Wizemail provides email marketing software solutions and e-shot HTML templates to a wide variety of clients - SMEs, Corporate and Digital Advertising Agencies alike – all with one common requirement, a dynamic, professional, digital marketing team on hand when required.

At least weekly, one of the Wizemail team will post a tip, trick or general email marketing advice here.

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  • Using white space is the big secret of email marketing Apr 12, 2019

    The Japanese word Ma confounds reason. Online you will find multiple translations, some of which contradict one another. There is a general consensus that can be summed up as the gap between objects can be as important as the objects themselves. This is useful to bear in mind when designing an email marketing campaign.

    Given all the information you want to convey to those on your email marketing lists, you might think that leaving a lot of empty space is a waste. However, the benefits of white space, the English translation of Ma, in western graphic art has been recognised for at least a century. The classic Volkswagen advert, Think Small, which tested the limits of white space usage, was first published 60 years ago, so there’s no excuse for giving into the urge to cram as much as possible into a marketing email.

    Email marketing templates allow a great deal of flexibility and who can fail to be tempted by the ease at which one can increase the size of an image. After all, it will be reduced in size if the recipient views it on a pad or mobile phone. It is, unfortunately, a trap, one that many willingly fall into.

    Ma has multiple purposes. Whilst it might seem counterintuitive, you can use it to frame an image or a headline. It enables the item to stand out. Without distractions and clutter it will be much more prominent. Framing is nothing more than a way to emphasise a separation.

    For one thing it doesn’t have to be white nor does it have to be a single, even colour. It can be anything that will be ignored so a blurred image where nothing can be distinguished can be white space. However, it can be tricky to pull off so care needs to be exercised in order that readers don’t get pulled towards it.

    One of the major benefits of white space is that it lends itself to being a subtle influence. Readers of a marketing email might be wary as they know you are selling something. Clever use of what is, in essence, nothing is difficult to guard against.

    Despite being insubstantial, Ma directs the eye. There are simple ways of using gaps between text or objects to pull a person towards your CTA button. Little white space on one side of a marketing email, steadily opening out towards the right margin, will direct the eye. Place your button there.

    White space needs to work for you. It’s no good inserting gaps just because you’ve run out of ideas. There has to be at least as much reason for including it as an image, if not more so.

    Ma requires a purpose. The accepted definition says that it can have equal importance as text and images. The fact that it is conditional means that you have to work at it. It’s back to splitting email marketing lists to see what works best for you.

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  • Why nothing can be as good as something in a marketing email Apr 10, 2019

    It seems odd that so many graphic designers seem a little scared of nothing. You receive a marketing email, or visit a website, that is so cluttered that you don’t know where to look first.

    Email marketing requires control. We need to direct the eye in those few seconds we have to get our message across. If a customer has to search for the pitch, they’ll go elsewhere.

    There are three main aspects of a marketing email: text, images and the space between them; the last is known as white space, or sometimes negative space. No one aspect is more important than the other, and too much of one will reduce the effectiveness of the message.

    White space is a difficult concept to accept as it appears to be nothing; which is just what it is. However, it is multi-tasking at its best. It can frame an image more effectively than a black border. It can designate a more important image or text just by being there. It can direct the eye in a subtle and therefore irresistible way.

    There are a number of ways of viewing white space. It can be a scaffolding to hang the text and images from. It can be an effective buffer to stop adjacent items bumping into one another. It can regulate the way a person reads a marketing email as well as designating when one aspect ends and another begins.

    It does all this, and more, merely by being there, or not, depending on your point of view. Its main strength is that it is effective because it is neither apparent nor distracting. It can be subtle, such as paragraph spacing, or crude and obvious, as in the way that the search box in Google is isolated by being the only item on the page.

    White space is the most difficult of the big three aspects of a marketing email to master. Don’t be fooled by the fact that it is free. It requires a great deal of thought and effort to get the best from it.

    There is more to white space than meets the eye.

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  • Planning the perfect candid shot for your email marketing campaign Apr 5, 2019

    There’s no oxymoron in planning a candid image. Pictures that are praised for being spontaneous are normally the creation of a patient photographer. If you want to generate a specific emotion in those on your email marketing list, an image that appears natural has an edge.

