Sunday, July 27

Email Aesthetics

It`s an old, old saying, but it`s true: you only have one
chance to make a good first impression. And in email, the
first impression is always visual -- a consumer LOOKS/SEES
before he/she READS.

Imagine walking by a grotesquely garish storefront with all
kinds of things hanging off the front porch, every floor
painted a different color, and odd music playing through
loudspeakers. Would you want to walk in the front door? No
way! You`d assume that the owner is a kook, at best, or a
deranged axe murderer, at worst.

Did you ever have an ugly looking email land in your
mailbox? You know what I`m talking about: an orange
background and yellow borders, multi-colored text in all
sizes from gigantic to microscopic, a message that looks like
it was created by a crazed six-year-old? If you did, I bet
you didn`t feel the urge to read it. You probably just
wanted to delete it as quickly as possible.

PUT OUT THE WELCOME MAT
You want your email message to be friendly and inviting, not
bizarre and scary. The suggestions below -- and they`re
just suggestions, not hard and fast rules -- will go a long
way towards making recipients` eyes say "come on in!" to
your message.

DO`s and DON`Ts FOR ATTRACTIVE EMAILS

-DON`T use COLOR fonts in your message. (Leave that to
junior high girls who want to write about Britney and
Justin)

-DO use BLACK TEXT ON A WHITE BACKGROUND. (When you`re
"speaking" in black-and-white, people will give their full
attention to your message without being distracted by your
color scheme.)

-DON`T use UNCOMMON FONTS. (If someone`s system doesn`t
recognize the font you`ve selected, they could see gibberish
instead of your brilliant message).

-DO use the email marketers` FAVORITE FONTS: Arial, Times
New Roman, and Courier New

And please.

-DON`T use flashing buttons or banners in your email! (Your
prospects have undoubtedly gotten their fill of "bells and
whistles" when they`ve surfed the Internet. They don`t need
more from you.)

"GET HYPER" WITH EMAIL HYPERLINKS

An "email hyperlink" is just techno-talk for a link in your
email to a website, or email address. Sounds simple enough,
and it is -- unless you try to contact a prospect on AOL who
may not be able to receive "clickable" links.

Don`t worry. There`s a "fix" for this: simply type mailto:
in front of your email address (no space in between, and
include the : )

For a link to a web page, you need to write your link this
way:

href=http://www.anycompany.com>http://www.anycompany.com

(And tell your recipient they can copy and paste this
link into their browser if it`s not highlighted.)

ALWAYS USE SIGNATURE TAGS

Today, it`s common practice on the Internet to tell people
about your product or service with a SIGNATURE TAG, which is
3-6 lines of text (usually) that is automatically added to
every message you send.

If you`d like to add a tag to your messages, simply open
your email program. Find the SIGNATURES TAB (located in the
TOOLS/OPTIONS menu in Outlook Express). Follow the (simple)
instructions for creating a sig file. Easy as pie...and the
results will amaze you.