Break Out of the Box

Email design isn’t known for being bold. Emails have a header, footer, and a bit in the middle where the bulk of the content goes. The header traditionally contains your brand’s logo and often (shudder) a navigation bar. Footers usually contain terms and conditions, postal addresses or other contact methods, social media icons, an unsubscribe link, and maybe a view online link. The bit in the middle? A template that organises the contents into some sort of grid structure. Continue reading “Break Out of the Box”

Embracing the fold

Hearing the term “the fold” in terms of email marketing forces my eyes into the back of my head where they refuse to rollback. I may actually hate the term “the fold”.

What is the fold? It’s a term which originally came from print design, specifically newspaper printing. The biggest headlines and most important stories need to be above-the-fold to ensure they’re seen and attract readers.

What’s the fold when it comes to email?

It’s that top part of the email, before it gets cut off in a preview pane or device window. But the trouble with email is, where exactly is this fold? With so many devices to support, the fold’s basically nonsense. Basically. Continue reading “Embracing the fold”

Getting to grips with transactional emails

Transactional emails – they’re not exciting. Least of all when they land in your inbox. A notification of this, or letting you know you’ve only got $2 left in your bank account. Typically transactional emails are sent when a customer does something on a website. Creating an account, making a purchase, updating their profile, those sort of things.

Transactional emails have a track record of having a higher engagement rate than your regular marketing emails. Talking opens, click-throughs and conversions here. But they’re often overlooked.

A huge part of my job has been to create transactional emails from scratch. Talking design, figuring out their website triggers, for customers all over the world. Different languages, different cultures. The learning curve has been steep. And I’m still learning. One of the best forms of learning? Teaching others about what you’ve learnt. So here I go. Continue reading “Getting to grips with transactional emails”

Don’t get lazy

Working as an in-house email designer/developer, it’s easy to get lazy. To fall into a routine with email campaign after campaign. Especially if you’ve got a robust template in place and a series of different types of campaigns that are cycled through. You know exactly what you’re doing with each campaign, and it’s just so easy to go on auto-pilot. Complete what you have to do to get the campaign out and move on to the next one.

But don’t get lazy.

It helps no one to be lazy about your work, least of all your customers, company or yourself. Just think about it. With each campaign you’re learning something about your customers. Analyse your campaigns. Figure out what’s making them tick. Which will in-turn make your company very happy if you up your email marketing KPIs, am I right? Continue reading “Don’t get lazy”

Email behaviour – can it be changed?

Email is old. Technically the first message to be sent electronically was back in 1971, by some guy called Ray Tomlinson, who sent an email to himself. Sure, email has evolved over the years. But at its core, email is a still messaging platform.

The way people use email hasn’t changed since we began using it. We’re using email as a 1:1 communication between ourselves and friends, family, businesses, complete strangers, cats, dogs – everyone. Businesses have tapped into our heavy use and reliance on email by sending us marketing messages through email. And we either react to them or not, by opening, reading, replying or simply deleting. Continue reading “Email behaviour – can it be changed?”

15+ Interview Questions to test potential #emailgeeks

It’s exciting to find out the colleagues are moving onto new pastures. Exciting and sad. After both of those have passed, the dread sets in. The dread of finding someone new to plug the gap in the team.

Throwing the right questions at the candidate in that first interview is key. Especially if the hiring process is more than one interview. Don’t waste anyone’s time and make that first interview count.

I turned to Twitter for help in getting these perfect questions. Perfectly challenging but not too challenging and eye-opening questions to ask of a potential email designer/developer/all-rounder. Continue reading “15+ Interview Questions to test potential #emailgeeks”

A look back at MediaPost Email Insider Summit: Europe

From June 29th to July 2nd, MediaPost held its second Europe based Email Insider Summit at the very lovely Epic Sana Hotel in Albufeira, Portugal. And I was lucky enough to be one of the attendees.

While I’ve already talked about my personal experiences at the conference, I wanted to talk a little bit about the immense about of knowledge I picked up from fellow email marketers through the combination of keynote talks, panels and round tables. Not to mention the “down time” at the conference spent just talking to everyone.

  1. Send more email. Which turned out to be quite a controversial idea with parties on both sides of the notion.
  2. Do you segment your customers or create relevant emails for them through personalisation? It’s interesting to learn that while both methods can give you relevant emails for your customers, both are different ways of going about getting that relevancy.
  3. Marketing automation! Automation was a much talked about topic to make the most of email marketers time. And in combination with personalisation, a powerful tool to enable email marketers to send more emails, intelligently which customers will find relevant.
  4. Make friends with your email vendors. Go out for dinner with them. Nurture that relationship. It’s important to your business, so you have to make it work.
  5. Turns out email marketing is a lot like dating. You’ve got to keep that relationship between your business and your customer a happy one. Treat your customers how you’d treat your lady. Give her discounts.
  6. Gamification in email can lead to a more engaged customer base which can give you more conversions. It’s a win-win situation.
  7. Ensure your ESP provides you with what you need in terms of email deliverability. Talking about DKIM and DMARC here, among other things. Ask your ESP if they are providing you what you need.
  8. You may have the best email marketers and email designers, but without the right tools you’re not going to get anywhere.
  9. Everyone’s made their fair share of email marketing mess ups. We’re human!
  10. Talking of humans, email is a 1:1 communication. Create your email marketing with this in mind.
  11. Do your homework when shopping for an ESP – make a plan, get your stakeholders together and make a project out of it. Know what you want out of your ESP and be open and honest with all parties involved.

I gained so much knowledge and thoroughly enjoyed myself at the conference. Looking forward to next year’s event, wherever that may be.

Email – where should we go from here?

Is it me or are there two camps forming in Email Marketing at the moment?

Since the birth of email marketing, email designers and developers have had to hack their way around HTML code, using archaic HTML development techniques in order produce emails that just work.

With time, ISPs have been improving. Slowly. Allowing us in the industry to innovate and use some newer CSS and HTML techniques to enhance our emails for our users.

Progressive enhancement has been the name of the game. That is, progressively enhancing your emails by using new techniques but having solid a fallback in place for those uglier email providers. *cough* Gmail *cough*

There are many of those working in email today that are taking progressive enhancement to new levels. Not content with including web fonts and a little bit of CSS3 animation, email developers are including interactive content, carousels and hamburger menus in their emails. After all, we’re using Which is truly astonishing. I’ve not witnessed this amount of development in such a short amount of time within email marketing. Continue reading “Email – where should we go from here?”