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  • Step-By-Step Guide to Design Engaging Visual Emails

    November 01, 2019 | By Ainsley Maloney

    Branding & Marketing
    A student checks his email.

    TAGS: branding and marketing, employer relations

    NACE Journal, November 2019

    This is a companion piece to “How to Create Visual Emails That Increase Student Engagement and Recruiting Success.”

    Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

    • White space is your friend. It allows the call-outs and photos rooms to breathe and guides the eye toward the elements you want to call out. Don’t cram more into every free space.
    • CAPS ARE HARD TO READ, since they hinder the eyes’ ability to distinguish between letter forms. Plus, it sounds like you’re yelling. Use sparingly.
    • Seek out articles that can help you: For example, Canva’s Design School offers an article containing 20 tips. (See canva.com/learn/design-rules )

    1. Add content: First, check with the company prior to adding any content specifically mentioning its name or including its logo. If the company does not agree, you can focus more on the opportunity rather than on the firm.

    At the top of the email, add content about the position and company that is relevant and exciting to the students you’re targeting.

    Below where the photo will appear, add additional sections that are standardized enough to be included in every email, such as “How to Apply,” with detailed instructions, or “How We Can Help,” with information about your location and walk-in hours, and links to make an appointment.

    2. Lighten up with grey font: Highlight all text in the email; make the font 11 point and format the color to dark grey (one or two shades away from black). The email will instantly feel less harsh.

    3. Insert a picture: Go to the company’s website and click through to its Instagram account. Here you will find the most visually appealing photos as well as the most updated logo and branding that you can be sure is company approved and public.

    Click the picture you like to make it larger. Use the snipping tool (a free application on most PCs; or on Macs, use Command + Shift + 4). Trace the outline of the picture and save it.
    Back in the email, click the “Insert” tab to insert the picture. Use the built-in editing tools to add a border to the picture.

    4. Select an accent color: Google “color picker add on” and download a free add on for your browser. Go back to the company’s Instagram and, using the color picker, hover over the company’s logo or an accent color in the photo. The color picker will show that color selected in a box, as well as the RGB or Hex#.

    In the email, highlight a line of text, and format the colors, selecting “custom.” If a Hex box appears, paste the number-letter combination from the color picker. If there are separate boxes for R (red), G (green), B (blue), insert each number in those boxes. The exact accent color you need will appear.

    Apply this color to two lines above the photo. Below the photo, you can also apply the accent color to the headings you created in Step 1.

    5. Create a heading hierarchy: Use hierarchy (different font weights and sizes) to make some lines stand out more than others.

    • Heading (22 point): Highlight the first line of text at the top of the email; change it to the accent color and increase the font to 22 point.
    • Color call-out (16 point): A few lines down, choose another important line of text; change it to the accent color and increase the font to 16 point.
    • Text (11 to 14 point): The rest of the text can be 11 point; if there is another line you want to stand out slightly, make it bold and increase the font to 14 point.

    6. Rely on the format painter tool: Go to the “Format Text” tab, and you’ll see a mini paintbrush icon. This nifty tool will save you time and ensure consistency across the email.
    Highlight the line of text that is already perfectly formatted with the correct accent color and font size. Click the format painter icon. This “grabs” the perfect format. Now, highlight another line of text. Let go. Your perfect format will automatically apply to that line of text. We use this to apply the accent colors to multiple lines in seconds.

    7. Insert links and deadlines: Below the photo, we include a “How to Apply” section in which we insert the dates and deadlines of the on-campus interview. Add the position titles, and insert links that go directly into the job so students can apply in seconds. Make the links 14 point, which are easier to click if mobile.

    You now have your email template! Use this as your starting point for every promotional email. Keep the formatting of the top half and simply change the details, accent color, and image to match the next opportunity. The bottom half (below the photo) should be standardized and only need a few changes (deadlines and links).

    Ainsley MaloneyAinsley Maloney is the associate director of industry relations at Thomas Jefferson University’s East Falls campus.

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