Design Tips to Optimize Your Email Campaigns
In a session at last month's All About eMail Virtual Conference & Expo, presented by our sister publication eM+C, Megan Walsh, email marketing manager for home furnishings retailer Williams-Sonoma, provided a checklist of creative best practices to help email marketers optimize return on investment. Here's a recap of Walsh's presentation.
(To register for the free conference on-demand, click here.)
Before crafting any email campaign, ask yourself the following three questions:
- What's the message about?
- Why should the audience care?
- How do you expect the audience to take action?
The answers to these questions will help you design an email that has measurable results and provides value to your audience, Walsh said. Make it crystal clear to recipients why you're emailing them, what's in it for them to listen and what you want them to do next.
Research Your Audience
It's necessary to know who your audience is, what it's looking for and how it'll be reading your emails — at work, via mobile, with images enabled, etc. — before creating an email campaign. Tailor your message content and design/rendering style to what's going to work for your audience in its chosen medium, Walsh said.
Don't create roadblocks for recipients to get to your content; instead, opt for usability over fancy features unless you know they're adding engagement to your program, Walsh advised. Examples she cited include using audio or video in emails.
The Anatomy of an Email
Emails can be broken down into 11 parts: pre-header; header; top promo; navigation; hero; table of contents; content; right rail; promotion; social media bar; and footer. Walsh broke some of these sections down into more detail.
* Pre-header. Generally located just above your company's logo, ask yourself the following questions to effectively create this part of an email:
- Is there a prompt to add your sender address to the recipient's email address book?
- Is there a link included for viewing on a handheld device?
- Is there a link to view a hosted version?
Pre-headers are useful in allowing people to access an email's content in a web browser, as most email clients use a default that no longer renders images in emails, Walsh noted.