Email Analytics – how are you using them?

Email marketing has become vital to a marketer’s overall strategy. Whether you’re a business-to-business company selling a service, or a business-to-consumer company selling products, email marketing has truly changed the way we do business.

In previous posts, I’ve written about the importance of always testing your email, how media queries can help your email render on a wide variety of devices and that plain text should be included on every single email you deploy. I would like to elaborate on the theme here and talk about Email Analytics – metrics that can show you how engaged your customers are, which email client is being used most often, where your customers are when they open your emails and so on.

The company I work for uses Litmus to test email single email for spam filter behaviour and email client previews, which is a great way to better understand the content of particular emails. So it’s only fitting that today’s post is also bought to you by Litmus.com.

Did you know that you have the ability to check which email clients and apps your subscribers are using? This is a brilliant way to ensure your emails are displaying and being read on every device, and Litmus offers this function. However, as previously mentioned, there are so many email clients and apps that your subscribers could use – desktop, mobile, webmail clients, it’s an ever-growing, ever-changing list. Not to mention, multiple versions of each of these.

When using Litmus to get an idea of what your email will look like across different clients, it’s really important that the email is designed to render as accurately as possible. For example, you may have done some analysis in the past that shows most of your clients open emails on mobile and you’ve been able to narrow down certain types of mobile – iPhone 5, Samsung S3, maybe a Windows phone. Your email should reflect this – it should be mobile responsive. So when customers view in on their device, your email (using the CSS) will know the device isn’t as wide as a desktop computer and the email will stack so you are able to seamlessly scroll up and down without having to shrink the email to fit the screen size.

The screenshot below is one of the pieces of information that can be obtained by Litmus if you use email analytics:

Email Analytics

As you can see from this, there are multiple versions of Microsoft Outlook, going as far back as the version from 2000 and as recent as 2013. From previous experience, I know that there can be some slight differences in the way emails render in different versions of Outlook, so make sure you are testing thoroughly. If a colleague has an earlier version, send them a test and see what it looks like.

You can also use rendering engine data to see how your email will display in different clients across different browsers. We test to Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail in at least two different browsers and there have been times where we have spotted things that display great in one browser, but look very different in another. This is just another reason why you should ALWAYS test your emails!

Below is an example of an email where the Litmus Email Analytics were used to understand which particular browsers were used most often:

Rendering engines and browser usage

Of course, we know that mobile responsive templates are becoming more and more common – currently, about half of all emails are being opened on mobile devices. That’s huge! However, in saying that, you do need to know your audience better before deciding that a brand new, mobile responsive template is the way to go. If you don’t currently have one, doing some research as to how customers are viewing your emails will help you decide – see an example screenshot below. It shows that only 9% of customers viewed this particular email on mobile.

Reading environment

So if you’re keen to learn more about your customers, how they read your emails and from which clients, try the Litmus Email Analytics. It is a brilliant tool that can open up a world of possibilities for your email marketing strategy.

Why you should ALWAYS test your emails

One of the most important lessons I have learned while working in the digital media industry is test. Test, test and test again.

For example, say you are a busy marketer and a client has asked you to deploy an email using a brand new template. The template has been coded and initially tested. But then something more urgent crops up and you don’t have time to test it as thoroughly as you should have. The email is scheduled and it turns out one of the links goes to a 404 Error message page. Then the feedback from customers starts coming in and you wonder why this wasn’t picked up.

Every single email you work on should be 100% accurate and thoroughly tested, as even one broken link could affect opens and clickthrough rates, conversions, or even your reputation.

It is so important to test all features of any project, whether it be an email campaign, a brand new website or a video ad. This article on the Litmus.com blog gives some classic examples of why you should be continuously testing with eDMs.

Email clients drop support without notice
This is crucial especially when it comes to inbox testing. Sometimes different email clients can drop support for HTML and CSS. It doesn’t matter if you have the most beautiful email in the world that will exponentially grow your database and clickthrough rate. If the HTML and CSS is not rendering correctly, it won’t matter in the slightest. Make sure you set up test accounts in different email clients and test them across different browsers – including earlier versions as some of your customers may not have upgraded their software.

