Category Archives: Email Marketing Insights

Email is Dead…Think Again!

You’ve heard it many times before – the claim that “email is dead.”  But that’s just not true.  In fact, TechCrunch says that email newsletters are hot right now.  They’ve seen a shift in websites encouraging readers from “liking” them on Facebook, to now getting them to sign-up for an email subscription.

So you keep hearing that email is dead, but why are publishers trying so hard to grow their eNewsletter subscription lists?  And why are readers continuing to invite email into their inboxes?  TechCrunch gives five reasons for this:

  • 1.  Email gives publishers more control: As opposed to social media where you are subject to Facebook’s algorithm or breaking through the noise of someone’s Twitter feed, email will get through to those that have made the conscious choice to sign up for your newsletter.
  • 2.  Readers pay more attention to email: Just do your own comparison.  How many email opens do you receive vs. clicks on a link you tweet about?
  • 3.  Email is cross platform: Email works on everything, even if you’re still on dial-up internet.
  • 4.  Email keeps all your clutter in one place: If you were given the choice to receive all your information in one place (your inbox) or search 12 different (social media) platforms for updates, which would you choose?  Case closed.
  • 5.  Email is the original social media: What social measurements really count when measuring engagement?  Comments and shares!  And wait, email has that too – they’re just called “reply” and “forward.”

Here you have it, email is very much alive and kicking and here to stay.  Now it’s time to be faster, smarter and more measurable about your email marketing.

3 Tips to Create Personalized Holiday Emails

The holiday season is approaching quickly.  Last week Ryan Phelan, VP of Global Agency Shared Services at Acxiom and our very own Matthew Potter, VP of the UK and EMEA delivered our first Holiday Hit List webinar about email personalization for the holidays.  Have you started your holiday planning?  What is your holiday approach?  Here are a few things to think about before you start planning:

  • What have you done so far and have you moved the needle this year?
  • How are you talking to your customers as individuals?
  • Are you just thinking about the tactical execution of your program vs. thinking strategically?

It’s easy to get addicted to a promotional offer strategy or to just send another email when you see that sales are not where you want them to be.  Kick that habit now!  Make your email marketing relevant.  Here are three email personalization tips to help you send relevant, personalized email and crush it this holiday season:

DATA: Matt defined three types of data you can use to personalize your emails.  Combine your learnings to create a message that is personalized to your customer’s environment.

Personaliation Data Sets

RECOGNITION: Ryan Phelan said “the goal of email marketing is to recognize your customer for who they are.”  Using data, figure out who your customers are and what they want to see.  Using segmentation deliver an email with the message and creative that will appeal to them.  If you haven’t segmented your list, you need to start but start simple.  Check out how Ryan show’s you how to go from a simple to complex segmentation.

TEST, TEST, AND TEST SOME MORE: Don’t let the business of holiday prevent you from testing.  Test to see what works and then what works better.  Here are a few ideas about what to test: subject line, lifestyle images, headline, copy length, CTA.  Check out this surprising example of what email won out of 84 tests in the Obama email campaign.

Watch the full webinar recording for more email personalization tips and create truly personalized emails for holiday.  Continue the conversation with @movableink on twitter using #HolidayEmail.

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.

Back To School 2014 Is Here! Boost Email Revenue This Summer!

It’s time to tie up your shoes and get ready to stuff those backpacks.  Back-To-School 2014 is here! The National Retail Federation estimated that total Back-To-School sales in 2013 were approximately $72.5 billion dollars, second only to the December holiday season last year.

Most schools, colleges, and universities in the states will start up again within the next 45 days (at the end of August or in September) making RIGHT NOW the prime buying time for families of students getting ready to hit the books.  They have a time driven need and are willing to spend to fill it. But at the same time, we know they like to get a good deal.  So we started thinking – how can we make it easier for you to capitalize on this “holiday like” season?

After polling our clients and reviewing successful tactics from earlier in the year, we developed a simple “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 with live and fresh email content during Back To School 2014. The guide will be available after our Back To School webinar on Wednesday July 16, 2014 at 1 pm. All attendees will receive a free copy of the 2014 guide.

Movable Ink’s webinar “Increasing Back To School 2014 Email Revenue” is on Wednesday July 16, 2014 at 1 pm EDT.  Our featured speakers from Movable Ink will be email and personalization industry veterans Alison Lindland, Sr. Account Director, and Ronnie Brant, Director of Product Marketing.  Click here to register and get your free copy of the 2014 “Inkredible Back To School Email Marketing Guide.”

 

3 Tips for Boosting Email Marketing Tap-Through Rates

With 66 percent of email opens now taking place on smartphones and tablets, the age-old click-through rate should be taking second fiddle to the “tap-through rate” as email marketing’s most coveted KPI. With that said, we still see too many marketers optimizing for desktop clicks while ignoring mobile taps. This results in poor user experiences and lost opportunities.

