Everything from colors, to images, to indentation all play a role in whether someone will read your email or banish it to the Junk or spam folder. A poor email can also reflect badly on your organization, because it can make you look unprofessional. Here are some mistakes in creating email content to avoid in order to encourage your reader to keep coming back (and with great gusto!).
- Don’t… Neglect acknowledging the reader. If you rush right into an email without saying “Hello,” then it seems like you don’t appreciate the people on your contact list. There’s also a chance they won’t remember why they’re receiving the newsletter. Constant Contact has a Greeting option that will automatically greet a contact by name when he or she receives an email, which can help personalize each newsletter.
- Don’t… Put space in the wrong places. White space can help make an email feel less cluttered, but if it’s aligned incorrectly, then you create a lopsided email that’s confusing and hard to navigate. The key is balance: make sure no part of your email is so full of white space that it looks incomplete, and don’t fill up every possible corner.
- Don’t… Use bright colors and fonts that cause physical discomfort. There are few things that will drive readers away faster than a splash of neon yellow against a solid, black background. Putting light text over a dark background can strain a person’s eyes until he or she gives up reading the email completely.
- Don’t… Omit social share buttons, forwarding options, or contact information. If you don’t have any external resources in your newsletter, you’ve made the email a dead-end, which means it’s hard for recipients to follow-through. All email newsletters should drive readers somewhere else, whether it’s a blog, website, or Facebook Page.
- Don’t… Create chunks of text without indents, bullets, numbers, or blocks. In general, email content needs to be spaced out differently from print material. A goal is to make the content scannable so readers are able to skim the newsletter and take something away from it.
- Don’t… Put your company header in a place that doesn’t make sense. Company headers that aren’t at the top of a newsletter can often get overlooked. That will leave readers wondering why the heck they’re getting an email from you in the first place, so it’s important to put your logo at the top of each newsletter.
- Don’t… Experiment with different templates every month – that can frustrate people who are used to one layout and then receive another.
- Don’t… Forget to create a schedule for your email marketing campaigns. Then, contacts will know when to expect each email, and eagerly look forward to it!
The content in this post was culled from my own many years of professional experience in creating and publishing Constant Contact e-newsletters and a Constant Contact blog post about email marketing design tips.