Are you trying to do too much with your email?

Working in the email channel I see a lot of different email campaigns.  Some good, some bad, and some where I don’t even know what a company was thinking when they said “Hey, this is a good idea”.  The reason I bring this up is that recently I have seen a lot of email campaigns where companies are trying to do way too much with their email.  Video, share to social, push to talk, calls to action, the email creative looks like some type of flea market.  As someone who deals in email every day…even I was confused as to exactly what to do after I opened the email.  Companies are trying to do too much with their email campaigns.  They are trying to do so much that they forget to abide by basic email marketing principles.

The goal of any email is to drive action.  That action could be many things.  The call to action (CTA) could be as simple as just getting a user to open or be more complex and require that a user make a purchase.  Trying to do too much with an email just confuses the email recipient and distracts them from the end goal…conversion!  Here are some things to consider when putting your email campaign together:

  1. Remember you are sending an email.  You are not pushing a web page…you are sending an email creative.  There are things to consider in the user experience when putting together your email creative.  A couple of the most important to keep in mind are to design for the preview pane and to always use ALT tags for your images.
  2. Reinforce your brand.  Email readers will give your email a quick scan in 1 to 2 seconds to determine if they want to open or read further.  If your brand and/or call to action isn’t prominently displayed…you’ve just lost a reader to another email which could be a competitor.  Make sure that your recipients know who is sending the email and what the message is.  Give them the opportunity to engage.
  3. Know your audience.  It has been said time and time again…test, test, test.  I’ll take that a step further into what would be the obvious next step…act on what you have learned in your testing.  If you know your audience converts better on Tuesdays than Wednesdays…send your emails on Tuesday.  That said…don’t get comfortable that your test results are always valid.  Retesting for trends once in a while will help reinforce positioning.
  4. Keep It Simple Silly-head.  Want to keep this blog somewhat PG so I’ve come up with a replacement for the other word more commonly used.  Don’t clutter your creative.  Keep it simple and to the point.  If your message lends itself for sharing…add in some social tags.  If it allows for video to create a more engaging experience…embed some video.  The point is to take everything I’ve mentioned above and put it into practice.  Don’t try to do too much.

I could likely sit here are put together fifty more tips on how to make a great email…and maybe some day I will.  For this post however I will take my own advice and keep it simple.  The tips I offer above are great ways to get your email marketing campaigns rolling.  They all might not apply for your particular campaign but they will allow you to be simple and effective in your programs.  Walk before you run.  Don’t try to be everything to everyone…get your brand and your message across to the recipient.  Engage them in your content and your programs and I bet you will see a return on that investment.

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