It’s painful to find our email subscribers to make quick judgments about opening or reading our emails based on their few seconds of attention. We all spend less  time in scanning and sorting through emails in our inboxes. We usually pick an email message, spend it a few seconds of glances upon it, and we judge if the message is worth our time. If it does, then we keep the email and decide opening to read the message, and if it does not, then we simply remove the email by pressing the delete key and move the message to the trash. 

So, here comes the challenge – how we can prevent our emails from ending up in the trash? One way to prevent deletion of emails would be avoiding some severe email marketing mistakes by following some proven effective email design best practices. Here we have highlighted the most common email design mistakes which can push your emails to the trash can and also tips and tricks to get your email messages read instead.

1. Not to say “Hello”

All email messages should contain an instantly-identifiable and consistent header image and the image should be associated with high-quality information which is shared within the email message.

The email header should ideally relate to the brand image, the product or the service that subscribers have signed up for and to the product information they are looking for. So, if your business is focused on dog grooming services or products, your email messages and newsletters must be optimized to owners of different breeds of dogs. For example, if the newsletter is about poodles, then the email message must relate to all poodle owner subscribers you are targeting with a distinct header image which can point to the type of information your email contains and relate to the dog grooming brand.

2. Difficult to read font style and size

The primary goal of your email newsletter should ideally be to communicate product information, other important updates and promotional messages through easy to read words. However, some words may seem hard to go through, which may result from these two mistakes: 

One of the most common mistakes is using a font size which is too small to read, especially if your email is targeting aging people who are above 50 who can find smaller font size visually challenging and people who have partial visual impairment problems. When they are viewing a long list of on their smartphones or tablets, marketers must ensure increasing the font sizes and choose an easy to read within a shorter amount of time. 

Another major font selection mistake is inclusion of too many fonts in one email message. Including too many different types of font styles in a single email can make the email appear chaotic with too many topics. Hence, marketers must refrain from using not more than two font styles. Instead of using too many different types of fonts, marketers can choose to use italic and bold in order to highlight some texts in the email message. 

3. Messy presentation of information

Marketers often end up making their emails appear messy with glaring content formatting issues and not following no specific hierarchy of information. When email recipients take the first look at such emails, they fail to understand and spot the most important piece of information in the email and how they should browse through the content within the email to be able to read, follow through the email copy and grasp the right information. Marketers must avoid this mistake at all cost and provide recipients with a guided information and well-formatted pieces of informative that will guide the recipients to know what information they navigate through the content and able to differentiate between body content from headers, call-to-action and other segments of information. They can simply use a bit bolder and brighter font style, different color and size for the main headline and keep comparatively smaller and less large than the header for subheads. Also, make sure the legal information in the email body copy prominent as well as social media buttons and links, email addresses and other important contact information wherein your recipients may wish to connect with the brand. At the same time, also remember that email body copy must be divided into short paragraphs that are differentiated with subheads to make your content easily consumable. 

4. Appalling or poor choice of images

Poor choice of images or terrible image quality instantly give the feel that the email is the work of an amateur email designer. Hence, it is imperative to sidestep appalling and irrelevant choice of images and even worse, when images appear to be stock photography which were not photographed or created by the brand and rather appear fake. Use of common stock images makes people think they are not communicating with a genuine or reliable brand. Hence, businesses must use their own shot photos and if using stock images, make sure those are of excellent quality, most relevant and look natural.

5. Color calamities

In order to make the email appear 100% professional and enticing enough to get clicked and read, marketers should consider using a master color palette. At that, one huge mistake to avoid is selecting too gaudy color palette. Instead, they should always avoid garish colors that are too, that hurt your recipients’ eyes. It is better to use a most soothing shade of color which is more consistent with the color palette of the brand and the colors used on the company website or other brand communications. 

Along with using a soothing color tone, make sure your emails do not combine too many colors. Instead, stick to two main colors and remove other colors so that emails should appear more look cohesive. Also, remember avoiding light foreground text color on a dark background. The readable color combination is using dark text color against a lighter background.

