Repeat after me: I will make my email better in 2018!

Each December I traditionally write a predictions blog where I look at what has happened during the outgoing year and look to the year ahead. It is a fun thought exercise that usually involves the team kicking around various ideas of what will happen in the following year. The challenge is always finding the balance between practical stuff that you know will come true, the things that you hope come to pass and the really interesting stuff that would only happen if life were a J.J. Abrams film. Back in December we did the thought exercise and I took copious notes, but it looked just like last year’s predictions and those from the year before that. So instead of predictions, let’s set some goals for 2018 that we will aim to achieve together.

Resolution 1 – Crawl, walk, run

Some of the emerging technology in marketing is really cool (AI, VR, Omnichannel, etc.), but this year we must resist our natural magpie instincts and not chase after the shiny new thing until we are getting the basics right in the channels we currently use.

Resolution 2 – Testing

That said, we want to be able to leverage these new technologies. Whether it is getting the basics right or deciding which new technology to employ, we need to get better at testing by following these four simple rules:

  1. Test the big things first
  2. Clearly define what you are testing
  3. Test one thing at a time
  4. Measure the test with a metric that is as close to your desired outcome as practical to get a meaningful result in a timely manner

Resolution 3 – Reporting more than opens and clicks

Opens and clicks are great process metrics. They are great at telling you how a particular campaign performed, and they allow for easy comparison between campaigns. For almost all of us however, we do not make any money from opens or clicks. In fact, of more than 4,000 dotmailer customers, I only know of one that makes money from opens (they are in publishing). The rest of us on the other hand, need to drive sales either directly or indirectly to make money. We need to start measuring the success of our marketing efforts based on how they are driving sales not based on whether a message drove the most clicks.

Resolution 4 – Write better copy

The reality is that most of us are marketing professionals writing our copy and NOT copywriting professionals. This has become the standard across all digital channels and while we could argue the whys, we cannot argue that our copy is not as good as it could be. Copywriting is a craft and like any craft it takes talent, skill and time to do well. I am not saying that marketing professionals cannot write good copy but, in 2018, we should commit to writing better copy. One of the easiest ways we can make our copy better is by following through on resolution 2 and testing different copy styles, lengths etc. We also need to spend more time working on our copy, from subject lines to alt tags.

Resolution 5 – Focus on what we can achieve with the budget and resources we have

The final resolution is going to be tougher. We need to change our view from ‘glass half empty’ to ‘glass half full.’ Let’s not dwell on what we cannot do but rather celebrate what we can. Let’s not get hung up on changes to consumer attitudes, changes to local regulations or political factors we cannot control. The 2017 Hitting the Mark report clearly showed us that both the brands with whom we compete and the brands we aspire to emulate are not smashing it. If we focus on the first four resolutions the foundations will be laid to allow us to go after the new technologies, channels and tactics.

The post Repeat after me: I will make my email better in 2018! appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 4 weeks ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Let’s talk about email best practice

Despite all the quirky new ways to promote your brand, email continues to be the most effective and influential.

What makes email so powerful today?

Email is a fast and direct way to reach your customers, wherever they are and on whatever device they’re on. You can adapt email campaigns easily to suit your target market’s needs. It’s super cost-effective and – most importantly – it can be highly personalized and targeted (e.g. through web behavior, order history and preferences). What’s more, campaigns with a cool design and relevant message will not only influence online activity but offline behavior as well, such as driving customer purchases in store.

The channel’s also highly measurable – you can see instant results through real-time tracking of opens, clicks and ROI. This insight allows you to analyze performance and – in understanding what works and what doesn’t – optimize your strategy.

There are many statistics that indicate how much businesses and customers value email:

  • 75% of companies agree that email offers ‘excellent’ to ‘good’ ROI. (Econsultancy, 2016)
  • Email use worldwide will top 3 billion users by 2020 (The Radicati Group, 2016)

Top Tips

These simple tactics will make sure you stand out to recipients – over and above your competitors – in a crowded inbox.