Broken or incorrect links
Because most URLs are added to a CTA button or an image, from a design point of view, it’s hard to confirm whether the link is correct unless you test them first. Make sure every link goes to the correct page (whether it be to a new product, your About Us page or a mailto link for an RSVP list).

Spelling and grammar errors

Always check for spelling errors

Unfortunately, once you’ve hit the Send button on your campaign, there is no way to recall it if you suddenly spot a spelling mistake. You know the feeling – you’ve checked the copy and all the links, you send it out, and you immediately recognise that your subject line should say ‘Get it NOW!’ when it actually says ‘Get it NOT!’. If you find yourself in this position, the best thing to do is to send out – as quickly as possible – an apology email to your database.

BUT to make sure you don’t have to resend your email, you should always proof-read your email – multiple times! But then also get a colleague (or three) to check it as well. An extra pair of eyes could spot a spelling mistake that you may have overlooked because you’ve read the copy too many times. Also, how about putting your copy into Word which will detect if any words are incorrectly spelt?

Broken images and missing/incorrect alt text
The alt text is crucial for email marketing – it is the text that customers see before they download the images (this could be their email client’s default setting or just a personal preference), so this needs to make an impact. When you add in new images to replace placeholder images, make sure you insert alt text. When you get a colleague to check your email before it’s deployed, get them to check the alt text on their machine and amend if need be.

Missing or no plain text
Plain text is critical for email marketing, and you need to be aware of how many customers from your database have signed up to just receive this version, rather than the HTML email. This plain text version needs to always include a link to view the HTML online in a browser, so they can see and click on the links. With plain text, you need to ensure that any characters you have (including $, !, ‘ or ” etc…) are typed out, rather that copied and pasted from a secondary source – these will not be supported otherwise.

As with your HTML version, send yourself a copy of the plain text to check all the links and any personalisation you might have (like a first name).

Broken dynamic content
Dynamic content is a great tool to use as you are able to personalise your emails by segmenting your database and providing different pieces of content for various customers. For example, if you’re a pet store, you could send out an email to all your customers, but include an additional section to all customers who have dogs, to let them know dog food is on special. Make sure you do multiple tests with different blocks to check the right customer gets the right section. There is nothing worse than finding out once your email has gone out that some criteria has changed and you didn’t test it properly.

These are just some of the things you should look for when you are testing your emails, but there are, of course, so many more. What specific things do you test for? Do you have a checklist of things to tick off before the email can be scheduled to deploy? I would love to hear from you!

Plain text in emails – some best practice tips

Creating HTML emails is somewhat of an art form – and these emails can be heavily creative, with fantastic call-to-action (CTA) buttons and loads of links to interesting articles or to new and exciting products. I know for me, looking at the engagement levels for a particular campaign is quite exhilarating to see how this campaign has increased in unique opens and clickthroughs from the last one!

But what about the equally-as-important-yet-often-forgotten-about plain text version of the email? This is just as important (Source) as the HTML version of the email.

Plain text emails are exactly that – just plain text. They are the equivalent to a letter written on a typewriter (very old school) – with no images, links or images. And while they visually may not look as pretty or attractive as HTML-based emails, they play a vital role in the overall email marketing strategy.

So why should you use plain text versions alongside your HTML email? Email clients use what people in the know term ‘Multi-part MIME’ (or Multi-purpose Internet Mail Extensions) – essentially this bundles the text and HTML version of your email together when an eDM is deployed and there are three main reasons to have both versions:

1) Spam filters
Spam filters (like Litmus.com for example) need to see a plain-text alternative; if it’s not present, it is a major red flag.

2) Different email clients and apps
Some email clients and apps may not be able to handle HTML as well as plain text versions. So if your email is sent out without a plain text version and your subscriber’s email client doesn’t render the email as it should, you might have some frustrated customers calling, so always include the plain text!

3) Some people prefer it!
Simply put, some customers prefer to receive the plain text version. When people sign up to receive your newsletters, you should give them the option of signing up for the HTML or plain text version. If you don’t give them a choice and they are unable to view HTML emails, they might end up with something like this raw code below, which is definitely not the ideal experience you want for your customers!

Raw code

Optimise your plain text emails as you would your HTML version. Most ESPs will send in multi-part MIME automatically, but some email platforms will give you the option to manually update your plain text version. ALWAYS include a link to the online version, so customers can view the HTML message in a browser and if you’re able to, include some personalisation, like a first name. You should also test both versions at the same time, to ensure everything looks accurate. Amend, test and re-test.

