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Email Strategy, Design and User Experience

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Email has a bad rap: it’s been declared dead, called spam, and been sidelined by marketers and creatives alike. But email is one of the highest performing digital marketing channels, requiring its own …

Email has a bad rap: it’s been declared dead, called spam, and been sidelined by marketers and creatives alike. But email is one of the highest performing digital marketing channels, requiring its own unique set of content, marketing, and design considerations. In this session, you’ll learn how using performance-driven email design can drive email strategy, best practices and principles for getting users to take action, and simple strategies and A/B tests to maximize conversions.

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  • 1. EMAIL STRATEGY, DESIGN AND USER EXPERIENCE Justine Jordan, Litmus
  • 2. AGENDA ‣ Introductions ‣ Laying a great foundation ‣ The subscriber experience ‣ Increasing performance through A/B tests ‣ Email review / group exercise ! YES! You can download the slides: litmus.com/lp/generalassembly
  • 3. ‣ Content, education, community at Litmus ‣ Previously at ExactTarget ‣ Midwest born and bred ‣ I ♥ email I’M JUSTINE. HELLO! @meladorri @litmusapp
  • 4. HELLO! ‣ Your name ‣ Where you work / your company ‣ What you do there ‣ What email-related challenges are you facing? ‣ What are you hoping to learn tonight? GETTING TO KNOW YOU…
  • 5. HAVE YOU HEARD? EMAIL IS DEAD. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE OR NOT.
  • 6. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE ‣ Effective — yields more ROI than any other channel ‣ Inexpensive — sending one email < $0.01 ‣ Immediate — no complicated set-up ‣ Measurable — opens, clicks, conversions roll in right away ‣ Easy — software makes it so! ! It works—and customers prefer it. EMAIL 101
  • 7. ‣ It’s all about permission ‣ Not implied ‣ Not purchased ‣ Expires after a certain period of time ! Respect the user’s inbox EMAIL ≠ SPAM EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE
  • 8. Emails are not weapons of mass destruction. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE
  • 9. ‣ Physical mailing address ‣ A way to unsubscribe ‣ Don’t make the user jump through hoops ‣ Process request within 10 days ‣ Opt-in / permission required in some countries ‣ Prior business relationship usually OK ! Know the law in the countries you send to CAN-SPAM, CASL AND OTHER ACRONYMS EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE
  • 10. “… you recently created a Litmus account.” “… you recently downloaded our templates.” “… you recently ran a test.” “… you signed up for our newsletter.” EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE You got this email because…
  • 11. EVERY EMAIL SHOULD HAVE A PURPOSE. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE
  • 12. EMAIL IS: A unique medium with unique considerations EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE
  • 13. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE EMAIL IS NOT: A JPG A print ad A banner ad A one-page web site
  • 14. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE ‣ WHO are you sending to? ‣ WHAT do you want them to do? ‣ WHEN is it appropriate to send the message? ‣ WHERE will the recipient read it? ‣ WHY are you sending this message? ‣ HOW are you going to measure success? ASK THE FIVE W’S
  • 15. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE ‣ Internal vs. external ‣ B2B vs. B2C ‣ Demographics ‣ Know your audience! WHO ‣ Register for a webinar ‣ Read an article ‣ Buy something WHAT ‣ Triggered vs. mass ‣ Drip or automation ‣ Behavioral-based ‣ Day and time WHEN ‣ Mobile / tablet ‣ Web browser / webmail ‣ Desktop / at work WHERE ‣ Brand awareness ‣ Content marketing ‣ Influence behavior ‣ Drive purchases WHY ‣ Opens ‣ Clicks ‣ Conversions HOW
  • 16. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE NO PLAN? NO PURPOSE? NO EMAIL.
  • 17. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE ‘WHERE’ HAS BECOME A COMPLICATED QUESTION.
  • 18. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE 25% 27% 48% Mobile Desktop Webmail ‣ Smartphones (iPhone, Android) 
 and tablets ! ‣ Installed email programs 
 (Outlook, Apple Mail) ! ‣ Email accessed through a web browser (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo!) MOBILE DESKTOP WEBMAIL
  • 19. MOBILE EMAIL: +400% since 2011
  • 20. TYPES OF EMAIL YOU SHOULD SEND EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE
  • 21. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE
  • 22. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE
  • 23. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE
  • 24. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE ‣ Lead nurturing ‣ Drip campaigns ‣ Product updates/announcements ‣ Actions (and inactions) ‣ Brand awareness ‣ Events and webinars ‣ Follow-ups MORE EMAIL OPPORTUNITIES
  • 25. FROM NAME SUBJECT LINE PREHEADER OPEN TAP/CLICK PAGE/SITE SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE
  • 26. FROM NAME SUBJECT LINE PREHEADER OPEN TAP/CLICK PAGE/SITE ‣ What is recognizable, trustworthy and relevant? ‣ Does the subscriber have a relationship with 
 a person or the brand?
