5 best practice tips for email

Reading this blog will provide you with five fundamentals of high-performing email campaigns. You’ll also receive a handful of hints, tips and useful tools to easily create email campaigns which deliver great business results.

1. Above the fold

An adult’s attention span is on average about eight seconds. Not long, is it? With such a short attention span it’s safe to assume that not all of your recipients are reading your campaigns word for word. Instead, they’ll scan through your email looking for something of interest which grabs their attention.

The fold is an important part of your campaign design and what’s above it has an impact on the performance of your emails.

What is the fold? The fold is a term stemming from the world of printed newspapers and was the space of newspaper cover that was visible after it was folded in half to put out on display. It often contained breaking news headlines and content to draw immediate interest. Let’s bring that to the present day – ‘above the fold’ is the content that you can see instantly after opening an email campaign.

It should include content to attract the recipients’ attention and encourage them to scroll down the page. More importantly, it should include a call to action (CTA).

In email design, the ‘above the fold’ area is approx. 350px high

Have you heard of the inverted pyramid model? Combine this with key points for designing above the fold and you will create an effective way to ensure your recipients are taking the most away from your email campaigns in those crucial eight seconds.

pyramid model

As you can see from the example below, email campaigns which follow the inverted pyramid model usually contain a concise headline which highlights the key message, a supporting CTA and visuals to help convince readers of the benefits of clicking through.

The inverted pyramid model works particularly well for campaigns with a single message and a single call to action, such as announcements and marketing offer campaigns.

email

 

2. Alt text on images

We all know – and have probably experienced – that images can sometimes be blocked by default in email clients. How do we deal with this? Enter some alt text, of course!

Alt text is the alternative text displayed with an image. It provides some context about what your image is for the recipients who have images blocked or turned off by default.

There’s another good reason for alt text, which often gets forgotten. Alt text is used is for visually impaired subscribers that may use a screen reader to get a description of images in an email.

Tips for including alt text on images:

  1. Keep it succinct
  2. Include punctuation
  3. Include the text that is present in the image
  4. Don’t ‘copy and paste’ image captions. Your alt text should offer additional information that’s not conveyed through the caption.
  5. Keep the alt text in context

3. Responsive design – mobile-first

More email and web traffic are moving towards mobile and it’s likely that your recipients are reading your emails on a mobile device. Just by changing the styling and the methods applied to your mobile-first campaign, you could reach more potential or current users while multiplying your ROI.

Here’s a very quick checklist of what you should be implementing:

  • Inline images
  • Large and lovely CTAs
  • Engaging content with nominal effort

We want to provide email campaigns full of content that is customized for your recipient’s device. Using dotmailer’s EasyEditor, you can use your responsive templates to send emails which adapt to fit the screen size and the device type they’re are viewed on.

Abide by these best practices to achieve effective responsive emails:

  1. Use a single column layout. Less swiping and shifting makes it easier for your recipients to read your campaign.
  2. Use 12pt or 14pt font for the body text and no smaller than 18pt-20pt for the titles. This will ensure your campaign is much more readable on a small screen.
  3. Place your most important CTA above the fold.
  4. Avoid using hyperlinks – use a big, clickable button instead.
  5. Test, test, test. Use dotmailer’s ‘inbox and spam filter test’ which enables you to view your campaigns in all major email inboxes and receive a spam filter report.

4. Colors and fonts

There’s a high chance that your email campaigns aren’t the only interaction or communication your recipients will have with your brand. In fact, your recipients probably visited your website before signing up to receive campaigns from you.

Because of this customer journey, it’s important that your email campaigns are aligned with the colors, fonts and branding you use across your other channels.

It helps your customers to know that the email campaign is from you and it creates a level of trust and credibility which reassures people it’s safe to click through.

If you’re a dotmailer customer, this can be achieved with ease using our drag-and-drop EasyEditor. You can choose from a range of designer-selected, web-safe fonts and select your brand’s hex color. With these features, creating a high-converting email campaign that instills trust among your recipients is effortless.

One of dotmailer’s clients, Daisy London, provides effective consistency between its website and its email campaigns. Take a look…

email

5. Preheader text

We’ve all heard that we should include one of these, but what exactly is it? It’s that little line of text that follows the subject line and introduces the content your recipient will find within the email campaign.

So many brands neglect the preheader, often leaving it blank or, rather shockingly, writing ‘dummy’ text, which consequently leads to poor results.

The crux of the preheader text is to serve as a courtesy to steer recipients in convincing them to open your email, boosting open rates and leading to higher ROI.

We’re in an age where our time is precious, and we seem to have less and less time. We scan read rather than digest the words on a page. Plus, our attention span has dropped, so you might think that adding something extra in to your campaign creation process will be pointless. But in fact, the preheader offers recipients a chance to get an idea using three text levels, helping them screen what is and is not relevant more quickly.

Conclusion

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways for marketers today to reach a wide audience base. But if you’re not optimizing your email campaigns for conversion, you could be missing out on valuable clicks, sales and revenue for your business.

Next time you’re creating an email campaign, no matter the type of content or audience, apply these five fundamentals to get better results.

For more best practice inspo, download our back to basics cheatsheet.

The post 5 best practice tips for email appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 day ago from blog.dotmailer.com

6 ways to target ecommerce customers with SMS and email

SMS marketing provides brands with the opportunity to craft an immediate personal relationship with customers, but many are yet to incorporate the channel. With consumers running the game when it comes to tech adoption, those that act fast will stake a claim in the mobile inbox – leaving others at the back of the queue.

Today’s empowered consumer challenges us to provide exceptional brand experiences. Each interaction needs to be packed with all the contextual relevancy and personalization we now receive in our digital lives. Moreover, consumers are fully aware that they leave data breadcrumbs everywhere they go. And they expect them to be used to make their experience better.

To keep up with on-the-go consumers, marketers (firstly) need to utilize powerful technology and leverage the right data. Secondly, they need to compose brilliant, meaningful messages that compel customers to act fast. Adding complementary channels to support your email marketing efforts means you can reach the right customer through their most relevant channel. At dotmailer, we think this omnichannel expansion starts with SMS.