1. Avoid the ‘dead zone’ of subject lines

Keep it short, keep it snappy, and keep it relevant. Long, uninspiring subject lines will likely disengage readers and prevent them from opening. Check out our cheatsheet which features some great subject line examples.

2. Always personalize your emails

Why? The key objective of an email is to build a relationship with subscribers. There’s an abundance of data to leverage: their name, their preferences, their actions. Perhaps send them an offer which relates to their buying history or web browsing behavior. Brands that value customers’ needs will always prevail.

3. Make sure your emails are optimized across all devices

The look-and-feel of your email is so important and it needs to be consistent when it’s opened on a mobile, tablet or on different email clients (e.g. Outlook, Apple Mail etc.). Make sure your template is mobile-optimized and designed by experts. First impressions count, and email is certainly no exception.

4. Be targeted and avoid batch-and-blast

Too much information at once can overload the recipient and strip engagement away from your product/service offering and organization…. disaster! Analyze your email opens, pinpoint your send time optimization and then maintain consistency in your sending. B2Bs for instance might find it more effective to send emails during weekday mornings, whereas B2C brands may see better results by emailing on a Thursday evening or on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

5. Leverage rich customer insight to drive automation

A consistently engaged customer is the dream! And how do you convert your subscribers into engaged brand advocates? The answer is data-driven automation. There are so many clever things you can do with email these days. You can understand what your customers like, dislike; what they want and need. What’s more, the technology is there for you to understand their behavior too.

 

Your key takeaway?

It’s impossible to please everyone, but as a serious marketer you can be clever. I would love to say that a sexy-looking campaign is all you need, but the devil’s in the data. It’s not about one element but rather the bigger picture. Implementing just a few of the above suggestions will help you on your way to sending out the right emails, to the right people, at the right time.

If you would like to hear more information about the power of automation, then please contact your account manager.

The post Let’s talk about email best practice appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Make email automation the backbone of your B2B marketing strategy

Not too long ago, our in-house consultant Gavin Laugenie hosted a dotlive on the top 5 automation programs B2B companies should be doing, the reasons why and the results you can expect to yield from them. Below are the top 5 ROI-generating automation programs with tips on how to approach them.

1. Welcome program

Your welcome program is your chance to make a lasting impression; thank customers for engaging, set the expectations for the relationship and provide some valuable content to get the ball rolling.

  • Give your contacts a good first impression of your brand by outlining the types of communications they’re likely to receive
  • Use this as an opportunity to find out more about their interests through a preference center; in aggregating this valuable insight you can build a strong profile of subscribers and power relevant content that’ll keep them engaged

2. Product-based program

Your product-focused program allows you to personalize marketing communications depending on the stage contacts are at in the purchasing cycle. Push different types of content that resonate with them, supercharging their engagement and intent to buy.

  • Understand where people are in the buying journey
  • Timing is key: find out the optimum time of sending an email
  • Make sure the campaign is responsive on different devices and is easily readable/scannable
  • Relevancy of content: include dynamic content where possible (people have different reasons for buying). Segment based on data-fields and email behavior you hold on subscribers

3. Nurture program

Your nurture program is an essential component of your marketing strategy; drive valuable content to your subscribers on a steady basis to convert them at the right time. Contextualizing your messages is key.

  • Planning is crucial; you must be aware of what contacts will receive at each stage
  • Understand the results – use reporting to stay informed on how your emails are performing, helping you identify what’s working and what isn’t
  • Use contact scoring to understand customers. Identify those who are receptive and who aren’t; it’s much more cost-effective to keep a client happy rather than to win them back or acquire a new one

4. Retention program

Maximize customer longevity with your retention program. Drive key benefits – placing your brand front-of-mind – and you’ll strengthen existing customer relationships and foster true advocacy.

  • Give customers a reason to stay, what are the benefits?
  • Reward them for their loyalty
  • Perhaps even include a win-back strategy if they have an ‘at risk’ status, for example (our contact scoring tool can help you easily identify this)

5. Event program

An event program reinforces all your other marketing automation efforts. Spark interest among your subscribers by promoting events that complement their preferences through segmentation.

