Posts tagged #email

All The Email Tips Your Assistant Isn't Using

^ Your face when you see what's been sent out to all your customer base ^

^ Your face when you see what's been sent out to all your customer base ^

Spam Assassin and blacklisted words –
Many email servers will look for specific blacklisted words that are utilized by spam services. When these are seen in subject lines or redundant within the content, they are often blacklisted and you will not be allowed to publish on that server again. Avoid the following words and offer styles:

  • Free, BOGO, %, 
  • Act now, For limited time
  • Subject lines and Pre-headers that utilize sexually oriented, pornographic, hate related and or profanity

Emoji’s
Use emojis in your subject line! Whether to accent specific words or make them part of your call to action (CTA). Experian noted that fifty-six percent of brands using emoji in their email subject lines had a higher unique open rate.

Preheaders —
Nothing gives your reader more piece of mind that you do not spam than a solid preheater. This supports the valuable context of your subject line and can help your open rate.

Scripted Personalization –
Email services offering <inserted name> personalized subject lines are 25% + more likely to be opened.

Content priority —
Use sectional layouts to break up your content and priority — make sure that your primary call to action is listed closer to the top, and then as you descend do so in the matter of importance.

The "Inverted Pyramid" (see example below) –
When laying out your primary CTA utilize the inverted pyramid, structuring the elements of your email so they work together to draw the reader to your CTA, such as a button, video or hyperlink.

^ Click for Enlargement ^

Dimension –
Your email width should be a minimum of 640 pixels, with a maximum of 800 prior to a background color. While I've only outlined width here, my suggestion would be to ensure that the email is not so lengthy as to overstep its intent.

File Size –
Ensure that any large JPEG has been compressed properly to maximize file size.

Alt Text – 
Many email servers still publish an email in text format prior to an HTML format. Therefore, if you want to ensure that you have text in the place of imagery, allowing Alt Text to display in its place.

Hyperlink all images –
If the reader touches any graphic on an email it should be redirected to a location of your choosing. Therefore, take the time to ensure that you have hyperlinked any image to be forwarded to a destination based upon your campaign or messaging.

Negative Space – 
This design principle is simply adding ample white space (or colored “negative space”) around the elements, both text, and images allowing the reader to discern one section from another.

Mobile-friendly –

  • Keep your subject line short
  • Use preheader text
  • Use minimal body copy
  • 16pt sized font usage is a good size for mobile viewing
  • Ensure that your images are large enough to see (I'm a particular advocate of square formatting as well).
  • Place a minimum of two CTA Buttons with in an email, one after your inverted pyramid design, and one at the bottom of your content, prior to your social media icons.
  • Ensure that any CTA buttons are a color that will stand out in contrast to the primary tones used an email.

Video & Animation –
While many of the newer email services allow you to embed video, older lists and legacy email applications often do not. Therefore, my suggestion is always to put an animated GIF in the place of a video and link to the location of the video within the GIF.

While it's not an actual video, readers are more apt to click through to see the real video, than simply using a static image.

While it's not an actual video, readers are more apt to click through to see the real video, than simply using a static image.

A/B Test –
If your email services offer A/B testing of subject lines or body content, ensure that you utilize this. There are an array of metrics that you should keep your eye on to ensure maximum open rate such as:

  • Does your audience prefer shorter or longer subject lines?
  • Do you have any successful trigger words/emojis? (e.g. "Awesome" "Immediately" etc.)
  • Heat mapping your emails will show you where your readers are apt to click on the page. Over the course of several emails, you'll begin to see useful patterns and redundancies. 
  • The emotional tone of the email content
  • Types of photography chosen

Social Media Icons –
Always be sure to include social media icons to your social graph, in the footer of your email. Additionally, a way to bolster interest in a specific channel is to get a graphic (such as an Instagram photo) that came from that particular channel and link the image to it.

Contact & Feedback –
Creating a contact link is one thing, but often readers assume it is simply to engage in a course of action with the content. While feedback links are often seen as a more passive way of communicating one's opinion but not committing to the content. Lines of communication are extremely important and worthy of aggregate.

Layout Madness –
Be careful not to have too many fonts or style variations on your layout. It's obnoxious and has the uncanny ability to make your messaging come across and amateurish. Only, BOLD items that are impactful, and match your TEXT colors to fall in lockstep with your brand or main image.

^ Click to Enlarge – if you want your eyes to bleed ^

Posted on September 5, 2017 and filed under Advertising, Brand, Content, Process.

Scoring Strong with Email Marketing

Email marketing is still viable. Social media consultants, gurus, and (even me included) have spent the past decade telling you it’s all about the social networks. And there continues to be a LOT of value in those channels. However, the truth is that through it all, I have never abandoned the email channel.

In an effort to explain this email I'm an avid fan of the Orlando City Soccer Club (MLS) and the Orlando Pride (NWSL); I'm also and insatiable fan of great marketing. Weird, I know. Therefore, when I saw opportunities for future marketing success I thought to share it with everyone, not simply the team's outline. That said, read the following email looking through the lens of how best to market to some of the greatest fans in the MLS and NWSL.

