The Inkredible Five, Spring 2014: Five Exceptional Examples of Agile Email Marketing


Spring is finally here, and with it comes a brand new edition of The Inkredible Five, featuring some of the most inspiring examples of agile email marketing yet!

  • 7 For All Mankind’s gorgeous and immersive “Dreaming in Blue” campaign
  • The Wall Street Journal’s magic email that always displayed the latest news
  • Lilly Pulitzer’s “Lunch at Lilly” campaign that made purchasing online or over the phone easier than ever

Get your copy today to see how these top brands and others combined their ingenuity with Movable Ink’s technology to create memorable and engaging email experiences that stood out in the inbox.

Ready to be inspired?

See Our Top Five

Movable Ink Enables Marketers to Optimize Email Campaigns for Gmail’s New Promotions Folder “Grid View”

VisualPromotionsTab

Movable Ink today announced the industry’s first solution for boosting open rates in Gmail’s new Promotions tab “grid view”.  New features within the agileEMAIL platform will enable marketers to auto-optimize and personalize featured images on every open of the Promotions tab with the visual grid view enabled, resulting in higher open rates and more conversion opportunities.

Key features include:

  • Automated A/B testing. Test multiple versions of featured grid view images on the fly, and automatically set campaigns to display the best performing images to the majority of recipients.
  • Image personalization. Include a recipient’s name, birthday, anniversary, or other personalized content into the featured image to make messages stand out from other promotional emails. (This information cannot be viewed in grid view images as plain system text – it must be embedded in the image itself).
  • Contextually relevant content. Display featured images that are contextually relevant to a recipient’s time, location, device, or local weather conditions.
  • Countdown clocks. Display time remaining to take advantage of special sales.

Gmail’s elegant new ‘grid view’ format presents email marketers with an unprecedented opportunity to engage with recipients, and the new features we are announcing today will give them the ability to move the needle on boosting open rates in a way that was never before possible!

To learn more about Movable Ink’s agileEMAIL platform and our new Gmail grid view optimization capabilities, visit www.movableink.com/request-demo.

Making the Most Out of Gmail’s Visual Promotions Tab: 5 Things Marketers Need to Know

Gmail Visual Promotions Tab

Contributed by Eric Szuhany, Senior Account Manager, Movable Ink

With the dust still settling from Gmail’s recent image proxy changes, and last summer’s roll-out of the Promotions tab not yet forgotten, Google has done it again. Last week, Gmail announced on its blog the launch of “a new grid view [which] will bring to the top of your inbox key images from deals, offers, and other marketing emails if you have the Promotions tab enabled.” The update is still in beta, and requires users to opt-in to take part, but it is sure to shake up the email marketing world if and when it is rolled out to all users. To help marketers prepare for the changes, we have put together a list of 5 things you need to know.

1.   You can (and should) choose the image to display as the featured image
If you are like most marketers, you meticulously craft and test your subject lines in hopes of optimizing open rates. Would you let Gmail use an algorithm to choose one line from your email to use as the subject line (while cutting out a few words from each end)? Don’t leave it up to chance—you may end up with no image, an off-centered image, or a visually unappealing one (some examples below):

Gmail New Visual Promotions Tab Example

Ensure your recipients have the best experience by defining which image Gmail should feature image. The recommended size is 580 x 400 pixels. To ease the demand on your creative resources, consider cropping and resizing your hero image to fit the recommended dimensions. Check Gmail’s developer resources for more information on implementation. While you’re there, also check out the section on Google+ verification to include your brand’s logo as your sender image – otherwise Gmail will default to display the first letter of your brand’s name.

2.   Use live content to power the featured image
Don’t go changing up your entire email template just to fit in a 580 x 400 hero image – the featured image does NOT need to be a part of the actual email. This gives you greater freedom to design specifically for the Promotions tab without sacrificing the designs and templates you have created. The creative that works best in your emails may not be optimized for the Promotions tab. Consider going bigger and bolder to stand out and get your message read by using Movable Ink content in the featured image, such as image personalization, countdown timers (non-animated), time-sensitive content, and more.

