Better Email Marketing Pt 6. The Style and Body Of The Email

Jun 13, 2020

Part 1

Is Email Marketing Still Relevent

Part 5

The From Name and Address

Part 2

Putting The Customer First

Part 6

The Style & Body of the Email

Part 3

Writing A Great Email Subject Line

Part 7

Segmenting Your Mailing List

Part 4

The First Line or Preview Line

Part 8

Building Your Email Marketing List

Part 6 of Better Email Marketing looks at the cosmetic aspects of your website and the ways you can drive better engagement.

Don’t forget you can jump to any post in this series by clicking the buttons at the top of the page.

The Style Of Your Email

The style of your email will always be dictated by the business you’re in and the customer you are targeting. Some people like short visual emails and others prefer long textual ones.

Here’s the most important style points:

  1. Don’t use all images, try and include plenty of text.
  2. Make sure the email is mobile friendly.
  3. Use a minimal style and make it easy to read.
  4. Include a ‘call to action’.
  5. Don’t try to say too much.

I want to go through each point above explaining why they are important and at the end you’ll hopefully understand what you need to get right when you create your next campaign.

The first point is not to use an image(s) for the whole email.

From time to time I get sent beautifully designed emails but the whole email is an image.

When it arrives in my inbox my software doesn’t automatically display images so all I see is an email with nothing in it. I have to click on the “display now” link in my email software to allow the image to show.

Using an image as the email will reduce your engagement and clicks as a vast proportion of your subscribers won’t be able to see it straight away.

Best practice would be to use text and images so if the image is blocked at least the text will be visible.

Point two is to make sure your email is mobile friendly.

The stats differ depending on which survey you read but in general over 50% of emails are opened on mobile phones which means you need to check your email looks perfect on small screens.

Most Email Service Providers will let you send a test email, so make sure you check everything looks OK on your phone before you send it out.

Remember to click text overlaid on images. The text may appear too small on a phone screen and be difficult to read.

The third point is to make sure the text of your email is easy to read.

Use big plain fonts for titles and make sure the size of the normal text is big enough – 14/16 pixels is a great font size.

Even if your audience likes long emails make sure your paragraphs are fairly short so it breaks up the text. On a mobile phone, a reasonably short paragraph can fill the whole screen giving the impression that it’s very long and hard to read.

Also check the colour of your text. It’s quite fashionable right now to use fairly light grey text in the body of emails and websites. Don’t do this as it’s difficult to read, especially for people with impaired vision. Stick with very dark grey or black.

Point four is a must for every email. Include a ‘Call To Action’

Always try to add some value to the action so it’s not just a ‘BUY NOW’ button.

Ideas for ‘call to action’ buttons that add value are:

  • Claim your discount now
  • Download the free guide
  • Enter to win
  • Access exclusive content
  • Listen now

Look at the value of the email and try to demonstrate this value within your ‘call to action’ text.

The fifth and final point means not to put too much into your email or make it look too busy.

Stick to one topic, say what you have to say and leave it at that. No waffle and don’t try to fill every bit of space with a slogan or icon.

Some emails, like an advice newsletter, may be fairly long in words but still try to make sure you stick to one topic and make the whole reading experience as easy as possible.

Using Email Templates

Spending some time creating an email template will save you an awful lot of effort in the future. A good template should be mobile friendly, have all the text and font styles built in and be ready to go whenever you need to send an email.

Most Email Service Providers will have a template section where you can create or choose pre-built styles and save them for future use.

The following sections should always be included when building your template:

  • Image/logo
  • Main text heading
  • Body of email
  • Footer with social media follow/share buttons
  • Unsubscribe link

Include your logo or a header image and make sure it looks great on phones.

Next up is the main body of the email which could include a number of columns with text, images and ‘calls to action’.

If most of your emails are opened on mobile phones then just create a one column email as two columns will just be converted to one when displaying on smaller screens.

The footer at the bottom should always have options for shares and follows on social media, then finally the unsubscribe link appears right at the bottom.

Once you have the basic outline of a template worked out, save it for future use.

Remember you can create different templates for different types of email so if you run multiple lists you don’t have to stick to the same template.

Experiment as well. Make tweaks and test different colours, font sizes and styles to make sure you’re learning what works best all the time.

Now take a look at this example of a simple template from MailChimp. It includes all the points above, looks good and is ready to be filled with text and images.

Power & Sell Words

Using positive power or sell words throughout your email can be a clever way to entice your customer to engage with you.

When you go shopping you never just see ‘fruit’ or ‘yoghurt’. It’s usually ‘Fresh Fruit’ or ‘Organic Yoghurt’. The words ‘Fresh’ and ‘Organic’ are the power words.

Be careful how you use these words and don’t use too many but slot one in the subject and first line and a couple in the main body of the email.

Here’s a few power words:

  • New
  • Fresh
  • Improved
  • Safe
  • Proven
  • Easy

Don’t overdo it and stay away from clichés but try to slot a few in here and there.

Download a PDF with lots of Power & Sell words.

Move to part 7

In the next post of the series we’re going to look at segmenting your mailing list which can bring your more engagement, leads and sales.