Email design matters in any successful email marketing campaign. If your emails look terrible, that reflects badly on you, and can make people stop reading. With more people than ever reading emails on mobile devices, it’s important to use a responsive email template so your email resizes automatically whether people are reading it on a phone, tablet, or desktop.
Newsletters are long-haul engagement. They serve as check-ins with your subscribers, as well as offering generalised engagement points. Newsletters are a way of both driving and maintaining engagement – at worst they serve as a reminder of the relationship the recipient has with a brand, but usually, they do a lot more. Provide as many engagement points/links as you can within your newsletters, and you'll be surprised at what crops up!
Full-funnel campaigns also take into consideration how the marketing funnel has morphed over the years. The old school of thought had a top, middle, and bottom part of a funnel, where customers went in at the top and left it after making a purchase. The funnel has evolved into a customer lifecycle that includes those pre- and post-purchase phases mentioned earlier.
You can assess the interests of individual list members by monitoring which pages they land on, and where they go from there. The process is explained by this example from Airbnb. They use click behaviour to ascertain the destination preferences and travel styles of customers and base their follow-up emails on those preference profiles. It's intensely specific, but it gets results!
Presentation is everything, or so they say. With this old adage in mind, we’ve compiled our best tips for anyone who wants to send emails that subscribers click into a handy email design guide. We cover each facet of design: content, templates, identity, color, images, layout, fonts, and calls to action. Design is as much science as it is art, and we take the guesswork out of what can seem like the most challenging part of sending good emails.
If you’re not already segmenting, this is a great place to start. CPC is a strategy-based customer segmentation tool focused on profile descriptor fields. For B2C retailers, this would include age, sex and geography. For B2B companies, this will consist of the size of the company, job role and the industry sector or application they operate in. This example shows a female and male creative with the products that are included in the content changing based on the gender.
Open and click-through rates (CTRs): Knowing who are engaged customers (those who open most emails and end up making purchases) versus inactive customers (who haven’t opened any emails in months) can be invaluable. Marketing campaigns announcing a new product should absolutely include those engaged customers, while re-engagement campaigns can be created to try and entice the inactive customers.
Test. Different email clients and mobile devices display emails differently. Send test emails to colleagues, or use a testing program to make sure your emails are going to look good on screens big and small. Testing reveals design mistakes before it's too late, and testing programs can predict whether or not a campaign will get caught in a spam filter. You could even set up accounts with a few different email services for easy testing. Avoid sending one big image as a campaign, and cover your bases with a plain-text option for every email.
If you're inviting readers to download an ebook, for example, and you have a picture of the ebook included in the email, don't just hyperlink the text next to the image telling people to "download it here." Hyperlink the ebook's picture, too. People are drawn to images much more commonly than text, and you want to give your email subscribers as many options to get your ebook as you can.
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You might consider making the language in your alt text actionable, such as "Click here to download the ultimate content creation kit." Actionable alt text will essentially turn every linked image into another CTA. So, even if someone doesn't see the snazzy GIF of my latest offer (or if they hover their mouse over an image that does show up), the alt text will beckon them to click.
Demographics: Certain demographics like age, gender, job title, and other information that informs your buyer personas can be a good way to segment customers and customize messages. For example, a financial company may want to send retirement-themed emails to customers seeking information on offering their employees benefits and emails about college loans to university-based customers.
Make your offers feel relevant. If you offer people something they don’t think is relevant for them, they also think you don’t know them or understand their situation. Segmenting people based on their interests, problems, company sizes, and other things can help with that a lot. But it’s not enough. Your offer might be a perfect fit for them, but how you present it has to be a fit, too. Focus on describing their problems, how they’ll use the product or service, and what they will have in the end. Don’t talk about it from your perspective. No one really cares what you think about your product as much as they care about what they’ll get from it.
Send people content they want. Email newsletter services offer features like groups and segmentation to help you make your content relevant to the people reading it. If you're sending different emails for different groups (for example, a nonprofit might send separate emails to volunteers, donors, and the board of directors), then you can ask people to check a box to join a particular group on your signup form. Segmentation allows you to target certain subscribers on your list without assigning them to group. If your store is having a sale, then you could send a campaign only to people near a particular zip code, because subscribers who live in other parts of the world don't need to know about it. You can also segment by activity, email clients, e-commerce data, and more. Sending relevant content will keep your readers engaged, and engaged readers look forward to your newsletter and share it with friends.

That isn’t to say that sales-y promotions couldn’t ever create results—as marketing “gurus” have proved. The results just aren’t as good as they could be. Take the biggest gurus’ results—the ones they boast about—and calculate their conversion rates. Often their marketing is comparatively ineffective. They just have massive volume, so the sales numbers are impressive.
Presentation is everything, or so they say. With this old adage in mind, we’ve compiled our best tips for anyone who wants to send emails that subscribers click into a handy email design guide. We cover each facet of design: content, templates, identity, color, images, layout, fonts, and calls to action. Design is as much science as it is art, and we take the guesswork out of what can seem like the most challenging part of sending good emails.
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