Monthly Archives

June 2018

Useful Email Marketing Resources for Small Businesses

By Uncategorized

Finding email marketing resources for small businesses often seems like an impossible challenge. It's clear that there are plenty of expensive resources in place for corporations and big businesses with massive budgets and years of experience, but what about those of us who are just starting out?

Here are some of our top recommendations for useful email marketing resources designed to help out small businesses.

Stage One: Planning and strategy

One of the first big steps to take when planning your email marketing campaign is developing an email marketing strategy unique to your business. In our experience, blogs are a great place to find ideas and tips about best practice for email marketing.

There are loads of email marketing blogs out there but two which we would really recommend are the Email on Acid blog and the Campaign Monitor blog. Both of these are run by email experts and regularly cover a wide range of interesting topics. It's definitely worth checking them out.

SendGrid also offer a ton of useful email marketing resources for small businesses, such as this guide.

Use email marketing blogs to get ideas and tips

Stage Two: Design inspiration

Even if you don't have a professional designer on hand, or if you're just starting out, you don't need to panic! There are plenty of resources out there to provide you with design inspiration and cool ideas for your next email.

Really Good Emails is a great resource for businesses looking for ideas. They post best practice examples of really good email designs (the clue is in the name really) to inspire businesses and designers.

Really Good Emails showcases some of the best email designs

Pinterest is also a great tool for your business. Thousands of designers use Pinterest to collect ideas and inspiration, and it's easy to find amazing email designs to help you gain some new ideas. Create your own board of pins, or check out our huge selection of curated email design examples.

Check out Pinterest for creative inspiration

Stage Three: Creating your email

There's no beating around the bush here, HTML can be hard work. Especially for small businesses and startups with a lot going on, email design can be time consuming, and, if you don't know the ins and outs of coding, it can also be expensive to try and hire someone who does.

With Mail Designer 365, you can make the most of a drag and drop email builder with countless design resources and creative tools for building mobile-responsive email designs. Sign up for free here to test Mail Designer 365 for yourself.

Mail Designer 365 is brilliant for quickly creating stunning HTML emails

Another great tool to help you build up your email is Unsplash. The Unsplash platform offers you free access to a huge library of license-free stock photos to use in your email designs.

These images are fully licensed for use in both creative and commercial ventures, so you can find the perfect image for your design without having to worry about high costs or copyright issues. The best part? Unsplash is fully integrated within the Mail Designer 365 app, so you can search for amazing, high-quality images with no extra hassle.

Explore Unsplash for a huge range of license-free photos

Stage Four: Compatibility check

One hugely popular resource for testing the compatibility of your HTML email is Litmus. Litmus is a great resource, as it allows you to preview your email in dozens of different email clients, and also offers tools for spam testing.

Litmus is a good option for compatibility testing if you have the budget.

Included in the price of a Mail Designer 365 plan, users also have access to the Test Flight feature. With this, you can send a test version of your email design to up to 8 different email addresses for inbox preview.

By using test accounts from the most popular email clients (e.g. Outlook, Apple Mail, Gmail, etc.), you will still gain a pretty good overview of your design's compatibility:

Mail Designer 365's Testflight service for testing emails before sending

In terms of spam testing, you can use the free spam checker at mail-tester.com to find out how your email rates in terms of spam filters etc. Also not a bad idea for those of you looking to save money.

Check your email for spam risks at mail-tester.com

Stage Five: Email Service Providers

After you've tested your email and been given the all clear, you're ready to send. There are tonnes of different services available for you to use to send your emails, but one of the most popular options is MailChimp. With flexible plans and the option to directly send emails from Mail Designer 365, this is definitely a resource we would recommend.

Depending on the size of your email list and the volume of emails you send out per month, you may even be able to use MailChimp completely for free.

Send directly via MailChimp in Mail Designer 365

Stage Six: Performance review

The work isn't over just because you've sent your email out! You want to be able to check how well your email performed so you can improve your strategy and start the cycle all over again for next time. Good marketing is all about learning and adapting from past experiences.

One great tool to help you keep track of your email performance is Google Analytics. You can set up Google tracking links to help you assess how many of your readers clicked on a particular link in your email. For more detailed advice on how to set this up, check out this guide.

Use Google Analytics to check your email's performance

We hope that you find these email marketing resources for small businesses helpful in planning and creating your next email campaigns.

Until next time!

