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Make email campaigns right

Friday, October 31st, 2014 by Servage

Modular Design in EmailEmail campaigns are essential parts of online marketing. If we take modular approaches to the customization of the email development by incorporating custom frameworks, we can increase our productivity by many times in our email campaigns. We have a number of options to do marketing of our products or mobile apps in the marketplaces. With new technologies and platforms coming regularly, we get many  opportunities to reach to the prospective customers. However, it is a proven fact that the age-old email marketing practices still yield high conversion-rates and should not be neglected.

Optimising campaigns to meet the most effective email designs is still needed. Shooting large numbers of email makes little sense – but smaller, less spammy, and highly relevant messages are appreciated by many users. Therefore continuously try to increase:

  • Personalisation
  • Illustrations
  • Responsive design

If you think simple designing and usage of HTML and CSS is a thing of the past, then rethink! Most successful newsletters are actually super primitive layouts with super efficient messages. Apart from mere designing of emails, the workflow structure is making more sense for continued iterations and rapid turnaround during email marketing campaigns. If you want to achieve those things, the modular designing approach is the best option to implement. In modular design, you can find a system of self-contained components, which are easy suit your needs:

To set up modular email design workflow you have to go through the following steps:

  1. Develop a design
  2. Setup a reusable framework or sending tool
  3. Test, test, test your mails before bulk-sending

Developing a design system

If you want to streamline your iteration process, you need to break down the system in self-contained components by creating a LEGO block. Which are in turn, consisting content and media so you can snap them together into innumerable configurations. Hence, you will be able to create numerous emails with ease.

The best way to start, is first to find out which kinds of emails you send frequently or occasionally. Afterwards, sort out common elements of emails from your categories. Then define email specific components for each email type. For instance, transaction-type emails have many additional components while newsletter type is simple in design and layout. Now establish a pattern library by designing self-contained components, as you have to offer great flexibility in design. Develop several options for each component so you can avoid design stagnancy in the longer term.

Setup a reusable framework

There are several frameworks available for most campaign needs, but there are benefits of creating your own campaign system. This could be done easily with PHP and MySQL, and gives you the following edge towards the competition:

  • It lets you add time-saving custom helpers (you know what you need, and are not limited by a tools capabilities)
  • It helps you to keep the markup clean, compact/light and comprehensive for further work (you decide, not the tool)
  • It allows you to integrate you email system seamlessly with your existing system (no need to adapt to a tool, you make your own implementation as you need it)
  • It improves the campaign workflow, because you are integrated with your other component, such as user table, content information etc.

Define a good layout structure to collect the components you need from the modules you defined before:

  • Base Layout Template:
  • Partial Based Markup:
  • CSS or Sass Structure:

In your base layout template, you should include at least DOCTYPE, head, body, and yield tags of markup. Now, keep the markup of your custom design patterns inside the partials, this will make your module self-contained. Practically, this modular approach can make your design and your markup powerful as you could move each design pattern anywhere in the template without breaking your module.

Use CSS or SASS with case in email sending. Remember to convert any styling to email-client-friendly code, so you get the same display in any client. This is unfortunately somewhat more cumbersome than making sure you have browser compatibility for regular websites.

Finally setup your individual mail versions to use the layouts and partial blocks of content to send the right version of your mails to your users. You will see that increasing the previously mentioned factors personalisation, illustration and responsive design, will increase conversion from your mailing campaigns.

References & More Reading

Make email campaigns right, 4.7 out of 5 based on 3 ratings
Categories: Business

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