Gmail Started Supporting Responsive Email Designs – Boon or Bane in Email Marketing?

One of the major email marketing predictions of 2016 was Gmail would start offering support for responsive design in emails. Email marketers had long back anticipated this new Gmail update wherein it will start providing style support for its webmail clients and support for responsive design including CSS media query support. Gmail has recently released this update which will enable email service providers, email campaign designers and email marketers to improve better email marketing experience to their Gmail-based subscribers who are opening emails on both desktop and mobile devices. Prior to this, email marketers felt challenges with Gmail not providing any support for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) in sites, making many mails open in webmail with issues. Broken email was the most common issue they faced, nearly 20% of Gmail users would reject their emails or unsubscribe from the list when they failed to open emails properly. Lack of support for stylesheet on Gmail, Gmail on iOS platform and Android platform, Inbox mail client, and Inbox app on iOS and Android has created issues with CSS media queries. That’s why email designers had to rely on inline CSS methods – however, with this recent Gmail update release, the inline CSS can soon be history.

What does this Gmail update actually mean?

With this recent update, responsive email for Gmail and Inbox users will load on devices with the right formatting options as intended. Whether users are opening and viewing mails on computer or mobile devices, whether in portrait or landscape mode, the content will appear as formatted, fitted well to the resolution, size and rotation mode of the device. This opens the for for email marketers, giving them more opportunities to optimize and personalize email campaigns for targeted users. So, will this new Gmail update be all boon and no bane? Keep reading to learn more..

1. Should marketers continue relying upon hybrid email design?

Many marketers may still continue using traditional responsive design on CSS media queries. With this latest Gmail update, 75% of email subscribers will be able to open emails on email providers which are created in responsive design methods. However, if a major segmentation of subscribers is opening emails on other email providers such as, Outlook desktop apps, Yahoo! Mail mobile app, Microsoft Windows Phone, and Microsoft Surface devices which have not yet offered support for responsive design, then email marketers need to depend on both responsive design for Gmail and HTML inline CSS versions for these platforms and devices.

Email marketers using hybrid email design will need to make changes. Part of the hybrid code for Gmail can now be substituted with responsive code which can be added on top of the hybrid code for email clients which do not yet have support for CSS media queries.

2. Will email marketers still use inline CSS in emails?

Most marketers will not need inline CSS any longer because Gmail will remove <style> tag from the <head> tag area. With most subscribers opening emails on Gmail, marketers need to heavily rely upon inline styles. However, many marketers will need to continue with inline CSS style if a large chunk of their subscribers and prospects open emails in providers such as, Yandex, Mail.ru, Libero and other regional-specific email clients who do not offer support for CSS style. That’s why marketers and designers will need to integrate all their styles under the <head> tag section in order to avoid useless code in the body of the email, instead of replicating styles to all table rows and cells separately. Thus, the current Gmail update will make things more marketer and designer-friendly and faster to apply codes to emails. With lighter codes, email loading times and open rates of email marketing campaigns will improve.

In addition to ease of coding, Gmail will be able to address security concerns over emails with responsive designs as well as they can improve the interactive aspects of emails. Currently, Applecaptures 51% of the email provider market that offers the best options for adding interactivity to emails with support for many interactive elements.

Are you thinking of a good responsive design template for your Gmail subscribers? Contact us to get email template design solutions by calling us at (408) 502 6765 or by reaching us via our social channels – Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

3 Benefits of Email Preference Centers Will Make You Want to Start Now

Have you set up your Email Preference center yet?

Most marketers look at the concept of an email preference center as an unnecessary part of their email marketing activities, and frankly some view it as a waste of resources. But in our privacy-conscious world, and contrary to what many people think, a Preference Center can give you peace of mind. Without these centers, marketers cannot get a self-reported and even comprehensive set of insights and information on their targeted customers. Nor can they identify if they are interested in their products, newsletter, periodic updates content, or other offers.

Here are a few things about email preference centers that can help you to move forward with one – what it is, how it works and how an email preference center can help boost the performance of your email marketing campaigns. In short: a simple way to improve your long-term client relationships.