    When picking a stock image or organising one yourself, you need to concentrate on what it has to do. If you want your customers to relate to an image, then it is handy to make the people in it similar to those on your email marketing list. If you want to build aspirations, then move them a little upmarket, perhaps with a newer car, a slightly bigger house, or an office with a view.

    One thing to avoid is perfection. Flawless skin, unless you are selling foundation crème, might be seen as a criticism of the reader who is three hours into a difficult day. Forced emotions are enough to convince most people that it is posed.

    It’s unfortunate that many supposed stock photos appear posed because, ironically, they are too perfectly candid. Images in email marketing, or even on your website, meant to create an emotion will be merely glanced at, but if your wish is to appear natural, any fault will be obvious.

    An inherent problem with technically perfect images is that they often look posed. For instance, all pro photographers will want an uncluttered background as this can take interest from the subject. However, if the scene is people having a picnic in a lovely park, others in the background, perhaps a little out of focus, will add to the natural setting.

    Actors are told not to look at the camera as this tends to emphasise the presence of the photographer. On the other hand, an office scene with everyone enjoying a good result from a well-planned initiative might look less posed if one of the participants is glancing towards the camera in order to share the moment.

    There’s always the possibility of organising a photoshoot yourself. The costs will generally be lower. An image of items being securely packaged by your staff needs to look as if it really is Alan. It needs a professional actor to look like an amateur, and they know their worth, so take a considerable number of shots of your Alan. He’ll eventually forget he’s being photographed.

    If you want to try producing your own images, then by all means give it a go. It’s not easy to be successful at it, but then that goes for email marketing. See what is wrong with the supposedly candid stock images, and do something different. Break the rules.

    Whichever way you go, stock photo or in-house, before searching or shooting, work out what you want and continue looking until you have found it. Planning is everything and actually picking the right image or pressing the shutter button is merely the final act of the process.

    The main image in email marketing is all about emotion. It needs to communicate in an instant. Candid images do this brilliantly.

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  • Candid or posed; which is best for email marketing images? Apr 3, 2019

    I have been both an article writer, submitting unsolicited manuscripts, and a magazine editor, and I can assure you that the acceptance rate of articles are much higher when they are accompanied by images. Candid images, or at least those that appear unposed, increase the rate dramatically. There is a lesson to be learned here for email marketing.

    It is fair to say that the only reason I sent in candid images was that I found them effective. As an editor, I realised that they were a way of demonstrating an emotion, something that can be difficult to do subtly in text. This is doubly so for a marketing email as there are so few words.

    If you look through stock images you will find that posed ones are much more prevalent than candid ones. That’s because the latter are time consuming to set up. Those supplying images for stock sites need to make a living and find it unreasonable to spend a lot of time on each.

    We see a picture of a group of 30-somethings sitting around a table, laughing and enjoying dim sum with green tea. What could be more natural? Yet for some reason it often looks posed. If you can see it, so might those on your email marketing list.

    Photographers avoid a cluttered background. If they are forced to have the scene in an office, the tables will be cleared and even then they will be so blurred as to make identifying the objects impossible.

    I don’t know about your office, but mine has all sorts of rubbish spread around. Talking of pristine, don’t go for models made up to be blemish free. I don’t know about your face, but mine . . . The requirement is for the models to appear like the person sitting next to your subscriber when reading the marketing email.

    It is not a case of looking for the imperfect. You need to identify the one that looks as if it has not been posed. The fact that it took the photographer a lot of work to achieve that is no concern of yours.

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  • Methods Of Cyber Criminals In Email Marketing Mar 28, 2019

    I have always suggested looking to specialities outside of email marketing to see how they operate. Many use methods that we can usefully learn from. Let’s take what might seem a bold step further and see how criminals use emails in their activities.

    I’m not, of course, suggesting we indulge in any unlawful activity. However, we have common ground with cyber criminals in that we use email to persuade a person to do something, the only difference being that their intent is to harm the recipient, ours is to offer them with something they might not have realised they wanted. Some of the criminals are very clever at what they do.

    Recent research, https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2018/how-a-personality-trait-puts-you-at-risk-for-cybercrime/ published by Michigan State University, concludes that there’s a strong correlation between low self-control and victimisation. A co-author states, “people with [low self-control] put themselves in situations where they are near others who are motivated to break the law.”