Because the plain text is focused solely on the copy that you’ve included and you don’t have any of the HTML design elements to fall back on, you need to ensure your plain text is readable and customers don’t just dismiss it. Create a positive email experience – all the time, every time! Use things like headlines to break up the content and focus on the important aspects. But just like with your HTML version, you should always include some form of CTA and these need to be defined and stand out. Take the example below – this company has one major CTA which includes two angled brackets (>>) to draw attention to it. It is also well above the fold so your customers won’t have to scroll to find it.

CTAs in plain text
The other great thing about this example is that the company hasn’t overdone the use of links. With too many links, the customer can get overwhelmed, not knowing which link is more important than another. This could be devastating to your bottom line. The minimalistic approach of this example below shows how this should be done:

Minimal links in plain text version

Although having a beautifully designed and laid-out HTML is a great way to showcase your company and the services/products you offer, make sure the next time you send out an email campaign to your customer database that you spend some extra time and attention perfecting your plain text version.

Triggered emails – it’s never ‘set it and forget it’!

I’ve been reading the Litmus blog recently and there are some really interesting articles, all to do with email marketing. Analytics, triggered emails, display testing, subject line testing, designs of buttons, image blocking – if you can think of it, there’s probably a post about it!

I came across this article which is all about triggered emails and their reputation of being ‘set it and forget it’ programs. Some people have even gone so far as to say that once the emails are set up, just quietly run in the background, bringing in revenue and you don’t have to touch them again.

This just isn’t true.

Triggered emails should be called ‘review and renew’ programs, because you should always be keeping an inventory of your triggered email programs to regularly fine-tune them. Make sure you check your emails at least once every quarter to ensure images, links, display rendering and other functionality (such as the View Online link) remains intact.

The team at Litmus came up with two great reasons why you should constantly check your triggered emails: quality assurance and optimisation.

Quality assurance is such a big part of email marketing, because your emails connect your customers to your website, product or service, are an expression of your brand identity, tie into your other marketing strategies and are delivered to a variety of email clients across various browsers and devices. If you don’t check these programs on a regular basis, you could find that they have:

  • Broken links/redirects and old navigation links
  • Out-of-date branding or messaging
  • Faulty trigger logic
  • Broken rendering and functionality because of code support changes at ISPs

If you’re not sure how old the content of your email is, looking at copyright notices is a cheat’s way to confirm. There are ESPs available that let you make automatic updates to these programs, but it’s recommended that you do manual updates, as it forces you to physically view the email and to make other necessary updates.

Take the example below – a lot of subscribers missed the primary message from this cart abandonment email because data about the specific product didn’t populate correctly.

Cart abandonment issue

One major thing to test with all emails – I will do a blog post on this over the coming weeks – is rendering. This is how the eDM will display across multiple browsers and email clients. HTML and CSS is always changing for different Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and there are no standards of support. The example below is a classic example – the alignment of the background is misaligned when the text was added:

Display rendering

Optimisation is key when it comes to reviewing triggered emails. With more businesses adopting a welcome triggered program (consisting of more than one email), there are so many more opportunities for things to be incorrect UNLESS you are constantly reviewing them. Think about that. If you have a triggered email program that has a welcome email with a sign-up link, a birthday email and a cart abandonment email, that is at least three emails to review, renew and retest. Things to consider include:

  • The conditions in which the next email in the series will be/won’t be sent
  • Timing of all emails
  • The messaging across the program and how they interact with one another

Do you have any tips or guidelines when it comes to reviewing your triggered email content? If you do, leave a comment below!

Need some tips to improve your Social Media marketing strategy?

Following up from my previous post, I wanted to do another article on Social Media Marketing and how you can improve your strategy. So when this blog post landed in my Inbox, it was the perfect opportunity to share it around.

The team at GetAmbassador.com have come up with 10 easy Social Media marketing tips to consider when creating your strategy. Here we go!

1) Have a plan!
This should go without saying, but the first rule of creating a Social Media strategy is to have a plan of attack. The plan should have measurable goals that can be analysed once complete to determine whether the plan was executed successfully. Just because it’s ‘social’ doesn’t mean it’s any different to any other marketing initiative. Set yourself specific objectives that can be tracked.