Here’s a prime example from LinkedIn (sorry to pick on you LinkedIn, but this needs to be said.) I’d wager to say that LinkedIn enjoys a high mobile app download rate among its business users, but its mobile email experience is completely broken. LinkedIn sends a ton of email trying to drive engagement — from connection requests, to “who’s viewed your profile” notices, to notifications when your connections get new jobs or post something interesting. But clicking through on a mobile device opens a web browser instead of your already-installed app, forcing you to enter your login credentials and undoubtedly leading to incremental drop off.

Slide1

Which leads us to… Tip #1: Deep Link to Mobile Apps Deep linking removes friction from the mobile email experience by enabling consumers to launch installed mobile apps and specific pages within apps. This makes it easier to complete actions — and transactions — on mobile devices. Here’s an example from eBay where one tap on an image of a sandal in an email leads to firing up the eBay mobile app and the product that the user wants to see.  With one more tap the item can be added to the user’s shopping cart and one tap later, purchased and shipped since the user’s billing information and address are already stored securely within the app.

Slide1

Tip #2: Let Users Tap to Call Users who are on the go and have questions about your products or services that might be easier to answer over the phone than via a mobile app or m-site can be given the option to tap to call via real-time device targeting.  It’s as simple as adding a tap-to-call banner to the smartphone version of your email template.  Here’s an example from TheKnot showing the desktop version adjacent to the smartphone version with the tap to call banner at the top of the message.

Slide1

Tip #3: Get Users Social Sometimes your most desired next tap might be getting users to spread the love about your brand or products on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other popular social networking apps, which account for some of the most widely downloaded apps in the world and can be counted on to be installed on their smartphones and tablets even when your own app isn’t. Deep linking technology can be used to launch third party applications, and you can even include a pre-populated message for users to share. Here’s an example from Comedy Central that got thousands of its subscribers tweeting to promote a new show — and it only took two taps for them to do so.

Slide1

Mobile email opens keep rising as a percentage of total opens each quarter, and while smartphone opens may be stabilizing at a little under 50%, tablets continue to eat away at desktop market share and aren’t showing any signs of relenting.  The time to optimize for tapping through instead of clicking through is now.

***

*For more tips and case studies featuring mobile email tap-through rate optimization, check out the recording of our recent webinar, “The Mobile Takeover“.

Are Tablets The New Household PC of Record?

Surface Pro 3 Launch Event in New York City on May 20, 2014

On the subway ride into work this morning, I read about Microsoft’s unveiling of its latest tablet, the Surface Pro 3. What caught my attention most was the revelation that Microsoft execs aren’t positioning the device as an alternative to Apple’s iPad, but rather, against its most popular laptop, the MacBook Air.

The timing of Microsoft’s product launch couldn’t be better: with our upcoming webinar on “The Mobile Takeover,” our team has been poring over the underlying numbers from our latest US Consumer Device Preference Report, and the data suggests that tablets are, indeed, becoming the new go-to household PC of record.

How so?

First, because over the last year, smartphone email opens have been relatively stable at slightly under 50%, while desktop opens have steadily declined, and tablet opens have steadily risen. You can easily see these trends in the chart below:

Slide1

Second, from a day-parting perspective, we’re seeing that tablet email opens peak in the evening hours, when people get home from work (and when they’d be more likely to do their web browsing on a luxurious large screen instead of their smartphone’s small screen). And, in fact, tablet and desktop opens are currently nearly even between 8 and 11pm.

Slide1

From an email opens market share perspective, look for tablets to continue making the largest percentage gains quarter over quarter. There is still a lot of room left for tablets to grow.

Desktops and laptops may never completely disappear from the face of our planet, but tablets may someday soon replace them entirely from our living rooms.

*For more information on the latest trends in consumer device adoption and usage, make sure to attend next week’s “The Mobile Takeover” webinar, Thursday, May 29th at 1pm EDT.

Clients Corner: Auto Trader UK Increased Engagement By Sending Real-Time Weather-Based Driving Tips

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 4.20.56 PMEvery month, Auto Trader UK sees over 11.5 million unique users carry out over 140 million searches of more than 400,000 new and used vehicles across mobile, tablet, and desktop devices. Matt Dyson from Auto Trader UK sat down with us to share how they are using agileEMAIL to further provide value to their users beyond their core buying/selling vehicles business:

Movable Ink: Why did you decide to partner with Movable Ink?

Matt Dyson: We wanted to create an end-to-end email experience that is really engaging. agileEMAIL lets us add personalized content to our messages that our back-end systems couldn’t provide in real-time. We also wanted to stream content from our website into email, and do it in a stylized and attractive manner. Movable Ink allows us to do just that.