Multiracial hipster friends couple having fun with smartphone in subway train – Urban relationship concept with young people watching mobile phone in city underground area – Bright desaturated filter

There’s no better way to reach every customer than by bringing together the two giants in communication: SMS and email marketing automation. More than 5 billion people will own a mobile by 2019. Plus, eMarketer expects total US retail mcommerce sales will grow a further 32.7% in 2018. And with email boasting a healthy £38 return for every £1 spent, the numbers paint a healthy picture for investment. Both mediums provide much more bang for their buck compared to, say, paid media, giving you back valuable resources to spend as you see fit.

Combining these two push channels nurtures that all-important 360° customer view. Plus, you can add relevance and granularity to your strategy when you tailor your engagements to the individual. Choosing a tech provider with SMS baked in means you can add the channel to your strategy with ease – and scale quickly.

We’ve put together 6 prime use-cases for the SMS/email partnership, along with some ideas for your multi-channel campaigns:

1. Shipping/updates

Using automation to deliver a dual-channel transactional strategy is the best way to keep customers up-to-date with their purchases and deliver exceptional customer service. If you’re using an ESP like dotmailer, you can trigger SMS messages – like dispatch alerts – using the SMS service. Automate your key transactional communications through your email provider to keep all your analytics in one place.

2. Customer feedback surveys

If you’re looking for a quick way to gauge the experience your customer has received, a quick SMS survey could be just the ticket. Get feedback on your transactional emails by asking customers to reply with a number between one and ten. Quick, easy and informative!

3. Reminders and alerts

Slotting SMS extensions into your automation programs enables you to deliver emails and SMS at appropriate points along an individual customer’s journey – but at mass scale. Appointment reminders and expiry prompts are just two examples of SMS notifications that you can automate.

4. Personalized offers/marketing campaigns

In a recent survey conducted by Narvar, US online shoppers from every age group from 12-65 admitted to preferring to receive text messages over push notifications from retailers regarding their orders. The story runs parallel in the UK, with 67% of  internet users aged 18-34 stating they like receiving relevant brand offers and promotions via SMS.

Offer-led messages are more likely to strike the right chord with customers if they’re carefully considered and well-timed. Consider this use case: An existing customer browses and ‘favorites’ a sale item on your website; she leaves the website without buying, so your automation program triggers an ‘abandoned browse’ email to the customer to remind her of product she’s flagged – you could also include the date that your sale ends. If the customer doesn’t return after a chosen period, delivering an SMS to reminder her that her favorite item will soon be full price might just do the trick. You could even offer the customer an exclusive SMS discount to bring them over the line.

5. New product updates

Got a new mobile app or an upgrade to your service? These brand landmarks are worth telling your customers about and an SMS could be the ideal way to spread the good news. If you’re communicating your new app, including a CTA link to a download page helps the recipient instantly get the goods.

6. Loyalty

VIP customers deserve VIP treatment. They already feel affinity for your brand and, in some cases, may be true advocates who are sharing the positive experiences with their peers.

Loyalty reward emails containing time-sensitive content are often best backed up with SMS reminders. Updates about new points earned or those that are due to expire are a good way to show that you know and respect your customer; Think too about optimizing the conversion period for valuable customers with SMS alerts about exclusive sales access.

dotmailer SMS

SMS is an effective marketing tool that enables you to cut through the noise when other channels can’t. 54% of US retailers plan to expand their unified commerce (omnichannel initiatives) over the next 18 months, the top answer for those surveyed. It’s never been more important to get ahead of the competition.

dotmailer’s integrated global SMS service works in 156 countries, helping you amplify your automation strategy with timely and contextually relevant communication. Check it out for yourself!

Want to see what you can do with SMS? Take a quick demo.

 

The post 6 ways to target ecommerce customers with SMS and email appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 4 weeks ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Convert your social followers into email subscribers

The power of email and social is jaw-dropping! Both channels are extremely potent and warrant full attention from marketers like you. Why? Their direct and wide-reaching capabilities make it easy for you to connect with your subscribers and target your online audiences. And the ROI speaks for itself – £32 is returned for every £1 that’s invested in email, while social network advertising in 2017 generated staggering revenues of $41 billion.

Adopting a holistic approach to your email and social efforts will drive better results; as you’ll find out in this blog, co-ordinating both channels adds fuel to the fire, helping you maximize your brand’s online reach.

Here are 5 super-effective ways to drive email opt-ins from social media:

1. Promote email sign-up in social environments

Having a brand page on social media is key in today’s digital environment. Facebook has a monthly audience of 2.13 billion, so you’d be mad not to!

For your social presence to be highly effective – so that it drives your followers to act on impulse – it’s crucial to link through to other revenue-generating channels such as email. Offering a simple sign-up on your Facebook page can drive enrollments into a welcome program or newsletter series, helping you nurture new subscribers into loyal customers.

2. Request followers to opt-in as part of a social campaign

Social campaigns – like competitions, contests and prize draws – are proven to generate buzz and hype around a brand. What’s more, they’re super-effective in reaching the desired audience thanks to the practice of social sharing.

This is a prime time to ask for an email address! When launching a competition for example, you can integrate a newsletter subscription as a condition for social followers to enter. Or it might cause more of a storm to inspire feelings of one-upmanship – give email subscribers a kickstart over non-subscriber entrants, incentivizing those in a less advantageous position to sign up.

3. Exchange exclusive content for email addresses

Content is becoming a key driver of brand engagement – leverage it to your advantage! Social followers want more and more content, and – as they seek to unlock its value – there’s a chance they’ll act positively by sharing, interacting or buying.

Tapping into this trend, you can effectively increase your email database by making content you share on social media – such as Twitter for example – exclusive to those who’ve signed up to emails.

Gatekeeping your content for an exchange of email address is a win-win – followers engage with your piece and convert into email subscribers. Ensure the content you do gatekeep is enticing: think product-related tips and tricks, how-to guides or some rich media, such as audiobooks, podcasts or videos.

