In today’s fast-paced world of electronic communications, traditional paper news is old news. Hardcopy publishing just can’t compete with the timeliness and relevance of email. Email enables you to share news virtually “hot off the presses” with very segmented and targeted groups, increasing the relevance of the message. The problem is that the inbox is a very busy place and you don’t want your message lost in all the traffic. This can often be mitigated by presentation – how your message looks when a reader initially scans the contents.
Consider these seven tips to improve presentation and engagement when developing your email or e-newsletter campaign:
- Keep the subject line short and concise. A common and avoidable mistake is a lengthy subject line. Many firms attempt to tell the entire story in the subject line, which often leads to the email never being seen by many of the recipients since long subject lines trigger spam and junk filters. Keep subject lines descriptive of the content in your email, but no longer than 49 characters (typically six to seven words).
- Size the email properly. To maximize readability upon delivery, use email and newsletter templates that are no wider than 730 pixels. Wider emails require left-right scrolling, which will not only turn off your recipients but also hide content at first glance that might be important, such as a call to action, that might be included on the right hand side of your email.
- Include an online link. Always include a link near the top of your email or newsletter so your recipients may view your message through their web browser if their inbox doesn’t render the email properly. Various email programs render email differently, and users often have images turned off. Including the online link enables them to view your email or newsletter online as it was intended to look.
- Use quality graphics. Remember that your e-newsletter or email campaign represents your firm’s brand; sending out pixilated or fuzzy images results in a loss of credibility and hurts your brand. While it is not necessary to use high resolution photos in email, you should ensure that your images are a minimum of 72 dpi and not resized to be larger once the resolution has been set.
- Communicate clearly in plain English. As mentioned, your recipients may have email images blocked by default, so be sure the text imparts your message even if the graphics aren’t viewed. Avoid using technical jargon that only professionals in the industry will comprehend. If your readers don’t understand your message, they will delete it or, worse, unsubscribe from your campaign. Write your content in common layman’s terms, in a conversational tone, to maximize engagement.
- Avoid attachments, flash and embedded videos. Attachments and embedded videos may prevent delivery or will be stripped out of the delivered message. A better option would be to host these files online and provide links for your readers to click through to view them. Don’t be afraid to include video in your emails, provided you utilize links to the videos online (consider setting up a YouTube channel). Videos are highly engaging and may quickly grab your recipients’ attention if they are compelling and interesting – use an image placeholder of the first frame of your video as a graphic “button” they may click to watch your video.
- Provide quality content. No matter how beautiful your email or newsletter is, you will lose readership if the content doesn’t live up to the packaging. Give your customers something tangible to take away from reading your communications. Tips, strategies, solutions and educational articles will generate long-term interest and your readers will look forward to your emails. Keep content informative, helpful and interesting for maximum readership and engagement.
If your goal is to produce an effective business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) email or e-newsletter, keeping these seven tips in mind as you design your campaigns will give you the edge over other emails competing for attention in your readers’ inboxes.
Becca Fieler is an Online Marketing Specialist for BizActions, a Thomson Reuters Business, serving as a strategic partner in the planning and implementation of electronic communication and marketing initiatives. She develops and oversees comprehensive programs that present marketing strategies and solutions to diverse audiences, including attorneys, accountants, banks and credit unions, human resource companies and other professional service providers.
Academy Guest Blogger
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555