  • 27. FROM NAME SUBJECT LINE PREHEADER OPEN TAP/CLICK PAGE/SITE
  • 28. FROM NAME SUBJECT LINE PREHEADER OPEN TAP/CLICK PAGE/SITE
  • 29. FROM NAME SUBJECT LINE PREHEADER OPEN TAP/CLICK PAGE/SITE + open rates – gimmick ~ value SYMBOLS IN SUBJECT LINES
  • 30. Source: https://litmus.com/blog/how-to-write-the-perfect-subject-line-infographic THE PERFECT SUBJECT LINE? 1. ‘Free’ is okay! 2. Shorter = better? 3. Relevance 4. Specific 5. Useful 6. Test! FROM NAME SUBJECT LINE PREHEADER
  • 31. FROM NAME SUBJECT LINE PREHEADER OPEN TAP/CLICK PAGE/SITE
  • 32. FROM NAME SUBJECT LINE PREHEADER OPEN TAP/CLICK PAGE/SITE
  • 33. FROM NAME SUBJECT LINE PREHEADER OPEN TAP/CLICK PAGE/SITE ‣ Support your subject line ‣ Call to action ‣ Reminder ‣ Special message ‣ Make it measurable BE CREATIVE, USEFUL, HELPFUL, FUNNY OR ENGAGING
  • 34. ✔ ✔ ✔ ✘ ✘ FROM NAME SUBJECT LINE PREHEADER OPEN TAP/CLICK PAGE/SITE
  • 35. FROM NAME SUBJECT LINE PREHEADER OPEN TAP/CLICK PAGE/SITE ~25 characters 25% of the inbox ! ! ~35 characters 25% of the inbox ! ! ~85 characters 50% of the inbox FROM NAME SUBJECT LINE PREHEADER
  • 36. FROM NAME SUBJECT LINE PREHEADER OPEN TAP/CLICK PAGE/SITE
  • 37. FROM NAME SUBJECT LINE PREHEADER OPEN TAP/CLICK PAGE/SITE ‣ Prioritize and prune ‣ Use color, weight & size for emphasis ‣ Bullets are your friends ‣ Use rational & emotional appeals ‣ Link images and text ‣ Use a variety of media (charts, buttons, graphics, images, videos) for visual interest and to communicate ENGAGE THE USER
  • 38. FROM NAME SUBJECT LINE PREHEADER OPEN TAP/CLICK PAGE/SITE
  • 39. FROM NAME SUBJECT LINE PREHEADER OPEN TAP/CLICK PAGE/SITE “Does your iPhone fold? …Mine doesn’t…”
  • 40. FROM NAME SUBJECT LINE PREHEADER OPEN TAP/CLICK PAGE/SITE “Scrolling is easier than clicking.”
  • 41. FROM NAME SUBJECT LINE PREHEADER OPEN TAP/CLICK PAGE/SITE ‣ Minimize friction ‣ Be clear and concise ‣ Test buttons vs. text ‣ Use active language ‣ Consider size, placement, 
 color, and context CREATE A GREAT CTA
  • 42. FROM NAME SUBJECT LINE PREHEADER OPEN TAP/CLICK PAGE/SITE
  • 43. FROM NAME SUBJECT LINE PREHEADER OPEN TAP/CLICK PAGE/SITE
  • 44. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE ‣ Create hierarchy with symbols ‣ Avoid hard breaks ‣ Put links on a new line ‣ Tabs, spacing and CAPs to organize ‣ Convey imagery with text DON’T FORGET THE TEXT VERSION
  • 45. REVIEW: WHY ARE THESE ON THE ‘BAD EXAMPLES’ SLIDE?