3.   Subject lines are now second (or third) in the email open formula
In the new grid view, the subject line is dropped all the way to the bottom of the section, and is also below your sender name which is displayed in a bigger, more prominent font. The subject line now becomes a caption for the featured image – read only when a user’s attention is first grabbed by the image. Ensure these two elements are working in tandem to create a cohesive, relevant experience for your consumers.

Gmail New Visual Promotions Tab Overview

4.   You don’t have to guess if your email landed in Gmail’s spam folder or if recipients saw, but passed over your email
With new functionality comes new reporting. Movable Ink provides the unique ability to measure opens on any image. As a result, we can track how many users saw your email in their Promotions tab, even if they didn’t open it. Use this data to update your sending habits:

  • Change the way you message those who view but don’t open
  • Determine the best time to send emails to avoid being buried in the inbox
  • Get a better sense of when an email address is truly inactive (and not just ignoring you)

 5.   Testing and optimizing are critical
This one doesn’t come as a surprise to any email marketer, but it is always worth reinforcing how important it is to test. According to a Fall 2012 study by MarketingSherpa, 72% of marketers test subject lines – making it the most popular email element to test.  With the diminished importance of the subject line in Gmail’s new grid view, the focus of testing should shift to the featured image. Take what you have learned from your subject line tests to begin optimizing your featured image to improve open rates. Keep an eye out for new Movable Ink features allowing you to make the most of your image testing and optimization in real-time!

Four Tips for Better Video Emails

Vince PeGan, self-proclaimed “email magician” and senior account manager at Movable Ink, works with dozens of leading brands to develop and execute agile email marketing programs that cut through the clutter and stand out in the inbox. One increasingly used technique is leveraging embedded video in email to breath life into the inbox. Below are Vince’s top 4 tips for making the most out of video in email campaigns.

1. Have a Clear CTA. ”Include a clear CTA so subscribers have an action to take besides viewing the video.”

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 5.47.50 PM

2. Use a “View Online” Link. “Including a link to an online version of the video so those not receiving the full video experience have a way to engage.”

3. Consider a Teaser Video. “Use a teaser version of the video to entice subscribers to click through to view full video on the web so your click through rates aren’t cannibalized.”

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 5.49.39 PM

4. Use a Secondary CTA. “Engage subscribers with a supporting CTA that gives further context to the video and allows them to engage online.”

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 5.51.55 PM

Interested in learning more about video-in-email? Download our fact sheet, or give us a shout at contact@movableink.com.

Campaign of the Week: 7 For All Mankind “Dreaming in Blue” Email with Video and Real-Time Instagram Feed

7 For All Mankind Dreaming in Blue Spring Collection 2014 Email with Video and Instagram

Click image to experience how the video plays within the email and to see how the latest Instagram photos using #DreamingInBlue are displayed.

One of our favorite examples of Agile Email Marketing we’ve seen recently comes from 7 For All Mankind, the international fashion brand best known for its premium denim jeans, popularly referred to as “Sevens.” This email tied into the company’s current broader marketing initiative around the spring line of denim, “Dreaming in Blue,” and used video and a real-time Instagram feed to create an eye-catching email experience.

The development and execution of this email campaign was a collaborative effort between the marketing team at 7 For All Mankind, their e-commerce partners at OneStop, and our Client Experience team at Movable Ink.

I caught up with Lyanne Loriz, E-commerce Analyst for 7 For All Mankind, to get more info on this “dreamy” campaign.

