Do’s and Don’ts of Email Designs to Avoid Pitfalls and Increase Subscribers

All marketers, whether they hail from B2C or B2B market, have a thing for email marketing. Though the digital space of targeted recipients’ inboxes have thrown them challenges from time to time, one of the most desired prizes in marketing is to carve a space there for a long time to come, if not permanently or as long as users are using that account. But competing for a space in inboxes and establishing a long-term association with subscribers is not a cakewalk, given their inboxes are always cramped with mails from different sources – personal circles, work and job search, social updates, forum updates, updates from multiple accounts that of banks, voice connection, data connections, credit cards, and of course, there are thousands of marketers (including your competitors) with their sweet offers, promotions and product updates.

What gets your email clicked and (God forbid) ignored?

Then, which part of an email or newsletter will prompt targeted audience to click and read your mails? What are the email design best practices and must-do things that marketers need to learn to get clicked, opened, clicked-through, and if all things go well, get them decide to make purchase? Similarly, which elements will drive off potential prospects even when they have decided to share their email address? Marketers and businesses end up spending A LOT before they figure out the ultimate mantras of email design – do’s and don’ts of email design that crack the deal and get on the road to email marketing success. Because we’re asked all the time for these kinds of best practices, we have taken the initiative to jot down some winning and losing points of email design with a bunch of dos and don’ts you don’t that want to miss and let your competitors taking advantage of. So let’s get started – first do’s of email designs.

Dos of Email Design

  1. Do make sure that you have done all the email design and styling using inline style attributes within the tags of the email copy content – that is within “<p style=”border:2px solid #db00 font-size:11px>”.

  1. Do try to strike a balanced ratio between image and text ratio since spam filter tools scan mails by this text-to-image ratio to check if a mail has too many images or too much texts – too much of both the element will prompt filters to report as spam

  1. Do keep it simple by using reader-friendly, light background colors instead of using images as background. At the same time, you need to also check how your email will appear on a white background when the background color or image will not load.

  1. Do keep a backup version of your email ready when recipients will face issue in loading image-rich emails – so that you can ensure your mails will load with a colored background instead of an image. HTML will enable designers to include both image and color code under the same tag. So even though images don’t appear, the emails will load with your chosen colorsthan.

  1. Do make sure that subscribers can open the link of the videos on your site from the email. You can include an image with the red, triangular play button (like you see on YouTube before the video plays) on the email and link it with the video in your site.

Don’ts of Email Design

  1. Don’t forget to use a table format in your email to keep multiple sections of your body content distinctive and clear. Also, don’t cram your email with too much content to repel your targeted readers. Content that is brief, well-sectioned and divided into various sections will allow readers to navigate and read content easily. You can simply add hyperlinks to different sections to the content on the landing page, making easier for readers to choose what they want to read.

  2. Don’t forget to place a call to action button – but before planting a call-to-action button, consider what you want them to do – whether to click a hyperlink, download a whitepaper or e-book, join a cause or an event or get product update information. The best place to place a call-to-action is to place it at the top of the email copy where all the eyeballs reach at first after loading the mail or even while the mail is still loading.

  3. Don’t create a top banner in all your email unless it is essential to incorporate in your promotional emails. Emails with top banners are usually marked as promotional and end up landing in the promotional tabs of email clients instead of the main inbox.

Now, it’s your turn – why don’t you share your secret tips in email design that are keeping you at the top of the email marketing game? We are keen to share with and learn from you – so, why don’t you let the cat out of the bag and brag your wisdom in the comments below?

7 Email Marketing Sins Are making Your Customers Unsubscribe – How to Rebuild Trust? [Part II]

Now that you have learned why people are unsubscribing from your email list, here we explain the ways marketers can gain trust and sell products to those customers again. Here are the six types of emails work at their best in this regard.

