For those in the email industry, the header, navigation and footer aren’t new concepts. But what makes these elements good? These pieces are usually repeated in each email you send, so make sure your layouts are effective, beautiful, and easy to … well, navigate.
Space is precious, so choose wisely
First, let’s talk about the entirety of your email from top to bottom. The header, navigation and footer are important − but not as important as the main message. Though your header gives the recipient easy access to your site, it shouldn’t take up more room than necessary. Keep in mind that the more space and time taken up by the header, the likelihood of a conversion drops. Make sure your subscriber sees that main content ASAP and can convert quickly.
A couple tips for your header…
- Keep your logo smaller. I know, I know. I just contradicted everything that little voice in your head is saying – you want your brand shouted from every mountaintop! But remember your audience; these emails are going to people who already know your brand and style, and can probably tell the email is from you with just a glance. Would you rather use that extremely valuable real estate (especially on mobile) for your logo… or the main content? We think you should use it for the main content.
- Hide preheaders on mobile. If you choose to have your preheader visible in your email on desktop, hide it on mobile. Why? Because it will still display the subject line in mobile inboxes but won’t take up precious space in the message itself.
Now for that navigation…
- Consider skipping the top navigation altogether. Navigation is important to give readers one last chance to go to your site after they’ve read the content. So why not give them those options at the bottom of the message as well? Adding a navigation in the footer will still provide access to your site if the main content doesn’t quite call out to them, and it doesn’t take up valuable space at the top of the email.
- Limit your number of navigation items. Keep your navigation under six items. You read that correctly. Too many options can become overwhelming to a reader, and cause them to ignore the navigation altogether. It can also cause the navigation to wrap to two lines, which would take even more space away from the most important elements.
- Stack your footer navigation on mobile. It’s hard to tap little links on a phone, right? Make it easier for your readers by stacking your mobile navigation in large, “tappable” buttons at the bottom of the message.
- Hide the top navigation on mobile. We’ve already mentioned how important real estate is in an email. Do you really want a quarter of the screen to be a logo and navigation? Probably not.
Finally, the footer…
- Get social! Including social media icons in each send gives readers a way to get to these networks, and encourages brand loyalty and engagement. By adding it to the footer, you’re providing access without distracting from the main message.
- Add a “view in browser” link. While not a requirement, this link will make it much easier for customers to view and share your email. If there is a glitch in a reader’s inbox, if they’re having issues on their mobile device, or if they just love your content and want to share the email, this link is important to improving user experiences.