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Compelling Email Design


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From retail to technology, CPG to B2B, Aaron Smith reviews what makes an email campaign successful and provides actionable takeaways you can begin to implement immediately in you own email programs. This session covers creative, copy writing and testing strategies as well as emerging trends in email and cross-channel digital marketing.

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Compelling Email Design

  1. 1.
  2. 2. Agenda<br /> Client Summit – Chicago 2010<br />Aaron Smith, Director of Creative Technologies<br />Smith-Harmon, a Responsys Company<br />The Email Channel<br />Lifecycle Marketing with Email<br />Case Studies & Testing Strategies<br />Industry Trends<br />Q&A<br />
  3. 3. The Email ChannelPrint, web and email design<br />Email is a bit like print…<br /><ul><li>What works for print does not always translate well to email.
  4. 4. Recipients rarely see an email in its entirety, so information hierarchy is critical, with the most important information at the top, working down.
  5. 5. Images can help tell a story, but if they are too large and take too long to download, or they push the key points too far down along the page, or they are not properly alt-tagged, they hinder rather than help.</li></ul>Email is a bit like web…<br /><ul><li>The principles of web design often apply to email, but with notable exceptions.
  6. 6. In email, complex coding increases cost and production times as well as jeopardizes rendering and user experience.
  7. 7. In email, rich media including forms, scripting and Flash usually don’t render correctly.</li></ul>Email is very much it’s<br />own medium with it’s own<br />set of rules…<br />
  8. 8. The Email ChannelThe inbox mindset<br />Words to work by“An email is like a retail store window; it needs to reveal just enough to compel viewers to enter the store.” - Lisa Harmon, Principal Smith-Harmon<br /><ul><li>Viewing an email is different from browsing online
  9. 9. Viewers are not necessarily looking for something
  10. 10. They need to be pulled more vigorously</li></li></ul><li>The Email ChannelCreative ingredients – run through this list before you hit send<br /><ul><li>Don't assume your message is compelling! Ask yourself:
  11. 11. What is this about?
  12. 12. Why should my subscribers care?
  13. 13. What do they do about it?
  14. 14. Consider the above-the-fold mark and the preview pane
  15. 15. Include a good balance of images and text
  16. 16. Provide clear primary and alternate calls-to-action
  17. 17. Throw in a few bells and whistles
  18. 18. Personalize
  19. 19. Leverage dynamic content
  20. 20. Feature user-generated content</li></li></ul><li>The Email ChannelEvolution of the channel<br />We are seeing the continuing demise of batch and blast – the least effective method of email marketing – which brings us to…<br />
  21. 21. EmailLifecycle Marketing<br />
  22. 22. Lifecycle Marketing: The PhilosophyDeliver timely, relevant email that improves subscribers’ lives <br />EnhancedTransactional<br />7<br />9<br />4<br />Survey<br />Newsletter<br />3<br />AbandonedCart<br />6<br />8<br />Welcome<br />Loyalty<br />10<br />Reactivation<br />BrowseBased<br />5<br />Preferences Collection & Progressive Profiling<br />WinBack<br />2<br />11<br />1<br />Email Acquisition<br />
  23. 23. Lifecycle Marketing: Opt-InAcquiring subscriber email addresses<br />Consider pop-up with email opt-inmessaging for first time web site visitors<br />Gather only necessary information,primarily email address<br />Offer a tangible and reward for opting in<br />
  24. 24. Lifecycle Marketing: Opt-InAcquiring subscriber email addresses<br />Be clear in your messaging<br />Highlight the benefits of being on the mailing list<br />
  25. 25. Allow subscribers to choose whichcommunications they want to receive <br />When possible, gather information that allows for dynamic messaging<br />Request only data that you actually plan to use<br />Consider asking subscribers how often theywant to hear from you<br />Keep preference centers as short andunintimidating as possible<br />Lifecycle Marketing: Preference CenterGathering useful subscriber information <br />
  26. 26. Lifecycle Marketing: WelcomeFirst communication with new membersEngaging subscribers with personal information like membership details<br />
