An agency’s perspective:
The internet is full of pages upon pages of articles that will tell you the same things about email marketing strategies, pros and cons, and tips and tricks. And while we don’t discourage doing your own research, we can save you time by offering some practical tips from people who build savvy emails right here in our office.
To start, everyone might tell you to watch the length of your subject line (45 characters or less before it gets cut off, by the way) or to make your headline short and engaging (the headline shows as preview text before an email is even opened), but we want to show you a few other things we think are equally important, though maybe less apparent.
Thing #1: Embrace visual builder tools in MailChimp and Constant Contact. They’re there for you!
Sending a good-looking email doesn’t require a master’s degree in graphic design and 12 years of coding experience anymore, though we do believe a branded and thoughtfully designed email (which we love doing!) has much more impact. Thankfully, many email platforms offer dynamic and easy-to-use tools to format, size, and place imagery, video, copy blocks, etc. to your heart’s content. These tools allow you to create clean and professional looking emails you can be proud of, so don’t be afraid to use them to customize your message. If this still seems like too much, we’re here to be your guide!
Thing #2: Consider mobile view while you build.
As you begin building your email, one crucial thing to consider in today’s modern age is how well it will lay out in mobile view. Many consumers use their phones to read emails on the go, so it is crucial that you get the same message across on a computer screen versus a mobile phone. This means ensuring images react to size, copy isn’t overwhelming or too small, and as a best practice, no copy appears on an image. If it does, it’s going to get real small. You want recipients to digest content quickly and efficiently – and that’s what they want too.
Thing #3: Emails aren’t meant to be novels.
Content matters. And as they say, less is more. An email should not act as a replacement for your website to fit in every single piece of information you have. Your email should be designed to promote further action (usually proceeding to your website to learn more) and should be framed as such – you’ll lose readership with blocks upon blocks of copy, no matter how well it’s written. Provide enough detail for a general understanding of your message and to promote further curiosity, then make a clear path to learn more by linking to your full website.
Thing #4: But they’re also not meant to be picture books.
Strike a balance between imagery and copy. Most people would rather look at quality photos than read four paragraphs, but that doesn’t mean that you can tell your story or get your point across strictly visually. And again, less is more! Images you do use also need to be compressed prior to placement so they can size properly across devices – most email platforms will do this for you but it doesn’t hurt to check before you send! And an important note: too many symbols or emojis can be a detriment to your credibility too. We’ve all seen spam emails with sixteen exclamation points or dollar symbols that make us think the sender is just a little bit too excited about their subject.
Thing #5: Keep your audience in mind when sending.
Choosing a proper send time is also an important factor to think through for your email. If you’re targeting businesses, consider sending when a business is typically open and people would be checking their emails – think typical 9 to 5 hours. Are you a restaurant marketing for the weekend? Consider sending on a Thursday evening in time for recipients to make weekend plans. Sending an email at 3am when traffic is slow only looks like spam. Bonus! Email systems usually provide a scheduled send feature to help manage times you choose. Double bonus! This makes sending cadenced emails (which we highly recommend for increased awareness with consumers) easier to manage as well, whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
Thing #6: Include tried and true footer content.
Consumers have become accustomed to emails from serious businesses having a certain amount of information in the footer. The footer is a separate section that closes out the email after all other content. It’s typical to include your business name, live links to your website and any active social media platforms, as well as unsubscribe and subscription management options. People like to know where they are being led, and that they can choose to modify how much they hear from you – it shows that you value their time!
As you can see, there are a lot of ins and outs in creating an impactful email or even campaign! Email users are inundated day in and day out with content of various quality, and we know it takes a lot to break through the noise. And if this feels overwhelming, we want you to know it’s okay! Take a deep breath and remember, our team is standing by.
Need a starting point? A good first step is to consider your own email behavior. How often do you read full emails? When do you usually check your email? Do you usually scroll as you read or only take in the first portion of content? Using these answers will help guide you when thinking of what your audience will want to see. And as always, the experts are here to help with all things email marketing!