Our Best Email Design of 2012 contest saw so many more entries than we had anticipated. Our panel of email expert judges had to square away some serious time and focused attention to properly evaluate them and give them all a fair shake. By February 1st, some really impressive submissions made it to our contest inbox and, in looking things over, it has become apparent that the entire pool of submissions we received provided a very insightful look into how you all out there were doing in regard to email marketing best practices. Because, let’s face it—it’s one thing to be aware of what constitutes recommended and proven methods with regard to email. It’s another thing entirely to see them in action.

Here are a couple great things we saw you email-sending folks out there do:

Use Prominent Call-To-Actions

Who wants to have to search all over or scroll through walls of text and images in order to do what it takes to simply request more information? Or, worse yet, make a purchase? A great many of our contest entrants proved that they knew very well that both buttons and linked text put in places that readily catch the viewer’s eye will no doubt lead to increased conversions and higher click rates.

Create Concise and Engaging Content

While we did receive the occasional email design submission that could have used some trimming, a significant portion of our entries demonstrated an appreciation for content that was short and to the point. In fact, content written especially to grab our attention succeeded to do so with the judges…just like it would with your target audience! And, really, how are you going to get your message across if no one wants to read it?

Incorporate Images with Text

Almost all of the entries submitted made use of images and photos to otherwise break up the textual content of the email, with some making better use than others. It’s no secret that images make content more interesting and pleasing to look at. If used properly, images can convey so much more information at a glance, providing structure and flow to the copy presented.

These and other best practices observed sure made some design submissions shine brighter than others. But because not everyone can come in first place, Thursday we will be posting about a couple of not-so-great things we also saw in our inbox.

Winner of the Best Email Design Of 2012 Contest will be announced next week.