     4. Leverage the social tools at your disposal

Posting

Sharing snippets of in-email content – that people are missing out on by not subscribing – is an effective means to increase sign-ups on social media. You could post exclusive blogs, offers and competitions – even a newsletter sample that you know will tickle your audience’s fancy.

To get their hands on subscriber benefits, followers will need to exchange their email address. But remember, it’s better that any incentive you do employ is tailored towards loyal followers, as opposed to the one-time deal hunters that generate less value in the long run.

Sharing

Those who opt in on social media are likely to be the most engaged segment of your audience, interested in the products and services you offer – ideal subscribers! And, once these key influencers are on your list, ask them to share content with best friends and family members – this will further maximize your sign-up opportunities.

Direct messaging

While posting and sharing on social media are compelling methods to increase sign-ups, neither is one-to-one – or rather, brand-to-consumer. A more direct and persuasive way of growing your email database is through hyper-targeted messaging.

For instance, imagine one of your social followers gives you a positive shout-out on Facebook. With the right tech stack in place, you can slide in a direct message – off the back of the social mention – requesting sign-up. I.e. “Thanks for the love. Let us send it back to you – sign up for 10% off …”. Contextual or what?

5. Utilize social ads

Paid media – if you’ve got the cash to splash – is a viable option for you to increase newsletter sign-ups. Advertising is tried and tested, capable of reaching audiences outside of your social sphere.

On Facebook you can generate powerful ads to collect subscriptions; they open a form pre-populated with already known data – such as name and email address – which makes the sign-up process quick and simple.

Ads can be used in a variety of ways to increase your mailing list: they can target audiences based on an exclusive sale, event or rich editorial content. Likewise, they’re an effective means for B2Bs to fill their pipelines with high-quality leads: job-profile ads on LinkedIn and software pitches on Twitter are just some examples.

 

Want deeper insight? Download our cheatsheet on how to convert social followers into email subscribers.

It’s full of stellar examples that’ll help you smash your online marketing.

The post Convert your social followers into email subscribers appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Email design: how mobile should you go?

Email is your brand’s virtual shop window

Flashy email design, gripping email copy and intelligent personalization – these are the things most of us strive to deliver as email marketers. We want to get the look and feel of our brand spot on. Plus, we want to deliver memorable experiences that’ll help us shine  So sometimes we overlook the bare necessities, like ‘Can my customer see what I’m seeing?’. Email mobile optimization is one of those fuzzy areas of email design: some brands will nail it as a priority, while others haven’t even got it on their radar. Here’s why it matters:

For retail and ecommerce marketers, mobile’s taken over the market share. Mcommerce sales worldwide reached an estimated $1.357 trillion in 2017, or 58.9% of ecommerce spending overall. By 2021, mcommerce will account for 72.9% of the ecommerce market.” And for B2B businesses, it’s a similar story: 76% of Gen X buyers and 84% of millennials said their mobile device was critical to their work.

Email is STILL the top channel for marketers looking to maximize on ROI, delivering £32 for every £1 you spend. But in order for it to fire in all cylinders, it’s got to be optimized for your customers’ viewing preferences.

The customer experience should be seamless, whatever the device

Designing for mobile users shouldn’t be viewed as a separate component to your regular email design. Creating a smooth, effortless experience for your customers across all their touchpoints is the ultimate goal for any marketer – especially when 50% of consumers now regularly use more than four touch points during the buying process.

So the question is:

‘How mobile should I go with my email design?’

Every brand is different, and what works for your peers might not be the best fit for you. Deciding on the level of influence mobile has on your email design is the best way to ensure you’re optimizing content for your customers – without leaving any out in the cold.

Get to grips with just how many of your contacts open, click and convert on mobile devices. If you have a best-of-breed ESP, like dotmailer, you can access a detailed breakdown of email client share for every campaign you send. Find out the percentage of Iphone opens, for example, or build a more accurate picture of how many tablet engagers you’ve got on the books. A quick pointer: getting to grips with this information can also improve your send time optimization; a dip in mobile opens at certain times will highlight the times when it’s inopportune to push out marketing messages.

Once you’ve got the measure of mobile engagement, you can decide just how mobile you’re going to get. We’ve rounded up the important differences between mobile-friendly and mobile-responsive email design to help you make up your mind.

Mobile-friendly

Mobile-friendly email design (sometimes called mobile-first or mobile-aware) is fixed width and optimized for reading on a handheld device. This design relies on a single column layout with large text and CTA buttons; the font size isn’t responsive, but is large enough to be read on smaller screens. Extra spacing around campaign elements allows for maximum ‘tappability’.

Mobile-friendly email designs are simple to create and guarantee customers will be about to view your creatives on any device. However, their primarily single-column layout offers limited design options, especially for meatier campaigns like newsletters.

Responsive

Responsive email design uses CSS media queries to create fluid tables and images, allowing your campaign to adapt for different screen sizes and orientations. You can prioritize different layouts, font sizes, colors and even content based on the device customers are using. Previously, Gmail didn’t support media queries – but that’s no longer the case.

Using responsive email design gives you much more control over your campaigns. The drawback is that the design process is more complex and will require some coding. Some best-of-breed ESPs will have responsive design baked into their platform as standard; brands using dotmailer can select which email content blocks they want to display on what device. Plus, all of our templates are designed to be mobile responsive – even the free ones.

What about hybrid email design?

Hybrid email, sometimes called ‘spongy’ email, uses a combination of percentage-based widths, maximum-widths and clever and complex workaround coding for Outlook clients to ensure emails are adjusted based on a device’s width. Hybrid design offers marketers universal ‘friendliness’, but requires more development knowledge – and can get messy if left to inexperience. Always test any new design across multiple devices and email clients to ensure you’re delivering a consistent customer experience

If you’re interested in building email campaigns with hybrid design, we’re here to help you. dotmailer’s talented Digital Creatives have the full mix of design and coding skills, and can help your team execute beautiful, consistent mobile-optimized campaigns and pages. Get in touch with your Account Manger or check out our Creative Services page.

What next?

dotmailer has a guide that goes into more detail on mobile email design. You’ll get real-world examples for top brands, more insight and a handy list of 10 best practices to help you stand out in any inbox.

