5 Key Strategies for E-mail Creative Execution
For her June 16 presentation at the DM Days Conference & Expo in New York City, Brooks Bell, founder and president of Brooks Bell Interactive, a direct response interactive firm, schooled conference attendees on how it's not just the looks of an e-mail that gets it opened and read.
In her presentation, "Beauty and Brains: How to Maximize Your E-mail Creative Experience and Program Performance," Bell walked attendees through several client e-mail case studies as well as the following five creative strategies that marketers should apply to their current e-mail designs.
1. Image blocking. "ISPs are trying to protect their consumers from spammers by requiring you to actively 'open' (aka download [the] images) in your e-mails," Bell explained. To motivate people to download the images of your e-mail, Bell reminded conference attendees to:
- Put e-mail headlines in system text.
- Ensure that the main message occurs within the top 300 pixels of the e-mail—the typical size of most preview panes—or create enough curiosity to convince readers to scroll.
- Double up the call to action in both a large button and a supporting blue hot link in close proximity.
2. Copy. The copy must clarify the e-mail's value proposition and answer the question, "What's in it for me?" Bell stated that marketers should focus on three important copy points: headline, the first two words in the body text and the call to action. "Remember, the call to action should be doubled up in system text and [a] button ... for image blocking," Bell said.
3. Match the landing page to the e-mail. According to Bell, the e-mail gains the recipient's implicit permission to be marketed to, while the landing page closes the deal. Citing a Silverpop study, Bell stated that landing pages get an average 50 percent drop-off due to 1) confusion because of a different look and feel from the e-mail and 2) the failure to reiterate the e-mail's offer.
4. Button above the fold. Placing a button above the fold in an e-mail quickly establishes that the marketer would like the recipient to take action. "People will click [the button] ... only if it's not necessary to read more [of the e-mail] to make a decision," stated Bell. She also reminded marketers to be sure to include multiple calls to action.
5. Personalization. A personalized e-mail can garner trust from the reader, is easy to do and almost always creates an instant lift in response. "Be creative," Bell directed. One suggestion is to style the e-mail recipient's first name larger than the rest of the copy, making it instantly attention-grabbing.