Archive for January, 2012

Six Do’s and Don’ts of Email Design

Posted in Marketing on January 24, 2012 by wolfwomyn

Let’s face it. The digital space is loaded with messages from a multitude of sources; it’s chaotic at worst and untidy at best. Email inboxes are piled high with work to-dos, newsletters, notes from family, forwards from coworkers—and even the occasional letter from a foreign dignitary enticing the recipient to share bank account information in exchange for countless millions.

The result? Without a well-crafted, clear, and consistent design for your brand, your email is going nowhere in a hurry.

Many businesses use e-newsletters, blogs, and email marketing efforts to complement their Web presence, but these channels aren’t created equal. The design principles and procedures of a successful HTML email campaign are different from those of a standard website.

Instead of employing a one-size-fits-all strategy, consider the following six tips for your next email campaign.

1. Do maintain a balanced ratio of text to images in your emails
Spam filters often look at the text-to-image ratio of an email. So if an email contains excessive images—or, conversely, too much text—it could be flagged as spam, never to be seen by your intended audience.

Properly integrating text with images ensures that your messages can be easily read by recipients; equally as important, doing so ensures that your email stays out of the spam folder.

2. Do assume that embedded images won’t appear properly
If every image in your marketing email is replaced with a tiny red “X,” will you still get your point across?

Email marketers must assume that their messages will be displayed without the images showing. Images might not always translate seamlessly from a Web page to an email campaign, and many email clients don’t automatically display images without prompting the user to first take action (e.g., “click here to view images” or “right click, then download images”).

It’s imperative that your key messages—the information that you most want your readers to take away from the email—aren’t embedded within an image. Instead, use HTML body copy to deliver the most important information you want to convey to customers.

Also, if the images don’t appear, how will your email look? Make sure to use height, width, and alt attributes for every image tag. Doing so will ensure that images are replaced with an empty block the same size as the image, keeping formatting and layout intact.

3. Do provide a backup option for emails with image-rich backgrounds
Popular mail clients such as Gmail and Microsoft Outlook don’t provide support for background images. Provide a secondary option, such as a colored background, if an image serves as the backdrop of your email.

HTML allows both an image and a color to be coded in the same tag, which means that if a mail client supports background images, the images will be displayed; if it doesn’t, then the chosen color will appear as the email background instead.

4. Don’t kick HTML to the curb
Not every email client interprets HTML code the same way, and the vast majority of mail programs will not load your style the way you had intended. Some programs, like Thunderbird, have nearly flawless support for that kind of design. Others, such as Lotus Notes, have almost none. Keep in mind that email clients will remove JavaScript for security reasons, and cascading style sheets (CSS) must be used in-line and not in style blocks.

Because you don’t know which client your readers will use to open your message, rely more heavily on HTML coding.

5. Don’t avoid using a table of contents for emails with multiple sections
The more content an email includes, the more important organization becomes. If an email contains several sections, create a simple yet eye-catching table of contents to appear just beneath the company logo or header.

To make navigating easier for readers, consider linking items in the table of contents to the corresponding areas within the email so readers can effortlessly jump to the areas that are most important to them.

6. Don’t leave out a call to action
Every email should be constructed to present the most important and relevant information first.

Whether your objective is to entice your audience to click a link, tell them about a new service or product, or simply share news and updates, you don’t want your readers to have to sift through an abundance of information to find what interests them. Instead, place your call to action at the top of the message, where readers are most likely to see and internalize it.

Source: Marketing Profs
article by John Murphy

How a Typo Can Hurt Your Business

Posted in Business, Websites on January 17, 2012 by wolfwomyn

“Have you noticed spelling errors on the websites of major, legitimate retailers and/or service providers?” asks Julia Rubiner in the Editorial Emergency newsletter. “The answer is almost certainly ‘no.'” Large corporations set a high bar for the rest of us: A single error looks sloppy and unprofessional to visitors, who are used to polished online copy. But the ramifications can be worse than making a bad impression.

Typos on your homepage, landing pages and product pages aren’t just embarrassing; they might actually hurt your business. Rubiner points to a BBC News article that provides anecdotal—but startling—evidence of a misspelled word’s negative impact on income: After a spelling error was corrected at tightsplease.co.uk, the online retailer’s revenue per visitor doubled.

“I like to think this is attributable to widespread disdain for spelling errors,” she notes, “but it’s not; it’s attributable to shoppers wary of fraud.” According to Rubiner, many people associate typos with phishers and con artists. “[I]t positively screams ‘fly-by-night operation,'” she explains.

In an ironic twist, customers who notice misspelled words might suspect your website is merely pretending to be your website. Or—if they’re unfamiliar with your brand—they might worry that you’re not even a real company. That’s when they’ll decide to withhold their personal information and credit-card numbers. And a valuable click-through becomes a lost sale.

The Po!nt: Clean it up. Any copy destined for your website or your email campaigns should be spell-checked and then printed out for a hard-copy proofread. “Your bottom line will thank you,” Rubiner concludes.

Source:Get to the Source/Email marketing &
Editorial Emergency.

Happy New Year

Posted in Uncategorized on January 3, 2012 by wolfwomyn

Another year has gone by and we are embarking on the New Year.  I’ll start again with the interesting articles that I find next week.  With all of the ups and downs of the economy many small business owners, actually everyone, have been struggling.  It seems as though things are turning around, I sincerely hope so.  I wanted to take today to wish you all a very profitable, and happy New year!