Grab our free best practice guide on email design.

 

The post Email design: how mobile should you go? appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 2 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

How to write email subject lines that get opened: 11 tips

For some marketers, email subject lines is an afterthought. For others, it comes first. But for most, it’s the single element of any email that they spend the most time agonizing over.

After all of your hard work, you need your recipients to actually open the email, otherwise all of that hard work on the creative has been for nothing.

Fortunately, there are certain things you can and should always consider when attempting to craft compelling email subject lines.

Here are 11 essential tips to consider whenever you’re writing your email subject lines.

 

1. Know your audience

It feels like it goes without saying, but for any marketing activity to be successful, you need to know your audience. If you don’t know this much, then you don’t know how you should be approaching, addressing, and marketing to your audience.

Knowing your audience will help you to devise subject lines that will work in your favor. That really is the first step – knowing who you’re sending the email to, and why, is essential in helping you decide where to start with your subject line.

 

2. Be clear about what the reader can expect when they open the email

Time is precious, so you need to make sure that you’re front-loading your subject lines with the benefits. Make it clear what the recipient gets from opening your email.

The second benefit of being clear and upfront with recipients is that this strengthens the relationship between you and your customers and prospects. If your subject lines always deliver on their promises when the recipient opens the email, they’ll know to trust you.

So, being upfront and crystal clear about what your email contains is essential.

For example, if your email is about the new summer product line that your brand is launching, make sure you put that in the subject line! Trying to be too clever with your subject lines could lead to them tanking.

The following examples are clear and to the point:

  • Our new summer range is here, look and shop now
  • Available now: summer styles
  • Shop our new summer range today

If anyone opens these emails, they should know exactly what they’re going to see.

Unless, of course, they’ve been mislead…

 

3. Don’t lie or mislead the reader

Following on from the previous tip, you don’t want to mislead your readers, as that can be damaging to your relationship.

Don’t promise anything in your subject lines that your email doesn’t deliver on. Not only is this disingenuous, it’s also spammy and if you take this approach your email campaigns will be winging their way to spam folders in no time at all.

Either that, or your hard earned subscribers and customers will be searching for that unsubscribe link that can be found in your email.

One misleading tactic that I’m genuinely surprised to still be seeing from brands in 2018 is the classic ‘RE:’ approach, in order to make you think it’s a reply to an email that you’ve already sent or received before:

It may work for some people, but it’s not going to endear you to your subscribers.

 

4. Brevity is best, so keep it short and snappy

Email is read more on mobile devices than on desktop (Litmus, 2018), and this in itself brings another subject line issue to contend with. Smaller screens mean less space to work with when displaying your subject lines.

With most mobile email clients, you will probably only have around four or five words before your subject line trails off.

You should try hard to make your subject line pop in those first four or five words. If you can make a strong subject line in just four or five words (or less) then do it.

 

5. Stand out in the inbox

With a year-on-year increase in the total volume of emails sent every day (Radicati Group, 2017), it’s becoming increasingly harder to stand out in a crowded inbox.

Having said that, it’s important that you don’t utilize practices that can be detrimental, which could limit your chances of even getting your email into the inbox at all.

Here’s a list of some things that you shouldn’t do with your subject lines when trying to stand out among the email inbox crowd:

  • Don’t use ALL CAPS – this can be considered spammy
  • Stay away from heavy use of exclamation marks!!!!!!!!
  • Avoid overzealous use of currency signs ($$$$$ or £££££, for example)

You don’t want your hard work to be for nothing, so avoid these approaches when crafting your subject lines.

 

6. Emojis have their place

Emojis have found their way into almost every aspect of everyday life now, they’ve even got their own (awful) movie.

They’re used a lot more in email now, especially email subject lines. The early adopters certainly stood out in their recipients’ inboxes, albeit briefly, until more and more brands started using the same approach.

The good news is that, when used effectively, emojis can help your subject lines stand out. Econsultancy summed up its recent research into emoji usage in subject lines, noting that an emoji ‘makes a good subject line better’, or ‘makes a bad subject line worse’.

So again, you need to ensure that you’re using emojis in the right way for them to be effective.

It’s important to consider some pros and cons when using emojis in subject lines:

Pros:

  • 💥 They can help your subject lines stand out
  • 😍 They’re more emotive
  • 👩‍🏫 You can use them to get a point across without the need for words
  • 📱 Especially useful for mobile
  • 📧 When used properly, they can add context to your email subject lines (again, useful for mobile)

Cons:

  • 💩 Improper use can be detrimental
  • 😬 Inconsistent rendering across mobile devices, platforms, and email clients (a good resource to check the differences is EmojipediaThe ‘grimacing face’ emoji is a great example of how emojis can look very different cross-platform)
  • 😡 Some audiences won’t like them (which takes us back to my first tip – know your audience)
  • 🎷 Irrelevant use can be confusing – is it immediately obvious what the emoji is, and why it’s being used? If the answer to either is no, don’t use it
  • 🍆 Some emojis can have multiple meanings, so make sure you understand any and all meanings before you use them

 

7. Don’t be afraid to show some personality

Most of the subject lines that lead me to open emails in my inbox are either to the point, or have a bit of personality shining through them. Adding personality to your subject lines can be a powerful tool in getting recipients to open.

You have to make sure that your brand allows a bit of playfulness and personality in its marketing comms, so this tip isn’t for everyone.

However, if you’re able to, then have some fun with your subject lines. As long as you keep them relevant, it opens up a world of limitless possibilities for your subject lines.

 

8. Urgency and scarcity work wonders

If you’re promoting a time-sensitive offer, deal, or sale, then be sure to use that in the subject line.

Good use of urgency will have your recipients clicking in no time. Language like ‘buy now’ or similar can subconsciously trigger the desired reaction from the reader.

Likewise, scarcity can also help to influence the recipient to open your email and then take the desired action.

Limited time or limited quantity offers are the most commonly used approaches. If you’re not offering a product you can always consider something else – a countdown until an event, for example.

With both urgency and scarcity, you’re tapping into the recipient’s fear of missing out (FOMO).

