Why your email creative stinks - Nymblesmith
Nymble is a boutique digital content marketing consultancy dedicated to a non-agency approach to agency thinking.
content marketing, content, digital marketing, marketing consultant, marketing services
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Why your email creative stinks

And how to punch up your ROI

There are only two things, really, that define success for your email campaigns. Neither one is a mystery and it doesn’t take a “guru” to figure them out. The number one thing that makes or breaks an email campaign is your list. I could go into depth about lists here, but right now, I have bigger fish to fry.

We’re talking creative here. It’s the simpler, more elegant half of the equation, but it leaves so many marketers scratching their heads.

Why is my email creative failing so miserably?
Again, I could go into all of the many facets of creative work that cause creative to fail once it gets into the market. Once it gets opened. Even some of the things that prevent it from getting opened. There’s coding with nested tables and stacked mailing addresses and all sorts of CSS problems that creep in where they shouldn’t. There’s bad copy and image-heavy design. There’s poor subject line writing and spam triggers and… and… and…

But there is only one real reason the performance of your email creative stinks. You’re not working with someone who understands how to create effective email campaigns. On one hand, your in-house creative team probably doesn’t have the background to handle it properly. On the other hand, the email “guru” your colleague introduced you to is probably full of it. What you need is someone smart, direct and experienced who’s not going to try to pull the wool over your eyes.

There is another thing you should pay attention to. You’re probably insisting on too much personal input and relying too little on testing.

Missed Strategy
The biggest mistake made by marketers who don’t understand email is to include too many different calls to action in each email. As a rule, you should have one topic, and one CTA. Any more than that is confusing to your reader and gives them an opportunity to bail on you. You don’t want that.

Bad Copy
Writers who don’t understand email make many of the same mistakes. They write too long. They don’t understand spam triggers, best practices or even the best calls to action to use. Clarity and simplicity are your two best friends.

Ineffective Design
Email is more of a blunt object than a scalpel. Design for the medium should logically follow. Design should be contemporary and support the message, not the other way around. Designers who know email understand that common practices are there for a reason – readers understand that blue underlines are links, buttons are buttons and animation is distracting and spammy.

Overly Complex Coding
Coding for email is not the same as coding for the web, or mobile apps, or anything else, really. It’s largely HTML 101 that is most effective. Even with responsive design, email clients are not as sophisticated at rendering code as even the simplest browsers. Coders who don’t understand this should stick to what they know and leave email to those of us who know better.

The Solution
Sometimes the sad, old, clichéd sayings are the truest. They call it direct response for a reason. K.I.S.S. Keep it simple stupid. Be clear. Be concise. Be heard. You don’t need a mystic or a guru or an email svengali. But it’s better than even money you need more than your in-house creative generalists.

We at NYMBLE are as good as it gets at email. But we are certainly not the only team out there. We’d love your business, but even if you don’t work with us, do yourself a favor and find a team of email creative experts. Sure, the competition will raise the bar for us, too, but… wait, raising the bar is a good thing, isn’t it? Let’s all start raising the bar. Today.

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