Last week, we shared a few of our top takeaways from day 1 of the MarketingSherpa Email Summit. After spending another day with email marketing’s brightest minds, we left the summit feeling energized and ready to take new ideas and put them into action. So that you can do the same, below is a recap of a few more of our biggest takeaways from the event:
1. Test, learn, adapt, repeat. To discover what factors make someone say “yes” and convert—whether that conversion action is opening an email, a click-through, or making a purchase—marketers must “always be testing” along every stage of the sales funnel. With each campaign we launch, we’re faced with two options: go with our gut instinct and do what we think will appeal best to our audience, or conduct tests so that we can let our customers tell us what actually interests them.
During a few presentations, the audience was asked to guess “which test won” and vote for which image, call to action, subject line, etc. would outperform another. Sometimes we guessed correctly, and sometimes we learned that our hypothesis, for whatever reason, turned out to be incorrect.
The only way to know for sure whether a hunch is right or wrong is to test. Every test is a learning opportunity to fill a particular knowledge gap you have about your customers. A/B testing doesn’t have to be time-consuming. With real-time creative optimization, marketers can test and optimize emails on the fly. Check out this case study to see how The Taunton Press was able to double click-through rates using real-time creative optimization.
This creative Cyber Monday campaign from RadioShack encouraged subscribers to open the same email at the top of every hour to discover a brand new deal. The featured deal updated automatically within the email so that whenever a subscriber chose to open the message, the latest offer was always displayed. The offers promoted in the email corresponded directly with the hourly deals featured on RadioShack.com.
This year, RadioShack incorporated even more real-time email content and interactive cross-channel functionality to fully amplify the Cyber Monday shopping experience:
A countdown clock animated to show how many minutes and seconds remained until the next big “deal reveal”. The timer automatically reset at the start of each hour.
Subscribers were encouraged to tweet their guesses for the next deal, and RadioShack made it as easy as possible for recipients to participate by deep linking to Twitter with a pre-populated tweet. After clicking on “Tweet Your Guess Now”, a ready-to-send tweet loaded in twitter.com if the email was opened on desktop. If the email recipient was instead using a mobile device, the tweet loaded within the mobile Twitter app.
A live social media feed showed @RadioShack’s latest tweets, which included hints about upcoming deals.
When you check your inbox this Cyber Monday, get ready to discover a few surprises along the way. This holiday season, many of your favorite brands will be using Agile Email Marketing technology to deliver great deals in eye-catching, interactive, and innovative ways that you’ve never seen before.
Check out our infographic below to see the top 5 emails to look out for this coming Cyber Monday.
How often do you take a chance with your email marketing, not knowing if a new approach could be an unbelievable success or a complete flop?
At Best of the Best, a UK-based company that offers their customers the chance to win luxury automobiles through online skills-based competitions, they’re more than familiar with the idea that taking a chance can result in a huge pay-off. Perhaps that’s why when Jarrod Purchase, Email Marketing Manager for Best of the Best, wanted to try something entirely new with an upcoming email campaign, he thought it was worthwhile to give it a shot.
We caught up with Jarrod to learn more about his recent “Hold onto this email” campaign, which encouraged subscribers to check back on the same email message over the course of three days to see new offers. Best of the Best had never launched a multi-day, single-email campaign like this before. Would taking a chance pay-off?
Brooke Burdge, Marketing Manager, Movable Ink: Jarrod, what was the main goal of this campaign? Jarrod Purchase, Email Marketing Manager, Best of the Best: We run a competition every 15 days to promote discounted tickets for dream car giveaway competitions. We had a few main goals for the “Hold onto this email” campaign. Of course, we were aiming to increase revenue and strengthen customer engagement in a new way. But we also wanted to drive more customers to participate in the competition earlier on in the 15-day period, and to make repeat purchases. Typically, customers participate more towards the end of the competition period since there is less waiting time to find out if they won, and they very rarely purchase more than once in each 15-day competition period.
BB: What did you do differently with this campaign to help you achieve your goals? JP: Instead of sending three separate emails on consecutive days with three varying offers, we decided to consolidate our efforts into one, fully dynamic email that changed depending on when it was opened. The email became almost like a scavenger hunt in the inbox, where customers could come back the next day to discover something completely new.
BB: Can you walk me through how the user experience changed depending on which day the email was opened? JP: Sure. If you opened the email on the first day of the campaign, you would see images of three car types in a row. The Aston Martin was labeled “Today,” the Range Rover was labeled “Tomorrow,” and the Porsche was labeled “Wednesday.” The Aston Martin image—the featured deal of the day— appeared in full-color, with the other two brands in black & white. This allowed recipients to see what deals were coming up, but kept the focus on the current deal. At the bottom of the email template, we included five images of different models of the automobile brand being promoted that day. For example, on day one, subscribers would see promotions for five different Aston Martin vehicles in this space. A live countdown clock at the top of the email showed how much time was left until the next day’s featured offers became available.
