Design For Your Subscribers: Tips and Tricks to Increase Email Marketing ROI - Annie Angelo


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Design For Your Subscribers: Tips and Tricks to Increase Email Marketing ROI

Think design is all about graphics and layout? Think again. Your best marketing messages won't mean a thing if your subscribers aren't reading them.

Find out how strategic thinking, planning, and purpose-driven decisions are the foundation of great design. This session will provide insights into how to improve your email and landing page designs to increase performance and produce better results.

* Annie Angelo, Senior Marketing Consultant, ExactTarget

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  • These are the three foundations of creating high performance emailsDesign is vital to the success of your email marketing program. But what does “good” emaildesign really entail? How do you ensure your message is seen correctly by your subscribers?And who is ultimately responsible for the look and performance of your emails?Is it marketers? Designers? The answer is yes to both.
  • You might this is a funny thing to include in a design presentation – but sometimes, design comes as an after thought. You create a marketing plan, but don’t necessarily take into consideration how these communications are going to look. Design is the visualization of a business plan. More than a pretty picture, great design requires an actionable plan and measureable goals. Before you provide a creative brief to your design agency or internal design team, ensure that your emailcampaign supports the overall direction of your email program and the value propositionbeing offered to your subscriber.As you begin planning your email design program, start by asking these questions
  • Once you answer these questions, we suggest you map your communications. The benefits – you’ll get a big picture view of you cores sends, by audience segments, that will will highlight opportunities and gaps, or issues of overcommunication. Start with product life-cycle (think through the purchase process) and apply subscriber life-cycle (think through engagement). This wil help you hone in on core content, messaging and calls to action. For example, if an email is working to hard with three calls to aciton, separate into individual sends (assuming your map show availability to add frequency)
  • Design should acknowledge the subscriber experience.Put yourself in your subscriber’s shoes and understand how they will interact with your communications.Remember to put yourself in the subscriber’s shoes – this is how they experience your email. Walk you through how a subscriber does experience an email. This may not seem “design” or things you typically consider design, but the thought that goes into this contributes to the overall experience a customer has with your brand and communicationConsider the entire subscriber experience – from first impression to final click.Each individual phase influences the decision to open and engage with your email.Your email design is experienced in stages – not as a static page.FROM NAMESUBJECT LINEPREVIEW PANEABOVE THE FOLDCOMPLETE EMAILCLICK THROUGHA subscriber’s inbox is a noisy place, filled with the clutter of messages, folders and other distractions. Definition of Spam not only extends to relevance, but also to subscriber expectations surrounding frequency. Think carefully about the subscriber’s relationship with the from name you choose, whether it’s your company name, a business unit, or a sales representative.A funny story on this topic – we had a client, who I won’t name to protect the innocent, who had a pretty big celebrity who they used to promote their company. So, they thought it would be a good idea to use his name in the From line. But, their From line was so long that the name got cut off and only the “A message from the John…” showed up.Your VP of Marketing might be a big deal for your company – but it means nothing to your customers
  • We get a lot of questions about what types of subject lines work best: Content vs. Newsletter nameFor a specific client, they were always using “March Newsletter” and we assumed that wouldn’t perform as well as a content-focused, relevant subject line. We found that the Month version was better. Goes to show you that you really do need to test, because every list is different. SO – what’s the best subject line? TEST. Do a simple A/B split testing static vs. changing, promo vs. info, etc.
  • Another kind of funny example to show you that mistakes happen even with the big guys. Old Navy sent out an email with the subject line “20% off all adult purchases”Adult Purchases might be an internal term, but it doesn’t make sense to the rest of us. Did ON acquire a new business unit?
  • The average preview pane is about 300 pixels square. Your email could be saying nothing at all … or it could be saying everything! You don’t have to fit every call to action, copy block, and button here! In this space, create an experience subscribers want to continue.
  • ET tracks opens this way.
  • More and more marketers are becoming aware of “above the fold” … be cognizant of how people read an email (left to right, top to bottom). Create teasers above to encourage someone to scroll.
  • Even still, most users won’t see your entire email, unless it’s very short.
