Valuable though it is, time spent on the design and layout of your email marketing gives excellent return on investment. It is, after all, the interface between you and the customers. No matter how good the product, no matter how low the price, if the email fails to engage then you fail to sell.
There are few hard and fast rules in graphic design. The biggest criticism of any advertisement is that it is staid. The templates that come with good quality email marketing software are broad and allow a great deal of flexibility. However there are a number of basics that you should ignore only with good reason. Here are five:
Don’t make them look for the big picture
A number of your recipients will read the email without the picture being displayed. Some email clients will display a blank square at the original size of the image. If your rather dramatic picture went across the whole page then your reader will be presented with space. Alt tags can be useful but they do not grab the attention of the reader.
Get in quick
The email is not a story. It is not meant to entertain so do not go for the slow build up with the surprise dénouement at the end. Whilst you might save the cherry on the cake until the last mouthful this is not a good idea with direct marketing emails. Readers scan, looking for information. Or, more likely, looking for reasons to delete. You need to get over in the first few words that you have something that will excite them.
Whilst the limitations of the A4 format are for other forms of marketing, the fact that you can go on and on is no reason to. The email needs to make the person click through. If you go into lots of detail then you risk boring the reader or having them interrupted by someone else or indeed their own thoughts. They will then delete the email.
The images and text should be integrated, one leading on to the other in order to keep the customer interested. We do not want him thinking of all the work he has to do. With mundane items, such as vacuum cleaners, explain and then show. If it is Ayers Rock then a moody sunset might do better coming first.
You should know your customers so work out what will interest them and emphasise it. Put it first, in text and image. A brochure is not the easiest item to encourage someone to download but an article on the new marina in one of the Greek islands might tempt. First tell them about it, show them a picture or two and then tell them that further information is available in the brochure. All they have to do is click through.
There are no limits in direct email marketing but there is good advice.