Author Archives: Ronnie Brant

Ronnie Brant

About Ronnie Brant

Director of Product Marketing, Movable Ink, Follow us: @movableink & @ronbrant

Inbox Love Exclusive Look At Inbox by Gmail

Inbox by Gmail

Yesterday at the 2014 Inbox Love conference we got an exclusive demo of Google’s New Inbox by Gmail app. Inbox is Google’s new application for desktop and mobile devices that was released last week. Shalini Agarwal, Senior Product Manager, Gmail Inbox, shared what Inbox is all about at Inbox Love, as well as some valuable insight into the Gmail teams thinking on the future of email clients. She stressed that Inbox’s development will be driven by user feedback and that Google wants it to become a major platform for organizing communications and daily life. To add on, Agarwal confirmed that Gmail and Inbox will continue to be developed separately, and hinted that at some point in the future the features from Inbox may start to merge with Gmail.

So with that, let’s dive in to some of the key points to get ready for Gmail Inbox. Inbox was created on the tenant that inbox placement and relevancy was more important than the time an email was sent at. Agarwal commented several times that “email starts with the user and we built Inbox with the end user in mind.”

The Gmail Team tried to make an easier way to organize and manage email with Inbox. It starts to bring some of Google’s search engine DNA into email as well (although this wasn’t stated outright). When you search for “Puppies” on the Internet, you don’t get the last thing some random person posted about “Puppies.” You get a categorically scored page that matches the search term. With its new management and organization features, Inbox puts a further burden on marketers to send relevant email, instead of potential junk or spam mail. It also opens up new content opportunities that marketers can use to their advantage.

Agarwal pointed out several key features that really make Inbox stand out as a go to option for email.

Highlights: I thought this was one of the better features of Inbox. “Highlights” lets you see message content, including images and videos, right from the main inbox screen. When you hover over a message, you can swipe across the screen to see the messages content. This capability, like Grid View, represents an opportunity for marketers to make an impact by surfacing highly engaging content that their subscribers can digest and engage with quickly.

Bundles: The “Bundles” feature of Inbox let’s users group messages together based on similar content. Today, Gmail has tabs and labels to help do this. When you click on a bundle, it expands the list so you can see all the emails that came in in that category. For example, you could set up a “Travel Bundle” and have all your flight, hotel, and rental car info available to you in the same place.

Inbox Bundles & Highlights

This is an example of a Travel Bundle that is showing Highlights. It is taken right from the main Inbox by Gmail Screen.

Snooze: Just like it sounds like, Snooze lets you hit the pause button on emails and set a reminder to look at it again. Swipe the message to the side and it automatically brings up a window to set a reminder time, or a later date. You can also send the message to the trash too.

Inbox Snooze

Swipe the message to the left and a “Snooze” button appears. Then set a reminder for you to view the email again in Inbox by Gmail.

Reminders & Assist: This is a neat little feature built into Inbox. You can create “Reminders” within Inbox, and its “Assist” feature will automatically attach other useful information to the message, such as an email, address, phone number, and hours of operation. With Reminders, users can essentially create a virtual to-do list. With a simple click, for example, you can create a Reminder to set up a dinner reservation, or call your boss on an important topic.

Pin: How many of you have tried to save an email for later? Some life hacks for this have included marking a message unread, putting it in a folder, flagging it, or changing the sort order of your email. Inbox has a decent solution for this problem. The “Pin” feature let’s you “Pin” an email to the top of the inbox. There is a toggle at the top right that lets you show pinned messages only when it’s flipped on. Never lose key emails again, just “Pin” them.

Inbox Pin & Assist

This is a screenshot from the “Pin” page of Inbox by Gmail. Emails that were pinned end up here, saved at the top of the inbox for easy access. These emails also display the “Assist” feature showing relevant information in the “Highlights” pane and when they are opened too.

Overall, Gmail Inbox is a big change from the traditional email client but it’s on to something. We’ll post updates and tricks for Inbox as we learn more as well. The only way to get Inbox by Gmail today is through an invite from a current Inbox user or by emailing inbox@google.com to request an invitation.  If you have questions or if we can help, shoot us a note at contact@movableink.com.

Movable Ink Announces Responsive Design For agileEMAIL and Inkbrush.com!

