Hello Inkbrush!

Hello Inkbrush!

Back in January we announced the acquisition of Mailrox and now there’s some exciting news to share about what’s been happening since then.  Mailrox is a cost effective web based email design solution that allows marketers to easily turn graphic designs into fully coded HTML email marketing messages. In the last few months, we have been hard at work integrating Mailrox into agileEMAIL’s Workflow to further enhance the development, content, and relevancy of email. Vast improvements to the interface have been made and now it’s even easier to send emails that sense and respond to consumers in real-time (letting you truly market in the moment).

Today, we are ready to release a new and improved version to the world. Mailrox.com is becoming Inkbrush.com and it launches this afternoon!  Inkbrush.com will maintain all the great and intuitive aspects users have come to know from Mailrox.  It will continue to be a web based email design and coding solution, with one small twist. It’s free to try! You get up to 3 free email templates each month, and can upgrade to agileEMAIL at any time.  We’ve even enhanced Inkbrush with:

-A massively improved UI
-Edge detection for precise slicing
-PSD file upload and transfer of slices
-Support for email versioning
-Easier export of bulletproof HTML to your email service provider
-A brand new support forum

In the January announcement, our CEO Vivek Sharma said “Thousands of email marketers, designers, agencies, and developers have already used Mailrox to spend less time coding and more time being creative, and we are thrilled to add this simple but powerful technology to our portfolio.” We are making the most of the enhanced technology and are excited to launch Inkbrush.com, officially capping off the integration of Mailrox into Movable Ink. All Mailrox account data and logins will seamlessly work and be available on Inkbrush.com as soon as it goes live.

So please join us in saying “Hello Inkbrush!” and visit www.Inkbrush.com for your email design needs.

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This is a big milestone marker in the evolution of email marketing. To read the full announcement press release click here.  We are excited to hear what you think, please send us your questions, comments, and thoughts at contact@movableink.com.  We are glad to help out!

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.”

 

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.

 

Emails We Love: Bass Pro Shops #REELTHANKS

Tweet #REELTHANKS

Through July 4, 2014, Bass Pro Shops is running an integrated digital campaign to increase social engagement and give back to the community through AMVETS.  Dalie Hand and Ashley Sims from Bass Pro Shops sat down with us to share how the #REELTHANKS campaign is going so far, and what their goals were from the initiative.

Movable Ink: Can you tell us about the #REELTHANKS campaign and what your goals were from it?

Bass Pro Shops: Our customers are patriotic and we are a patriotic company.  We wanted to do something that would engage them with our brand across channels and give back to the community at the same time.  So we came up with an idea to partner with AMVETS, an organization that works with American Military Veterans, to leverage our email and social media properties to do it.  This campaign gives our customers the chance to to say thank you to American Veterans by tweeting #REELTHANKS or by sharing through Bass Pro Shops Facebook page.  For every 10 tweets or Facebook shares, we’ll donate one rod and reel combo to AMVETS.  In total, we expect to donate 1,000 combos by the 4th of july through the #REELTHANKS campaign.

MI: That’s inspiring!  How has agileEMAIL helped you achieve your goal for #REELTHANKS?

BPS:  We used Movable Ink to stream live social feeds into the message that utilized the #REELTHANKS hash tag.  Furthermore, we deep-linked pre-populated tweets so with one click our subscriber could tweet and participate.  So far, the email is responsible for 50% of the campaign’s overall engagement and success!

BassProMessageMI:   Wonderful!  Given its success, do you have future plans for cross-channel promotions?

BPS: We are going to use Movable Ink to launch instagram sweepstakes and to further promote our social properties.  We have gotten good responses to streaming hash tags in email and will do more promotions with that capability too.

MI:  Thank you Dalie and Ashley!  To participate in #REELTHANKS, tweet #REELTHANKS or share it from Bass Pro Shops Facebook page through July 4, 2014.  You can follow Bass Pro Shops on twitter @Bass_Pro_Shops.

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.

 

New Research! The UK Consumer Device Preference Report: Q1 2014

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We’re delighted to announce the release of our first-ever UK Consumer Device Preference Report, which looked at aggregate data across all of our UK-based clients in Q1 2014.

What we’ve been calling “The Mobile Takeover” is in full effect across the Atlantic — in fact, even more so than here in the United States. 72 percent of all email opens took place on mobile devices in the UK in Q1, compared to 66 percent in the US.