  • Subscriber experience doesn’t end with the inboxMake sure products are actually available on your website, inventory, etc.
  • Is this the message you want to convey?This was probably a very successful print ad and didn’t think about how this was going to translate to the email user. Were having a “home” sale, took the approach that the HO are stacked above ME, not taking into account where the “above the fold” was going to cut the creative. Remember that your users aren’t printing your emails – so if this is how you are proofing emails, try to fold up the email so you have the preview pane. Any questions about subscriber experience? - What clients typically block images? PV Design Guide with chart – print and take with.
  • Email doesn’t have to look exactly like the website, but they do need to be look like brother/sister and came from same parents. Branding elements that are consistent across all channels.
  • Testing in many iterations can help you identify the best content hierarchy. Monitor Click through data: What is highly clicked? Test at top and bottom of email to see if you can drive people to search through your email to find content at the bottom.
  • Visual Hierarchy – this is when the Fun design stuff starts to happenStop thinking of the business message and think like a designerMost important story should be a bigger, bolder colorStarting to apply design skills to the content hierarchy
  • Keep imagery consistent with your brand.Emotional vs. Rational imageryVacationer on the beach or a person sitting at the computer bookingTest different types of imagery to see what gets the best results, you might be surprisePre-header text: First line of live HTML text gets pulled through as snippet on Gmail, Outlook, Iphone and some other mobile devices. Put teaser text first (like the offer, but not the subject line)Don’t recommend putting “having trouble viewing this email” because that is a crappy way to start the communication“View this email with images” is the better phrase to use. Gives the benefit. “View this email as a webpage” doesn’t resonate well with customers – they don’t understand what this means. We saw that “view this email with images” outperformed “Having trouble viewing this email? Click here.” language by 33%.“Add to Address Book” – not bother with it in pre-header. Put it in Welcome instead. Showcase the benefits of doing this in your Welcome. If they don’t do it here, you’ve missed your chance. Small subset of people. Recovery Module – reward for people who scroll all the way to the bottom of your email. Additional navigation, social links, offers, etc. Test what works best for your customers. If people learn that there is something special at the bottom of your email, you may train them to start reading through to the bottom of the email.
  • Keep in mind that the design to the right ISN’T necessarily a bad design – it’s poorly optimized. However, optimization is the first step of email design that the subscriber experiences.When you are designing this email, you should always be thinking about how you are going to code this email for eventual deployment and rendering. Your designer doesn’t have to be a coder, but they need to understand what can be challenges for coding: gradient backgrounds, etc.
  • *Data collected from over 250 million email recipients using our Fingerprint analysis tool.We get a lot of folks who use Lotus Notes internally and get really worked up about how the email renders for in house proofing, etc. FPL is a client and was concerned about how these emails were rendering with Lotus Notes for internal proofing. Went to a lot of work optimizing for this client, only to find out that when we did an audience analysis that 21% of customers are actually on Outlook, 4% on 2007 … so now we make design decisions based on actual audience anaysis instead of internal audience considerations. $39 for one-time test, Fingerprint$99 to send same list over and over
  • A lot of transactional messages go in plain text. This goes back to brand synergy – why wouldn’t you want to include some branding here.
  • Overview of HTML vs. CSSCode for email not the same as code for webHTML is a markup language that is universally CSS is a style sheet whose form is separated from its contentPut yourself in the customer’s shoes when talking to them – the beautiful, efficient world of building websites with CSS doesn’t apply here.W3C puts together rough standards. These standards don’t exist for email.Proper syntax still counts – opening and closing tags
  • No standardsHuge misconception is that mobile devices display plain text, but really they are stripping out HTML. Best thing you can do is: Keep it simple, HTML text, keep it to one column, If you know you have a very large mobile audience, you can create a landing pages with special mobile content,
  • Now I love MarketingProfs as much as the next person, so I don’t want to throw them under the bus, but…
  • Maybe they tested it and this page works well for them (I don’t know), but my initial impression is subscriber experience FAIL!
