Home  › Email › Email Marketing

Ten Tips for Giving More Effective Creative Feedback

  |  December 3, 2007   |  Comments

The more clearly you communicate your thoughts to creative team members, the more effective they'll be at implementing those ideas.

A concept's creative implementation can make or break your e-mail results. The more clearly you communicate your thoughts to your creative team members, the more effective they'll be at implementing your ideas. Here are 10 tips for the next time you provide creative feedback.

Be Positive

Open your creative feedback with a positive. It shows respect for the person's work and helps set a good tone for whatever follows. If you're excited about the creative you saw, let that show through. If not, find something you like about it and use that.

Be Clear

Don't force your creative team to figure out which part of the e-mail or landing page your comment refers to. I like to arrange my feedback, especially if there's a lot of it, by section. Simple identifiers like "top left" or "third paragraph" help the team quickly identify the issue you see and fix it.

Be Concise

Bullet points are best, one per item that needs to be addressed. This allows the creative team to check off things that are done and quickly scan the document to see what's left. The bullet points don't have to be complete sentences, either. This is much more effective than providing a paragraph-based dialogue on what needs to be changed.

Be Descriptive

It's not the creative team's job to read your mind. Comments like, "I just don't like it," or, "This sentence isn't true," aren't constructive; they don't give your team the necessary guidance to make changes.

Try to figure out why you don't like it. Does it look too cramped? Is the white copy on a red background difficult to read?

Provide your team something specific they can do to make corrections. If a sentence isn't truthful, ask them to delete it or provide alternative copy or an idea to take its place.

Be Disciplined

A typical schedule for creative review is as follows:

  • First-round review: Identify issues and provide feedback to address them.

  • Second-round review: Confirm that the changes made resolve the issues identified in the first round; tweak if they don't.

  • Final round: Approve the tweaks, move forward.

If you see copy first, then copy in the design, you have three rounds for copy, then three rounds for copy in the design. If you skip the copy review and go right to copy in the design, you should have three rounds total.

If you regularly have more than three rounds, discipline is needed. Sometimes disciple involves making your initial creative brief more effective, so the team has a better idea of what you're looking for before it starts. Other times, it involves making sure you identify all the issues in the first round.

If you have trouble with this, try doing multiple reviews of the first round on your own. Look at it, make some notes, then go do something else. Come back to it an hour or more later, review it again, and add to your notes. If you have the time to sleep on it, even better.

Focus on the Material

Focus on what really matters: issues that will lift response. Copy related to the benefits of your product is significant; copy asking people to add your sender address to their address book isn't. It doesn't make sense to spend a lot of time on things that won't boost or depress results.

Cut and Paste If It Helps

Years ago, one of my favorite art directors taught me this trick: if the format isn't working for you, cut the elements of the e-mail apart and spend some time repositioning them on a blank piece of paper.

This will allow you to see for yourself (roughly) how things might be better positioned. It's also a great way to provide creative feedback; tape your final version together, scan it, and include it, along with your bullet-pointed issues, in what you send to the creative team so they can see what you're envisioning.

Put It in Writing

Is it quicker and easier to provide feedback verbally? Yes, but avoid the temptation. While it's fine to provide some initial thoughts on a call or in person, your formal response should be in writing. This keeps everyone on the same page and heads off the "what was said versus what was heard" conflict before it emerges.

Resolve Internal Conflicts

It's not the creative team's job to resolve disagreements between a marketing team's members. Don't give the creative group conflicting feedback.

If there's a disagreement on a copy point or a color choice, resolve it before you provide your comments. If at all possible, have a single marketing person compile all comments, check for and resolve conflicts, and provide this comprehensive feedback to the creative team.

Know What You (and Your Colleagues) Don't Know

It's rare to find someone who excels at all the different creative aspects. You should be working with a talented creative team (if you don't feel you are, you need a new creative solution). As a result, you should trust their judgment on some things.

You're the expert on your product or service, but they are the experts on phrasing, layout, design, color, and so forth. There are times you need to trust their judgment on these areas. If you don't, you're not getting the full benefit of their services.

Give these 10 tips a try and let me know the results.

Until next time,

Jeanne

Want more e-mail marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our e-mail columns, organized by topic.

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Sept 5 to take advantage of Super Saver Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeanne Jennings

Jeanne Jennings is a 20 year veteran of the online/email marketing industry, having started her career with CompuServe in the late 1980s. As Vice President of Global Strategic Services for Alchemy Worx, Jennings helps organizations become more effective and more profitable online. Previously Jennings ran her own email marketing consultancy with a focus on strategy; clients included AARP, Hasbro, Scholastic, Verizon and Weight Watchers International. Want to learn more? Check out her blog.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Email newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

Resources

Jobs

    • Digital Marketing Analyst
      Digital Marketing Analyst (GovLoop) - Washington D.C.Are you passionate about audience acquisition? Love effective copy and amazingly effective...
    • Product Specialist
      Product Specialist (Agora Inc. ) - BaltimoreDescription: The Product Specialist is hyper-focused on the customer experience and ensures that our...
    • Partnerships Senior Coordinator
      Partnerships Senior Coordinator (Zappos.com, Inc.) - Las VegasZappos IP, Inc. is looking for a Partnerships Senior Coordinator! Why join us? Our...