How to Build the Best Marketing Email

12 Dec 2022

For today’s blog post, I will talk about the importance of building your email templates. In particular, your marketing emails that go out to targeted audiences. To begin with, here are some background thoughts on business emails. 

The ability to drive marketing email campaigns is central to most CRM solutions today. All the components are there: customers, prospects, areas of interest, location, and buying habits to name just a few. Email marketing is (still) a huge industry, that is showing no signs of disappearing anytime soon.

Why stick with Marketing Email?

Let’s be honest – it has fierce competition. Wherever you look, businesses are pushing themselves onto you. Print, television, streaming services, and social media are all full of it. Of course, these are all very useful channels but I think email has a couple of big advantages over, say, social channels. Let me explain why:

Firstly, it has longevity. An ad on television lasts a few seconds. You no doubt scroll through hundreds of ads on social media without even noticing they are there. But an email can sit in your inbox for much longer. Even if the recipient doesn’t open the email, they still get to see the subject line and sender. So you are getting your name in front of people.

B2B and When to Send

In a B2B environment, the email channel becomes even more relevant. Most people’s work will involve sending and receiving emails at some point, and so you are using the very medium that your prospects and customers are likely to be. So – you are reaching your audience on the platform they will be using during their working day.

Hopefully, I have convinced you that marketing emails are still an important thing to do. Having mentioned how a CRM can help, there is still – perhaps the most important factor – still to take care of.

The Email Template Itself

It doesn’t really matter how good your list-building skills are, if you aren’t sending the right message. Your marketing email template is your calling card. It is how your customers perceive your brand, so you can’t afford to be sloppy. However, if you put something together that is very presentable, it can really elevate your brand. As such, it needs some due consideration.

How should your marketing email look? 

Overall look. Images? Bold headers? Photos and/ or drawings? Stock images or DIY?

A good starting point is to work with a template design tool. Tools such as Stripo or MailChimp are great for a number of reasons. Firstly, you don’t need to be a coder to use them. The interface is user-friendly, so you can learn the template design as you go. The more skills you pick up, the more ideas you can interpret into your email. I really like the drag-and-drop aspect as it means you can play around with the look and feel without causing yourself a headache. 

How it looks to you, is also how it should look to your readers

People view their emails in various different ways. It might be on a pc or laptop, or it could be on a tablet or a phone. Each of those variants also has its differences – depending on the device or email client used. There are plenty of products such as Email on Acid or Litmus, that will replicate your email on different devices and screens so you can double-check your output. Even better, a full Stripo subscription also has this feature embedded. 

It is worth spending time on your template design. Ideally, you won’t just use it once and then create your next email from scratch. With the framework of your template in place, you can recycle it many times, changing the words and images to create new iterations. 

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What About Wording?

Now you have the look and feel sorted, it’s time to think about your content. In the step above, you should have planned for a certain amount of text – time to work on your words. Do you try and project a particular image for your brand? Is there a look and feel associated with your products and services? If so, do you want the template to reflect that? If your tone is friendly and casual, then you don’t want an overly formal email. On the other hand, for other brands, a lighter, overly friendly email will not resonate with your audience. 

It is worth having a look at services such as Grammarly to help here. As well as the obvious grammar and spell-checking, this also checks for clarity, engagement and the overall “mood” of your marketing email. You know when sometimes it is worth getting someone to proof-read your work – this is the virtual equivalent. 

What Is Your Call To Action (CTA)? 

As well as images and text, there will be some CTAs that you want to fulfil with your email. This might be a drive to get customers to visit your website, or to fill out a survey. Generally, these interactions are driven by the recipient clicking on a link, or what we call a click-through. You can then tally and report on the number of click-throughs, which is a typical success benchmark for an email campaign. In addition to counting those clicks, you can also track the number of people who have opened an email This gives you stats such as an open rate, a click-through rate and inevitably an unsubscribe rate.  

It is worth knowing that more and more businesses and consumers are adding layers of protection to digital aspects of their business. One such feature is where an email client will scan an incoming email to check for malicious content. Effectively, that means the client is opening and clicking the links – before the recipient has even read the email. Due to this, your click and open rates are reasonable ballpark/ benchmark figures, but should not be taken as gospel. 

About Commercial Benchmarks

Whilst clicks and opens are nice stats to view, they probably don’t pay the bills. Things get interesting when you also associate the value of Opportunities, Quotes, Sales Orders or Invoices that were a direct result of your marketing. That really helps define the Return On Investment (ROI) of your marketing efforts. 

Steer Away from Spam

For all of the above to be successful, you need to make sure your content doesn’t attract the attention of spam checkers. There are a couple of things you can do. The first – important – step, is to get your SPF or DKIM record set up. When you are emailing via a platform such as OpenCRM on behalf of your business./ domain, you need to set this proof of legitimacy up.

The second thing you can do is run your marketing email through a checker to test the quality of your email. We use a product called Mail Tester which allows us to do an appraisal of our email before we send it. Highly recommended! 

Personalise It

As you are sending the email from your CRM system, there is a whole host of information that you could copy into your template. Plenty of studies have shown that an email gets a better response if it is personalised. The obvious example is starting an email with an informal “Hi John”, without needing to manually enter John or Jane’s name into the email, using what we call a merge variable, you post a look-up to the value held in a field on the contact record in your CRM, and the system does the rest.  

Build Your Audience

As well as deciding on the message, you need to identify who is the right audience. Historically, email marketing tended to focus on bulk mailshots – blasting a mail out to as many people as possible in the hope that a few will take the bait. Things have progressed massively in recent years and it is far more beneficial to segment your data and find target audiences who will find your marketing email relevant. If you send an email to 1000 people and get 10 clicks, or send 100 emails to also get 10 clicks, it makes so much sense to mail to a smaller audience. The key is to look at your data, and see what criteria you can use to segment those people. 

The Whole Process

To illustrate the process of creating a campaign, adding recipients and putting a template together, we have produced this 45-minute webinar which walks you through the whole marketing email process – why not take a look?