I'm not going to require you to read the first 3 parts of the series...but it is in your best interest. I have faith that you'll do what's right. Just in case you need a refresher:
In today's world branding is more important than ever. We are bombarded with ads just about every place we look. You must make your brand recognizable. Even if someone doesn't purchase or turn into a lead right away, the more they become familiar with your brand the higher the likelihood they could turn into a purchase. This is not always the case, but you will be surprised how much colors, logo, tag lines, jingles, etc. help a consumer remember you. Locals to the area probably remember the line "Hurt in a car? Call William Mattar." Yes, I know it's annoying, but you will remember those commercials for a long time.
Branding Your MailChimp Templates
If you are going to professionally send out email blasts to consumers and potential customers, I fully recommend you brand your MailChimp templates. Best part is, they make it extremely easy. Let's get started.
Go ahead and click on the My Templates button after you are logged in and on the MailChimp dashboard. Now click Start from Scratch. You will see that the folks at MailChimp have already given. For the purposes of this post I will use a fairly basic one, the Letterhead w/Left Logo template starter.
Add Your Logo
Where you start editing the template is a matter of preference, but I almost always start by adding the logo. If you hover over the logo place holder, it will tell you the size the logo should be. Move your cursor over the mouse and choose Edit. You can pull your logo from your computer, a URL or an existing image on the MailChimp server that is associated with your account. I will guess that you'll probably be uploading from your computer. Click the browse button and find the photo on your computer. Don't worry too much about resizing prior to adding from your computer, as long as it is larger or the roughly the same size as the placeholder was, you can resize right from MailChimp and even crop using Picnik. If at all possible make sure the final logo you use is the same width as the template. My holder was 180 pixels wide, so using the resize option I will change the width number to 180 and ensure that the keep proportions check box is checked. Click OK, and your logo should appear.
Match Your Company's Colors
Your branding does not stop at your logo. As a small business you may not have a branding style guide containing your hexadecimal colors, but if you do that document will come in handy. A business that has a style guide is generally more strict about color/font/logo usage than a company that does not have set colors. If you need some assistance in getting your hexadecimal colors, go to your website using the chrome browser, hover over the color you want to see, right click and choose inspect element. Often times you will be able to see the color code for that specific element. This will not always work unfortunately...if it doesn't there is another way. Use the snipping tool if you are on a windows machine, take a screen shot of a large section containing colors you would like to use, copy, open photoshop, press control N, now press control v. This will be an issue if you don't have Photoshop, if you do though your golden. You should now see your image in photoshop, choose the dropper tool on the left and click on the color that you are looking for. You should now see a box that contains the hexadecimal color you are looking for. Jot down a few of these codes that you plan on using in MailChimp. If you are unable to find the codes that you need, don't worry...there is a color palette built right into MailChimp, you should be able to choose close colors by comparing. Once you have the code you can change the color by replacing the 6 character code beside the #.
You Have Your Logo, You Have Some Colors...Now What?
I would love to tell you that there is a magic formula for what color to place where, but honestly you have to play around with it. Depending on the outline template that you chose, you will have options across the top. In this case mine are: Background Color, Email Border, Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, Heading 4. It may look overwhelming, but the area you will be editing will be highlighted. Most times each of your options at the top of the screen will have sub-options such as text color, link color, etc. If you are using a dark background be sure to make your font and links light in color, vice versa if you are using a very light background. Keep your target audience in mind, but I recommend that you play around with changing the colors around until you get something you like. Don't make it overly annoying, but you can have fun with your template. If it is too bad someone will be sure to tell you.
Now You Have Your Template Rough Draft
You aren't set to everything that you chose. Your template may vary by email. Sometimes certain things won't gel with the original template you created. Ask a few of your co-workers what they think. If you are in the marketing department, use your best judgement. You should know whether or not what you created is in line with the rest of your marketing materials. There is probably room somewhere on the template to add your social links, don't forget. Many of your email subscribers will likely be interested in following you socially as well for more interaction.
Next week we'll start looking at your email content. If you have specific template questions, feel free to ask and I'll address your questions specifically.