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How To Use Interactivity In Your Holiday Email Campaigns To Get Better Engagement

How To Use Interactivity In Your Holiday Email Campaigns To Get Better Engagement

Practical Marketer • October 16, 2018

Do you know the US spends a whopping 3.4 billion dollars on Halloween costumes alone? Now imagine how much you can leverage it through your holiday email campaigns. In fact, not only Halloween but, holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Black Friday Cyber Monday, etc. are also a great way of engaging customers and driving conversions. With 52% of customers checking their email every few hours, well-crafted email campaigns can provide great value to your subscribers and help fuel sales as well. Are you doing enough to engage your customers better this holiday season through your email campaigns? And, whatever holiday email marketing strategies you implement, ask yourself - Is it helping you stand out amidst your competition? Especially when it’s holiday season and chances of accelerating revenues are very high. This is where including interactivity in your holiday email campaigns can come in handy. Yes, it is one of the top email marketing trends doing the rounds of an email campaign. Interactivity in emails wouldn’t only pleasantly surprise your subscribers but also help in their better engagement. Here\'s how you can do it: 1. CSS Animation is the Key Incorporating CSS animation within your holiday email marketing can be a great way of delighting customers and improving their overall user experience. A CSS animation works towards changing the CSS properties of an animation at regular time intervals. These intervals are specified by certain keyframes which decide the style of the elements and work towards facilitating its animation and transition property. Moreover, CSS animations are not only scalable but are also load in quick time. This makes the overall animation experience smooth for customers and works wonders for their engagement. See how EmailMonks makes use of CSS animation for sending its Christmas wishes. To experience the interactivity, click here. 2. Make Way for Videos One of the best ways of capturing the subscriber’s attention is making use of videos within your email campaign. It gives you the opportunity to deliver diverse content to subscribers within a quick span of time. In fact, interactive emails with videos increase conversion rates by 86%. So, include some relevant, creative, compelling and enticing videos within your holiday email campaigns and see how it takes your interaction with subscribers a level up. Look how Rentalcars.com wishes its customers with a creative video in email: 3. Say Hello to GIFs GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format) are a powerful way of engaging customers.  Since it is somewhere between static images and videos, it manages to give subscribers a unique experience by grabbing their attention instantly. It is lightweight, so it does not hamper the loading speed of the email. Try including GIFs in your holiday email campaigns to make it stand out amidst competition and ultimately drive more sales and revenue. 1973’s Christmas email is a great example of using GIFs creatively. 4. Incorporate Add To Calendar Option Add to calendar option is a great way to enhance your click-through rates and engagement. After all, subscribers will go ahead with your email campaign only when you will give them something enticing enough to click on. So, while designing your holiday email campaign, don’t forget to include an add to calendar option. This way, when you send your customer a holiday specific email, it will give the customer an option to add it to their calendar. This, in turn, will remind the customer not only of the holiday but will also encourage to do holiday shopping with your brand. Simple yet effective – that’s how an option to add to the calendar can help you scale your business in the holiday season. 