Can email newsletters be sexy?

Do you ever just open your mail app and think “what sexiness will I see today?” … no, I doubt you do. But think about this; there are specific reasons you’ve opened an email, clicked through to a website, or a completed an action – and that’s because the content is engaging and the email is visually stimulating.

So, what does make an email sexy? As above, content and appearance is key, but don’t forget about brand recognition. Keeping consistency between your newsletters will keep your customers loyal and of course get them talking to their friends; “Hey mate, you’ll never guess what I got emailed today, you’ll absolutely love it!”

Here are some of my recent favourites and why.

Brand: Paperchase

Why does it work?
Firstly, if you subscribe to Paperchase emails, you’ll know exactly why you like them: their subject lines! Secondly, if you aren’t a subscriber – do it now!

 

…. And the subject line for this email is *drumroll please*… Page Against the Machine – 20% off Notebooks.

Paperchase have fun subject lines throughout the year, often themed around seasonal events. And nine times out of then they tend to get a song stuck in your head!

So, what’s outstanding and sexy about this email? Besides the subject line, I absolutely love design; it’s like your very own notepad of things you want and are likely to buy – because you can never have too many notepads in my opinion (I have a huge soft spot for stationery). Paperchase doesn’t need to use large call-to-action buttons, because they’re heavily image-based newsletters and it’s easy to understand where you’ll be taken to when clicking on a product.

See the full email.

Brand: Daisy London

Why does it work?
Looking at the website, and looking back at this email, I don’t think I’d need to see the logo to recognise that this is Daisy London.

It’s one of the cleanest emails I’ve seen, and really utilises and makes the white space work for them.

I love the Instagram-style imagery which represents the type of audience they’re marketing to: think boho-chic / Coachella. It’s also obvious that this is a seasonal campaign – and it certainly makes me want to sit in the sunshine with a fruit cider while making daisy chains!

Next, onto the content. It’s short, friendly and readable, and all the key detail is held above fold (before you must to scroll to see the rest). There’s also a strong call to action (CTA) that you’re immediately drawn to because of the tonal contrast.

See the full email.

Brand: Grenson Shoes

Why does it work?
I really like the clean block imagery and centralised content in this email. I don’t feel bombarded with information, either – which is always a good start.

 

Grenson is a very unique brand within its industry, with all shoes being completely hand-made – and I feel that that comes across in the personality of the brand’s email creatives.

A few things in this email stand out for me. For starters, the subject line “Thank you [First Name]” is sweet and modest. Typically, key content and CTAs (call-to-actions) sit above fold – not in this case, because it’s a ‘Thank you’ message and Grenson has used a letter-style format that feels more personal. They thank [you] for [your] purchase, ask you to complete a one-minute survey (it’s very important to state an estimated completion time when asking someone to complete a survey). What’s more, they advise on aftercare for your brand-new shoes which is a fantastic customer experience.

See the full email.

Still needing some inspiration?

Check out our Hitting the Mark benchmark report – a free download featuring the hottest insights into 100 brands’ email marketing strategy.

The post Can email newsletters be sexy? appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 1 day ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Deliverability: it doesn’t have to be the Pandora’s Box of email marketing

Email marketers should not be scared of Deliverability – it’s an essential part of email marketing that needs to be understood in order to drive best-of-breed sending practices.

What is Deliverability?

Deliverability is quite literally the ability for your email campaign to reach the inbox of the recipient. It is crucial not to confuse “Deliverability” with “Delivery”. According to Return Path, Delivery measures emails that have not received a hard or soft bounce – i.e. that haven not been rejected – but it does not measure where the email has landed. Deliverability on the other hand refers to the placement of your emails, be that in the inbox, the spam folder or a black hole in some galaxy far, far away.

How can I – as an e-marketer – maximise the deliverability of my email campaigns? Here are my top 5 tips:

  1. Get permission!

Make sure that the contacts you are emailing have given permission to receive emails from you and are expecting what you send. Getting consent from your contacts and setting the right expectations from the beginning helps build a strong sending reputation.

  1. Listen to your contacts

Target your engaged contacts; this helps you to maintain a healthy sender reputation which helps maximise your delivery to the email client (i.e. Hotmail) and placement in the inbox. The contacts that are continually engaging are showing you that they want to hear from you. Be strategic when emailing your un-engaged contacts; it is recommended not to email subscribers that have not historically engaged with your brand. This depends on your recipients – when does it make sense to remove them? Different product/service/email lifecycles will dictate different engagement strategies. As said in tip #1, this is a conversation. If the recipient isn’t interested in continuing, it’s time to change what you are saying to them. At this point, create a strategy that will target unengaged recipients with the purpose of wining them back. If they don’t respond to your “win-back” strategy, stop emailing them. Continually emailing unengaged subscribers weakens your sender reputation, causing lower inbox placement and response rates.

