January 20, 2023
By Jena Blanck
So it’s Q1 of 2023, and you’re figuring out your budget for the year. You get too creative, and you have NO IDEA how much to budget. How important is creative, anyway? What are the most important elements? What can you take care of in-house, and when should you consider freelancers or specialists?
It can feel overwhelming if you don’t know where to start, so let's prioritize the top seven creative assets that your e-comm company should invest in for email marketing in the new year. As a manager of design, I can tell you this is where you need to put your bucks.
Quality photography is essential for any e-commerce business. It helps to showcase your products in the best light and can make a big difference in converting website visitors into customers. Invest in a professional photographer, or consider using a high-quality camera and lighting equipment to take your own photos. And don’t forget about lifestyle photography! Photos of real people enjoying your products or services will help prospects picture themselves doing the same.
Anytime you use photos, make sure you don’t forget alt tags. Alt tags for images provide a text description of an image for users who have images turned off in their email client or for users with visual impairments. Alt tags can also help with search engine optimization (SEO) by describing the content of your images to search engines. Plus, using alt tags and taking other steps toward accessibility proves that your brand cares about your users!
It is 2023—video is queen, and it’s definitely worth putting some cash into.
Video content is a powerful way to engage with your audience and showcase your products. Consider creating product demonstrations or 360s, unboxing videos, or behind-the-scenes content to give your customers a better sense of what you have to offer—and, more importantly, WHO YOU ARE. This content can be used across all of your platforms, from email to social media.
Custom graphics and images can help your emails stand out in crowded inboxes and better showcase your products. Consider investing in a partnership with a designer who can create custom graphics and images for your emails. Let creatives build your brand, and understand that it’s not just about your logo. Everything the light touches influences your brand. (That was a Lion King reference ... get it?)
User-generated content, such as reviews and ratings, can be a valuable resource for e-commerce companies. Encourage your customers to leave reviews and consider featuring them on your website, social media or email channels. Set up email flows encouraging reviews, or social media giveaways to get the customer base engaged!
Once your users have provided this content, hand it over to your creatives. They can turn the most glowing remarks into quote graphics and callout boxes you can use across your marketing materials. Who knows—someone who notices your eye-catching ratings graphic might become the next person to leave a 5-star review!
In 2021, HubSpot found that 41 percent of all email views occur on mobile devices. Given this current reality, it's important to ensure that your emails are mobile-friendly and easy to read on any device.
Invest in responsive email templates that automatically adjust to the size and shape of the device they are being viewed on. No all-image-based emails! You need to be using live text and blocks that stack if you want to stay in the game.
Personalization is a powerful tool for email marketing. Use data about your customers, such as their location, purchase history, and interests, to create personalized emails that are more relevant and engaging. Customers want to feel like they are a part of the journey and personalization is the way.
Consistent branding is important for building trust and recognition with your audience. Use your company's logo, colors, and fonts consistently across all of your email campaigns to strengthen your brand. If your brand doesn’t have a clear idea of it’s core visual identity—or if the one you do have could use some tweaking—this is a definite place to invest some of that 2023 budget.
By prioritizing these design elements, e-commerce companies can create a modern and visually appealing online presence that engages and converts their audience. We live in an age of consumption. Visual communication is all you have until a customer gets their hands on your product, so you better invest in the right creative to get your stuff in front of the right eyes.
Not sure how to get started? The e-comm creative experts at SmartBug would be happy to help!
About the author
Jena Blanck is a Creative with dizzy ideas for the future and was formerly the associate director of e-commerce design. Read more articles by Jena Blanck.