5. Make Use of Scratch Cards Scratch cards help increase the curiosity level of subscribers. It is an impeccable tool to increase engagement. The customers have no idea what they are going to get. So, naturally, it will encourage them to click through your email and discover your offer or any kind of promotion that you have included in your holiday campaign. It is a great way of separating yourself from competition and enhancing customer interaction. See how Forever 21 makes use of a cool scratch card for its Black Friday email campaign. 6. Incorporate Countdown Timers Countdown timers can work a great deal in making holiday email campaign more dynamic.  It doesn’t only captivate a customer’s attention with its motion pictures but, also creates a sense of urgency by incorporating strategies like free shipping deadlines, time-sensitive product promotions with messages like “the stock will be over soon”, “the countdown begins” etc. So, try these countdown timer emails and see how it increases the visual interest of your customers while engaging them in a better way.  Remember, countdowns are exciting and make people impatient. Hence, make sure you leverage it this festive season and boost your sales. 
7. Engage with Gamification Gamification is considered to be the ‘in thing’ for millennials, but its admirers go much beyond. Hence, leveraging it for your holiday email campaign can be a smart marketing strategy for you. All you need is an interesting game within your email and enhance customer engagement. Further, you can even include surveys and feedbacks in the form of a game and work towards improving interactivity by giving a world-class gaming experience to your subscribers. Taco Bell makes use of its creative streak with this Christmas gamification email: 8. Give Cinemagraph a Chance GIFs, videos and images work well for customer engagement but, it is cinemagraph that can make your holiday email campaign top-notch in no time. Since a cinemagraph works towards highlighting a single element of an image while keeping the whole of it static, it works wonders in driving the customer\'s attention towards a particularly critical part of the email. 9. Increase Interactivity with Kinetic Emails Kinetic emails which are created by combining GIFs and key frame animation together takes interactivity to an altogether new level. It is a very impactful way of giving a seamless visual experience to customers within the realms of their inbox. All a customer needs to do is click on a call to action and experience your email content visually just the way Wiredmessenger did it for its Halloween email campaign. Imagine including one such email in your holiday campaign too. It would certainly increase your engagement and click-through rates by keeping the customers hooked for a long time. In fact, your interactive and creative approach would not only help retain the existing customers but also attract the new ones as well. Final Thoughts Interactive emails can help you have an edge over competitors and pave new avenues of success for you. It is a creative and innovative way of engaging customers. So, make use of the above-mentioned interactive elements in your holiday email campaigns to give your customers a beautiful and long-lasting experience while escalating your traffic and conversions.