Your Mail Designer 365 Team

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Best Google Fonts for Business Email Designs

By Uncategorized

Professionalism, branding, and consistency are all hugely important in business designs, which could put many users off the idea of web fonts. Of course, it's easy to stick to the familiar email-safe fonts we are used to, but actually, there are fair few web fonts out there which you can use to create professional, refined email designs that still look good.

Here's our quick guide on the best Google fonts for business designs.

Quick reminder

Before you get started, as much as we encourage you to try out these business-style fonts, please remember to include at least one fallback font in the style section of your design. While the majority of email clients nowadays do support web fonts, there are still some that don't (*ahem* we're looking at you Outlook...) You can easily configure a fallback font for every text style in Mail Designer 365 by clicking on "Add fallback font." This font will then be displayed if the web font is not supported.

Always add an email-safe fallback font to your text style

Open Sans

To kick things off, we're starting with our go-to font, Open Sans. Open Sans is a great choice for minimalist business designs. With a variety of different styles available, there is something for everyone. Use the "Light" style for modern, stylish feel in your meeting minutes, or go all out and define key points with "Bold" or "Extrabold."

Open Sans is great for minimalist business designs

Roboto

Similar to Open Sans, Roboto is a very simple all-rounder. This clear, easy to read font style is perfect for the main text of your newsletter and still makes a change from the likes of Arial and Times New Roman. Because this is such a simple typeface, it is easy to pair with another, more unique font (e.g. your logo or typical brand font) without appearing to clash or be distracting.

Roboto is a clean option for professional newsletter text

Athithi

Athithi is a nice choice for a tech newsletter. If your business is tech oriented or you work in the IT business, you might want to try using this font to add a modern twist to your design while still remaining serious and professional. Try using "Medium" or "Bold" to give your headlines some emphasis.

Athithi is a stylish choice for tech firms

Cormorant Infant

Breaking away from the sans serif styles, Cormorant Infant is a serif font which offers a much more traditional feel. While sans serif fonts are more modern and simplified, serif fonts are great for the more classical business vibe. Try using "Bold" for an assertive headline for your business consultancy agency or legal practice. Alternatively, "Light" and "Regular" work well for a twist on standard newsletter text while still remaining clear and elegant.

A very traditional serif business font. Great for legal practices.

Montserrat

Another highly popular Google font, Montserrat brings a bit more attitude to your design. This font choice would work extremely well as a CTA for your email newsletter.

A powerful typeface to bring definition to your CTA

Playfair Display

A slightly more interesting choice, Playfair Display is an elegant, serif typeface, well-suited to announcements, updates, or company news. Give this font a go in your shareholders' newsletter or your monthly round up.

An elegant font great for business announcements

We hope you have found these Google font tips for business designs helpful and that you'll give them a go in your next email newsletter. As you can see, it definitely makes a nice change to always using Times New Roman and Arial and all fonts are available license free in Mail Designer 365. For more help with downloading web fonts, check out this FAQ.

Until next time,

Your Mail Designer 365 Team!

Give Mail Designer 365 a try today for free...

Mail Designer 365 helps you create stylish, professional HTML emails on your Mac. Download for free to see what you can achieve.

 

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NEW Mail Designer 365 Now Supports the macOS Mojave Beta: All You Need to Know

By Uncategorized
The moment we've all been waiting for has finally arrived - the macOS 10.14 beta is live! The best news? You can already start testing it out with Mail Designer 365! After weeks of speculation, macOS Mojave was announced on Monday at the annual WWDC. With an interesting set of new features and some significant changes within Apple Mail, we're going to take you through everything you need to know about using Mail Designer 365 together with the Mojave beta. Read More

Keep Customers in the Loop: How to Craft an Engaging Email Newsletter

By Mail Designer 365 Newsletter Academy, Mail Designer 365 Newsletter Academy, Mail Designer 365 Newsletter Academy

We're all familiar with the typical email marketer's arsenal; you have the standard set of transactional emails, as well as the odd sales or promotional email, but there's one more thing which often goes overlooked - the email newsletter.

Although widely accepted as a key part of email marketing, the email newsletter is not something which is utilised by every business. This is a mistake! An engaging email newsletter is the perfect way to keep your customers up to date and informed about what is going on in your business. Unlike a generic sales or transactional email, the newsletter gives you the opportunity to combine multiple marketing elements into one email and, at the same time, provide your customers with interesting content about your field of business. Here are our top tips for crafting engaging email newsletters.

