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From short, catchy text to a strategically-placed call to action, there are several helpful tweaks you can make to your email marketing template to boost audience engagement. — Getty Images

Email marketing is one of the best ways to reach people. With a carefully crafted email marketing campaign, there’s a world of opportunity to draw customers back into your store, sell them a new product or turn them into a lifetime fan.

In fact, research by Campaign Monitor found that every dollar spent on email marketing generated $38 in ROI. To help with your email campaign, here are some tips for designing the most effective template to boost customer engagement.

[Read more: 5 Email Marketing Templates to Jumpstart Your Campaign]

Spend time writing a great subject line

Before we get to the template, you must write a subject line that will get a user to open your message. The subject line can make or break your email campaign. Make sure it’s eye-catching by using a question to drive curiosity or adding personalization.

Most users open their email on their phones; therefore, keep your subject line short and sweet. These are the specs to try to adhere to in your subject line:

  • iPhone: 35-38 characters in portrait mode, and 80 characters in landscape.
  • Galaxy S4: 33 characters in portrait mode, and 72 in landscape.
  • Desktop: 65-78 characters.

Starting off with the right subject line may have nothing to do with the design of your email or which template you use. However, if a customer doesn’t open your email, the design elements really don’t matter.

[Read more: 5 Essential Email Marketing Features to Boost Your Results]

Your email has very little time to convey the message to your customers; so the structure of your email is everything.

Keep the text minimal

The average adult attention span is eight seconds. Your email has very little time to convey the message to your customers; so the structure of your email is everything. Assume that people aren’t reading your emails word for word, and instead scan through looking to get the gist of what you’re offering.

Campaign Monitor recommends structuring your emails as an “inverted pyramid,” with a headline at the top, visuals in the middle, and a strong call to action at the end. “The inverted pyramid model works particularly well for campaigns with a single message and a single call to action, such as announcements and marketing offer campaigns,” writes one expert.

Use (on-brand) images and color

Again, the goal is to get a customer who’s scanning quickly to hone in on your call to action. Color, graphics, fonts and images can all help you achieve this goal. A graphic designer from Canva recommends that “different type sizes and grayscale colors lets readers understand what’s important and what’s less important.”

Canva is an easy-to-use tool that helps design attractive emails, offering free and paid design options. Images can also improve engagement in your emails. According to Kissmetrics, “Content with relevant images gets 94 percent more views than content without relevant images.” Use a free stock image site like Unsplash or Pexels to add high-quality images to your campaigns.

Make your call to action stand out

The most important element in your email template? Your call to action. This is how you know whether or not your email campaigns are successful. Placement of your call to action and the way it stands out is critical.

Some marketers put the call to action at the end, requiring the reader to scroll down (and often meaning the email body doesn’t get read properly). Others put it within the content to make sure the email is read. Do some A/B testing to find out what’s the right option for your audience. And, when designing the call to action, use a button rather than a hyperlink. This can increase conversions by up to 28%. Make sure the button stands out by using a different color than your text and giving it plenty of space.

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