    The research concentrated on discovering indicators in participants’ computer behaviour that would identify behaviour likely to give a high risk of malware and infection. The unsurprising conclusion was that those who were impulsive and who had low self-control were more susceptible. We use returns from our email marketing campaigns to discover the capricious ones.

    Such personality traits are not necessarily predominant all the time. They come and go it seems. You will know by now that everyone on your email marketing lists will probably have contradictory behaviours. Someone might be very constrained for most of the year, but come December, and after pouring over holiday brochures, they might well pick unusual and exciting destinations.

    There are various reasons given for such variations, some more esoteric than others, but generally accepted as a possible cause is the rather vague term, mood. It’s not very helpful, but let’s go with an example that you might not have considered.

    Dating sites, not a market that gives itself readily to email marketing, also have something to teach us. To sign up for one suggests a certain willingness to take a risk, but one in hope. Research indicates that mere anticipation alters the brain’s chemical makeup, and this encourages anticipation and makes the person more open to new experiences.

    How about following along the same path in your next email marketing campaign. From the start, build anticipation. Get the recipients into the frame of mind where they might want to try something new.

    Experiment with your email marketing templates. Try for something that excites and reveals possibilities. Build confidence in that person that they have the ability to change. ‘This could be you,’ or perhaps, ‘Haven’t you always wanted to . . .’ They probably haven’t, but your suggestion might make them wonder what they are missing. Tell them.

    The cyber criminals exploit human tendencies for illegal ends. We, on the other hand will offer something positive. There’s nothing wrong in opening minds and pointing out new experiences. Encourage them to try something new, something that will benefit them in some way, even if only because we want them to return for more.

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  • To secure your email marketing lists, look to your corporate culture Mar 27, 2019

    Michigan State University recently published research into the methods that cyber criminals use to break into a company’s data. The types of attack include spyware, ransomware, and denial of service. If your email marketing lists are compromised, it will cost you more than just reputation.

    The most popular form of defence is based on software. If there’s a problem, someone well versed in technical matters will have a solution. The continuing increase in sophistication of computer-based systems means that the most significant risk is human error.

    There is some fascinating research on the subject of risk factors, including personality traits, see https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2018/how-a-personality-trait-puts-you-at-risk-for-cybercrime/ It should be noted that most people are a mix of these traits and a stressful situation, such as a house move, can make the most dependable person more impulsive.

    You exploit impulsiveness in the design of your marketing emails because it works. Who hasn’t suggested a ‘limited time offer’, or ‘for today only’? Unfortunately, it works both on your staff and you as well. You will be wondering what you can do to secure your email marketing lists. It’s not a problem for technology; you need to manage it.

    We’ve said before that strict discipline is not normally the best way of ensuring security in email marketing. We need to go further and instead of responding to a breech, prevent it. Reducing risks is the way forward.

    Bring to the attention of your staff the fact that anyone can make a mistake. They need to monitor themselves. If they feel short tempered, irritated or on a high, they should recognise that they are at risk of dangerous behaviour. Extra care will be required.

    Most people are helpful and cyber criminals exploit this. They will send an email that looks as if it should be there and it will seem the most natural thing in the world to click through.

    Human error can be reduced if you treat your staff as human. Point out the dangers and how to recognise them. While technology can lower risks and mitigate negative outcomes, a positive work culture can reduce the dangers of human error to a massive degree.

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  • How can you reassure your customers following the Brexit vote? Mar 22, 2019

    The Brexit vote on 12 March was critical. It is likely to have an effect on business opportunities, your ROI and how you run your email marketing campaigns. Regardless of what happens from now on, it is a watershed moment for all of us. It will give your customers a great deal of concern for the future.

    You will want your customers to have confidence that you, at least, have some plans for the near future; medium term is a bit of a punt at the moment. The problem is how to get this over to your customers without appearing complacent or overly concerned.

    One way is to have a page on your website where you can create the impression that you’ve got most of it covered. The problem is that few will visit it, no matter how well advertised. You need to give them reasons to.

    You could put a link, although not one that looks like your normal ‘Buy Now’ kind, in your next email marketing campaign. The heading: ‘How the vote affects [your company] and our customers’. Another way is to have a short entry in your next e-newsletter.

