As most content marketers know, great content is more than compelling words. You want your readers to want to read your content, which makes design a critical part of any website, email or stand-alone piece.
While this is something you may understand and agree with in theory, it can be difficult to execute in practice when you don’t have the time or budget to spend on design for every piece. Here’s a quick story of how one company, the Australia-based Clayko Group, invested in one design that could be customized across all of their emails to make their content tie together and to make it more likely to be read.
Clayko Group specializes in document management and operates in the competitive market of Microsoft partners and service providers. As with many small businesses, Clayko managed all aspects of their operation internally. As demand for their products and services grew, Sheryl Frame was hired as the General Manager to manage the business from a family-owned concern into a strategic enterprise with a national and international presence.
No longer able to depend entirely on local connections and word-of-mouth referrals, Sheryl implemented a content marketing plan. With a singular focus to generate more leads, Clayko invested in a new website, established a social media presence, published a blog and organized a regular calendar of industry events on both the East and West Coasts of Australia. Putting several initiatives in place at the same time, Sheryl wanted to ensure every communication from Clayko supported their new direction.
“We invested all this time and effort into our online presence. Our new website looks smart and I wanted to carry that influence across everything we do,” explains Sheryl. “We have used email banners in the past. Although they had the right message, they were developed in-house and heavily reliant on stock images. They didn’t represent our new direction.”
Clayko’s original email banner:
Needed: A flexible design that could be easily changed
Sheryl hired Ryan Briggs to develop branded email banners that would promote individual Clayko products and services but still give their eMarketing campaigns a polished look. “We want people to read our content and they’re more likely to do that if it comes in an attractive package,” is how Sheryl describes their motivation for change. Producing a clever design, Ryan gave Clayko the ability to change both the text and the image on the banner while preserving their brand image.
Here are some samples of how the email banners were used.
A standard email from anyone on the Clayko staff would contain a generic banner with an image of the Clayko website:
An email promoting a SharePoint event would use this banner:
An email sent to sell a new product to existing SharePoint clients would use this banner:
Carrying the design throughout the email, the entire correspondence supports the branding and encourages people to read the content.
For a relatively small investment, Clayko found a way to give their company a sophisticated feel while maintaining the flexibility to promote each line of business. The design of their email banners ties to their website and allows clients to jump over with a simple click. Most importantly, their content is being presented in a way that makes it more interesting to read. “We’re getting good feedback from our clients. Our employees love it too,” says Sheryl. By factoring design into their overall content marketing strategy, Clayko has been able to improve their influence in the industry and boost employee morale.