MI: What has been your favorite use of agileEMAIL so far?

Auto Trader UK Weather TipsMD: We had an idea to geo-locate where our subscribers were opening our newsletters, and then serve them relevant driving tips in those messages based on their current weather conditions. The aim of introducing real-time weather-based driving tips into our email was to retain longer-term brand engagement by providing our subscribers something innovative, genuinely useful, and something original that our competitors aren’t doing. Our editorial team came up with driving tips for many weather conditions and time of day, so that if it was raining outside, our reader received 3 tips for safe driving in the rain.

MI: That sounds great. How long did it take to launch and what were the results?

MD: It took Movable Ink and our agency Chalk & Pixel four days to launch it from idea to execution to over 300,000 people. agileEMAIL drove a 93% increase in click-throughs for us on this one.

MI: How has it been working with Movable Ink so far?

MD: It’s been really good. The Client Experience Team is really accommodating to our requests and quickly figures out how to create elements that are custom when they are not straight out of the box. I never get a “No,” and always get a “let’s figure out how to do that for you.” Then it’s simply copy and paste of HTML into our ESP.

MI: What are your future plans for agileEMAIL?

MD: We are going to increase the use of the web crop feature and make it a staple of our newsletters and welcome campaigns. Our next step is to completely automate a motorbike newsletter with agileEMAIL comprising up to 80% of the content. I wanted to do a bike email for a while, but we don’t have resources to do it in a timely manner. With Movable Ink I can set it up, schedule it in our ESP, and the rest works on it’s own. Our company is looking to do more work with video and on-the-fly self-optimizing content this year too.

MI: Thank you Matt for your time and insights!

The Problem with Predictive Analytics

Truman

Though some might object, most marketers would likely agree that relevance is an important factor in driving optimal email program performance and revenue.  Marketers are frenetically capturing, then filtering terabytes of customer data in an attempt to find that needle in the haystack that will tell them where/why/how each individual is most interested.  The difficulty is that there are an almost infinite number of data sources, and much of it is only relevant at the point in space and time at which it is captured.  Given the time it takes to structure and filter the data, then trigger or launch a campaign, the opportunity to most effectively leverage it is often long passed.

Typically, marketers do not use their email database as their Database Of Record (DBOR).  Instead, customer data are captured from various points (web clicks, views, purchases, forms, social, apps, 3rd parties, etc.) and stored in a DBOR, while email interaction data (opens, clicks) are stored within a separate email database.  It isn’t until all these data are merged that we can begin to tell a story of the individual customer.  Though some claim a “real-time” connection between the two, most email platforms only merge the data once every 24 hours.  In our era of perpetual motion and continual connectivity, 24 hours, or even 2-4 hours is sooo 2000-LATE.  Static and historical data certainly has value, but it is often out of context to the present moment.

Marketers understand this challenge, and many have turned to predictive analytics to optimize relevance.  While this often does bring some lift, one quickly reaches the ceiling because the practice still largely relies on static or aging data points, continual data refreshes, and a big fat guess.  So much time, effort, and budget is expended in trying to control the data, and usually it’s a losing fight.  Marketers can’t control data any more than we can control the individual customer.  Truthfully, the only one controlling customer data is the customer.  The customer has ultimate control over when the email is opened, where it is opened, or on what device, and such contexts are some of the most important factors to relevance.  If you believe that, then you probably also have to believe that the most critical moment occurs not when the email is sent, but rather when it is opened.

Evolution

Marketing is a continual evolution, and those at the front of the March of Progress have grown beyond Predictive and have begun using Agile email solutions, such as Movable Ink, that detect and leverage “time-of-open” data, such as time, location, device, even the weather to render contextually-personalized experiences.  For the uninitiated, I’ll explain by way of example… In the average database, my profile would tell you that I’m male, 38, live in the Bay Area, where it is often cool (I don’t mean in a hipster way…grrr) and foggy, and past purchases indicate a penchant for outerwear.  It might seem a reasonable assumption for a retailer to send me an email compelling me to take advantage of a remnant inventory sale on Member’s Only windbreakers, and if I download and purchase via their super-slick mobile app, I can celebrate an additional 15% off!  I’d be powerless to resist, right?

But remember, only the customer controls the data.  It just so happens that I’m writing this blog post on my laptop, while visiting clients…in Chicago…where it’s presently 86F with 90% humidity.  Given my current disposition, what would I want with a jacket…or an app download?  (I mean, I would want that Member’s Only jacket, but sure as hell not right now.)  Time-of-open data would have told the marketer that I’m not home, it’s hot where I am, and that I’m reading it on a laptop rather than an app-enabled device.  What I really want right now was the t-shirt/shorts email, linked to the specific product page. Predictive Analytics can’t predict such vagaries and variables.  Open-time optimization can.