Why Ugly Emails Are Sometimes the Best Emails

Thanks to the long list of email marketing tools (InfusionSoft, Mailchimp, etc.) it’s super easy to create a polished-looking email to send to your subscriber list. Customizable templates let us look like a design whiz in a few clicks. But, sometimes the best option is to keep our emails looking simple (and sometimes ugly).

emails on a phone

Here’s why.

People respond to genuine action.

Think about it. A hand-written note is better than an automated message. Word written on a napkin is often more endearing than one written on a bland greeting card. Before the age of “crisp” email marketing, we sent messages organically from our inboxes, copying our entire team or subscriber list. While the result was less polished given the restrictions of our email service, the viewer knew it was crafted specifically by the sender. Ever bolded word and highlighted text was a style choice only the sender could craft.

When we see these emails, we inherently respond differently than we would have from a polished looking marketing email. Sometimes the “streamlined look” can imply a flavorless quality. Of course, if you’re sending a message to thousands of subscribers, the “big” email marketing companies offer an easy outlet for quickly crafting a message and delivering it to the masses. But, if we’re sending a message to our “top subscribers” or a select audience, then sending an “ugly” email might be the way to go.

Here are a few scenarios where you might want to use this strategy:

  • You have a small customer base that pays a high-dollar amount for your product
  • If you’re sending a message to a select group of employees
  • If your message contains content that specifically highlights a customer or team member

When sending your “ugly” email, feel free to use some of the design tools that come with your email platform. Jazz up gray text with colors and splash in a few photos. While this might feel like “going against the grain” of every graphic design lesson you’ve ever learned, we promise it’ll catch your audience off guard and cause them to spend more time reading your message. Chances are, it’ll stand out from the 20-plus other marketing emails they received that day.