6. Too many email makeovers

Businesses may surely want to give their emails nice makeovers to prevent monotonous looks and make those stand amongst the other emails in the inbox. It is good to occasionally fine-tune email templates, but once you have made a good design makeover, we recommend marketers to stick to the design template and resist giving another major design overhaul within a shorter course of time. Do not keep changing the email template too often resist the urge to keep changing more often. One of the most effective ways to prevent your email messages from being trashed is selecting the best design template and using it for a long while so recipients can identify the brand that sends them the email in a quick glance.

Another major email design blunder to strictly avoid is losing consistency in the look and feel in email messages. Predictability can be a better strategy which will provide a steady look in which your emails feature critical information such as main contact details information, social media profiles, the mission, vision or privacy policy information which are found in the footer area of emails. Make sure all your emails contain these crucial company details at the base of the email to add more weight and more professional look to emails. This will make your recipients know where and how to find your brand when they want to reach out to you to communicate with the brand. 

Email marketing is surely not dead and the advancement in technologies in improving email marketing operations is the proof that email is still a dependable digital marketing tool. In order to utilize the most of the email marketing, the primitive step is to build an email list by getting niche audience to sign up and subscribe to  your newsletters and email communications. However, creating a long email list will not guarantee your subscribers to open emails, take intended actions and engage with your messages! Unless your subscribers are not opening your emails, building a large email list will not impact in your email marketing campaign and your business will not gain anything from your investment in email campaigns.

That’s why the first and the foremost thing you need to work on is how to get people open your emails and this is exactly what we are going to emphasize in this discussion. There are many ways to increase email open rates, but surprisingly, marketers overlook many easy ways that can drastically impact in boosting email open rates. Before and after implementing these following strategies, it is important to measure your email marketing efforts with diverse parameters that ensure your emails are opened such as, number of people marking your emails as spam, unsubscribing from the email list, receiving your emails in their inboxes, opening your emails and clicking on links among many other parameters. 

1. A good subject line is a must 

The first thing marketers need to focus in order to improve the open rates is undoubtedly the subject line, which is the preface of every email. When the subject line will attract your audience, they will automatically find the subject line interesting enough to click and open the email. Otherwise, they might simply mark the email as spam or move to a different folder which groups all the promotional emails or simply delete from the inbox without even opening the email. So, how to make the subject lines entice your subscribers? Key pointers that turn a plain-Jane subject line into an audience-magnet include these following – 

  • The short and simple is the cornerstone of winning the attention – so, make sure the character limit of the subject line should not exceed 50.
  • The lure of false promises is short-lived and fails to keep people engaged when they find the offer is not beneficial enough! If the false promises in the subject line are not supported by the email content, your subscribers will lose interest eventually and worse still, can mark such emails as spam! 
  • Use of all capitals in the subject line can scream the message loud and offend your subscribers. So, do not write an all-caps subject line and also do not add too many exclamation marks. 
  • Stop including words which invoke the feeling in subscribers that they have to perform a difficult task such as scrolling through a long content. Instead, choose words which will not intimidate subscribers, but will encourage them to check out the mail such as, explain how they can benefit by opening the email. 

After implementing these techniques, you need to different variants of email subject lines to figure which lines are working in your favor to pull the audience. 

2. Include first person to add personal touch 

To add more personal touches to emails from the sender’s name to email copy to make the emails appear to be sent by a person instead of a brand or and machine. With such added personal touch in your emails, recipients will feel connected as email copies seem conversions between two persons than between an organization and humans, thus, email open rates will also increase.

Soften the formal tone of the email, copy by adding friendly and welcoming messages. Write in a more informal fashion such as, starting the email as ‘Hi <First Name>’ similar to a personal email and ending your messages with sender’s first name, ‘Best’, ‘Until next time’ etc.