  • Here’s something kind of fun. Every year, ExactTarget hosts its user conference, Connections. Last year, we ran design tests with several of our clients to learn more about what works for each brand. You might be surprised about the results
  • This is the original Pier 1 creative – the control
  • How many of you think Design A won?How many vote for B?And C?
  • The design of A is remarkably similar to the Control: big main image, but with addition of product images with categories. Maybe P1 audience didn’t like change. They were trained to look at email this way
  • AAA Ohio – renewal emailAAA is mostly known for towing, but there are more benefits that they wanted to highlight in the Renewal Email message. This is the original creative.
  • Design A – strong call to action with red button, bulleted list of benefits. More classic “website” type of navigation with tabs.
  • Red box is the average email, if you didn’t scroll
  • How many of you think Design A won?How many vote for B?And C?
  • The winner is the nontraditional, unorthodox approach. This time it made sense bc it’s an email they are going to see only once a year … journey, scroll to the right. It’s cohesive, tell a story and all the elements make sense.
  • We decided to run a test on our Extreme Makeover partners, Marketing Experiments
  • How many of you think Design A won?How many vote for B?And C?
  • Marketing intuition can be wrong – if this doesn’t convince you to test your creative, I don’t know what will.
  • This is the landing page we use for lead generation on our PPC campaigns. Our first test – we were seeing whether a horizontal form or a vertical form was better. ET Marketing Landing Page Test – trying to optimize to get more leads
  • In the end we saw a 34% increase in leads generated on the vertical form.
  • So we took that test and decided to test a few other elements on the page. The button color, # of characters for text and the imagery.
  • Results: Blue button, shorter copy and the gentleman. Wish we would have tested two images that were more in contrast – like a person and a screen shot of the whitepaper cover
  • As a result, we have implemented across all our PPC pages, a vertical form, blue button, certain imagery and shorter copy.
  • Design and technology are seamlessly integrated.Emails should be designed and coded to display properly in the various ways a subscriber will view it. A comprehensive testing strategy is essential to ensure success.
  • How our expertise in performance-driven design increased conversions by 88%. We are working on new guides for 2010. get cards.
  • Design For Your Subscribers: Tips and Tricks to Increase Email Marketing ROI - Annie Angelo

    1. 1. DESIGN FOR YOUR SUBSCRIBERSTips and Tricks to Increase Email Marketing ROI<br />
    2. 2. WHY DOES DESIGN MATTER?<br />Design is the visualization of a business plan. More than a pretty picture, great design requires an actionable plan and measureable goals. <br />Design should acknowledge the subscriber experience.Put yourself in your subscriber’s shoes and understand how they will interact with your communications.<br />Design and technology are seamlessly integrated.Emails should be designed and coded to display properly in the various ways a subscriber will view it. A comprehensive testing strategy is essential to ensure success.<br />
    3. 3. LET’S TALK ABOUT…<br />Creating an Actionable Plan<br />Subscriber Experience<br />Performance-Driven Design<br />Code Matters<br />The Mobile Inbox<br />Test, test, TEST!<br />Resources<br />
    4. 4. BUSINESS PLANNING CHECKLIST<br /><ul><li>Why are you sending this email?
    5. 5. Drive leads, Increase brand awareness, etc
    6. 6. Do you have actionable segments?
    7. 7. Data, life-cycles
    8. 8. List demographics, email clients
    9. 9. What do you want subscribers to do?
    10. 10. Consider value prop, Calls to action
    11. 11. What are your key metrics that tie to objectives?
