When it comes to email marketing, plain text emails are, if not quite a thing of the past, then certainly on a downwards spiral. The trend these days is to jazz up the email newsletter with some images, illustrations, groovy fonts, and funky layouts. The idea is simple – with so many emails coming through as just words on a screen, yours simply need to be lively so that they jump out at your potential clients, grabbing their attention amidst the endless black and white chatter.
However, it is important in the first instance that your content is written as clearly and concisely as any other copy that you embark upon – no amount of bells and whistles will drown out the unforgivable (negative) noise made by a poorly constructed, badly written campaign. And indeed, no matter how many pictures, illustrations, or other visual elements you might incorporate to grab a reader’s attention, it will still be on your written content that you will achieve the lasting interest and conversions that you covet.
So, before moving onto the more colorful and glamorous aspects of email marketing, let’s get the basics right first.
Growing Your Email List
This is all about the landing page on your website. Your landing page is where you will place that all important email subscription form. A lot of websites these days have preferred to opt for the social media icons, rather than the more traditional call to action to sign up to the newsletter, but, to be honest, there is nothing more valuable to online marketing than an email list.
Your messages are so easily lost in the endless stream of the Twitter news feed. While Facebook has control over which of your fans are even directed towards your content in the first place. But, with your own email list, you have all the control to send the information that you want your fans to have, precisely when you want them to have it. Therefore your landing page must be absolutely optimized to convert, and you may even consider using popups on your site, so that even the most casual visitor will not overlook the availability of a form to fill in.
Onto Content – Tell a Story
Whether you are going to opt for the inclusion of a nice, colorful, image-filled email newsletter, or simply go for the more traditional text-based approach, one of the most important things that you can do is to try and tell a story about your product, service or business. It can be instantly off-putting if all your email seems to be doing is acting as an unsolicited platform for shameless self-promotion. Instead, you need to try and tell a story with the text – that is to say that you want to try and create something that not only puts your product in context, but that is also entertaining.
Balance Graphics and Text
The more eye-catching your newsletter’s graphics, the more likely it is that the text will get read. If you create something that is immediately interesting on the eye, then the less chance there is of the recipient immediately hitting the delete button. You’ll want to start with the banner heading. Make it bright and engaging, with either your logo or the headline of the newsletter etched across it. Then, as is the basis of all good design, incorporate that banner’s color elsewhere in the newsletter, so that the reader’s eye is drawn to all the different sub-headlines and sections.
But, importantly, make sure you get the balance right. If you need to include a lot of text, then don’t dedicate too much space to images so that your email is either off-puttingly long or that the text is unreadably small to accommodate.
Quotes from satisfied clients or industry authorities are definitely a good idea. Nothing is more convincing to a potential customer than a recommendation from a satisfied one. So, if you’ve got some testimonials, then include them. In addition, if you can manage to get a few words out of a disinterested third party industry professional about some area of your field that you feel would interest your readers, then get those quotes in too – they will instantly increase your credibility.
Offset your quotes from your main body text as well, preferably using a slightly larger, possibly italicised font, so that they can be located at first glance by a reader. The whole point of including them is to add extra layers of interest and engagement into your newsletter, so don’t bury them amidst the columns.
Creating a convincing email marketing newsletter is becoming more and more like a fine art, but, even if your company doesn’t have the design resources to give them the feel of a magazine spread, it is still worth taking the time to give them some colour, a few images, and a layout that is designed to engage and visually entertain the reader, rather just sending out another ream of copy for them to glance over and then ultimately delete.
Once you’ve established a decent email list, make sure that all your newsletters are conceived with the engagement of the end-user in mind. Only that way will you stand any chance of making those all-important conversions, without which there would be no point to your campaign in the first place.