If you're reading this blog, you're already on the right track to increasing open-rates, click throughs and generally improving how your outbound email performs. The first step is to recognize that content is king but quality design isn't far from the throne. In this post, we'll walk through and explain a few simple concepts and tactics that you can execute in most newsletter/email builders with no coding or design experience. Good luck and enjoy!
The subject line in any email outreach is one of the most important factors in its performance. Don’t overlook this part of the drafting process—it’s worth taking the extra time to come up with something clever and topical. Avoid excess punctuation and CAPS. Consider the types of devices your readers are likely to use to read your email and adjust the subject line length accordingly. Most smartphones cut off between 40-60 characters depending on whether they are in portrait or landscape mode. Using emojis (supported in IQ) in subject lines has been shown effective in commercial settings but consider whether emoji use would be compatible with your Member’s public “brand” before including them in your outreach.
The pyramid model
One popular and effective design methodology is known as the pyramid model. Think of your email as an inverted pyramid with a wide banner image at the top followed by narrowing content downwards, ultimately concluding with a call to action button at the bottom tip of the pyramid. This technique is not meant to be followed strictly and can be adjusted to include a footer at the bottom or other design elements, but as a general guideline it is effective in drawing the reader’s eye downward towards your featured content or call to action.
Modern design thinking suggests that the days of multi-column “newsletter” style emails are over. There are two main reasons for this. 1) Reduced attention spans. Readers expect to be able to get to the main message of your email quickly without having to read too much text; 2) The prevalence of smartphones as primary email consumption vehicles means multi-column emails rarely render correctly on these devices. Single column emails should be your standard approach with rare exceptions if any.
Major design leaders like Apple and global creative agencies toil for months or longer selecting fonts that represent their brand exactly as envisioned. The good news is, that's probably not necessary for you. With that said, it is worth taking time to develop some personal preferences that you feel represent your office and its "brand." Then select 1-3 fonts to use for header text, body text an possibly a third alternate font and stick to them in all your email outreach. Small things like this help you build a brand and make your readers comfortable with your ongoing correspondence.
Always make sure to allow your email “breathe” and divide up content sections with plenty of empty, or white space. This increases legibility of your email and makes the content seem more manageable to consume.
Call to action
Think about what result you want to drive before each email and then develop a call to action. Are you trying to drive signups for another email list? Prompt event registration? Solicit casework? Make the desired action clear with a button or easily identifiable link. Some emails may be strictly informational with no call to action but take the time to consider this issue before each outreach.