Archive for May, 2012

Get email creative that “works” hard for your campaigns

May 21, 2012

Guest post by Emma Raw, Marketing Executive at dotMailer

What are your readers seeing in your email campaigns?

The thing with emails is that it’s as much what they look like as what they say, so making sure your email creative is right – and keeping in mind what your reader will see – will make a massive impact.

Before you start on your email creative you need to think seriously about what you want your email to achieve; what action you want your reader to take. Are you trying to encourage them to purchase or sign up to something; is it about increasing your brand awareness, or is it information like a newsletter? Whichever it is, you will need to change your creative accordingly.

Seeing through your customers’ eyes  

You need to think about the whole journey, and firstly: what do they see when your email hits their inbox?

Images turned off?

When an email hits your inbox it normally has its images turned off, so you need to think about what your readers can see. You need to give them enough information to encourage them to want to reveal the rest of the email, but not too much so they avoid ‘show all content’. Why? Well, because if you’re analysing your stats then they aren’t going to be true to form if readers don’t need to open the email fully. The way ESPs can track your email and know if someone has opened it, is through a tiny 1px image that once downloaded, generates an “opened” response. If they can get all your juicy info without doing this, you won’t get vital stats on the campaign.

Think about your readers and what mail service they are using. If you’re sending to B2C, look at how gmail, Hotmail and so forth preview emails. However, if it’s B2B customers you need to be aware of Outlook and Lotus notes, if you have a massive header and no content or reference Preview panel in Outlook, the email is likely to show up blank in the recipient’s inbox which is not a great start.

Here’s a great example from Pizza Express: they designed their background to mimic the email once the images are opened, and this gives people an insight to the content of the email and is likely to make them open it fully if it looks of interest.

On the move

Think about mobile: how will it render on a small screen? 52% of consumers now access emails through their phones*. So it’s pretty clear that mobile devices and smartphones need to change the way we approach email.

You need to make sure they are clear, with big buttons, and easily read on small screens.

Getting creative

Let’s take some practical examples:

The month of May and June should be pretty easy for Harrods to think of a theme: yep, you guessed it, the Royal Jubilee. They have executed it beautifully, the theme is strong and clear and they have extended the email so it’s not just about shopping, they also have a link through to the history of Harrods, which opens the email up to people who aren’t planning to buy anything.

Don’t forget about rich media (video), shown here in this email for Butlins. If you are sending mainly to B2C customers, you can use tools such as video directly in the email as ESPs like Hotmail support this.

Catching our eye on the web in May

May 17, 2012

Well, May is turning out to be a very, very wet month indeed, but online it continues to shine, shine, shine. Some great posts to help with your marketing activity, and yet more reasons to be cheerful with useful tools to help with your content marketing plans.

(more…) External Works Blog- Q & A with Stephen Bird.

May 17, 2012

What do you do at

I’m the editor of our External Works channel of information. I headed up the production of the annual External Works sourcebook from 2000, and now look after the same marketplace as covered by our digital publications.

I’ve also got wider responsibility for looking after editorial processes at In practice, that has meant big changes in the way that we do publishing.

Not too long ago, we had a fairly predictable yearly routine of researching, compiling and printing the External Works directory and other titles.

Now, the way that landscape and construction professionals find, use and share product information is changing all the time. So our information, publications and tools need to keep evolving and adapting as well, to keep apace of their working practices.


Website planning… and the perils of moving the goal posts

May 17, 2012

Guest contributor Charlie Hill of Quba explains the importance of upfront planning for web projects.

I’m a big fan of Grand Designs. The more episodes I watch, the more similarities I see between building a house and building a website (on a much smaller scale, of course).

One of the biggest issues for any project manager is how to manage the average enthusiastic house builder if they decide to make a change along the way. Little amendments like a change of light-fitting position or a different cladding material can result in a domino effect of problems that affect both the time the house takes to build and, more importantly, the final budget.

For example, in a recent episode the client decided half-way into the build that they wished to swap the position of the dining room and the kitchen. The cataclysmic effect of this added 8 weeks to the build schedule and a whopping £15,000 to the overall budget! Reasons for this range from the siting of electrical points, provision of services and window placement.


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