3. Prevent spam filters

Often emails fail to reach the subscriber’s inbox because they caught up by spam filters. One of the most common reasons is the email subject line which may contain characters such as too many exclamation marks, some symbols, and inclusion of words in the subject line such as ‘Free’, ‘Get Rich’, ‘Buy’ etc. When email servers find these words or characters in an email subject line, the servers take the immediate action of redirecting those emails from inboxes to spam folders. Also, when numerous subscribers have earlier marked emails from your business as spam can result email messages causes negative marking to the sender’s reputation and redirecting all the emails from that sender to the spam folder, preventing people to find those emails. 

Another common reason why emails get marked as spam is when emails contain too many links which reduces the trustworthiness in emails. Hence, it is imperative to check if your emails do  not contain excessive links in email copy as well as aforementioned words and characters to minimize all the risks of spam filters. 

4. Spot the best time to send emails

After you have built the email list, the next thing you need to work on is to make sure the best time to send emails to different customer segments. One smart technique is to create an email preference center or subscription management centers where subscribers specify the frequency in which they want to receive email communications – you can simply start by following the frequency they have mentioned to schedule or automate your email campaigns. 

After launching a set of two email campaigns, monitor the campaign performance data to track which dates and times are yielding more email opens, clicks and engagement on emails. Based on these insights, you can determine and tweak your email launch schedule and frequency.  We recommend performing these A/B tests for a few weeks consistently to figure out the best time, which works for different email campaigns and segments.

5. Quality of email copy

Many marketers, set up their email marketing platforms to schedule emails as and when they share new information on the company website or publish a new blog post. However, apart from treating emails as scheduling email as to notify a new blog post or website update, marketers must create quality content for emails. Create emails with more meaningful and valuable content which will interest and benefit the targeted audience. Create email content based on topics that will explain why you are emailing them or why they should open your email without stuffing with too much content. The email content facilitates recipients to discover information in-mail information and links so that they can take the intended actions or engage with your easily and quickly. When your recipients will find your email content easy to consume and interesting to open all your emails. 

In addition to these usually overlooked techniques, it is also imperative to ensure all your emails are optimized for  your targeted audience’s mobile devices and mobile email clients. One of the most failsafe ways to make sure your email messages are mobile-ready is to use an opt for a responsive email design template and to conduct A/B tests to open a set of two emails on various mobile email clients including the most popular ones such as Apple Mail, Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo Mail.

Machine learning, for marketing, refers to a process of configuring marketing programs in ways that help to analyze customer data and generate intelligent marketing decisions. Machine learning should not be confused with marketing automation systems since this is different from rules-based automation processes that are based on the specific programming and definite instructions from marketers and other users. Big brands such as Netflix, Google, and Amazon have already adopted machine learning tools to analyze customers’ behavior to deliver them better-personalized information, content, and solutions via their email marketing campaigns. What’s even better is that the costs of machine learning systems have significantly reduced of late that these tools are now easier to afford to adopt even in small and medium businesses.

How does machine language work and how is it better than marketing automation systems?

The efficacy of machine learning and hyper-personalization systems in revenue generation has led these tools to rise to popularity that businesses of different sizes and industries are resorting to these technologies. Hyper-personalization in the machine learning tool enables e-commerce companies to send 1:1 email which can be optimized to each subscriber based on the purchase history, responses to past email campaigns and interactions carried out on the company website. Thus, machine learning technologies help e-commerce businesses to deliver a personalized shopping experience that mimics the guided experience customers receive at physical stores. Though rules-based marketing automation systems may work in identifying and creating customer segments from the email list and create optimized messages based on the customer segments, these tools have limitations in terms of recognizing ever-changing behavioral patterns of customers. On the contrary, machine learning technologies can address this issue of constantly changing behavioral patterns by consistently tracking these insights and tailoring email messages for customers based on these updated customer data, without requiring any human intervention for setting new rules and for the program.

So, how machine learning can improve email marketing optimization? 