    12. 12. Open/click data, Number of leads generated</li></li></ul><li>MAPPING TOOL<br />Map your communications in one, simple view<br />Excerpt from Sample Life-Cycle Plan Deliverable<br />
    13. 13. It all begins with theFrom Name – <br />73% of subscribers click “Report Spam” or “Report Junk” based on this field.<br />*Email Sender and Provider Coalition<br />FROM NAME<br />IS YOUR FROM <br />NAME EASILY <br />RECOGNIZABLE?<br />
    14. 14. SUBJECT LINE<br />69% of subscribers click “Report Spam” or “Report Junk” based on this line.*<br />IS YOUR SUBJECT<br /> LINE RELEVANT <br />AND INTERESTING?<br />*Email Sender and Provider Coalition<br />
    15. 15. SUBJECT LINE<br />69% of subscribers click “Report Spam” or “Report Junk” based on this line.*<br />IS YOUR SUBJECT<br /> LINE RELEVANT <br />AND INTERESTING?<br />
    16. 16. Images are disabled by default more than 50% of the time.Isyourkey message visible, relevant and enticing in this space?<br />PREVIEW PANE: IMAGES OFF<br />WHAT IS YOUR <br />EMAIL SAYING<br /> WITH IMAGES OFF?<br />
    17. 17. PREVIEW PANE: IMAGES ON<br />What’s your open rate? Only subscribers that turn images on trigger an open.Are you giving them a reason to keep reading? <br />AVERAGE PREVIEW<br />PANE DIMENSIONS:<br />300px by 300px<br />
    18. 18. PREVIEW PANE & IMAGE BLOCKING<br />Hotmail - Images Off<br />Hotmail – Images On<br />
    19. 19. PREVIEW PANE & IMAGE BLOCKING<br />Hotmail - Images Off<br />Hotmail – Images On<br />
    20. 20. ABOVE THE FOLD<br />Does your content above the fold provide motivation to respond? Are you persuading subscribers to scroll?<br />DON’T CRAM<br />EVERYTHING<br />ABOVE THE FOLD…<br />INTRODUCE CONTENT<br />ABOVE THE FOLD<br />
    21. 21. COMPLETE EMAIL<br />Seconds – not minutes – to view an entire email<br />Only 11%* of those who open will scroll below the fold!<br />EVEN IN THIS VIEW<br />THE ENTIRE EMAIL IS NOT ONSCREEN AT ONCE<br />*The Nielsen Norman Group<br />
    22. 22. Subscriber experience doesn’t end with the inbox<br />CLICK THROUGH<br />Don’t ignore the transition to your website, landing page, or other marketing collateral. <br />Ensure the products in your email are available on your site - better yet, map the individual products from the email to a product page.<br />“…A well-designed email means nothing if the landing pages don’t work well.” – Chad White<br />
    23. 23. CONSIDER THE SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE<br />Is this the message you want to convey?<br />
    24. 24. Brand Synergy • Content Hierarchy•Visual Hierarchy Engagement Techniques • Rendering Results •Tested Quality<br />PERFORMANCE DRIVEN DESIGN<br />
    25. 25. Website<br />Email<br />Visual recognition of the brand across all media channels creates a seamless brand experience, creating trust to engage and transact.<br />BRAND SYNERGY<br />
    26. 26. Wireframe<br />Preview Pane<br />Above the Fold<br />Create a content hierarchy, arranging each content element (text and/or image) and associated call to action with appropriate weight.<br />CONTENT HIERARCHY<br />
    27. 27. Headlines utilizing size and color hierarchy<br />Secondary calls-to-action<br />Primary call-to-action<br />Maximize response by creating a visual hierarchy, using design techniques to guide the subscriber's eye through your email based on the content hierarchy.<br />VISUAL HIERARCHY<br />“Quick Bites” or summaries<br />
    28. 28. Preheader Teaser Text <br />Forward to a Colleague<br />In This Issue<br />Read More Link<br />Subscriber Q&A<br />Lifestyle Imagery<br />Use of Background Color<br />Link to External Video<br />Recovery Module<br />Use design techniques to engage the subscriber through a mix of emotive and rational imagery and content. Smart use of images, borders, buttons, links, charts, colored backgrounds, etc.should be applied and tested.<br />ENGAGEMENT TECHNIQUES<br />
