Email marketing can be an incredibly useful channel in the right hands. The right mix of design, content, and calls to action can hook your audience. A solid campaign also reinforces your branding and keeps your business front-of-mind with customers.
Creating engaging email campaigns is key. As long as you’re creating useful and relevant content, you can hold subscriber attention. But, businesses and marketers often slip into a state where email campaigns become little more than brand and product blasts.
These offerings have little substance beyond trying to score an immediate sale. Your customers do want to hear about updates and special offers. But, they don’t want to hear them all time.
If you’re struggling to create more engaging email campaigns, try implementing some of the following ideas. Plus, email campaign inspo, templates, and how to build your own aesthetic in Create.
How to Create Valuable Content
During a rebrand, United Capital took the opportunity to shift its approach to content, as well. Instead of only including curated content in newsletters, the company linked to original, value-added content within its own blog. Integrating that original content spurred a 145% engagement increase in the weekly newsletter.
When building more engaging email campaigns, look first at the content. Simply put, it needs to be worth reading.
To create more engaging content, keep these sources in mind:
- Look at social insights to see what post topics get the most engagement.
- Identify which topics are frequently discussed in community sites and forums. What’s trending?
- What kind of content can you build around the most popular FAQs? What can you create that’s helpful to your audience?
- Are there topics you can target that aren’t directly related to your product/service but run parallel to your niche or business? Consider other interests your customers share.
1. Use Visuals
Data shared by HubSpot and Buzzsumo shows that social posts that include visuals (images or video) consistently perform better and receive more engagement. The same tactic can be applied to create more engaging email campaigns.
Simply using the word “video” in an email subject line can boost open rates by 19% and click-throughs by as much as 65%.
This is easy to implement:
- Include thumbnails when linking to articles and blogs
- Embed social cards from social media posts/channels
- Embed video rather than just linking to it
- Use eye-catching images and stock photos, especially with your hero image
2. Keep Your Emails Brief
Mobile devices account for approximately half of all email opens according to a number of sources cited by Email Monday. Despite higher open rates, the click-through rates on mobile (phones and tablets) is only a fraction of desktop engagement and clicks.
Mobile users aren’t likely to settle in for a lengthy read. They’re more likely to check, open, and skim the content quickly. Still, when building your content, be sure to account for mobile sizing, otherwise you’ll lose a huge part of your audience.
Stick with the “less is more” mantra. Link to an article with minimal preview text or just a title, don’t write blocks of text, and keep your calls to action brief and powerful.
3. Change the Frequency of Email
Your subscribers want to hear from you, but they don’t want to hear from you daily. Depending on what you’re sending and your industry, each week might even be too much.
The biggest turnoffs with email marketing are receiving too many emails (44%) and irrelevant emails (37%).
If you send frequent emails and find engagement and subscriber drop off with each email, consider testing a change in email frequency.
4. Try a New Email Template Design
Visuals matter a lot with email marketing. A poorly designed template can tank engagement rates when there are navigation issues, or if the elements just aren’t visually appealing. In some cases, there’s really nothing wrong with your template. But, you can still improve it in order to boost email engagement.
That was the case with Dell.
While transitioning to a new email provider, Dell took the opportunity to change and split test a new email template. The email campaigns often saw a lot of email-to-site traffic, but via the navigation coded into the email templates.
Dell moved the navigation from the email header to the footer with the idea that the clicks wouldn’t be lost, but instead refocused to the hero image or core message of the email campaigns.
The result was a double-digit increase in engagement as customers were driven to the primary call-to-action more consistently.
Don’t be afraid to test out new templates and email layouts to drive customer attention and improve engagement. Split testing can provide the best insight into how design iterations perform and how you can continue to improve engagement rates.
5. Segment Your Email Lists
When you send too many irrelevant messages to your subscribers, you’ll struggle with email engagement and unsubscribes will increase with each campaign.
You can avoid this by segmenting your lists. Use tags and categorize customers based on a variety of data you likely already have. Segmentation ensures specific email campaigns are only viewed by the intended audience.
According to data shared by Campaign Monitor, segmented emails can drive much higher engagement and as much as a 760% increase in revenue. And, customers love this kind of personalization.
According to Martech, creating more personalized experiences via email and other channels make customers feel valued and appreciated.
Most platforms have built in support for segmentation with presets along with the ability to segment by your own set of custom rules. And, it works.
Dormify struggled with a batch-and-blast approach to email that blanketed its subscribers with the same content. Then, it switched to a segmented, personalized approach by sending the most appropriate content to select groups. The brand saw an instant boost in engagement and a 92% increase in revenue generated by its email campaigns.
