Email Marketing Manual

The do's and how to's of email marketing

Watchfinder.co.uk check into Email Clinic

When you have something beautiful to sell, you want people to see it. But what happens if the intended audience can't see what you want them to?

Watchfinder are experts of the finer times in life. Whether it is Breitling, Chanel or the tried and tested Rolex, the team at Watchfinder know exactly what you are looking for.

Watchfinder can run but they can't hide

Using email newsletters such as the example above, Watchfinder keep their subscribers up to date with what is in stock, new releases and exclusive offers. While this information is greatly sought after, Watchfinder have found that their open and click through rates are not always as precise as their automatic chronograph movements.

Print is a wonderful thing and there are many who advocate the value of having something in-hand, but it comes at a price, and that price can be high. More often than not a particular campaign will be blanketed across various revenue sources, from magazines to newspapers, websites and of course the sturdy email. Each medium has its own specific requirements.

Certain restrictions in email rendering means that although most print adverts are easily ported to web pages, they are not always as straightforward for the move to email.

Let’s take a look at some examples from Watchfinder and see where some email-savvy can be applied to improve those open rates and clicks through to their website.

Email is not a billboard

Solild images damage click through rates

A common error for a print design ported to email is the use of one image sliced into blocks via Photoshop as seen in our first example here. Regardless of whether the image is sliced into 50 pieces and has links for specific regions, if it comes in your inbox and you can’t see anything straight away, it could well be heading for the bin.

In addition, spam filters factor a html-to-text ratio into their ratings. The more balanced a message is the higher the chance of clearance  An email with lots of images and no text is not going to fair well against such algorithms.

Anywhere you have text in your design and can apply html text instead of an image – do it. Prime candidates for this are descriptive and contextual links and more importantly your main message.

Even if the browser has images disabled the message can be read. If the recipient wants to vew images relating to your listed products they are more inclined to load images, or go straight to the website - instantly earning you a click through.

Leave the compass at home

see how messy image maps can look

This particular newsletter uses image maps to link certain sections of the email. There are no major issues cross-browser and mail clients for the use of image maps in emails. The only exception to this is Gmail, which cannot render the link spot co-ordinates correctly disabling them entirely.

With the rigidity of table structures required for emails it is just as easy to select images which are representing links and place them within <a href=””> tags.

Use alt tags

Although for some reason Microsoft took it upon themselves to disable alt tags in favour of a security warning in Outlook2007. All other mail clients use them. Make sure your images provide descriptions of what the image is. Don’t use them to write novels, just to explain what the image is.

What's that in your other hand?

This is not only an underhand trick found in emails, but small print can be more damaging than it’s worth.

Don’t make it illegible, it could come across as that you have something to hide, or that you don’t care for what is there. In the current economic climate, the one thing people are wary of more than anything is companies who withhold information. We all remember Enron?

There are also reports that many spam filters will increase a message rating if there is textual content with a hex or RGB reference close to that of the background colour.

Make a feature of this information and don't try to camouflage unsubscribe links in a mêlée of legal jargon.

Summing Up

Emails are designed to be a accessible source of information. Like its print brethren it can also be visually striking and make a huge impact, although at times this is delayed by the blocking of images you can still garner more interest with your text content.

Think of your text areas as a teaser for the entire message and the images being the prize. By making sure text is always used where it can be you can guarantee better response.

Wed, 02/04/2009 - 11:46 — Anonymous