The Different Types of Email Communication
Email itself has limitless uses, and email marketing is more than just sending out an email with a special deal on a product. There are a number of approaches your clients can use to engage their audiences, and each type of email communication sent will deliver varied benefits, and require different design and planning processes. Let’s take a closer look at all of them. In specific industries there may be subcategories within each of the broad groupings I’ve outlined here, but these are the common email types you’re likely to be asked to design.
As a basis for an ongoing business relationship, there’s nothing better than an email newsletter providing reliable, regularly delivered, quality information on relevant and interesting topics. By their very nature, newsletters are sent regularly. A company will usually set a schedule to mail subscribers weekly, every two weeks, or monthly, enabling the company to regularly promote its news and events in a timely way.
Email newsletters are widely used. They’re a common, proven communications tool that help countless organizations achieve their brand awareness, customer retention, ad revenue, and other goals. While a client may yet be be at the stage to compile enough content for a subscriber list on a regular basis, very few of your clients are unlikely to see the business benefits of email newsletters. If they don’t want to start one just yet, they’re likely to reconsider in the not-too-distant future.
Catalogue emails are the electronic newsletters of the online retailer. Where a service organization might send an email newsletter, a company that sells products may prefer mailing an electronic catalog to subscribers on a regular basis.
Depending on the retailer, the catalog can contain the same sections each time, or each issue might vary from the last. In building a catalog email, you should agree on a set number of items to include in each issue, as you would in an email newsletter. This will keep the preparation of the creative as straightforward as possible each time, while keeping your client’s email budget on track. Bear in mind though that laying out catalogs can be more finicky, time-consuming work than producing a simple electronic newsletter.
Announcement emails are usually commissioned and produced on an ad hoc basis, when the client has time-critical information to tell their subscribers. Perhaps your client has a limited-time offer that they want to promote. They might have been invited at the last minute to speak at a conference or industry event, and want to encourage clients to attend. A host of possibilities can spark the need to send an announcement email.
One-off announcement emails are usually short and contain just one call to action. Often, there’ll be minimal lead time for the announcement, so there’s a need to turn the job around quickly. If your client believes they’re likely to use announcement emails often, you might offer to prepare a suitable template in advance; this will reduce the time it will take to get their announcements out to subscribers.
Although they sound like announcements, press releases are more public relations than sales. Companies from all industries prepare press releases around corporate and governance developments, product or service launches and upgrades, community contribution and involvement, and so on.
Your clients might produce media releases frequently, but they’re unlikely to write them on a regular basis—every Monday, for example. In fact, time frames around media release mailing tend to be tight at best, and unpredictable at worst. Again, offering to prepare a media release email template for clients who have active public relations strategies might save time and hassle when it comes to distributing the release. This type is likely to differ from one used to make announcements.
Sales and Sign-up
Process Emails If your clients sell products or services through their websites, they may need to prepare emails that support or augment the purchase process. If they accept any sort of user sign-up through their sites—for a newsletter, for competitions, or even from visitors who want to register their interest in an activity that the company’s undertaking—there’s the potential for you to add value.
As well as helping your client plan an email sequence, you might design email templates and create landing pages to support the sales or sign-up process. A landing page is the first page of a site that a visitor sees after clicking through from an email. Perhaps you’ll also set the messages to mail through an email autoresponder, and test the sequences before they’re made live. Why not tie in monitoring to help your client assess the success of each email? Although sales process emails may seem cut and dried, you can see there’s a lot of scope for designers to show off their skills here.
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