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How to Harness the Power of Emails at Every Stage of Your Buyers’ Journey

How to Harness the Power of Emails at Every Stage of Your Buyers’ Journey

Practical Marketer • July 30, 2018

Understanding the buyers’ journey allows you to get the database sorted based on their lifecycle stages namely Awareness, Research, Comparison, Purchase, Relationship Building, Retention and Advocacy. You can move your leads down into the sales funnel by nurturing them and convincing them to convert. The most commonly used lead nurturing tool is EMAIL - as it is scalable and cost-effective. However, if you want your email marketing strategy to work, you should understand that every campaign should be tailor-made to match the buyer’s journey. Let’s understand how you can utilize the power of email marketing at every stage of the buyer’s journey. 1. Awareness The first step of any prospect is Awareness. As the name suggests, this is when people get to know about your brand and your offerings. You can help your subscribers evaluate the product in the awareness stage. Send out emails that let them know about the benefits of your product and explain to them how your product would troubleshoot their problems. It is important to understand that customers purchase the solutions to their problems and not just a product. Make sure you entice your subscribers right in the awareness stage so that it is easier to take them further in the sales. After all, well begun is half done. See the welcome email sent by Heyo and how they have included the various tutorials of their solution to help the new subscriber with the contest creation. 2. Research Your subscribers are trying to figure out which solution is the best to resolve their problem during the research stage. It’s in this phase where you can leverage content marketing to educate the subscribers and build credibility for your brand. Examples of emails to be sent in the research stage: Various types of content resources You can have your content published in various formats, namely webinars, white papers, instructional videos, ebooks, slide decks, etc. As your subscribers might have distinct tastes when it comes to consuming information online, you can even ask your subscribers to choose the format preferences for receiving information. Content sharing the challenges faced by the subscriber You can share relevant case studies to explain to the subscriber about the similar challenges faced by fellow customers and how your solution helped to address their concerns. Content sharing actionable tips Your subscribers look forward to getting some valuable advice and actionable tips through the email. If your emails cannot deliver value to them, the brutal truth is that they would not want to hear from you. Content that convinces the subscribers that you offer the best solution A subscriber who is almost at the end of the research stage would want to know why he or she should choose your solution over your competitors. Convey your brand promise in such a way that they are eager to know more about you and are keen on buying from you. The email by Tinder cleverly informs the subscriber about how to use the App and entices them to try it at least once. No wonder, it is so popular among the youngsters nowadays… 3. Comparison After the research stage, comes the comparison stage. Leads who are in the comparison stage demand a special treatment and exclusive emails tailor-made for them. This is the stage where you should send out customer-focused marketing emails. Talk about your USPs and how you STAND OUT from your competitors. You can involve your sales team and schedule a personalized demo or meeting with the prospect. Here are some email examples to be sent in the comparison stage: Wanna schedule a demo? Need help? Have a look at the buyer’s guide. 5 reasons why our solution is the best match for you. It is not always necessary to send a visually attractive email. There are occasions when a plain text email can work better than an HTML email. Check out the below example. That’s plain text emailing done right! 4. Purchase The entire sales process is very much like proposing someone. If you goof up, you are likely to lose the sale. Make sure you do not disappoint your interested subscriber and offer them the resources that would warrant a pleasant shopping experience. Take a look at the type of emails to be sent during the purchase stage: Address the probable objection of the customer proactively. Guide the customers to use the product correctly. Once they make the purchase, send out a follow-up email to tackle the issues, if any. Check out how Code Camp has included a subscriber’s feedback, to encourage the recipient to do the same. (Applauds for the idea!) 5. Relationship Building and Retention The stages of relationship building and retention go hand in hand. After a customer completes the purchase, you should consider building a long-lasting rapport by using an emotional appeal in your emails. Doing so can help you retain the customers and enhance your customer lifetime value and loyalty. A regular email newsletter talking about new products, updates in your services, promotional offers and discounts goes a long way in retaining the customers by keeping your brand at the top of the customer’s mind. Chewy sends out an engaging feedback email to make sure that they can retain the recent buyer. 6. Advocacy Advocacy is the stage where a prospect turns into an evangelist. This implies that your customer becomes the brand ambassador of your business and helps you drive more sales. Word-of-mouth marketing works wonders for any business. In fact, it brings the best ROI and maximizes conversions. Consider sending rewards to ‘patrons’ in your elite list of customers to encourage them to purchase again. You can even leverage referral email marketing, which works towards retention of existing customers as well as the acquisition of new ones. Saying “Thank you” without any marketing or sales pitch also helps in getting evangelists for your brand. Check out the type of emails you can send in the advocacy stage: Refer us and earn a referral bonus. Allow us to serve you better by providing feedback. Mind referring us to your friends and family? Here’s 50% ‘elite customer’ discount for you. Thank you for choosing us. Lyft offers rewards to their top customers in their email with a catchy CTA that would prompt the user to take action and ride with them. Wrapping Up According to the 2018 report by Econsultancy, email has once again maintained its position as the most effective channel for marketers, with 74% rating its ROI yield as either ‘excellent’ or ‘good’… And to use this channel to its full potential, email marketers ought to respect the stages of the buyer’s journey. There’s no other way out.


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How to Boost Engagement Using Rich Media in Emails

