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When marketers refer to the format of an email, it means that the layout, the content, and the purpose of a particular email work together visually and functionally as a unit. For example, a newsletter is an email format. So is a promotion, an event invitation, and a holiday greeting. This section of the course explains the email formats that you can choose from to run a successful email marketing strategy. It's important to use a variety of email formats in your strategy for two reasons. First, people respond to different formats in different ways.
For example, many people wait to read an email that looks like a newsletter, while an email that looks like an urgent announcement is more likely to get immediate attention. While getting immediate attention from every email might sound like a good strategy, the reality is that urgency wears off if you use the same email formats for all your communications. Which brings me to the second reason to use a variety of formats. You need as many formats as you have reasons to communicate. For example, if you send promotions, event invitations, news, information, greetings, and appointment confirmations, you should utilize enough email formats to appropriately categorize your information into logical groupings.
Now, here are the most popular email formats and some tips for making them effective. Email newsletters are typically focused on information rather than promotion. Newsletters can have columns to give them the appearance of a paper newsletter and are great for sending loosely related information in a single email. Newsletters also should have a periodic frequency, such as weekly or monthly, rather than an event or date driven frequency.
For best results, minimize the amount of promotional content in your email newsletters. No more than 20% of your email newsletter content should contain promotions. If you need to promote more than that, use a promotional email format. Promotional email should focus on a single promotion, such as a single product, a group of related products, or a theme such as a sale. Promotional emails are usually date driven or they are triggered by specific actions, such as a recent purchase or an inquiry.
When using promotional emails, it's best to put some but not all of the details about the promotion in the email itself. Put the rest of the details on a website to invite a click so that you know how many people were interested in learning more about the promotion. Another type of promotion is an event invitation. Event invitations can focus on one event or a series of events. Events are highly date driven and usually require a series of emails in similar formats to get a good overall response.
Make sure you plan out your event invitations on a calendar to avoid over-communicating. An email announcement is a format that's sent when no specific response is expected on the part of the recipient. Examples include greetings, thank you messages, press releases, and order confirmations. Send these email formats when you want to focus on relationship building as opposed to generating immediate sales or leads. Sometimes it's nice to receive an email that doesn't ask you to do anything.
Email formats are most effective when your email designs and layouts are a good match for the formats you choose. That's the topic of our next two sections: branding your emails and creating effective layouts.
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