Make the reader believe that if they don’t open your email to see what’s inside, they really will be missing out.

 

9. Ask a question

One of the best ways to get someone to do something is to pique their interest and curiosity. Asking a question in your email subject line is the perfect way to do this.

If you’re a retailer, it can be as simple as asking whether the recipient wants to see your new collection, or even better, receive a discount on their next order, like this:

  • Hi Lee, do you want 20% off your next order?

Or if you’re a B2B business, you can ask a question that is relevant to some content that you’ve produced, like we did with our new Hitting the Mark email benchmark report:

  • Who is sending the best emails in retail?

The reader’s natural curiosity is enough to make them want to click. When they do, it’s up to you to make sure you keep them curious enough to click through from the email.

 

10. Don’t overcook your personalization

The best way to explain the use of personalization in email subject lines would be ‘less is more’. While the odd usage is okay, repetitive or irrelevant usage can turn recipients off.

What we also have to remember is that consumers are far more savvy about the email marketing practices of brands than they were in the past.

Whereas in years gone by seeing your name in the subject line was intriguing, or even exciting to some, it’s now become commonplace. Most consumers expect it, or don’t even notice it any more.

And the only way to know which personalization works best? On to my final tip to find that out…

 

11. Test, test, test

Perhaps the most important tip of all is to make sure that you’re always testing your subject lines and their performance & impact.

It’s essential that you continue to tweak your email subject lines in order to get the best possible performance from your campaigns.

Here’s a handful of things that you should consider when testing your subject lines:

  • Don’t get caught up in what you think your recipients expect
    • While, to a certain extent, you do have to predict what your recipients want, that doesn’t mean you know what they’re expecting. Keep them on their toes with your campaigns, and they’ll become more inclined to open your emails.
  • Don’t be cautious
    • Playing it safe is fine, if you want to do okay. But most of us want to do more than okay. So that means throwing caution to the wind with your subject lines, and stepping out of your comfort zone. It’s okay to brainstorm some really ridiculous subject lines, before scaling them back to something that you are happy with.
  • Monitor what works and what doesn’t
    • Make sure you’re tracking any tests that you’re doing, so that it’s easy to look back and see which type of subject lines worked best. Otherwise you’ll end up not knowing which types of subject lines work best for certain types of campaigns.
  • Don’t stick with a subject line that worked once, or worked well two years ago
    • While it may be easy to stick to the old adage of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, I don’t feel this particularly works well with email subject lines. While you may want to stick to a certain formula if you’re sending regular, consistent email campaigns, what you should consider is that recipients will get used to seeing the same types of subject line. In time, they could become blind or oblivious to them.

One approach you can use is to ensure that the first part of your subject line identifies the type of email you’re sending, before specifying the content it contains.

Let’s say you send a monthly newsletter to your subscribers, but all you do is change the month. So your subject line looks like this:

  • May Newsletter

It’s not the most inspiring or eye-catching subject line that you can use here, is it?

This is where emojis can be useful. You can add context with them, and over time your recipients will begin to associate that emoji with a certain campaign.

Seeing as we’re talking about a newsletter campaign, let’s use the newspaper emoji.

Then you also add a callout to some specific content that’s included in your newsletter. This will make the subject line different every time, while still being clear about its contents.

Put these elements together, and you end up with a subject line that looks like this:

  • 📰 May newsletter: Email subject line guide, GDPR webinar, and new platform features

Sure, it’s a lot longer, and the full subject line will likely be truncated on some displays, but it’s better. By using an emoji and adding clear information about what the email contains, it’s already more appealing to the recipient.

 


If you’re looking for more information about how to get your recipients to open your emails, then take a look at our best practice guide – First impressions count – and learn how to write killer email subject lines for every type of email.

The post How to write email subject lines that get opened: 11 tips appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 2 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Inspiring the serious marketer in you: Hitting the Mark email benchmark report 2018 is here

We’ve expanded our remit. Our sample now includes a mix of big and small companies, across three continents with the inclusion of Asia-Pacific (APAC), as well as incorporating brands from the B2B sector.  It’s our biggest, beefiest benchmark report – and now it’s truly relevant on a global scale.

Even more insights to dive into

Some of our findings echo last year’s report. There are still several brands out there failing to adopt simple automation programs, most notably a welcome program. Similarly, 56 of the 100 brands still aren’t utilizing cart recovery emails – crazy when you think about the massive opportunity for ROI presented by triggered campaigns. These are quick and easy wins that many companies continue to miss.

However, our wider scope offers marketers some new insights too. We’ve found that B2C businesses are outperforming B2B thanks to their wider adoption of basic automation, and they offer a better post-purchase experience. In the APAC region, brands aren’t making the most of data-driven tactics causing them to lag behind their US and UK rivals when it comes to personalizing content and making it relevant to their customers.

In our 2018 benchmark report, we’ll show you how and why some retailers are winning big and reveal the faux pas that can make a massive difference to your profits.

Real results for winning practices

The overall winner, hitting the mark across all our criteria, was a young, UK brand that’s rapidly expanding across Europe. This is in no small part thanks to its hyper-targeted email marketing strategy which proved the perfect technique to win, serve and retain its customers.

This brand never missed an opportunity to send abandoned cart prompts, personalized subject lines and tailored content based on past activity and preferences. The company has made significant and commendable improvements for 2018; especially as it scored 0 for abandoned cart emails and segmentation in last year’s report, ranking in the mid-30s overall. What an achievement! Customers were made to feel valued and given a reason to keep coming back and remain loyal to the brand.

The brand has clearly implemented the winning practices outlined in Hitting the Mark 2017, allowing it to forge a powerful and compelling email marketing strategy. We’ve taken an in-depth look at the tactics that have inspired this epic turnaround, so you can get there too.

What do you need to do to top next year’s Hitting the Mark?

Read Hitting the Mark in full today to get the low-down on all our dos and don’ts that make up a fantastic email marketing campaign.

If you’re a dotmailer client, don’t forget to talk to your account manager for advice and tips on how to put these into action. Interested in how dotmailer can help your business hit the mark? Take a free tour of our platform at a time that suits you.