  27. 27. <ul><li>Series of welcome messages allows the brand to welcome new members and reinforce brand tenets over a period of months
  28. 28. Each message focuses on a specific theme and/or brand tenet
  29. 29. Provides opportunity for progressive profiling</li></ul>Lifecycle Marketing: WelcomeWelcome series<br />
  30. 30. Lifecycle Marketing: NewsletterVerizon – Dynamic content<br />
  31. 31. Lifecycle Marketing: NewsletterVerizon – Dynamic content<br />
  32. 32. Lifecycle Marketing: NewsletterApple – Fitness newsletter<br />
  33. 33. Lifecycle Marketing: NewsletterHabeas: B2B newsletter example<br />Group content in separate modules<br />Include clear content section headers<br />Place imagery in an “S-curve” to guide gaze across and down page<br />Use button treatment for primary call-to-action<br />Include alternate HTML text calls-to-action<br />For longer-form mails, include a TOC<br />
  34. 34. Opportunities to share<br />Surveys and polls<br />Requests for feedback<br />Press coverage<br />Customer reviews and quotes<br />Contests<br />Lifecycle Marketing: NewsletterTips for encouraging engagement through conversation<br />
  35. 35. Choose whether to be overt or discrete<br />Keep message simple and focused<br />The possibilities are endless<br />Lifecycle Marketing: TriggeredMessaging based on behavior, pastpurchases or preferences<br />
  36. 36. Lifecycle Marketing: PromotionalLondon Hotel NYC<br />
  37. 37. Lifecycle Marketing: PromotionalApple’s Valentines Campaign<br />
  38. 38. Lifecycle Marketing: PromotionalBanana Republic – Clipped Campaign<br />
  39. 39. Lifecycle Marketing: ConfirmationResponding to subscriber actions<br />Strengths<br />Welcomes guests or, for cancellations, offers to assist with future reservations<br />Calls out preferred guest detailsand links to account<br />Includes all transaction informationfor reference<br />Incorporates links to information about the hotel services and amenities as well the surrounding area<br />Templatized approach makes it easy to leverage across multiple brands<br />
  40. 40. Lifecycle Marketing: ConfirmationResponding to subscriber actions<br />
  41. 41. Strengths<br />Uses "abandoned cart" messaging toreengage subscribers who have visitedtheir site and recently performed a search<br />Contains information about previous flight search<br />Incorporates flight booking module<br />Promotes hotel deals in destination city<br />Lifecycle Marketing: Abandoned CartResponding to subscriber actions<br />
  42. 42. Lifecycle Marketing: Thank YouResponding to subscriber actions<br />Strengths<br />Includes special offers and rewards as a thank you<br />Reinforces subscriber’s relationship with the brand<br />Encourages updating personal profile by entering subscriber for a chance to a win a free cruise<br />Promotes advantages of becoming part ofHolland America social community<br />
  43. 43. Lifecycle Marketing: BirthdayResponding to subscriber actions<br />Opportunities<br />Acknowledge subscribers' birthdayswith birthday message, especially if birthday information is requested in signup <br />Strengthen customer relationship by offering a discount, promotion or complimentary gift<br />
  44. 44. Lifecycle Marketing: Password ResetResponding to subscriber actions<br /> Reinforces brand with fun and quirky copy<br />
  45. 45. Keep copy tone positive<br />Ask customers to update profile to receive more targeted messaging<br />Send a survey<br />Consider using an offer to encourage purchase<br />If attempt is unsuccessful, consider: <br /><ul><li>Reducing frequency,email only once or twice quarterly
  46. 46. Prompt subscriber to re-opt-in</li></ul>Lifecycle Marketing: Win-BackReengaging subscribers<br />
  47. 47. Lifecycle Marketing: Win-BackWilliams-Sonoma<br />
  48. 48. Lifecycle Marketing: Win-BackWilliams-Sonoma<br />
  49. 49. Lifecycle Marketing: Win-BackWilliams-Sonoma<br />
  50. 50. Lifecycle Marketing: Loyalty Program Personalizing communicationsCreating a new class of exclusive emails for engaged subscribers <br />Email subscribers get exclusive benefits<br />when they sign up for the Beauty Insider:<br />Rewarded: exclusive samples<br />Privileged: exlusive access<br />Personal: tips and products<br />Gifted: birthday gift<br />
  51. 51. Lifecycle Marketing: Loyalty Personalizing communications<br />
  52. 52. Lifecycle Marketing: LoyaltyPersonalizing communications<br />
