Category Archives: Email Marketing Insights

Use Movable Ink To Keep Holiday Emails Relevant – Even After Shipping Deadlines!

For many major retailers, this week marks the cutoff for guaranteed holiday delivery with standard shipping. While this may dismay some of your consumers, the good news is that Movable Ink allows you to change the messages in your marketing emails in real time to reflect the latest information–no matter when the email is opened. This minimizes consumer confusion and disappointment while maximizing opportunities for conversions.

Once the online ordering deadline has passed, you can have the message swapped out to include a message about in-store purchases while including a local map showing the closest store locations and updated holiday hours. You can also include a CTA for consumers to send a digital eGift card to people on their list. This adds a layer of personalization and creates a greater user experience for each of your consumers.

holiday_image_swap

Go deeper with personalization by including the customer’s name on a gift tag with a creative treatment of your choosing to really bring your gifts to life, enhance engagement, and improve response rates. Using the Movable Ink platform, you or your designer can directly mock up the treatment of the first name against a holiday-themed background image of your choosing, ensuring that the highly customized treatment works well with your overall template and creative.

holiday_personalization

Create a personalized user experience for your customer and ensure that no recipient is confused by the message in your email even if they open it a few days after it’s been deployed. This helps ensure maximum performance of your holiday campaign.

Most importantly you’ll help keep stockings stuffed and the tree circled with your gifts!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday’s Email Story

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, InfographicThe biggest shopping holiday of the year has passed us again!  What wisdom has Black Friday and Cyber Monday bestowed upon the email marketing world this year?

Download your own copy of the infographic!

Comparing email opens year over year, we saw the peaks before both Black Friday and Cyber Monday hit earlier, indicating customers started looking for deals earlier in the week than in previous years.

Smartphones were the device of choice on Black Friday as opposed to Cyber Monday shoppers preferring to open emails for deals on desktops.  Design your emails accordingly, or make sure your emails are responsive!

Although we saw overall preferred devices for each day, device preference as well as email read length varied by industry vertical.

Download your own copy of the infographic!

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 lets 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.

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.

What iOS 8 Holds in Store for Email

[Update 10/29/14] We found a solution to this problem. For more information visit http://blog.movableink.com/the-solution-to-ios-8s-video-problem/


Just ahead of the iPhone 6 launch last week, Apple rolled out the latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 8. The release brought a number of great new features, but it also contained a few bugs.

We’ve conducted some testing on the Mail app in iOS 8 and have identified that HTML5 video is not functioning as expected. Videos appear as a poster image with a play button, but when you tap the button, the video doesn’t play.

All other versions of iOS continue to play video correctly, and as of today, only about 7% of all email opens have been from recipients using iOS 8.

In the meantime, our developers are working to identify any possible workarounds that could be applied from our side to resolve the issue.

Check back with us as we’ll post updates soon as we have more information.

How Recent Gmail Changes Impact Mobile Deep Linking In Chrome

mobileoptimizerLast week, we hosted the latest in our series of agileEMAIL tutorial webinars, this one on integrating social media features like live Twitter feeds and deep linking into mobile apps. Deep linking is a powerful way to drive subscribers to your various social channels, and we’d like to fill you in on some recent updates Google has made to Chrome that affect how deep linking works on Android devices.

First, if you’re directing Android users to a mobile app in your emails but they don’t have the app installed, users are now directed to the app’s download page on Google Play; this means that they can’t be taken to a default URL that you specify. In addition, when you’re setting up deep linking for Android, you must now use an app link scheme called an Android intent, which requires you to specify the package that’s associated with the app (for more information on this, see App link structures for mobile deep linking and Deep linking into Android apps on our Support Center).

To accommodate these changes, we’ve updated agileEMAIL to fully support the new app link scheme required for Android.  If you have specific questions about this, please each out to your Client Experience team directly, or contact us at support@movableink.com.

For more information, please send an email to us at contact@movableink.com.

Holiday Email & Beyond: Drive Store Traffic Through Email

One of the hottest topics in e-commerce is how to successfully deploy an integrated cross-channel marketing strategy. It’s a focal point because we live in a world where you can buy online and have the order delivered before brushing your teeth that night (well almost that quickly). You have to start somewhere, and fast because holiday is right around the corner. Why not test some tactics to drive in-store traffic through email to boost store visits this holiday?

Whether you’re selling limited inventory items, providing an in-person service, selling consumable goods, or simply being the digital marketer tasked with driving traffic to your store, we can all leverage email to achieve our goals. It’s no easy task getting a shopper to move from their chair to your store, but we’re here to help you tackle the mountainous challenge. Here are a few things you can do (all made easy to execute through agileEMAIL) to start integrating your stores with your email in time for holiday 2014.

1. Local Store Information In Email

A quick win you can implement to drive foot traffic through email is to include local store information right in the message the recipient is reading. Make it as easy as possible by displaying information consumers need to know such as your store name, address of nearest location, hours of operation, a local map, phone number, and/or store events. Take it a step further and use a web crop to show real-time inventory or available appointment times right in the message. This can all be done through geo-targeting based on the current location or a zip code on file.

Finish Line Maps & Coupon         Finish Line used local maps to share the nearest store location and hours with their subscribers.  They also included coupons to use in the store.  Steve Madden included deep linked social icons to promote social sharing alongside of store visits in their email to accomplish the same goal.

