You’ve known all along that rumors of e-mail’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. It’s still the workhorse of online marketing. Check out our experts’ insights on everything from copywriting to deliverability.

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Mythbusting: Video In Email

                        As a Creative Director, my workday often revolves around crafting and optimizing email communications for big brands. So, I’m always intrigued when new technologies come along that allow me to put another tool in my kit.   One of the most exciting developments to come along recently has been the use of video in email. Not the spoofed playback buttons overlaid on a static image, or even animated gifs that simulate video, but honest-to-goodness sound and motion vid [...]

Email Marketing Equals Dollar Signs

Open and click-through rates are common metrics used to evaluate the success of email campaigns. But we all know that for retailers, revenue is what really matters. Like every other department in an organization, as the new year begins (or when your fiscal year ends) marketers are requesting and competing for budget. As you prepare, use the following email revenue metrics to help prove your case. Campaign Revenue How much money did you generate on your e-commerce site from a particular email send? Knowing this requires that your emails are appropriately tagged for your online analytics t [...]

Choose The Best Responsive Email Layout For Your Message

The concept of responsive email has entered into the industry consciousness, though the actual deployment is still far from common. Still, enough senders are experimenting with the technique, and we’re beginning to see patterns in layouts and organization. Any examination of responsive layout patterns must first point to the work of Luke Wroblewski. Wroblewski has written a wonderful series of posts on responsive layout patterns on the Web, which informs many ideas and images (the column drop, layout shifter and associated images port very directly from his web observations). His work is [...]

How To Integrate Pinterest Into Your Emails

dec_feature More than just a social hub to share images, Pinterest has become a lifestyle brand itself. Exuding a feeling of simple, clean, nearly dreamy -- dare I say aspirational -- moments of pleasure, it's actually influencing a new aesthetic style. In fact, one of the common complaints is how spellbinding the Pinterest experience becomes as users spend hours upon hours exploring content and seeking out new curators of style, inspiration and taste. Adopted primarily by women and at an astounding pace (at this rate there’ll soon be more people with Pinterest accounts than toothbrushes), it’s an [...]

Ensuring The Email Is Right Before Hitting Send

That moment before you click send on an email to millions of subscribers can really make you sweat, no matter how many times you’ve done it before. Once you hit send, it’s gone to the inbox, and the last thing you want to hear is “did that email go to everyone?” Confirming an email is accurate before it deploys is more than just proofreading and having a second set of eyes; it’s strictly following a well-defined process to ensure that you’re delivering a message that reflects well on your organization. On a rare occasion, mistakes will happen, but you need to constantly work [...]

Email Design Tip: The Fold & Your Call To Action

shutterstock_99478988-thefold Presentation is everything, they say. And this is especially true on the Internet, when your prospective customers can't physically handle your products or talk to you in person. What your readers see in the email you send (its layout and design) significantly impacts how they react to it; namely, whether or not they respond in a way you'd want them to. So, when you really want them to react in a particular way (like taking a survey or buying your new product), your call-to-action should be designed and placed carefully. Why "The Fold" Can Help You Do This "The fold" is the bottom of y [...]

Learning By Example: 9 More Responsive Emails

A few months back, I wrote a post outlining four responsive emails and the tactics they applied to content. I've received significant feedback on that post, so I’m diving back in to show some more responsive emails from my inbox. There’s a range of ideas here, from beginner to advanced tricks. It’s important that we all be looking at examples of what’s happening in the space. There are few best practices established, and fewer quick fixes. The phrase “mobile optimization” is being tossed around a lot, but the idea is new enough that I don’t think we quite know what it means ye [...]

Mobile Email Marketing: Tips For The Holiday Season

mobile-email-featured 'Tis the season when the volume of email sends begins to soar. From Black Friday previews to last minute gift reminders, retailers are upping the ante on the number of messages being sent. This makes the inbox a crowded place to be. But that’s not news. What makes this retail holiday season special? This year over 30% of those messages will likely be read on some type of mobile device. So how do you ensure your message will stand out in the mobile inbox? Even if you haven’t been able to transition your emails into a responsive template or you’re waiting to roll out that new mobil [...]

Why Sending Receipts Via Email Is A Good Idea

I recently read an article about advances in the technology associated with printed receipts, their benefit as a transactional record, and the relative limits of moving to a hand-held transactional device. What that piece missed, however, was the huge value to retailers of emailing a receipt to customers who have made an in-store purchase.  There are many benefits to this triggered email, which, up until now, has not been widely embraced during the in-store checkout experience. 1. Acquisition If a customer chooses to receive their receipt via an email, your brand gains the opportunity to [...]

3 Basic Ways To Boost Sales By Targeting Emails

shutterstock_94513315-segmentation You already know how email marketing improves your sales by keeping you in front of your customers. But, if you're still only using email blasts to your whole list, you're missing out on an opportunity. You can increase your sales even more by taking time to target your audience with a technique called segmenting. Segmenting breaks your list into special groups of customers who you can email separately with hyper-relevant content. Some businesses have seen huge spikes in sales by targeting their customers this way. Here are three ways you can target your existing customers for a richer e [...]

