Creating emails for SwitchboardFREE or any business has its ups and downs. On one side of the coin I get to stretch my creative legs both in writing and design but the flip side to this is the worrying notion that I have the final word on a document arriving in the inbox of thousands of people. If I get it wrong then I get it in the neck from both the customers and fellow co-workers alike. I therefore try and research as much as I can on the subject and I also try and keep an eye on what’s trending in the market and my very own inbox.
Over the the last few year there has been a natural progression and evolution of our email designs. The look and wording has changed a fair bit and when I look back at my initial designs in the early days, they looked somewhat amateurish in comparison to what I’m sending out now. I like to think this is possibly a mix of market trends and my own hard work, but the truth of the matter is that I didn’t really know what I was doing when I started and to be frank, when I look at those early drafts I’m quite horrified at both the design and hefty word count .
Thankfully my approach has now changed and I know it’s an old adage, but less is indeed more. I barely have the time for a proper lunch let alone the time to read the email equivalent of war and peace. So although my emails aren’t inline for any literally prizes I hope they get the point across as efficiently as possible. I’ve had some great input from the team here and more importantly from the guys in design. We’re no Apple incorporated but we don’t do too bad considering.
If you find yourself with the task of creating emails for your own business or as part of your job then I have listed a few things that I’ve picked up along the way that might be of help:
1. Check your own inbox:
- Spend time dissecting your own inbox.
- Take a note of the subject lines that make you want to find out more.
- What is the frequency of some companies’ emails over other and why does this differ?
- What design or layout appeals to you most?
You learn more from this act than any other so print them off, scatter them about your desk and you’ll be full of inspiration and ideas in no time.
2. Email client:
Use a good email client. I use Mailchimp but there are loads of others out there and if you don’t have the time, patience or knowledge to code HTML and CSS yourself, then an established and trusted email client is invaluable and relatively cheap.
Only eBay, Amazon, Groupon and a select few can get away with daily emails. If you’re not a Daily deal site then you need find your own optimum email frequency – too long between emails and you won’t build on that customer relationship, too often and your unsubscribe rate skyrockets.
4. Be obvious:
Be bold and obvious with the point you’re trying to get across and leave those arty emails to the other companies. Avoid clutter and unnecessarily long explanations, be professional, be friendly and above all else be obvious.
5. Finally; Check, check and check again
Before you send out your masterpiece, check it over – print it off and check it again, spell check using Word and send it to everyone in your office to test including all the links, social button and graphics. Only when you are a gazillion per cent sure hit send.
Good luck and always let us know your thoughts.