If you’re having that deflating feeling that your email marketing campaign is a little dull and dead, you’re not alone. A lot of businesses and digital marketers can’t help from thinking that their email marketing campaign is going nowhere and needs a good re-vamp. And that’s where we come in, with our tips for improving your email creative.
So, before you hit that dreaded send button…
Let’s take a look at the 5 ways to improve your email creative.
Keep the design and structure simple
Design and structure is the foundation of every email you create. So if your email has a complicated or messy design then it is guaranteed to affect the performance of your campaign.
The reason behind any email out there is to send its recipients a message. This could be letting them know about a recent blog post, a new product or service that the business is launching or even an upcoming event. Whatever the message is, don’t over-complicate it. Focus on the purpose of the email and ensure that recipients can easily get the necessary information to make them want to find out more.
With this in mind, you need to think about each section of your email. I use the word ‘section’, as it’s a good idea to break up your text with lots of little paragraphs and sections. It’s easier for readers to digest the important bits of information this way. Not only this, but it also makes it look a lot less daunting than a huge block of text.
It’s really not as tasty as it sounds…
The first section of your email should summarise your main message straight away. Readers shouldn’t have to spend any longer than 5-10 seconds working out what the email is all about. So, cut to the chase and in your first chunk of text, emphasise the message you want to get across.
Remember, people didn’t sign up to your mailing list to be bombarded with tons of information. Writing lengthy information-heavy emails will most likely just cause the reader to become increasingly reluctant to continue opening them.
There are the odd occasions when you need to write an email with quite a lot of content in it. And if this is the case then as well as breaking it up into sections, use subheadings to make the email ‘skimmable’.
Using subheadings in an email that is quite wordy makes it easier for the reader to skim your email. This way they can get the gist of what the email is all about and establish whether or not it interests them.
At the end of the day, it’s all about keeping your email design and structure as simple as possible.
The right images at the right time
Whether or not you use images in your email completely depends on the type of email that you are sending and who you are sending the email to. For example, some email marketing campaigns are designed to look like a standard email that has been sent to each recipient individually. Alternatively, it may be that your target audience wouldn’t expect or like to see images in the emails that they receive from your business. Instead, they just want the content in a plain and simple format. So, there is a time and a place for plain text emails, absolutely no doubt about it.
However, if you are trying to grab your reader’s attention, then images are great for helping you to achieve that. But not just any old stock image or smiley face graphic chucked in there. No. It has to be the right images in the right places.
Which images where?
Well, it all depends on your business and what your email marketing campaign is all about.
If your email is advertising a new product to recipients, then it makes sense to use an original and high-quality picture of that product. Very obvious I know, but it needs to be said! So, if your company sells physical products then show them off. But make sure you do so in a good light; the picture should be original and of a high-quality. After all, people will want to see the product you’re advertising to them before they decide whether or not they want to purchase it.
Whereas, if your email is featuring a blog post that you think your mailing list will be really interested in, then you could create a nice simple graphic to include in your email. In the BAK Digital weekly mailshots for example, we use a featured graphic, the headline, a short description of what the blog is about and a button to take them through to the post on our website. Like this;
Basically, whatever images or graphics you use must be relevant to the content they are associated with.
Adding in completely random, unnecessary images doesn’t make your email look professional. It would just make it look rushed. And if anything, it would probably confuse your readers more than engage them…
Images = Emotion
Images also help to inject emotion into your emails. If you’re thinking, what on earth is she talking about? Well, let’s say your email is about something pretty serious like addressing a problem within the business, an image of someone keeling over in laughter is probably not the best idea. Similarly, if your email was in a more jovial style and was light-hearted, using an image of someone in a dark room crying their eyes out isn’t too great either. Obviously, they are both extreme examples. But it’s the principle that’s the important point here.
Your images need to reflect the emotion of the email; a serious email qualifies for a serious image and a happy, jokey email qualifies for a happy, jokey image.
Make sure you have CTAs
Every good marketing email must have at least one Call To Action (CTA). Without one, what are you realistically hoping to achieve from that email? If the answer to that is absolutely nothing, then fair enough. Otherwise, get those CTAs in!
The idea behind marketing emails is to show the recipient something they may be interested in, with the end goal of them eventually becoming a customer. The email itself may just be about a new video on your YouTube channel or as we have said already, just a blog on your website about some research you conducted. Whatever it is about, at the end of the day you ultimately want them to buy from you. And you can increase the chances of that happening by using CTAs to encourage readers to visit relevant pages on your website.
Having said that, CTA’s don’t necessarily have to be asking people to visit your site. Calls To Actions can be getting the reader to perform any kind of action that is beneficial to your business. Maybe you want you readers to answer take part in a survey, poll or questionnaire and so you just encourage them to reply to the email. Alternatively, it could just be something as simple as asking them to give you a call or send you an email.
Designing your CTAs
As you now know, CTAs are fundamental to a marketing email. So they need to stand out to stop them being missed by readers. This means you need to consider the design of them. Think about font size, colour and the location of your Call To Actions on the email. Consider having your CTAs higher up in your email or try using more engaging text on any buttons you may have. For example, rather than just saying ‘Find Out More’. You might find you get a higher click through rate just by saying something like, ‘I’m hooked. Tell me more!’.
If your email is a bit lengthy, you should certainly consider adding multiple CTAs. I’d advise doing this, as there’s nothing wrong with having more possibilities for engagement on your email!
Use Trial and Error
It’s pretty much impossible to get things like email marketing right the first time. That’s why I advise that you test your emails and see what works best.
You should test different subject lines. They’re the very first thing a recipient of your email will see before they actually open the email. Essentially, your subject line is the email’s own sales pitch. From just a few words, you need to tempt those on your mailing list to open your email.
Testing different subject line styles means you get a chance to see which style works the best when comparing their open rates. That way, you know the ones with the best open rates are the ones which are working best for your campaign.
If you’re struggling for ideas for your subject line, take a look at our ‘10 Tips and Tricks for Creating a Killer Subject Line‘ for inspiration!
But the trial and error tip goes further than just your subject line. Apply this principle for everything; from including images to what you say in your CTAs.
Make it Personal
The final bit of advice I’ll leave you with is to personalise your emails. Adding in your recipient’s name, e.g. ‘Good Afternoon Daniel!’ gives the entire email a friendlier and more targeted feel rather than just the generic ‘Good Afternoon’. Using recipient’s names could make it more likely that they could turn into a customer. You’re talking directly to them regarding how your product could help them.
Now, hopefully you have an action point or two that you can take away from this. So when you are preparing your next email marketing campaign, remember our 5 tips to improving your email creative. With any luck, you should start to see those open and click-through rates start to creep up!