    You will know those who take your e-newsletter best but it is probable that most will not want to read a thousand words of post-vote gloom or false confidence. Give a brief overview, perhaps with a little reassurance, and then the click-through will provide something for those who are concerned. A landing page that is significantly different from ones you normally use, perhaps with a stock image of the Houses of Parliament to show the seriousness, will get them in the right frame of mind.

    What to say is the next problem. There will be few who would suggest that the matter is not divisive so the last thing you can do is to be highly critical or supportive. You have no opinion on the matter. What you want them to do is be in their normal frame of mind for your next email marketing campaign.

    You need to be decisive without promising anything – see some politicians for details. More helpfully, mention your plans in relation to the, albeit limited, reduction to options. However, stick to those matters that affect your company, your products and the subscribers to your email marketing lists.

    Don’t be afraid to comment on those matters where you cannot make a definitive decision. Point out the various ways in which the political situation might develop. Again, do not make it obvious which you favour. Be clear, clinical and fair, even if you are writing through gritted teeth.

    Keep the page undated, but only with information from trusted sources, such as the ICO. Those on your email marketing lists should be reassured about safety of their data. Emphasise that nothing has changed with regards data legislation and nor has your commitment to its safety.

    We are in a delicate period where your customers might be looking for both reassurance and the slightest affront. Pick your words with care but they should know that, as far as you are concerned, everything will go on as normal.

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  • How to reassure your customers after the vote in the House of Commons Mar 21, 2019

    A series of votes in the House of Commons, starting on 12th of February, on the subject of Brexit, was politically significant. The odd thing is that, from the point of view of email marketing, it means little. Your customers, however, are likely to be wondering what happens now.

    We need to answer that deceptively simple question, letting our customers know that, despite the vote, everything is much the same as it was before. All the data protection laws remain, as is your obligation and intent to comply with them all. A marketing email is m not the place to do it.

    An option is to create a page on your website where you show what the effect is likely to be on your company and your customers. Put a click-through on your marketing emails and e-newsletters. Also consider mentioning it in other correspondence.

    When trying to emphasise that nothing has changed the one thing you must not do is something very different. If customers see a change it may well cause a degree of nervousness. Even if you feel concerned about the vote and what its effect will be, you don’t want this transferred to your customers.

    You should appear certain you will be able to cope with any disruption that might come your way. You should give the impression that you have planned for every possible eventuality. If those on your email marketing lists don’t react normally, all your statistics will be of no use.

    Consider having a page on your website where your opinion of the implications on the vote is made clear. Justify your conclusions calmly as now is not the time to appear close to panic. Treat their likely concerns seriously without dismissing them out of hand.

    You know those on your email marketing lists well enough to be able to pick the right voice.

    Beware of criticising any particular faction in the mêlée as your customers are likely to come from all sides. Now is the time to appear comforting. Reassure your customers that the votes, albeit confusing, are not the end of business in general and email marketing in particular.

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  • The best way to use video in email marketing Mar 15, 2019

    It will probably come as no surprise to you that video is making great inroads in email marketing. It was the latest thing a couple of years ago and to a certain extent still is. It’s not always a good idea to just jump on a bandwagon, but now it has become established, you might want to know what you are missing.

    The results for including video in an email tend to show a significant increase in completions, but it is not the answer to everything. There are times and places where it is likely to be most effective and others where it will be less so. There are a number of points to consider.

    The first one might seem rather obvious, although it is often ignored by many: only use video where and when it will be effective. Whilst you will have to test by segmenting your email marketing lists, there are certain times when you might assume a video will something of a hindrance.

    Video takes time to view. Whilst all the advice is that it should be as short as possible, it still needs to get the message over. If you expect readers of your email to react quickly to the headline, copy and images, a video will slow their response and that’s not what we want.

    A video must have a specific purpose. Being pretty might be enough for a still image, but a video takes time to take in. Use it to fulfil a purpose, and make this as specific as possible. Want to entice your customers with a holiday in the Alps? Then a panoramic view of the peaks can be facilitated by an image. If you want to entice skiers, then a video of the slopes, with families enjoying falling over, will ensure the customer puts themselves in the film.

