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Professional Email Design

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What are the qualities of professional email design?

Strong branding

Does your email convey the brand? Does it convey the sense of your company? “This is our company. This is who we are. These are the elements, the design components that you have seen throughout your encounters with our brand from the store, the website, the poster, the banner, the actual product itself.” Does it all mesh up to a strong brand experience?

Take Apple, for example. Apple’s a great company in terms of their branding. Everything that they put out via email, in their signage, online, their website, has the Apple logo. And it has a certain aesthetic to it, everything that they do. In fact, I would highly recommend just signing up for some of Apple’s emails because, again, they will give you a great example or examples of how you can use email marketing.

Concise content

Keep the content short and sweet.

Calls to action

Get people to do something. Don’t just put content out there for the world, but actually put information and ads and marketing materials that get your users, your readers, to actually do something. You’re not just sending emails out. You’re sending emails out to gain something to benefit your company, to benefit your brand.

Links back to the website

You always want to let people have the chance to say, “I want more. I want to read more, I want to engage more, I want more of your content. And where do I go? I go back to your website.”

Email display variations

You can have variations of email display

HTML images can be disabled

HTML images, if you’re not aware of what those are, are when an image is not loaded into the email as an attachment. It’s not sent along with the email itself. It’s actually loading from a location or a URL on the web. And so what happens sometimes is those HTML images can be disabled, and this is because there’s a history of people doing nefarious things with HTML images, things like hacking and replacing those images with bad images, that type of thing, and so a lot of times those can be disabled.

Remember that when you’re testing. Don’t just test in-house on a closed server because it could look perfect in-house.

Forms can be stripped

The same thing goes with forms. Forms can be stripped from an email because, again, there are security protocols in place with most email clients that will strip away things that they think have the potential to do harm to the reader. The email clients don’t care about our emails. They care about the clients themselves, the person at the desk or on the phone.

So think about, if you’re going to use HTML-based images, whether that URL or IP address is white-listed. And if you’re going to put forms in an email, consider an alternative way to do it. Maybe someone clicks a call to action, saying, “Click here,” and it then takes them to a website where there are forms that they can fill out. In that case, you don’t worry about forms getting stripped from an email.

Preview software tools

How do you preview? How do you sort of look at your content before it goes out the door?

If you’re a MailChimp client, MailChimp’s Inbox Inspector is a great way to preview your messaging before it goes out. Same thing, there’s a Campaign Monitor. You want to preview, and you want to test.

The same goes with every type of digital engagement that we do, be it a blog post, a video, and so on. You always preview. You always take a look. And email marketing, there’s no exception there. You always check. You always test. For a variety of devices, you test outside of your company’s server, outside of your company’s IP because, again, you never know what’s going to be stripped out.

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Eric Stoller

Eric Stoller is a Higher Education Strategic Communications Consultant and Blogger at Inside Higher Ed. With a background in student affairs, academic advising, wellness, technology, and communications, Eric educates clients and audiences on digital identity development. As a blogger, he generates conversations, answers questions, and provides insight about a variety of tech topics, including Social Media Strategies and Email Marketing.

By the end of this topic, you should be able to:

  • Evaluate the role of email marketing in demand generation and lead conversions 
  • Evaluate marketing emails designs and their effectiveness
  • Appraise the performance of email marketing campaigns

    Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

    DMI Short Course: GDPR

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      Applied Email Marketing
      Eric Stoller
      Skills Expert

      Communication expert Eric Stoller will help you to identify the attributes and features of an effective marketing email. You will recognize the importance of professional email design to retain brand reputation and subscribers, and will understand that testing is the basis of every successful email marketing campaign. Eric will then introduce the key metrics and statistics within email reporting, and will help you to identify methods for optimizing the performance of your campaign.