There are numerous ways businesses can benefit by adopting machine learning technology in their marketing operations to make their brands stay ahead of the competition in their respective industries and segment. A marketing automation platform aids in customer segmentation to treat a different set of customers with a different set of personalized messages, but machine learning can take you to the next step in delivering a unique personalized experience for each customer and prospect, by constantly tweaking and improving email content for each individual recipient.

Here we have rounded up 5 ways machine learning can advance your marketing operations – 

1. Sending Personalized Products

First things first: machine learning can better prepare brands in product recommendation for their customers that they will be actually interested and can end up buying those. Amazon utilizes this advantage of machine learning technologies to design 1:1 personalized emails and overall e-commerce shopping experience for prospects and customers, based on a gamut of algorithms which perform thorough analysis of audiences’ behavior across different marketing channels, including links they click on emails, social media networks, search phrases they use to browse similar products, what they add to their wish list and shopping cart, their purchase history among many others. Amazon leverages these algorithms of machine learning to make personalized product recommendations and perform behavioral target marketing to its customers automatically, via its website and app. Thereby, Amazon not only sends hyper-personalized product recommendations via email directly to their inboxes.

Moreover, businesses do not require resources and budget like this e-commerce behemoth to achieve such a level of heightened personalization. With the advent of machine learning tools, marketers get a plethora of options in machine learning tools that can fit their diverse scale and marketing budget to send personalized product update emails for improved targeting and increased sales conversions. These tools not only allow delivering personalized email updates and offers but can also harness the advantages of personalization to recommend target subscribers on their website with product recommendations based on their browsing activities and search engine activities. 

2. Automated creation of email copy 

The subject lines of any email you send play a critical role in deciding the fate of email marketing campaigns. These lines are the texts that entice people to open the email from their inboxes and thereby, the success of email open parameter is inevitably resting on the shoulder of email subject lines – that’s where machine learning can assist marketers in creating high-impacting email subject lines. 

Apart from leveraging machine learning technology to personalize emails and product updates, these tools can also aid users in the creation of different subject line variants so that they can select the top-performing subject lines for their emails. Businesses that use machine learning can take advantage of tools such as natural language generation and natural language processing for crafting the most compelling email subject lines and email copy for their campaigns. The natural language processing feature allows a machine to turn language into a code that machines can understand, whereas the Natural language generation feature allows a program to use the knowledge of language to write messages. Machine language can add various elements into copy including narratives, emotions, descriptions, word positioning, calls-to-action, and formatting. These tools listen to the unique voice of a brand and previous copies that have resonated best with the targeted audience in various categories. The more campaigns marketers will run using machine learning language tools, the more it runs tests and learns about the segment of customers it needs to target with email copies. Thus, the language system will yield more and more accurate copies over the course of time. 

3. Select and schedule the timing of emails

Nothing can exasperate your audience more than when they wake to their inboxes flooded with promotional emails which brands send while they are sleeping. And the more emails their inboxes contain, the lesser and lesser odds of them finding your emails and opening them individually. Instead, they may select all the unread emails and simply mark all the selected emails as read. Unfortunately, there is no specific time when you can guarantee that your emails will be actually opened and read by your recipients because different subscribers open their emails at a different time of the day, especially if you are targeting people from different time zones, job titles, geographic location, and age. Marketers may claim that they have found the right time to send their emails to ensure the highest email opens, sadly, this cannot be true and no marketers should heavily rely on this notion to schedule their emails at that one specific time. Instead, they should take account of different scenarios when subscribers may skip or miss your emails. Setting time by using a rules-based marketing automation system for sending newsletters can be a time consuming and sometimes, a daunting task! 

At that, machine learning technologies can determine the right timing for sending your newsletters as accurate as possible by predicting when subscribers are likeliest to open newsletters which may increase open rates as well as click-through rates and thereby, odds of success of an email campaign. 