Here are some suggestions and best practices for successful email campaigns:

All content must be responsive:

  • Desktop
  • Tablet
  • Mobile
  • Wearable (tiny screen)

Create an email marketing SOP that aligns with your brand standard manuals for all scenarios. This manual will be a biblical introduction to the next point:

Modular template environments

Modular Template Environments – Type 1: Like any publication, you need to create an environment where different departments and calls to action (CTAs) can be represented, categorized, and moved based on need and action.

Modular Template Environments – Type 2: Ads are getting overlooked or confused with real content because sizes for each are the same. Therefore a user will skim an email and not know what’s an ad or an article. So you must change sizes and locations. Example: header, 50/50, 1/3, 1/4, panels, etc., assigning a character count or word count for each.

Modular Template Environments – Type 3: Sizing and layout options. This way, assets will be consistent when you’re collecting and assembling them from various vendors or departments.

Rewarding VIP Status

When creating a revised email programming campaign for SeaWorld, the first item on the list was a newsletter/email for “Pass Holders” and “Non-Pass Holders.” It’s essential for retention efforts that the park offers exclusivity to those with annual passes.

Here is how we could apply that philosophy Orlando City Soccer Club season ticket holder and fan emails. This action should be replicated for Orlando Pride as well.

Contextual emails: Invite users to update their email account to give them a more personalized experience. Right now you only talk about yourself and it plays thin and will eventually work to your detriment. 

Suggestions might be:

  • "Club & Country” – emails about OCSC/OP and all MLS
  • OCSC/OP – calendar alerts
  • “This day in Soccer” – random history and trivia
  • Player Spotlights
  • Soccer EDU – history, trivia etc.
  • Gear Head – product reviews that piggyback merchandise and e–commerce efforts
  • Social Roundup – fans not only love social media, they love to read what they might have missed from other fans. Create a BuzzFeed-like weekly email that highlights 12 great posts from around Central Florida. This is a great “social proof” area as well “70% of people that read the article on our last game agreed that the red card was understandable”

These emails should be designed (in color, voice, and contextual directive) and sub-branded uniquely to avoid confusion with other segmented emails.

Hearing your email subscribers is key confirmation and welcome messages are a must.

Length: With more email options you’ll be able to cut down on your copy. Your current footprint is trying to be all things to all people and it comes off as noise.

Deployment consistency: You need to drop an email on every “X” day. It’s fine if you want to run alternate days for special categories or quick alerts. Just don’t overdo it.

Custom iconography: Create a series of icons that can be subtended throughout all your emails to indicate sales, events, recent news, coming soon and alerts!

Add motion: GIFs and click–throughs to video are eye-catching and a way to repurpose your efforts with channels like Giphy.com.

There are NO ASCII links in your email: This is a HUGE red flag. More people will click on a hyperlinked word than they will an image.

Heat mapping: Run heat mapping on your best and worst emails and find out where/what people did or did not engage with.

Spam scoring: Run all email wording through a spam scoring algorithm. I prefer Apache Spam Assassin – this procedure will lessen the blow on some email servers that might blacklist your content due to trigger words or perceived illegal formatting.

Subject lines: Run “split testing” on outgoing emails to see what a small percentage of our lists will open the most. Once activated, deploy the highest-testing subject line to your audience for maximum results.

Test email launch variables:

  • Subject line
  • Copy amount
  • Image amount
  • Offer/CTA
  • Time of day of send
  • Placement of the CTA
  • Personalization variations
  • More ads, less ads etc.

Create age–specific content: If you intend on cleaning the list (going back and asking your audience to confirm receipt of emails and allow for further customization of content), this is a perfect time to profile your user in basic terms: age, race, family, and other bits of basic demographic granularity will allow you to serve up better content for their needs.

Add native advertising in your written content: Allow brands to pitch association to teams within content outside of events, and make the association within the content as well. “After the game, the club was treated to a BBQ dinner from [sponsor] followed by a night on the town at [sponsor].” etc.

More contests for fans: T-shirt designs, shout-outs, video programs, etc.

Add buttons: Your emails are currently only using the images as linking mechanisms. Keep it simple in for folks to connecting to additional content and offers.

Squeeze emails and quit to reengage: With inactive email accounts, send out a series of emails stating that you’ll be unsubscribing them giving that they’ve not opened their emails in “X” # of days/weeks/months. This allows you to clean your list, as well as “poke” inactive recipients into reconnecting or disconnecting.

Cheat sheets: Send more PDFs and infographics to facilitate deeper learning and understanding of the game and allow them further interest in team members. For instance, offer things such as a “game day” lineup and so on.

Feedback emails: Send a minimum of two emails per season asking fans what they want from their email. This email is an excellent way for them to simply reply or for you to link them to a survey.

Humanize your brands: In player spotlights for example, create content that connects fans in a personal way with causes or groups that players are passionate about. This galvanizes fans to subject matter that they will then positively associate with the teams.

Encourage activity: Create email content where you TELL fans what do. Step-by-step; FYI; DIY and tour-based content works well in this format.

Use social and cultural trends: Connect to current trends by using tools like https://www.google.com/trends/ leverage topical positions that incentivize participation in programs.

Thank you emails: Announce and reply to fans regarding successes and participation in events and programs.

Use the "Inverted Pyramid Method: It drives users to a CTA or actionable button.