The post Inspiring the serious marketer in you: Hitting the Mark email benchmark report 2018 is here appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 3 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

dotmailer receives ‘Great User Experience’ title for email marketing software – from reputable business software directory

Leading business software directory FinancesOnline believes businesses and organizations can highly benefit from an email automation marketing platform that is both feature-rich and easy to use. FinancesOnline’s experts found this in dotmailer, thus they gave us a positive 8.8 score and bestowed to us their prestigious Great User Experience and Rising Star awards.

 

The Great User Experience and Rising Star recognition for online email marketing software is given to systems that have satisfied clients with well-designed functionalities alongside a user-friendly and intuitive interface. This can be attributed to dotmailer’s unique drag-and-drop template builder that allow users to effortlessly create impressive email templates within a few minutes. It was also one of the reasons why our solution was recommended in the platform’s ‘what is email marketing software’ guide.

 

FinancesOnline believes dotmailer’s throng of functionalities enables users to remain “on top of every single phase of their email marketing campaigns and other related activities.” Aside from easily creating emails, FinancesOnline said our software can help users “fully optimize their email marketing strategies and get the best results” through various services including, but not limited to, campaign management, creative studio and strategic services. With these, users can significantly boost click-through rates and grow their business.

 

Businesses are also safeguarded with dotmailer’s scalability and custom-built integrations. “As your business needs develop and become more demanding and diverse, dotmailer is more than capable of growing with your enterprise,” wrote FinancesOnline’s experts.

The post dotmailer receives ‘Great User Experience’ title for email marketing software – from reputable business software directory appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 3 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

How retail marketers can drive innovation with email marketing

It began slowly about a decade ago, with Linens & Things closing in 2008, Circuit City in 2009, Blockbuster in 2010, and Borders in 2011. Now, it seems like every other day we hear news of yet another retail store closing, or moving entirely online (like Linens & Things did).

Part of this change is due to the ‘Amazon effect’, or the idea that consumers can get anything they want, when they want it – no need to trek to a store’s physical location. According to eMarketer, more consumers are turning to Amazon to research products before they buy instead of Google. The times are a changin’ indeed.

Want to learn how Movable Ink helps leading retailers create amazing experiences?

Download our ebook, Movable Ink for Retail.

 

But let’s look at the numbers. It should come as no surprise that ecommerce is the biggest driver of retail sales growth in the UK. According to eMarketer, UK retail ecommerce sales will rise by 14.2% between 2017 and 2021, driven mainly by mobile commerce.

So, despite what many have deemed a “retail apocalypse”, consumers will continue to spend both in store and online. But the way that consumers are spending is changing, and retailers need to adapt to survive.

Movable Ink Co-founder and CEO Vivek Sharma said it best in his article, The Retail Bubble: How to Survive and Thrive with Digital Innovation:

This is about more than square footage, financial missteps, or the ebb and flow of natural business cycles. This is simply another chapter in the never-ending narrative of creative destruction leading to digital innovation.

The retail landscape will continue to evolve, and it’s up to retailers to embrace digital strategies that create better customer experiences if they want to thrive in this brave new world.

There are many ways retailers can elevate customer experiences both online and offline to meet their business goals. Here are three of the ways they can make that happen with email marketing, along with specific tactics for each.

1. Strengthen loyalty programs with personalized experiences

Email is essential for a successful loyalty program, but many brands aren’t taking advantage of it. Too often, email content is an afterthought. There are so many opportunities to surprise and delight your customers using a sophisticated campaign, especially for your loyal rewards members. Here are a few ways that marketers can strengthen their loyalty programs with email.

Display 1:1 real-time spend and rewards points for every customer

Complicated rules and difficulty redeeming points can often be the downfall of any loyalty program. So keeping it simple is important. According to a study by Colloquy, the number one reason consumers give for continuing to participate in a loyalty program is that it’s easy to understand (81%).

Help customers see the big picture with data visualization

The use of data visualization in marketing, like infographics, has skyrocketed over the past few years. And it makes perfect sense— graphics are more engaging and visual data is easier to digest. According to the SAGE Handbook of Political Communication, the human brain can make sense of a visual in less than 1/10 of a second.

So, incorporating data visualization into your loyalty program emails is a no-brainer. And it’s not as much work as you might think.

Add authenticity with user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is a fresh, relevant way to market your products and services. And while the concept might not be new, the ways that marketers are leveraging UGC totally are. Consumers are now content creators, uploading and sharing images of their favorite products and services as a testament to their brand loyalty. And the sheer volume of digital content has grown exponentially thanks to platforms like Instagram and YouTube that encourage social sharing.

You can add user-generated content to your loyalty emails by displaying a live social feed, like Twitter or Instagram, in the body of your email. It’s the best way to showcase real customers using your products, adding authenticity to your emails.

2. Drive revenue with personalized promotional emails

Personalized experiences make for better retail marketing experiences because they’re incredibly effective for getting your customer’s attention. It’s also a huge priority for most marketers. And yet only 40% of consumers report seeing any kind of personalization at all. Here are just a few ways that retail marketers can improve those experiences with relevant offers.

Use contextual elements like geo-targeting and weather personalization

Meeting your customer where they are at the exact moment they open your email makes your email content both relevant and helpful. This type of contextual marketing lets you promote offers based your customer’s location or weather conditions, no matter where they are when they open your email.

This is also a great opportunity to drive foot traffic to any brick-and-mortar store locations by providing a local map with the stores nearest to each customer, and providing relevant store hours too.

Leverage customer behavior like browsing history and cart activity

Each of your customers is different, each with unique preferences. If you serve them an email based on their past interactions with your website, they’re far more likely to convert. Behavioral marketing lets you leverage those interactions – whether its browsing history on your website or items left in their shopping – to create email content that speaks to each individual. You could even offer product recommendations based on recently browsed products.

3. Enhance the productivity of every campaign

Productivity is a major challenge for most retail marketers – lean teams, tight production schedules, and limited resources all factor into this. Here are a few ways retail marketers can take advantage of their existing content to create great, on-brand experiences in email.

