Choosing and Formatting Your Template

The Complete Guide to Email Marketing

So here we are at the heart of what you're going to send your subscribers. Before you write anything, you've got to decide on the design of the email. Email marketing has come a long way since it began, and a good web-based email marketing software package should walk you through the process.
Choose a Template Type First
Here's an analogy for you: You're building a new home from the ground up. Does it make sense to buy the furniture before you buy the house? Before you can write a thing, you'll have choices. Email Templates are your friends. Not only can they help you choose the right look for your company, they are categorized by communication type. We mentioned a few of these in the campaign section, but let's take a closer look at what they are right here:

Newsletter A newsletter is probably the most used and least threatening type of marketing you can send your customer. It really is a generally-toned, multiple-sectioned communications piece that reads like a mini-newspaper. You'll have information sections that brand your store, service or products. You might have promotional sections, a place for a survey and maybe an e-coupon. The focus here is content of varying types that all have one purpose in mind: the general promotion of your company.

Promotions A promotional email has only one purpose: hyping a product or service. This focused communication will stick to one topic and is much shorter than a newsletter. Give the customer the facts: what it is, how much it is, and why they need it.

Event Invitations If you know the difference between a proper wedding invitation versus an announcement in a newspaper, then you'll see the benefit of having a special template section dedicated to promoting your company's special event. An email event invite has to do two things: generate interest and convince the recipient that they've got something to leave the house for.

Holiday Templates After you've sent your customer newsletters and special promotions, you might be looking for another excuse to send them marketing. This is the beauty of the holiday template. While it might be easy for a subscriber to decide they're not in the mood for you newsletter, they may open your newsletter because it has a holiday theme. Why? Holidays make people happy. It's a day to celebrate, take time off or even share something in common.

While you could just put specials on a Thanksgiving template, you can also be a bit more subtle about it. If you sent out a Thanksgiving themed newsletter with nothing but facts about the holiday, a little history and maybe reasons people in your community are thankful, you'll accomplish a longer term goal: your subscribers will recognize your newsletter as entertaining and thought provoking and will be likely to open more of them in the future. You'll be in their minds, too, and you never had to try to sell a thing.

Press Release If you have important company news that needs to go to newspapers, magazines, bloggers, etc, they'll expect the communication in a certain format in a way that informs, but doesn't necessarily have a direct sales tone. Picking the template is a good start, but there are rules that you simply must follow if you want don't want the editors and reporters hitting the delete button.

Can I Use My Own HTML Code?
Sure. It should be as to insert your own email HTML code or to tweak existing code. Most people don't, but that should never mean that you can't if you have that skill set.