Movable Ink Responsive Image

Go From Concept To Code, Generating Email-Ready HTML In Minutes

We are excited to make a big product announcement this morning! The team here at Movable Ink has worked hard on the latest innovation in email design, and now through agileEMAIL, Marketers can generate fully responsive email templates going from campaign concept to email-compliant HTML in minutes. With a simple upload of their templates, marketers can send emails that render optimized formats and content for desktops, mobile phones, and tablet devices. The new responsive design product is available for marketers to use today, and has been built into agileEMAIL’s Workflow tools as well as Inkbrush.com.

“agileEMAIL has helped us improve the effectiveness of our email and gotten us great results,” said Coleman Easley, Email Marketing Manager at Excentus. “We are excited to use Movable Ink’s new responsive email tools to further improve the quality of our messages to take advantage of our rapidly increasing mobile traffic. Movable Ink enables us to send rock solid email that is optimized for our members to consume at any time on any device.”

“One of the hottest topics we get asked about is responsive design for email,” said Vivek Sharma, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Movable Ink. “We’re excited to offer marketers a bulletproof solution to design and code their emails, ensuring they are optimized for the device a subscriber uses to read it. It is a great complement to agileEMAIL’s real-time content and email optimization capabilities, and a new tool for marketers to add to their toolbox. Marketers want to spend less time writing code and more time bringing their creative ideas to life.”

Key capabilities of agileEMAIL’s new responsive design solution include:

  • - Automatic email-compliant HTML code generation
  • - Create re-usable responsive email templates
  • - Device detection for optimal email experience
  • - Email compatibility reports on major email clients
  • - Intuitive hosted email design for desktop and mobile templates
  • - Build from HTML, PSD, JPG, PNG, or Gif files
  • - Email version control for mobile and desktop
  • - Centralized link and content management for email
  • - Seamless integration with email service providers

Click here to learn more about the new responsive design announcement and here to view the full press release.

Announced in July 2014, Inkbrush, by Movable Ink, is a hosted email design and coding solution, that is easy and fast to use, and free forever.

For more information about driving email ROI by personalizing emails in the moment, contact us at contact@movableink.com or at 1-800-270-6033.

Apple Pay + Email: Reducing the friction to purchase

Apple Pay Image Via Mashable

Yesterday Apple announced that Apple Pay will arrive on Monday October 20th along with the iOS 8.1 update. This is exciting for marketers and further puts an emphasis on the ever-growing importance of mobile. With Apple Pay, consumers can complete purchases by simply scanning their finger on their iPhone (6 or 6 Plus) or iPad (Air 2 or Mini 3). It’s being championed as the solution that will start the consumer shift to mobile payments. But what does that mean for you, especially for your email program?

We’ve cooked up some potential email Apple Pay integration ideas that could be possible through agileEMAIL when iOS 8.1 is released on Monday. With agileEMAIL, you can target by operating system and optimize content for the device it’s read on. These are key capabilities when driving usage of a new mobile payments solution.

1. Use Email To Drive Participation with Apple Pay.

There’s a land rush now to be the first payment provider in Passbook. When a subscriber running iOS 8 opens up an email, target them with a message to add a payment method to use with Apple Pay. Deep link from the message right into Apple’s Passbook where the subscriber can scan in their credit or debit card using the iPhone’s or iPad’s camera.

2. Click To Buy Buttons In Email

Fewer clicks and less data entry mean more purchases. Click to purchase buttons aren’t new in email, but now you can link your emails to Apple Pay and remove steps on the path to conversion. After clicking in an email, take the consumer right to the shopping cart or straight to the checkout page where they can use Apple Pay. Working towards this will reduce clicks and abandonments on mobile.

3. Geo-Target Subscribers Near Stores That Accept Apple Pay

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users can take advantage of Near Field Communication (NFC) to use Apple Pay to complete their purchase at the store, rather than pulling out their credit card to swipe. Use agileEMAIL to geo-target consumers, displaying local maps or lists of nearby locations that accept Apple Pay. You can even provide a coupon to add to Passbook to redeem in stores that accept it. This can be a highly engaging way to capture that user and drive clicks to bricks.

On Monday when Apple Pay launches, keep in mind that not all iOS 8 users will be able to use it. Plan your campaigns accordingly. We know this much though – demand for devices that support Apple Pay is high. Over 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units were sold on the first weekend these devices were available and by the end of the year they’ll be sold in 115 countries. Furthermore – the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 launch alongside iOS 8.1 on Monday. Apple Pay has the potential to be a huge hit.