Repurpose your content

Email marketing is ideal for repurposing your best content. If your company has a blog, pull your best blog content into your welcome email series to get it in front of your new customers fast. For retailers, this might be a blog post featuring best-selling or most popular products.

And don’t forget about images – take advantage of any product images you have on your website by pulling them into your promotional emails for a seamless, experience that’s on brand.

Use time-targeting

Time-targeting is a tactic for sending multiple offers with just one email send, thus saving retail marketers tons of time. It’s ideal for promoting a new offer every day, like many retailers do in their Black Friday emails. Time-targeting builds excitement, drives urgency, and gives your customers something to look forward to.

Want to find out how Movable Ink is helping leading retail brands accomplish all of this, and more? Download our ebook, Movable Ink for Retail.

The post How retail marketers can drive innovation with email marketing appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 4 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

These five email programs will make you stand out in the inbox

So, you’ve made the decision to take on an ecommerce connector using Commerce Flow or Magento, for instance; it’s all hooked up with dotmailer and ready to go. What next?

As with all data-driven marketing, your customer insight has to sit at the very heart of your email. This is particularly the case if you wish to move away from ‘batch and blast’ – or ‘spray and pray’ as I like to call it – to sending the right message, to the right person, at the right time.

An extension to this mantra is also “on the right channel”. With the recent acquisition of COMAPI, dotmailer customers now have more choice over the digital channels on which to convey marketing messages – but that’s a blog for another day.

Automation is a method that enables time-poor marketers to deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time. BUT, the triggers to enrol a subscriber onto an automation program (or the logic behind it) is all based on… Well you guessed it – data.

Hooking up your ecommerce platform with dotmailer ensures you get valuable transactional data into your email platform, empowering you to tailor the experience around the actions of subscribers.

So, I’ve collated the must-have automations that – regardless of what product you’re selling – should be at the top of your list. And once implemented, you can scope programs as per the industry or sector you’re operating in.

1. Welcome program

The welcome journey would be the first email contact you have with subscribers after they’ve signed up. As with the real world, you’ve only one shot to make a good impression, so make it count!

Your welcome program should set the tone of what subscribers will receive moving forward. A good starting place is a three-part series:

  • In the first email, thank your subscribers for signing up and reinforce the reasons why they did so in the first place – this is the prime time to shout about your USPs and the exclusive benefits of being opted-in.
  • As a follow up to the initial email, you should begin building your relationship with customers by telling them your brand story. Make sure subscribers understand your USPs and make your proposition as compelling as possible, recommending the most-viewed or most-purchased products on your site for instance.
  • Email three is the perfect opportunity to prompt subscribers to act. If they haven’t made their first purchase yet, encourage them to do so. If they have made their first purchase, ask them instead to fill in your preference center so you can further tailor their digital experience.

Charlotte Tilbury’s stylish welcome email provides subscribers with a backdrop to the brand and asks for details – such as hair color and skin tone – to drive relevant communications.

2. Post-purchase program

Now that subscribers have made their first purchase, it’s time to enrol them onto an aftersales program that communicates thanks and rewards them for their business with you over that of a competitor. It doesn’t have to be a discount (although research we’ve conducted with the Direct Marketing Association indicates that discounts and money offs are most effective); you can reinforce their decision was the right one by highlighting relevant customer testimonials and awarding loyalty points. Remember, reassurance (especially of an impulsive buy) goes a long way.

With every purchase that follows, customers can be automatically enrolled onto an aftersales program that collects product reviews and drives value-added content; both are likely to bolster UGC for other email programs and enrich your brand’s credibility.

Tangle Teezer does a great job of maximizing its customer loyalty with product-focused tips and inspiring UCG.

3. Abandoned cart

In my experience, this is the automation of automations. Abandoned cart is without a doubt the highest revenue-generating program I’ve come across. Subscribers – whether intentionally or unintentionally – leave their carts full and unattended; sending them a prompt reminder so that they ‘don’t miss out’ or even a cheeky discount (if it’s been a slow month) is guaranteed to produce great results.

I would experiment between a one- and three-stage abandoned cart program to see what works best for you. But be warned, some of the more savvier consumers will abandon their purchase intentionally to seek out a discount code, as they recognize that many brands will use it as incentive to recover lost carts.

Oliver Bonas tempts subscribers back to their cart using data-triggered notifications.

4. Loyalty program

Loyalty programs can be straightforward and help you generate the advocacy enjoyed by the likes of ASOS, winner of our 2017 benchmark report – Hitting the Mark.

The logic behind a loyalty program could be as simple as having the enrollment criteria set to customers’ average order value (AOV) or a minimum number of orders made in the last 6 months. Conditions to enroll might be an AOV that’s equal to or greater than £100, for instance.

An automation can be triggered when the rules you’ve set up have been met, informing loyal customers that they’ve qualified for membership in a special VIP club, and of their exclusive access to additional benefits or gifts.

Triggering this automation will update the relative ‘data-field’ within dotmailer, marking customers that have enrolled as ‘VIPs’. You can then leverage this insight to enrich the relevancy of your business-as-usual newsletters, using dynamic content to display extra information that’s exclusive to your more loyal customers.

Conversely, another automation could be built and triggered if customers’ AOV or number of orders (made over a certain period) are below the prerequisites of entering the VIP club; they’d be either encouraged to make a purchase or enrolled onto a winback program.

Ellisons drip-feeds discounts to customers as means to strengthen retention and inspire loyalty.

5. Re-engagement program

A re-engagement (or winback) program could be based on a period of subscriber inactivity – i.e. the last time subscribers have opened or clicked in an email. Pro:Direct, for example, prompts unengaged subscribers to remain in the loop or connect on other channels.

But in an ecommerce scenario, I’d base the criterion on when they last made a purchase.

If a number of days or months has elapsed and a subscriber hasn’t made a purchase, sending a ‘we miss you’ campaign is sure to rouse their engagement and compel them to act. Things to potentially include are some inspirational UGC, USPs, freebies or a discretionary discount.

Ready, set, go!

Once you’ve got these five automations in place, you’re well on the road to delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time. If you’d like more advice on tailoring automations to your business, please feel free to contact your account manager.