1. Welcome email

The first is the welcome email which initiates the first communication between you and your subscribers after they have signed up with your brand. Like the first handshake with your prospects, a welcome email must be concise, cordial and inviting. Include signup details, introductory coupon codes or offers (if any), an expression of gratitude, and brief introduction about your business. We recommend that you keep to a few bullet points on types of offers and content they may be receiving after signing up with you. It’s a way to be transparent with them, and also it sets expectations (or even enables them to set expectations about) how often they’d like to receive emails from you. Also, you need to ask your subscribers to add your email address in the whitelist in their email address books to prevent heading to spam.

2. Alert or notification emails

Let your subscribers know about any potential suspicious activities on their accounts. Instant alert or notification mails will restore the trust in your brand that it takes care of subscribers’ accounts with fast communication. At the same time, you can also send alert mails of certain activities, trends, weather updates, alerts on probable risks of contamination of diseases in an area or in a season. You can also use send notifications about their purchases with details on purchase receipt, shipping status, expected time of delivery etc. By keeping your subscribers and customers in the loop of current happenings with timely and relevant messages, you gain huge amount of trust from subscribers in return.

3. Apology emails

Never ever feel scared of seeking apology, even for those accidental mistakes. Apology emails come in exceptionally handy in minimizing the risk of losing customers or subscribers in the event of any email blunders. Have you mistakenly sent an email announcing a deal which is no longer valid or which has expired? Did you send them a broken link that takes them to an error page? Have you stated an inaccurate fact or statistics in your mail? Before your subscribers snub you for the blunder that took place, send them an apology mail instantly before they discover it – that ways your consumers will still be able to trust you despite your mistake and the problem being aware that you take the ownership and are able to fix it, without much delay.

4. Educational emails

Create a collection of content on tips, tricks, best practices and guides to keep your subscribers and customers educated about the product and problems they face. You can create videos with steps of instructions and screenshots, infographic content with rich visual graphics on tips, facts or data, how-to articles, news articles pertinent to the product or services you are selling, e-books and things like that. This kind of educational content helps a great deal in establishing thought leadership and reinforcing your knowledge and expertise in the field. You can also curate and include articles by key influencers in the market what they say about your product, services or the brand to set off instant confidence of your targeted consumers in your brand.

5. Newsletters

Plan and schedule the delivery of newsletters for your targeted audience with a combination of industry updates, latest news, launches and updates on your upcoming products, upcoming events to be held and that they can join, any special mentions on your social channels by key influencers, and any important declaration you want put forward. Make sure you send these newsletters on a regular basis so that they can anticipate your next issue. In case you need to postpone the newsletter, send out an email stating the reason for the delay, when they can expect it, and offer them something of genuine value so that the delay will be associated with a good memory. You can also provide them with links so that they can follow digital meetings with you for a more personal level interaction.

6. Giveaway emails

Are you wanting to give something to your valuable customers? You can offer something useful related to your service, without necessarily offering any of your services for free such as, a free consultation, a free membership, tickets to training shows or seminars that offer training, and guides for products you are selling. Any of these will likely impress your subscribers and customers. In that case, you can send them emails to communicate the exclusive offer you present to them. Many such shows and seminars can motivate them to buy your products in case they were initially hesitant – for example, photography classes or seminars can encourage your customers to buy high-end cameras from you since they can trust you in helping them and presenting them with opportunities to hone their skills by taking part in these kinds of events. You can also give away free gated content such as e-books or special training manuals to help clear their doubts about your products.

Thus, you can build customers’ trust and nurture positive relationships with your prospects and buyers by using your email marketing campaigns. Have any questions or doubts? Call us at (408) 502 6765 or via our social channels Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to get professional assistance.

7 Email Marketing Sins Are Making Your Customers Unsubscribe – How to Rebuild Trust? [Part I]

Are people unsubscribing from your email marketing lists soon after they are signing up for the newsletters? It’s not time to worry just yet! There are common reasons why subscribers and prospective customers want to unsubscribe, and you are not alone. And there are effective strategies too, to woo and win back customers’ trust, to rebuild customer relationships, and sell to those customers again.

