Six Tips for Designing Quality Web Ads

By now, most of us have bought into the value of digital marketing. A closer look at what we’re actually sending our customers might be helpful, however. Because we’re busy, it’s tempting to simply “push out” an email campaign. Too few of us stop to think through the design of a campaign, and then build it to deliver maximum results.

Here are a few tips:
Design for your audience
Nearly 70 percent of B2C email communication is viewed in Yahoo!, Hotmail, or AOL. This means designing your web ads in such a way that they display consistently, regardless of the email client. And with more and more people using web-based email such as Gmail, you should also consider how your ads pull up in various browsers, be it Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari. Test and retest!
Use a recognizable “from” name
According to the Email Send and Provider Coalition (ESPC), 73 percent of unopened email is marked as spam, based solely on the content of the “from” field. Be absolutely sure your customer can immediately identify your store as the sender. Use a recognizable company name or the name of an individual with whom they are dealing.
Create an appropriate subject line
Sixty-nine percent of those who choose to send your email to the junk folder do so based on the “subject” line. No matter how incredible your incentive, how significant your community event, or how beautifully your email is designed, the wrong subject line will kill your campaign. Be clear, be informative and be concise (keep it to 49 characters or fewer). Test and retest to see which types of subject lines yield the strongest results.
Consider the preview pane
Many email clients allow your customers a sneak peak at your web ad prior to opening it. Therefore, it is wise to place your dealership branding and the ad’s main call-to-action in the top left corner, clearly visible within the “preview pane”. Make sure this valuable real estate is used strategically.
Front load your content
If good design has paid off, your customer has opened your email; but it doesn’t mean they will scroll to see its contents in full. In fact, according to a Nielsen Norman Group study, only 11 percent of subscribers read the full email message. Include all heavy hitting content “above the fold”, then use strategic placement of images, titles, and visual effects like tables or call outs to draw the viewer down through your ad content.
Live by your metrics
Once your email is sent, dive into your CRM (your permission-based, customer communications should be within your CRM) and into the metrics. Use data points such as delivery and bounce rates to determine the health of your email list. Use open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates to measure the effectiveness of your subject line, construction, and content. Consider conversion rates carefully and ask if your call-to-action was visible and offered enough value to your customers.
Because your customer takes mere seconds to determine the value of your web ad, the next time you’re tempted to “push out” an email campaign, make sure you’ve invested enough time to make it successful!
Bryan Anderson is the founder and general manager of Autobase. For more information, call 888-396-5911 or visit




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