  1. Maintain your list hygiene

This will help you with targeting content to specific subscribers. Ensure that you are utilising the folder system within your account in order to manage address books. This will help you identify contacts and organise them in a way that best fits your sending strategy.

  1. Segment based on suitability and email behaviour

Look at contact interactions such as opens, clicks and conversions. Remember, a conversion does not necessarily mean a purchase, but rather a positive action in response to a call-to-action. This will give you more visibility of your contacts, helping you to target and engage with them further.

  1. Use in-built deliverability tools

Use the dotmailer-provided tools to help you maintain a strong reputation. Run your contacts against the Global Suppression list: this will help remove any hard bouncers/known unknown users (recipients that don’t exist). This tool is in place to help maintain your sender reputation.

As a last note, it is worth mentioning that the Email Marketing Industry – in terms of regulation – is becoming very focused on anti-abuse. With the GDPR coming in to effect in 2018, it is essential that email marketers enforce best sending practices. Conforming to these practices doesn’t just help with compliance, but it also protects your business interests. From a deliverability perspective, reaching your customers’ inboxes is a pre-requisite of driving ROI through the email channel.

Get a free copy of our deliverability myths guide, written by our Chief Privacy Officer.

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Reblogged 2 weeks ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Winning in customer moments: why email and lifecycle marketing go hand in hand

Today’s hyper-connected consumers are creatures of habit: they journey through lifecycles on the premise of conformity and uniformity, yet they’re also impulsive. They want to do what everyone else is doing; and most of all, they don’t want to feel left out. Marketers can leverage these shared human instincts with the data they hold on their customers; not necessarily in a big brother-esque ‘freaky’ kind of way, but rather in a soft approach that taps into our human nature. Lifecycle marketing messages should be emotive, precisely because their intention is to encourage an emotional response.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘lifecycle marketing’, Smart Insights defines it nicely as a “Contact strategy to prioritise and integrate the full range of marketing communications and experiences to support customers on their path to purchase.” And we know that adding an emotive and personalized layer to the messaging that’s sent to customers during their journey can really pack a punch.

We have all experienced this personal touch from an email marketing perspective – that birthday email from ASK Italian that made me book a table, for instance; the one-year anniversary email of my India trip which made me book a trip to Russia with the same company! Many brands are effectively using their customer data to drive brand loyalty and ROI. Nevertheless, there was one particular example I wanted to share because I consider it to be an exemplar of using email to enhance your lifecycle marketing.

In 2013, Mothercare had 280,000 names in their database, but now they have around 11 million in total – 3 million of which are active. According to Marketing Director Gary Kibble, the “richness” is in understanding the value of customers. For instance, a pre-natal customer is worth three times as much as a customer that shops after birth. This level of understanding comes from looking specifically at what, when and why customers purchase. Subsequently, Mothercare has built a “rich, visual picture” of customers based on information on the stage of their pregnancy.

Leveraging the above, Mothercare has created no less than 200 triggered emails to inform parents about what’s happening in their pregnancy, what they need to be thinking about, and what/when/why they need to purchase. Knowing the due-date means that this close, emotional relationship can continue after the baby is born and, importantly, remain relevant to the customer. This ties closely to the idea that humans (generally) conform, are uniform, and are impulsive. Here’s a typical example:

“Hmm, yeah, we need a baby rocking chair. It would be weird if we didn’t have a rocking chair, right? I mean, most people probably get one.

“Oooh, I really like that one; shall we buy that one?”  

In conclusion, Mothercare has effectively absorbed their customers’ insight, matched it with their product knowledge and, as a result, produced a great relationship with customers. Any retailer can digitally enhance their email marketing lifecycle with the end goal of driving customer value and increasing ROI. Core belief: the devil is in the data!

If you’d like to delve deeper into the world of lifecycle marketing, get a free copy of our guide that outlines why email is your lifeline when making customers for life.

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Reblogged 3 weeks ago from blog.dotmailer.com

5 ecommerce automation programs that make email an essential marketing channel for retailers

Customer relationships are like any relationship – you need to put in the effort to make them work.  After the initial excitement of meeting, it’s important to keep letting them know you care and are there for them.