4. Better A/B testing with machine Learning can 

Machine learning can allow marketers to perform multilevel of email tests that can conduct ongoing tests. Then, machine learning techs apply changes based on those test results and to optimize emails immediately and continuously. These tests and implementation phases work at the same time. As marketers will set up an email marketing campaign, define their marketing goals and create email variants before they start using machine learning for testing. once set up, the software automatically starts run tests and continue testing throughout the duration of the email campaign and optimize the email strategy as the campaigns go on to enable immediate email optimization in all aspects of email campaigns including images and videos in emails, email copy and also the frequency and timing of sending emails. 

5. Pushing leads through buying journey

One major advantage of machine learning is that it features the capability enables users to use a large mass of data which cannot be processed by manually. Machine learning can help a vast amounts of customer tracking including what people are viewing in a store, the number of times people are visiting websites and stores, and then help you measure visitors’ intent to provide the extra push in terms of special offers to speed up their purchase decision. Marketers can use this customer insights to raise the frequency of email delivery to contacts who have expressed their interest in products or services for purchase, at the same time, decreasing the email frequency for those subscribers who have shown demonstrated any interest in purchase. Machine learning can also enable track customers by their browsing activities and to help marketers identify products that are being commonly bought after customers view other products. Equipped with these customer insights, marketers can easily predict and identify top trends in customer behavior and sales to offer data-driven and real-time product recommendations to other prospects and customers who are engaging with emails, company websites, stores or social media channels. 

Are you planning to implement machine learning technologies in your email marketing and customer experience operations? Talk to our email experts to learn how efficiently you can use machine learning for email marketing optimization.

Today, companies target and engage with their niche customers through different marketing channels, making their marketing and sales professionals leverage various systems beyond a CRM platform. To identify the ideal customer profile and build customer relationships, businesses require structuring an all-encompassing, flexible and integrated MarTech stack, which will allow marketing and sales teams to connect with prospects and customers from different touchpoints and communicate with essential product updates to facilitate their purchase decisions.  

Why do you need a MarTech Audit?

MarTech tools allow marketers to strategies, perform those strategies, and monitor marketing campaigns to examine the effectiveness of marketing strategies. Marketing professionals can use various MarTech tools to perform various operations such as collecting customer data, tracking campaign insights, identifying and creating customer personas, targeting and engaging with prospects and customers, nurturing leads, identifying opportunities, optimizing messages and email designs, improving customer relationships and many others. These MarTech tools form a stack that is built to help marketing and sales teams to organize their actions, manage overwhelming volume of data, make data-driven business decisions and creating a unified digital customer experience for new and existing customers. 

The set of different types of technologies including software, apps, web-based services which consist of MarTech stack can equip organizations to achieve greater in better customer engagement and conversion rates when built and audited periodically. However, many companies commit this mistake of adopting too many tools and too much of these tools will make companies paying exorbitant prices. That’s why marketers need to examine if they are paying excessive price for too many tools? Does  the MarTech stack bloated with unnecessary marketing software? To help you prevent bloating of your MarTech stack in 2020, we have laid out the following roadmap of four steps to perform a thorough MarTech audit to improve efficacy of your marketing campaigns in 2020.

4 Steps of conducting an effective audit of MarTech stack for smooth transition of your marketing process in 2020: 

1. Make a list of all existing MarTech tools List the software.

The first and foremost step to start the audit is to make an exhaustive list of all the existing MarTech tools you are using. Make sure you include every piece of tool in use by your marketing and sales teams. After that, you also need to check out the software in use for customer service, online reputation management, business analysis, sales development and other departments, including all newly implemented and old ones which are indirectly contributing in your marketing operations. 

While creating that MarTech list, you can figure out how much your organization has  already invested in all the tools that directly or indirectly help your marketing teams, how bloated is the current stack, number of software vendors your company is dealing with and many other aspects of investment in MarTech. Those Chances are that those MarTech vendors have approached your business earlier to cause the MarTech bloating issue you might be facing. 

2. Analyze benefits of all existing software tools 

After you have created the exhaustive list of all current MarTech tools in use in your organization, the next step is to analyze functionalities, advantages and disadvantages of all the software. Armed with this detailed analysis on all the software, you can discuss with your team, do extensive research and comparative studies on how those tools contribute in your marketing operations, which teams and professionals heavily rely on those tools and results of implementing those tools in marketing activities – how far each software has enhanced or facilitated your marketing efforts and results. Based on these comparisons and details, your organization will develop a better working knowledge of those tools.  

