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…

Get back to the top of the pile

Emails come in thick and fast these days, with companies competing fiercely for people’s attention. It’s so easy to slip down to the bottom of the pile under a deluge of emails if yours isn’t spotted right away, but there is no reason to leave it there. Why not have a second bite of the cherry and simply resend to anyone that hasn’t opened the email? As the old adage goes, if at first you don’t succeed… Aren’t I just doubling the work? With so many email platforms geared towards automation these days, it should actually require very little work on your end to set up a resend. A duplicate of your template with a shiny new subject line and…

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.…

A fresh way to be relevant for your customers

There’s a fine line between connecting with your users based upon their email/website activity and inadvertently stalking them. The number one rule when trying to deliver relevant content to your users is “do not come across as Big Brother in an Orwellian dystopia” – people just don’t seem to like having their privacy invaded for some reason. Here are some suggestions of how, through teaming up with a company like Fresh Relevance, you can provide your users with useful and relevant content, specifically looking at email communications, in a way that should ingratiate them to you rather than get their hackles up. Getting Started with Fresh Relevance The great thing with Fresh Relevance is there is very little development required…

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…