Click here for a demonstration of how agileEMAIL will help you take advantage of Apple Pay.  If you have any questions, we’re glad to help.  Contact us anytime at contact@movableink.com.

Holiday Is Almost Here! Are You Ready?

Steal These IdeasSeptember is in full swing and so is planning for the upcoming holiday season. Over the last few weeks we have hosted the first two 2014 Holiday Hit List webinars and next Tuesday at 1 pm we’ll be hosting our third called “Steal These Ideas.” Our client experience team pulled together some of the best email strategies we’ve seen over the last year and put them into an “easy to steal” and/or replicate format for you to use this year.

To foreshadow the webinar, we pulled together a post for the Only Influencers blog.  With just 74 days left until Black Friday, we wanted to share it here with you to help spark some ideas.  You can also use it as a guide to get a jump start on your 2014 holiday email too.

Over the last few years, there has been a shift from Black Friday & Cyber Monday “events” to a weeklong Thanksgiving extravaganza! A few clients we work with said they’ve seen sales tick upward before their “sales” even start, as much as a week or two before Thanksgiving. Let’s start thinking about how to best serve our customers and help achieve our own targets at the same time. Consumers are on the hunt for a good deal, and they want to know what’s happening and when. But they don’t want their inbox to be so full that they can’t get the information they were looking for before buying.

With that said, here are a few quick ways that you can effectively strike that balance and drive success during the 2014 holiday season. 

1. Mobile Optimize Email – Each quarter Movable Ink releases a consumer device preference report. It shows how consumers use smartphones, tablets, and PC’s for email. In the latest edition, almost 2/3 of brand marketing emails were opened on mobile devices. This is no longer a new trend but the norm. Further – tablets are the choice device at night and on the weekends. Over 50% of your traffic could come from smartphones and tablets this holiday season. Think about how you can take advantage of that traffic through mobile optimization to capitalize this holiday season.

2. Personalize Email – Personalized email drives 3-5x returns over traditional messages. It can be as simple as adding the recipients name and account information into the email, or as complex as a truly 1:1 triggered message. If you have not incorporated some personalization into your email program, look into ways to start doing it today. Product recommendations are a quick win, or go further and start personalizing content and offers within each message too.

3. Location, Location, Location – Geo-targeting can increase your performance by as much as 25%. Simply considering the cultural and weather differences across the country will impact response rates to emails received. So when it’s snowing up north and warm down south tailor your messages, offers, and calls to action based off of regional differences to increase engagement and click rates.

4. Email For Store – Within your holiday email, promote nearest store locations or promotions happening in the store. It’s a fast way to start utilizing cross-channel promotion. Don’t forget the consumer doesn’t see your email, website, or storefront as different channels, they see it as one company they buy from. Integration will improve the customer experience.

5. Flash Sales – Black Friday built its name on retail sales volume, and deals available to consumers. Turn your Black Friday/Cyber Monday emails into marketing machines and promote time sensitive deals through them. Send a few emails over the course of the day promoting the next available offer, or even update the same email every hour with a new deal. We helped a retailer execute this strategy and they drove a 99% increase in email revenue year over year for cyber Monday in 2012. They got great results again in 2013.

6. In The Moment Email – One of the biggest innovations in email is the ability to pick what to display in real-time at the moment of open. We have been locked into a pre-send decisioning world for so long that we haven’t even thought about what could be done if we could target and adapt messages after we click send. This is an emerging capability that when mixed with any of the five above can drive upwards of 20% increases in dollars per message. Use the data in the world around you to optimize on the fly, find out what creative drives the best results, and get better insight this holiday season too. 

We’ll dive into these and more next Tuesday at 1 pm eastern during our “Steal These Ideas” webinar.  Click here to register today.  As always, if you have any questions or if we can be of assistance please reach out to us at contact@movableink.com.

Is Consumer Device Preference Swinging Back Toward Desktops?

Movable Ink Q2 U.S. Consumer Device Report

New research from Movable Ink shows smartphones account for almost 1 out of every 2 consumer brand marketing emails opened

We’re excited to release the latest edition of the U.S. Consumer Device Preference Report today! The quarterly report provides deep insight into the popularity of various devices, examines differences in consumer engagement based on the devices they use, and shows how device preferences vary across the nation. Unlike other studies, this data set exclusively includes results from large, enterprise B2C & B2B marketers.