  • 46. EMAIL: UNDER THE HOOD EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE
  • 47. ‣ HTML for email is not HTML for the web ‣ Code like it’s 1999; use HTML tables for layout ‣ Think in modules: images and text should be in their own table cell ‣ Avoid CSS for positioning or layout ‣ Rely on progressive enhancement / graceful degradation
  • 48. ‣ No JavaScript, Flash, forms… ‣ Web standards don’t apply; support for HTML and CSS is wonky ‣ Use inline CSS(Gmail strips out the <style> block) ‣ Background images are not supported in Outlook 2007+ ‣ Web-based email clients behave differently based on the browser (IE vs Firefox)
  • 49. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE ‣ Many different email apps and programs ‣ Varying support for HTML/CSS ‣ Screen sizes ‣ Individual preferences ‣ PREVIEW / TEST! OUTLOOK, GMAIL, IPHONE…
  • 50. THE MOBILE FACTOR EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE
  • 51. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE 25% 27% 48% Mobile Desktop Webmail ‣ Smartphones (iPhone, Android) 
 and tablets ! ‣ Installed email programs 
 (Outlook, Apple Mail) ! ‣ Email accessed through a web browser (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo!) MOBILE DESKTOP WEBMAIL
  • 52. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE 70%+ open on mobile >15% open on mobile
  • 53. 80.3% 30.2% 13.5% 3.8% 6.3% If you get an email on your phone that doesn’t look good, what do you do? Source: BlueHornet Study: Consumer Views of Email Marketing, 2012 and 2013 EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE Delete it Unsubscribe View on computer Don't know Read anyway 0 25 50 75 100 +68% +15%
  • 54. The finger is the new mouse EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE
  • 55. BIGGER IS BETTER EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE ‣ Body copy: 16px+ ‣ Headlines: 22px+ ‣ Buttons: 44px by 44px ‣ Space: 10px+ ‣ Tappable touch targets
  • 56. iOS will resize fonts under 13px -webkit-text-size-adjust: none; EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE
  • 57. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE iOS tries to help… ‣ Make phone calls ‣ Track packages ‣ Find addresses ‣ Create events
  • 58. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE Bright screen = dead battery
  • 59. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE email mobile version web site Kill ‘mobile versions’
  • 60. Large text EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE
  • 61. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE ‣ More than a “line of code” ‣ Set of conditional statement that enables specific styles ‣ If the screen size is x, then display y ‣ If the screen size is x, then increase headline size to y ‣ If screen size is x, then show image at 100% ‣ Detects screen size, not device type ‣ Not supported in every mobile email app WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RESPONSIVE EMAIL
  • 62. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE Email is an application and occasionally a mobile browser
  • 63. Rendering is inconsistent across devices and operating systems
  • 64. WHICH TEST WON? EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE Email is the ideal environment for fast, easy, and cheap testing. ! BUT—what works for one email won’t always work for another.
  • 65. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE ‣ Time of day ‣ Day of week ‣ Subject lines ‣ Creative look/feel ‣ Imagery ‣ Call to action CREATE A HYPOTHESIS SO YOUR TEST IS REPEATABLE. ‣ Preheader ‣ Navigation ‣ Content layout ‣ Length of content ‣ Personalization ‣ Segmentation
  • 66. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE Subject lines ‣ Specific vs vague ‣ Buzzy vs straightforward ! Call to action ‣ Product vs content ‣ Click opportunities ! Video thumbnails ‣ Person vs product ! Button color ‣ Green vs blue SOME TESTS WE’VE RUN AT LITMUS…
  • 67. Version A: Green button Version B: Blue button
  • 68. Version A: Green button Version B: Blue button NO CHANGE
  • 69. Version A: Start testing Version B: Read our overview
  • 70. Version A: Start testing Version B: Read our overview 2X CLICKS
  • 71. Subject line A: Don’t forward this… ! Subject line B: The best way to share emails SUBJECT LINES
  • 72. Subject line A: Don’t forward this… ! Subject line B: The best way to share emails SUBJECT LINES 54% MORE CLICKS
  • 73. Separate sections vs All links together DIGEST EMAIL
  • 74. Separate sections vs All links together DIGEST EMAIL 30% MORE CLICKS
  • 75. MEASURING SUCCESS EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE
  • 76. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE
  • 77. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE
  • 78. ‣ Twitter mentions ‣ Unsolicited comments ‣ Endorsements ‣ Web visits ‣ Blog comments ‣ Anecdotal evidence BEYOND THE OBVIOUS EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE @litmusapp mentions
  • 79. GREAT RESOURCES ! ! litmus.com/lp/generalassembly EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE
  • 80. Q&A EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE
  • 81. PLAN YOUR NEXT GREAT EMAIL EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE
  • 82. EMAIL STRATEGY / DESIGN / USER EXPERIENCE ‣ Who ‣ What ‣ When ‣ Where ‣ Why ‣ How FIVE W’S ‣ Audience ‣ Objective ‣ Goal BRIEF ‣ Subject line ‣ From name ‣ From address ‣ Preheader text ‣ Headline ‣ Subhead ‣ Copy ‣ Call to action ‣ Graphics / images PLAN Sketch a wireframe of your email and identify key components. ‣ Elements ‣ Your hypothesis ‣ Success criteria TEST
  • 83. THANKS! ‣ Body Level One ‣ Body Level Two ‣ Body Level Three ‣ Body Level Four ‣ Body Level Five JUSTINE JORDAN ‣ Body Level One ‣ Body Level Two ‣ Body Level Three ‣ Body Level Four ‣ Body Level Five ‣ justine@litmus.com ‣ litmus.com ‣ @meladorri ‣ @litmusapp ! litmus.com/lp/generalassembly

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