Top 3 Email Design Tips
Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to consider design. Without the right aesthetic for your brand, viewers can get confused and travel their way down the email to that dreaded Unsubscribe button.
A few tips to start? You got it!
1. Align With Your Brand
Aligning with your brand takes many forms. Use brand colors, establish brand voice, and build brand awareness. Every brand should have a signature look, including brand fonts, colors, and a business logo.
When identifying your brand voice, ask yourself:
- What’s your brand personality?
- What are your brand values?
- What’s the company’s mission?
Once you identify your message, you can decide how to deliver it. Are you witty, charming, and sarcastic? Knowledgable, authoritative, and poised?
Once you have a direction, you can start crafting your content schedule!
2. Build a Content Calendar
Now, while we mentioned being mindful about email frequency, your schedule should still be consistent. Decide whether to send a quarterly, monthly, or bi-monthly email. Build a content calendar in a spreadsheet so you can organize content and avoid repetition.
Quality brands are reliable brands. For those awaiting your next email, be sure not to disappoint.
Once you have a consistent email branding look, you’ll want to align your social platforms and website with a similar aesthetic. Yes, the email campaign should be a bit different than everything else (otherwise, why would folks tune in?), but an overarching look is key.
Plus, email campaigns are the perfect place to insert icons for social linking to drive traffic everywhere.
Email Design Inspo for the Taking
Now, it’s time for email templates! We’ve got small and medium email template sizes, email headers, and email signatures for the taking.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
3 Medium Email Templates
Small and medium email templates are perfect for announcements, updates, and education. Use creative borders, sections, and call-to-action (CTA) buttons for quick conversions.
1. Seasonal Sales All Year Long
Make your email template a one-stop-shop for both pertinent info and design. Celebrate the turn of the season or a summery holiday with your brand name, headline info, sub-headline, and fine print details.
Insert all of your online platforms so folks can follow you, too! Entice customers with a loyalty gift or giveaway.
2. What Would Love Do?
Love would give, of course! Don’t wait until Valentine’s Day to customize an inviting, floral look like this one.
Use solid backgrounds paired with images—either personal pics or ones from our infinite stock photo library. Make that CTA button nice and bright for easy access. Sweet!
3. Black, White, and Awesome All Over
Create a timeless look with a bold, black and white color scheme. So long as these classic tones aren’t off-brand, you’re sure to hook folks instantly. Consider color psychology as you build. Different colors hold different meanings.
Here? We’ve got elegance, sophistication, and a whole lotta suave.
If you don’t want a full email template, consider a captivating email header instead. Keep eyes on the screen for longer periods with a slick vibe, a logo, and welcoming text (including fonts!). Email headers are easily editable for weekly, monthly, or quarterly updates.
Here are a few options . . .
1. Winter Is Coming
Welcome in a new month with a new email header! One of the goals to successful email marketing is bringing attention to things that easily get lost in the day to day.
Help people slow down to remember the days, months, and reasons to celebrate!
2. Sweet Summatime
Been away for a while? Show your subscribers what you’ve been up to! Customize with festive images, color schemes, and a personal pic. This style works well for the bloggers, influencers, and lifestyle models of the world.
3. Say Thanks for Being Here!
Make it known why you’re reaching out. Everyone loves a sentimental thank you email with genuine sentiments. Be honest, open, and real about your journey.
Remind people what their support means to you and you’ll never go wrong.
3 Email Signatures
Email signatures are the new, digitized business card. While you might print business cards, email signatures live at the bottom of your email.
Can you say, free exposure? Include all the basic info regarding how to reach you, your socials, and website for more traffic.
Here are a few sweet email signature ideas . . .
1. Black and Yellow Shapes
Create’s editing tools make it oh so easy to implement shapes into your designs. In the tool, simply click Shapes, pick your favorites, then fill them with a brand color.
Pair it with the background and you’re set! Plus, add text to ensure everyone sees all of your contact info in one fell swoop.
If you’re looking for a design accent, why not texturize your bottom banner? In Create, simply highlight the background of one design layer, then click Textures to pick your favorite. For this one, we chose one from the Boards category.
Highlight your contact info so it’s a can’t-miss on the screen.
3. Collage Style
Why not show your face to make your signature more professional? Customize this template, or simply click the Collage tool in Create to customize your cells.
Drag each to adjust the size, then place your headshot in one, logo in another, and your contact info to top it all off.
Building engagement is crucial to growing customer retention. While it may seem like an insurmountable challenge at first, it doesn’t take much to start seeing a shift in the right direction.
The right combination of content, design, segmentation, personalization, and timing can break down walls and capture the attention of your email subscribers.
So, what are you waiting for? Hop into Create and give it a go!
License this cover image mockup via Roman Samborskyi and Farah Sadikhova.