Scottish Apartment get a make over
Scottish Apartment is Edinburgh's largest serviced apartment provider. Their regular advertising emails promote their services to past, present and future guests, guiding customers to different areas of their website.
Andrew Seel looks at how to improve the general layout and design, maximising click-through rates from their email list, marketing their services effectively and increasing those all-important bookings.
1. A common problem with advertising emails that are built using 'off-the-shelf' templates, like this one, is that they don't always allow you to tailor your content in the most appealing or efficient way. The information in this advertising email could be structured better - currently it's not clear what the central message is. To give the email more focus the content needs to be prioritised and presented more digestibly.
2. The template has also forced Scottish Apartment to use a very linear format, which makes the newsletter seem lengthier than it is. You could actually include all the information in this advertising email in a much smaller space.
3. Overall there is a bit too much text content. Successful email list marketing doesn't force recipients to scroll in order to find the information they're looking for.
4. The presence of a link doesn't necessarily guarantee a click and, while there are lots of links through to the website, the calls to action could be more effective at advertising. The email isn't inviting the reader to 'find out more' or 'book now', for example.
5. Another common problem with working off an email list marketing template like this is that after multiple uses the html can end up in a bit of a mess. You can see the hallmarks of this in discrepancies within the layout of the advertising email. For example, there are no margins around the text headers and some of the spacing is not as uniform as it could be. The html needs to be clean and tidy or advertising emails can fall foul of spam filters.
6. While it's good that a summary has been included at the top of the e-shot, it could be clearer. Clever headings work well in magazines but tend to be confusing in advertising emails, where the main aim is to get information across fast and efficiently.
7. There are a few too many images here and they take up too much room. Images draw the reader's eye and usually denote where the focus should be. However, with so many here, the email suffers from a lack of focus. What's more, images can present issues because they can be hard to download for some recipients and spam filters are suspicious of them. So avoid including too many.
8. The Book Online promotion is a little confusing because it refers to only the Castle Apartments. The advertising email makes it seem as if you can only book one type of apartment online, which is misleading.
How could it be improved?
1. Choose one main area of focus for the email. List your marketing topics by importance, making the focus something which serves a really effective purpose and offers something valuable to the recipient. In this case make the competition the main event of your email – advertising it with a really eye-catching promotion to encourage traffic from the advertising email to Scottish Apartment’s Facebook, Flickr and blog pages.
2. Make advertising emails easily digestible. Prioritise information carefully and lay it out thoughtfully being aware of how your reader’s eyes travel across the page. The special offer and the book online call to action should be have the top spot, since they’re most likely to drive traffic to your site from your email.
3. Advertising copy doesn’t have to be lengthy – try not to include too much text. Give the reader a taster and then guide them through to the site to find out more. This will also dramatically reduce the length of the eshot and the need to scroll through your email.
4. Advertising links are handy but make sure they are clear. When you scan through an email, the links are the first thing you see because they stand out – so it’s important to make sure they can stand alone as useful nuggets of information and are effective calls to action. ‘Click here’ is particularly ineffectual as it doesn’t tell you where or what you’re clicking to – or why. Whereas ‘book now’ or ‘secure online booking service’ tells you a bit more.
5. Make sure there’s a bit of ‘white space’ in your design. If text and titles are all bunched up together an advertising email can look busy and impenetrable.
6. Give readers the info they need at a glance by including clear headings that describe each section of your advertising email. They don’t need to be catchy or clever. But they do need to be informative.
7. Choose one (or at most two) main images that really serve a purpose and complement the copy and key focus of your advertising email. Here, the competition image is both functional – because it provides information – and interesting, because it’s unusual.
8. The internet is making it increasingly easy for people to see what they want and buy it almost instantly. It’s essential to give recipients a clear, visible opportunity to book any kind of apartment. So make this a key focus of your advertising email and give an alternative method of getting in contact – such as a phone number.