Why customers are unsubscribing from your email list?

Most common reasons why customers and subscribers are leaving you could be one or more of the following:

1. Sending too many emails

Are you sending them too many emails? Too-much frequency of emailing can repel your subscribers away and persuade them to go off the grid and unsubscribe from the list. The best way to avoid this and gain the trust of customers is to let them choose how often they wish to receive offers, updates, tips and other type of content. You can do that by setting up a “subscription center”.

2. You’re not emailing them enough

Another side of the issue is when marketers are not sending enough emails – too few emails will disappoint customers and when they are not receiving enough email or information they close the deal and unsubscribe. One way to keep your customers engaged and interested is to maintain a fixed schedule and to automate emails at regular intervals with relevant, follow-up emails. You can simply create drip engagement email campaigns with the right offers such as whitepapers, ebooks, webinar invitations, or even video or other content to build up their interest.

3. Your emails are not relevant enough

This is one of the most common mistakes that drive targeted audience away. If you are sending information to the wrong segments, no matter how well-structured and research-backed they are, those emails are of no significance to the reader and are easily skipped over. Eventually, they unsubscribe from your email list. The only way to prevent them from unsubscribing from the list is to send the right message and content to the right people, at the right time. Use a marketing automation platform to segment, schedule and ensure timely delivery of emails to the targeted segment.

4. Your emails do not open properly on mobile devices

Studies point to the fact that emails that are not quite mobile optimized, do not load properly or do not look good on mobile devices, can be trashed, also leading recipients to unsubscribe. Make sure you are using responsive email templates that adjust the mail content, look and feel of the email according to the screen size and resolution of the devices. ShowMeLeads has plenty of responsive email templates for diverse industries, themes and purposes of campaigns – talk to us at (408) 502 6765 or at services@showmeleads.com to check those out.

5. Repeated content or promotions

Are you sending repeated content or the same offers to your customers? Especially if you are sending the email to those who have already bought the same product, the offer will no longer be useful for them and frequently, they will find your mails redundant and too generic. Over time, repeated emails may eventually infuriate your customers, making them unsubscribe from your list. To avoid this mistake, add customers who have already purchased to a different segment or list, and schedule your promotional emails for the product to other segments. For existing buyers, you can create mails containing demo videos to improve the usability, list if related products and accessories, feedback emails to ask them to rate and share the experience etc.

6. Emails that are too long

Are your email newsletters too long to hold the attention span? With attention spans that steadily plummet while we are browsing sites, checking mails or scrolling through social channels, longer than usual emails can exhaust our attention span far earlier than you might expect. That’s why .gif images or video shorts may win your consumers more than long email content, that too without any paragraph breaks, subheads, bullets or images in between. Soon they lose interest in long, tedious emails and decide to leave the list.  One smarter technique is to trim excess, redundant, unnecessary and irrelevant portions and include relevant, attention-grabbing images in between paragraphs. If the content is too long and useful, then create a small guide for your consumers and link it for recipients to download from the email with a call to action pitch.

7. Sending same content available online

If you are circulating and aggregating the same content you have already published, whether on your blog or on your site, then chances are that your recipients will find nothing valuable or useful in your email newsletters. The moment your customers find your newsletters cannot offer them new updates, content, stories or offers that they cannot find while visiting your site, blog or social channels, they will leave. The basic rule is to create exclusive content for newsletters that they will not find on your website. For example, your site already has all the price lists and product lists that your customers do not expect to find in your newsletters. Instead, include news on your upcoming product releases and latest launches, or include an exclusive coupon code for your email subscribers. Give them reasons to stay hooked and look forward to your next email, instead of choosing to unsubscribing from the list.

These are the kinds of things that are causing your subscribers to want to opt out of your email marketing campaigns. In part II, we’ll show you the types of mails that will help you to regain your customers’ trust and turn them into buyers.

