Email Campaigns & Electronic Mail – Hints & Tips
Sending electronic mail (e-shots, mailers etc) to your clients and prospects is an effective, affordable way of raising brand awareness, promoting your business as a professional organisation and advertising your services, events or offers.
It’s simple to achieve, almost cost neutral, but very easy to get wrong!
I’ve been involved in designing, building and deploying email campaigns for a variety of clients over the years and have learnt a lot of useful tips along the way.
At One2create, as well as keeping up with changing trends, we also conduct our own research, ensuring we are constantly evolving.
We recently ran a mailer campaign experiment to put our knowledge and experience to the test, to set out what our best practises are for 2013.
We sent a variety of email campaigns, with different testing criteria, to a number of recipients. We reviewed the effectiveness of sending communications at different times of the day, different titles, content and images.
This blog post is not going to tell you how to create your own email campaigns. As, unless you have a competent understanding of HTML (HyperText Markup Language) coding and the right software, it may not turn out as expected… so probably best to leave to the experts!
What I will do is share our knowledge on what we consider best practise, so that if you do outsource your next email campaign, you have a better understanding of what is required
- It is critical that your email campaign looks the nuts. Hundreds if not thousands of emails hit your clients or prospects inboxes every day, so making yours stand out is key. That said, don’t over complicate it, keep it in-line with brand and ensure it is viewable on a mobile or tablet device (eg iPad, iPhone etc), with nice big links and buttons.
- You should always include a ‘plain text version (with no images)’ so that recipients who block downloads can still receive your message.
- The design of your email campaign should be created in HTML with all images and downloads housed on an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server. It shouldn’t exceed 600 pixels wide as this will reduce spam risk and ensure your recipient can see the full design.
- People also read from left to right, top to bottom, so ensure your most important information is located in the perfect position.
- The content of your mailer campaign is vital for success. Think about what you want to say, who you are saying it to and what you want the return on investment (ROI) to be.
- Avoid using upper-case words, they are hard to read and LOOKSLIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING!
*Keep your text as text. Resist saving the text in your mailer as images. If your recipient blocks images then your message can still get through.
- These are more important than you may think as they are the front door to your email….If the recipient doesn’t like the look of it, they won’t open it.
- You could personalise your title to make it really stand out to the recipient. Imagine receiving an email with your name or company name in the title, it would certainly intrigue you. But don’t worry, if you have a large data base, most good email campaign platforms like (MailChimp) can handle this for you by entering in <> into the title and then picking up the first name of the recipient from your uploaded recipient list.
- Avoid using phrases and wording that spammers use, as your email campaign will inevitably end up in the trash too! Avoid words like FREE, Sale, Offer.
- You must always provide an option to unsubscribe. Failure to do so could lead to being blacklisted from certain mailer campaign platforms. It also shows your recipient that you care about their data.
- Test your email campaign in various email clients (Yahoo, Hotmail, Mac Mail, Outlook etc) as sometimes unexpected results can occur. Again, most good email campaign platforms like MailChimp have templates to help you design across the board.
- Think about your target audience; think about what they do and when they do it. If they are office based then choose a time of day when they are least likely to be busy or distracted.
- Our recent experiment suggested that early morning Tuesdays and Thursdays were the optimum time for opens and clicks.
- Think about what you want to achieve. If it’s visits to your website then have prominent call-to-action links. If it were to sell your product or service perhaps provide details as to why it would benefit them. People often say that the best things in life are free….so why not include something free that recipients can download? (A white paper or free service offering).
- Another tack could be to re-affirm your customer relationship. Send out something that may be relevant to them; a company newsletter, an interesting article etc.
- Finally, there is not much point in sending a mailer campaign if you’re not going to do anything with the results. The good news is that all good email campaign platforms like MailChimp give you the tools to report on various criteria like number of opens, number of clicks, unsubscribes etc. Use this information to shape any sales follow-ups or even amend certain settings to gain more results.
I hope this has given you a little intro into mailer campaigns and enough food for thought about your next step.
If you would like to talk about your new mailer campaign, to help increase website visits, sell a product or shout about an event, then please contact us . I’d love to hear about what you want to achieve and how we can help.