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sharon-clooney 23rd November 2005 06:18 PM

Email Marketing Campaign Design
Hello Everyone,

I am a total rookie when it comes to email marketing so I appreciate any and all your help. This is all new to me and Iím sort of a fish out of water, although Iím slowly getting the hang of everything. Iíve read through many of the posts in this forum and everyone seems so knowledgeable and eager to help, so I couldnít resist posting! :abovehead

Iíve just signed up for Elite Email Marketing and as part of the service they will make me a free custom template. I shopped around and I couldnít believe what some of the other places weíre charging for thisÖCRAZY!

Theyíve said they can build my template however I want and they have given me some Ďbest practicesí guidelines. But, I wanted to get some input from other people before writing back.

My main questions areÖ.
How many small articles should I include in my bi-weekly newsletter?
Does 5-6 make it too busy? Does 1-3 not give the user enough content?
My articles are usually very brief and are no more than a couple paragraphs.

Whatís the best way to make use of images?
I was considering an image to go along with each article, but I didnít know if that makes it too image intensive or if thatís exactly what I need to make it not look so text heavy. I personally like images since I think it adds extra flavor to a campaign, but Iím on a powerful computer with a high-speed connection and the latest version of Outlook. So, I canít use myself as the benchmark.

Any thoughts, opinions, or ideas would be really helpful? :)

I know Iím going to make the template match my color scheme and Iíve got a cool border in mind. I just need to figure out what the body will contain.


4ndr3w 27th November 2005 10:43 AM

Hi Sharon, welcome to the forums.

The most critical consideration in any e-mail campaign is deliverability. It's as important as location is to real estate. Deliverability means how often does your message make it to the inbox of your intended recipients.

Any do-it-yourself e-mail service provider (or ESP) will be able to provide you with templates, or you can have a custom template designed for little extra cost. It should not be your primary consideration in choosing a vendor. Not all ESPs can sell you high deliverability (though they may try to convince you that they can). 100% deliverability is practically unattainable, even by the most expensive, high volume providers. But you should be able to find an affordable provider that will get you in the mid- to high-90th percentile.

I have to admit that I don't know much about the company you've selected, but I do note that many years ago, had a problem with pill spammers abusing their system. If an ESP provides services to spammers, they will frequently find their customers' e-mail blocked by other ISPs, which cripples deliverability. There seem to be no recent issues, but I hope you have the option to terminate and move on with no penalty if it turns out that much of your mail outbound from's servers is blocked.

As far as content goes, you'll find lots of good advice from copywriters and designers here and elsewhere. The content of your mail will rely on your objective. What is it that you want the recipient to do when they read your message? Respond to a poll? Enter a contest? Buy a particular item?

Generally, however, your e-mail message should be short and to the point, not dense with information and articles. Make sure that there's lots of friendly white space, and that graphics are used sparingly and to their best effect. Include a link (or several!) to a specially-constructed "landing page", where your recipients can learn more, if they chose.

Keep looking around - you won't have to go far to get excellent advice from this site.

Good luck,

sharon-clooney 2nd December 2005 06:21 PM

Hi Andrew,

Thanks so much for the amazing insight. I really appreciate it.

Prior to signing up with Elite Email Marketing I actually tried several other services. Like you said, deliverability is a key factor. All throughout my free trial with Elite, I was in the mid-to-high 90th percentile in terms of delivery, which was considerably better than I saw with some of the other places I tried.

What really impressed me was that in my very first campaign I sent a couple messages to an ISP in the UK that resulted in my emails going to the bulk folder. I told the people at Elite about this and just a few days later (well before my next campaign) I received a message from them saying they had spoken with that ISP and it wonít be a problem any more. Thatís my kind of ESP!

Constant Contact also had very good deliverability, but their willingness to help me get all setup was less than I would have liked.

With regards to template design, I think youíre right on the money! Iíll continue to read all the different forum posts on this topic, but Ďshort and to the pointí is probably the best plan of action to carry forward.


Robert 2nd December 2005 06:43 PM

Welcome to the forum, Sharon! :standingw

sharon-clooney 2nd December 2005 07:02 PM

Thanks Robert!

I'm glad to be here.

I look forward to posting more in the days ahead.

Have a great weekend.

4ndr3w 3rd December 2005 09:47 AM

Hi Sharon,

Thanks for keeping us posted - this is excellent information. I'm looking forward to reading more from you!

jmp 6th December 2005 12:59 PM

I just opened my email to find this week's small business brief newsletter. When the email opens the entire newsletter is there with the author's (Linda) picture. So many other newsletters I receive are simply links to the real newsletter's url or they in a very un-attractive and hard to read format.

What email service is used for the small business brief newsletter? It looks great!

Robert 7th December 2005 05:12 PM


Originally Posted by jmp
What email service is used for the small business brief newsletter? It looks great!

Seeing Linda's smiling face should brighten anyone's day. :D

The list host we use is

I love their service and we've used them for ages.

jmp 9th December 2005 01:38 PM

Thanks Robert.

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