The eye-catcher

To kick off your newsletter, it's a good idea to include an eye-catching graphic or header image to set the tone of the email, and, most importantly, grab your reader's attention. This could be an image, text style, or a GIF, but the main thing to think about is whether it is fitting to your email message and on brand for your business. Don't forget to prominently position your logo at the top of the email design so that your readers know straight away the email is from you. In this Valentine's Day themed email from Philosophy, the brand's logo takes center stage at the top of the page, followed by a dazzling pink graphic which conveys the theme of the email straight away.

The colors in this vibrant design are great at generating attention

Introduce the theme

In an email newsletter, it can be beneficial to include a short and friendly introduction to give readers overview of the theme of your newsletter. This should get them on board from the get go. Make your introduction snappy, engaging and, most of all, interesting enough that customers will want to read more. In this example from Boots, the reader receives a nice welcome to the newsletter, giving  them a quick overview about the theme of the email and enticing them to read on for more information.

Include a welcome message like this one from Boots to introduce your theme

Layout

The layout of your newsletter is important, as it determines whether or not your reader will be able to clearly follow the information you have provided. Too much text is long and boring, and too many images make the email difficult to load and may cause viewing problems in some email clients. Try to include a healthy balance of text and images in your email layouts. We would always recommend including at least one main text block so recipients who have disabled images in their email client can still see the main message of your email.

Try out the combi layout blocks in Mail Designer 365 to create a clear and stylish design.

Great content

Of course, the most important aspect of your email newsletter is the content you include. If this content does not interest your readers, they will be less likely to open your emails, and could even choose to unsubscribe. There are three key things you can work on to make sure your content is engaging for your email newsletter:

1. Relevance: Is this content relevant to my field of business and to my target audience? Your customers have most likely chosen to subscribe to your newsletter as they have an interest in the industry you are in and want to hear more about it. It is good practice to consider how relevant your newsletter content really is before deciding to include it in the final draft.

2. Variety: Is this content unique and interesting? There's nothing worse than sending dull and repetitive emails, your customers will soon get bored and lose interest. Try to make sure you have a good amount of variation when it comes to your newsletter. You can try switching between factual articles, review-style blog posts, featured product launches, news about your business, or other media such as gifs and videos, to keep things vibrant and interesting.

We like the variety included in this newsletter by Typeform.

3. Promotion: Is this content helpful in promoting my product or service? Although email newsletters go further than the standard sales email, the main goal is still to market your business. Make sure that your content always works to promote your product or service. You could include product reviews, customer testimonials, example of how your product could help solve a common problem in the industry, useful tips or tutorials, and more, to paint your business in the best possible light.

Call-to-Action

Your email newsletter goes way beyond the email itself. As with any marketing material, your newsletter should contain at least one CTA (call-to-action) to direct customers towards your website, online store, blog, or whatever it is you are trying to promote. This post will tell you more about how to create CTA buttons that shine, but the main thing is to remember to make them stand out amongst the rest of your content. The bright pink CTA buttons in this design from Oasis are standout and work great with the summery theme of the email.

Vibrant CTAs like these ones from Oasis are super effective

Don't forget the footer

Last but certainly not least, the footer. As well as giving you the chance to leave a lasting impression on your readers, this is also the most common place to insert any useful company information, disclaimers, and contact details, as well as the super important unsubscribe link.

We recommend that you always use a standard footer and only edit the information when absolutely necessary. That way, your designs remain consistent for your readers and you can be sure that you have all of the necessary information. Use the footer to link to your social media sites, your blog, or your customer support system.

Make sure your design footer contains relevant and essential information

This footer by H&M is informative and provides readers with all important links such as social media sites and the sign up page for a customer loyalty card. In addition, the company also protect themselves by including a legal disclaimer and an unsubscribe link.

Final thoughts

If you stick to these tips, you should be well on the way to crafting amazing email newsletters full of engaging content that your recipients will want to read. To go one step further, it's great practice to also stick to a regular sending schedule (i.e. once a week every Tuesday or the first of each month.) This will help to get your customers used to your email newsletter and look forward to your emails, and also helps you to provide consistent content and plan better. Happy Designing!

Until next time,

Your Mail Designer 365 Team

Give Mail Designer 365 a try today for free...

Mail Designer 365 helps you create stylish, professional HTML emails on your Mac. Download for free to see what you can achieve.

 

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