Simon Says

5 Best Practices for Optimizing Creative

in Digital Marketing Campaigns

A woman writing on a wall with post it notes.

What do hosting a dinner party and planning a digital marketing campaign have in common? More than you might think.

The most memorable dinner parties offer great food, an amazing experience, and carry a theme through every interaction. The most memorable digital marketing campaigns serve up the right content with a spread of visuals that inspire the right prospects to take a taste of what you are offering and entice them to take a seat at your table. That’s where engaging creative comes into play. It’s the secret sauce that will capture your audience’s imagination and grab their attention.

Use these five creative best practices to optimize your user experience, increase engagement, and make the biggest impact with your digital marketing campaigns.

  1. Keep it organized
    • First impressions make a difference. People spend fewer than 9 seconds (8.97, to be exact) reading an email.1 When you organize emails and other campaign assets so they’re easy for readers to navigate, you make the most of users’ limited time and improve their experience. A few ways to achieve this:
      • Use visuals to break up content – Aim for short, snappy copy. Use bullet points. Add icons and photography to create visual interest and encourage your readers to scroll deeper into your content.
      • Make white space your friend – An overcrowded piece will confuse readers. Effective use of white space creates a hierarchy that gives each visual element more room to breathe so your audience can focus.
      • Place calls-to-action (CTAs) and forms strategically – Make it easy for users to act upon each content asset. If your main goal is to capture leads, then put your CTA button in a highly visible place. If your main goal is education, embed your email CTA button in a place where it is in proper context within your content.
  2. Make it customized
    • With a dinner party, customizing every aspect turns your soiree into a must-attend event. The same is true with digital marketing campaigns. The more you customize, the better response you’ll get. Two must-haves:
      • Design for all devices – While responsive design is nothing new, there are still many campaigns out there that look amazing on desktop but don’t function properly on mobile. Test your creative across every device before launching any campaign asset.
      • Use custom JavaScript, HTML and CSS – Most marketing automation systems offer basic plug-and-play elements that let you spin up campaigns quickly. But to create a truly memorable campaign, you’ll need to push the limits of your platform. Adding snippets of JavaScript, HTML and CSS will improve the user experience, allowing you to delight your audience by displaying content based on their specific behaviors.
  3. Keep it consistent
    • Whether it’s a dinner party or a digital marketing campaign, reminders encourage your audience to take action. Data shows that it takes anywhere from 8 to 12 reminders—or touches—to convert a prospect into a lead.2 The success of your digital marketing campaign will rely on creative that sends a consistent message at each of those points of contact.
      • Connect the campaign to your brand – The sweet spot for campaign creative is to develop a look that complements your brand. This will give your campaign a bespoke look and feel that will also connect readers to your company’s persona.
      • Carry on a conversation – In a marketing automation campaign, all roads lead to some type of conversion. Consistent visuals will help your customers or prospects connect the dots and keep moving through every funnel stage.
  4. Optimize it based on data
    • If you burn the main dish, there’s little you can do mid-stream to save your dinner party (Other than “Hey, let’s order pizza!”) But within a digital marketing campaign, there’s always a fresh opportunity to make tweaks and deliver better results. Two ways to accomplish this:
      • Test creative elements sequentially – Is your email open rate sagging after Touch No. 3? Then try something different. The best way to know what to change is to test. We recommend doing so on the four elements that impact conversion the most—images, CTA treatments, subject lines, and headlines. But don’t test them all at once. Start by changing one element and measure the results. If that doesn’t impact engagement, then try changing something else. With this sequential approach, you’ll uncover learnings you can use to optimize the rest of your current campaign and any future campaigns.
      • Use data and creative to drive further engagement – Marketing automation platforms like Eloqua and Pardot give you real-time data. Use it to further engage customers and reduce unsubscribes. Input detailed information about your audience, their pains, and their needs into your marketing automation system. Then fine-tune your campaign creative to attract their attention.
  5. Make it visual
    • We don’t know how many dinner party invitations you get each year, but the average office worker gets 121 emails a day.3 That’s why templated approaches to campaigns won’t cut it anymore. The best way to rise above the noise creatively is to make the imagery inside your email memorable.
    • Images are often the first thing an email reader sees, and they might be what they remember the most. Carefully consider every image you use. Make sure they don’t look too much like “stock” photography or items that your audience sees time and again. Answer these three questions: Is your image eye-catching? Is it relevant? Is it appropriate?

Spice up your digital campaign creative

Ready to make your next digital campaign as buzzworthy as an amazing dinner party? The Simon Group can help you set the perfect mood. Our designers are master-certified in Eloqua and continually push the boundaries of Eloqua, Pardot, and other marketing automation platforms. They also continually develop and expand their knowledge of the latest design trends so they can help our clients succeed.

If you’re struggling to get meaningful results from your campaigns, we’d love to help.

Let’s see what we can do for you.

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