The Q2 edition revealed the continued strength that smartphones have as the preferred device for email in America, accounting for 46% of all messages opened. However by geography, desktops rebounded and reclaimed preferred device status in eight more states this quarter, accounting for a total of 37.5% of all opens. The previous edition of the report highlighted the growth of consumer tablet use. Overall, tablets pulled back 2%, accounting for 16.5% of email opens during the quarter.

“Over the last year and a half we have seen a quick progression from desktop use to mobile dominance in email,” said Vivek Sharma, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Movable Ink. “With desktops rebounding in Q2 of 2014, it shows that marketers have to be ready for their emails to be opened anywhere, at any time, on any device. Having that type of agility in your email program will pay huge dividends during the upcoming holiday season.” Key findings include: • The gap between mobile devices and desktop computers used for email closed a little bit over the quarter. In total volume, desktops gained 4% on smartphone and tablet devices, returning to similar levels from a year ago.

• Apple’s iOS devices continued to widen its lead over Google’s Android devices. iOS devices accounted for 55.7% of all emails opened while Android accounted for 6.4%. However, Android users stay engaged longer with email. 53% of Android users viewed emails for 15 seconds or longer, a 13% increase over Q1 2014.

Mobile optimized email matters. Smartphone use peaks in the morning but stays dominant throughout the day. At any given point, there are more emails being opened on a smartphone than on a desktop or tablet. This puts an emphasis on mobile optimized email, and marketers should take advantage of it.

The full report is available as a free download here. If you have any questions about the report, please ask us at research@movableink.com.

About the Movable Ink U.S. Consumer Device Preference Report: Q2 2014 The U.S. Consumer Device Preference Report is based on data collected through Movable Ink’s agileEMAIL platform between April 1 – June 30, 2014. They reflect aggregate statistics across Movable Ink’s customer base, which includes more than 150 enterprise B2C & B2B marketers from the retail, travel, financial, media, and telecommunication industries. Because determining email opens requires images to load, the percentages for some devices might be over or underrepresented.

2014 Holiday Hit List Webinar: Email Personalization

Holiday Hit List Webinar Promotion

It’s almost the holidays!  With just 3 ½ months left before Black Friday, if you’re not planning now, you could be behind.

We are excited to announce Movable Ink’s first ever Holiday Readiness Webinar Series! Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be sharing our Holiday Hit List of things you can do to pump up the holiday revenue and wow your customers. Each of the three webinars will feature email industry insiders sharing insight into strategies you could use, and how to approach holiday 2014.

First on the Hit List an Email Personalization webinar featuring Ryan Phelan, VP of Global Email Strategy for Acxiom.  This webinar will feature the latest on personalization tactics and their use, how to approach “Big Data,” examples of brands who are getting it right, and how you can improve email by leveraging consumer context to create true 1:1 experiences.  It will dive into what you can do to deliver personalized email today.

2014 Holiday Hit List Email Personalization Webinar Speakers:

         
Click here to register and reserve your spot for the live event on August 12th, 1-2 PM EDT.  See you there!

Email Personalization At Scale Is A Reality

Personalized Email

A few weeks ago we wrote about the need for better email.  According to the e-tailing group, 3/4 of consumers want personalized emails across the shopper lifecycle, and Harris Interactive found that 4/5 of them will buy more because of personalization.  However, until recently there have not been many advancements in email personalization technologies like there have been for the web.

Before we go any further what is personalization anyway?

In short order, personalization is the ability to deliver a 1:1 experience in digital marketing, tailoring all interactions to the individual consumer who is engaging with you. Amazon.com jumpstarted the advancements in personalization technologies by making great product recommendations to their shoppers based on what they were looking at and what they searched for. They delivered recommendations on their site and in their emails too. But this was just the beginning.

Companies have sprung up and pushed the boundaries of personalization and behavioral targeting to the mass market.  It’s a great start but true personalization isn’t just about making product recommendations or putting the recipients name in the subject line or in the body of the email. It’s about delivering everyone a boutique type experience, where the store clerk knows who you are and helps you find what you are looking for. Email is finally moving toward delivering unique 1:1 experiences at massive scale, integrating your digital billboards with the personal experience that you are trying to provide, that consumers want and crave.

