Customize Your Template's Sections

The Complete Guide to Email Marketing

Just like a house, email templates come fully functional with a design that works. But that doesn't mean that it works for you each and every time. Lucky for you, adding new sections and deleting unwanted sections is easier than hiring a construction crew.
Make Your Rich-Content Decisions Now
You can write all you want in the next section, but here's the place to think about what you want to put in your newsletter. Some templates have places to put in images, some don't, but don't worry: You can add any type of section to any template. It's also at this point that you'll insert them, too. What kind of content can you put in?
Links
You probably want to keep your customer inside your newsletter as long as possible. But you also might need them to go to your website for a purchase or to direct them to a place they need to visit. It's good practice to include at least five to ten links in each newsletter. Especially since adding links to an email is so easy.
Pictures
The old saying is true, no matter how cliché it sounds: a picture really is worth a thousand words. Remember that pictures are copyrighted. That doesn't mean you have to own every graphic you use. Sites like Corbis, Getty Images and Photospin.com offer the license or use of images for a fee. There are many places that offer images for free to use under a creative commons license.

Upload your pictures as you go. But you'll really save time when you build an online image gallery and can quickly grab from those pictures when building new emails.
Video
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth a million! We'll stop with the benefits explanation and assume that you just want to do it. The way it's integrated is key here.

If you filmed your own video, put it on your desktop, then tried to embed that giant file in your email, you'd have emails that are too large to send around and angry subscribers that suffer from clogged email inboxes. There's also the issue of codecs – the algorithms used to make large videos small enough for web delivery. There are hundreds of them and if you've encoded your video with a codec that your subscriber doesn't have on their machine, they won't be able to play your video because their machine simply isn't speaking that language.

Sites like YouTube and Vimeo let you upload your video while encoding it in a variety of sizes to a format that almost any web visitor can see. You'll most likely be putting your videos up on these sites anyway (to take advantage of viral marketing), because it means you don't have to send the video around to everyone individually, just a link to it. And although you could put a link to the video in your newsletter, sites like YouTube and Vimeo offer you embed codes. All you have to do is copy those codes and paste them in the editor. Like magic, your video is hosted in your newsletter, only without all the file size. What's really happening is a thumbnail image of your video is embedded in the email itself. When your subscriber clicks it to play it, your entire newsletter is opened in a browser and your video is automatically playing from within. Genius, we think.
Surveys & Polls
Although you could dedicate an entire email message to these tools, you can also embed them right in your newsletter. Maybe at the end of an article, you can offer up a quick survey. Why would you do this? First, people love to respond to these things. It makes your email communication truly interactive as they feel they are a part of a live event and can instantly view how their answers stack up against the rest of the population. More importantly, all these answers are tools for you. You can use the answers from online surveys and polls to better your service or segment your list for future targeted email campaigns.
Anchors
When you insert an anchor point, you have basically inserted a bookmark inside your newsletter that you can link to from anywhere within your newsletter. Why would you want to do that? Maybe you have a longer newsletter and want to list a table of contents with clickable links that go right to the sections that people are interested in. You also might want to reference an earlier promotion or section with a clickable text link in a later section.
Contact Details
Of course, your emails will only go to those that you've chosen on your list. But maybe you don't want to start out the newsletter with a generic salutation like "Dear Subscriber" or "Dear Friends." Wouldn't it be nicer if every person that received your newsletter actually saw their name after the word "Dear"? Now you wouldn't want to individually type that in each of your emails and hit send, would you? Instead, insert a contact detail here. You can choose from any field so long as that that information is in your list database. It's not just limited to first and last names. Examples:

Dear firstname,
We have deals in City
We have deals this week on Custom Product
Drag-n-Drop Section Editing Helps
Though the above features might sound too powerful to be easy, the drag-n-drop editor makes them easy to implement. You can add and subtract exactly what you need. Maybe you don't need three article sections, but you want more places for pictures and logos. Perhaps you need a video inserted or you want to vary up the order of the sections.

Start Simply
All these features are powerful, but trying to throw them all in might not be important to your customer. Remember to stick with what you need to inform, entertain or entice the subscriber without overwhelming them. You wouldn't walk into your house and turn on the heater, fireplace, television, radio, microwave and computer all at the same time, would you?

Now You're Ready to Write
It seems like we took a long time to get here, but here's another analogy for you. Imagine going to a play or concert. How much effort and time went into the preparation of the event so that you could enjoy a flawless performance? The practice of the performers. The building or preparing or the arena. The design of the costumes. The planning of the showtimes.

Taking the time on the mechanics ahead of time helps you deliver your content flawlessly. But again, the software you choose really matters. If it's designed right, you should be able to click and choose through all these things in a matter of minutes.