    Don’t use videos in an email to explain processes and procedures. Email marketing is all about selling, not explaining via how-to videos. Keep it sharp and relevant to those on that email marketing list.

    Focus on the hook. What is it that makes your vacuum cleaner so much better than all the others? Is it the way the bag is emptied, ensuring none of the detritus returns to the floor? If so, then a few seconds showing how easy and clean the process is will be perfect. It reinforces your message.

    Target your video in other ways as well. If your vacuum cleaner will be a blessing for the young millennials with high pressure roles, then show them. On the other hand, if the cleaner is made deliberately as light as possible to help those with the difficulties of age, then you know the answer. Ensure the video is specific to the chosen email marketing list.

    The most frequently asked question is whether to have the video auto-play. I don’t know, and until you test with segmented email marketing lists, nor do you. However, it is received wisdom that most people are irritated by it. As far as the audio is concerned, remember that a B2B marketing email might be opened in an office.

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  • What do you want from video in an email marketing campaign? Mar 14, 2019

    As a means of supporting any campaign, video ticks all the boxes. Whether being used on a website or for email marketing, used properly there is little doubt that it is a most effective way of hitting targets. There’s a caveat though; it must be used with care and restraint.

    All content is not equal and, in most cases, should be pruned for a specific purpose. We covered testimonial videos recently but there are many other ways to use video to reinforce trust. One which has your office as a background can reassure a customer that they are dealing with a professional body. Do ensure that clutter is removed from anywhere in shot.

    Your office is not riveting and will gain few views, so populate it with your team. It will give customers a face to relate to, and keenness can come through. You will be more than just a logo.

    If a product has a hook that is rather clever as well as photogenic, then a few short seconds of video in an email marketing campaign might be enough to hook them. It is obviously not the place for a lengthy how-to video though, even if the ease of use of a particular item is a major selling point.

    You will find that some of the subscribers to your email marketing list will close an email promptly when they see a video. Your first response might be to put them on a list where no videos are sent. An option that might work better is to put the video below the fold where they might click on it once they’ve taken in the other information.

    Videos used in email marketing can usefully be extracts from a longer video on your website. ‘For more information on the epicyclic trunnion’s abilities, click here’ might snare the waverers.

    Many criticise having a video on a landing page. It can be a distraction and, speaking personally, I am easily side-tracked. After all, I’m interested in the product or else I would not be there. However, if you’re concerned about completions or high abandoned cart stats, it might be worth trying.

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  • Using testimonial videos in email marketing Mar 12, 2019

    We all search through reviews when subscribing to an email marketing list or considering buying a product from a new supplier. After all, there are some real crooks out there.

    One of the most compelling forms of review is a testimonial where the person allows their name to be used. How much better is a video testimonial, where we can see the person? The answer is, ‘A lot better’.

    Given the number of very poor creations out there, it might seem that it is difficult to produce a video that is convincing. However, it is easy enough as long as you take the time to plan. There are a few rules that should only be broken for good reasons.

    1/ Don’t be too clever

    Keep it simple. This is not a menu for mediocrity. If you try for Hollywood style and miss, it is the failure that will be remembered.

    2/ Set targets

    You will know who you are trying to convince and what you want to convince them of. If the subject of your latest email marketing campaign is a particular hotel, then ensure the testimonial mentions it and its special attraction.

    3/ Run to a plan, not a script

    You want the person to introduce themselves, name their company, the person’s position in it, and their experience. Don’t put words in their mouths. Unless they are good actors, it will sound false.

    4/ Encourage them to be personal

    They need to say ‘I’ a lot. Get them to voice their concerns. If they have been a subscriber to your email marketing list then to mention that. Were they reluctant to commit to the purchase? If so, ask them to admit it and to say what overcame their reluctance.

    5/ Problems that were solved

    Your customers will want to know how the product solved this person’s problems. Did it save them money, time, aggravation or whatever? Did it have unforeseen benefits?

    6/ Set up the shoot with care

    Shooting indoors makes it easier to control sound, background, interruptions and especially lighting. Its downside is that it can look exactly what it is; set up. This can be lessened by using the subject’s office or accommodation. They will feel at home, and it will show. Shooting outdoors reduces control considerably but can be useful in to emphasise a particular point.

