All Posts By

Gabi McInnes

Guide to Email Marketing for Indie App Developers

By | Newsletter Academy Mail Designer 365 EN

After months of building a new app and getting it ready for release, you now need to promote it. Here are some tips on indie software marketing and how to increase app sales through email marketing…

Building up a mailing list

First, you’ll need a way to contact your customers.

If your app uses accounts, you may already have a list of email addresses, provided these customers consented to being contacted. If not, be sure to have a sign-up form in your app, as well as on your website or blog.

Slack include a newsletter sign up form on their blog to encourage blog readers to opt in for email alerts. After all, if they’re interested in your blog content, they’ll most likely want to know what’s happening within your company!

Use a sign up box to get more contacts for your mailing list

Creating an app release newsletter

An app release newsletter is a really good place for you to start your email marketing journey. Present your latest app update and highlight the best new features. Here are some key things to try and incorporate into your design:

Screenshots of the app
You and your team have spent a long time designing the UI and now’s the time to show it off. For style points you can even use a gif to show off particularly beautiful transitions or features.

In this example, Lyft shows readers how their app works in three simple screenshots. In doing so, they are highlighting the key selling points of their app at the same time as showing off a sleek UI.

Include screenshots of the app in use to show off the UI to customers.

Pricing tables
If your app offers different pricing plans or a free and paid tier, you should highlight the options in your newsletter. With a clear table layout, you can help readers understand and compare plans.

In Mail Designer 365 you can build informative tables in minutes. On mobile your table will be automatically presented in a stunning card layout – perfect for advertising the best features of your app.

Try including a table in your newsletter to give a clear overview of plans and features.

Direct download buttons
Include one clear call-to-action (CTA) in your email so it’s super easy to find the download for your app. The quicker, the better, as the idea will be fresh in your reader’s mind.

Tip: Use the campaign link generation tool in App Store Connect to create a unique campaign url, that will let you track installs that came from your newsletter in your App Store Analytics

Dog care app Rover includes a download link for both the App Store and the Google Play Store in the footer of their email newsletter. This gets straight to the point and shows customers exactly how they can get their hands on the app:

Include a link straight to the App Store so customers can quickly download your app.

Mobile optimization
The majority of us prefer to view our emails on the go on a mobile device and if your email isn’t mobile-optimized, you’re missing a serious opportunity.

Mail Designer 365 automatically generates a mobile version of your design for smartphones and Apple Watch. This means you can even include separate call-to-action links, e.g. a direct App Store link for smartphone readers and a link to your webpage for desktop readers.

Once you’ve finished, you can preview your content on the latest devices, including iPhone XS, iPhone XR, Apple Watch Series 4, etc:

Create a mobile version of your design in Mail Designer 365.

With these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to building an effective and informative release newsletter for your app.

Once you’ve found a regular rythym for release newsletters, consider adding onboarding emails and customer retention emails to your email strategy.

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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Creating Project Status Reports using HTML Tables

By | Newsletter Academy Mail Designer 365 EN

Project status reports are a super productive way to help you and your team keep track of an ongoing project or business venture. Although they are usually built using Excel or similar programmes, you can actually build a detailed project status report right inside an email.

Sounds complicated? It’s definitely not! Here are our top tips on how you can use Mail Designer 365 to build a visually effective report which you can integrate into your email…

What to include in your report

The exact contents of your project status report will vary depending on what your project is and who is involved. In order for your report to be as effective as possible, you need to consider what it is that you want to communicate to the rest of your team. Here are some of the most important criteria associated with any project:

  • Financial status: Are you inside your planned budget? What is the total cost so far?
  • Progress made since the last report: Which actions have been taken? How does this compare to planned progress?
  • Risk assessment: Are there any new risks? How could they delay completion?
  • Outstanding tasks: What is yet to be completed? Will this delay completion of the project?
  • Timeline: What is the expected completion date? How does this differ to the planned completion date?

How to present your report

There are a number of popular ways of effectively presenting a project status report. Here are some key factors to include:
Using color is a great way to make the information in your table more visually effective.You can use whatever color scheme you like to brighten up your report, but one popular choice is the traffic light system. Use green for the positive aspects of your project (e.g. what is going well), amber for the aspects which need improvement, and red for the things which need to be addressed urgently (e.g. risk factors.) Here is an example of a project status report using the traffic light system.

