Get email creative that “works” hard for your campaigns

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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.

Do keep in mind that if people are using Outlook these are less likely to work, so make sure there are links elsewhere to your videos.

Waterstones have a well-designed email with clear menus and options of where to go, however where they fall down is the length of their copy. You almost by-pass the opening paragraphs as you get all the same information by looking at the images and reviews, which is quicker and easier. Try to use a combination of images and text for any important points: you need to make your information as quick and easy as possible to get across.

Don’t crash land

Landing pages are an essential part of your campaign, so don’t just crash land your reader onto your homepage, it’s like dropping someone in the middle of a city without a map; they will get lost or give up! Make sure your campaign follows through. This will give them trust and reinforce what you what from them. Otherwise you will lose their interest.

*research carried out by dotMailer January 2012

Guest Post by Emma Raw,  Marketing Executive at the DotDigitalGroup
Follow dotMailer on Twitter: @dotmailer

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