Any chef worth his salt knows that presentation is everything. The first bite, as they say, is with the eyes, and the appearance can make the difference between escargot and just a snail on a plate. Marketers have taken this advice to heart in their email campaigns, working to create eye-catching templates that will be more likely to be opened. But there is so much to consider in creating the perfect template, where should you begin? I’ve given this a lot of thought in my email strategy, so let’s examine a few best practices. Don’t underestimate the power of email First of all, your email marketing shouldn’t be an afterthought, or something that is thrown together at the last minute. Email is one of the most effective marketing tactics, and studies have shown that each dollar spent on email marketing can be worth more than $40 in ROI. A well thought-out email delivers great value, so take the time to do it right. Start with your company’s branding If you don’t know where to begin, take a look at your company’s branding. You should have colors and fonts that form a part of your image, and that’s a great place to start with your email templates too. And it may sound obvious, but be sure to put your logo in the email masthead, helping to fix your company in the mind of the reader. Keep it clean One thing sure to drive away the reader of your email is to make it too cluttered. The email should pass the blink test, meaning that the eye should immediately be drawn to the most important part of the email, which is the offer you want to highlight the most. Take a look at this email from Woot: It’s immediately obvious what the offer is in this email. The logo is up at the top, and so is something else very important, which leads us to our next point. If you love them, set them free Even the best-crafted email isn’t right for everyone. Someone may have signed up without fully understanding what your company does, or they may simply have decided that they are receiving too many emails. Make it easy for them to unsubscribe from your list. Most companies place these links at the bottom. In the above example, Woot does this at the top, which is a great move for improving the opinion people have of your company, even if they aren’t interested in being a customer right now. In fact, they also include it at the bottom of the email, seen here: Think about your audience A large part of creating your email is knowing who you are speaking to. This is something that comes with market research, which should have been done earlier. You may have established several different target audiences for the different products you sell, but be careful not to target too many of them in a single email. Casting your net too wide may cause a total lack of interest and poor response rate. If you want to target more people, send more emails. It’s not all about you At the heart of effective marketing is helping your customers to solve their problems. While you hope that the best way to do that is to sell them your products, you may need to prove yourself to them first. Sometimes they just need useful information, and when you deliver them valuable information that shows you are a company they can turn to. In addition to actual sales offers, your emails should include tips and links to useful articles that will help them in a real way. Over time, this tactic build brand loyalty, and you’ll see the result in sales. These are just a few things you can do to make sure your email template blends the right elements together to draw people in. A great email starts with an excellent template, which will help you leave a pleasant taste in the reader’s mouth.
Interested in boosting your email marketing click through rates by 200% or more? Of course you are. What smart marketer would turn away from an opportunity like that? Nobody. Nobody at all. Video is the answer you’re looking for. The numbers seem too good to be true, but research from a range of providers has shown CTR increases of 200%, 300% and even a whopping 583% in the case of Hubspot. There’s no way around it. People love video. That\'s why using video in your email marketing is a no-brainer. Here are the eight most important tips for video email marketing: Eight Tips on Video Email Marketing Assuming you already have the technology and know-how to create your video, one of the most important tips is to keep it short, so that people watch it all the way to the end. As many people using Twitter\'s Vine app have found, short is beautiful. Decide on your message. Your video can be a tip, a demo, a testimonial or even a personal message – all of those can lead to a great response. Here are some examples to spark your imagination:Random funnies (video credit Old Spice): Tips & customer reviews (video credit CURLS): Press releases (video credit Underwater Audio): Explainer videos (video credit SquareHook) Using humor can help you build a connection with the email reader, as Hubspot did to achieve the remarkable results highlighted earlier. Place your video early in the message, so more people will see it and play it. To make the most of this, Experian recommends a \"waterfall approach\" which detects the email technology people are using and delivers the appropriate visual experience. Autoplay can be a real turnoff for some people, so if you must do it, keep the sound off, says Reel SEO. Better yet, avoid it altogether and simply link to the video with an attractive still from it. This will also work well for those who don\'t want to watch the video immediately. Don\'t embed the video in your email; that can drive away those with flaky internet connections and can also play havoc with your email delivery rates. Instead, use that thumbnail we mentioned earlier to send people to an optimized landing page for your video and host the video offline. Don\'t forget to include a text link to your video too so people can still find it even if they have disabled images. Wherever you host your video, it\'s also a good idea to host it on YouTube, the world\'s second largest search engine, or on Vimeo, as Knowledge Reservoir did with their Tetris-based textual video. That gives you the option of getting your video to a wider audience than just your list. Knowledge Reservoir - Tetris from Clear Island on Vimeo. While you can\'t market without a call to action (CTA), the best place to put this is towards the end of the video, as in this example from Ragan Communications. This video went out with the headline \"Click here to see why Mark is standing in an alley\" and it doubled Ragan\'s usual CTR. Is Video Email Marketing Right for You? Is video marketing for everyone? Not at all. It\'s a good idea to check your analytics and see how people are accessing your site. If you have a high proportion of mobile device users, video is sure to be a winner. If, on the other hand, your list is using an outdated browser on the desktop then they are not ready for video email marketing. This checklist from Reel SEO can help the decision making process. One of the issues marketers have faced to date is that email software needed third party plugins to see video and including it could send emails straight to the spam filter. But that doesn\'t have to happen any more, especially with the advent of HTML5, which most modern email clients support. Recent research from Email Experience suggests that: \"As of June 2011, an \"average\" B2C marketer could expect to deliver \"full\" video in email to approximately 37% of the list, animated .GIF video to 50% of the list, and static image to 13% of the list\" That adds up to 87% of the list who can get video in some form, making it a good strategy to try. Finally, once you have sent your email, check the analytics by your email marketing provider to see how your CTR has improved and what types of videos get the best response. This will guide you in creating future video emails and leveraging this technique for the best marketing punch. Your Thoughts Have you used video in your email marketing? If so, let us know about your results in the comments below!