2. Classic Couponing, With A Twist

Express Mobile CouponCouponing, discounts, and deals aren’t new news (especially at holiday). But they are easy to make, easy to display, and easy to redeem. Including them in email is a no brainer but the call to action and how they render can drive more traffic to the store. According Movable Ink’s Q2 2014 U.S. Consumer Device Preference Report, almost 2 out of every 3 emails are opened on a smartphone or tablet. Mobile optimize your email creative (like Express did to the right) and enable customers to bring the email to the store via their mobile phone for the clerk to scan for use, or to reveal its true value. Using mobile optimization email marketers can create device specific HTML that could render a barcode at the top of the screen for ease of redemption and search in the inbox too.

3. Promote Holiday Events Through Social Integrations

Holiday marketing initiatives take on a life of their own, and for many take over the entire store. For example, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade generates a lot of social buzz and Bass Pro Shops converts their floor space into a holiday winter wonderland. Consumers like to share their experiences and turn to Facebook, twitter, instagram, and pinterest to do it. Pull in social feeds around your handle or promoted hashtags this holiday to add consumer sentiment and authenticity to your email. This not only shows what your company is up to, but also highlights and utilizes user-generated content. Further, you can set up your email to deep link with pre-populated tweets that the recipient can share. Measuring engagement is easy by tracking participation, such as the number of hashtag uses, @ mentions, and new followers compared to a regular day. I’m sure your social team can tell you the value they bring!

7_for_all_mankind_social7 for all mankind ran a friends and family promotional series that included twitter feeds and ran contests driven by pre-populated tweets (click-to-tweet via deep linking in agileEMAIL).  The social integrations worked making their friends and family promotions successful.

 

 

 

 

4. Measure Success

For short-term engagement measurement, look to the click through rate and email read length. Test how creative performs and see how localizing store information improves performance. In the control version, specifically look at the click-through rate of a generic “Find your nearest store” call to action vs. click-through rate of the dynamic localized version. What percentage of people clicked through to the store locator page versus the percentage of people who likely saw the map in the email? To measure foot traffic and dollars, collect email addresses at the point of sale and tie these back to those who received the email with the store information versus those who did not. These quick tips will help impact the performance of email to drive traffic to the store.

Driving consumers to the store through email can seem like a big challenge. You can start tackling it by providing your customers with the relevant information they need to know about nearby locations, promotions, and more. We’re here to help too and are available around the clock this holiday season. Email us at contact@movableink.com if you have questions about how you can use email to drive more traffic to your stores.

Tips and Tricks to Engage Trick-or-Treaters: Halloween Email Marketing (Pt. 1)

Halloween is fast approaching but there is still time to get in some last minute messaging to keep your emails engaging and relevant. Over the past few years, consumers have spent roughly $6.5-8 billion a year on Halloween alone. So if you’re not tailoring messages to try and get a piece of that pumpkin pie, we’ve compiled some easy ways for you to start now.

Think Halloween is just for kids? According to a National Retail Federation Survey, 71.5% of Adults (18+) planned to celebrate or participate in Halloween activities, 75.7% said they would hand out candy, 51.4% indicated they would decorate their home or yard and 36.2% planned to throw or attend a party themselves.

Getting your subscriber’s attention doesn’t have to be an exclusive party, either; you don’t have to be selling costumes, candy or decorations in order to spook-up your October marketing campaigns. Halloween is a hauntingly fun time of year that can keep up engagement and/or revenue between your Back-to-School and Holiday marketing pushes.

We’ve referenced a post from Marketing Sherpa’s Article Archive and have compiled a list of tips and suggestions if you’re still on the fence:

1.  Get Social! “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is” (Scott Cook, Co-Founder Intuit). Getting your customers involved in a conversation or photo-sharing is a great way to increase email engagement and brand awareness! We recommend having your customers use an Instagram hashtag of their costumes or decorations and deep-linking a pre-populated tweet of their #scariestmoment. Using Movable Ink’s social capabilities, we can include one or both of these feeds in your October campaigns. American Apparel ran a campaign similar to this idea but didn’t incorporate any of the submissions into their email campaign or deep-link to their social sites for submissions. Here’s what they did (on the left) versus what they could’ve done (on the right) to maximize their social engagement and number of submissions:

   

2.  Get Personal! Movable Ink offers a plethora of personalization and real-time targeting applications to help you deliver that 1-to-1 experience that consumers prefer. Personalization is an easy way to utilize your database to increase click-through rates and conversions on your next campaigns. You can start off with a simple image personalization and work your way towards hyper-personalized API integrations which serve up true personalized live content from your website. The below example from Krispy Kreme is a screen shot of a campaign that had been sent out (on the left) versus how it could have gone out using Movable Ink’s image personalization tool (on the right), which is now easier to use than ever before!

KrispyKreme_Original KrispyKreme_Updated

3.  Get Creative! Feature some DIY or How-to videos for your customers that show creative ways to use your products for costumes or decorations. This great email from American Eagle and Rent the Runway with Etsy suggests great DIY costume compilations using items from their own product line. These can be compiled on your website and fed into your emails via Web Crop to ensure you only serve up compilations which are still in stock.

American Eagle Halloween     RTR-Etsy

All in all, Halloween is about fun and we’d hate for you and your recipients to miss out. Reach out to your account team to discuss and strategize any of these ideas for your next campaign and keep an eye out for our next installment for Halloween coming soon! (update: click here to read part two)

For more information, please reach out to us at contact@movableink.com

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.