BtoB Online featured an Ask the Expert on Business-to-business (B2B) Email marketing this week. We’ve often talked about design challenges for B2B, especially because the design elements can even play a role in your email making it to the inbox. Kara Trivunovic, founder of the Email Advisor, offered the following design elements to consider when crafting your B2B emails:
Image Suppression: The enemy of all creative marketers – email environments that don’t load images! Because we know this is unfortunately often the case, be sure that clear messaging is included outside of the image and that you use helpful alt text that will provide value (or at least not look silly) even when images aren’t loaded.
Code Rendering: Email viewers, particularly Outlook and LotusNotes, can render code in different ways, making it difficult to have uniform styling across every system. Have you ever perfected something in Outlook 2007 just to find you broke it in Outlook 2003? I know I have. Test for these differences using a system like Litmus or ReturnPath. Stop off problems before they start by keeping your HTML simple and clean.
Branding: Keep branding consistent, even if you market to a number of different sectors.
Lastly, we are left with a fashion-inspired metaphor:
“You should think of e-mail design the same way you would think about what to wear for an important meeting. Sure, you could show up in khakis and a polo, and blend in with the other e-mail denizens of the world. But when you dress smart, your messages have a better chance of being read and have more impact.”