Expanding Your Online Presence: The Email/Social Merge

EmergenC-FruitOGram You have email, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Gentlemint, Spotify, Tumblr... literally dozens of networks to market on. You can reach an audience through any combination of the above. As an email marketer, you know that the most valuable connections happen in private email inboxes. But activity on social networks, where fans can share with friends who share with contacts, is more visible. Where To Market? Choose a social network or two to be present on (consider where your target demographic hangs out to help you choose). You'll only be able to share bits and snippets, [...]

Designing For Dynamic Email Messages

shutterstock_105499760-wireframe Dynamic email, also known as data-driven email, has been around for a long time, but planning this type of complex messaging is still a daunting task to many designers and marketers. It’s not so different from the usual design challenge, though: we have a set of assets, rules and restrictions to which the visual design must adhere, and addressing this challenge is mostly about adopting the right process and mindset. To help overcome those initial hurdles, let’s walk through the basic steps to successfully designing a dynamic message: Inventory content and data Identify block an [...]

5 Keys To A Successful Holiday Email Strategy

email-marketing-featured You may not want to start counting the days until your in-laws arrive, but email marketers know that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner. After all, Christmas is just over three months away! Following are five keys to a successful holiday email strategy for you to focus on -- it'll distract you from the impending family invasion about to ensue. 1. Draft Your Schedule Increasing your frequency during holiday is a given. Many retailers will be sending every single day. Some retailers will be sending multiple times a day. Simply put, those who do not change their frequen [...]

A Matter of Preference: Go Beyond Barely Functional With Your Email Preference Center

I subscribe to an ever-revolving variety of email programs, looking at old, new, large and small email offerings, and the experience offered by each. A recent streak of unsubscribing highlighted a few trends in the design of preference centers. Preference centers revolve around a central idea: choice. This is the subscriber’s control center, the place where big decisions are made – the level of personal info they offer, the programs in which they participate, the kind of content they want, and whether they want to cut ties. The vast majority of brands are doing a capable job of offering [...]

Lifecycle Of An Email Subscriber: What To Send When

shutterstock_10482901-womanasleep Last year, HubSpot presented some research that showed the longer a subscriber was on a mailing list, the less engagement the subscriber had with those emails. However, it's also true that it's easier to turn an existing customer into a repeat customer than it is to find a new customer. The folks on your email list are your best prospects, but if the HubSpot study is any indication, subscribers are getting bored or emails are becoming irrelevant to them as time passes. So how do you create emails that everyone enjoys? The answer is you don't… not really. What you do instead is set up a [...]

How Comics Taught Me Email

The superhero movies this summer have me reminiscing on my life in comic books. See, prior to email I spent a number of years in the US comics industry, in various creative and production roles. The energy and variety was incredible, and I had the opportunity to be part of projects ranging from adaptations of blockbuster movies to an IT-themed daily webcomic for the world’s largest software company (there’s much more to comics than superheroes!). Looking back, I recognize remarkable similarities between the media of comics and email. Both industries are notably similar in the energy [...]

Explicit And Implicit Email Preferences

Email is seemingly tailor-made for collecting customer information. In a perfect program, collection begins at the point of sign up. Yet marketers know the fewer the questions asked, the more likely the customer is to opt-in. It's a balancing act, though, because marketers also know that the more demographic data they can collect at that point, the easier it will be to deliver relevant, timely emails throughout the span of the relationship. Lack of relevancy will result in unengaged subscribers, poor engagement metrics, junk-mail placement and, ultimately, unsubscribes. Building a smarte [...]

Are You Leaving Potential Email Subscribers On The Table?

If you're an experienced marketer, you probably have some tried and true techniques for getting more email subscribers. But you may be leaving many potential new subscribers on the table. How can you ensure you're accomplishing everything that's possible? Go beyond the tried and true and test new approaches. Split testing helps you figure out which factors of your online sign-up form are drawing subscribers and what changes you can make to draw more. There are many split tests you can run on your web form: using inline forms vs pop-ups, including a description of your emails vs disp [...]

Tracking Offline Email Conversions

Email is a unique channel. Because it is sent digitally, and click-throughs drive traffic online, retail email marketing is traditionally thought of as only driving ecommerce orders. It is often thought of in the same vein as something like search engine marketing, which directly drives traffic and conversions exclusively online in much the same way that direct mail has traditionally been thought to drive only in-store traffic. It’s time to reconsider the conventional wisdom, however. Used correctly, email marketing drives a significant amount of traffic and revenue in the online and i [...]

Four Responsive Email Layouts

Recognizing the industry needed a scalable design strategy that acknowledged the growing stable of web-enabled devices, Ethan Marcotte coined the term “responsive web design.” Designing responsively means planning for a site to span and appropriately adjust to a range of screens and resolutions, rather than creating unique interfaces or experiences for each. Marcotte’s recent book, also titled Responsive Web Design, defined the idea as having three key pieces: Flexible, grid-based layouts Flexible images (and media) Media queries Responsive Email Their powers combin [...]

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