Ultimate Guide to Guard Your Campaigns from the Dreadful “Oops” Email Mistakes

By now, we know that email marketing is here to stay, and it will continue to contribute to the nurturing of your prospects, your customers, and profits for your business. However, email marketing campaigns could be extremely susceptible to flaws and failures. That’s why we put our clients’ email marketing programs on high alert to steer clear of common email mistakes. Sadly, some email mistakes are extremely deadly: they can cost the sender’s reputation while wasting resources and a portion of the marketing budget. However, no matter how common and dreaded are these, all email marketing mistakes are avoidable with proper planning and strategic execution.

Here are some of the most common email mistakes and how these can impact your business –

1. No ‘Unsubscribe’ button

Do you worry that a bold and visible “Unsubscribe” button may encourage your subscribers to back off from your email marketing campaign? The truth is the absence of one can harm your email program more, as recipients who are not willing to receive communications may simply report your email as spam! However, with a button strategically placed with the right call-to-action (CTA), your subscribers will feel no compulsion to continue receive your content and offers, knowing that they can leave and return whenever they wish to. Moreover, you can use an “Unsubscribe” page linked to the button, which you can use to get feedback on the reason a recipient might wish to exit from  your list. This information will enable you to personalize emails more efficiently based on the data.

2. Not testing emails sufficiently

A/B testing is never an option but a necessity. We remind email marketers repeatedly to do this, no matter how pushed they are by the schedule. Many marketers may also mistake not testing their emails enough simply because they reveal the skeleton in the closet! Wouldn’t that be more fearful when emails will fail to perform as intended and show negative results? There are many areas that play the most essential parts of email marketing programs to be periodically tested. Open rates, hyperlinks and link texts, bounce rates, CTA, subject lines should be the top priorities amongst those.

3. No apology emails

Seeking apology will not put your sender’s position in jeopardy, whereas not sending one may tarnish your reputation. With an apology email, you can reduce the risk of repelling your prospects and customers on the event of mistakenly sending an incorrect, unpleasant or duplicate offer or information. These mails come exceptionally handy to clear the air in case you have sent an invalid or repeat the same offer to same customers, or present inaccurate information or insights, rub their sentiment wrongly – sending an apology email even before they spot the mistake will work a great deal in mending the mistake. So, do not skip these quick fixes of accidental email mistakes.

There are many more severe mistakes email marketers commit and make their campaign doomed to failure, and you may be making them too! Learn how every minor (you thought!) email mistake negatively impacts your campaign and reputation, and to what extent – and the best practices experts recommend to guard your campaign against them. Join in and hear our email experts sharing their best practice. Put your doubts to bed by joining us for

Our next webinar: Preventing the Dreaded “Oops Email” — All You Need to Know!

Date: Thursday, September 07, 2017

Time: 10:30 am – 11:30 am PST / 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm EST

Register now and save your spot:

http://pages.showmeleads.com/Preventing-the-Dreaded-Oops-Email.html            

 

4 Tricks to Improve Personalization Leveraging Direct Mail on Marketo

Many marketers consider direct mail to be an opportunity to enhance the performance and personalization of campaigns and to build trust. The Marketo automation platform gives marketers the ideal playground for that. With Marketo, they can automate the direct mail process with educational, informative, product updates, promotional, and many other different types of content. They can also add call-to-action phrases to their intended content to encourage recipients to register for a product demo, a meeting or a product query. The Marketo platform has plenty of features that facilitate sending automated direct mail campaigns to improve customers reach and influence purchase decision. But if you wonder how you can achieve all these objectives with email campaigns, then why allocate marketing budget for direct mail?

Why direct mail in an age of email?

Direct mail impacts engagement programs in a variety of ways –

  1. Recipients tend to keep good looking cards and direct mail pieces, such as catalogs, gifts, or other items. They often may choose to display items or even share with their friends and family. Thus, direct mail presents better opportunities for engagement with the brand.

