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Emails That Do Work: September Edition

Emails That Do Work: September Edition

Beyond • September 30, 2013

Welcome to the September Edition of Emails That Do Work, the blog series where we dissect some of our favorite user emails, and talk tips on how to optimize our own. Avanta Business Centre The first email comes to us from Avanta Business Centre. Avanta provides professional, effective, cost efficient office solutions. Why it works Pictures Galore. What is an email marketing campaign without pictures of your product? This piece epitomizes email marketing for those who use email to create sales. Avanta made use of their content by including pictures of the office space that they are selling. Some emails seem to focus too much on the basics of creating a snazzy layout, and forget the reason for the campaign, the sales! If you’re promoting a cupcake shop, I’d love to see pictures of your delicious treats when I open your email. Get Social Here and there, I will come across an email with social media buttons/links. As you can see, Avanta displayed their buttons in the header of their email and it couldn’t look any better. Even if you’re not able to update your social media daily, linking them to your email will have positive effects on both your email campaigns and your social presence. Only have a Facebook or Twitter? No problem, something is always better than nothing in such a social world. Don’t have social media at all? It’s about time to give in. Though some believe social media is a fad, the outlets may change, but it is here to stay. Eye to Eye Interiors Next, we have Eye to Eye Interiors, offering interior decorating, redesign and staging services in Chicago and the suburbs. Why it works Organization. As an email that encourages readers to “stay organized”, this piece practices what it preaches. The columns, sections and headlines are placed perfectly, so that there isn’t too much or too little content anywhere within the email. It’s similar to the concept that we talked about in the first email regarding sales. Let readers know that whatever information you are trying to give them, you have mastered. As an interior design company, Eye to Eye proves just that. Color. Notice how the pictures and headlines pop. The top portion of the email has earthy colors, while the bulk is bright. Bright colors not only work great during the spring and summer seasons, but as long as they’re not overbearing, they usually make people happy. Also, notice the use of no color in the background. This not only helps the content pop off of the page, but gives the eye space to breathe at the same time. Precision Ceramics Dental Labs Last, but never least, is Precision Ceramics Dental Labs. Why it works Text-to-photo Ratio. For every block of text, have a photo. Not only does this keep readers engaged, but it may be what initially draws them into your email. Have your pictures directly correlating to the text and if you have no idea what type of pictures to include? Start with your staff and products! Layout Legibility. Precision Ceramics’ email does a great job encouraging the eye to continue reading the entire piece. Breaking up the layout of your email make it easier to follow, and keeps readers interested in what the next section is talking about. Try columns, rows, list and maybe even boxes. Just remember to switch it up every now and then.


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Emails That Do Work – August Edition

Emails That Do Work – August Edition

Beyond • August 20, 2013

Hello! Welcome to the August Edition of Emails That Do Work, the blog series where we dissect some of our favorite user emails, and talk tips on how to optimize our own. Outstanding Dining Our first email of the month comes to us from OutstandingDining.com, an online market place for gift certificates that benefits patrons, supports local restaurants and gives back to the community within the Twin Cities. Why it works Branding: This email is a spitting image of the website (www.outstandingdining.com). From layout to colors, you as a reader know and trust this email because it is branded so well. My favorite part? Even the images flashing on the website homepage match the images in the email. Fancy. Window Effect: It’s common to see an email with sections broken up by boxes, but rare to see this effect. Notice, instead of simply placing text and photos on the background, Outstanding Dining used boxes, but created separation by letting the background color shine through. This not only helps each section stand out on their own, but keeps the email looking like a whole piece. Luis & Oscar Realtors Second, we have Luis & Oscar Realtors from Coconut Grove, FL. This particular piece is an invitation to an Open House. Why it works Short & Sweet: It’s obviously easier for an invitational email to be short and sweet, but it’s a great concept that all types of emails should try. Logo, header, details, footer and contact info. What more could an email need? Color Coding: Digging through our community of emails, I continued to come across emails that were constructed so nicely, but were missing the aspect of color. If you’re unsure about which colors to use when creating a beautiful email, always start with your logo. Next, look at the images you used and attempt to pull colors from them. This invitation does a phenomenal job using colors from the company logo and applying them throughout the whole email. Creativity International Awards Last, but of course not least, is the Creativity International Awards, one of the longest running independent international advertising and graphic design competitions. Why it works Block Layout: Similar to email #1, this piece sections itself using a block like method. Though they are alike, this email uses a different color throughout the sectioning instead of the background color. Regardless, they nailed the concept of using blocks as sections, and make it easy for readers to navigate around the email. The Skinny: This is the first time I have seen an email with a background that is thinner than the email itself, and I must say I like it! At first glance I thought the top banner probably wasn’t large enough, until I saw the bottom of the piece and realized it was on purpose. Take a chance and try something “wrong” when it comes to your email design layout. You’ll be surprised how right “wrong” may feel.