And for more automation inspiration, check out our best practice guide on growing your ecommerce business with email.

The post These five email programs will make you stand out in the inbox appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 4 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

What are the benefits of email marketing?

For the uninitiated, the benefits of email marketing may not be immediately clear. In fact, even seasoned marketing pros may not immediately be able to identify the many advantages of email marketing over other marketing methods.

There are many reasons why we believe – and know – that email marketing is one of, if not the best performing marketing channels that is available out there, to every single brand and business on the planet.

Everyone you email already knows your brand or business

In order to contact someone and market to them via email, you need their express permission – this makes email the strongest tool in your marketing toolbox.

Everyone who receives your emails will have already purchased from you, or shown interest in your brand or business. Whether you’re an online ecommerce retailer that they’ve purchased goods from before, or a SaaS provider whose service or content they’ve interacted with and shown interest in, you should already have an existing relationship with them.

Of course, there are still some brands and businesses out there who don’t play by these rules, but GDPR means that everyone should be getting permission from everyone before the send them any marketing emails. Not only that, increasingly smarter inbox filtering means that fewer spam messages now make it to the inbox, instead being sent straight to the spam folder.

Now, email marketers who choose to ignore best practice advice or new rules will see their deliverability suffer, while those who abide by the rules and respect their subscribers will make it to the inbox.

What this means is that consumers can expect fewer irrelevant marketing messages, and brands and businesses can hopefully expect their marketing lists to be engaged with their content, because subscribers have said that they want to receive emails from them.

It’s easy to use

There was a time when you needed to have a solid understanding of HTML and CSS to build email templates, but those days are long behind us now.

While there’s still a thriving community of email designers and coders, who are pushing the envelope in terms of what email can do and look like, modern marketing platforms and services have given everyday marketers the tools to build and send email campaigns, quickly and easily.

These visual, drag-and-drop style editors make the turnaround time of a campaign much quicker than it used to be. It also gives smaller businesses and one-person marketing teams the ability to enter the email game.

And although it’s easy to use, email can be hard to master. Once you start using it, you’ll soon learn that the smarter you are with your email campaigns, the better your results become. The next step is one of the easiest and simplest ways that you can benefit from smarter email marketing.

Segmentation drives relevancy, which generates engagement

Relevancy is key with email marketing. The average consumer now receives over 100 marketing emails every week (DMA Marketer email tracker 2018), and with attention spans waning, you need to make sure your emails are cutting through the noise of the modern-day inbox.

This is where segmentation of your audience comes in. The ‘batch and blast’ method no longer works. You need to make sure that the emails you’re sending are useful and relevant to the recipient. So, by segmenting your email lists, and sending campaigns that are targeted to these segments, you’ll see better results.

Many people act on impulse

Impulse buyers have long been swayed into purchases by other forms of marketing, and email is no different.

By adding clear calls-to-action in your emails, you increase the chances of the recipient clicking through to your website and completing a sale. The easier you make it for the customer to buy something, the likelier they are to complete an order.

What’s more, if you’re segmenting your lists and sending targeted communications and campaigns, then the chances of generating a purchase from your email increase even more!

The possibilities are endless

You can do anything with your email marketing. While most email marketing campaigns are intended to sell, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

One of the real benefits of using email marketing in your strategy is that you can use it to build and strengthen relationships with subscribers and customers.

From the moment someone signs up to your email list, and you (hopefully) send them a welcome email, there are endless possibilities for the types of email campaigns that you can send them. Think abandoned cart, browse, winback and loyalty.

This spans the full customer lifecycle – from acquisition to conversion, right through to retention and even advocacy, you can utilize email for the full journey.

You can accurately measure your success

One of the real advantages of using email marketing is that on most, if not all modern platforms, you can easily report on and measure the results of your email campaigns.

This makes it easy to see what’s working and what isn’t, and it also makes it a lot easier to highlight success and results for other areas of your business. If you’re having trouble getting buy-in to the importance of email marketing in your wider marketing strategy, then being able to produce accurate results is certainly one way of proving the importance of email.

Easy to use on a global scale

While most global marketing campaigns will be subject to subtle differences that make their execution difficult across different continents, email is – for the most part – exempt from this.

There will be the obvious challenges – different time zones, languages, and currencies will likely be the ones that crop up most – but, the real benefit of using email is that you can use it on a global scale with the minimum of fuss.

This is especially useful for brands and businesses looking to expand into different territories. In lieu of a physical store or office, email is a good starting point, even if it’s just to test the waters of international markets.

Scalable

Carrying on from the previous benefit of being useful on a global scale, email marketing is also scalable. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got an email list of 1,000, or 10 million, you can still make email work in your marketing strategy.

The best advantage of using email is that your email marketing strategy can scale with the growth of your business. There are solutions out there for smaller businesses and startups, right the way up to enterprise, as well as omnichannel solutions for the large, multinational brands and businesses who have successfully built up a large global presence.

It doesn’t have to cost the earth

This goes hand-in-hand with the scalability of email marketing. Your use of email doesn’t have to cost more than you can afford. If you’re a small business or organization just starting on your email marketing journey, then there are several free or low-cost email marketing solutions available on the market which will be more than suitable for your needs.

When your email marketing strategy begins to grow along with your subscriber and customer lists, then there will always be appropriate email marketing software providers out there for you.

We know that dotmailer is a perfect example of this. Our platform is tailored for serious marketers who are well-versed in their email marketing strategy, and need the appropriate level of software features and strategic account management.

When the time comes to take your email marketing to the next level, you know where to find us.

ROI

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the real benefit of email marketing is the return on investment (ROI). £32 per £1 spent in the UK, and $30 Per $1 spent in the US is not to be laughed at.

In fact, ROI from email marketing has consistently outperformed other channels.

If you’re not already using email marketing, it’s easy to start. If it’s already part of your wider marketing strategy, you can use some of the tactics detailed above to gain an advantage over your competitors.

 

Just getting started with email marketing? Learn more about why first impressions count.

 

Already know your way around an email? Then find out why you should make time to save time with email marketing automation.

The post What are the benefits of email marketing? appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 5 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com