How to Design Emails –
For Marketers who Aren’t Designers
We all agree that sending personalized, well-timed, well-planned emails can benefit your marketing efforts in a huge way. Salesmanna makes it possible to plan out these campaigns well in advance or send quick newsletters at your convenience.
We have been over how to have catchy subject lines that grab attention and that you shouldn’t use all pictures or “salesy” language… But what about how the email looks? Most marketers aren’t designers, and many small businesses can’t afford a full-time designer to send out emails for them.
This leaves us designing emails ourselves. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, as long as all of the non-designers who are designing these emails can have a basic set of rules.
Try to stick with this tried and true, elementary process of writing. A catchy header, likely including your logo and a catchy phrase or title, at the top will get attention.
The body should be as concise as possible. We can’t say that the body of every email should be short, because there are some really great, beautiful emails with a lot of content. The key is only including the content you think readers will actually want to read.
Don’t put anything unnecessary in the email- you can always put more information in a landing page that you link within the body. I suggest using photos and text, and making it clear to visually navigate. If the email looks confusing to you, I promise it will be less effective!
The footer will usually wrap up what you’d like to get across and have your company’s information as well as social links.
This is one of the easiest tips to get right! It is extremely simple – only use 2 fonts MAXIMUM. Header text is larger and sometimes a different font. Or you can use your second font to add emphasis to a section of your email.
Whatever you do, please don’t switch to a new font with every line! This is visually unappealing which encourages readers to click away faster.
Another pointer is to keep your body text around 16px. The larger, bolder your body text is, the most it feels like the reader is being screamed at. Nobody wants to be screamed at.
3. Obvious Call-To-Actions
Anyone sending an email knows you need some kind of call to action. Usually this is a button within your email. The button can encourage readers to RSVP to your event, buy a new product, share with friends, or direct them to a new page. If you have buttons on your page, make it clear.
It would be a huge mistake to spend time and effort on a good email but make it harder for the reader to take action! Unfortunately, this is a trend with bad design. If your reader doesn’t know precisely where to click or what to do next, your email is simply informative and has little value to both sender and recipient.
4. Quality Photos
The most effective photos are high quality and relevant. Ideally, you’re using your own photos. If you don’t have your own high quality photos, you’re either buying them from a trusted site online or you’re attributing credit to the source. If this isn’t the case, stop using that photo! To use someone else’s art without giving them credit online is illegal- and it discredits your brand. The good news is that there are tons of great websites that give away high-quality photos that you can use for free or a very cheap price! Here is a list of a few good ones.
Keep It Simple
When in doubt, always refer to the tried and true method of “keeping it simple.” If you read your own newsletter and it seems jumbled and wordy, listen to your heart. Try to condense the message and increase white space. Simplify your headers and photos, make the layout more appealing by simplifying colors and photos.
If you’re still struggling to create beautiful emails, don’t hesitate to contact a marketing consultant at Salesmanna! Together, we’ll help your business send great emails and simply sell more.
It is vital to manage your customer relationships well. This goes all the way from prospect to delighting your existing customers. Check out these steps to improving your relationship management.
Keep track of your customers.
It’s common knowledge to most business owners by now: Successful companies know their customers well. Companies buy information about people and good data on a lot of people can be an amazing tool. Think about how much money is spent on acquiring customer data. This is such a lucrative business because the consumer data is key in knowing how people operate, what they want, and who they are. If your business doesn’t use any type of tracking CRM system, you’re missing out some key consumer data. If you can keep track of the habits of consumers then you’ll be able to spend money on marketing and time on relationships that will be lucrative and spend less time on the ones destined to fail.
Even your customers want to be known, to some extent. They don’t want to receive emails that are completely unlike them. I have little interest receiving emails on expensive boating equipment because I only have so much energy to devote to emails in one day. If I don’t plan on buying expensive boating equipment, please don’t make a sales pitch to me for it. That would waste both of our time and leave a bad taste in my mouth towards your company for not doing your research.
Keep track of your sales efficiency.