  2. Physical coupons and gift cards with call-to-action in direct mail impact more in fetching customers to the store, thus, speeding up the purchases.

  3. Direct mail delivers newsletters, cards and offers straight to the recipients and get noticed, engaged, interacted or take desired actions with your mails. Prospects find direct mails less intrusive and easier to engage with than electronic mails.

  4. Direct mails can be synced with any online campaigns – these can be automated, aligned with email, social and other online campaigns and optimized based on insights collected from previous purchases.

  5. Direct mails make customers feel more valued and connect emotionally thus, making subscribers more charged up and responsive to communications.

Furthermore, many people not only want to open and engage with direct mail pieces, but many also want to receive direct mail more than email. About 70 percent direct mail recipients have expressed their interests in discerning content in their direct mail, while 74 percent recipients have shared that they noticed ads in direct mail more than any other online campaigns.

Now the question is – how to create direct mail campaigns that will improve engagement and responses with campaigns?

We recommend these four effective tips to boost the direct mail marketing efforts using Marketo:

1. Create the Program for the direct mail

First things first: create a Marketo program by adding multiple assets to support direct mail programs. We suggest creating following assets for direct mail programs:

  1. First, you need to create ‘Members’ for subscribers who request direct mail by filling out forms. This asset will also include those who are expecting and interested in company’s direct mail programs.

  2. Next, create a campaign to queue direct mails and ensure that they are automated with the right list of people.

  3. Create another campaign to track all these direct mails sent. As well, you need to set the campaign so that status is updated as soon as the physical mail items are sent.

  4. Create this campaign to track all direct mails that are successful. Here you can monitor the mail pieces received by subscribers.

  5. After you have set up campaigns for automating and tracking received mails, you need another campaign to monitor recipients who are responding to your direct mails. Track recipients who are taking the actions guided by the call-to-action phrases in mail pieces.

  6. Create a trigger campaign to trace those recipients who have proceeded to the funnel after receiving and responding to direct mails.

2. Identify people who can be mailed (who are not)

After creating campaigns, next thing to focus on is to define the list of people to trigger the direct mails. Because most companies and marketers will focus on email marketing campaigns, direct mail processes are not something they are familiar with. In this direct mail process, marketers need to make suppression lists for subscribers listed with invalid/incomplete/inaccurate email addresses. In order to ward off people with bad physical addresses, marketers can create a segment which will filter those people who should not be sent emails. Marketers who find segmentation difficult to handle, can opt for creating Smart List with Marketo to eliminate people with bad or wrong physical addresses.

3. Time to evaluate the nurture process in place

After you have zeroed in on the people to target, created the Smart Lists, segmentation, and assets, assess the nurture engagement program to decide where this direct mail program fits.

Now go into your nurture engagement stream and figure out when the direct mail should become part of your prospect’s nurture journey. This example leverages programs within nurture engagement programs, as many organizations do. In this example, PFL chose to make the direct mail the fifth piece of content.

Don’t worry, you can also send direct mail as part of standard Marketo flow steps if you aren’t using engagement streams.

4. Develop the Direct Mail Program

The most important element for creating direct mail programs in Marketo involves automating and queueing the program. You can line up multiple direct mails for lead nurturing program instead of just one current mail. The Queued email campaign allows sending an email and automating the direct mail in the proper intervals between email and other online campaigns. You can set email campaigns that will collect information on delivery of the package which may ask recipients such as, “Have you received the package? Tell us if you liked the surprise in the package” or contain similar other messages to generate interests of subscribers and also prompt them to receive and open direct mail packages.

In that way, you can create a combination of direct mail, email and other online campaigns as part of an evergreen nurture stream.

Do you need expert help creating direct mail campaigns using Marketo? Get best practices and make the most of your direct mail efforts. Contact our Marketo Certified Professionals at (408) 502 6765 or via social channels Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

We’d love to hear from you – kindly drop your query or tips on your Marketo nurturing program below in the comment box.