  53. 53. Lifecycle Marketing: Loyalty Personalizing communicationsDelivering on the promise<br />Insiders receive one point for <br />every dollar spent on <br />merchandise at <br />or in Sephora retail stores. <br />Every time they accumulate <br />100 points in their Beauty Bank, <br />they can choose 1 Beauty <br />Insider Deluxe Sample with<br />purchase.<br />
  54. 54. Case Studiesand testing strategies<br />
  55. 55. Test the effects of a creative makeover on a single email campaign. <br />© 2008 Smith-Harmon, Inc. <br />Case StudyMakeover: Project Summary<br />
  56. 56. Case StudyMakeover: Challenge, Solution and Results<br />Challenge:<br />Prove to REI marketing VPs that theright email creative can impact ROI<br />Solution:<br />Perform an A/B split test with legacy vs. optimized email template<br />Result:<br />New template generated a significant 22% increase in unique click-through<br />New template generated an astounding 90% increase in traffic to shoes specialty shop<br />REI Email Marketing Manager received the support of VPs to move forward with an entire suite of redesigned, maximized email creative templates in time for the critical Q4 period <br />
  57. 57. Case Study<br />Templates: Project Summary<br />Alaska Airlines needed to create an effective, on-brand library of flexible email creative templates to support complex marketing and triggered email programs. <br />© 2008 Smith-Harmon, Inc. <br />
  58. 58. Challenge:<br />Increase revenue and interaction<br />Improve reader experience<br />Solution:<br />Optimize over 20 email templatesthrough application of creative best practices<br />Perform an A/B split test with new versus old email templates<br />Result:<br />The new template for the newsletter – Alaska’s highest-grossing email vehicle – inspired an amazing 41% lift in revenue, increasing revenue-per-mail rate from $0.57 to $0.80<br />The new newsletter design achieved greater reader interaction, generating a 13% lift in click-through rate<br />Freddie<br />Award<br />Winner<br />Case StudyTemplates: Challenge, Solution and Results<br />
  59. 59. needed to overhaul their software business customer and prospect email messaging. The project corresponded with a Salesforce website redesign, so the program had to incorporate new branding elements while seeking to maintain or improve performance.<br />Challenge:<br />Improve performance with optimized creative<br />Streamline complex content<br />Leverage ESP dynamic content capabilities<br />Solution:<br />Optimize creative for experience and performance<br />Test original vs. new creative for 1 month<br />Case StudyTemplates: Project Summary, Challenge and Solution<br />
  60. 60. Case Study<br />Templates: Results<br />The redesigned templates outperformed the legacy templates with staggering results.The performance of three redesigned emails demonstrates the improvements.<br />Gains in CTR:Email #1: Clicks on Original: 2936Clicks on Redesign: 4055Email #2: Clicks on Original: 391Clicks on Redesign: 459 Email #3: Clicks on Original: 608Clicks on Redesign: 707 <br />Email #1:<br />Email #2:<br />Email #3:<br />
  61. 61. TestingKeys to creative testing<br />Test constantly<br />Make tests controlled and easy to understand<br />Use results to inform the design process<br />Creative test ideas:<br /><ul><li>Subject lines
  62. 62. Copy length
  63. 63. Call-to-action treatments
  64. 64. Prices and product names
  65. 65. Enviro vs. silo photography
  66. 66. Bells and whistles
  67. 67. Personalization/Segmentation
  68. 68. Landing pages </li></li></ul><li>EmailIndustry Trends<br />
  69. 69. Mobile and social are here to stay and will only grow as important components in the digital marketing mix<br />Leveraging email, mobile and social together is powerful<br />Email viewing on mobile devices is increasing dramatically<br />ISPs are looking at how subscribers interact with your messages in the inbox – this can have a bearing on whether they deliver your messages<br />Industry Trends<br />
  70. 70. ISPs are testing new marketer friendly offerings to make their platforms stickier<br />Email marketers are continuing to inundate the inbox – you have to be smarter and work harder to make your messages stand out<br />Overmailing can hurt your brand outside of the email channel<br />Consumers are demanding more control of frequency – provide frequency settings in account preferences and consider opt-down settings on your unsubscribe page<br />Industry Trends<br />
  71. 71. Thank you!<br />Q&A<br />