3. Organize and classify the MarTech stack

After thorough analysis of your in-house martech technologies, the next step is to classify and organize these tools. Marketers should organize their MarTech stack following either a visual design or text design approaches. Marketers can use a circuit-board design or a flow chart if adopting a visual method. Whether it is a text-based or a visual design approach, the primary focus should be on creating the best stack of tools organized in the right categories. For this, you can ask yourself these questions:

  1. Which software solutions currently help you handle social media? 
  2. Which ones assist with lead generation, 
  3. Which tools will aid in customer retention?  
  4. Which tools are required for content management? 

Then, sort the MarTech stack based on the tasks that the tools execute or based on the marketing trends that the tools support.

4. Assess all the tools

In this next phase, you need to evaluate all existing marketing software tools based on their performance, such as key performance indicators that closely indicate martech functionalities. For example, you need to check the number of quality leads, a lead generation tool has generated in the last 6 months or in a year. If there is another tool which is performing better or if there are any new tool in the market which can outclass the existing tools in the stack. Marketers need specific numeric value for these evaluations and they should continue the evaluation process till they get the right data on these parameters. Remember that If your company is taking too long to collect the necessary data, then it might be for the reason that the MarTech stack is not too effective or integrated into the process.

In order to analyze how your MarTech stack is performing, you need to ask these following questions: 

  • How important is the tool for your overall business goals and marketing operations?
  • Does the tool meet your users’ needs? 
  • Can your users engage with the tool?
  • How effective is it to generate or gather, process or transform, and organize and create reports?
  • How effective is it to protect company data? 
  • What is the level of security is offered by the tool?
  • Can you expand the data capacity, security or other functionalities when your business will grow?
  • Can existing tools integrate with our marketing tools and data sources?
  • Is the tool capable of exceeding your expectations? 
  • Do you use the tool most frequently or regularly or aid in troubleshooting marketing problems?

If the answer to most of these questions is no, then you need to start looking for alternatives to your existing martech tools for 2020.  it may be time to look for a better solution. While searching for new tools. Make sure you have done the right assessment before buying new tools – you can consult with similar businesses which are not your direct rivals about the tools that worked for them as well as consider browsing online for tech reviews to find experts’ reviews and recommendations on the type of tools you are looking for to replace your existing tools in the MarTech. Also, you need to check out the tools with the highest ratings and that offer unique features that supports your marketing strategies and efforts, and make you a more powerful marketing team in 2020. 

Are you considering setting up a marketing automation platform for your company? This complete marketing automation guide is created to guide you on how much automation platforms can enhance marketing operations. This article explains a wide range of benefits in terms of optimization, saving your staff’s time, automating and managing repetitive tasks for the marketing department. We have also covered all the advantages of using marketing automation platforms. So, let’s start at…

  1. Alleviated staffing cost with automation

Using marketing automation software, marketers can set up more efficient lead nurturing, lead scoring and routing and many other marketing campaigns. Once set up, these campaigns can be automatically triggered as per the specific criteria were set during configuration. After setting these campaigns successfully, brands can start schedule and launch automated campaigns, deliver hundreds of personalized emails every day on autopilot mode and lessen costs on staffing.

2. Customer Loyalty with Personalized Referral or Discounts Program

Businesses can use marketing automation platforms to create and promote products. Users will be able to configure referral programs that will offer rewards customers and prospects when they will refer your products or services to anyone in their family, friends or peers. To find out more about how to use emails for the referral program, you can find tips and ideas from 4 Types of Email Marketing Campaigns to Boost Referrals for Your Business.

