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Key Takeaways

  • Branding in your emails is a great thing, so long as you're landing in the primary inbox

  • A few colors can go a long way - and simple is good

  • The progress tracker is both incredibly utilitarian AND presents an opportunity to have a bit of fun

Hi friends,

HTML doesn't pose deliverability risks if your domain has been assigned to the primary inbox.

Pretty cool way to start an email, right?

Today we're talking about infusing brand into your course. With EBCs, brand manifests in two ways, 1) the look and feel of the content and 2) your "voice". We'll be diving into voice in the next chapter, so today is all about design (in the visual sense — different from the course/curriculum design we covered over the past few emails).

Why go the extra mile to build your visual brand into your EBC?

Because it makes it stand out. When your students open that email and see a tasty little header image and your logo, it should trigger a Pavlovian response: their brains should start pulsing over the material you're about to deliver.

There are subtle advantages to infusing emails with your brand

Having a simple color system for delineation is both easy to do and a useful visual guide for your readers (another subtle way to set expectations!). See below for the different email header images used in this course (we don't actually have any quizzes in this course, but if we did... that's what the header image would look like):

I'm using 3 colors (with some tinting), plus black, white, and grey. Lots of groovy combinations to be made!

I'm a big fan of Figma

It's my go-to tool for anything graphic design (and like many of the tools highlighted in this course, it has a robust free plan!). It takes a teeny tiny bit of practice to get familiar with it, but I have faith in your abilities. If you're anything like me, you will have fun playing around with fonts and colors (if your brand is still being defined and you need some color inspiration, check out this site... I could spend hours flipping through different color schemes).

Besides the header image and logo, what other graphics are there to consider?

Let's talk about the standard "images" and then I'll introduce you to my all-time favorite visual asset.

Pictures play an essential role in email-based courses (but I thought it was all writing?! Wrong!). Anytime numbers, timelines, or processes are involved, I'll try to create a graph or table (see a few examples from Big Later below)

I'm not one to poo-poo the use of off-brand imagery

Creating an entire library of graphics and visual aids is a lot of work (especially if your brand is still undergoing some development). While it's better (IMO) to use branded visuals where possible, there are instances where a meme really hits. I use screenshots that have zero brand continuity all the time. Building up your brand presence in your emails can happen over time.

And now... for the most underrated visual asset of all: the progress tracker

The number of times I heard students of Big Later say, "I want to know what's coming next" was enough to make me... well... it was enough to make me do something about it. A simple progress tracker foreshadows what's coming and visualizes the ground that has been covered. It can be used in individual emails as well as in checkpoints along the way. And if you have fun with it, your students will too.

How do we use the progress tracker?

As you may have noticed, the progress tracker has two lives. At various intervals, the full image is displayed (you see the full thing at the beginning of the course and then at the end of each chapter) and then within chapters, you get that particular chapter's view (if you aren't following, just look at the progress tracker image like, right below this).

My favorite place for the progress tracker is at the very end — it's kind of like a little reward... as if to say, "look how far you've come!". You'll get that satisfaction in a few chapters.

Catch you in the next one where you won't actually be learning anything. Well, not in the way you've been learning so far... now it's time to DO something (which, as far as learning goes, turns out to be a lot more effective than reading).