Email Marketing - No not spam

Email Marketing - A Step By Step Guide (cont...)

Step 3 - Creative Execution

Email content that your readers will value is vital to ensuring the success of an Email Marketing campaign. Valuable content is informative and progressive and should address the problems and needs of readers. It's all about what they want to hear more than what you want to say to them. The reader determines what value your content provides, not the publisher.

Step 4 - Design

The design of a mailer is sometimes an area that has the least amount of thought put into it. This is usually due to the lack of understanding some designers have of usability. The common problems are the:

  • length of the email
  • disorganised structure of information
  • readability of text

Interactive emails are best constructed with lightweight HTML capability allowing the email to open quickly in order to grab the user's attention before he/she moves on. The structure must allow people to scan and navigate the email without too much complication. The length of paragraphs, emphasis through bolding and colours as well as sectioning information with bullets and borders all contribute to a well structured email.

Any good designer will test their email on a variety of current, most-used email clients. (E.g. Outlook, Thunderbird, Lotus Notes, Eudora etc). This process is called platform testing and ensures that the email will display correctly in as many email clients as possible. Sometimes it is not possible to ensure exact consistency on every email client; however the variations can be minimised through following best international practice and staying abreast of new developments in email clients.

Step 5 - Newsletter Components

Within every newsletter, there are a number of components that will aid the reader to orientate and better accept and react to your newsletter over time. Consistency is key in some areas while others can be refreshed although remaining within the style and tone of the communication. The most prevalent components are as follows:

  • Subject Lines are essential! They aid the reader in identifying the newsletter and enticing them to open it. It is important to avoid promotional words like "free", "win" and "buy now" due to these being flagged as potential spam by email spam filters. Using the name and edition of the newsletter in the subject line aids in maintaining consistency and also helps readers filter them from their inbox.

  • "To"," from" and "reply" fields are also opportunities to build the relationship through creating a perception of familiarity. In other words, the reader needs to perceive that the newsletter is somewhat unique for them and sent personally by the publisher. Using a personalised company email address (e.g. "rob@quirk.biz) for the "reply" field creates familiarity and builds trust with the reader. The "from" address should also include the organisation's name. A meaningless "from" address which the reader cannot identify only serves to confuse the origin of the newsletter.

  • Personalisation should be standard practice with emails. However, some companies still start the newsletter with a greeting like "Dear Valued Guest". This can be acceptable as a default greeting; however, using their first name or surname can create a perception of a more personal email. This can be taken further if the customers give you a preference regarding the content they like the most. The text and images in the email can be tailored to match preferences and interests upon delivery.

 

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