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The email marketing process part 1 - Producing the email piece

Blog post written by Dave Henson | 07 September 2013 | Category: Email marketing

The first thing we do when working with a new client is to design an email template which will be used for the email marketing campaign and also any subsequent campaigns. We will set up text styles, colours, fonts etc. and incorporate logos and images as required.

It is essential that the email piece to be sent out is designed to look good but, more importantly, is also 'designed for the inbox'. This means that it should work in whatever email software the recipient is using. In practice it is impossible to ensure that it works 100% correctly in every email program because they all render HTML content differently, but we can ensure that the design is as flexible as possible so that as many recipients as possible can see the email the way it was intended to look.

However, we always create a fallback in the shape of an online version. In the version that you contact receives we place a link at the top that says something like: 'If you are unable to read this e-mail, please click here to see our online version.' Therefore if the received version doesn't quite work the way it should, they can still see the email designed and laid out as intended in the online version in their browser. We also use this online version as the one that we show to the client as the email piece is being put together. Once they have approved the online version we then proceed to produce the HTML and text versions (see below).

There's the possibility that a contact's email software won't let them view HTML emails so we also produce a text version of your email so that these people don't miss out on your message. The email is sent out in what is called 'multipart' format – i.e. both HTML and text – and the recipient's email program will decide which part to display.

If you want the email to be personalised then this can also be done. For example, you might want 'Dear FirstName' at the top of the email (where Firstname is a column from the distribution list database). You might also want the email to be signed off by different people such as when sending to a list supplied from various sales reps within your organisation.

It's even possible to insert a completely different block of text / images in an email based on criteria from the distribution list database. Let's take an example to show you what I mean. Suppose you were organising three conferences in different locations and you wanted to show a picture of the recipient's nearest conference centre and its address in the body of the email. Your distribution database would need to have a column containing a location name and we can code the email to look at this location name and then display the appropriate content.

Our system will track click-throughs on all links within the email.

When all is said and done, the content of your email campaign is the final most important factor. It is that which will decide how many people respond to your call to action.

Related blog posts

The email marketing process part 2 - Setting up the campaign

The email marketing process part 3 - The distribution list

The email marketing process part 4 - Testing, sending and reporting