    7/ What to show

    Have a medium shot with the camera level with their eyes. However, have them look at the interviewer and not the camera.

    8/ What to leave out

    No one’s interested in the interviewer so cut them out of shot and edit them off the soundtrack.

    9/ Reassure

    Say well done, that was good. Encourage them. Before the shooting starts tell them that there will be multiple takes so they should not think they are messing it up.

    10/ Use it where it’s at its most effective

    If it’s a good testimonial, then use it first in an email marketing campaign; put it on your website later. Ensure you have their written permission to do so.

    Video testimonials are a cheap and effective way of supporting an email marketing campaign.

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  • Producing a testimonial video? We can help Mar 12, 2019

    Ten points to consider when producing a testimonial video for an email marketing campaign

    1/ Don’t consider

    There’s no doubt of the effectiveness of testimonial videos, not only in email marketing, but on websites as well. One on a landing page can negate that hesitation before clicking on ‘buy’.

    2/ It’s about what you want

    Plan your questions beforehand. Have a script for the interviewer and be prepared to go outside it on occasion as superfluous material can be edited out.

    3/ Have targets

    If you see building your email marketing list as a major priority, and your interviewee is a subscriber, get them to mention the price reduction offered during an email marketing campaign. Bargain is a good word.

    4/ Be nice to the interviewee

    You should use supportive phrases during the filming, although don’t go over the top. Remember that they are doing you a big favour, so get them to mention their company and what they do. Name them in the credits.

    5/ Problems, problems

    Ensure they tell you what they got from your product. For instance, did it solve a problem at a stroke? Did it speed up a process? Was it superior in every way to the (unnamed) product they were using before?

    6/ Use a suitable environment

    Choose a location that enhances the credibility of the interviewee. An office or workshop, although one not too distracting, will help to show their level of expertise.

    7/ Get technical

    Use words that those on your email marketing lists will understand and be familiar with. Most people will repeat words used in the question.

    8/ Don’t put words in their mouth

    There is nothing more obvious than a person reading from a script. Professional actors are needed to pull this off.

    9/ Smiles help

    If you smile at the interviewee, they will tend to smile back. This will help to get their message believed. You don’t want them looking shifty or grumpy.

    10/ Don’t have them look at the camera

    Get the person to talk to the out of shot interviewee.

    We’ll go onto how a testimonial video can be used in an email marketing campaign later. Give it some thought in the meantime.

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  • When and how to use stock images in email marketing Mar 1, 2019

    The problem with a graphics art degree is that you have a lot of encumbrances to overcome in order to give good advice. Take images. When used in email marketing the need is not for graphic excellence, but to capture the attention of a reader for just enough time to make them read on. With such specifics there’s no way they can be bought off the shelf. Stock images must be non-starters. Or so I thought.

    If a subscriber to your email marketing lists spots an image they’ve seen a number of times before, they are likely to ignore it, and no wonder. If you can’t be bothered to give them something worthwhile, why should they give you their money? You need to put some effort in.

    However, there’s no doubt that a professionally taken photograph can pull the eye like no other. At their best, they can sell whatever it is you are pushing. They might do this by directing, calling back good memories the viewer had all but forgotten, or by showing what is to come. All this with just an image.

    That’s not to suggest you should not generate your own photographs. For instance, a holiday company might give their agents cameras when going to certain destinations, telling them to shoot away. The amateurish appearance can be something that can be spun to be a positive feature. They won’t grab the subscriber’s attention though.

    Email marketing is a business built on professional behaviours and trusting it to amateurs might be a step too far. We follow what our data tells us and poor image quality, regardless of our ability to explain them away, might not cut it.

    You are, hopefully, willing to pay a reasonable price for a decent quality image that is not familiar to those on your email marketing list. One problem with stock images is that the really good ones will have been recognised as such by a number of other people. Some of these may be your competitors and nothing is worse than being seen as copying.

    You should be a subscriber to your rivals’ email marketing list, for many reasons of course, but in this case to check out their image use. If you see one or more of the pictures they’ve chosen on one stock photo website, then check out another. You want something different.

