By Jeff Hemming, Product Manager – Marketing Solutions, Tikit North America.
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Law firm marketers need to think constantly about the best ways to optimize the performance of email marketing campaigns. In this blog, Jeff Hemming, Tikit’s Product Manager, Marketing Solutions, discusses the advantages of being able to change how your emails look and suggests that having the ability to change them in-house is helpful.
Do you use a template, or a bunch of templates? If so, that’s definitely a good thing. Templates mean you can get your message out easily, regularly and quickly. They mean your emails establish your brand identity in the mind of the recipient, which builds the trust and recognition that is crucial to readability. They know it’s you and value the communications that come from you. Templates give you that instant recognition. So templates are good. All I’m saying is – it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever change them.
Change for the better
Why would you alter a template? For one thing, there’s a danger that your design gets visually stale in the eyes of recipients. That can translate into a sense that your message is also stale. People see the same-old, same-old and expect to read the same-old, same-old. Nobody’s excited to know what you have to say, so the level of engagement drops. The time and care invested in the message is wasted because at first glance there’s nothing new. The reader’s attention isn’t grabbed. The danger is that they click away from your message without ever taking it in.
Marketing best practice
There are other reasons why you might want to alter your templates. As marketers we know the value of targeting. The ability to tweak the way a template looks gives us the opportunity to tailor the subliminal message and appeal more strongly to specific segments.
We also know the value of testing. Marketers can change an element in the template – maybe a colour – and test what kind of impact that has on click-through rates.
We might want to subtly introduce the use of sub or interim brands. Or signal to readers that something is different. Perhaps the call to action has changed or the venue is new or the offer unique. Small template changes signal the variation.
Also, sometimes a firm wants to be seen to be responsive to events. Being able to adapt a template quickly and turn a mailing around in a short space of time is a great way to demonstrate that your firm is energetic, current and relevant, with its finger on the pulse. React to events a week too late and you look ponderous and staid. Which may not be the message you want to put out.
There are occasions too when you have to change the template; and want to do so pretty easily. Something I see quite often, for instance, is the need to co-brand marketing emails. This typically calls for the addition of another logo to a template banner or a change to the associated style elements. It’s not brain surgery. So it can be fairly frustrating if you don’t have the capacity to do something this simple in-house and instead have to get in line with a third party to do it for you.
Finally, the ability to change the template can just be really useful if you need to accommodate content of a different length. If there are more or fewer speakers than usual. If there’s one more story in this month’s newsletter that you want to highlight – but no space to include it in the standing template. How great would it be to be able to make a quick, simple amendment to the layout for that specific situation?
It’s good to change
My argument is that it’s good to think about the things that we can change about our templates to increase their impact and stop them getting stale. So it’s good to have the ability to make changes if you want to. This is achieved by having templates that can be edited in house. It’s about putting yourself in control.
Sure, we can get templates altered any time we like… Well, subject to the capacity of the vendor who does the work. Sure we can have any change made that we want. But if it turns out you’re not entirely happy with the change you’ve ordered, it’s another round trip – and a cost – to get it tweaked. The better way is to have the ability to change the templates in-house, as and when you need them to be changed. To have that flexibility is a valuable thing.
So the message is – don’t limit your firm’s creative capacity and ability to respond to events – take control of your templates and ensure the solutions that you use give you this capacity. Being stuck with rigid, unchanging templates is only good up to a point. After that there comes a time when you will want to refresh how your marketing emails look, be responsive to change and adapt to circumstances. Give yourself the capacity to do so and you will have stronger, more compelling results that connect with your clients.