Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

Reduce the noise! Create engaging one-to-one experiences across channels.

With so much ‘marketing noise’ in the world today, it is hard for brands (or anyone) to clearly get their message across. Competing voices bombard consumers across digital channels in the hope that they’ll respond. It’s all too common to see different departments (web, email and social) set up in silos, unintentionally competing with each other, instead of working to form synergies to increase sales. As a result, hard working marketers, rather than drawing in focus around a single message, are inadvertently multiplying noise with mixed messages, distracting buyers from their ultimate goal – buying.

It is because of this, that marketers need to have a single, simple and consistent message that they project throughout all of their digital marketing channels. They need to leverage content from one channel into the others to ensure that they aren’t adding to the noise, but are cutting through it.

Movable Ink’s Web-Crop technology allows marketers to do just that, creating dynamic one-to-one experiences between the web and email. Web-Crops stream content from a company’s website right into email in real-time, not only making the message dynamic, but ensuring it delivers a consistent brand voice and experience. The selected content populates when an email is opened and can be refreshed based on a fully adjustable cache time.

Here are a few examples of companies who are streaming content from their website right into their emails.

7 For All Mankind (pictured below left) uses Web-Crops to ensure that inventory and prices on their website always match what their customers see in email, regardless of when a recipient opened it. The Wall Street Journal (below center) and Fortune magazine (below right), both financial news powerhouses, use Web-Crops to pull recently published stories into their email to increase subscriber engagement.

Seven For All Mankind Web-Crop      Wall Street Journal Web CropFortune Mag Web Crop

Movable Ink can create one-to-one social experiences in email through Twitter and Instagram too. In the same example above, Fortune streamed their Twitter feed into the message via Movable Ink. Their goal was to encourage sharing and participation by linking the conversation happening on social media directly to their email.

Pulling in content from other channels such as the web, Twitter or Instagram not only helps to create one-to-one experiences among different channels, but also helps with productivity. Marketers do not have to spend time creating different content for different channels anymore. They can cut through the noise with rich experiences in email through Web-Crop and social media pull-ins, leveraging what’s already been created and published on their web properties.

To learn more about how you can stream live content from your website or social properties into email, click here or contact us at contact@movableink.com.

 

Why A/B Test When You Can Optimize In Real-Time?

We got a great response to the Best Western International case study posted on the blog a few weeks ago, and many of you have asked us the same question about it: “How can I avoid sending a ‘loser’ message to half my list?”  We’re excited to share how you can test, optimize, and get results, from your email on the fly.

Stop us if this testing scenario sounds familiar.  ClassicTestingMethodFirst, you have to segment your list according to the number of creative variations.  Next, you deploy your campaign, and then wait as much as 2-3 weeks to determine a winner.  As you know, this methodology comes with a potentially hefty price.  You might sacrifice up to 50% of your total population with a dreaded ‘loser message’ in this testing format.

We’ve figured out a better way, enabling real-time testing and optimization of emails.  With agileEMAIL’s creative optimizer – you send only one version of your campaign to the entire audience and Movable Ink will handle the rest!  We’ll serve each of your creative variations at random, and then select a winner once we’re confident that the results are statistically significant.  From there, everyone on your list will see that winning variation and have an opportunity to interact with your most engaging content.

Want to test more than one element or piece of content within the same message?  No problem!  The creative optimizer can test multiple creative sets within a single campaign, always making sure the email is optimized for performance in real-time.  If you want to get really fancy (or, dare we say, agile), you can even optimize content that is powered by Movable Ink.  Have you ever wondered if mobile-targeted content might motivate iPhone users to transact?  Or, maybe you’re curious to know whether overlaying your recipients’ names onto an image will really inspire them to click through to your webpage.  Simply reference your content within the creative optimizer, and we’ll show you just how powerful real-time content can be!

Additionally, the creative optimizer enables you to run more traditional tests by setting it to “learning” mode, giving you the flexibility to always achieve your testing and optimization goals.  This way you can still compare the performance of your variations without actually selecting a winner.  Once you’ve reviewed your results, maybe you’ll want to optimize as a next step.

