Email Marketing: Designing for Fast Approvals
Many factors will assist in determining how well a design is received by a client. As designers, we can never control every aspect as personal preference, experience and taste make up a large portion of how each person views a certain piece of work. However, we can get very close on the first try by following three simple guidelines:
1. Know the Brand
The most important step in graphic design is familiarity with the brand you are designing for. If a brand guide is available then read it several times and don’t skip straight to the visuals − read everything. If a brand guide isn’t provided then you need to dig a little deeper. Generally, a good first step is to visit the brand’s website (assuming they have one) and take note of the colours, fonts, layout style, buttons, and stock photos. These are the main components that when matched correctly will ensure a design appears associated with the brand. Personally I like to find that single element on a brand’s page that really pops and I make sure to include that element in any mock-ups. It could be a small icon they use repeatedly or perhaps it’s a rounded green call out box… you will know it when you see it. A simple test is to try blurring your eyes and see what jumps out. If you can match the brand you are halfway to getting your creative approved.
2. Know the Industry
Another step that shouldn’t be overlooked is research into your client’s industry. Not doing this background check can easily turn what you thought was a great design solution into a useless pile of pixels. Various industries will have differing visual trends and without matching the trend to the industry you may cause subliminal confusion with potential customers. For example, if we are designing an email for a financial institution, using a textured background and animated gif’s might not work as well as a basic colour scheme and simplified layout. The other advantage of taking a look at what’s out there is that you get an idea of what works, what doesn’t and what could possibly be improved. Perhaps most of the competition is using a callout box on the right for a featured offer. You could opt for a horizontal callout spanning the full page width and still maintain the trend of having a feature section above the fold and, the layout change could improve overall metrics.
3. Get Creative
It’s not enough to just match the branding or industry trends, you need to brainstorm and really commit yourself to creating something they’ll be proud to display. Every client has an objective and, as designers it’s our job to help them meet that objective. It could be as simple as “we need more subscribers” or “we need to get the word out regarding a change in policy”. If you have a client brief you can usually ascertain the objective quite quickly. Without a brief you may need to probe a little more. Keep both the problem and the solution in mind as you design and at the end of the day ask someone else’s opinion on the outcome; see if you hit the mark or if you need to revise slightly before passing it on to the client.
Utilizing the above tips will in most cases ensure either minimal changes or a quick sign-off. Keep in mind that design plays a very important supportive role to an overall communication. The idea isn’t to overwhelm with visuals, but rather to set the mood, reinforce the brand, create a pleasant reading experience and simplify the message through the use of graphics.