    29. 29. Optimized Design<br />Non-optimized Design<br />Main call-to-action in prime placement <br />HTML text in <br />web safe fonts <br />If an email is created primarily with images,<br />it will not display effectively when images are blocked.<br />Designed with image-blocking and preview pane viewing in mind.<br />Ensure your design efforts are viewed as intended once they hit the inbox. Emails that are created with the subscriber experience in mind will have a greater chance of success.<br />RENDERING RESULTS<br />
    30. 30. *Fingerprint from Litmus, February 2010<br />Only comprehensive testing will validate successful rendering of design and ensure functional performance prior to sending to the subscriber inbox.<br />TESTED QUALITY<br />*ExactTarget via Fingerprint from Litmus, Feb. 2010<br />
    31. 31. NEWSLETTER DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS<br /><ul><li>Include a Table of Contents or In This Issue Section
    32. 32. Include a 3-4 sentence teaser for articles with a “Read More” link instead of including the full article
    33. 33. Introduce your main call-to-action within the preview pane and other important content above the fold
    34. 34. Develop a visual hierarchy for headings, subheading, and body copy for easy scan-ability
    35. 35. Use images selectively to eye track to engagement areas</li></li></ul><li>POSTCARD DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS<br /><ul><li>Your message should have a singular focus; don’t let your postcard become a newsletter
    36. 36. Make that message the Hero in your design
    37. 37. Introduce your main call-to-action within the preview pane and other important content above the fold
    38. 38. Consider the placement and inclusion of secondary messaging that supports your main focus</li></li></ul><li>TRANSACTIONAL DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS<br /><ul><li>Position content front and center; keep it simple
    39. 39. Don’t include too much cross-sell information (follow the 70/30 rule)
    40. 40. Use a higher text to image ratio
    41. 41. Use font colors and sizes to create a visual hierarchy
    42. 42. Send a branded HTML email instead of Plain Text</li></li></ul><li>CODE MATTERS!<br />HTML for email is different than HTML for the web<br />Modern web design utilizes CSS (cascading style sheets) for layout. However, due to inconsistent CSS support, HTML tables must be used for email layout. CODE LIKE IT’S 1999!<br />No standards exist for displaying HTML in email.<br />Proper syntax still counts – use a validator to check for general errors.<br />Beware of:<br />Forms, surveys, search bars<br />Javascript<br />Video/flash<br />Animated .gifs<br />Background images<br />
    43. 43. THE MOBILE INBOX<br /><ul><li>Smartphone users use mobile email primarily for triage
    44. 44. There are no standards in place for displaying emails on smartphones
    45. 45. Most mobile devices display a “stripped down” version of the HTML portion of an email, NOT the plain-text version
    46. 46. Optimizing your emails with HTML text in web-safe fonts will benefit smartphone users as well
    47. 47. Consider including a link in your email to view a mobile friendly version of your email
    48. 48. One-column designs hold up best on mobile devices</li></li></ul><li>IS THIS A POSITIVE SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE?<br />Email with “Download Now” call to action<br />Above the fold view<br />
    49. 49. IS THIS A POSITIVE SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE?<br />Cluttered landing page<br />Lots of irrelevant content<br />Where’s the download?<br /><ul><li>$99?!
    50. 50. Did the landing page meet the expectations that the email set up?
    51. 51. Did you build my trust as a subscriber? </li></li></ul><li>ANOTHER LOOK AT THE EMAIL…<br />
    53. 53. PIER 1 IMPORTS<br />
    54. 54. DESIGN “A”<br />
    55. 55. DESIGN “B”<br />
