Tips to design engaging E-mailers for your business campaigns

By OctaneGo, May 18, 2011 | Tips & Resources

vSocial media might be the new kid on the block, but the good old email is still one of the best channels to promote your company and is still The King (no we’re not making stuff up, we have mentioned a research in one of our previous blogs). But the challenge still remains: how to attract a totally busy reader to open your email? Luckily for you, help is at hand. Here are some practical tips by Octane on drawing your reader’s attention, and hopefully keeping it.

1. Engaging content is the most important ingredient of a good email marketing campaign. Once an email lands in a reader’s inbox they have two choices. 1-Read the email and take action or 2-outright ignore it. The subject line is usually the clincher, where the split second decision is taken. So use few, sharp words,tempt the reader, get him to think about your message and most importantly- KISS: Keep it Short and Simple

2. Always design both HTML and TEXT versions of your newsletter. We might seem to be repeating the same point again, but the thing is you need to provide both the HTML and TEXT versions while sending out your emails. Why you may ask after spending painstaking effort on designing the brilliant HTML layout? Well for the sole reason that HTML may take more time to load. More time means a longer attention span, which most readers don’t have. So it’s a trade off between coming across as a well-designed email or simply an unread one. The choice is totally yours. Hence, ideally we suggest let the reader choose the version he wants. So design for both to avoid loss of readability.

3. Keep the emailer simple. The more complex your email design gets, the more likely is it to choke on not-so-advanced systems. Your mails will be deleted because of this! Also, you need to test your designs on a regular basis. Because email clients keep changing their standards, a design that looked great this week may not work the next month. Try to check the design once a month, if not more often. After all each design does come with a shelf life which you don’t wish to go beyond.

4. Simple Layouts and Tables Work Best: Every email client renders email differently. An Outlook will do it different from a Gmail or a Yahoo. So in order to have your email displayed consistently across all the email clients you should keep your email designs crisp and simple. Avoid complicated layouts, too many embedded tables, or tables with too many rows and columns. If you’re working on an email layout and find the tables are getting way too complex, and you end up having to code too many “COLSPANS”, you might be going wrong somewhere. You might want to think about slicing it up into separate tables and keep it simple silly.

5. Avoiding Spam Filters: To beat the enemy at its own game, you need to think like one. In this case, your enemy is the spam filter and you really have to think like one when you design your emails. Spam filters read your emails, and look for similarities with known spam. You wouldn’t want to do things that’ll get you accidentally thrown into the junk folder, would you now?

6. Once a user has signed up with you, try to keep them engaged. If some one took the pains of signing up for your newsletter, it can only mean one thing: HE/SHE IS INTERESTED IN YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE. Do not take that interest for granted. First things first, a short welcome note or a thank you email should be sent out instantly. You could also send, say, a discount coupon to keep the customer happy. If you are a regular online shopper, you would know that this is one strategy retailers use very often to lure people to sign up to their newsletters by providing discounts using coupon codes that come along in their newsletters. For another week, send out another email outlining some resources available on your website that the user could make well use of. Staying in touch with users shows that you are interested in the long-term relationship and in not just making a quick buck. Show them that you are here for good.

7. Using a strong call to action will dramatically increase your click through rates. Always always have a call to action that clearly defines what would you want your reader to do. Do not use a plain and simple “click here”. Click here to do what? The customer will ask himself, rather ask you in disgust. Instead, use intriguing text or an icon, like a button such as the Facebook “Like” or “Share” or the little twitter bird that the user can easily comprehend and make sense of. You would also need to make sure that it is prominently placed so that the reader doesn’t miss it.

8. A lot of popular email clients, Microsoft Outlook specifically, provide a preview pane. This one feature provides the user with the view of the tip of the iceberg. The portion that you portray or the portion out of the water must be captivating enough to make the reader want to see what lies beneath the surface. Hence, when designing your email make sure that the top of your email is catchy enough to get readers to view the rest of the email. That of course doesn’t mean that the bottom portion of your email shouldn’t be as interesting to not notice. But if that is the case, your Titanic is bound to sink.

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