Email Marketing – Design Effective Emails

by · November 8, 2011

Real estate project marketers need to have a diverse variety of skills, from event planning to design to creating brochures, direct mail pieces, and a myriad of other sales materials. At the same time, they often participate in defining and developing the lead nurturing process. Email marketing plays an important role in the marketing of a project, but often the resources to help create the email campaigns and content are scarce.

Have you ever been frustrated when creating an HTML email? If you aren’t an HTML coder, you may be running into frustrating challenges.  You may hear that it’s important to know HTML in order to create an effective email. The truth is, when there are templates available you have a solid platform in which to build your email marketing pieces. It may help to have some HTML experience, but by no means is it mandatory in a world with artfully created templates at your fingertips.

If you are going to use HTML, there are many things to consider when creating an email.  Keep in mind that an HTML email cannot be constructed the same way as a web page. While it’s coded the same way, focusing on your message and keeping it simple gets the best results. Some of the cool things you can do in HTML web pages won’t render properly in certain email providers, so do extensive testing on your email prior to sending.

Here are a few things to remember:

  • Use tables. Email providers use different HTML rendering systems, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, or in many cases Microsoft Outlook, which uses Word to read the HTML code. This can cause a lot of problems in the way the final email looks in different browsers.  A table will allow you more control over where the text and images are placed.
  • Keep your emails to a maximum of 600 pixels wide. By designing your emails for the preview pane, about 600 pixels wide, you ensure that your message will be readable.  A prospect’s view of their preview pane could determine whether they want to learn more, or click quickly away from your email.
  • Don’t assume people are going to see the images. Images can enhance an email, but they should not be there to convey key information.  By default, the majority of recipients will have images turned off. If a recipient can’t understand the message without the photos,  you should rework the email to ensure balance between text and images.
  • Browser-based email providers like Gmail and Hotmail will strip away certain code and CSS (cascading style sheets).  Microsoft is no different. There are even differences between Outlook 2003 and 2007. Background images won’t work in Outlook 2007. Avoid using light and white text, because sometimes background colors don’t work on different platforms.  Keep it simple!

If you are contracting a web developer or designer to create your email, ask them to leave out fancy designs that won’t work and will only cause frustration to your recipients. A good balance of text and images will create a user friendly email that can be read across the board and understood.

For more email suggestions for improved design, development and delivery, view this white paper. Before you know it, you’ll be creating HTML emails like someone who codes them!

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