5 quick ways to improve your email creative

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Paying attention to these key areas can make real improvements to your final email creative, helping to ensure that all your campaign planning yields the results you are looking for

1. Pictures speak a thousands words

Your use of imagery in your creative will be vital to grab the attention of the reader - so select images that will do just that.

Even with product shots try to make them more interesting by shooting them creatively.

Wherever possible, make images relevant to your title or early copy, this will draw the reader into the remaining copy and thereby encourage them to read what you are trying to communicate.

Images can also create feeling – so use this attribute to match your brand or particular campaign message. If you are looking to communicate a serious message – don't use a jovial image to accompany it. If your brand is relaxed and informal, don’t use an image which portrays the opposite.

Also make sure you add links to your images – encourage clicks at every opportunity.

2. Get creative with your copy

Be as creative and interesting with your copy as is fitting for your business; a joke every other line won’t always be appropriate, but equally don’t drone on for too long about technical specifications.

Make your first piece of copy a summary of your offering. This is often pulled through to the preview in email clients – so take advantage of it and use it to get across a key message.

Use titles, subtitles, paragraphed copy and bullet points where appropriate to lead the reader in a structured way through your email.

You also need to make each element stand alone. Some people will skim read or just read the section which drew their eye initially – so make every area count.

A short but absolutely key part of your copy is the subject line – if people aren’t grabbed immediately by this first piece of copy, they will likely never ready the rest. It’s fair to say you should give the subject line as much consideration, if not more, as the rest of the copy.

3. Length and layout

Keep your email brief and to the point and make your copy succinct.

Don’t let your layout become too crowded. White space is a good feature; it can help to draw the eye to key elements within a piece.

You don’t need to overload your email with too much information. The goal of the piece should be to attract attention, then gain interest. From here you want the reader to take some kind of action...

4. Clear calls to actions

The desired action may be to:

  • click through to your site for more information,
  • visit your store to take you up on your offer,
  • answer your questionnaire,
  • register to attend your event,
  • or maybe simply to call you... or any other action.

Whatever it is, make it clear.

Your Call to Action (CTA) needs to be obvious, so utilise design solutions to make it stand out. These may include its position, size, colour and more. Use tests to identify the most successful solutions.

Depending on the length of your piece, you may have multiple CTAs.

If you are clicking through to a landing page make sure the next step you want them to take is also obvious there.

5. Segmentation, testing and personalisation

Of course, using your data to the best of its ability should involve careful criteria selection and segmentation to ensure you are targeting the email to the right audience for your business or the specific offer.

Testing can also help improve your creative. Test different subject lines to see how this affects open rates, test different positions for your CTA buttons and monitor the effect on click through rates. Plus anything else you think could help drive better response rates.

You can use personalisation relating to the recipient's name, previous purchases and product interest where appropriate, but remember not to go overboard as this can be perceived as intrusive.

Some of the insight you have on the client is best used in a subtle manner, or just as part of selecting clients for receiving different campaigns.

  • How do you select images for your campaigns?
  • Where do you start with your copy?
  • Do you consciously try to make your emails creative in style?
  • Do you feel you are using the appropriate level of personalisation?