In our last post, The 5 Step Checklist for Great Email Branding: Part 1, we took a look at the first 2 steps that you can take to brand up your email so that it aligns with your brand.
More specifically, we took a look at timing of your emails, as well as your subject lines.
In this post, we shall continue where we left off, and take a look at 3 more ways that you can use right now to enhance your email branding.
Step 3. Content: Visuals and Copy
What is the most important element of all email branding? The content in the email, of course!
Content in your email is the only reason why people will convert on your emails.
Concurrently, the content, and the way you write can go a huge way in terms of branding your emails, and your company in general.
Include Powerful Visuals (if you need them)
It’s true that a picture speaks a thousand words, and that goes the same for emails.
In my personal experience, you should always make it a point to include one or more impactful images in your newsletter if you are dealing with products, especially.
However, most service providers that use online marketing that I know of (including myself) tend not to use images. A good rule of thumb is to use images if you are selling products or digital downloads.
If you decide to use images, make sure that you keep it to 60 to 100 kb, so that your email loads fast on your reader’s email client.
Otherwise, keep it simple with just text.
Choose the right fonts
It’s almost so basic, that I find myself cringing when I write this, but it’s important to make your content easily readable.
Whenever you write content, be it a blog post, or email, you should always aim to make your content as easily accessible as possible.
In additional, you’d want to leave a good impression on your readers, and the first step is to make it easy to digest. That means also that your readers shouldn’t have to zoom in to view your content.
According to the best email guidelines and some of my personal experiences in content writing, these are the following font settings best for your email content:
Font type: Georgia
Georgia is not just easy on the eyes, but also effective cross browser. This means that you can rest assured that your content will appear consistent across different devices.
Header Font size – 22 to 25
To separate your email content, and make it much easier to read, you’d want to use headers, very much like a blog post.
The rules on email are simpler. Keep your header font size around 22 to 25, and it’d be more than adequate.
Body font size – 14 to 16
The body is the gist of your content.
It’s what makes up the chunk of your entire email, and thus it’s important to get it right.
In my personal experience, I always recommend my clients to go for font size 15 because it’s the most optimal size for reading, in my opinion.
Font color: Black (it depends)
Although black (#000) is the industry average in email, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t spice things up at all.
In fact, if you’re in the field of entertainment, fashion, or food, it does make a lot of sense to use font colors that fit the design of your email template.
I tend to find that for service businesses, black works just fine, but you can always consider lighter black colors like #43464b or #262626.
Choosing a lighter, black color is easier on the eyes, and helps your readers to get through your email and hear what you have to say.
For reference, you can use this color checker to find out the best tinge of black that suits your email.
Use the right words
Words are at the heart of your content, and this is where applying best copywriting practices come into play.
Any good email marketing campaign should contain the following:
- Attention: How can you best attract the attention of the reader?
- Interest: How can you focus on the benefits of the product or service, and align them to the self-interests of the reader?
- Desire: How can you frame your offer in a way that creates demand, and make your readers need the product or service right now?
- Action: What call to action can you provide the reader, that makes them want to click through on your offer, and solve that problem now?
Keep your words short, and to the point
The words that you choose should be short, succinct, and to the point.
At first glance, your readers should be able to digest the key points of the email, and make sense of your message.
Step 4. Personalisation
We are in the phase of transition right now, where marketing is slowly moving from traditional blast-to-everyone campaigns, to small, niche messages, one at a time.
Personalization is the key to success in this crowded world.
Everyone wants to feel like someone cares for them.
This is where tools like Sendlane can again come into play. Using Sendlane’s prefixes, you can easily send personalized messages to your email list.
Address your reader by first name
If you’ve obtained your readers from your website or opt in form, then you should have their first name at the very least.
Use this to your advantage, and customise the message to them.
You can do this easily by using one of Sendlane’s Personalization Tags.
Personalization tags are basically prefixes that you can use to adapt an email to the specific subscriber.
For example, you can use personalization tags to integrating your subscriber’s name in an e-mail, or by presenting various written content to different target groups or various graphics influenced by interests.
By inserting these tags into the content of your email it will customize the email experience for each recipient, and chances are, increase your conversion rates while doing it.
You might also want to considering personalizing the Subject Title of your email campaign as well, to catch the attention of the reader.
To get started in adding a first name personalization tag to your Subject Line, the first thing to do is to head over to your Campaign Setup page.
There, you’ll find an option to Personalize your email’s Subject Title.
Clilck on the Personalization button, and a popup will appear.
If you wish to personalize the first name of your email campaign, then click on the first option, and your option will be recorded.
