If you’re new to digital marketing you may be wondering how things differ from the traditional print marketing you may have been doing. Or maybe you just need a refresher on best practices for designing your emails. Read on to learn how to take your winery’s email marketing and design to the next level.
There are many similarities between print and digital media. Both rely heavily on a grid system for layout and design, white space helps your content “breathe”, and hierarchy of elements on the page helps your viewer determine what is most important. There are, however, a variety of differences that are important to keep in mind which can make a huge impact on the design decisions you make.
One cool benefit of digital media is the ability to have a variable “page” length and the ability to ‘link out’. An email, webpage, or form can be as long as you choose to make it and you can lead the user down a path or to another page. When designing you can include all the tasting notes, winery events, bottle shots, and other supplemental text you want on the landing page(s) of an email campaign or just make the email longer. All a viewer must do to access the rest of the content is simply scroll. This advantage makes hierarchy, or arranging your content based on its importance, especially important. Traditional print media is far more constricted. You must consider the elements you need to include in a design and choose a page size that will fit all the content well. If you have more content than will fit on a single page you are stuck with the unfortunate dilemma of figuring out what to trim or paying for the expense of more pages.
Takeaway: consider your content and the space you have when developing a marketing campaign and if it doesn’t fit, link out.
You’ve likely heard that images for the web need to be saved at 72ppi in order to appear nice. What if I told you that’s all a myth? Image resolution really only factors into the quality of a printed image. Of chief concern on the web is the pixel dimension of the image. A 500x500px image at 72ppi will render exactly the same on screen as a 500x500px image at 500ppi (read this article for more information about where this myth came from). Those same images when printed, however, will come out at 6.94 inches and 1 inch square, respectively. One thing to still keep in mind when saving images is higher ppi means more information stored in the file, therefore increasing the time it takes to load in your recipient’s inbox.
Takeaway: PPI affects the quality of a print image, not a digital one. Higher PPI will mean a larger file, however.
Fonts are another important factor when designing for either web or print. There are a select number of fonts known as “websafe” that come pre-installed on every computer and that will appear the same no matter which web browser your recipient uses. If you want to specify a custom font, be sure to specify a websafe font as a fall-back. If it is important that all people receiving your email see the same custom font, it will have to be exported as an image wherever it is used in your design.
When using custom fonts in print, it is much easier to include the necessary font files when sending to the printer. Since that file will only be opened on a computer once to print multiple copies it is easy to ensure that all pieces will look the same.
Font size is another design facet to keep in mind. The usual standard for print that most of us have grown up hearing is “12pts to ensure easy readability”. When translating to web, however you must increase your font size to 16px for text to be easily read (check this out for a visual representation). Notice the difference in units; webpages deal in pixels whereas print is measured in points. If you were to specify 12px when designing a webpage (making the assumption that the 12 in print=12 in web) your text would display rather small; closer to 9pts.
Takeaway: Keep font family and size in mind when designing your emails.
An interesting and advantageous difference between print and digital media is the ability to update your content. If you discover a misprint or incorrect image in a deployed print piece you must fix the error, pay for a reprint, then take the time to have all of your pieces mailed or posted again (or just choose to cut your losses and hope nobody notices). Digital media, especially webpage, can often be edited and re-uploaded without your recipients ever being the wiser, since webpages are refreshed each time they are viewed.
Takeaway: Web content is much easier and usually cheaper to update.
One of the largest advantages digital media has over print is interactivity. Through the use of hyperlinks and design elements like animated GIFs, you have the ability to take a simple design and add tons of interest. Linking to another webpage allows you to design a condensed, more visually interesting email that can take you to a page or entire website full of extra information. For those that just need the bare minimum facts, the email can be light on information and rely on beautiful imagery to draw click-through interest. Animated GIFs can be timed to change the displayed offer text or information; allowing you to condense and declutter the design (just keep in mind those opening your email in Outlook will only see the first frame of the gif). You can even embed social media sharing so people opening your email can share the awesome offers they’re receiving with their friends.
Takeaway: Take advantage of digital interactivity to create engaging and informational emails.
When developing a marketing campaign always remember to take advantage of both digital and print media. Consider how each will relate and support each other and be sure to keep the unique differences and advantages each has in mind as you develop your materials. If you take the time to plan everything out your campaigns should run without a hitch.