Two Steps to Successful Email Marketing

Jan 20 • Business • 3482 Views

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Don’t believe the “email marketing is outdated” hype. I used to be that person until I realized how many branded emails have provided value to me in recent months. Sale reminders, marketing newsletters and webinar updates. That’s not to say it’s right for everyone to use. Like the social media efforts your brand is already running, email marketing needs to solve a need.


Step one: Solve a need

What does the consumer need to know from you? I need to know when J.Crew is having an extra 30% off of clearance items. I need to know when Pie Five is offering double points. I need Google, Pinterest and reddit advertising to update me on new features and case studies. Basically, I’m lazy, and need information from my favorite places brought to me to read at my convenience. Knowing what consumers want is half the battle.


Step two: Make them click

An ugly or dysfunctional email ruins a great message. Christopher Lester from Emma, an email marketing service, spoke at Dallas Digital Summit 2014 about how to tap into users’ primal brains when designing email campaigns.


More images than text

Images make emails more memorable than blocks of text. We are also instinctively drawn to eyes. Christopher gives a great example of an email with a model looking down in the direction of the call-to-action button. Is it voodoo? Is it instinct? We don’t care so long as it works.


Use buttons

Remember when you were five-years-old and needed to press all the elevator buttons? That desire is still there. According to Christopher, we are programmed to scan pages for disruptions. Making a call-to-action into a button should encourage the user to follow through. If nothing else, the button is what will be remembered from the email. The button can be optimized by making it relevant to the size of a fingertip. Apple recommends 46×46 pixels.



Certain colors provoke emotions out of us. Lester suggests the color blue is a trusting color. If a bank were to roll out a new feature, their email should include a blue call-to-action button for a higher click-through rate. On the contrary, yellow triggers anxiety in the brain, making it a good attention-getting color.


Headlines matter

As you can guess, the headline should stand out. However, according to Lester, this is not the time or place to be witty or use riddles. J.Crew headlines are great example because they are mostly informative but they definitely have a personality. I could picture my friend talking to me when I read it.


What we’ve learned

In order to be the J.Crew of email marketing we have to play on human instinct; the things that gives us a gut reaction in the first three seconds of opening an email. Read more by Christopher himself here (



You have questions or success stories? Tweet them to @ChristopherLester and tag me, @ericakoehler1! I can’t wait to chat about email marketing campaigns with you.



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