An example report using the traffic light system

Scope of the report
Depending on the length of your project, you may have to present the information in your report differently. Reports can be sent out weekly, monthly, quarterly, or, in some cases, as a one off. If possible, it is good to include some way of comparing progress with previous reports. You can do this by including a simple summary of the previous reports (e.g. the previous 3 months.)

Key information
As well as the evaluation criteria for your report, a well-presented report should also contain the key information about the project. Particularly in bigger businesses where multiple projects may be happening at once, it is useful to label the report correctly to avoid confusion for yourself and other team members. Most importantly you should include:

  • Project name and ID code (if applicable)
  • Date of report
  • Name of project manager
  • Target completion date

Example of key information for a project report

You can also include the following information if you feel it is relevant:

  • Project department
  • Project phase
  • Project budget
  • Priority level
  • Project sponsor
  • Costs so far
  • Start date of project

How to build your report in Mail Designer 365

Step One: Set up a table in Mail Designer 365

In Mail Designer 365, project status reports can be quickly built up using the tables feature. Go to “Contents” > “Layout Blocks” and scroll down to the bottom to find the table blocks. You can then drag and drop a block into your email design.

Drag and drop a table block into your design to get started

Step Two: Fill in your evaluation criteria

Double click on a table cell to edit text. You can insert as many components as you like depending on your needs. To adjust the amount of rows and columns, click on the table. This will open the style menu. Click on “Structure” and use the formatting tools to build up your table.

Add rows and columns for your evaluation criteria

Step Three: Add some color

We talked about the importance of using color in your report. Customize the color layout of your table by clicking on a cell and opening the “Color” section in the “Style” menu. Here you can change the color of one cell, or an entire column or row.

Adjust color settings to make your table more visually effective

There are several ways you can incorporate the traffic light system. We suggest using shapes, as this is visually effective and easy to copy and paste. In this example, we are using circles:

  • Set the cell content to image block. You can do this in the “Cell Content Type” section.
  • Head to the “Contents” tab in the sidebar, find “Shapes” and drag a shape into the cell.
  • Click on the shape to change the color according to the traffic light system.
  • Copy and paste the shape until you have filled up all of the criteria.

Use shapes to recreate the traffic light style

Step Four: Add information

The traffic light system is useful, but it is much better to have some written information included in the table to give your team some context. In the last column, you can write down your notes as to why each section has been graded red/amber/green. Make sure to change the cell content type for this column to text:

In the final column you can include written notes for your team

It’s up to you how you present the key information about the project. We simply inserted another mini table above the main report with 2 rows and enough columns for the key information. This clearly labels the project report and gives your colleagues some context before they start reading.

For context, add a table with your key information above the report

Extra Tip: Save your table layout

Although setting up a table in Mail Designer 365 is super straightforward, it’s not actually something you have to do each time you want to send a report out to your team. You can save your table layout so that all you have to do next time is edit the cell contents. To do this, go to the “Layout blocks” menu again, open the “Ready-Made” tab, then hold down the “cmd” key and click on the layout handle of your table(s) and drag it into the sidebar to save.

Save your table blocks in the ready-made blocks section for next time

Reports made easy with Mail Designer 365

Take the hassle out of building and sharing project status reports and do everything in one app. With Mail Designer 365 you can build brilliant HTML emails using drag and drop and create a report to rival Excel. Use the tables feature to build up a professional report which is fully integrated into your email and then send directly via the app from your own email address. No attachments, no fuss, just one app.

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.


Try for free

Mail Designer 365 1.4.4 Update Guide

By | Mail Designer 365 Blog
Hey Mail Designers – as promised, we have yet another brand new update for you! The Apple Watch preview tool in Mail Designer 365 now supports previews for HTML emails. This, along with more useful improvements, can be found in Mail Designer 365 version 1.4.4. Here’s all you need to know about the latest update…

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How watchOS 5 Will Transform Your Email Marketing Strategy

By | Mail Designer 365 Blog
It’s no secret that the number of people checking their emails on the go has significantly risen in recent years. One mobile device which has massively grown in popularity since its initial release in 2015 is the Apple Watch. With the recent release of watchOS 5, email creators and recipients alike are all breathing a collective sigh of relief. Finally, no more scrolling through long plain text emails…

We’re taking a look at how the latest update could transform your email marketing strategy.

