Effective Email Header and Footer Design with Examples & Tips

What to know about email header and footer design

Email marketing is a great way to communicate with your subscribers, engage readers and improve conversion rates. Often, the first thing that comes to mind is the bulk of the email (the body), but there are other crucial parts to a successful email. Let’s dive in, head first.

Starting off strong

What is an email header?

It’s the first thing people see when they open up your email. And, as with a date or a job interview, your header hopefully makes a good first impression. Good or bad, a header sets the tone for the rest of your email’s communication with your customers. 

Things a good email header does: 

  • Identifies your brand: Recipients have a clear idea who sent the email, and the header matches the “from” field in the email
  • Simplifies information: A header is short and sweet for easy scanning and to get maximum attention
  • Applies across campaigns: It works with many email campaigns and can be used across them for consistency

Email header design elements to include:

  • Logo/business name: Besides reinforcing who the email is from, it improves brand retention; the more places your logo appears, the better. 
  • “View in browser”: This is a link that allows people to see your email if it’s not showing up correctly in the application. 
  • Navigation: While up to your discretion, navigation can help if you’re an e-commerce site and want people to explore promotions.
  • Images: Eye-catching images at the top can grab a reader’s attention; Keep in mind that if you want to have a versatile header, you’ll have to be careful that the image is one that can be used across email campaigns.
  • Preview: A preview line — like a second chance at the subject line — helps set expectations.
  • Links: Anything that can help users reach relevant pages or promotions easily.

Design tips: 

  • Make the header short: It shouldn’t take up the whole screen because you want readers to be able to see some of the body of the email as well.
  • Keep it simple: It should be easy for readers to focus on the intended message of the email.
  • Mix and match: Feel free to try different designs, but once you find one you like, remember that consistency is a good thing. Let your brand form an image for readers so they know what to expect from your emails.
  • Don’t forget your newsletter: These tips can be applied to a newsletter header as well.

Email header example:

Ending with impact

What is an email footer? 

It’s the last thing people see on your email, so essentially it’s your the last chance to provide value to your readers. Like the walk home on a date or the open questions at the end of the interview, you want to have something thoughtful to say to keep readers interested in learning more when the email is reaching the end. 

Things a good footer provides: 

  • Clarity: It’s easy to read, not full of unrelated information or complicated words.
  • Transparency: Readers understand what they’re being shown and why (think terms and conditions when they engage with a promotion).
  • Assurance: Puts people at ease because they have next steps and resources to go on their way.

Email footer design elements:

  • Contact info: Make it easy for people to find your website and physical address, and how to email or call should they require further information or help. 
  • Additional resources: Links to social media, articles or products that pair well with your email subject. 
  • Fine print: Put things like promotion details, copyright and links to your privacy policy. 
  • Unsubscribe button: This should always be visible and in accordance with CAN-SPAM and GDPR legislation.
  • Links: Consider providing links to user profiles, a way for readers to sign up and an option to view the email in a browser

Design tips:

  • Minimalism: What makes the most sense to give readers at this point? If you’re telling them about an in-store event, maybe you don’t need to include articles or detailed terms and conditions.
  • Chronology: Put the information in order based on what’s the most important to your email and what you want recipients to see or take action on.
  • Color: Use a background color or padding for the footer so that it’s easy to tell that it’s separate from the body content.
  • Light text: They’ve already read your email and may need just a bit more to take action, so don’t surprise them with text-heavy paragraphs. Instead, take a look at what information you need to include and whether any additional links or copy would be useful.

Email footer example:

email footer design example rover

When you’re building your next email campaign and trying to get the design just right, go beyond the body copy and take note of what’s happening above and below. Start and stop your emails simply, leaving your customers feeling informed, satisfied and, most of all, interested. 

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© 2018, Lindsey Bakken. All rights reserved.

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