The artful email

The email landed in my inbox with a chime.

I glanced away from what I was doing and noticed the big bold headline.

Hi Portland!

It was an invite from a design company announcing they had moved into new digs just down the road from 1000WATT’s offices.

Normally, I wouldn’t give this type of message much notice. And my finger reached instinctively for the ‘Spam’ buttton. But I paused. This one was different. I kept reading.

It turns out, this was a great example of how you should…

Make every email count

The downside to having your email address available publicly on a well-known real estate industry blog? You get auto-subscribed to a bunch of Realtor “market update” newsletters.

By and large these are all, well, just… awful. Usually I can’t hit ‘Delete’ fast enough.

Empty statements, out-of-context stats, numbers, charts and graphs. Most of the time, I go cross-eyed before I reach the over-sized signature at the bottom to figure out who sent this to me.

So what made this email stand out from all the rest?

Attribution – Right up top, a big logo clearly spelled out who it was coming from. While I was unfamiliar with the company, I knew at a glance who was sending me this message.

Design – The email had lots of white-space so my eye flowed naturally down the page. The images were crisp and professional. It employed a healthy mix of fonts and font sizes in its headlines so that my eye was drawn clearly to each statement.

Focus – The email organized its messages onto single layers, giving me a clear sense of the information hierarchy. Each layer remained tightly focused on a single message. I could scan down quickly and, at a glance, understand each point they were trying to convey.

Great copy – Right out the gate, the email set a fun, conversational tone but also cut straight to the point. I didn’t have to wade through a bunch of grandiose jargon to understand what was being said to me.

Clear call to action – This email made it really easy to figure out what it was asking of me. ‘Visit us’. Guess what? I did.

Respect your readers

The inbox is sacrosanct. It’s where a lot of us spend most of our business day. But it’s territory that more often than not ends up abused.

TED’s Chris Anderson recently proposed a new EmailCharter to could help us all deal with email overload. Read his 10 points – I think you’ll agree it’s worthy initiative. I hope we can all sign on.

There’s an art to email. Take a cue from Chairseven. And follow their lead.