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Emails That Do Work – July Edition

Emails That Do Work – July Edition

Beyond • July 16, 2013

Welcome to the July Edition of Emails That Do Work, the blog series where we dissect some of our favorite user emails, and talk tips on how to optimize our own. Aesthetic Images Photography Email #1 comes to us from Aesthetic Images Photography. This piece is perfect to start with, as it resolves a big problem I can admit I’m guilty of. When I don’t have time to read an email, I open - glance - delete - run, or sometimes leave it there for future reference. Abandoning it in my inbox rarely means I’ll reread it, but this email ensures I catch the message regardless. Why it works: Color & Size: Though there may be some small alignment issues towards the bottom, this email rocked using eye-catching colors and headlines. The colors are not so bright that I want to look away, but not soft enough that I miss it. And with that size text, who COULD miss it? Straight to the point: Most emails begin with a logo and maybe a header, while this particular one begins with its promotion. When I’m zipping through my emails, whether I delete or postpone it, it’s pretty impossible to miss the message. This piece gives off the impression that Aesthetic Images Photography knows their readers so well, they don’t need to say too much in their promotional emails. And for any new readers? There’s some information below. ida Los Angeles The next email of the month comes from ida Los Angeles, a multi-disciplinary design firm providing design services for a diverse range of clientele. This piece is an invitation email to a gallery event. Why it works: Concise: This creation is so small, I wouldn’t even consider it an email and that is the best part about it. Minus the hyperlink at the bottom, this invitation could have been distributed via direct mail and it still would have been a hit. Remember, no one wants to have to dedicate a time slot in their day to read an email, whether invitational or informational. Branding: If you haven’t yet noticed in my past blogs, I love branding. Nothing makes my heart smile more than a company branding every piece of content it creates. When your content matches your website/brand (http://www.go2ida.com), you’re building your reputation and reminding readers that if they trust you, they should trust your emails. Fast Forward Our next email was sent by Fast Forward, an initiative for middle, high school, and community college students and faculty to enhance their knowledge of the transportation enterprise. Why it works:/br> Consistency/Flow: Fast Forward designed this email layout with repetition in mind, which is super effective in this very long email. Though there is no real background design, they used their repetitive content to help readers want to continue reading the email until they get to the end. Directional Cues: This is one of my personal favorite features in email design. The second blue bar (sub-headline) tells readers there is a particular section within the piece they may want to see, regardless of them reading the rest of the email. As an organization targeting students, highlighting scholarships and internships is a brilliant move. Always remember the audience you’re speaking to and design your email based on what they would want to read when they open it up. QNAP Security Next up, we have QNAP Security, the world\'s first Linux-embedded NVR developer. This eNewsletter is released monthly, and is put together so well, it ensures that its readers have updates on every move the company makes. Why it works: Sub-headlines: Very seldom have I seen or received an email with sub-headlines. More creators should take notes from QNAP. Whether I’m searching for a particular section or just skimming the email, I know exactly what topic I’m reading about, and there is a chance another may catch my eye. All in one: Referring back to sub-headlines, this eNewsletter includes an abundance of information. There is nothing wrong with an information overload as long as you display it in a way that readers want to continue reading your email. Using sub-headlines, layout design and page breaks, QNAP proves a heavy email can still be successful. Ionic Systems Ltd Last but far from least, is Ionic Systems, manufacturers of The Reach & Wash System. This email informs readers that they are about to begin their 2013 Reach & Wash Roadshows and displays what new systems to look for. Why it works: Layout Design: Oh, how I love white space. This layout implements boxes and white space perfectly, by boxing up what they want they want you to read immediately (aka encapsulation) and leaving the details within the white space. White space is your friend. Your BEST friend. Circles: Beyond the beautiful layout, Ionic Systems used one particular shape throughout the entire email and inspires me to do the same. Notice, their “reach & wash” logo has dimmed circles in the background. They took the circular element and used it for borders and page/story breaks. Genius, right? Sometimes all you need is to take a step away from the computer to realize your email can come together on its own.


