December 09, 2016
When designing collateral for marketing automation campaigns, marketing emails can be a designer’s best friend or worst nightmare. With the numerous email clients and web browsers, designing a “valid” responsive email for every screen is close to impossible. Thankfully, there are a lot of email marketing tools available with HTML email templates, making the process much easier. While these tools can help you, there are still many things to know about preparing an email for a marketing automation campaign.
Choose a marketing automation tool
Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, MailChimp, HubSpot, SharpSpring, Act-On and Marketo. Each email marketing or marketing automation tool has its own pros and cons. Some tools are more costly, while others provide unique functionalities.
Follow email marketing laws
It’s important to know that you cannot just send an email to everybody and anybody. There are email marketing laws that dictate whom you can send to and what your email content can include. These laws vary among countries. In general, to send a marketing email, you need a person’s permission to send to them. Yet, there are still a lot of unwanted marketing emails sent out everyday. This is why marketing email providers require an unsubscribe button on their emails.
Consider spam filters
Email clients such as Google, AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft Outlook use spam filters to block what they perceive as unwanted emails. Spam filters usually do a good job at blocking unwanted emails. Sometimes these spam filters do too good of a job and end up making it harder for your marketing automation campaigns to reach your lead’s inboxes. These spam filters look at everything: content, subject lines, email senders, reply-to-addresses, image to text ratio, servers and how your email is built and sent.
Create compelling subject lines
When preparing an email, you need to create quality content targeted to your leads. This includes subject lines and email content. To avoid the spam folder, stay away from overused words or word pairings like “free,” “guarantee,” “weight loss” and “gift.” If you want to see more of these words, HubSpot published an article on spam filter trigger words.
Design beautiful emails
Another challenge for your marketing automation campaign is the design of your emails. You now have to build an email that will look good on every browser or at least the browsers your targeted leads use. To do this, be sure to save all images you use for the web. This means save the files in a smaller size and in the correct dimensions.
Follow the 60/40 rule
Make sure your images are relevant to your email content. When building an email, be sure to follow the 60/40 text-to-image ratio. A lot of email providers do not automatically load images, so you need to make sure that your written content can survive without imagery. It is important to provide alt tags, or alternative text for screen reader users when images cannot load. When images do load, it is important that your chosen images either entice your viewer to read more of the email or lead them to your call-to-action. Images can definitely affect the way a user feels about a product or email. If you are sending out a newsletter, images can persuade your leads to open up your subsequent emails/newsletters. The 60/40 text to image ratio is important to think about. In fact, spam filters look for this text-to-image ratio as well.
Build a plain-text version
Not all devices are able to load HTML emails. Therefore, email providers look for a plain-text version of your email, making it essential to provide a text version of your HTML email. Text versions are just like they sound. They remove all character styles (bolding, italics, font sizes) and images from your email. There are ways to replace bolding and italics in order to call out particular areas of a text-only email. If you are interested in learning more about plain-text emails, here are our top 10 best practices for plain-text emails.
Generate a web version
While not all marketing automation tools provide users with a way of creating web versions of your email, they can be very useful. Different email clients load and stylize your emails differently. Web versions of your emails enable your leads to see your email the way it was meant to be seen. When choosing an email marketing tool, think about your targeted leads. Would the web version functionality be important to them? What about you?
This blog post could probably go on forever. There are many things we didn’t discuss in-depth that are still important when designing collateral for marketing automation campaigns: valid server, email sender and reply-to-address. Be sure to work with a professional to ensure your emails are well designed and effectively reach your leads. If you have questions about marketing automation or need help, let us know.