Just as the aesthetics and description of art can draw the attention of an individual, so can the design of an email.  In both scenarios an individual is willing to spend their resources (money or time) to try out what the artist or email marketer is offering because they find it valuable.

Therefore, when thinking about building an email newsletter and communicating value to generate leads – aesthetics matter. Incorporating email marketing best practices that are both artistically pleasing and scientific can improve your readership engagement and generate more leads.

F-pattern layout

Email templates should use a specific F-pattern Layout. This layout has been identified by several studies as the most naturally digestible. According to these studies web-users typically avoid the right side of the screen and pay more attention to the top, upper left corner and left side of the screen. Therefore, using an F-pattern will guarantee that you are able to communicate the maximum amount of information in a digestible manner.

Single-column format

A newsletter can be broken down into several columns (vertical rows that divide the newsletter by type of content). Typically digital experts use a single, double or triple column format. Most research however suggest that single-column formats help communicate information in its most simple and consumable form.

Following what research suggests and providing a single-column template, will provide users with less distractions. Additionally, a template with a width of 600px can maximize compatibility between mobile and desktop devices.

At this width, images and text will automatically resize to give your audience a consistent look and feel to help them easily navigate emails on whichever device they happen to be using. Ultimately, this will simplify the exchange of information between you and your readers.

Colors that match or align with brand standards

Branding is the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a service from other services. In the same way that businesses incorporate color schemes, lighting and layout to create a unique experience for their customers, email marketers should seek to use digital design elements to create a unique layout that readers will associate with them.

The Don’ts of creating brand standards

  • Don’t change your font color from traditional colors. Spam filters remove most emails with colorful text. Avoiding red, green or blue text can help insure that your emails don’t end up in spam folders.
  • Don’t create a logo on your own. Invest resources into developing graphics with a professional. This logo will be what your audience sees at the top of your digital communications and they will begin to associate your logo with your agency.

The Do’s of creating brand standards

  • Create a brand that is recognizable to your audience
  • Create a brand that communicates what makes your agency unique
  • Create a brand that is memorable

Creating and sustaining a brand that follows the above suggestions isn’t easy. Many companies pay huge teams hundreds of thousands of dollars to help them build a recognizable and memorable brand that is easy to communicate. And more often than not, they are unable to do so.

So don’t be discouraged if you are unable to hit a homerun here. The goal of this process is to always be asking – how can I make it simpler for my audience to remember my brand, enjoy it and return?

Tip for email marketing success:

Work with a graphic designer or brand specialist to help your agency display visually, what you would want to communicate verbally over coffee with a potential client.

Scanable content

Most of us know how short-lived emails can be – someone will open an email and look over it for a few seconds. If nothing has grabbed their attention at this point – they delete the email and move on. Because of this, agents should write articles in such a way that allows readers to scan content so that they are able to identify value quickly.

Once a reader has identified value (made visible by a scanable structure) in an article they are likely to stay engaged with a newsletter/article for a longer period of time. Similarly, your custom content should be structured in a fashion that is concise and structured. This will ensure that the value of your content is visible to your audience in a way that will captivate their attention and increase the amount of time they engage with you.

Another way to make content scanable is by intentionally limiting the length of the introduction paragraph. Limiting the introduction helps you to creatively communicate value in a digestible manner. By limiting article introductions to 500 characters you can help ensure that you will concise.

When creating a title for an article, agents might find it useful to write the article first and then summarize the main value of the post in a title that is 60 to 80 characters. Having scanable titles is just as important as having scanable content. A rule of thumb for agents is to try and make the 1st two words of the title as informative as possible, for example:

  • “June Seminar: Learn Everything You Need to Know About Profitable House Flipping”

Finally, keeping the most important information at or near the top of your newsletter will ensure that even the most distracted readers won’t have the opportunity to miss big announcements.

Preview your custom content prior to launch

Once this is all done, all there is left to do is follow the golden rule to email marketing: Never click, ‘send’ until you’ve checked your content as if you were seeing it for the first time. Assuming everything is okay can get you into some trouble.

Avoid issues by:

  • Simply re-reading custom content, looking for spelling or grammatical errors. Copying and pasting your text into a Word document and using spell check is an easy way to quickly check your work.
  • Having someone else proofread your copy to make sure your ideas are being clearly communicated.
  • Review the newsletter to ensure that your article is located in the most appropriate place.