What Sendlane basically does is to capture the First Name data from the list of subscribers that you’ve uploaded, and insert them into the Subject Title where you command it to be.
Then, click on next.
Choose the list that you would like to send your personalized emails to, then click on Next.
On the email campaign editor, you can basically draft the email that you want to send out to your list, and add the right personalization tag here.
For example, suppose you want the email to start with Hello John (assuming the person receiving the email is called John),
You can simply click on the last letter of “Hello”:
Then, on the left hand corner of the dashboard, you’ll find a section that is called Personalization tags.
Once you click on the Select button, you will see a list of options popping up.
Assuming you want to add the First Name of the reader to the email, you’ll click on the option “Subscriber first name,” and it’ll be applied accordingly.
For your reference, here are some other personalization tags that you can use in Sendlane:
VAR_SITE_NAME =Site name
VAR_SITE_URL = Site URL
VAR_MAILING_ADDRESS = User mailing address
VAR_PHONE = user phone number
VAR_SITE_UNSUBSCRIBE = unsubscribe
VAR_FIRST_NAME = subscriber first name
VAR_LAST_NAME = subscriber last name
VAR_FULL_NAME = subscriber full name
VAR_EMAIL = subscriber email
VAR_COUNTRY = subscriber country
VAR_STATE = subscriber state
VAR_CITY = subscriber city
VAR_SUBSCRIBE_DATE = subscriber opt in date
VAR_SIGNUP_IP = subscriber IP address
Give them what they signed up for
If you’ve set up your content marketing campaign well, then there’s a good chance that you know exactly who opted in for what.
Use this to your advantage, and send them offers that are relevant to them.
Remember, you can’t sell meat to vegetarians. Sending the wrong offer doesn’t just hurt your email personalisation, it affects your reputation.
Step 5. Optimization for all devices
Mobile is fast becoming more and more relevant, with all of us being so connected and intimately to our devices.
According to comScore, mobile already exceeded the number of desktops in 2014, increasing more dramatically as compared to the latter.
In addition, eMarketer also found that the amount of time that people spent in 2015 consuming media on their mobile devices was 51% of the total, with desktop at a mere 42%.
In addition, a study conducted by IBM Marketing Cloud in 2016 found that nearly half (49%) of all emails are read and opened on mobile devices.
In short, this means that you’d better optimise your emails to load properly on mobile devices.
In addition, BlueHornet found out that a staggering 71.2% of readers will simply delete an email if it doesn’t display correctly.
What this means for you
With the continual and proven rise of the mobile phone, it’s hard to call yourself a smart marketer if you don’t adapt to the changes.
Just as marketers and business owners must optimise their sites to make it mobile responsive, you have to make sure that your email is well optimized to handle mobile responsiveness too.
In fact, in only 52% of marketers created a mobile responsive email template in 2015, a study by eConsultancy found out in the “Email Marketing Industry Census”
How you can overcome it
In order to find the best way to make your email mobile compatible, I like to use the tool EmailonAcid, which is a great tool that allows you to analyse your email, and see how it shows up on different devices and platforms – 54 different platforms, in fact.
To get started, you can simply head to EmailonAcid, and sign up for a free account.
Synchronise EmailonAcid with your email provider, and start testing your emails on various different browsers.
Use email marketing tools like Sendlane
The good thing about email marketing tools is that all the hard work already gets done for you upfront.
This means to say that you can send every email without worrying about different browser issues, load times and what not.
Sendlane, for example, sends emails that are targeted to work across different browsers, and can shortcut a lot of the unnecessary testing times that you would have to go through otherwise.
While we all know that email is the most important element in marketing, sadly most of us don’t pay attention to the finer details in our emails.
I hope that this post has given you some insights and actionable steps that you can take to immediately improve your conversion rates.
Email marketing will remain as one of the most important tools for reaching out to your audience, and if you’re not taking care of the finer details, then something’s going to give.
What are some other ways that you can improve your email branding? Share your comments down below! I read every single comment.
He holds a black belt in the art of content weaving, and has helped thousands of people express themselves with clarity on print, and on the Web. His words have translated into hundreds of thousands of dollars for his clients. Some call him a “talented content creator”, known for his ability to bridge the gap between thought and paper.
You can catch John on Twitter @Contentrific, read more about him here, or listen to his content ramblings on his site Contentrific, where he teaches entrepreneurs, professionals and small teams to grow their audience the right way with persuasive content.
Latest posts by John Chen (see all)
- The 5 Step Checklist for Great Email Branding: Part 2 - February 17, 2017
- The 5 Step Checklist for Great Email Branding: Part 1 - February 13, 2017
Also published on Medium.