Real estate project marketers need to have a wide variety of skills – whether it's the planning of the next big launch or event, designing and producing brochures and direct mail pieces, defining and developing the lead nurturing process, or the many, many other responsibilities that come with the job. Email marketing can play an important role in the marketing of a project, but often the resources to call upon to help create the email are scarce!
Have you ever been frustrated when creating an HTML email? One of the challenges I have, I'll admit, is that I'm not an HTML coder. I do a lot of the creation of email right in design mode or in an HTML editor, like Dreamweaver. Many will tell you that you really need to know HTML in order to create an effective email. No question, it does help and it may eliminate some grief, but take it from me it can be done – especially when there are templates available so you're not starting from scratch!
There are always many things to consider when creating an email. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that an HTML email cannot be created exactly like you would a web page. It's coded the same way, but you need to keep it REALLY simple. All the cool things you can do in HTML web pages today won't necessarily render properly in certain email providers. So you must test your email and test it again, and again! Focus on your message, not the creativity bursting within!
Here are a few things to consider:
- Use tables. Because email providers use different HTML rendering systems – it could be Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome or in many cases Microsoft Outlook, which uses Word to read the HTML code and can cause a lot of problems! Using tables allows you to control where the text and images are placed.
- Keep your emails to a maximum of 600 pixels wide.Design your emails for the preview pane. Most preview panes are no wider than this and much of the message will be missing if you don't confine your email to a 600 pixel table. What a recipient sees in their preview pane could determine whether they want to learn more, or not!
- Don't assume people are going to see the images. By default the majority of recipients will have images turned off. Look at the email you're creating in this mode – can a recipient still get the gist of the message?
- Browser-based email providers like gmail and hotmail will strip away certain code and CSS (cascading style sheets). And Microsoft is no different – there are even differences between Outlook 2003 and 2007 – for example, background images won't work in Outlook 2007. And sometimes background colours don't work so be cautious of using text colour that may not show up on a white background. Keep it simple!
- If you are contracting a web developer or designer to create your email, ask them to code it like it was for a website from 15 years ago – don't use fancy features that won't work and will only cause your recipients to be frustrated. Ensure there's a good balance of text and images.
For more email suggestions for improved design, development and delivery, view this email marketing white paper. Before you know it, you'll be creating HTML emails like someone who codes them!
Interested in getting trained in real estate email marketing? Contact Lasso Support – firstname.lastname@example.org