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Email newsletters are the bread-and-butter of online marketing, but now that multiple channels compete for your user's attention, strategy is everything. With the right approach, you can charm your …

Email newsletters are the bread-and-butter of online marketing, but now that multiple channels compete for your user's attention, strategy is everything. With the right approach, you can charm your audience and tailor content to them. We'll discuss the role metrics can play in the design and content creation process, and gain perspective on best practices for newsletter design and build.

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  • 1. crettop seINBOXINFORMANTRachel McClung | goodsmiths.com CLASSFebruary 1, 2012 I FI E D
  • 2. THE MISSIONEmail Newsletter Process• Prep tool for sending the newsletter• Develop engaging content• Craft a strategic design• Effectively build and deploy newsletter
  • 3. ////////////////////////// DISCLAIMER: There are many ways to accomplish the same result. The goal today is to look at one method of getting things done. Making decisions appropriate for your audience is key.
  • 4. THE BASICSAt a minimum, here’s what you need:• Tool for sending the newsletter. Make sure the tool you’re using offers automated unsubscribes and reporting.• HMTL newsletter itself• Audience, properly imported into the tool
  • 5. NEWSLETTER FLAVORSHTML Newsletter• File that contains the code for your newsletter content.• The file references images used in the design.Text Only• No pictures. No fancy type. Just the content, straight and simple.• Requires plain-text formatting and manual line breaks after 60 – 70 characters.• A relic. Don’t invest a lot of time in it.
  • 6. THE NEW KIDMobile Format• Research suggests around 30% of people read email on their phone.1• Some providers allow subscribers to request mobile formatting (example: MailChimp).• Requires setting specific markup in the head tags to format for the mobile screen.• Testing is important.1 http://www.email-marketing-reports.com/iland/2011/04/mobile-email-marketing-design-challenges.html
  • 7. EMAIL SENDING PROVIDERS Lower End Higher End
  • 8. PEOPLE STILL READ?Content matters• Ideally, work with a professional writer• If you can’t, get someone else to proof read• Focus on creating effective calls-to-action• Offer content in small chunks CLASS I FI E D
  • 9. DON’T FORGET...Subject Line• Under 55 characters• Be tempting, yet avoid hyperbole• You can use “free”. But don’t use ALL CAPS or !!! 2From Info• From name could be company or person• Use an official domain email vs. a free one• Can set up newsletter@yourdomain.com2 http://www.lyris.com/email-marketing/108-Email-Subject-Lines-15-Rules-to-Write-Them-Right
  • 10. BONUS POINTSView as a Webpage• Functions as a fail-safe. Use judiciously.Personalization• A way to directly engage audience• Depending on the data you have about your subscribers, it could be as simple as “[First Name], welcome…”Create a Gmail Snippet• Make alt tag with snippet on first image in email
  • 11. Gmail Snippet with Personalization Disguises.com 50% Off Sale Hi Agent Z, super prices...
  • 12. PRIMITIVE DESIGNHTML email design is still growing up.• No major movement to standardize inconsistencies between mail clients.• Most notably, Outlook and Outlook Express have little to no support for advanced CSS properties.• Avoid @font-face and video embedding.For more, see campaignmonitor.com/css
  • 13. DESIGNING LIKE IT’S 1999For proper rendering across email clients,create layouts that are...• Table-based• Use transparent spacer pngs. Do not use padding.• Have inline CSS• Designed for 550 – 650 px in width
  • 14. ALWAYS IN STYLETips for Managing CSS• Inline CSS tools bring styles defined in the head tags inline with content.• Some ESPs will do this automatically.• If you are developing a template, consider putting styles in the td (table data) area for consistency.Try http://beaker.mailchimp.com/inline-css
  • 15. SLICING + DICINGBenefits and Challenges of Slicing• Slicing refers to the practice of parsing a Photoshop file into chunks of images and text that fit within an auto-generated HTML file.• Easy to implement, requires less technical knowledge• Breaks when HTML text changes are implemented• More suitable for one-off emails
  • 16. TEMPLATED PERFECTIONBenefits and Challenges of Creatinga Template• Encourages standard content between newsletters• Can be part of a comprehensive production cycle with designated sections and word count documents.• More involved to set up initially• Better for ongoing newsletters cret top se
  • 17. SummaryFeature PhotoFeature StorySub Photo 1, Sub Story 1Sub Photo 2, Sub Story 2Tagline
  • 18. SIMPLE = BETTERMobile Design Principles• Involves omitting certain types of content• Single column format is ideal• Avoid tiny image-based areas• Ask, where will the links go?
  • 19. IMAGE CONSCIOUSDo...• Use alt tags.• Employ good typography.• Balance form and function.Don’t...• Make all-image emails.• Put critical information solely in an image.• Forget to host your images.
  • 20. INVITE THE MUSEDo...• Set up a free email for the purpose of subscribing to a range of newsletters.• Stay current by browing email galleries.Try emailinstitute.com/email-gallery orcampaignmonitor.com/gallery
  • 21. SPAM! SPAM! SPAM!Do...• Email people that you have worked with in the last 2 years.• Provide method for unsubscribes.• Be respectful of your list.Don’t...• Buy names.• Email questionable contacts.• Play hard to get.
  • 22. TESTING 1, 2, 3...Do...• Enlist the help of others.• Develop a workflow pattern to make it a habit.• Test on different platforms and email clients.Don’t• Assume someone else will click on all the links.• Forget to double check.• Rely on how the email looks in a browser. Send a test message instead.
  • 23. NUMBER CRUNCHINGOpen Rates• Around 15 – 30%, based on the industry 3• Depends on the context of the listClick Through Rates• How many people open vs. how many clicked• Roughly 3 – 10%, depending on industry 4• Clicks provide insight into strongest content3, 4 http://mailchimp.com/resources/research/email-marketing-benchmarks-by-industry
  • 24. ALL THE INSIGHTEverything you might want to know.• Who opened it• How many times they opened it• Where they are• What mail clients are being used• What they clicked on• Who unsubscribed
  • 25. 330 opens, 104 clicksCTR 31.5%Feature Story = 70 clicksSub Story 1 = 33 clicksSub Story 2 = 1 click3 unsubscribes
  • 26. IN THE ENDTakeaways• Be smart about the content you send.• Be aware of the frequency.• Develop standards for ongoing newsletters.• Test, and test again.• Evolve your strategy to suit your audience. cret top se
  • 27. ////////////////////////// THANK YOU! You were a great audience. Any questions?