  • Segment your data based on geo-location and areas of interest; it’ll provide insight on who to target and help reduce no-shows
  • Perhaps give them an attendee status – make them feel special enough to want to attend and flag those who have already been to an event
  • Always ask for feedback and learn what you’re doing/not doing well to continuously improve and encourage attendance

 

You may already be aware of the above points, however it should help reinforce why these programs are important, how to approach them and the results you’re likely to expect.

If you would like more information on the types of automation programs you could implement, please contact your account manager or download our best practice guide on unlocking the power of B2B automation.

The post Make email automation the backbone of your B2B marketing strategy appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Email marketing is evolving and knowing your KPIs is more important than ever

KPIs or key performance indicators are becoming ever more integral to the reporting and analysis of email marketing.

There are many reasons why email KPIs are a must, but most importantly:

  • they make it easier for you to align your efforts with wider department/company objectives
  • they help you define success, benchmark against tangible goals and track what works and what doesn’t – so you’ll know what to repeat, and what to never do again!

It’s important to embrace KPIs and view them as a valuable means to drive success rather than pinpoint failure, both individual and company-wide. Metrics help you make sense of all your marketing efforts, putting you in a better position to optimize activities so they contribute highly to overall business growth. 90% of executives surveyed in a recent Return Path report believe that their email marketing strategy is successful in achieving wider business objectives.

A great way to plan your KPIs is to use the SMART planning methodology – this will ensure that metrics are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. These are all pre-requisites in achieving value from your KPI process.

SMART

Specific – rather than say that you’ll focus on increasing open rates, say by how much i.e. “we aim to increase unique open rates by 5%”

Measurable – make sure you can measure the results of your efforts – luckily with email, just about everything is trackable!

Achievable – set goals which are a stretch and will require hard work, but which aren’t unrealistic. KPIs should be met continuously; falling at the first hurdle will just encourage a deviation from your core objectives

Realistic – think about ways you can turn your goals into reality. If we consider the increase in open rates example, think about how you would go about boosting this metric, via tools such as send time optimization and subject line testing

Timely – give yourself enough time to achieve your KPIs, but not so much time that they lack a sense of urgency and become redundant

Email marketing objectives

When putting KPIs into place, it’s important to understand your core email marketing objectives. The likely ones are:

  • Driving ROI
  • Maximizing conversions (downloads, demo requests, event registrations, purchases etc.)
  • Increasing list growth (i.e. organic: website, in-store)
  • Increasing opens and click throughs
  • Promoting social sharing
  • Reducing bounces
  • Decreasing unsubscribes

Of these objectives, ROI tends to be the most crucial for key stakeholders. However, as they’re all interconnected with revenue growth, it’s advisable to measure them individually so that you can better judge your email performance. According to Return Path, 67% of top executives surveyed in its report believe that conversions are the most useful KPI for measuring email success, followed by ROI and click throughs.

KPIs will be different for every single business. Start with your top-level goals, filter down to objectives and then set granular metrics that benchmark your success. Email is widely considered as the most effective online channel, essential in funnelling sales and driving revenue. Many will therefore have a vested interest, so it’s more important than ever to track and optimize its performance.

The post Email marketing is evolving and knowing your KPIs is more important than ever appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 2 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

How to tap into the consumer’s psyche with your email marketing campaigns

You don’t need to have studied psychology or consumer behavior to know that human beings have both an emotive and rational side. Our process is essentially reactive, then proactive. We eat with our eyes, don’t we?

In an interesting article by Nielson Norman Group, Kahneman describes two specific ‘modes’ in which people process information – System 1 is our involuntary and automatic self, whereas System 2 is our attentive and analytical self. By default, the former is fast and effortless, whereas the latter is “slow and effortful”.

This psychology can easily be applied to email marketing, as our response to a campaign (i.e. open, click, purchase) is indicative of many factors: first our brain will register emotionally and then rationally; this occurs without us even registering. Therefore, as marketers it’s important to get the look and feel of an email just right, along with delivering content that’s super-relevant to the recipient. These elements are the make-up of a successful campaign that encourages the user or customer to take the desired action.

