28 November 2014
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Tips to Design an Effective Email

No matter how many changes occur with technology and the internet, email remains one of the fundamental aspects of modern day marketing. Even with the rise of social media, smartphones and other devices and platforms, there is still no substitute for connecting with your audience in the one-to-one manner that email makes possible.

Email is the most personal way to connect with your audience without having to use someone else’s site – e.g Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. When you have an email list, you have a reliable way to get in touch with people regardless of your website’s search engine ranking.

From time to time, we hear the announcement that “email marketing is dead”. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you need evidence of this, simply count the number of emails you receive on a daily basis. Add to this the number of websites that use opt-in forms to capture email addresses. This is true from the world’s largest companies to brand new startups. If email marketing wasn’t profitable, do you really think so much effort would be put into it?

Yet it’s also true that email marketing is more competitive than ever. This makes it more important than ever to make sure that you’re doing it in the right way. The most essential aspect of email marketing is the message itself – everything from the words and images you use to the layout. Let’s look at some of the main principles you should keep in mind when designing email.

Email design

  • Using an email template

    You might be wondering if an email template is something you need at all. There is no one correct answer to this question. Templates can be very useful for email newsletters. Good templates can provide you with branding and a professional image. You can use an attractive template that matches your industry. This tells your audience right away who you are and what you’re all about.

    On the other hand, some email marketers do very well with a more minimalistic approach. They prefer that their readers see their messages as personal, more like letters from a friend. In this case, a fancy template could be counterproductive. It all depends on your purpose and your style of communication.

    If you do decide to use a template, you should choose it carefully. You could even get one custom designed. It’s best to have an unique template that your readers can associate with you, rather than using a more generic one that might be used by many different marketers.

  • Define your purpose and have a strong call to action

    When designing an email, you should always have a specific purpose in mind. With any email, you may have one or more goals. These might include promoting a certain product, sending traffic to your website or simply providing valuable content to build your brand.

    The call to action is usually a link. This may be to a sales page or your website’s home page. If you are mainly trying to build your brand, your call to action may be simply to send people to your website or Facebook page. Whatever your purpose, make sure the call to action is highly visible. If it’s a text link, it should be in bold or in a different color from the rest of the text. Of course, you can also have clickable buttons or images.

    As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to include the call to action at least twice in an email. It should definitely be at the end of the message. It’s also good to have it near the beginning as well, for people who don’t want to bother to read the whole message!

  • Make sure your design and layout are reader friendly

    When someone opens your email, he or she will make a split second judgement about whether or not to read it. This will depend largely on the layout. This includes the design or template, the font and the way the text is aligned. You should also be careful not to have long paragraphs without a break! White space always makes a page easier to read. Numbered or bulleted lists are useful for making information easy to digest.

    Images can also enhance the look of your emails. At the same time, you should use some restraint when choosing images or other elements. These can be good to break up the text, but you don’t want the page to be so crowded that it’s distracting.

    You should always look over your emails with an objective eye. Ask yourself if you would want to read your message if someone else had sent it to you.

  • Keep your message short and concise

    People today have very short attention spans. Long messages are likely to be ignored. This relates to some of our other tips, such as using images and white space. But it also means that you should communicate your message in a way that’s direct and with as little fluff or filler as possible. A simple formula to use is to have an introduction, a middle or body that contains the main part of your message and a conclusion.

    If you feel like you have a lot to say, consider breaking up the message into several emails. One of the great things about email is that it gives you complete control over the communication process. You can send out messages on any schedule you choose. You don’t have to feel like you have to tell the reader everything in one email. It’s better to make each message short and to the point.

Make Each Email Count

Every email you send out represents an opportunity to engage with your audience. With each email, there is also the danger of alienating your readers and causing them to unsubscribe.

The way people respond to emails has to do with not only the actual message but also the way that it’s presented. You may have to test several approaches to find out what your readers respond to. You can’t please everyone, but if you take the time to plan your email marketing approach you can build a growing and targeted readership. This requires you to pay attention to every aspect of the emails you send out.

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