2) Produce valuable content
The customers who view your Facebook business page have particular needs, so the most effective way to keep them coming back is to provide content that addresses those needs. That’s also the best way to encourage social sharing, which will ultimately increase your following and have a greater impact on your business. The more content your produce, the more your customers will take it in and keep coming back.

3) Keep your brand identity consistent
To ensure your customers come to know and trust your brand, you must provide them with the same experience however they interact with you. Whether it’s through social media, via the contact centre on in-store, your message and tone should be consistent across the board. There is nothing more satisfying that hearing a customer say they know your brand and want to engage with you on a personal level.

4) K.I.S.S. – Keep It Super Simple
Just because your competitors are on every social network available, doesn’t mean you have to be! The key to a successful social media marketing strategy is to determine which channels will provide the best access to your target audience and focusing your efforts there. There is no point in having a blog linked to your Facebook or Twitter pages if you’re not going to consistently populate it with relevant content.

5) Quality over quantity
Every business on social media would love to have millions of fans and followers, but this can’t be all you aim for. Social media marketing is only valuable if it helps grow your business. If you have a huge following but those people haven’t been converted to customers or refer your brand to others, it’s not as good as having a smaller group of highly targeted individuals. Make sure you identify your key target audience and keep them engaged with your content.

6) Produce different types of content
My previous post spoke on this very point, that Facebook posts with images have a much higher rate of engagement than text alone. Plus, if you’re into creating video content on new products, almost 3/4 of customers are more likely to visit your website if they watch it. You can’t simply write blog posts and link them to all your social networks – this won’t get you very far and you could lose a lot of customers.

7) Engage with your followers!
This one might also seem a bit obvious, but you would be surprised how many business make the mistake of neglecting the social aspect of Social Media Marketing. You need to engage with your customers and prospects on a personal level – but not just to market your products. Actively engaging with your fans and followers rather than focusing on marketing to them will help them gain your trust and see you as the go-to brand for their needs. Start a discussion, or put up a tweet with an open-ended question so customers can converse with you. Show customers the personality behind your brand.

8) Make it easy to connect
To be successful, you need fans and followers – that’s a given. But you need to make it easy for them to connect with you. Why not include social buttons to all your networks on every page of your website (usually in the footer), so customers can easily join and follow you. You should also include a sign-up link in your email marketing and blog.

9) Tackle negative comments head-on
It’s becoming more and more common for customers these days to take to social media to voice their opinions and share bad experiences they’ve had with a brand. But you should never ignore or delete these negative comments. Make sure you’re responding to them in a timely and positive manner and more often than not, you will get the customer who posted a negative comment turn about face and say something extremely positive.

From experience, it is absolutely crucial that you respond to every negative comment within at least 24 hours, so the customer knows you’re not just forgetting about them. If you let them know you’re looking into why they had a bad experience, they will be happy someone is taking the time to listen and help them out. Sometimes things can spiral out of control on social media, because it is such a public forum. If you need to, take it offline, but post the positive result at the end so everyone else can see the issue was resolved.

10) Measure your results
You need to check your social media marketing results from time to time to identify what’s working and what isn’t. Unfortunately this is not a simple ‘set and forget’ type business – you could end up wasting money and not reaching as many customers as you should. Work out a list of objectives to achieve and a schedule of content – if you stick to your schedule and review your performance against your objectives, you will ensure that your networks will continue to grow.

Social Media can be the main source for learning about new brands, products and services and is undoubtedly one of the most powerful marketing tools for businesses today. These 10 tips are just a snapshot of things you could do to help you reach a higher rate of success and growing your business through social media marketing.

Why do customers unsubscribe from your emails?

I recently came across a great article from GetResponse.com around some of the reasons why customers unsubscribe from your emails.

Every single company will lose customers from their mailing list, it is inevitable. This is one of the facts of email marketing, that no matter how hard we try, people will unsubscribe from your emails. With regards to what is an “acceptable” unsubscribe rate, this post confirmed that as long as your unsubscribe rate stays below about half a percent, you’re not doing too bad. I have been told that if yotur Unsubscribe rate if 1% or under, you’re doing pretty well, so don’t get despondent if your customers are unsubscribing!