This is tricky enough in a 1 to 1 relationship.  When you, a retailer, have hundreds, thousands or possibly even millions of relationships to maintain, it’s impossible to do so manually, so use the tools available to you to take out the heavy lifting without letting engagement suffer.

Luckily, using customer data – their actions or inaction – you can send messages to your base tailored to where they are in their relationship with you, not where you are in your marketing plan.

Event triggered marketing and automation is highly effective way of keeping the love alive, while saving you time and money that you can reinvest in moving your business forward.

Here are 5 simple programs that will help your relationship tick over…

Thank you for subscribing

The first email any retailer should send their customers is, very simply, a thank you.

We’ve all seen stories and statistics on inbox overcrowding, so, if a customer has given you their email address you should recognize this is a privilege and thank them at the point of sign up.

You can extend this ‘thank you’ and send a short, automated welcome series, and use this opportunity to get to know each other better.  Retailers can use this opportunity to educate your new subscriber on the full range of your products, and in turn, invite your customer to provide further data and preferences on your site.

Automated Thank you or Welcome programs, when used effectively, help build brand engagement, trust and set expectations for a positive buyer seller relationship from the start.

Abandon cart

The people over at the Baymard Institute have compiled a survey review of the various reports available on online shopping behavior, and have concluded the average number of people abandoning their shopping cart is just over 69%.  This is a huge amount of potential lost revenue.

Reasons for customers abandoning vary.  They need either more time, more money, or more option to compare so make sure to send a timely reminder that you’re still there when they’re ready to purchase.

Depending on your product, the consideration cycle will range from 30 minutes to 30 days.  Use the insight you have available to target customers with an automated reminder message before they’re enticed away by your competitors. Around 63% of baskets are recoverable – find out more here.

New Information

If, like most retailers, you want optimum brand engagement through having your customers to engage with you across several online avenues then, there should be channel specific benefits to them doing so.

The same is true with email, and retailers can effectively make their beloved customers feel they are getting value from subscribing by automating worthwhile information for them.

Providing that you can get the product feeds into your email platform, you can send customers notifications on new stock, price drops or reviews to keep them engaged during the sale cycle.  Keeping them up to date on what matters most to them is a great way to show you that you really care.

It’s your birthday

As with any good relationship you’re trying to nurture, anniversaries are important.

You can choose what anniversary you want to acknowledge based on what makes sense for your business – sign up date, purchase date (high ticket items),or a customer’s actual birthday.  Using the date provided you can send a short personalized message to commemorate the date and given them a voucher, upgrade or other incentive you see fit.

This personalized touch of surprise and delight creates a deeper relationship and is a quick win to keeping your customers happy.

We miss you

If it looks like your customer is losing interest, you don’t have to let them walk away.

Convincing them to stay is easier when they’re still with you than once they’ve unsubscribed.  If a loyal customer has stopped buying from you then treat this like anyone else you’re trying to win over.  Make the effort to get in touch, help them feel special, remind them why you’re good for them, and if needs be, maybe give them a little incentive to come back to you.

Done well, the act of recognizing the relationship isn’t what it was will reignite the feeling that were once there, and if not, then, you tried and you know it’s over.

 

The Golden rule is that if you’ve got the data, you can automate the message. Start simple and scale, it’ll make all the difference to your relationships.

The post 5 ecommerce automation programs that make email an essential marketing channel for retailers appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Faster, smarter email marketing for APAC customers

Another exciting landmark in dotmailer’s APAC expansion sees the launch of our brand-new data centre in Australia. As well as enhancing performance, the new instance of the platform also offers enhanced security and privacy, thanks to the combination of a physical data centre in Sydney and the utilisation of Microsoft Azure’s cloud technologies for security and encryption.

The upgrade to our infrastructure means we’re now able to store our customers’ data within the region, fully complying with the 13 Australian Privacy Principles (APP).

We opened our first Australian office in 2015 and the warm reception of our software led to the opening of a second office in Melbourne in 2016. Globally, there are around 80,000 marketers in 150 countries using the dotmailer platform – so partnering with leading technologies like Microsoft Azure truly underpins our growing presence.

“dotmailer’s customers consist of marketers and businesses that want an intuitive yet sophisticated online tool that helps them engage with their customers more effectively. By launching in Australia, we can offer customers a secure and faster service in the APAC region,” said Steve Shaw, Chief Technology Officer for dotmailer.

You can find out more about dotmailer’s infrastructure and the seriousness we place on privacy via our Trust Centre.