Putting this knowledge into practice requires a careful balancing act; as email marketers, we’ll often major on trying to capture our audience’s emotions, but this comes at a price if we forget to cater to their rational side.

3 tricks on how to seduce the consumer’s emotional side

Beautiful email design – sexy creative will tap into System 1 – and builds a strong foundation for System 2. A well-design email trumpets brand credibility and strengthens trust amongst subscribers. According to the Nielson Group, UX design (be that a website, email, social etc.) determines the credibility of a brand in 50 milliseconds. Similarly, the attention span of so-called ‘digital surfers’ – those that adopt a multi-channel browsing approach – is around 8 seconds. It’s therefore important that your email is polished and concise, while being 100% on-brand. If you’re wondering how you can go about optimizing your brand’s email design, we’ve got a free cheatsheet which’ll send you in the right direction.

Stunning images and a powerful call-to-action (CTA) – for a positive action to occur, imagery and CTAs must be eye-catching. Although images are said to speak a thousand words, it’s key that they complement your copy to signpost the reader and aid scannability. If you get the former right, you’ll set things up nicely for the all-important CTA. The CTA needs to be well-positioned, inviting, and not alarming. Nielson details the positive and negative outcomes of CTAs, depending on how our System 1 interprets them. For instance, avoid fierce, ‘in-your-face’ CTAs in favor of subtle yet influential ones. Too many variations, colors and options can cause disorientation, negative impressions and unnecessary delay. Minimal ingredients drive better conversions – so don’t over-complicate it!

Relevant friendly from name and a personalized subject line – personalization will always tap into our emotive side – but remember, getting it wrong can cause upset and belittle the overall message. Ensure that your data is top-notch, your segments are set up correctly, and you’ve tested the personalized elements of your email (such as subject line, pre-header text and dynamic content, etc.). Consistency is also key if you’re trying to build brand trust, so ensure that your friendly from name is recognizable throughout your email communications.

3 tips on how to win the consumer’s rationale

Granular segmentation and targeting – brands should tailor messages to subscribers’ interests to ensure the fluidity between their emotional and rational side – otherwise they’ll fail to engage in future. We ultimately want people’s System 1 to override their System 2 – i.e. the relevancy of the message will avoid scrutinization and suspicion. Segmentation and targeting is therefore your best friend; never forget the mantra of email marketing: the right message, to the right person, at the right time.

Superb content – according to Email Acid, 80% of your audience is scanning – rather than reading – your email. This ties in with the time-sensitive nature of online channels. Your content needs to be on point and you can do this through a combination of personalization: by crafting copy that oozes personality (reflecting your brand’s tone of voice) and good formatting that lets your content breathe. And, if you can make your email relevant to moments in your customers’ lives, you’ll be winning. Check out our cheatsheet on how to nail your copy.

An irresistible offering – to engage with email, there needs to be something worthwhile for the recipient, or else their System 1 will lose momentum and their System 2 will wield rationality. Consequently, it’s necessary for brands to scope the product offering in a way that reflects the needs of consumers and provides them with a solution to their pain points. This could be anything from an anti-wrinkle face cream (I’m in my 50s and anti-ageing cream is one of my preferences), to a whitepaper on healthcare (I’m a senior social researcher), to an undergraduate degree course in History (I’m a prospective History student).

 

As an email marketer, it’s your job to captivate the subscriber, and prolong that captivity for as long as it takes to drive a positive action or conversion – all the while affirming brand loyalty. It’s important to iterate that the success of your email marketing is ultimately up to the psychology of the end recipient and how they process the message you’ve sent them. Although there’s always an element of logic in our response to an email campaign, emotion is – nine times out of ten – at the steering wheel.

For more key takeaways on how to master email psychology, check out our whitepaper.

