” the button texts are relevant to what the CTA takes them to.

Bold call to action - conversion centered design

So be sure to integrate a plan to add a bold CTA into your company’s business roadmap. In addition, it’s hotly debated over where your CTA should be placed within the email. On the one hand, some say that readers should be able to see it immediately, without needing to scroll through the email.

Alternatively, some say that your content should be your first consideration since it engages with the reader and gives them a reason to click the button or link.

Ultimately though, you know your customer base better than anyone, so the choice is yours.

When you come to design your CTA, it’s also better to use a clickable button over a simple hyperlink since this has been found to increase conversion by as much as 28%. You should also ensure that the button is an entirely different color from the rest of the email to help it stand out and clarify that it is clickable.

Be sure to pay close attention to the design, size, and use of white space around the button, as this can help to draw further attention to it.

As in the example above from Car Keys, CTAs don’t need to be all bells and whistles to stand out. In many cases, it’s just a case of using a contrasting color with whitespace to create something that is obvious for the reader.

Create mobile-responsive design

According to the latest HubSpot statistics, 46% of all opened emails are completed through a mobile device. This is why having an appealing, responsive email design is so important when it comes to conversions. Your emails need to be smooth, free from clutter, and just as simple to read as a desktop version.

If you’re a bit of a design whiz, you can code designs up yourself or use an email tool that utilizes mobile-ready design templates. Such tools will create a responsive design for you. Or you can put together your email template from scratch – no coding needed.

Creating a mobile-friendly, responsive email design that you’re super happy with is all very well and good, but it won’t help you if your website itself isn’t geared towards mobile users.

Mobile traffic consists of around 50% of all worldwide internet traffic, which is why it’s absolutely vital that your brand is launched and operating with a mobile-first website in 2021.

Your website’s landing pages must be optimized to ensure that information is easy to read and CTAs and operational and easy to find. If this process isn’t as simple as it could be, then all you’ll be doing is driving potential conversions out the door into the warm embrace of your competitors.

Responsive designs have been the norm for some time now, which means if your audience can’t view your email on their smartphones and tablets in the way you want them to, you can’t expect to drive conversion.


Using creative email designs will dramatically increase your conversions. When subscribers enjoy what they have in front of them, they’re naturally curious to learn more.

By using the following design ideas you’re well on your way to achieving far higher conversions from the email campaigns you’ve worked so hard to put together:

  • Implement grid formations that guide the eye-line of your readers.
  • Include crisp imagery that aligns with your brand voice.
  • Create clear, stand-out CTA’s that are easy to see and are obviously clickable.
  • Utilize responsive designs to ensure that anyone can read your email no matter what device they’re using.

With these ideas in your email marketing strategy, you’ll be sure to collect, and more importantly, retain customers. Who knows, maybe prospects will share your campaign if they find it attractive enough.