There’s nothing wrong with plain-text emails. They get your message across and they work. But what if you need to add a little more pizzazz to your campaign? Emojis, pictures, links, and custom fonts can catch the lead’s attention, make boring content more attractive, showcase your product, and make you seem more relatable. That is if you use them right.
So let’s look into how to write a professional email using emojis, pictures, links, and fonts to really stand out.
Ever noticed how face-to-face communication with expressive gestures and emotions carries more information than a reserved one? It’s because most information we exchange is non-verbal.
And as more and more of our communication is taking place via the internet, we are developing a growing desire to accurately express our feelings and emotions on the screen through mediums other than text.
Emojis help us do just that. If you’re under 40, you have most likely used emojis in texting before. But they can also help us stand out in the recipient’s inbox. The idea of using emojis in emails, or more commonly in email subject lines, is comparatively new. This means there is no unanimous opinion on whether you should or shouldn’t do it.
The main factor that turns away marketers is that emojis will only work with audiences below a certain age. As you can probably guess, emojis are far more popular with the younger audiences. Targeting is nothing new, so make sure your TA belongs to that emoji-loving generation.
Depending on your industry, emojis can bring a smile to your recipient’s face or a look of disbelief. It should go without saying, but if you’re in finance or any other similarly highly formal industry, reconsider if emojis are even for you. Food, fashion, and entertainment industries, however, can win big by incorporating emojis into their email campaigns. If you’re not sure where you fall on this spectrum, A/B test!
The occasion also matters when choosing an emoji. Try to avoid any serious or tragic themes. Sorry, funeral home owners, this strategy is not for you.
If you’re concerned about deliverability, 2017 research from Returnpath found that using emojis will not land your email into the spam folder (but will increase your open rate). All in all, emojis are a great way to entertain and seem just a little more relatable.
As an example, take a look at this simple message, with and without emojis:
Which one seems more relatable? Which one looks like another email you’ll ignore? Which one appeals to you more? And this is just a maintenance email!
Pictures are a far less controversial topic: they are used in almost all marketing email campaigns. Whatever your industry is, there is a way to incorporate pictures in your email. So why do some marketers prefer plain-text emails? Let’s look at the pros and cons.
The pros of using pictures:
- It’s quicker: research has shown that our brain analyzes pictures 60,000 times quicker than text.
- Attracts a prospect and encourages clicks: plaintext email isn’t as appealing as one containing visual content.
The cons of using pictures:
- Spam filter: the more pictures you use in your email, the higher the chance that it might land in the wrong folder – the Spam folder.
- Picture blockers: not all email service providers open pictures in emails by default, many of them block them unless a recipient manually chooses to view the pictures.
- Mobile apps display issues: quite often pics aren’t displayed in mobile applications, meaning a prospect has to perform additional actions to view the images. No one will go that length for a cold email, or any email at all. This issue has been reported in Android native email client, Android Gmail App, Android Yahoo! Mail App, and iOS Yahoo! Mail app.
While the cons might sound scarier than the pros, don’t be discouraged. Testing your email beforehand will help you detect any issues.
Even more marketers avoid using pictures and illustrations simply because creating those can take as much time as creating the email itself. Others are concerned about deliverability. Some just don’t see the need in them, especially for emails with routine or maintenance updates. If you are one of these marketers, just try using pictures once. A/B test to check if it’s for you. You might be surprised by how much it will affect your rates.
Want to use pictures, but don’t have a designer on the team or any design skills of your own? Worry not, there are platforms just for you. And free ones at that! Try Canva, Crello, or any other free graphic design software to create beautiful, professional-looking illustrations for any occasion. No need for design skills.
With an email campaign, you are not just trying to share information about your product, you are trying to push your prospects further along the sales funnel. Which is why almost no marketing email is complete without a link. This can be a link to your product, your website, an article on your blog, a freebie, or anything else that will help you achieve a conversion.
While many email marketers frown upon using multiple links in an email, some find that providing multiple links to a couple of products you offer, for example, shows the potential customer that you offer a range of products and are ready to accommodate their needs. As with any controversial issues, you can A/B test this and see what works best for your business.
So what should you be aware of before using links?
Spam filters are not always kind to links either. However, only when you use too many of them. People’s general distrust of links also factors into this. Make sure your link doesn’t look too long or random – custom professional-looking links are the best option. The recipient should have no doubts about your credibility. As I’ve mentioned before, some worry about links diverting from the main goal, as too many options (links) can distract your prospect from the main call-to-action.
To sum up:
- Do use links in your emails as they will help you engage with your leads more.
- Add just one link, as too many links in your email can land it in the Spam folder.
- Make your link easily identifiable, don’t use the phrase “Click here”, and emphasize the link inside the text with color or by underlining.
- Only put valid links. Mistakes happen. Which is why you should always double-check.
- Keep your emails short. If you want your link clicked, don’t cover it with paragraphs upon paragraphs of text. No one likes reading that.
If you thought fonts don’t affect the reader’s mood enough to use them in email marketing, then you’re completely wrong. Font, similarly to color, can also affect the person’s mood and, therefore, approach. In 2012 The New York Times conducted an experiment, the goal of which was to find out people’s reaction to different typefaces. It was discovered that the human brain finds some fonts more trustworthy than others.
This may not be as important for plain-text emails (there’s nothing wrong with sticking to default), but fonts matter much more when your email is more visual. And while your goal is evoking a certain emotion that will help you convert, readability should be your priority.
Here are some ground rules:
- Business fonts for business, funny fonts for fun, fantasy fonts for titles. Don’t even try to use Comic Sans in your business offers. Make this rule your mantra.
- Optimal font size is up to 18. Anything bigger will make your prospect feel pressured by the text.
- The best line spacing is 1.4-1.5. This spacing provides the best readability, not too tight, not too loose.
- Avoid a cacophony of colors, two is enough. Be mindful of what colors you are using, too. Choose colors based on your goals, your company image, and occasion.
Want to get your own custom company font? Wonderful! Custom fonts make you more recognizable. However, web fonts designed specifically for your product may not display in some cases (we’re looking at you, Gmail), so always have a fallback font. Don’t want to go through all that trouble? Standardized fonts are rendered in all operating systems and devices.
Adding emojis, pics, links, and fonts is a nice way to spice up your email campaign. Add a fun note with emojis, create a business feel with professional pics, offer more options via a link, or fascinate with custom fonts. The possibilities are endless. But note – everything in moderation.