The post Faster, smarter email marketing for APAC customers appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 2 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Marketers can now combine the power of email with Salmat’s SMS platform in Australia

We’re delighted to announce that Salmat’s SMS distribution platform, MessageNet, is the first Australian extension to be integrated into dotmailer, making SMS easier and more cost-effective than ever before.

Salmat’s Digital Business Manager for Lifecycle Marketing, Melle Staelenberg, believes that the combination of MessageNet’s SMS capabilities and dotmailer’s excellent marketing automation platform is primed to deliver great benefits for marketers and drive overall campaign effectiveness, particularly for time-critical campaigns.

“The SMS functionality integrates seamlessly with dotmailer’s clear, easy-to-use drag and drop campaign interface, making it simple for marketers to build automations with both email and SMS interactions at appropriate points in the campaign. Not to mention with SMS, marketers can expect an open rate of around 98%,” said Melle.

MessageNet for dotmailer enables marketers to automatically deliver an SMS when emails show no engagement. This is ideal for more urgent, time-sensitive messages such as sales promotions, password resets and other account-related information.

Founder & President of dotmailer, Tink Taylor, said that Salmat has been a Gold Partner of dotmailer for more than two years and the integration of MessageNet further strengthens this relationship:

“We’re pleased to continue building our strategic partnership with Salmat by making MessageNet available as an integration in the dotmailer marketplace. Combining SMS and email is a proven success formula for retailers. We see great potential for marketers to take advantage of this extension to achieve even greater results in a cost-effective and efficient way,” said Tink.

MessageNet complements email marketing, delivering undeniable benefits to marketers:

  • SMS has an open rate of around 98%
  • MessageNet is ideal for messages that can’t wait
  • 90% of all SMS messages are read within three minutes of delivery
  • Average click-through rate for SMS is 36%; more than five times what is typically achieved with email

Why not give it a try by signing up for a free MessageNet trial or for more information visit our App Directory.

The post Marketers can now combine the power of email with Salmat’s SMS platform in Australia appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 2 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Average email reading time increases

Last Friday, I sat in on our Key Accounts team’s weekly meeting to talk tactics, bust myths, and swap embarrassing first email accounts. Top of the agenda: email engagements – specifically the recorded 7% rise in average reading time.

According to a report from Litmus Email Analytics, the average time spent reading an email is now 11.1 seconds, up 7% from 2011. The percentage of emails read for more than 18 seconds has also grown to 44.4% compared to 38.4% in 2011.

Consumers’ attention spans are expanding, indicating a promising rise in email relevancy.

We debated the possible reasons for this marked increase. Certain shifts in the industry certainly point towards a combination of trends that have boosted reading time:

  • Some clients have seen a shift in opens on iPhone and Android devices. Those engaged will arguably spend longer reading their messages on mobile devices than they would on desktops, particularly now that brands are realizing the importance of responsive design.
  • Better message previews on mobiles mean that customers have a better idea of the content each message contains, allowing them to better judge the time they’ll spend on the email. Those they may not have time for, they’ll save for later.
  • We’re in the age of the empowered customer. With more customers happy to disengage with a brand who’s not providing them with the experience they’re after, and with tabs in ISPs like Gmail offering better user control over their inbox, consumers are probably feeling more positive about their emails and are spending longer reading the content they want.
  • Content sits atop the throne in email marketing strategy. Companies that may not have felt the need to provide value adding content before – like travel comparison sites and transportation brands – are increasingly under pressure to produce content-led emails that nurture long-lasting relationships with brands. These emails will obviously take longer to read.

It’s clear that brands are moving in the right direction when it comes to providing engagement-driving experiences for customers. Email will always be your digital key to unlocking the best ROI from your digital marketing, and with attention spans expanding and consumers taking more time to connect with your content, there’s never been a better time to evaluate that side of your marketing strategy.

Take a look at our most recent cheatsheet, 5 winning emails that don’t include the word ‘sale’, to get the top insight on creating content-focused email campaigns.

 

The post Average email reading time increases appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 2 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Is this the end of offer-led email marketing?

In the Direct Marketing Association’s most recent Consumer Email Tracker report, more than half of consumers said the top reason for joining a brand’s mailing list is to receive money off and %-off deals.

But conversely (and perhaps worryingly), marketers are reporting a somewhat different story on the popularity of email content featuring offers. Just 27% of respondents in the DMA’s 2017 Marketer Email Tracker found discount-led emails to be delivering the goods.

Have offers really become meaningless? Likely not. Rather, the offers being sent are irrelevant and this has led to a waning tolerance towards emails of this nature. In my eyes, there are two possible solutions: begin using behavioral and purchase data to tailor offers to individuals or take your email marketing in an editorial direction. In fact, a combination of the two is geared up to be a winning formula.

