Email Marketing III : Email Format

Email Marketing - Email FormatIntroduction:
In the past two posts I’ve talked about email marketing and various factors to be considered in order to have successful electronic mail marketing. Besides knowing the smart ways of promotion with the help of people’s inboxes it is equally important we know the standard format of email marketing. Some prefer to use plain text in their emails, while others like their emails to be attractive with pictures, banners with the help of HTML. Plain text emails are easy and cheaper than HTML format emails. It depends on the sender which one they prefer most. If you want to go fancy with fonts, backgrounds and pictures then HTML format is just the thing for you, where as if plain text makes you feel comfortable then well why not stick to it. If you want to be creative with your email, it is advisable not to use too many colors or go crazy with the graphics. Make sure you have a proper, professional and appealing email. We still don’t want our emails to be thrown in the trash can cause the readers find it hard to read. Here are few ways to use HTML to make your email appealing.

  • Headline and Subheads:
    The headline and the subheads should stand out among the other content of the email. Using a different color and bigger font size than the other content will help grab the attention of the reader.
  • Pictures:
    You can add pictures of your product in your email. Placing image of the product in an interesting way helps the readers to have brief idea about how it looks and they might be interested in knowing more about it.
  • Graphics and Fancy Fonts:
    Using lots of graphics and colorful fonts might not work so well. It is better to stick with minimum graphics (few important ones) and certain font style. Fancy text and graphics that make the email unreadable are better avoided.

Email format:
An email can be divided into different fields. From the “From” field to the salutation, it is necessary to follow a proper format.

  1. FROM:
    The “From” field is where you write in the senders address or your email address. There are ways of filling this space: i) You can either just type in your email address. For example: FROM: web-updates@avenuesnepal.com or ii) Type the senders name or the company’s name. For example: FROM: Sanam Kr. Shrestha/ Avenues Nepal Pvt. Ltd. The second one is a better option because the reader will get to see who wrote to them. People usually prefer to open emails that have the name of the sender. Some bogus email address might not sound so interesting and hence they might delete it without reading it. If typing in your name is not possible then use the company’s name. If you have brand recognition, you can use it to your advantage. People will be interested in knowing what a popular company has to offer.
  2. SUBJECT:
    The “Subject” field is probably the most important of all. The recipients usually check on subject line before deciding on whether to open the mail or not. It is important to carefully pick the subject line considering the limited characters. You can have up to 60 characters in the subject line; hence you need to be really tricky with it. Besides the limited space you need to avoid words like FREE. For years people have used this word to grab attention that people don’t trust it anymore. In fact spam filters usually don’t allow emails to reach the inbox with subject line containing the word “Free”. You can however provide deadlines on subject line if you have limited time to your offer. For example: “Subject: Renewal Deadline: 31st November ‘08”. You can also highlight the benefit of your product on your subject considering you don’t make it sound like an advertisement. Lastly avoid false promises.
  3. TO:
    People usually don’t pay much attention to this field but it is always better to take precautions Here are the few points to remember while filling the “TO:” field:
    – Avoid using only the email address. If you know the recipient’s name or the company’s name use it before the email address.
    – Avoid using only the first name. Some people find it too personal and hence can offend them.
    – Avoid using the word “list”. This makes the email sound impersonal and unprofessional. Some even consider it to be spam.
  4. BODY:
    We’ll start with the salutation. In the body field, it is very important to include salutation. It is always better to greet the customer or prospect. Use “Dear” if you are emailing the person for the first time or you don’t have a close bond with the recipient yet. “Hi” and “Hello” could be used at the latter phase. The second part of the body is the headline. If you have mentioned the purpose of your email in the subject line, then it is fine to not mention the headline. But if you want to include headline in the body then make the headline sound interesting. You also need to avoid ALL CAPS in headline. This gives the impression you are shouting the message. Now the body text, use a good opening line. The first sentence of the email should be interesting so that the recipient will feel like reading further. Don’t make the body too long. Stick with 2-3 paragraphs with few lines. If you can include the purpose of the email in the first paragraph it is to the best. Here you can include your offer, the benefits and the instructions. You can highlight the offer and if needed you can elongate the email. You need to be true and tell the complete story. Make the email sound interesting and don’t forget to include links. Do check the links if they work before you send out the email.
  5. Signature:
    At the end do include your signature. If you cannot personalize the signature include company’s logo and name. You can include your company’s full address along with the web site link.

NOVEMBER 02, 2008 ISSUE #33