The post How to tap into the consumer’s psyche with your email marketing campaigns appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 2 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

How to use your email marketing software to prevent ecommerce fraud

From local newspapers to Facebook’s global network of two billion users, your campaigns can be seen by nearly every person in the world. Need to target flannel-wearing lumberjacks in Washington? Done. How about cat-loving motorcyclists in Texas? Easy. But with so many eyeballs on your marketing, it’s bound to draw the attention of some bad people; people trying to defraud your company. If you’re like most marketers, the thought of fraud has never even crossed your mind. And why should it? Your goals are aligned with increasing revenue, promoting customer delight, and improving your brand’s image. Fraud couldn’t possibly impact these metrics, right?

Unfortunately, the effects of ecommerce fraud can creep into every department, including marketing. Your revenue goals will suffer due to chargebacks and associated fees. Your customers’ satisfaction will drop as they’re forced to endure longer review times. Even your brand’s image could deteriorate from a public’s perception that your site facilitates fraudulent activity. When viewed in this light, perhaps it’s easier to see why you should pay closer attention to the fight against ecommerce fraud. So how can you continue to reach, and even exceed, your marketing goals while also helping to prevent fraud? Your email marketing software may hold the answer.

The email address

If you’re running an email campaign, then you already have one of the most valuable data points in the fight against fraud: an email address.

In the 46 years since the first email was sent, email marketing has evolved from a simple method of communication to a sophisticated system for connecting, engaging, selling, and, yes, protecting your business from fraud. In fact, when fraud rates are compared to other marketing channels such as ads on Facebook or Instagram, customers who come via your email marketing are four times less likely to be fraudsters, according to data from Riskified, a leading eCommerce fraud prevention company. You can thank the old reliable email address for this.

For years, fraud-prevention professionals have been using email addresses as a form of identity verification. They know that certain characteristics of an email address are typically associated with higher risk customers. For example, the age of an email address can be helpful in understanding whether your customer is a known and trusted member of the internet community or a swindler. Tools such as emailage exist to help you quickly recognize an old friend from a new enemy. And while the age of an email is important, so too is the provider, as some are safer than others.

Gmail, for example, requires each user to verify their identity, which makes it a less likely choice for an individual committing a crime. Also, the naming convention of the email can be a strong indicator. If you notice an address that looks odd or resembles a keyboard smash like asdf123@gmail.com, proceed with caution, as this can be a sign of a charlatan waiting to strike. When taken together, the email age, provider, and name can help you separate a customer from a thief.

Promotions

Customers love promotions; fraudsters don’t.

You’ve learned about the four Ps of marketing: price, product, promotion, and place. The four Ps are what drive customers to consider your product and, ultimately, purchase. But one of those Ps – promotion – can also help you avoid fraud.

We often think about promotions as a way to advertise a product or brand, quickly sell inventory, and create loyalty among new and existing customers. Promotions also happen to be extremely effective at verifying legitimate, loyal customers. As a matter of fact, ecommerce transactions that don’t include a promotional code are three times as likely to be fraudulent as transactions that do include a code, according to Riskified. Why? Because when a fraudster is using someone else’s credit card, he doesn’t care about entering a promotional code to save money.

So when you’re designing your next email campaign to promote the launch of a new product, consider creating a unique promotional code to accompany it. Not only will your customers thank you, but so will your fraud prevention team.

Behavioral tracking

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

In marketing, the more you know about your customer and their behaviors, the better. Well, the same is true in fraud prevention. Thankfully, many email marketing platforms automatically capture and store behavioral data about your customers through the use of cookies. One important piece of data your marketing system captures is the pages your customer has viewed and the order in which they have viewed them.

Pageviews, and, more importantly, the order of the views, can be vital in differentiating a customer from a crook. Just like your legitimate patrons have buying journeys, so do your fraudsters. While a faithful shopper will typically compare prices and read reviews resulting in a lengthy pageview history, fraudsters will not waste their time learning about your products. Instead, they will quickly go to your site’s product page and purchase the highest value item. So next time your fraud team is scrutinizing an order, share that customer’s pageview history with them. It could determine whether a loyal customer gets their goods or a fraudster’s attempt at a quick take is thwarted.

Bringing it together

By leveraging what’s already available in your email marketing software you can fight ecommerce fraud while improving your performance metrics.