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Emails That Do Work – June Edition

Emails That Do Work – June Edition

Beyond • June 11, 2013

It’s time for the June edition of Emails That Do Work, the blog series where we dissect some of our favorite user emails, and talk tips on how to optimize our own. Savannah Chop House Our first email is brought to us by Savannah Chop House, a contemporary American restaurant. We’re starting with this particular piece because it contains one of, if not the, most important aspects of an email that does work: flow. There is no such thing as an email that flows too well, but they can definitely not flow enough. Savannah Chop House sets a great example on how to ensure your email flows visually and even incorporates their own kitchen theme. In addition to making me terribly hungry, this restaurant gets a 5 star review for this piece of artwork.Why it works: Pattern flow: Instead of a solid background, Savannah Chop House chose a kitchen style tile pattern that takes the eye from the top to the bottom of the email within seconds, almost like a game of Tetris. Patterns are always useful (and fun!) for backgrounds, as long as they don’t take any attention away from your content. Color flow: On top of the tiling, they use different shades of gray to columnize various sections of content and solidify the email as one. Southern Nevada Golf Association Next up, we have the Southern Nevada Golf Association (SNGA). For a background-less email, this piece uses its content to the fullest extent. It’s common to see email marketing users try to squish every piece of information they want to include into one email, usually resulting in it being way too long or extremely text heavy.Why it works: Perfect text-to-picture ratio: For every picture or video, SNGA places the ideal amount of text around it. They display the first one or two sentences, followed by “...Read Story” hyperlinked to the full story on their website. We want more, we want more!: Take a tip from SNGA and sum up your story with a killer headline, an entertaining intro and a link to the full article. Not only will this keep readers engaged and interested in your email as a whole, it’ll increase the traffic on your website. Two birds, one stone. Why not? Small Business Expo The third email comes from Small Business Expo, the largest nation-wide B2B trade show, conference & networking event for small business owners. This design reminds users exactly how customizable the Benchmark tool can be when you think outside the box and explore all of the options we offer. At first glance, it’s as if the email is one giant picture, but look again.Why it works: Simple yet stunning: Although graphics can dramatically enhance an email, white space is a beautiful thing when used correctly. This email nailed it. Consisting mainly of graphics, there are enough images to fill space, yet not too many to make it awkwardly busy. Full tool usage: First, Small Business Expo imported their main graphic. Next, they added an additional box to the bottom of the image in order to include more content without breaking up the visual. Using color codes, they matched the exact color from image to box. A reader would never know the image was customized, and that is why this concept is awesome. Ty Boyd Executive Communications & Coaching This email was created by Ty Boyd Executive Communications & Coaching. This piece is memorable for multiple reasons. Although it’s not plastered in images or bright eye-popping colors, it builds a lot of trust with its recurring and new readers.Why it works: In this issue: This is one of the most inspirational emails I’ve seen, all thanks to the “In this issue” section. Think how often you skim through emails and have to postpone reading them for various reasons. Most would say that’s where awesome graphics come in. Ty Boyd didn’t think so. Highlighting what content is included within the email intrigues readers to either immediately shoot to an article they are interested in, or reminds them to come back and read the story later. Either way, brilliant idea. Branding: Not only does the color scheme match their website, but the button images at the bottom of the site are identical to the buttons on the email. No better way to instill trust and recognition in your readers than branding yourself in everything you produce. Not Just A Label Finally, we have Not Just A Label (NJAL), the world’s leading designer platform for showcasing and nurturing today’s pioneers in contemporary fashion. Needless to say, this Benchmark user may be the king (or queen) of layout design.Why it works: Layout design: Maybe it’s the columns, maybe it’s the images or maybe it’s the glorious white space. Regardless, this page and many others from NJAL take advantage of various types of layout design and incorporate it into one solid email. If the email were broken into sections, the sections even have their own sub-sections. Headlines: Big, bold, italicized headlines. Classy, fashionable and sleek. Regardless of what the headline says, it’s got my attention.