How to Boost Engagement Using Rich Media in Emails

Practical Marketer • May 7, 2018

Gone are the days when emails were used as nothing more than a medium to keep in touch (with the distant friends and relatives)! Today, emails have outplayed their past role and grown to be one of the most effective marketing channels that generates the highest ROI in comparison to all other business approaches. According to a survey by DMA and Demand Metric, email had a median ROI of 122%, that is more than 4 times when compared to marketing channels like paid search, social media, and direct mail. Time and again, marketers have tried various tricks to boost their email engagement. Emails are no longer written as a boring wall of content. Rich media like images, GIFs, cinemagraphs, and videos have added a dash of oomph and brilliance to email marketing as a whole. Your subscribers prefer to scan through the emails you send, rather than ‘read.’ Consequently, your emails should be easily scannable and appealing enough to keep your subscribers hooked. Moreover, as the attention span of humans is getting even lower than that of a gold fish, your emails ought to be striking and tap the right pulse of your subscribers. Take a look at this email. Isn’t it boring to read such a long email without any visual elements? It would have been better if there was a relevant image that supported the content. Using Static Images in Emails PetSmart includes cute images that match the purpose of the email and engage the audience in a much better way than plain text. Images help to build a brand reputation and get higher click-through rates. Applications of Static Images Travel industry can rely on static images to roll out different offers available for the diverse destinations. Ecommerce and retail industry can take help of images to share product recommendations to the past buyers. They can even create better cart abandonment emails by including the images of the abandoned products. Using GIFs in Email If we go a step further from static images, we have simple animated GIFs. GIFs allow you to convey more in less. You can display considerable amount of content or images in a limited space. Consider the example by Carnival Cruise Line.   The subscribers would surely get enticed to book the tickets and visit the destination on seeing the beautiful GIF animation… And that’s the ultimate goal of the email. Applications of GIFs GIFs are very popular in ecommerce industry to promote various products. E-retailers can showcase the varieties available in a single product through GIFs. Emails from fashion industry can include visually enticing GIFs to highlight the product details. Email marketers from IT industry can leverage GIFs and use them as explainer videos. Travel industry can make use of GIFs to inspire wanderlust in the subscribers. Using Cinemagraphs in Emails If you are paranoid about using GIFs because of its file size but still wish to include a subtle animation in your email, CINEMAGRAPH is the right choice for you. Cinemagraph is basically seamless looping of an animation. It is created in such a way that you get the illusion of viewing a video. Based on the type of business and your brand reputation, you can explore the world of cinemagraphs in your email campaigns. Here’s a beautiful example of a cinemagraph by Saks Fifth Avenue.   You can create a cinemagraph with the help of tools such as Flixel, Pictoreo, Kinotropic, Echograph, and Cinemagr.Am. Applications of Cinemagraphs Email marketers from the food industry can add cinemagraphs to promote their delectable delicacies. Cinemagraphs can prove to be very useful for fashion industry emails to promote their stylish products. The lavishness of premium products can be effectively illustrated through cinemagraphs. Using Videos in Emails Videos in emails are effective for sending out an event invitation or product launch announcement. The only drawback is that including videos increases the email file size. HTML5 supports 3 video formats, mainly OGG, MP4, and WebM. Hey Smiles Davis - did you know that video plays in email? null Wistia has made wonderful use of video in email to promote their services. The CTA button too is equally engaging for the subscriber. Applications of Videos You can leverage the use of videos in your meeting reminders. Non-profit organizations can promote their cause with a video. Telecommunications industry can drive higher conversions by including videos in their product launches. 10 Mistakes to Avoid While Using Rich Media Make sure you maintain the text to image ratio at 80:20 and do not exploit the use of rich media. Avoid sending an email as one whole image, because if your subscriber does not download the image, your email will go futile. As far as possible, avoid having a CTA in the image. Using too many images in addition to other spam triggers can land your email in the spam folder and hamper your deliverability. If you use a heavy GIF in your email, it may slow down the loading time of your email. Therefore, light-weight GIFs should be used. A number of tools can help you to compress the file. Outlook does not support the rendering of GIFs or cinemagraphs, so it is recommended that the first frame of your animation should make sense independently and include all the important information along with the CTA. It is advisable to have a mobile version of the GIFs with 320px width so that the animation gets displayed properly on the mobile devices even if it does not scale to mobile. Alt-text is a must while you use rich media as the email clients have these visual elements blocked by default. Always have a fallback image whenever you are using a GIF or video in your email.Note: Only email clients like Apple Mail, Thunderbird, and Web Browsers support embedded videos, so fallback image and suitable alt text become a must. Since the heavy size of videos can be a deterrent for your email marketing metrics, you should not use it just for the sake of using it. Do not overdo the use of rich media in a way it gets boring and monotonous for your subscriber. Wrapping Up Rich media is for all those email marketers looking forward to attempting something innovative in their email marketing campaigns. Are you ready to try it out? Do let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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How to Make Millennials Fall in Love with Your Emails