First things first: Define the email preference center

An email preference center, or a subscription center, should be the first part of an email registration process, because of the unobtrusive way it can help collect information from your targeted customers.

It is a check point where email subscribers can update data about themselves, including their own preferences in receiving emails. By offering this kind of choice, you enable your subscribers to take control over the type of content and information they want to receive from you. Also, they are given choices to decide their preferred frequency in which they want to receive mails and how many mails they want to receive. That will give marketers with useful insights about their prospects, which they can use to personalize campaigns and customize messages, based on subscribers’ preferences, leaving overall powerful impacts on their email campaigns.

For an in-depth look at how an email preference center can benefit and empower your ongoing email campaigns, scroll down and check out these bullets on the advantages of setting up an email preference center.

Benefits of email preference center

1. Lessen incidences of unsubscribes and spam reports:

Often marketers have no idea why their subscribers choose to unsubscribe from their email lists – but with an email preference center, they can collect information on why prospects are unsubscribing from their campaigns. In addition to that, an email preference center also helps marketers by giving alternatives to their subscribers who are contemplating unsubscribing, giving them reasons to keep the relationship at least somewhat intact.

Broadly speaking, there are three things your subscribers do to exclude themselves from your email list and these are

  • unsubscribing from the list
  • managing their email preferences
  • reporting your email address as spam.

With an email preference center, and a “manage your preferences” option, you take a powerful pre-emptive step so that they are far away from clicking the ‘Report as spam’ button. That option to regulate how many or frequently they will receive your communications, and the type of content and information they want to receive, is powerful preventive medicine.

2. Showcase your email offerings:

Another major benefit of having an email preference center is to be able to showcase marketers’ email offers and content. If you have multiple email lists, then take advantage of an email preference center to make your subscribers aware of your multiple email lists. Email preference centers not only allow subscribers to unsubscribe but also, choose the email lists they are interested in to get periodic updates and newsletters. Thus, they can select their preferred and most relevant email list and communications.

Here one thing you need to make sure of: you must have adequate content ready for every email list you have created to maintain a steady flow of good quantity and quality of content for your subscribers. For example, if your subscribers prefer tips and tricks or DIY type of content, make sure you have enough relevant content of that type. Similarly, if you let them choose lists by their professional profile, roles or industry, your content inventory must feed them with relevant content useful for those profiles and industries.

3. Get help in segmentation:

Email preference centers are of great help in segmenting prospects and targeted customers. These centers free marketers from doing the guesswork for their email marketing campaigns by enabling them to give their subscribers choices and personalize campaigns based on their insights on their preferences.

Based on subscribers’ email preferences, it becomes easier to accurately segment them and deliver personalized campaigns to keep subscribers engaged and take actions as stated by CTA.  For example, you can create email preference center similar to Groupon which has categorized their centers based on multiple factors that are location, notifications, and types of deals.

Other factors that you can consider for creating email preference center and delivering personalized emails can be –

Type of messages:

Use email preference center to allow your subscribers to self-select their choice of content they want to receive and engage with. By this, we mean that let your subscribers choose topics of content, offers that attract them the most, type of news and their choice of new product updates which will bring them closer to your product and service lineup. Thus, you can target better with an email preference center by sending them customized promotions and product announcements and in return, you will decrease high attrition rates of your subscribers.

Frequency options:

Build an email preference center which gives you the ability to regulate the frequency with which your subscribers want to receive emails from you. That way, you can reduce the risks that your subscribers will become annoyed with too many emails and eventually unsubscribe from the list.

If they have a choice to set frequency, they can now receive emails at their preferred intervals. In the same way, you can use their frequency choice information to set the right timing and automate campaigns accordingly. This insight about frequency can help you determine how many emails they want to receive as double assurance that they won’t hit the “unsubscribe” button down the road.

Preferred channels:

An email preference center will also allow your subscribers to set their preferred channel through which they want to receive content, engage with your brand, and communicate with your campaigns, letting them self-select from various channels such as, websites, email campaigns, social media channels, mobile, paid ads etc.

