Email is the most cost-effective, direct way to reach your customers. While it may seem straightforward, it can actually be quite difficult to engage your customers. After the email is opened you have about two seconds to grab the reader’s attention and then, if lucky, eight seconds to get your point across. Otherwise it’s quickly overlooked and they move onto the next.

The first step in creating an enticing email is an organized holistic design. A reader needs to open the email and immediately have their eye trained where to go, which is why it’s important that the bulk of your content live “above the scroll.” Readers need to not be overwhelmed or feel flustered when looking at it as a whole. The marketer’s inclination is to make everything stand out, to make everything seem important so that the reader sees it all, when in actuality this will cause them to see nothing. Show them upfront the most important information they need to know.

Below are some tips to make your email visually appealing and digestible.

It’s important from the outset to decide what you’re trying to achieve with an email. Do you want to sell a class pack or do you want to let the reader know about a special event. If it’s the latter, how will you measure your awareness?

This then leads into what action you want the reader to take after seeing your email. For an event, you should have a call to action to RSVP so you can gauge how successful that communication was. You can then cross promote on other channels (Facebook, in studio) and drive to the same RSVP page so you can track the interest and not find yourself under or overwhelmed at the time of the event.

If the goal is to sell, make the offer very clear, speak to its benefits and then provide a way to redeem the offer. If they can buy online, add a call to action button to drive them to your site. If you don’t have that capability, list your phone number or tell them when and where they can purchase in-person.

As mentioned above you have just a couple of seconds to grab a reader’s attention. If they open your email and see a lot of copy they will quickly move on. So you need to be short, direct and to the point. Your copy needs to be arranged in a hierarchy that’s easy to visually follow; having the most important information prominently featured to lead the eye with the supporting details in uniformity. Remember that people are scanning, not reading. Bullet points are a great way to get information across succinctly.

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Stick to a simple color scheme and hierarchical font formatting. If you try to make many things stand out by using different colors, font size and font treatments (such as italics, bold or underline) it ends up making the email look chaotic and unprofessional.

Lastly, don’t forget about mobile. About 50% of emails are opened on smartphones. All of your copy gets scaled down making paragraphs to even just a couple of sentences, illegible. Use a larger font size (~15pt) and less words so it’s still clear and crisp to the mobile-reading eye. And use call to action buttons for easy clicking. Going with a mobile-first approach ensures your emails are clear everywhere.

The idea of a newsletter is so appealing. You put everything you have to say in one place and deliver it in a neat package to the consumer who takes it all in and knows everything that’s going on at your studio. Except they don’t, because they don’t read it. When’s the last time you spent even three whole minutes really reading a marketing email?

For important topics, do a dedicated email. Short is better. The reader quickly takes in what’s going on, decides to participate or not, then moves on without feeling bothered.

That said, roundups can have their place. When putting several topics in one email keep it simple and high-level. Stick to the main points with CTAs to read more on your website. 

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In the next installment of our series, we’ll discuss targeting, personalization and tracking. Stay tuned!