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Mail Designer 365 1.4 Update Guide

By | Mail Designer 365 Blog
Hey designers! As you may have heard, macOS Mojave launched on Monday and to celebrate, we’ve got a brand new version of Mail Designer 365 for you which works perfectly on the new OS! Version 1.4 comes loaded with a huge new range of features including colorful image effects, brand new device previews, as well as a sleek new interface for Mojave’s long awaited dark mode.

Mail Designer 365 in Mojave Dark Mode

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How to Make Your Email Campaigns More Inclusive and Accessible

By | Newsletter Academy Mail Designer 365 EN

Our world is diverse and your customer base is too. With marketing becoming increasingly globalised, it’s important to ensure that your campaigns reflect and support the huge variety of customers your business has. Even small businesses cater to a large range of people differing in age, gender, race, religion, physical ability, etc. These are all qualities which make your customers unique and for this reason, it’s great for your business to celebrate and recognise them where you can. Here are some ways you can make your email campaigns more inclusive and accessible to your customers.

Get to know your target audience

The more you know about your customers, the more you can directly target your campaigns. For example, if you know the majority of your customers are from one country, you can make an effort to recognise national holidays which would be important to them and form a closer bond. You can use questionnaires, Twitter polls, and detailed sign up forms to try and find out more about the demographic of your customer base and adapt your marketing strategy accordingly.

This fun email design from Love Culture Clothing gives back to customers of Mexican origin with a 20% discount for their Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

Avoid generalisations or stereotypes

Because our world is so diverse, it is important to recognise that your customers are not a homogenous group – they each have different needs and different interests. In the past, businesses have experienced problems by trying to use stereotypes in their marketing campaigns. These types of generalisations may be funny to some, but will cause offence and upset to others. A prime example of stereotypes gone wrong is this very subjective idea of the “perfect body” from Victoria’s Secret. This marketing campaign received a barrage of complaints for featuring just one body type and failing to represent its hugely diverse global customer base.

This shortsighted Victoria’s Secret campaign rightfully sparked complaints from customers worldwide.

Think carefully about your images

Continuing from the previous point, it’s also important to show diversity in any images you’re using in your email designs. A picture is worth a thousand words, so it’s important to choose the right image for your campaign. If you can, try to choose a photo where you can see a range of different people doing different things. The more diverse the photos you include in your emails are, the more inclusive they become. Here are four great examples of brands who use diverse imagery to create inclusive marketing campaigns…

Nike’s Pro Hijab campaign

Dove’s Real Beauty campaign

Lloyd’s TSB 2012 Paralympics campaign

Tesco’s Food Love Stories campaign

Make your emails accessible

One way you can ensure your email designs are inclusive is by making them accessible to people of varying abilities. Here are three simple steps you can take to make your email design more accessible using Mail Designer 365:

Create a plain text version of your email design. Customers with visual impairments may use a special screen reading device to read your email message. These devices struggle with HTML emails, which is why it is good practice for you to always include a plain text version which summarises the contents of your email. This is easy to do in Mail Designer 365, simply switch to the plain text/Apple Watch view to create the non-HTML version.

Create a plain text version for visually impaired recipients using screen readers

Be careful with your colors  For readers with visual impairments such as color blindness, it can be difficult to decipher a HTML email design. Some popular color combinations which can be particularly confusing for users with color blindness include: green & blue, green & red, blue & grey, and blue & purple. Try and avoid these combinations where possible. Strongly contrasting combinations work well – use a light hue for the background and a darker, bolder hue for your text to make it more prominent.

Use a clear typeface There are also many steps you can take for recipients with reading difficulties such as Dyslexia or Alexia. Try and use a sans serif font where possible, as the individual characters are easy to identify. You should also try to avoid using italics or calligraphy style fonts, as these distort the words even more. Use a fairly large font size and avoid using justified text, as this is very difficult for the majority of dyslexics to read.

Mail Designer 365 has a range of text options to make your email easy to read

Celebrate everyone

We touched upon this earlier on, but it’s good to get involved in as many celebrations as you can. Celebrations and holidays such as Pride Month, Black History Month, International Women’s Day, etc, are all super positive ways of celebrating our diverse world and will make your email campaigns much more inclusive. This inspiring campaign from Everlane acknowledges Pride Month by celebrating humanity.

This email design from Everlane is super positive and inclusive

We hope we’ve managed to inspire you with these tips on how to make your marketing campaigns more inclusive and accessible for your diverse email audience. With just a few small changes, you can work wonders with an inclusive email marketing campaign. Try it out in Mail Designer 365!

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.


Try for free