Successful email marketing: Five vital ingredients, part 2
My last column introduced the five vital components of a successful marketing email.
3. Technical setup/design
5. Response management
The two points covered were the database and content – especially writing for spam filters. You can read the article online here.
Let’s move on to the next component, design of the email, the technical set-up. Here are my two top pieces of advice.
1. Dump graphics. I know, you’re thinking no, no no! But let’s be honest. When you go through your inbox in the morning, do you right click all those red boxes to see the images?
I can say with 100% certainty that every single formatted marketing email I receive either goes straight into the Outlook junk mail filter or is ignored by me because I don’t click to see the images and the text is not showing up in the preview screen.
Click here for a 28 second video showing what I mean.
As you know Outlook stopped showing images over nine years ago! You might argue that both Outlook and Gmail have settings to enable the graphic content. But in this day and age of viruses, time constraints and boring emails – who’s going to change their setting?
The only certainty of images showing is if someone is reading your graphic email on their iPhone or iPad.
I still can’t understand why agencies or their clients haven’t taken notice, or still lower their potential success with the "they know us so they’ll give us the click" mentality?
If you feel you need images, then please follow this advice. Let me give you a bit of technical background information first. Most emails are based on a table format. Think Excel, rows and columns. You wouldn’t know it because they don’t have borders showing.
Images are not carried within an email. Rather they are on a website and hyperlinked to the email (think umbilical cord). That is why they don’t show – the path to the website image is barred.
The intersection of the column and row is a "cell" and in most emails this is what is used to keep images in an exact location (locked within that cell). Marketing emails normally have a row across the top called the header which holds the banner image, name of the newsletter, the name of the company, logos.
As images are barred from showing, your recipent sees a huge empty space and the small "click here to view images" in their preview pane.
Okay, now the advice. Either completely remove the header or use text instead. Then for all other images in the email, put them on the right hand side of the email as most people use a preview pane which is the right third of their computer screen.
2. Often plain text is best. When I want to really ensure my newsletter or marketing email gets through to the most number of recipients I ditch the formatting and the colours and send it out in plain text.
Plain text means typewriter design. You’ll find that people respond more to these as they’ll think the email is more personal.
Of course, the removal of formatting helps reduce spam filter chew. As explained in the last column, spam filters take points away for formatting such as a non standard colour, the size of fonts, emply lines, the image to html code ratio.
Have a look on http://au2.spamassassin.org/tests.html
Next week we’ll cover distribution and response management. In the interim, have a look at my business quick tips newsletter.
Debbie Mayo-Smith is an international speaker, trainer and bestselling author who works with businesses that want more effective management and staff.