3. Improve alignment and accountability within marketing and sales teams

Marketing automation platforms are exceptionally useful marketing tools in identifying campaign performance issues, by defining various processes clearly, as well as getting a quick view on the marketing reports and latest status of the sales pipeline. Often most of the leads captured by marketing teams do not get nurtured & are not followed up so as to convert those into sales-ready leads – in such scenarios, marketing automation platforms can come in handy by providing marketers with instant feedback on leads they need to nurture more. They can also use lead scoring features of marketing automation platforms to track which lead needs more nurturing and which leads are ready for sales to follow-ups. The feedback tool also assists businesses in lessening the challenges of complex sales conversion, in aligning marketing and sales team members with a clearer view and easier access to lead and attribution data e It also helps in improving the accountability of employees in making sure that the part of the automation system is working perfectly.

4. Fewer errors, more accuracy, and creativity

Businesses can lessen a great deal of manual repetitive tasks by implementing marketing automation tools. The key feature of these tools is to automate marketing processes and programs. Thus, strategists can free up an adequate amount of time to dedicate in focusing on more creative tasks and planning strategies for more impactful marketing campaigns. Businesses that have already implemented marketing automation platforms have significantly benefited from overall hike in productivity and creativity as their employees can find more time in varying creative projects, avoid the risks of missed activities by scheduling and automating processes in advance, ensuring accuracy by performing tests before the launch, as well as following the timeline and the flow by scheduling marketing programs and thus finding overall better work satisfaction by freeing themselves from mundane repetitive tasks and investing their time in doing research, enhancing their skills in other marketing tasks.

5. Increased revenue

Marketing automation tools not only enable automating the marketing processes, but also helps to automate sales processes such as upsells, cross-sells, and regular follow-ups. With these processes getting automated, businesses can benefit from an improved value in customer lifetime. By combining this automated upsell or follow-up processes with lead management practices and customer prioritization, you can achieve better sales activities and greater ROI.

6. Better targeting across diverse marketing channels

One of the best benefits of leveraging marketing automation platform is that these tools provide marketers with the capability to improve their customer reach and target them with better-personalized communications through various marketing channels from email to direct marketing. While marketers create the sequence for different marketing activities such as sending them newsletters, sending postcard via direct mail, reaching them via text message, or connect with them via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other social channels or simply pursue via phone call – they can plan and schedule these activities to nurture leads until those leads turn sales-ready or are at a certain phase of the buying journey. Marketing automation tools feature various options to achieve such multi-channel marketing and customer targeting goals by enabling users to automate email, text messages and phone calls, direct mail, social media marketing as well as sending postcards.

7. Schedule programs and campaigns in advance

One significant feature of marketing automation platforms is that it helps marketers in staying ahead of time, keeping all the programs, campaigns, and assets organized and helps in planning, testing and automating all the campaigns, programs, social media posts and all other marketing posts well in advance. Though scheduling functionality is common in social media marketing and email marketing platforms, but the added advantage of scheduling and automating in marketing automation tool is that these tools make it all the easier to schedule multiple types of marketing posts, target various segments of the customer base and personalize communications and content based on customer data that also gets synced with the CRM systems. Also, marketers can, instead of just scheduling one message for the entire customer base, schedule multiple variants of a single message for different segments of the targeted audience and attain enhanced personalization.

8. Continue A/B testing campaigns

Contrasting to traditional marketing systems wherein marketers can split test their marketing campaigns and assets such as emails, forms or landing page only once or twice before launching to the targeted customer segment, a marketing automation tool makes it extremely easy for marketers to continue running A/B tests on present programs and campaigns. Users can perform A/B tests on all marketing campaigns, in each stage of the marketing process before and after launches. The changes and fixes that can be implemented in diverse stages of marketing activities create substantial improvements in the effectiveness of the funnel.

Bonus tip:

Get Better reporting and analysis of what is working and what not

The marketing automation tools not only will determine which campaigns, programs or marketing assets can work and which cannot but also these tools let marketers identify the type of customers and prospects they need. With this level of data analysis and reporting, marketers will be better able to understand their customers and decide which of the segments need more attention.