How many cold calls before you make one sale? Is there a leading salesperson in efficiency? If you can’t answer these questions, you need a better system for data tracking. Some businesses have several sales members on their team. Some businesses are too small to hire a salesperson. Both of these businesses need a way to track who they’re calling, who is making sales, and how efficient your method of selling is. Cold calls might be falling flat while referrals are working better. If there is a way to track this you can estimate what to do next and stop wasting time on a “standard” sales goal or plan.
Learn what interests your contacts.
Do they want a discount? Or do they just want to be in the loop with new products?
This is something that I am personally thankful for marketers doing. There is one company that I am subscribed to and they see what I’ve been watching, and email me when it’s on sale. Sometimes they’ll see that I’ve been looking at a certain product and then email me next week with other looks that are similar. Sometimes it is the price that keeps me from purchasing, so their email coupons are what push me to pull the trigger. Other times it is the product I just don’t love. Then when they send me similar products I see one that is exactly what I wanted! Their email marketing is genius. It causes me to purchase more from them as a company. If every company could fine-tune their marketing email communications, I believe they could create lucrative relationships with their customers.
These aren’t overnight fixes for most companies. They require someone’s attention and the use of tools created specifically for Customer Relationship Management. We, along with Forbes and many other successful businesses, believe it is well worth the investment to know your customers well.
We would love to hear if you’re tracking with these tips! Contact us to provide feedback.
It is quite rare, these days, that small businesses would allocate a large portion of their budget towards marketing. There are pros and cons to this, but if you’re a DIY marketing type, are just getting off the ground, and want to keep your budget as slim as possible, there is hope! You’ll eventually need to think through Marketing as a more serious part of your long-term strategy. Until you can consult a professional, there are steps you can take to be as efficient as possible.
Have a goal
Every business has specific needs. Do you want more sales? What about brand awareness? Do you want it all? Pick a specific goal and go for it. If you don’t know how to achieve your goals, meet with a Marketing guru. It will be worth more than you pay, because in the end your business meeting it’s goals is invaluable.
Having a goal helps you cut down on unnecessary spending in wasteful areas.
Know Your Target Demographic
If you want to be aggressive and efficient you must know who your target demographic is and where they are. Are you targeting professionals or businesses? Make sure you’re available on LinkedIn. Do you want to get the attention of middle aged women? Have an interactive Facebook page. Do you want teenagers to notice you? Make a statement on Snapchat. There are so many options when it comes to social media.
The good news is that social media is something you can do yourself! Practice makes perfect. As long as you’re focusing on the right things and not trying to do it all, you’ll be able to narrow your focus on what your consumer like and want.
Analyze your Results
What if you’re spending time and money on a Google Adwords account but not getting any actual leads? Or Facebook just isn’t delivering what you expected? Take a break! If something isn’t working, change it! One of the worst mistakes small businesses make is that they assume their marketing is going fine, and never tweak it. If you’re running a business you’ve already learned that you have to be flexible. Marketing is no different. Be flexible in what you’re trying. We advise that you check in with what you’re doing every 3 months. If you aren’t getting any expected results, give it 3 more months (especially if you’re creating content or a blog), and at 6 months if it still looks like a money pit, take your hiatus. Focus on areas that are performing how you want. If you can put more energy into something for 3 months you might be able to come back and recognize your mistake or find a new platform that is better for your business.
Automate Whenever Possible
A great example of automation is with email. You can plan and organize an email campaign that will work on its own over as long or short of a period as you want. By spending a few hours on Monday morning doing this, you can forget about marketing for the rest of the week or month! There are social platforms that let you decide what you’d like to post and schedule it in advance, as well. Buffer is a tool we use here at Salesmanna and it works great! You can even use the free version for just a couple of accounts.
The more you automate, the more you can prioritize your schedule. If you can plan and execute an entire week of marketing in just a few hours, why not? This lets you spend hours of Tuesday-Friday on uninterrupted tasks. Studies show that when you have a schedule (not checking your email constantly!) and refuse to get distracted (hello, Facebook) you are much more productive.