If the same subscriber re-opened the same email again on day two, they would notice that major changes have taken place. Now, the center image of the Range Rover is in full-color, and the five images at the bottom of the email are promoting various Range Rover models. Also, the headers of the other deal offers have changed—the Porsche is now “tomorrow” versus “Wednesday.” The experience is similar on day three. When the campaign was finished, all images turned to black & white and the call-to-action changed to visit our site for other great offers.
The last thing to point out is that the email was also mobile optimized. When opened on a mobile device, the images in the bottom section dropped underneath each other to better fit the width of a mobile screen.
BB: How did this email perform? Do you have any results you can share? JP: Overall, the campaign was a success. We saw positive results in re-opens, revenue, repeat purchases. For re-opens, 23% of subscribers who opened the email on the first day returned to open it again on the second day. 7% of the “day 1” openers returned again on the third day.
For revenue, we experienced a 170% increase compared to our forecasted revenue for the 3 days. The campaign was launched at the start of the 15-day period, and as I mentioned earlier, we typically see the most revenue coming in toward the end of the competition. The campaign significantly lifted our early sales, which in turn increased the likelihood of repeat purchases made throughout the rest of the competition period.
Approximately 7% of customers purchased more than once. This number is much higher than what we typically see for repeat purchases during our 15-day competitions.
BB: What might you do differently if you were to launch a similar multi-day, single-email campaign in the future? JP: We’re curious to see what would happen if instead of giving subscribers a glimpse of the upcoming offers in black-and-white, we simply showed black boxes with question marks to keep future deals a surprise until they were available. It’s unclear whether our subscribers returned to the email because they were anticipating the upcoming Range Rover or Porsche offers, or if their curiosity about upcoming, unannounced offers would have driven even more re-opens. In the future, I’d like to run an A/B test to see which option drives more re-opens and revenue.
BB: How did Movable Ink help you out with this campaign? JP: Our team at Movable Ink is always a reliable source of new ideas for our email campaigns. Movable Ink’s technology makes it easy for us to experiment more, and to get more creative with the emails we send.
People don’t expect interesting things to happen in their email marketing. They’re used to seeing interactivity and real-time content on the web, but that experience isn’t as common in email. Movable Ink helps us bring that experience into email to strengthen the overall effectiveness of our email marketing channel.
At Best of the Best, we rely strongly on our email program for driving visits to our site and participation in our competitions. This campaign was an entirely new approach for us, and it was risky to try something that we had never done before and weren’t sure how it would turn out. But in the end, we’re happy we did it. It was fun to experiment, and taking the risk certainly paid off for us.
Each season, the Movable Ink team honors five brands for creating highly innovative, relevant, and memorable email experiences.
The Inkredible Five, Fall 2013 showcases exceptional emails from leading brands that incorporate video, real-time social media feeds, time-sensitive offers, mobile optimization, and live content from the web.
Looking for creative holiday email marketing ideas?In our recent webinar, Andre Prevot, Strategy Director, and Alison Lindland, Account Director, of our Client Experience team offered a closer look at the six email examples in our 2013 Holiday Email Marketing Inspiration Guide, and revealed six more innovative ways to use Agile Email Marketing technology in holiday campaigns.
Below is a quick recap of the 12 ideas shared on the webinar:
Holiday Email Inspiration: 12 Ways to Stand Out and Boost Sales 1. Use video-in-email and a countdown clock to unveil a new product
2. Use social media to make emails interactive
3. Personalize an image with the subscriber’s name
4. Optimize creative in real-time to maximize each email’s effectiveness
5. Check back on the same email for new deals every hour
6. Show real-time shipping status information
7. Show nearby store locations and open hours
8. Change the products that are promoted based on each shopper’s current location
9. Use barcodes in mobile emails to drive in-store sales
10. Promote current best-sellers
11. Include a “click to call” button on mobile email during open hours
12. Promote your mobile app on each device
Questions? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TV Land created this highly-engaging email to promote the season premiere of “Hot in Cleveland,” a sitcom starring Betty White, using Movable Ink’s agile email marketing platform. Here are 5 reasons why we love this email:
Live show using live content. The first episode of the new season of “Hot in Cleveland” was aired live. By creating an email using live content, TV Land successfully added to the real-time nature of the season premiere.
Streaming countdown clock showed the days, hours, minutes, and seconds left until the show started.
Deep link to Twitter app on mobile allowed fans to wish the cast well before the live show with a pre-populated tweet.
Live stream of latest tweets showed the real-time social chatter that included the #HOTLive hashtag.
Embedded video of the “Hot in Cleveland” cast played directly within the inbox, with no need to launch an external media player or web browser.
Nickelodeon used a live countdown clock in this email to build up anticipation for the new series, Sam & Cat. The clock showed the hours, minutes, and seconds remaining until the premiere. After the premiere started, the digits transformed to animated, flashing zeros.