Why does this all matter? You can never really predict how your audience will react at any given moment.  That alone makes constant testing a best practice.  A/B testing can be time consuming and doesn’t optimize messages for consumers when they open.  This is where agileEMAIL’s creative optimizer really shines.  We make it easy to continue to test, to ensure that you’re always sending your entire audience the best email possible.

Email Works…But We Can Do Better

The Case For Better Email

These are exciting times for digital marketing. The rules of the game are changing, giving marketers more agility, and our customers have a higher expectation of us because of it. They want better, more engaging experiences with your company no matter if they are in the store, or using their computer or phone to browse your website, read email, or surf the web. The “connected consumer” wants you to know them and cater to them, but also wants to strike a balance between what you know about them and making it personal for them. A lot of advancements have been made in website and advertising technology to take advantage of behavioral targeting and such, but what about email?

Email is the only channel where consumers raise their hand and say “yes, please market to me.” But only one in five will open promotional email. What gives? We know that when we send more email, we make more money. But is that the answer? According to the 2013 edition of an annual consumer insights study conducted by the e-tailing group, only 22% of consumers are willing to be contacted by email more than four times during the month after visiting your site. Yet 74% say they want to receive email during that time. In April 2014, Redshift Research discovered that 39% of consumers will opt-out if they are sent email too frequently. Yikes!

Keep sending email, but it’s time to send better messages. Email needs to adapt and respond to what is happening in the moment, where a consumer is, and what device they are on. The same e-tailing group study shows that that 3 out of 4 consumers want to receive personalized messages that do just that, and not just in newsletters, but across the buying lifecycle, especially in abandonment and transactional email. This notion is further supported by Harris Interactive’s 2014 work that shows that 81% of US Consumers shop more frequently in the store and online as a result of targeted emails. The answer is to strike a good balance between what you want to say and how often you want to say it.

Email Tactics Used By Marketing Professionals Worldwide Feb 2014

It’s clear that consumers want “better email” from you.  How can you provide it? eMarketer recently released the top email marketing tactics used today in our industry. Over the next few weeks, we will provide you new and innovative ways to address them including content development, real-time testing and targeting, social integrations, mobile optimization, streaming live content into email, and overall creating better email at scale. Keep coming back to the Movable Ink blog to learn more about how you can market in the moment, keep email fresh by responding in real-time to your consumer, and ultimately drive more sales throughout the year.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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.”

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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.”

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

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

It’s Here: 2013 Holiday Email Marketing Inspiration Guide

2013 Holiday Email Marketing Inspiration GuideThe 2013 holiday season is just around the corner. This season, Movable Ink is giving you the gift of email marketing inspiration. Download the 2013 Holiday Email Marketing Inspiration Guide to check out six creative ways that Agile Email Marketing technology can be used to create engaging, memorable, and profitable email experiences. You’ll see how you can:

  • Drive in-store sales by showing a local map of nearby store locations and open hours.
  • Unveil a new product using video and an animated countdown clock.
  • Offer enhanced customer service by including a “click to call” button in mobile email.
  • … and more!

Make 2013 your most successful holiday season yet— download the free guide to learn how.
Questions on these examples? Give us a shout at contact@movableink.com

If you’re looking for even more holiday email marketing inspiration, be sure to check out this post by Lalit Chopra, our Director of Strategic Partnerships, on Silverpop’s blog: “Guest Expert: Movable Ink’s Lalit Chopra on Creative Ways to Boost Holiday Sales with Agile Email Marketing.”

In Case You Missed It: “Bringing Email to Life with Video” Webinar Recording & Recap

Webinar best practices

Top three best practices for video-in-email from the webinar speakers.

Last week, Movable Ink teamed up with Invodo and Silverpop to host a one-hour webinar on “Bringing Email to Life with Video.” Missed it? Check out the recording of the webinar here.

Below are the top three best practices from the webinar that our VP of Marketing, Jordan Cohen, shared on how to successfully execute video in your email marketing campaigns:

  1. Be timely, relevant, and creative
  2. Give each user the best possible viewing experience: full video, animated gif, or video still
  3. Get agile: optimize video emails on-the-fly based on time, location, and device

For even more tips, check out the one-page PDF of best practices from the webinar.