Reviewing your database’s email addresses, including promotional codes in your email campaigns, and tracking the behavior of your customers are all effective ways of using your emailing platform to increase revenue while also fighting fraud. And, sure, it’s easy for us marketers to turn a blind eye to fraud, as on the surface our goals are rarely aligned with preventing it. But when you realize the impact fraudsters can have on your marketing efforts, it can quickly change your view. So before you get started creating that new marketing campaign, consider implementing some of the suggestions above. Hitting your marketing goals could depend on it.

This post was written by one of dotmailer’s partners, Riskified, a technology company focused on leveraging data and innovation to ensure brands are always one step ahead of online fraudsters.

The post How to use your email marketing software to prevent ecommerce fraud appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 3 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

The welcome program: the first step towards data-driven email marketing automation

However, given the sheer quantity of data brands are leveraging, automation programs are becoming necessary to win the email marketing game. Consumers’ expectations are rising, and highly personalised, 1:1 communications are becoming the norm among brands who wish to establish and maintain a good relationship with their customers.

Fret not, however!

Automation doesn’t have to feel like jumping into the deep end — we all start learning how to swim with a little paddle. A welcome email introduces your brand to new subscribers and sets their expectations with regard to your email marketing; this is a great place to test the automation waters.

As a customer, I want a timely response to my sign-up and more information on what I’m going to receive. It’s also worth noting that – according to Big Commerce – 75% of email subscribers expect a welcome email after joining a mailing list. This positive first impression helps a customer maintain their interest and trust in your brand; both of which are crucial for your sending reputation and deliverability.

Nevertheless, according to a 2017 Econsultancy survey on UK & U.S. marketers, only 44% sent welcome emails, despite them delivering higher open, click and conversion rates than ordinary promotional emails (Big Commerce**). Brands are subsequently losing revenue by not implementing a welcome series.

Equally, a welcome program is a great opportunity for brands to drive engagement and get to know their customers. It’s like the beginning of any relationship, whether it’s a colleague, a friend, or a partner: when we meet people, we want to find out more about them so we can understand their interests and eventually nurture a mutually beneficial relationship. Enriching your customer insight during a welcome series will help you to build a data foundation to leverage, ultimately driving lifetime value.

Here’s an example of a three-part welcome program that can help you to boost your brand at the beginning of the relationship.

3-stage welcome program with a preference center

  1. Online sign-up

It’s important to keep the sign-up simple (e.g. via a pop-up) to drive organic data acquisition. Save the preference center for the welcome series, as asking for too much information at this early stage can increase the drop-off rate.

  1. WELCOME 1 – Thanks for signing up!

This email should be sent within a few minutes of the sign-up, and include brand visuals so that the subscriber recognises who it’s from and what it’s about. It’s also important to incorporate a double opt-in link so that the email account can be verified.

  1. WELCOME 2 – We’d like to get to know you 😊

In this email, it’s key to engage the subscriber and incentivise them to do something. My advice would be to invite them to complete a preference center, allowing them to dictate their own email journey. This stimulates interest, builds trust, enriches your data and ultimately helps you create a profile of your subscribers. Off the back of subscribers’ responses, you can put them into segments and opt them into different programs for targeting purposes.

  1. WELCOME 3 – Thanks for updating your preferences!

This is the reward bit. For those who haven’t update their preferences, I would send them a reminder to do so. For those who have, say ‘thank you’ and let them know what emails you’re going to send them (this can be done using dynamic content). In terms of reward, this could be anything: a complementary product, free delivery, money off their first purchase, some downloadable content etc.; it totally depends on your business and what’s important.

Remember: you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

According to Digital Commerce 360, retailers that generate the most revenue from new subscribers typically send three welcome emails, incorporating a discount within the series. Although discounts are not always advisable (as they can devalue the brand), you should always offer some sort of reward off the back of the subscriber fulfilling an action.

Nowadays, a welcome program is an essential component of your email marketing strategy. If you’re not doing one, you should be! Driving brand value and customer engagement from the off will pay dividends. Remember, a first impression goes a long way!