You have worked hard to get those people on your list and you would like like to keep them. Below are a few of the most common reasons people unsubscribe, along with what you can do to counteract each one.

1) Information Overload
They simply get too many emails from you.

In email marketing research studies of why people unsubscribe, the #1 reason is usually “too many emails”. Sending emails too often is a sure way to drive people off your list, so send frequency is definitely something to consider when trying to grow your email database.But how often is too often? This actually all depends on the size of your list, but there is some general data available. MarketingSherpa recently asked 2,000 U.S. adults about their email frequency preferences (I will do a separate blog post on this over the coming weeks) by asking them this question: How often, if ever, would you like to receive promotional emails (e.g., coupons, sales notifications) from companies that you do business with? The graph below shows the responses:

Graph on how often you would like to receive emails

The general concensus of the study was that customers want to hear from companies via email roughly once a week or once a month – email marketing best practice recommends emailing your database at least once a month and here’s why: any less and people will forget who you are.It can be hard to say how often is too often to send, but here are a couple of points to remember:

  • Twice a day is way too much – this is a sure-fire way to drive your unsubscribe rate up.
  • Once a day is probably too much. If you’re a B2C company, selling products to customers, and you pitch something for people to buy, do it no more than once or twice a week. There are, of course, obvious exceptions to the rule – you should do some testing on send times, days and frequencies to find out the optimal send frequency for your particular database.

You could also do a dedicated opt-down email when you send out an eDM to your entire database giving them options, like the example below:

Fewer emails

This is an excellent way to maintain some of your customers.

They get too many emails in general.

Some of your subscribers may have chosen to opt out simply because they get too many emails. While this may sound like a legitimate reason for customers to unsubscribe, it’s really just a surface cause. If you lose a subscriber because they’re getting too many emails overall, you’re actually losing them because your emails aren’t good enough to make their list of enewsletters they want to receive. They won’t unsubscribe from every email they receive, they’re just cleaning up their Inbox, thinning out the herd a little bit. Unfortunately, your emails are one of the messages to be cut.

The second reason why your emails might not be good enough for subscribers, is actually also the second most common reason people unsubscribe.

2) Your emails are just not relevant

Customers will cull your emails if they are not what they want or are interested in. But the most effective way to get around this is segmentation. Here are some ideas of data segmenting:

  • interests people select when they sign up
  • which links people have clicked in your emails
  • online resources (such as ebooks, on-demand webinars or whitepapers)
  • participation in online events (like a webinar)
  • how often people click on your emails (aka frequency of interaction)
  • geography
  • overlay data (like income level, psychographics, etc)

Data segmentation can help you to deliver more relevant content to your customers but bear in mind that sometimes people just gotta go, because their interests change.

So, what about you – what is the main reason that you’ll unsubscribe from emails? Have you done any unsusbcribe testing? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Do you use emojis in your subject line?

A recent report published by MailChimp wanted to find out what the most popular emojis were to use within your subject lines. So which emojis – those small small icons used to convey emotions, things, and ideas – do you think email markets are employing most in their subject lines?

MailChimp set out to find the answer.

After examining 214,000 email campaigns, they came up with a list of the top 15 emojis used most often. These ranks are based on the number of subject line appearances made by each emoji. Probably not surprisingly, the registered trademark emoji took the number one spot, followed by the big-eyed happy emoji, then a smiley with heart eyes. An actual heart and a more standard smiley round out the top 5.

What are the top emojis used within subject lines?

What were the most popular combinations?
Having one emoji within a subject line is great to help drive opens but have you tried using different combinations? From the report, 31% of campaigns with emojis used more than one. The image below was created by MailChimp to map the network of which emojis are used together. In the map, emojis that are closer together are used together more frequently, and emojis that are larger are more popular pairing partners. After removing emojis and pairs that are infrequently used, this chart enables us to learn a lot about how people combine emojis.

Emojis map

What you can see from the above map is that emojis from the same category are often used together (food, faces, animals, weather, etc.). Also, certain emojis connect other small groups. The plane connects earth, travel, and transportation. The heart connects love, fashion, and exclamations.

Using emojis in subject lines is a great way to convey meaning rather than being used as a gimmick. With the subject line being the first thing customers see before they even open the email, it needs to make an impact. Why not try a variety of emojis the next time you send out an email.

