As we race into the exciting future of email marketing with interactive content, CSS animation, live geo-tagged imagery and ‘next level’ personalisation, we should remember that there are a number of email basics to get right first, and to a sufficiently high quality, to support the features we want to stack on top.
At THE CRM Agency (or just T.H.E. for short) we have successfully deployed all of the high-end functionality mentioned above but, initially, we’ve achieved quick wins numerous times simply by fine tuning the basics.
For example, if you consider the design of an email (and how that design adapts to multiple platforms and devices) as the glue between the data and the recipient, it needs to juggle a huge number of elements and requirements - all in a small space of both time and canvas area. The email design should have all of its elements ‘touched’ by the visual brand, to increase brand memorability and recall, while giving the viewer an instant hook to explore what the email has to offer. Tease the viewer effectively into clicking for more and start the user’s journey with something strong, giving momentum to the path towards your commerce website, reading your article or simply having a great brand experience.
But don’t just design your email in Photoshop and then cut it up into a jigsaw of graphics. Almost half of your email recipients may have images switched off by default, be in a poor data speed location (I lose all data connection completely on the train to London, and I live inside the M25!) or be on a work account for which the IT department restricts what is downloaded. Unless you get that beautifully written copy out of the graphic images and into the ‘live’ HTML part of your email, none of those recipients will even see it. In short, live text will make a huge positive change to your deliverability stats. We recently enabled a client to enjoy an instant uplift in e-commerce sales revenue of over 28% (when compared to a control group) by making this change.
There are many other questions about which all manner of experts have an opinion. Should links share a consistent colour throughout all emails or just within each email? How much top navigation (if any) should be adopted from the website into the email header? etc, etc. There is only one place you can be 100% sure of the correct answers, and that is the behaviour of the recipients of your emails. Push your theories and hypotheses through simple A/B or 1 in n testing a few times and you’ll have your answers. Simply select a small, but significant, percentage of your base for testing and automate the sending of winning solutions to the rest.
Remember there is no such thing as digital strategy, just strategy in a digital world. The foundation of all the ‘sizzle’ elements you could have in your email must come from a strategy that doesn’t then fall over when it gets delivered.
And to achieve that, you need the right ingredients and utensils. Let’s get cooking!