In this post, I’m going to give you five content-led emails you can send to contacts which don’t include the word sale (or discount, offer or deal, to that end).

UGC-focused campaigns

Your customers are your business. And the ones who love your brand make the perfect advocates (and content creators) if you’ve got the right structure in place. Emails centered on top reviews or even stories written by customers on their experiences with your brand are worth their weight in gold. Let’s take the travel industry for instance: Instagram is a prime channel for rich UGC, as are blogging platforms where holidaymakers have a penchant for sharing their special moments.

Helpful advice and how-to guides

If you’re keen for your brand to own the reputation as the leader in its field, you’ll want to position your business as the true expert. One sure-fire way to demonstrate knowledge in a specific area or areas is to produce helpful content that educates consumers on how to get the most from your products and services. For example, DIY stores are well placed to create how-to guides on everything from decorating to gardening, and then emailing them to those who’ve purchased or displayed interest in the product or range.

Competitions

A free competition with the promise of an attractive prize is geared up to go down a storm. Not only will it appeal to existing subscribers, but those who enjoy sharing the good stuff are likely to forward the email to their family and friends (generating even more leads and engagements … what’s not to like?).

Cross-channel promotion campaigns

Email is just one of your marketing channels — and hopefully a strong one at that. So why not use it to encourage sign-up on all of your other channels and platforms? Send an email to subscribers to let them know about your presence on social media, get them to download your app if you have one, and direct them towards your blog for your brand’s editorial gems.

Re-engagement campaigns

If all else fails? Attempt to re-engage dissatisfied subscribers by acknowledging that the relationship’s gone south and you’re keen to rekindle the love. For instance, you could test a self-deprecating message along with a preference center that gives contacts the option to tailor the volume of emails and the content that lands in their inboxes. Irrelevant content is usually the root cause of a subscriber’s dwindling enthusiasm — so collect up-to-date information on your contacts and use it smartly to hook them back in.

Want some more ideas and real-life examples? Get your hands on a free copy of dotmailer’s ‘5 winning emails that don’t include the word sale’ cheatsheet.

The post Is this the end of offer-led email marketing? appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 3 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Humanise your email marketing content and bring customers closer to your brand

Content is one of the most important aspects of an email’s infrastructure. It’s the personality of the email that either grasps the recipient or puts them off. A subscriber’s impression of content can sometimes be instantaneous, so it’s essential to get it spot on from the start.

In The Future of email marketing – 2017 edition, there were a few thought-provoking points on content that really made me reflect on the importance of copy in an email. The below point stood out for me the most:

Email will (and should) have a more conversational voice and tone.

Aweber quoted Maya Angelou, the famed American poet: “people don’t always remember what you say … but they always remember how you made them feel”. We should apply this to an email marketing context: what a brand says can be compelling, but how it’s said leaves the lasting impression (and that’s what really matters).

Brands need to be plain-speaking, casual and not take themselves too seriously. Branding needs to be baked into every sentence. Writing content that oozes personality will help customers relate more to your business, and even feel a part of it. This is an essential goal of email marketing; to keep the core (business) and the periphery (customers) as entwined as possible. Because really, what would a business be without its customers?

According to Aweber, voice and tone are two separate objectives of content; the former is the “mission”, i.e. the message of the email; the latter is the delivery of said mission. This tends to be descriptive and should – in terms of best practice – be conveyed in an emotive way. The key is to humanise the message and make it specifically relatable to a human being’s sub-conscious. Do not view them as subscribers or even customers.

What does this look like in practice?

A great example is Naked Wines’ emails. According to Kunle Campbell, “they [Naked Wines] … relentlessly infuse dynamism into their business” and “their copywriting … is crisply written, with an easily identifiable tone of voice to go along with it”.

It’s worth noting that any business can do this. An email from a financial corporation might find it harder to send a relatable and emotional message than say, a charity or a pet shop. However, as long as you ask yourself the following questions –

  • What does the email mean?
  • What do we want the individual to feel?
  • What do we want the subscriber to do?

– you’ll be on track. Be creative and think outside the box.

 

 

Sources:

https://blog.aweber.com/email-marketing/how-to-develop-tone-of-voice-to-connect-with-your-email-audience.htm

http://www.emailmonday.com/email-marketing-future

https://2xecommerce.com/nakedwines-marketing/ (Kunle Campbell)

The post Humanise your email marketing content and bring customers closer to your brand appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 4 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com