Comparing A/B split testing and MVT

Working in an email marketing environment, I have been exposed to two distinct sides of testing – the traditional A/B testing and Multi-Variate Testing (or MVT). Personally, I like them both, as they each have both advantages and limitations as to what they can. This post (source) will take a look at the two and how they can help you achieve some amazing results – we’ll be looking at these from an email marketing point-of-view.

A/B Testing
A/B testing, also known as ‘split testing’, is a method of email optimization in which the conversion rates of two email campaigns are compared to one another using live traffic, with customers being bucketed into one version or the other. By tracking the unique confirmed opens and unique clickthroughs, you are able to determine which version of your email generated the better level of engagement, and thus, was more successful.

What are some of the common uses?
One of the main things I have tested using A/B testing is trying out two different subject lines. For example, one subject line could be a direct line to the customer, while the other one could be phrased as a question. Subject line A could have personalisation (the customer’s first name), while subject line B could be very generic. Using A/B testing to determine which subject line is better at driving open rates is great.

A/B split testing - common uses
You can also test elements within the email itself, for example two different header banners. As an example, a campaign has two emails, both identical in terms of content, but the head banner was different – in version A, the header banner was a combination of copy and products from the email. Version B was simply copy. After doing the initial test, results showed that the banner with both copy and images (version A) was more well-received that the banner with copy alone. It is important to note that while the email is the same, it’s the email as a whole that is tracked, now individual elements.

When doing an A/B test to your customers, I would recommend to send to 10% of your database. This is a small enough segment size that you are able to gauge which version will do better, but there are still enough subscribers in the remainder of your database that the impact will be great.

Advantages
A/B testing is a powerful and widely used testing method. Ensuring that only two or three variables are tracked at any one time means that tests can deliver accurate data quickly. Also, because you’re only sending to a small sub-set of customers to begin with, it doesn’t require too long to produce a winning result.

Limitations
The main limitation around A/B testing is summed up by the name. A/B testing is best used to measure the impact of between two and four variables with your email campaign. Tests with more variables take longer to run and if you have a small database, you won’t receive accurate results from the split test.

If you need information about how many different elements interact with one another, multivariate testing is the optimal approach!

Multi-Variate Testing
MVT uses the same core mechanism as A/B testing, but compares a higher number of variables, and reveals more information about how these variables interact with one another. The purpose of a multivariate test is to measure the effectiveness each design combination has on the ultimate goal. Once enough customers have opened the email to effectively run the test, the data from each variation is compared to find not only the most successful design, but also to potentially reveal which elements have the greatest positive or negative impact on a customer’s engagement.

Multi-Variate Testing
As an example, I have worked on a number of campaigns that used multi-variate testing, with the most successful one testing the call to action button in the email. The campaign had five different colours for the button and five different messages, both urgency driven and more informational messages.

What are some of the common uses?
Multi-Variate testing is most commonly used to test multiple elements in an email – for example, the call to action button, a product icon and a header banner. In order to test this properly, what you would need to do is to create all the elements you want to test (using the example above, you would need to create all 25 call to action buttons – with all colours and messages – as many product icons as required and the total number of header banners). You would then send your email out to your database to receive all possible combinations of these elements.

Depending on the platform you use to do your multi-variate test (8Seconds is a great platform I’ve used in the past) will depend on how long it takes for the winning elements to be determined. But what does emerge is a clear picture of which variable is best performing, and which elements are most responsible for this performance.

Advantages
Multi-variate testing is a powerful way to help you target redesign efforts to the elements of your email campaign. Unlike A/B testing, you are able to test multiple versions of many different variables and you can create as many elements as required.

Limitations
The single biggest limitation of multi-variate testing is the amount of traffic needed to complete the test. Essentially, the more elements you have to test, the more time it will take to set up and the more time it will take for a winner to be determined. Too many changing elements at once can quickly add up to a very large number of possible combinations that must be tested.

If you’re unsure if you should run A/B testing of multi-variate testing, ask yourself how they will fit into your cycle of testing and campaign as a whole. You might find you need to test using both options simultaneously.

A/B testing and MVT are two powerful optimization methods that complement one another. Pick one or the other, or use them both together to help you get the most out of your email campaign.