Strikingly, tablet opens in the UK are already at near parity with desktop opens (26 percent and 28 percent, respectively). This mirrors the trend we’re seeing in the US, and confirms our view that tablets are on their way to becoming the “household PC of record” for consumers’ personal computing needs.

Some other key findings from the “UK Consumer Device Preference Report: Q1 2014″ include:

• Apple asserts its dominance over Android. iPhones and iPads accounted for 62% of all opens
in Q1 compared to just 9% for Android devices. And iPads had a share of opens more than 14 times greater than Android tablets.

• The South East & North West regions of the UK are email marketing hotspots. When it came to opening emails, London, the South East of England, and the North West of England were this quarter’s regional winners with around 50% of all the UK’s measured opens coming from those locations.

• Tablets own the night. Smartphones rule the roost during the early hours and throughout the
middle of the day. As the afternoon turns to evening, tablet usage explodes taking share from
the smartphone and desktop pie.

For an in-depth look at all of the report’s findings, please enjoy your complimentary download of the UK Consumer Device Preference Report.

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“.

Clients Corner: Best Western Increases App Downloads 143% With Deep Linking and Device Targeting

The Worlds Largest Hotel FamilyBased in Phoenix, Arizona, Best Western International Inc. was founded in 1946 by California-based hotelier M.K. Guertin as an informal referral system among its member hotels. Since then, Best Western has become the world’s largest hotel chain and a familiar presence in more than 100 countries. Each of its 4,000+ hotels is independently owned and operated, further engraining the spirit of good service throughout the company. Cassie Spillner, Kelly Saffo, and Ryun Lambson of the Best Western Marketing team shared with us how they are using Movable Ink to achieve their goals and deliver highly relevant and engaging campaigns at scale.

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

Best Western: Every month we send over 20 million emails to our opt-in list and that’s a mix of newsletters, promotions, and lifecycle emails. We want to make our emails as relevant and interesting as possible but our systems have technological limitations. The partnership with Movable Ink has helped us overcome them and now we can send dynamic real-time content in email.

For Example, before agileEMAIL, we couldn’t do a real A/B test without conducting a full 50/50 split. Now we can figure out which creative performs best in real time, ultimately increasing engagement and revenue. Knowing we don’t have to send a “loser” message to half the database ever again is awesome.”

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

BW: The Client Experience team is on top of everything and they are quick to respond. We had one campaign where we needed some help writing HTML.  We sent a note over to CX and they responded quickly, helping us properly write the HTML.  They even included notes so we can do it right the next time. Franki Silverman and Elizabeth Ray have been great to work with!

MI: We’ve been partnered for a few months now, what has been your favorite use of agileEMAIL so far?Best Western Used agileEMAIL's Deep Linking To Increase Mobile App Downloads

BW: There are two that stand out for us. First, we wanted to increase downloads of our mobile app and had identified an opportunity to promote it to subscribers in our welcome emails and reservation confirmation messages. We tested agileEMAIL’s deep linking and device targeting capabilities on a list of over 1 million Rewards Members and found that they drove a 100% increase in downloads. It worked even better for non-Rewards Members, increasing downloads by 143%. Because of the success, we decided to permanently add app download promotions to our welcome and reservation emails.

MI: That’s a great idea. What was the other you had mentioned?

BW: The other was when we wanted to test which offer would drive greater engagement, an offer for rewards points, or a discount code to buy flowers from one of our partners for Mother’s Day. Movable Ink’s creative optimization feature let us do this in real time, allowing us to show the majority of recipients the discount code, which was driving higher engagement. Then we paired creative optimization with geo-targeting to show recipients localized offers in our destination specific campaigns. There were 21-targeted regions in the campaign, and it lead to a 12% click-through rate improvement from our rewards members and a 10% improvement from our non-rewards members.

MI: What are your future plans for agileEMAIL?

BW: So far, Movable Ink has helped us increase our revenue per message by 20%. The solution works so we want to incorporate agileEMAIL’s features and functionality into more campaigns across the customer lifecycle to further increase the performance of our email programs. Data from agileEMAIL’s Insight module has helped us understand who is using bestwestern.com, the devices they are using to interact with us, and how to target them for better results. Next on our list is integrating real-time content from our site and social media channels into our email programs.

MI: Thank you Cassie, Kelly, and Ryun for your time!

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:

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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.

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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.