    56. 56. DESIGN “C”<br />
    57. 57. DESIGN “C”<br />DESIGN “A”<br />DESIGN “B”<br />WHICH DESIGN PERFORMED THE BEST?<br />
    58. 58. PIER 1 RESULTS<br />MEASURES: CTR of Delivered Emails<br /> Unsubscribe Rate<br /> Sales Generated by Subscribers<br />WINNER: Generated 86% More Clicks Than Other Competitors<br /> Generated 25% More Sales Than Nearest Competitor<br />
    59. 59. WINNER: DESIGN “A”<br />BUT…<br />
    60. 60. AAA OHIO<br />
    61. 61. DESIGN “A”<br />
    62. 62. DESIGN “B”<br />
    63. 63. DESIGN “C”<br />
    64. 64. DESIGN “B”<br />DESIGN “A”<br />DESIGN “C”<br />WHICH DESIGN PERFORMED THE BEST?<br />
    65. 65. AAA OHIO RESULTS<br />MEASURES: CTR of Delivered Emails<br /> Projected Renewal Revenue<br />WINNER: Outperformed Control CTR by 26%<br /> Outperformed Projected Revenue of 2nd Place by 4%<br />
    66. 66. WINNER: DESIGN “C”<br />
    68. 68. DESIGN “A”<br />
    69. 69. DESIGN “B”<br />
    70. 70. DESIGN “C”<br />
    71. 71. DESIGN “C”<br />DESIGN “A”<br />DESIGN “B”<br />WHICH DESIGN PERFORMED THE BEST?<br />
    72. 72. MARKETINGEXPERIMENTS RESULTS<br />MEASURES: CTR of Delivered Emails<br /> Unsubscribe Rate<br />WINNER: Outperformed 2nd Place by < 2%<br /> Outperformed Control CTR by 26%<br /> Outperformed Control Unsubscribe Rate by 15.9%<br />
    73. 73. WINNER: DESIGN “B”<br />
    74. 74. LANDING PAGE TESTS<br />Control:<br />Horizontal<br />Vertical<br />
    75. 75. 5 THINGS WHITEPAPER<br />Total Leads Generated: 88<br />Total Leads Generated: 102<br />LIFT: 34% <br />Total Leads Generated: 76<br />
    76. 76. DESIGN ELEMENTS TEST<br />Buttons<br />vs<br />Text<br />> 230 characters<br />< 130 characters<br />vs<br />Imagery<br />vs<br />
    77. 77. WINNING COMBINATIAON<br />DESIGN ELEMENTS TEST<br />Buttons<br />vs<br />Text<br />> 230 characters<br />< 130 characters<br />vs<br />Imagery<br />vs<br />
    78. 78. AS A RESULT<br />
    79. 79. Subject Lines<br />Sender Lines<br />Personalization<br />List Segmentation<br />Greeting Text—Content<br />Greeting Text—Style<br />Body Text—Content<br />Body Text—Style <br />Closing Text—Content <br />Closing Text—Style <br />11. Images<br />12. Offer / Promotions<br />13. Response Buttons<br />14. Day / Time Sent<br />15. Color <br />16. Coupons<br />17. Pricing <br />18. Free Trial <br />19 HTML vs. Text-Only<br />20. Unsubscribe<br />21. Taglines<br />22. Creative<br />23. Press mentions <br />24. Store Locations<br />25. Phone Numbers<br />26. Animations <br />27. Charts<br />28. Strikeouts <br />29. Signatures<br />30. Testimonials<br />31. Celebrities<br />32. Polls / Surveys<br />33. Call to Action<br />34. Sound<br />35. Numbering<br />36. Themes<br />37. Discounts<br />38. Refer a Friend<br />39. Click to Talk<br />40. Email Sign-up<br /> 100s of Potential “Success Factors”<br />TEST, TEST, TEST!<br />Insights gained from testing may be applied to ALL Marketing Channels <br />(TV, Radio, Print, Tradeshows, Web, Email & Search)<br />
    81. 81. EXACTTARGET RESOURCES<br />Email Marketing Design & Rendering: The New Essentials<br />Design Tips for Outlook 2007 & 2010<br />Email Design for Lotus Notes <br />Twitter<br />@ETDesign<br />@ETMktgSolutions<br />ExactTarget Blog<br /><br />MarketingExperiments<br />Maximize Agency ROIthrough testing<br />
    82. 82. SUBSCRIBERS, FANS & FOLLOWERS<br /><ul><li>6-part research series into Email, Facebook & Twitter usage of 1,500+ consumers
    83. 83. Report #1: “Digital Morning”
    84. 84. Visit or text SFF & your email address to 38767 to download</li></li></ul><li>Colby Cavanaugh<br />Senior Manager, Partner Marketing<br />Email:<br />Blog:<br />Twitter: @ETPartners<br />
    85. 85. ExactTarget’s New Digital Marketing Resource Guide<br />Stay Current!!<br /><ul><li> Websites and Blogs
    86. 86. eNewsletters
    87. 87. Books and Whitepapers
    88. 88. Industry Organizations / Associations
    89. 89. Conferences</li>