How to Make Millennials Fall in Love with Your Emails

Beyond • December 20, 2017

“Millennial” – It’s the buzzword for marketers. As per Google Trends, the word ‘Millennial’ has picked up traction since January 2016. There is a high chance that even you click-baited when you read the headline and wanted to know more. But Why Millennials? Marketing, in general, is dependent on how well you have defined your customer persona, which is built after a close analysis of the demographics your customers belong to. Millennials pose a challenge in this case as they are a combination of different types of demographics. Right from working individuals to businessmen and startup partners to those freshly out of college ready to experience the world first hand, all are Millennials. In fact, 25% of the U.S population is Millennials. As per a research, millennials make up 21% of consumer purchases, which is estimated over a trillion dollars of buying power. So it’s very important for brands to expand their reach to cover millennials and which marketing channel has the highest reach other than emails?! But commit the mistake of considering them just a part of your emailing list, and you shall lose the count of unsubscribes you may get. With that in mind, here are some useful tips on how to make millennials fall in love with your emails. Being Responsive As per a study, 63% millennials shop on their smartphones every day. So it is very important for your emails to be responsive. Nothing spells disaster like a broken email layout where your subscriber needs to scroll across their screens to read the entire email. ( Image is for representation purposes only ) Less Read and More Visual In the world of 140 chars and Snapchat videos, people now want information short and crisp. People rather skip the text and focus on the image. So make sure your emails are not paragraphs of text. Provide information in short bursts. Get creative with text formatting to draw attention to certain keywords. Use images and animated GIFs to convey the message of your email. Moreover, be creative in crafting your subject lines and preview text, so that your subscribers get your message even before opening your email. Use of emojis in the subject line is also a popular trend. Dazzle Them with the Unexpected Anything out of the blue is always eye-catching. Ditch the standard design that your subscribers are accustomed to and surprise them with some interactivity or an embedded video. Penguin Random House designed a scrollable email where the bus is a static element and the background changes. Email on Acid created a bicycle lock in their email. Taco Bell’s email is molded as a conversation between two buddies. Even if you don’t include any interactive elements, you can still experiment with the email layout to create interesting emails. J crew’s summer announcement email was a tall scoop of ice cream where the CTA button was visible in the footer when you scroll till the end. Humor Builds Bridges Though it contradicts to our earlier statement, a good and humorous email copy can be a really good end user experience. Humor is an emotion that registers quickly and helps you create a foundation for lasting relation. In fact, 80% of millennials want the brands to entertain them. Brands such as Really Good Emails and phrasee have emails with witty subject lines and a competing email copy. (The subject line of this email is “Do you even uplift, bro?) Loyalty Can’t Be Bought Millennials don’t want to be associated with a brand for the name only. Millennials value brands that in a way improve their lives. According to Hubspot, 84% of consumers research online, and 70% read online reviews before buying online. Learn what your subscriber wants and make sure your emails provide the same. Stay away from using false and luring subject lines or misguiding offers & promotions. Offer loyalty rewards to your customers who have been associated with your brands. Personalize Beyond the First Name Imagine your email campaign to be a party and your subscribers as the party attendees. Each email is like a conversation you have with them. No one would want to talk to someone who doesn’t even know their name. But in this era of hyper-personalization, just referring your customers by the first name doesn’t cut it anymore. People want customized and tailored information in exchange for their personal details. So segment your list. Suggest recommendations based on their purchase history. Learn their preferences and treat your subscribers like people instead of faceless names on an emailing list. Ask for Feedback Millennials like to be vocal. As per a research, 70% millennials feel a responsibility to share feedback with companies after a good or bad experience. So integrate a feedback form in your email or redirect them to a landing page where the subscribers can give feedback. This is a win-win, as based on the feedbacks received, brands can make necessary changes to their marketing strategies. Wrapping Up Millennials are stereotyped to be picky and never tend to stick to anything for a long stretch of time, but on the contrary, once you succeed in building (and retaining) their loyalty, the buying power of millennials is an easy resource to tap into. And the stepping stone to a good relationship is to provide a good customer experience and based on the above suggestions, your emails can be fruitful to cater that.


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