What does a great email look like?

I often end up with my head in the data and need to check myself to ensure that the basics are happening. This was a deck that I pulled on getting a marketing email right.

Why email marketing? Because it still works and provides relatively good value in terms of marketing spend. We might be getting ever lower open rates over time in aggregate, but that means as marketers we need to be more focused on what makes a great email.

So what does success look like, what constitutes great? If you work in digital marketing you probably have heuristics in the back of your mind based on an article you’ve read or how previous projects have turned out.  The reality is that it changes by country and by industrial sector.

What does success look like

There are some interesting variations, such as the US / Canada or UK / Canada click to open rates for email.

What does churn look like

Or the comparatively high of churn rate in the UK vis-a-vis the US and Canada.

Getting to open

There are a number of factors that can aid getting to open. Some of them will be hygiene when the General Data Protection Regulations kick in across the EU next year.

Before opening

A lot of the basics seem obvious, yet there is a lot of unpersonalised, unrequested, irrelevant mail is still sent out. For business-to-business relationships in particular having a phone and online double opt-in is desirable. For consumer marketing an online opt-in followed by a confirmation email and opt-in link.

Before opening

In some ways we have gone back to the early web. Lean download sizes for email are really important. There have been so many times I have been deleting marketing email on the tube, as the mobile device and spotty wifi can’t download the image heavy communication in a timely manner. For some reason clothing and shoe e-tailers are really bad on this.

Preview

Back when I started in digital marketing, people laboured long-and-hard over crafting highly clickable message subject lines, but preview is as important now; especially in ‘three pane’ email clients like Outlook or Mail.app on Mac and iPad.

Design

Design is a key part of getting an email viewed. The design needs to be responsive because of the variation in possible device display sizes and the foibles between email clients, web email clients, web browsers and mail providers. Previously one would have worried about not being black listed (still important), plain text and HTML options. Business to business marketers used to get stressed over will the email work on Lotus Notes (historically no, unless it was in plain text).

Inverted pyramid approach

When you are thinking about content and design layout the inverted pyramid approach is a good place to start from. With the call to action what kind of behavioural cues would work best? This is where A/B testing can be employed. Marketers aren’t great at intuitively picking these.

Here are some examples of effective email design, notice the vertical alignment that makes them mobile friendly

Effective design examples

And here are some examples of effective personalisation (in both these cases based on previous behaviour on-site).

Effective personalisation examples

The biggest mistake that organisations fail to do is internalise learnings from previous campaigns. This isn’t just about improving numbers over time but learning what has, and hasn’t worked. Often this knowledge will disappear when the marketer responsible moves on, or when the agency responsible has a similar change on their side.

Constant learning

Thanks for making this far, here are my details if you want to find out more.

About me

You can find this presentation on Slideshare.

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Great rambling essay by my friend and former colleague Audrey Li. Audrey’s family live in a small town / village in Sichuan province. Sichuan is in the west of China. The essay covers WeChat, payments, crime and the party’s fight against pollution. The battle against pollution has hard costs, which Audrey goes into – Smart Phone, No-cash Society, and Jobless — A Short Conversation with My Mother

Line loses users in 3 of its most important countries – interesting changes in Taiwan, Indonesia and Thailand

Dissecting the Jimmy Choo Michael Kors Deal | News & Analysis | BoF“I think Michael Kors is trying to build up a portfolio of accessible luxury brands. This development strategy is very similar to the one of Coach, rather than to LVMH and Kering which are focused on true luxury brands. Moreover LVMH and Kering are at a more advanced stage of development: they already control dozens of brands and have central structure to exploit synergies among them,” adds Mario Ortelli, European luxury goods analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein

Is Beijing getting serious about selling off state firms? | SCMP – Tencent and Alibaba buying into Unicom could be an interesting dynamic

Kaspersky’s stellar antivirus finally goes free | PCWorld – feature limited but powerful

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that made my day this week:

Dubliner Rosemary Smith is a 79 year old woman who owned her own driving school. But from the 1960s through the 1970s she was one of the world’s foremost rally drivers. With the right support, she could have done so much more. Renault decided to put her behind the wheel of a single seater racing car. Rallying and racing are different disciplines, but Smith still had some of the magic as you could see in this video

Westbam featured in a short film talking about how he started off and the intersection of music and culture in Berlin during 1989

American Petroleum Institute has put together a video reminding the public of all (ok just a small amount of) the stuff that oil actually goes into. When Teslas rule the roads, we’ll still need oil

The sound track of my week has been various mixes from DJ Nature

Campfield Futon – Snow Peak – I love the design and quality of Japanese outdoor brand Snow Peak. The Campfield Futon is an amazingly flexible piece of furniture that would be great outdoors or in an apartment

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus Are More Popular Than Older Models | Fortune.com

Inside Andy Rubin’s Quest to Create an OS for Everything | Wired  – wasn’t that a historical Windows vision, there is a tension between general purpose and specialist

In China, Herd of ‘Gray Rhinos’ Threatens Economy – NYTimes.com – Chinese conglomerates who have grown based on cheap bank loans. It hasn’t been said yet, but there must be similar implications for Chinese businesses who have benefited from state bank supported vendor financing to win customers abroad (paywall)

Xi’s Sign-Off Deals Blow to China Inc.’s Global Spending Spree – WSJ – this impacts people like Wanda. I was speaking to a technology start-up who talked about raising their funds and getting them in just in time from Chinese investors, right before ‘the door shut’ (paywall)

The government should fight ‘corporate villainy’ in tech, Senator Cory Booker says | Recode – this isn’t the Silicon Valley that I grew up with and supported through the early part of my career

A Privacy Choice | Rands In Repose – on browsers

Korean Broadcasters Launch U.S. Streaming Service, Taking on Warner Bros.’ DramaFever | Variety – and Netflix is running great K-drama like Secret Forest aka Stranger

One Family, Many Revolutions: From Black Panthers, to Silicon Valley, to Trump – NYTimes.com – interesting reading (paywall)

Three Reasons Abercrombie Has (Finally) Jumped on E-Commerce in China | AdAge – paywall

Twenty years,20 visualisations | SCMP – great step back to pre-internet living

Jargon watch: generation glass

I noticed this descriptor appear in an article about iPad obsessed children and how Mattel was looking to adjust to the market.

M, using iPad

The name relates to the ‘pictures under glass’ interface that these children have grown up with.

More information
How Toymaker Mattel Plans To Win Over iPad-Obsessed Kids | Time

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