The post The welcome program: the first step towards data-driven email marketing automation appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 5 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

How to approach a cool email creative design

Email creative design is important for many reasons. Firstly, you are representing your brand via an electronic communication – so you want to make the right impression and ensure that your contacts to have a positive interaction with it.

A well-constructed yet simple email will also contribute to a positive sending reputation, as it’s the quality of the campaign’s design that will inspire repeat interaction. And this repeat interaction is what’s needed to build a loyal contact base that frequently engages with you via email.

Top tips in approaching email design

When designing for email, you should always approach the task as though you’re dealing with hostile environments: spam filters, rendering differences (Outlook rendering differs to that on Gmail, and it’s the same with Android and iPhone). Email has to jump through many hurdles to render correctly so bear this in mind when creating templates and layouts. Ask yourself: will this design contribute to the purpose of the email or is it unnecessary graphic furniture?

11 seconds…

11 seconds is the average length of time people take to decide whether they want to interact with your email. So with this in mind, ask yourself, does the email content have too many bells and whistles? Is all of the content necessary or is some of it just gumpf? An overloaded creative can dilute impact and appear overwhelming, preventing your contacts from following through with the primary goal you had in mind. Simplicity is key; a design with purpose contributes to increased conversion and ultimately ROI.

Where is prime real estate?

It’s the top left-hand corner of ALL emails? Why? Because it’s what’s viewed on the preview pane of Outlook. It’s what’s pulled through in the pre-header text (important when viewing email on a mobile phone).

Remember to reinforce the CTA when they get to the bottom of the email; this should highlight the purpose of the email and act as the teaser to drive the next action.

Think outside the box

For email campaigns that are going to be viewed regularly, such as welcome programs or lapsed customer programs, why not soup them up by incorporating some animation? Tech giant, Dell, lifted email marketing revenue by 109% by using a GIF-centric campaign – so it’s a tried and tested tactic. You can also maximize the effort that goes into creating GIFs by opting for ‘evergreen’ blocks that can be used across other campaigns.

If you need help with creating awesome GIFs for your emails, our Creative Services team run animation workshops that are designed to help you optimize interactions and ensure the designs can degrade gracefully for mailbox providers that can’t render animation.

Tracking

It’s important with all these design efforts that you’re tracking the impact they’re having on your results. When it comes to CTA buttons or any links, make sure you’re tagging them so you can a) work out what content has the highest interest and b) what CTA has the most impact. This is important to get insight into what resonates with your contacts and what doesn’t.

Don’t forget…

Despite email design being key, always cater for contacts who have images turned off (images are turned off by default in Outlook!) So, use text that will encourage them to view the content in its intended format, and offer a plain-text version of your message for every campaign you send out.

The above is just a snippet of the design tips you can apply to your email marketing. If you’d like to get some more expert advice, our Creative Services team have years of experience in email design and best practice; get in touch with your Account manager for more information.

The post How to approach a cool email creative design appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 5 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Machine Learning: A competitor email experiment

A firm belief of the dotmailer team is that marketing automation allows marketers to focus more of their time on the strategic thinking and worry less about the manual tasks and execution. And software like dotmailer is needed to do this in various facets, from sorting and cleansing data, to designing marketing messages, scheduling them and so on. This is why we appreciate when our partners work on projects that apply the same belief. Enter Other Media, a digital agency we work with…

If you’re considering how to make the most of your email marketing, chances are you’ve been investigating personalisation and automation. As an agency defining and designing digital solutions for clients, the machine learning techniques that underpin this intelligent approach to marketing have caught our interest and we wanted to investigate their potential a little further.

We partner with dotmailer (an email marketing automation software) to help our clients, and Other Media as an agency, to get to grips with understanding our customers, but what about our competitors?

It is absolutely the right thing to focus on your customers and understanding their needs and behaviours from analysing their interactions with your brands. However, we can all benefit from taking a more outward looking approach – remembering to look at the market in which you operate.

It can be very useful to take the same way of thinking and processes that you apply to your customer marketing and apply them to your competitors. Getting hung up on what your competitors are doing isn’t healthy but keeping an eye on what they are doing, with minimal input and effort required, can be a very useful thing.