Interested in learning more about how Movable Ink makes video-in-email possible? Download the video-in-email fact sheet, or reach out to us directly at contact@movableink.com.

Watch Video Email Webinar Recording

Mastering Mobile Email: Part 3- Contextual Optimization

Mastering Mobile Email PDF

Click to see a list of all 15 tips for Mastering Mobile Email.

Earlier in this three-part “Mastering Mobile Email” series, we shared 5 tips for optimizing your email template and design, and 5 tips for using mobile email to drive cross-channel interactions.

But why stop there? Let’s take mobile optimization one-step further. The nature of mobile devices themselves allows for real-time optimization and advanced targeting. How can marketers take full advantage of the unique possibilities inherent in mobile email?

Here are 5 ways to optimize your emails based on the real-time context of your mobile consumers:

Contextual Optimization
1.     Optimize creative for different mobile devices. Show the most relevant creative based on which mobile device is being used to open the email. RadioShack promoted certain mobile products based on the user’s open device (see example).
2.     Promote device-specific app downloads. In our last post, we explained how it’s possible to deep link to your brand’s mobile app using email. But you can also target users in real-time with app download calls-to-action based on the device used to open the email. Check out these examples from Comedy Central and Starbucks.
3.     Target by current weather conditions. Show recipients’ creative specific to the weather conditions at their location when they open the email. Seamless, the food delivery service, showed a weather forecast and encouraged readers to order in on rainy days (see example).
4.     Optimize for mobile connection strength. Serve lower resolution images if a mobile carrier is detected, since the email recipient is not connected to a WiFi network. Learn more about mobile carrier targeting here.
5.     Optimize video-in-email. Use device-targeting to ensure mobile email recipients enjoy the best possible video-in-email experience available to them at time of open, depending on ISP/email client. Learn more about video-in-email here.

Have questions on any of the tips covered in the “Master Mobile Email” series? Give us a shout at contact@movableink.com.

Looking for a full list of the 15 tips on fully optimizing for mobile in one place? Download the 15 Tips for Mastering Mobile Email list here.

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Mastering Mobile Email: Part 2- Cross-Channel Integration


In our last post in the three-part “Mastering Mobile Email” series, we shared 5 tips for optimizing your email templates and designing for mobile. In today’s post, we highlight 5 creative ways to integrate mobile email with other channels:

Cross-Channel Integration
1.     Include a “click-to-call” button when appropriate. Don’t forget that smartphones are also actual phones! When it makes sense to use, a “click to call” button is a simple way to directly connect mobile email recipients to a customer service hotline or other important phone number.
2.     Social media sharing. Make it as easy as possible for readers to connect with your brand in social media by incorporating deep linking to social media mobile apps. Learn more about deep linking here. Try out social media deep linking for yourself by clicking the image in this post. If you’re reading this post on a mobile device, clicking the link will automatically detect whether or not you have the Twitter app installed, and if so, will launch the app with the pre-populated tweet ready-to-go.
3.     Deep link to your own mobile app. In addition to deep linking to social media apps, it’s also possible to deep link to your brand’s mobile app when it is detected as installed on a user’s mobile device. If the app is not detected, the user can automatically be linked to the appropriate mobile app download store, whether it’s Apple’s AppStore or Google’s Play. Learn more about how Seamless, the food delivery service, did this in this case study.
4.     Use barcodes to drive offline sales. Barcodes in emails help mobile consumers take advantage of coupons when in-store. Express does an excellent job of incorporating barcodes in mobile emails to encourage cross-channel conversions (see example).
5.     Add a real-time local map to drive in-store sales. Mobile customers are on-the-go, so make use of real-time geo-targeting to show mobile users the store locations closest to them. We love how Matrix used a local map to show subscribers where they could find Matrix products near them in a recent newsletter (see example).

Now that you’ve mastered mobile email design and cross-channel integration, check out these 5 tips on optimizing emails based on the real-time context of mobile users.

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