This way, you can not only reduce bounce rates and complaints about your campaigns, but you can improve engagement rates, email deliverability, and sender reputation with most Internet Service Providers.

Formatting:

Email experts repeatedly recommend this email best practice which is to allow subscribers to choose desired format of emails. And it is another major benefit of email preference center that it lets prospects to choose if they want to receive emails in their preferred version such as, mobile, HTML or text. Thus, you can deliver emails to your subscribers in their preferred readable format and increase engagement with your emails.

Address update:

These email preference centers or subscription centers are extremely beneficial for both subscribers and marketers, also by easing the address update process with the email list. For many reasons, subscribers may want to change their address whether they have relocated, changed of jobs, etc. An email preference center allows updating their contact address, without much difficulty. This can include information such as physical residential address, email address, home phone numbers, work phone numbers and mobile numbers. It greatly helps marketers to stay updated of their prospects and marketers contact details effortlessly.

An email preference center is imperative to enhance your personalization, relevance, email deliverability, and engagement. As well, it will decrease bounce rates, unsubscribe rates, spam reports, complaints and the possibility that you will get stuck with a negative sender reputation.

Now, the question is what type of email preference centers do your email marketing campaigns require? Find out which kind of email preference centers you need, how to create and dos and don’ts to remember while building here – Types of Email Preference Center – Dos and Don’ts of Subscription Centers.

If you’d like some expert professional guidance and assistance to set up a Preference Center, let us know. Call us at (408) 502 6765 or connect and chat with us via social channels Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – we have it all you need.

6 Reasons Personalized Email Conversations Are More Engaging Than Email Campaigns

Are you giving enough reasons to your subscribers to engage and respond to your email marketing messages? The more personalized your emails appear to be to your targeted audience, the higher the click-through rates and conversion rates your email marketing campaign will achieve. Recent statistics on personalized email conversations will explain the success rates of personalized email messages over blast and batch email campaigns –

  • According to Campaign Monitor, emails featuring personalized subject lines draw 26% more opens.
  • Marketers who create more personalized conversations after segmenting their targeted audiences have witnessed a whopping 760% revenue growth, according to Campaign Monitor.
  • According to DemandGen, 53% of email marketers claimed that personalized email conversations have resulted in significant growth in revenue generation.
  • Experian has revealed that 50% more companies are planning to increase engagement of their email marketing using by focusing on email personalization.
  • eConsultancy has concluded that 74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement.

That’s why most marketers are beginning to use engagement driven email marketing platforms rather than traditional email delivery systems. Around 95% businesses started using marketing automation platforms to tap the potential of personalized email marketing communications, according to a survey by Regalix. VentureBeat has also shown that 56 percent of marketers are using email service providers, while 75 percent of companies are likely to migrate to marketing automation platform. While batch-and-blast email campaigns fail to build relations and engagement with customers, email marketing automation gives marketers the opportunity to optimize the email messages to subscribers’ responses to previous communications, personalizing conversation and engaging subscribers at each stage of buying cycle.

How does engaging email conversation work?

In short, email messages should be designed in ways that those create opportunities for subscribers to respond. Here are two ways to start email conversation:

Monitor and message –

The first stage is to listen to your prospects and buyers to know how they browse across various digital channels and optimize your email marketing conversation. Marketing automation offers behavioral filters tools to initiate conversation based on contacts’ unique behaviors and activities. Later, you need to monitor recipients’ responses on your conversation and how your conversation falls into unique tracks of behavior as you continue the campaign. For example, when they buy any small product from the store, you need to trigger an email message based on their behavior or actions taken (or not taken) when purchase made. If you send them your regular blast and batch email campaign instead of such personalized message, you will lose potential of further transactions from the buyer.

Send messages that flow one to the next

The idea behind this method is that email marketing conversations must consistently evolve based on the target audience’s behaviors and responses. The conversations must be planned in ways that follow the pattern of storytelling with each subsequent message flowing conversationally from the previous one, toward building and improving good customer relationship. If you are just starting and looking for ideas to begin threads of email marketing conversations with your prospects and customers, the following hints and cues will give you the idea.