So, how did Other Media do it?

Ok, so we didn’t actually train a puppy, we trained an algorithm to sort documents, but that doesn’t sound as fun or useful. Useful, though, is hugely underplaying the importance of our latest experimentation.  

At Other Media, we thrive on delving into new trends and technologies by experimenting with what is available to help us, and our clients, to provide the best solutions for business needs. And this time the trend we focused on is Artificial intelligence (AI).

The last few weeks have seen us utilising machine learning, a particular branch of AI, to enhance our ambient data technologies. We wanted to see what AI could do for us in terms of analysing vast swathes of data in order to help us understand competing brands.

The ambient data technology, JustNow, collects real-time or near real-time data from multiple sources including Google Analytics, social media, news feeds and email newsletter campaigns. Our custom data displays help our clients to see the bigger picture of how their marketing activities, and those of their competitors, might be driving visitors, sales and value.

We used machine learning technology to distil insight from data and present it through this ambient, real-time display. We looked at the collection and display of competitor newsletters and asked ourselves this question:

Can we build a picture of what is going on in a competitive market by using artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to automate the reading and classification of news?

Well the spoiler is that, yes, we can.

To find out more about machine learning (what it is, what its applications and implications for businesses are), and see what our resulting data screen looked like and get a feel for how it could look for your organisation, download the experiment report here.

The post Machine Learning: A competitor email experiment appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 6 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

3 ways to add user-generated content to triggered email campaigns

Yet due to their automated nature, many marketers shy away from the idea of personalizing triggered email visual content beyond basic audience segmentation. However, adding personalized visual content to even the most specific triggered email campaigns can greatly impact their effectiveness. And, if done correctly, implementing this personalized content only requires legwork in the initial set up of the campaign.

User-generated content (UGC) can add that personal touch to triggered email campaigns — allowing email subscribers to see and interact with authentic photos and videos of your brand and its products. A study by Pixlee has shown that displaying user-generated content on marketing channels can increase online conversions 2-4x. The power of user-generated content can also be brought to different triggered email campaigns.

In this post, we’re going to explore three types of triggered emails that can be enhanced with user-generated content to increase click-through and conversions.

Abandoned cart emails

Marketers project almost visceral reactions when talking about shopping cart abandonment. They are aware that it’s a big problem yet at the same time a lucrative opportunity. Approximately $4 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts this year and about 63% of that revenue is potentially recoverable.

Displaying product-specific customer photos and videos in abandoned cart emails can help to contextualize products for shoppers who are still in the early stages of the purchase funnel. It also adds a layer of social proof and peer validation to help shoppers, who may not be able to touch and feel a product as they would in a store, to make a purchase with confidence.

Browse recovery emails

While product page browsers may not have as high of intent to purchase as those who leave items in abandoned online carts, these browsers have still indicated some interest. Consider this: If you only send emails to subscribers who have abandoned items in cart, you’re ignoring 75% of shoppers who could be re-engaged to re-visit your website.

One way to display user-generated content in browse recovery emails is to highlight similar products to re-engage these browsers. It can help the browser to discover relevant products offered by your brand that he or she might be interested in.

Lifecycle emails

Finally, lifecycle email campaigns (such as Welcome emails, Order Confirmation emails, or Shipping Confirmation emails) can play important roles in your customer loyalty and retention.

While the primary message of these emails is transactional, displaying user-generated content to upsell and cross-sell can help to personalize these email campaigns. Furthermore, incorporating real customer photos and videos into lifecycle emails can also help you to highlight your greater brand story through email touchpoints.

Conclusion

Triggered emails are a powerful way to personalize brand messaging and to recover revenue. To improve your triggered email campaign engagement and increase click-through rate, consider your visual content. Does it contextualize your products in an authentic way? Does it help your subscriber to discover similar or complementary products? If the answer is no, consider using real customer photos and videos to enhance your email engagement and encourage website revisits.

The post 3 ways to add user-generated content to triggered email campaigns appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 7 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com