Being the one that builds and help design our clients’ email templates at Agillic, I get a first-hand impression on what’s going on with all the emails being designed and sent from the Agillic platform. What I see is a great variety of email designs across the board. Mostly of the type of design you would see in a newsletter, which content is designed for several stories or products. We are talking about 2 and 3 column layouts. Perhaps 4 column layouts. Picture right, text left and vice versa. Add two or three of these blocks and you have a lot of content to show for.

I’d like to challenge you to create more of the “campaign” type of emails. There are a lot of holidays during the year where you can benefit if you dare do something a little extra with your emails for a special occasion. I’m talking hero images, one simple message and a very visible call to action. This type of email is designed to really stand out and offer something special for your recipients. It could be a preview sale, free shipping during holidays, a gift card, impressive discount on relevant products or a simple thank you for you patronage. The idea is to build something out of the ordinary that blows your weekly newsletter out of the water and engages your recipients.

Let’s talk practical examples

Easter is coming up and I intend to launch an email saying thank you and wish our clients a happy Easter, and I’m going to build a special campaign for this one because my template design I usually uses is meant to do something else. This time around, I’m going to emphasize the Easter theme by using a lot of graphical elements and I’m going to place one message in there with a noticeable call to action.  I might even create a clever little animation for them to enjoy.

My key focus for this email is to reach out to our clients whom we speak with daily, in a friendly manner. It’s important to me to tell them that we appreciate the work we do together and wish them a happy Easter. I also want to offer myself and my services regarding building and planning of emails.

What about performance?

So, what can you expect from this type of campaign? How will it perform and is it worth it? Let’s dig into the elements of such a campaign.

The first thing they will see is the sender name, subject and preheader. Make sure that your sender name brings positive thoughts. You do most of that work during all your other emails. By being specific, funny, relevant, honest etc. You and your recipients has a relationship so make sure you keep things interesting. If you are good at this, you might even convince your subscribers to open before you even send your emails.

Be honest in your subject. Don’t oversell your email. You are trying to connect so make it simple and descriptive. If you have a special offer, you mention that. Be careful with percentages in the subject. Your subscribers get that all the time in their inbox.

Make the preheader supplement the subject. Again, tell it, don’t sell it. Let’s say your subject is something along the lines of “Easter Preview of a new Service”, you could write something like “Spring is upon us. So is a new service and this Easter you get a preview of a service that is designed to cater for your needs”.

Something like this would make for a great "Happy Easter!" email, adding a link to a landingpage.

Inside the email, you emphasize your content. Don’t make a navigation on top that leads to all sorts of places. This is a special message with special content designed especially for this person. Use beautiful graphics and make it clear where the call to action is. Put in animations. They can be gifs, SVG, or CSS3 effects. Maybe even a carrousel with sliding images of what you want to show. It’s not only possible but people out there are currently using it. Sure, there are email clients that can’t read those things but you have fall backs and compromises for that. All in all you get your message out and those with capable email clients are in for a ride.

Take time to do the extraordinary

What kind of planning goes into this? It does require you to do some planning and thinking. You want to involve everybody once again for planning, design and implementation. You’ll want to have access to your graphics department or someone from outside. Doing funky stuff with emails also takes some more time to implement. Despite of that, I believe it’s worth everybody’s time. Creating something extraordinary is always worth the time.

I have no set-in-stone numbers for you in terms of performance. You can’t take something to your boss and say that this type of email will increase your opens with 20%. There are far to many variables. But think about the last email that you remember well. Who sent it, what was the content. Why did you open it? I bet it was either funny, highly relevant, or you recently had a great experience with the brand. If you evoke the same feelings with your own customers, I almost guarantee that your emails will increase in both opens and engagement.

Our friends at Campaign Monitor has collected the top 100 email campaigns for 2016. There is a lot of inspiration that breaks with the traditional newsletter type layout. I highly recommend to go look. And if you haven’t already seen this beauty of an email I also recommend you to look at that. It’s state of the art and an amazing case of interactive emails that really pushes emails to the limit.


All there is left is for you to take me up on the challenge. Want to read more blogs about emails? Just click here, and view other posts by me.