You can deliver this utopian email experience today. There are three types of data you’ll need to deliver fully personalized email. Starting with one or two will improve email performance. Utilizing all three will deliver an unparalleled experience for your consumers, not only personalizing your email, but will make your messages stand out in the inbox.

First is “what consumers tell you.” When a consumer opts in to email, they are telling you that they interested in what you have to say or certain products or services you provide. They have a connection to your brand and give you basic information about who they are and what they like. This forms the foundation to making messages matter to them.

Second is “what you learn” about them as they interact with your brand. By understanding a consumers browse behavior, the channels they engage in, and how often they respond, you can get a deeper understanding of each consumers preferences and the type of shopper they are. This will help inform offers to give them, frequency of communication, and what types of emails to send to get them to engage and buy.

Third is an area of hyper-growth for email. It’s “what’s happening in the moment of engagement.” By understanding device type, location, time of day, even the weather outside, you can adapt the message in real-time as consumers open to further tailor the email they received. Increasing relevancy with live context will further personalize the message and increase response rates, performance, and email revenue.

Next week, we’ll kick off our “Holiday Hit List” series of webinars and eBooks with a webinar that dives into The Current State of Email Personalization with our partners at Acxiom.  We will share what is happening in the industry today, what consumers want, and examples of how you can deliver personalized email right now. Click here to register for the webinar, or feel free to reach out directly to us at contact@movableink.com to learn more too.

The Inkredible Five Summer 2014 Is Here!

INK 5 14

Summer is heating up and consumer inboxes are too. The brand new Summer 2014 Inkredible Five was released last week and features five of the most inspiring examples of agile email marketing yet! In The Summer 2014 Inkredible Five, you can see how:

  • Ebay connected live content from their site to their consumers inbox for seamless consumer engagement.
  • Auto Trader UK targeted their subscribers by location to give driving tips based on the weather outside their window.
  • Best Western optimized creative based on location and device to maximize click-through’s and revenue.

Click here to 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.

EmailButton

The Future of Live Email: Agility In Action

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 1.20.06 PMWe’re going on the road and headed for the 2014 Experian Client Summit this week!  The focus of the conference this year is to deliver strategies for engaging today’s hyperconnected consumer through relatable, memorable and sharable customer experiences. Speakers will have a chance to tell their story and how they are addressing some of the new challenges in an “always-on” world.

Movable Ink was selected to host a session on the advances made in email and how retailers, brands, and agencies are addressing them in the real world today.  On Thursday July 24, 2014 at 2:30 pm, our CEO Vivek Sharma will take the stage to host “The future of live email: Agility in action.”  Speakers from Bass Pro Shops and The Finish Line will share how they are bringing life back to the inbox while solving some classic targeting, segmentation, personalization, and cross-channel issues that faced them while creating and executing campaigns.  This session is geared toward sharing their story, and showing how you too can optimize your emails after you click send.

The future of live email: Agility in action

Featured Speakers: 
Vivek Sharma, CEO, Movable Ink
Aaron Buchanan, Email Marketing Manager, Finish Line
Todd Jones, Manager of eCommerce, Bass Pro Shops 

2014 Experian Client Summit, Las Vegas, NV
Thursday July 24, 2014
2:30 pm pt

We would love to see you there!  If you are attending the show, or if you are in Las Vegas and want to say hello, reach out to us at contact@movableink.com.  The full agenda for the 2014 Experian Client Summit can be found here.

 

The Inkredible Back-To-School Email Marketing Guide Is Here!

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 12.33.48 PM

Introducing the 2014 “Inkredible Back-To-School Email Marketing Guide.” It’s filled with quick tips that you can implement TODAY to drive more revenue, protect your margin, and keep your shoppers engaged this summer.  It focuses on targeting by region, integrating web and social content with email, and personalization.

Back-to-School is the second largest revenue driver of the year and you can make the most of it by creating emails that sense and respond to the person who is opening it.  The important thing to realize is that consumers don’t view each channel as a separate entity; they view them all as a continuation of their brand experience with you.

So take a look at this guide to pick up a few ideas about how to further integrate your email with experience with and into your store, through the web, and with social too.  It’s a quick read and you may just get an idea or two to use this summer.

Click here to download a copy of the 2014 Inkredible Back-To-School Email Marketing Guide. If you have any questions, or if we can help you at all, please reach out to us directly at contact@movableink.com.