    Ignoring those images favoured by others does not mean opting for second best. There are many ‘bests’ out there. Search under different headings and review the options. Working with the criteria you used to segment the email marketing list you intend using, you might input ‘Couple, seaside, hotel, sun’. If this shows your rivals’ images, add ‘view’, ‘meeting friends’ or ‘sunset’; there is a significant difference in responses. I’ve just tried it.

    You can go the other way of course. Be unspecific. Cut the criteria to just vital aspects: sun, sea and sand springs to mind.

    You need only the one high quality image in a marketing email; it’s the one above the fold. Everything else will be explanatory.

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  • How colour can be used to influence readers Feb 28, 2019

    I am, like around 8% of European males, partially colour-blind. In women, the rate is considerably lower, at around 0.5%. On top of that, there are many different kinds of colour blindness. You might be wondering whether there’s any point in trying to influence subscribers to your email marketing list with colour when there are so many variables.

    Yet all the evidence suggests that the use of colour can affect the effectiveness of an email marketing campaign. It would appear that certain decisions, including whether to continue reading a marketing email, is up to 90% based on colour. We need to come up with a way of exploiting this fact.

    If you are aiming your website, e-newsletter or marketing email at women then it is fairly safe to run on the assumption that they are not colour-blind. You can trust the generally accepted effects of colours. With men, 92% will still give excellent results, and what you miss can be reclaimed using split testing.

    We are told that red normally gives the impression of energy, orange of fun, yellow of positive thought, blue means trustworthy, green is a bit like nature with the reassurance that goes with it, and white very neutral. Black is rather complex and can be scary if used too much.

    Some colours are classed as warm, others as cold. Pastels are rather gender specific, and males are not great fans. Experiment with the layout colours of your emails. There’s a lot of evidence to support blue being the nation’s favourite colour so can be used with more or less abandon.

    You will want to know the best colour for a click-through. Thankfully, there’s been a lot of research on the subject and it supports there being a distinct advantage for one particular colour. On tests of click-throughs, those boxed in red had a significantly higher click rate than those in green. We do not know if the main colour scheme of the email was influential in the outcome.

    There is no way to tell how an individual sees colour. But then, there’s no need for us to. Beyond gender, we have little to restrict us, and this gives an advantage to those who will split test, although your results will be specific to your email marketing lists.

    Segment your lists, using gender as the first divider. If you discover a significant advantage for males over females when using blues, then go for it. Pastels are historically favoured by women, but you will not know whether this still stands until you test. There are an awful lot of unevidenced assumptions when it comes to colour.

    Experiment with learned reactions. I received a clever marketing email where the click through before the fold was green. The copy turned more urgent with an accompanying colour change to amber, and it was finished by a demand to click through with a red click through. Traffic lights are universal.

    Colour is often vital in a campaign and can not only encourage completions but secure them. Treat colour as you would any other factor.

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  • The psychology of colour use in email design Feb 27, 2019

    The magic of colour is that you do not know how another person sees it. You can’t even describe a colour without reference to itself. Yet you need to crack colour psychology as, according to research, for those viewing a marketing email, 62% to a remarkable, stunning in fact, 90% of viewers make subconscious decisions about your product on colour alone.

    How people respond to various colours varies as well. You might feel that red means anger and aggression while to others, it might generate feelings of comfort and warmth. To me it gives impressions of energy. Context gives direction of course, but given the few seconds we have to generate a decision whether to read on or not, nice words in the body will have little influence.

    Just to add to the degree of indeterminacy with regards to colour, reaction is based to varying degrees on gender and culture. Before running away to drown your sorrows with a white coffee, all is not lost. We can influence interpretation to an extent.

    You might think that it is better to have a red click-through button than green. You might be right. You might have even tested them with segmented email marketing lists already. However, it is generally better to direct rather than respond. Let’s tell our customers how to react.

    The Subject Line will have been read by your subscriber. Its function is to encourage an open and to indicate the content of the marketing email. If you built up excitement and anticipation, pastel shades might confuse them when they open the email.

    If your Subject Line promised thrills galore then have a smattering of red in the email and use the colour for the click-through. If you promised reliability, brown seems to be the most favoured colour to highlight your 4.2-star reviews.

    One last point; not only do we think people see colours differently, but we know they are presented differently on various digital platforms. It’s enough to make you see red. The answer is, of course, to test and test again. Colour is important and it is worth the effort.

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