Tag Archives: tips and tricks

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.”

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 5.47.50 PM

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.”

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 5.49.39 PM

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

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 5.51.55 PM

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.

[slideshow_deploy id='250']

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.

[slideshow_deploy id='224']

Mastering Mobile Email: Part 1- Template and Design

Mobile use can no longer be described as a consumer trend—it’s now a mainstay of modern media consumption. Email use on mobile devices is no exception, as we recently reported that over 69% of emails from leading B2C brands were opened on a smartphone or tablet.

However, the concept of “mobile optimization” represents much more than making your email fit a specific pixel width. In this “Mastering Mobile Email” three-part series, we’ll feature a total of 15 tips to help you fully optimize your mobile email campaigns. Let’s get started with 5 tips for making the most of your email template and design:

Template and Design
1.     Edit your content. Simplify your mobile template to include your highest-priority content. When it comes to mobile, less can mean more.
2.     Use a single-column layout. A single-column layout that stacks content vertically enables scrolling and avoids forcing your readers to zoom in and navigate around the email.
3.     Mobile-friendly fonts. Increase font sizes and place text on high-contrast backgrounds.
4.     Put primary calls-to-action “above-the-fold.” Follow a vertical hierarchy, and place your most important call-to-action above-the-fold – i.e., the part of the email template that is immediately viewable when opened on a mobile screen. For a one-stop guide to mobile screen sizes, check out this list from screensiz.es.
5.     Think “all thumbs.” Enlarged buttons allow for easier click-through. Apple guidelines suggest using at least 44 x 44 pixels for any tappable elements. Incorporate ample white space between the elements of an email to help each piece stand out and make it easy to click-through on links. Bare Necessities does an excellent job of optimizing mobile call-to-action links (see example).

Ready for more mobile tips? Check out how to fully optimize your emails for the mobile inbox using cross-channel integration.

[slideshow_deploy id='217']