Please let me know if you’ve used MVT or if you prefer the more traditional testing method – leave a comment below.

Calls to action – some pointers you need to know

Source: studiod.com

Calls to action (or CTAs) are an essential part of email marketing. If you want your customers to take action (buying specific products, downloading a whitepaper, or signing up for an online webinar), the call to action needs to entice them in. They are the pivotal role of closing a deal.

There are a number of ways to present this call to action – in a button with bold text, a single line of copy underlined etc… – but the below are 3 different criteria or guidelines to ensure your calls to action are effective and will drive the required response:

  • Be specific
    In order to tell people exactly what you’d like them to do, it’s best to start your call to action with a strong verb. For example, Schedule your appointment now! is much more appealing that Now is time to contact us, and will more likely receive a response.Other great verb choices include Get, Download, Buy and Book. Whichever verb you choose, it needs to be strong and appropriate for the step you’re asking them to take. Also, ensure your call to action is directly linked to the URL or landing page you’ve created (such as the Contact Us form if you’re looking to get customers to schedule an appointment with you).
  • Be transparent
    Make sure your customers/subscribers know exactly what will happen once they have clicked the call to action button. For example, if your button says Click here, it needs to be a bit more descriptive so there is no question as to what the customer will receive in return. Just make sure it’s to the point – you don’t need to spell out the entire process.
  • Make your CTA inviting
    With your call to action, it needs to double as a call to value, or an offer to receive something that customers want. If you get some ideas on how it can be more exciting and inviting, just remember this simple rule of thumb: your call to action should be able to finish the sentence: I want to ___________. This will ensure you’re giving your customers the outcome they are after. What I’ve found with doing different tests across both colours and copy of various CTA buttons, that less urgency-driven propositions deliver better results – View Online received a much better level engagement that Buy Now. It also means you’re not pressuring your customers to purchase your product, but rather the choice to peruse your website.

These are just a few pointers to creating effective call to action buttons. The best thing to do with call to action buttons is to continue to test, refine and implement, then rinse and repeat! Sometimes, what customers see at 2pm on a Tuesday in February may not give the same level of engagement as first thing in the morning on a Friday in July.

Questions or comments? Please let me know!

15 stats that prove your emails need to be mobile-responsive

Thanks to HubSpot for this awesome post!

Working for an email marketing company, you see your fair share of mobile-responsive templates. Most emails nowadays are (that is, if the email is viewed on a mobile device, the email is optimised for the smaller screen size), but not always.

It can be quite frustrating when you get an email which hasn’t been designed as a mobile responsive template and you’re having to squint (or worse, zoom in) to see the content. More often than not, I’ll hit delete before I click on a link.

If you’ve yet to jump on the mobile-optimisation bandwagon, this is a must read. Here are 15 reasons why your emails should be mobile responsive:

  1. 74% of smartphone owners use their devices to check their email.
  2. Mobile now makes up the majority of email opens at 51%.
  3. 68% of Gmail and Yahoo opens are coming from mobile devices.
  4. By the end of 2018, worldwide mobile email users are expected to total over 2.2 billion. By this time, 80% of email users are expected to access their email accounts via a mobile device.
  5. Only 11.8% of newsletters use responsive design techniques to optimize their layouts for mobile devices.
  6. 24% of companies aren’t optimizing their email creative for mobile viewers in any way.
  7. 39% of marketers have no strategy for mobile email.
  8. Over 95% of emails are only opened on one device. Very few users open emails on mobile first and save for desktop later.
  9. 70% of consumers delete emails immediately that don’t render well on a mobile device.
  10. 56% of shoppers are likely to make a purchase via a mobile app in the next year.
  11. 69% of shoppers are influenced to make a purchase on mobile by company emails.
  12. 90% of consumers who have joined mobile loyalty programs feel they have gained value from them.
  13. Special offers (27%), vouchers (21%), and real-time tracking (21%) are most preferred email types to receive on mobile.
  14. Nearly two-thirds of consumers subscribed to mobile marketing indicate that they have made a purchase as a result of receiving a highly relevant mobile message.
  15. Mobile offers are redeemed 10X more frequently than print offers.

Do you have any tips for creating beautiful mobile-optimsed emails? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!