Automated Email Design for Hands-Off Marketing

Knowledge is a core value at SCG. This weekly column highlights something interesting learned recently by one of our team members. We hope you find it intriguing and informative.

We have been discussing email marketing quite a bit here at SCG recently. It’s a core part of our offerings to clients, and we scale to suit each organization’s need—whether it’s as basic as an RSS email campaign, or more involved like a targeted email to a specific group of customers.

We make this easier on ourselves and more cost-effective for clients by automating many of these campaigns. But how do we make these “hands-off” campaigns still look personal and compelling? I took the opportunity to review some guides from our friends at Mailchimp to get their latest tips and tricks:

Make it Personal

If your list has enough information, utilize Mailchimp’s merge tags to flow in things like recipient names dynamically, which gives your email a more human, natural feel. If your list is inconsistent in format, you can even use a simple “If/Else” statement to address your recipient more formally. For example, if you have first names for some members of your list but not all, your email can say either “Dear Robby” or “Dear Customer,” depending on whether the name is available for each contact.

Don’t Neglect Accessibility

More than 8 percent of the population has some kind of visual impairment, so it’s important to keep accessibility in mind for your entire audience. Consider a larger font size, both for desktop and mobile, and make sure there is enough contrast between the content and the container. Mailchimp also requires a plain-text version of your campaign so you’re covered for recipients who need to use a screen reader.

Check in Often

“Automated” doesn’t mean “never to be looked at again,” so check in—not specifically with your list, but with your campaign itself. Is it still sending? Is it sending to the right people at the right time? I like to visit my ongoing campaigns regularly to make sure they are still doing the job they were set up to do.

There are many things to consider when creating effective automated email campaigns. Taking the initial time to think of all the moving parts will ultimately save you time and give you a piece that you can truly be proud to send to hundreds of interested parties. If you’d like to see some great examples of email campaigns, check out Really Good Emails for inspiration.

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Robby Cecil

Robby is a print and interactive designer, with an ability to provide production and video editing services. A University of Minnesota grad, Robby earned a B.S. in graphic design and has an innate desire to learn more about the creative industry and the world […] Read Bio »

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