When you prepare a direct mail campaign, you want your advertisements to be bold and to the point. Your postcard or tri-fold flier has to vie for the attention of your target audience, and if you mail something that just washes into the background of catalogs and bills and ends up in the trash, you just wasted your money. So it is with e-mail marketing – you have to grab a reader’s attention and get them not only to open your message, but read it and follow through. An eye-catching subject line and an uncluttered yet pleasing design are the keys to high open rates and increased traffic to your business.
Grab them with an effective sale hook
Writing the right subject line can be tricky. Every day we check our inboxes to find messages promising rapid weight loss, dream work from home jobs that pay obscene amounts of money for little work, and other dubious offers. The advantage to having an opt-in database of e-mail addresses, however, is that you have a set captive audience – people who want to read your mails – so the risk of automatic deletion before opening is lessened. However, you still need to get these subscribers to open the mail.
The subject header of your mail is your initial sale pitch – be concise and direct, and avoid tactics that may trigger spam filters. Try not to use “Free” as the first word, and definitely do not capitalize any words or exclamation points. Try to keep the line around 50 characters so the entire subject can be seen.
Keep them with a beautiful and simple message
A natural concern in e-mail marketing is whether or not one style of message can be seen by all the recipients. Of course, Internet users employ a variety of mail programs – from web-based accounts like Google Mail and Yahoo Mail, to accounts at work and home ISPs. Some people access mail on the Web, others use Outlook or Eudora or other programs. Even if one e-mail send results in a relatively uniform result, there may be minor differences from user to user. However, this should not deter you from creating an attractive, HTML mailing designed to bring customers and clients to you.
You don’t have to be a marketing guru to launch a successful e-mail campaign, nor do you have to spend thousands of dollars hiring a designer to create a template for your messages. There are advantages to creating mail with HTML – it is easier to send readers live links to your site, and you can brand each message with your logo – yet it is advised not to go overboard in design. For one, having a graphic-intensive message risks setting off spam alarms. Also, having large photos included in a mail, even if they are scaled down in the actual message, may take too much time to load for some readers, and even freeze the mailbox.
For an effective yet colorful e-mail design that won’t raise the suspicion of spam filters, consider a simple banner featuring your logo along with one or two small photos relevant to your message. If you are not selling specific products, try a stock royalty-free image to liven the tone of your message – clip art, while easy to obtain, may look too cartoony or obnoxious, and it risks making your message appear unprofessional.
Don’t forget that content is king here, more so than bells and whistles. Make the offer up front and all online points of sale clear and easy to find. Don’t pitch a product for sale and wait until the end of the mail, after a rambling description, to offer the URL to your site.
For assistance with e-mail newsletter and alert design, a quick Internet search will lead you to a number of free template sites to assist you. Choose a simple template if you wish, one that won’t obscure your message, and test every mail before sending to your readership. Always keep the content equally, if not more, attractive. For even though the package looks nice on the outside, it is the message that will bring customers to you.