Sometimes marketing can feel hopeless- especially with a small budget, little time, and very little immediate return. This is even more true when you’re creating content that isn’t getting much feedback. But keep going! It takes an average of 6 months of blogging fresh content for your website to be noticed by most people and search engines. You won’t regret starting now, especially when you’re meeting sales goals by the end of the year.
It is harder than ever to get recognition in email campaigns. Attention is at a premium, and you are fighting the noise of emails from every direction. Here are some quick tips of how to inspire opens with your email campaign.
Provide something useful to the recipient
People enjoy things that are beneficial to read. Imagine how many emails you get that you don’t read before you delete. If you find value in an email, you’ll read. This can be something funny, informative, or an offer from your business. Secrets, exclusive information, and unique articles are all beneficial to the recipient.
Personally address the recipient
We’ve gone over this before, but it is worth noting again, and again, and again. Don’t send mass emails and ignore the target audience. Include first names in the email. Address the person receiving your email as well as telling them who you are. Don’t send it from some mass email name. Send it from YOU, and even sign the email if you’d like.
Provide timely information, whether it be promotions or news.
There is nothing more annoying to me than getting an email about a news story that was popular 2 weeks ago. If you can’t do more than dig up old stories that caught our attention before, please don’t send your email. If the article still has an active conversation (say, like the Apple / FBI drama), then it’s still fair game. Also, don’t send outdated coupons or discounts. That is just useless information and may cause more unsubscribes than opens.
Offer a lot of FREE stuff and DISCOUNTS for ACT NOW clicks. It looks bad.
When your email looks gimmicky, people spam you. If it looks like it’s coming from a hacker I will delete it before I even see who it was sent from. There is nothing entertaining or beneficial about a lot of CAPITALIZED coupons YELLING at me to TAKE ACTION NOW. If you truly have a deal worth taking, and an email worth looking at, your subscribed recipients should read your email and take the offer without being screamed at. Think about it- these people are getting almost 100 emails a day. Why yell at them for choosing to read yours?
Forget to work on your subject line
I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for a punny subject line. There are several retail companies that do a great job at this. Some senders, like the NYT Cooking Email, has a small snapshot of what their email includes. It might say “8 easy weeknight recipes” or “The Best Salmon Recipe” and since I know they are true to their word, I will open almost every email they send. If the subject line says they are telling me about salmon, they’re telling me about salmon. Please, please, whatever you do, don’t try clickbait subject lines and forget to deliver what you just promised.
Miss the spell check step
Have you ever seen a magor typo in an otherwise professional email? It makes them look bad. (Did you catch that?) It discounts the validity of the email, as well as making the sender themselves look bad. I usually click “delete” when I see a typo. Not because typos are the end of the world, but because it screams “you’re not important enough for us to proof read” and that is disappointing. I have too much to look at and read on a daily basis to spend time on someone that doesn’t care about my time.
Please reach out to learn more about email campaigns with Salesmanna!
An email campaign can be a couple different things. A monthly newsletter is an email campaign.
However, the most useful type of campaign is what we refer to as “automated.” This is the kind of campaign where you create a handful of different emails and triggers. For example, Email 1 is sent to your entire database or a specific list. The recipients who click on Email 1 get Email 2 a few days later. The ones who don’t even open Email 1 get another version of Email 1, called Email 1a, a few days later. All of the emails are sent based on “triggers” or specific actions taken by the recipient. This is using full Email Automation how it was meant to be used.
Email campaigns are intended for recipients who are expecting marketing from your company. They shouldn’t be spammy or annoying. If you use them as such, you’ll be blocked from Salesmanna (and almost every other email marketing software).
The goal with an automated Email Campaign or Newsletter is to reach out to interested contacts, utilize inbound marketing, and identify interested leads. Once you’ve identified your leads you can provide relevant information to those who are actually interested in receiving it.
Stay tuned for more FAQ blog posts & tips for using Salesmanna to fit your business.
Wondering how email automation could help your business? Ask us here for a free consultation.