When designing email newsletters and marketing campaigns, it is important that you consider the limitations presented by email readers. Many users, either by personal preference or email client defaults, are blocking images from being downloaded in the HTML-formatted messages they receive. Thus, it is a good practice for email designers to prepare for both image “off” and “on” scenarios.
Here are some of the basics you need to know about using images in email:
Email marketing is complementary to social media and in today’s multichannel environment, you can extend the reach of your online and email marketing efforts by incorporating social media into your overall marketing plan.
Enhance your online presence by reaching new prospects in ways that are very different from traditional advertising channels. Social networking is changing the way we communicate not only with friends and family, but with customers and prospective customers.
Since consumers expect brands to interact with them across all online channels, marketers can embrace and integrate social media and leverage the power of viral and word-of-mouth marketing. Make your web, video and email content shareable via email, blogs, micro-blogs, and social news, bookmarking and professional networks like Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, YouTube, LinkedIn and other popular social networks.
Do you ever wonder what are the best days and times to send email?
If you do, you’re not alone.
I can’t tell you when and how often to send messages to your customers or subscribers — there is no “best” time or day to send email. However, I can tell you that if you capture the right data, you won’t need one.
We are often asked what would be considered a good email clickthrough rate (CTR).
The answer is always the same…there isn’t one.
Why not? Because CTRs depend on countless factors affecting an email campaign including:
- Your audience. The email CTR you can expect from a business audience will be considerably different from the average email clickthrough rate achieved by an email campaign targeted at consumers.
- Your message. A standalone marketing email works differently from articles and newsletters. Advocacy appeals on average have a much higher CTR than fundraising appeals. An HTML email with graphics will have a different impact than a plain text email.
- Your relevance. If the messaging of your mail is highly relevant to your target audience, it is most likely to result in better CTRs.
- Your frequency. Finding just the right balance in the frequency of your emails is important.
- Your links. Every link in an email is an opportunity to get a clickthrough. The number of links, the position of links, and the emphasis on links you include in your email play a role in the email CTR you get.
- Your content. If your email contains articles, the email CTR will vary between emails that contain the entire article in the email body and emails that provide a synopsis requiring the reader to click through to read the full article on your website.
- Other factors. The email opt-in process you adopt, the level of personalization, the way you segment your email list, and many other factors play a role in determining the average email clickthrough rate.
In my last blog post, I played the part of the copy and paste doomsayer, warning all of the dangers inherent in the act of, well, copying and pasting. In particular, I discussed how, with that simple editing function, invisible metadata that has a rightful place in the source document can find its way into the HTML describing your email communications, (where it has no right to be in whatsoever) producing junk code.
Not to be a hater but here’s another reason to be mindful when indiscriminately copying and pasting into your code: junk characters.
When folks set out to do an email newsletter, they sometimes get so excited about sending the thing out as quickly as possible before it’s even made that they often trip on their own feet in the process of trying to do so. This usually involves some semblance of a design, the acquiring of pretty, pretty pictures and the slapping together of some equally pretty, pretty text. Sadly, this often leads to shoddy implementation and the disorganized execution of something that may quite possibly leave a long-lasting and negative impression on its recipients. That said, at the onset of such a project, be sure to take a deep breath and spend a not insignificant amount of time coming up with a plan. You can hover over that Send button with that twitchy mouse finger of yours all you want but you shouldn’t click just yet.
Why? Because what you send out to your readership should be great. Right?
“Audit” – not everybody loves to hear that word, but it can also be your best friend.
If you send regular email campaigns, it’s a good idea to check out the soundness of your strategy every once in awhile. A complete audit of your email sending tactics and practices will help identify problems with your lists, your content, your segmentation, your schedule, and your campaigns.
It’s also a good idea to run an email marketing audit if you notice your response rates dropping, such as opens and clicks, or if you see a rise in unsubscribes and bounces. The audit can reveal where the problems might be.
I am the proud owner of a Blackberry (an older Blackberry) but nonetheless I am constantly connected to my email, social networks and even my family members who still prefer to talk over text.
When I open my mailbox and browse through the partial ‘From:’ addresses and bits of subject lines, if I recognize the sender from the first 8 letters of their company name, and they have managed to intrigue me with the first 8 or 9 letters of their subject line, voilà… I open the email within seconds of receiving it. I find out about huge clearance sales, the release of concert tickets and maybe even block space on my calendar for an appealing Webinar.
However, more often than not when I open my “Don’t Miss…” email I end up staring at a white box with a grey border that simply states “Blank”.
Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is Silver, the Other is Gold.
This was one of the very first things I learned as a little girl in Girl Scouts. Every so often I find myself humming the tune and singing a few of the verses that I now just barely remember. I stood around a circle and sang this song with 20 other girls so long ago and yet I still remember the lesson learned in the lyrics.
Silver shines bright. And Gold does too.
Keep them both. And they will shine for you.
Even though as young girls we were taught this lesson in friendship, as adults we can apply this message in many aspects of the business world. As I quietly mumble the words, I am thinking of how so many companies are starting out in their social media endeavors. Social media marketing initiatives are valuable, but the email marketing can still shine for you.
You have one hand, I have the other.
Put them together, We have each other.
I just finished reading a whitepaper that highlighted the top words used in subject lines. The paper even broke down the report based on industry. The tone of the paper suggested email marketers incorporate these words into their subject lines. This left me quite perplexed.
When I open Gmail the last thing I want to see is the same word 50 times as I scroll down my inbox. I want to be captivated by a screen full of compelling words, each subject line a little different then the next. Those that have a boring string of words I want to leave unopened until I check them off and hit “Delete”.