Author: Adrian Young



Do you even know me? Watch out for these email personalisation pitfalls

It’s ready. Your beautifully designed, flawlessly coded email is one click away from being fired off to thousands of customers. There’s just one problem: everyone is about to receive the same message. No, the forename which has been shoehorned into the subject line doesn’t count. It’s spray-and-pray dressed up as one-to-one. Email marketing deserves to be more sophisticated than that. And it can be. We live in an age of dynamic content, data science and machine learning. To the benefit of customer and business alike, it’s possible to send expertly tailored content based on a person’s purchasing and browsing activities. But even a richly personalised email programme can sometimes trip up. Read on for a list of personalisation perils –…

Inbox of tricks: stand out with Gmail’s new promotion tools

The inbox is a competitive place. Marketers strive to craft compelling subject lines which shine that little bit brighter than the rest. But only so much can be done with clever wording and look-at-me emoticons. Fortunately, Google has made the playing field more interesting. The Gmail application on iPhone and Android now supports email annotations. That sounds pretty dull, so let me rephrase it: it’s now possible to serve up additional content – including imagery – before an email has even been opened. Let’s take a look at the options by following Fictitious Travel’s quest to stand out from the crowd. Stage 1: unannotated email Nobody loves January. The people at Fictitious Travel know that, so they’re running a winter…

The 10 commandments of responsive email

James reads his emails on the slick new iPhone. Sarah uses Gmail and loves her ageing Android too much to say goodbye. Bob’s at work, using Outlook on a desktop PC. We’re about to send all of them a message. And we know it’s going to look fantastic. Not just for these individuals but on the countless device and email client combinations out there. That’s because the mailing has been carefully developed from planning to execution with responsive design in mind. Nearly 70% of companies send responsive emails these days. But how many of them are doing so as effectively as they could be? Take a look at these ten rules to find out how your responsive emails stack up.…

Five reasons to try interactive email

User interaction with an email used to mean one thing – a click – while the real fun was left for the landing page. Thanks to some recent breakthroughs, that no longer needs to be the case. It’s now possible to offer sophisticated user interaction within the email itself such as menus, carousels, triggered animations, browsable product categories, quizzes and even games. You can’t run a script in an email so how does it work? The magic happens thanks to a CSS trick known as the checkbox hack. Don’t be put off by the word hack – the principle is actually quite straightforward and the code is neat. It goes like this: You place a checkbox, like the one you’d…

Motion slickness: 4 ways to animate your email

Emails don’t need to be static. Modern email applications support a variety of animation techniques and you may be surprised at how flexible the options are. Animation in web and email marketing certainly has its detractors and not without just cause. Plenty of gimmicky advertising banners and tacky in-your-face GIFs can be found online. These are examples of animation for animation’s sake and a surefire way to cheapen your brand. But it doesn’t need to be that way. With a bit of restraint and planning, animation can be harnessed to create some truly elegant, eye-catching designs and provide useful information to the customer. Let’s see what’s in the email animation toolbox. Animated GIFs Pros Cons Nearly universal support Easy to…

Pictureless perfect: how to build emails which look good when images are blocked

Image blocking has always been a challenge for email marketers. Some email clients hide images by default, leaving your beautifully crafted newsletter as little more than a few stray alt tags scattered around in white space. So how do you make sure your emails look presentable when stripped of their images? Let’s rule out some ideas which don’t work before we look at those that do. Embedded images Adding images to a web page doesn’t necessarily mean linking to an external file. It’s possible to use a data URI instead and paste the image data right there in your HTML document. There are drag-and-drop online converters which can generate the data for you. Just feed them an image and they’ll…