Brooke Burdge, Marketing Manager, Movable Ink: What was the main goal of this email?
Lyanne Loriz, E-commerce Analyst, 7 For All Mankind: We recently launched a new marketing initiative to promote our spring collection, “Dreaming in Blue,” which is now live on 7forallmankind.com. This email was an opportunity for us not only to increase awareness of the new spring collection, but also to broaden the reach of assets we’ve already developed, like the “Dreaming in Blue” video. (You can check out the video here).

BB: How were you sharing videos through email before using Movable Ink’s technology?
LL: Previously, we used a static video still with a “faux” play button in the center that linked over to YouTube when clicked. Using Movable Ink, we were able to power the full video and audio to play directly in the inbox. If subscribers opened the email on any clients that did not support HTML5, they saw either an animated gif which still offered a video-like experience, or in few cases, a static image that linked over to the full video. We were easily able to deliver the best video experience possible to each of our email subscribers, and simultaneously increase the ROI of the “Dreaming in Blue” video that we had already produced for other purposes.

BB: What inspired the use of a live Instagram feed in this email? Did you see any increase in your followers as a result of this campaign?
LL: We’re always looking out for opportunities to tie social media into email, and new ways to integrate all of our marketing channels. Our social media team has been busy publishing beautiful blue-themed photos on our Instagram channel, @7FAM, using the hashtag #DreamingInBlue and so have many of our fans. We felt the ability to add a real-time feed of the latest posts with that hashtag into the email was a great way to share those images, and also to hopefully increase our social media followers.

Typically, our Instagram followers increase by about 40 or so each day. In just the two-day period after this email campaign was launched, we gained 335 new Instagram followers, so our average daily increase in followers grew 320% immediately following the launch of this email.

Have questions about this campaign, or interested in learning more about the possibilities of Agile Email Marketing technology? Reach out to us at contact@movableink.com or request a demo of our platform.

The Future of Email Marketing: agileEMAIL

agileEMAIL by Movable Ink email marketing platform

On Monday, we officially announced agileEMAIL, our game-changing email marketing platform. You can read about agileEMAIL here in TechCrunch from the industry experts or download our one-page overview here.

We’re also pleased to offer our fans and industry insiders the chance to join our CEO, Vivek Sharma, and VP of Marketing, Jordan Cohen, in a webinar that will demo the new agileEMAIL platform live. We truly hope you can join us for the launch webinar this coming Wednesday, March 19th, from 1:00 – 2:00 PM EDT.

Here are some additional details about what you’ll see Vivek and Jordan demo on Wednesday:
  • Workflow tools that allow you to spend more time being creative and less time with tedious tasks (convert image into bulletproof HTML in minutes!)
  • The ability to embed personalized content that updates in real-time
  • Advanced testing, targeting, and optimization capabilities that will take your campaigns to whole new levels
  • Enhanced insights and analytics

We’re pumped to share the news about agileEMAIL and looking forward to showing you how it works! Stay tuned!

Real-Time Content and Re-Open Tracking Return to Gmail

Gmail image caching updateBack in December, Gmail made a major overhaul to the way it processes email. Images started being proxied through Gmail’s servers, which changed the way that images are cached. As a result, images could now be immediately displayed to recipients (no more “click here to view images from this sender”), but at the same time, marketers lost the ability to track email re-opens and the ability to serve relevant, real-time content upon re-open was limited.

What Happened at Gmail?

Image caching on the web and in email is controlled through headers, which are sent back with images. The header informs the web browser or email client how long and under which conditions the image should be re-used before making another request to the server. In its initial rollout in December, Gmail respected the caching headers sent from the original server, but always served images to the user with instructions to re-use the same image for 24 hours.

Due to the 24-hour caching header, web browsers would see real-time content initially but not on subsequent re-opens until one day later. Since open tracking also relies on images, the initial opens registered properly but re-opens were cached and could not be tracked. There were some reported workarounds for re-open tracking, but they involved sending malformed data to the Gmail proxy and were not guaranteed to work.