  • Welcome aboard and check out what’s in store for you!
  • Would you mind playing this super cool video?
  • You are special to us and so we have made our offer special for you!
  • Sharing is still caring and fun too! Click to spread some love today!
  • We noticed some buyers share similar tastes with you – mind what they were checking out?
  • We brought the first digital print of our new book for you – you don’t wanna miss it.
  • One of our very special customers made entry in this world – Guess who? Surprise, it’s you!
  • So, you’ve finally tamed what’s been confusing you? Get ready to buy and grab before it’s gone!
  • Good things only come to those who wait and to you – grab some more great content now!
  • You don’t want to give it a miss! Click here to join this event and thank us later.
  • The fun has just begun! And here are some more fun and fascinating facts about our products you might have overlooked!
  • Your opinion matters, seriously!  Take this survey and tell us what you think.
  • We noticed you have been browsing yet skipping this ‘X’ product – so, we made it purchase worthy with 20% discount.

Aren’t these cool email conversations making you think that you can get a whole lot closer to your prospects and buyers than those plain-Jane email marketing campaigns? Here are 6 tips on how to create engaging email marketing conversations.

1. First of all, add fresh content

One of the best solutions is to create relevant content, automate and schedule the content one after another to deepen the engagement with your subscribers. Marketo will enable users to simply drag and drop the right content where they want to place it in the threads of conversations. That’s all, then the marketing automation platform will automatically send and feed your recipients with the right message at the right time. That way, your subscribers, prospects and buyers will gain access to the trendiest and most relevant information.

2. Schedule content to take control

Marketo will allow you control the scheduled content by letting you to activate and deactivate when required. Going forward, you don’t need to remember to activate any content when the time comes or even stop the content from delivery when the trend is gone or if it no longer interests subscribers. Also, it will also help you avoid errors that take place when done manually. With a more automated platform that supports automatic activation and deactivation of content times and dates, the system will take care of the timely delivery of relevant content to the right people.

3. Control frequency of email delivery

Too many emails too frequently can mar the effectiveness of the email campaign, making your potential subscribers to hit the ‘unsubscribe’ in no time. That’s why we recommend that you use the platform that brings you complete control over the number of emails you want to send to each of your subscribers based on their interests and interactions with your mail. Set limits and schedules, and monitor how your subscribers are responding or taking actions to your email conversations.

4. Make changes whenever possible

Monotony will kill the mood of your subscribers – that’s why it’s important to improvise and send the unique offers and content that they subscribe to. The best way to figure out what your subscribers want is to monitor their pattern of consuming content and which offers they have used before, so that you’re not sending the same content or offers to the same subscribers again. If your subscribers have already downloaded an ebook from the website, then it is a wrong email marketing strategy to send them the link to the same e-book through email. They will lose interest in your communications instantly. The platform will spot that those recipients should not receive an email with that e-book and will replace with other relevant content or e-book for them.

5. What to do if you have no fresh content to share

When there is no alert system letting you know when customers have reached the end of the steam of conversations and content, repetition or lack of content might lead many subscribers to unsubscribe or simply forget your communications. On the other hand, your email delivery system should be able to track if your subscribers have completed all the content in the stream and indicate you when you need to circulate fresh new content or change the course for subscribers.

6. Trace and get your subscribers engaged across multiple channels

Remember that your prospects and buyers are roaming across multiple channels in search of information, reviews, alternatives and interesting stories and updates. That why you need to use use systems that will enable you to listen to the buzz, how your customers respond and adapt your email conversations based on the behaviors, transactions, responses, search activities etc. Therefore, you can optimize your product, content or offer according to their mobile apps use, their Google search or their choice of online videos as well. You can also coordinate through mobile message marketing and direct mail marketing when email conversations don’t seem sufficient to engage with your targeted audience through other channels.

Do you find these tips and tricks of creating engagement driven email conversations useful? Share what more you want to know and your ideas below – we love to listen too.