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Emails That Do Work

Emails That Do Work

Beyond • May 15, 2013

Hi, and welcome to my first blog series! Today, and once a month, we are going to get together and take a look at some Emails That Do Work. That is, some of the best designed or attention-grabbing emails from the Benchmark Community. We’ll highlight aspects that contribute to their success, showcase our favorite user designs and talk tips on how to optimize your own emails. Let’s get started! Our first email comes from Gear4Music.com, one of the largest retailers of musical instruments and equipment in the UK. Notice, the majority of the email consists of various pictures, but arranged to where you can\'t help but want to read the entire page. The top portion includes not only their logo, but social media links and a navigation bar linking to different pages of their website. As your eyes continue to wander down the email, you come across pictures of products arranged like an e-commerce website. The page ends with links to their social media yet again and a footer including their contact details and a map. Gears4music.com does a great job using pictures and social media buttons to ensure that even if their customers don\'t take the time to read their email in detail, they have a visual of the products and are aware the company is social. Impression made. Our second in our series of Emails That Do Work comes from VConnect Travel and Holidays, a complete travel solution provider. At first glance, this email is very text heavy. The beautiful thing, though, is that the text is aligned in such a perfect, legible way. First, we are drawn into an email-wide picture of the luxurious hideaway, followed by an introductory paragraph constructed to make us want to jump on the first flight we can book. The email then breaks into three columns, glorifying the main attractions. While most hate to open a text heavy email, this layout deceives you into reading the entire page, as if the more you continue to read the better it gets. Ending with a map, directions to the hotel from multiple angles, their logo, contact info and social media buttons, VConnect proves that a lot of text can be a great asset to an email ... if you do it correctly. The third example is brought to us from Learn2Grow, an online guide to helping you become a more successful gardener. To start, this page has the ideal picture-to-text ratio. Whether it’s the standard product pictures or coupons that customers can click or print, this layout is definitely a winner. Notice the coupons are not actually for Learn2Grow, as they are solely an informative site, but for gardening related companies. Working with industry related companies is a great way to expand your customer base and spread your brand message. As for layout, they used two columns. The left as the main, to not only draw the readers into the email as a whole, but to keep the page short and sweet as well. No one really ever wants to read a super long email, regardless of the content. The most effective aspect of this email, is that it completely matches the website. Check out http://www.learn2grow.com/. Looks familiar, eh? Learn2Grow did a phenomenal job connecting the overall feel of their website to their customer emails. As a reader, there is a sense of trust when you receive an email branded to reflect the company. Always keep your branding in mind, it represents who you are to your consumers. Fourth is a great example of an e-commerce inspired email. Boss Safety Products distributes quality safety supplies and first aid products. Boss started with their headline banner and a title picture, which changes depending on the email topic. Though layout variety can keep a subscriber engaged to keep reading multiple emails, consistency is key. Try to mix up your layout design while keeping an asset consistent, like your logo placement. Again, trust is a huge factor to a reader when taking action on your email. The email then becomes an e-commerce email, displaying certain products they carry. The regular price, the sale price and what percentage you saved. The best part being when clicked, these products link you directly to the product page on their website. The flow of steps resulting in the call to action is very simple, as it should be. Enticing readers to open your email is one thing, but encouraging them to follow that email to your main website and take action is another. Last, but definitely not least, Victory Defense Consulting (VDC) is a Veteran Owned Small Business with an expertise in delivering high quality security & consulting services. Needless to say, this email is full of lines and lines of text but the “do work” aspect is made very clear. VDC does a great job of patterning their text with their imaging. As you scroll through the email, it seems that just as your ADHD kicks in and you want to move on to something else, there is an image. This continues throughout the entire email, like a game you never wanted to play but can’t stop looking at. Not only can this aspect be used to section off parts of an email, but to keep the reader engaged if it contains a lot of information. Don’t be afraid to include all of your content, but ensure it visually communicates to the reader.


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