The Return of Real-Time Content and Re-Open Tracking

Last week, the Movable Ink team noticed that Gmail had begun deploying updates to address the issues caused by its 24-hour caching. The cache still exists, but it is now overridable if you pass a no-cache header (example below).

HTTP 200 OK
Content-Type: image/png
Cache-Control: no-cache, max-age=0

This means that re-open tracking now works as it did before December’s changes. In addition, these changes fix a long-standing issue of Gmail temporarily caching entire emails when navigating between emails in Gmail. When using Movable Ink, these updates mean that whenever you open an email in Gmail, you can be sure that you are seeing the most up-to-date, real-time content on every open and re-open.

Top Takeaways from the MarketingSherpa Email Summit – Day 2

MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014 Las VegasLast week, we shared a few of our top takeaways from day 1 of the MarketingSherpa Email Summit. After spending another day with email marketing’s brightest minds, we left the summit feeling energized and ready to take new ideas and put them into action. So that you can do the same, below is a recap of a few more of our biggest takeaways from the event:

1. Test, learn, adapt, repeat.
To discover what factors make someone say “yes” and convert—whether that conversion action is opening an email, a click-through, or making a purchase—marketers must “always be testing” along every stage of the sales funnel. With each campaign we launch, we’re faced with two options: go with our gut instinct and do what we think will appeal best to our audience, or conduct tests so that we can let our customers tell us what actually interests them.

During a few presentations, the audience was asked to guess “which test won” and vote for which image, call to action, subject line, etc. would outperform another. Sometimes we guessed correctly, and sometimes we learned that our hypothesis, for whatever reason, turned out to be incorrect.

The only way to know for sure whether a hunch is right or wrong is to test. Every test is a learning opportunity to fill a particular knowledge gap you have about your customers. A/B testing doesn’t have to be time-consuming. With real-time creative optimization, marketers can test and optimize emails on the fly. Check out this case study to see how The Taunton Press was able to double click-through rates using real-time creative optimization.

Continue reading

Movable Ink Opens London Office

Movable Ink London office

Movable Ink’s new London office. Source: Gilmoora House

Today we announced the opening of our new office in London!

Investment in email marketing continues to grow at a rapid pace in the UK and Europe, and we have seen increasing demand in the region for Agile Email Marketing technology and services. According to Econsultancy, the UK market for email marketing platforms and services alone was worth an estimated £495 million by the end of 2013, and has been growing at 13 percent year-over-year.

The new office is located at Gilmoora House, 57-61 Mortimer St, London, W1W 8HS and establishes a base for us in Europe to better serve European marketing leaders. If you’re in the neighborhood, please stop by and say hello!

Top Takeaways from the MarketingSherpa Email Summit – Day 1

MarketingSherpa Email Summit email marketing conference

The Movable Ink team headed out west to Las Vegas this week to join nearly 1,000 email marketers for the 2014 MarketingSherpa Email Summit. We’ve been surrounded by some of the brightest influencers in the industry—so it’s no surprise that our minds are jam-packed full of fresh, new ideas.

Below is a recap of our thoughts from the first day of sessions. We’ll continue to post updates as the summit goes on, so be sure to check back!

1.    Although the face of email continues to evolve, the core philosophy of marketing remains the same.
Marketing is driven by psychology, centered on the ability to appeal to unique aspects of human motivation. What exactly is it that makes us say “yes” and commit to a buying decision, especially when we’re faced with a number of competing options? In his keynote presentation, Dr. Dan Ariely, professor of Psychology & Behavioral Economics at Duke University and author of the bestseller “Predictably Irrational,” talked about the concept of “choice architecture” and how our environment determines the decisions we make every day.

So how does this relate to email marketing? Think of every email as an environment, and every click as a decision. In order to motivate someone to take that next step—such as clicking on a specific call to action—a marketer must not only make that choice crystal clear by minimizing any conflicting choices or distractions, but also by ensuring that each message is as relevant and valuable to every consumer as possible.

Continue reading