Additionally, marketing automation tools also assist in recycling and reusing existing content in the present and future lead nurturing campaigns. Thus, automation tools can help marketers make the most of their content resources by setting rules and automating content to educate their audience for improved nurturing impacts in various stages of the lead lifecycle.

Designing templates for your organization’s email marketing campaigns can make your emails appear more professional and effective. Whenever you need to shoot out emails, all you need to do is to add the email copy, images, social media links, call-to-action buttons and texts and other elements, as required. Therefore, marketers can simply launch the email campaigns. However, the only problem or challenge in creating own email templates is that marketers may risk of design consistency issue.

Therefore, we’ve compiled a roundup of actionable techniques, dos and don’ts to avoid such probable email template design issues.

1.  keep the design short and simple

The first and foremost rule of email template design to follow is to keep the design simple and easy to use. Your email design must deliver the message in your email and should not baffle or distract the recipients from the main links or information. Distraction from main action message can deter the clickthrough rates and conversion rates from the campaigns. Also, lesser design elements will make your emails more readable and can prevent SPAM filter.

2. maintain the width of within 650 pixels

It is important to maintain the width of your emails within 650 pixels to ensure that your emails can be viewed in the vertical preview pane of Microsoft Outlook email client clearly. Huge masses of email recipients open their emails from diverse email clients open on Outlook by syncing those accounts with Outlook, that’s why no marketers should ignore their Outlook subscribers. HubSpot enables its users to duplicate their email templates for all email campaigns to make sure their emails do not exceed the width of 650 pixels.

3. make use of CSS wherever possible

All major email clients including Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo!, have a common feature that is these clients are all browser-based platforms. All these browser-based email clients) will remove tags like DOCTYPE, BODY, HEAD and other tags causing display issues in emails unless marketers use inline CSS. Marketers who write full CSS codes can avert this design risk.

4. choose the right images in right quantity and size

The smaller size of images works better in emails – hence, the smaller you choose, the better display you get. On the other hand, larger image files in emails can delay the email load time and cause the emails to not load properly leaded in the  subscribers’ inbox properly and this might cause them to move to the next email without reading the email copy. This loading failure can deter the success of your email campaigns terribly. Additionally, too many images in email will also create the same negative impact in email loading and increase the risks of getting your emails landed up in SPAM folders and decrease in customer engagement.

5. Don’t ignore the impact of image Alt Text

The Alt Text of images play a crucial role in enabling search engines to scan images, but also help subscribers to figure out which images are incorporated in emails when images fail to load on their inboxes. That’s why we recommend adding descriptive and relevant Alt Text in images to help recipients understandwhat images are present in the email

6. Don’t include PNG formats of images

While choosing the images for your emails, it is important to remember the correct image formats are “.jpeg” or “.gif” as PNG formats of images are not supported in many email clients such as Lotus Notes.

7. Don’t incorporate HTML tags in bullet points

Though pretty-looking bullet points may make the email copy look better, marketers should limit the use of HTML bullets. Bullet points if not loaded properly may appear as unrecognizable special characters. Instead of HTML bullet points, it is better to use plain text alternatives such as asterisks (*), dashes (-) or other characters that make the cullet points stand out without any display issue in email messages.

8. Do consider using URL shortener for links

Use of URL shortening tools might seem necessary in email marketing since in HTML email versions, links are masked behind anchor text. But, in plain-text email versions, wherein URL appear as long chain of parentheses and other special characters, especially when the link is too long URL is long. In such cases, URL shortening tools in will market your URLs more customized such as bit.ly.

9. add Unsubscribe link in emails

Adding physical address, unsubscribe links and company names are significant elements in email template design as these elements help marketers to make sure that their emails are CAN-SPAM compliant. Incorporating these elements in email template will make adding these elements in every email much easier.

Though most marketers render emails in HTML versions, but plain-text versions are necessary too. Plain text versions are necessary as not having plain-text versions may trigger SPAM filters. At the same time, marketers also need to check that the copy in plain-text email version is exactly the same as in HTML versions. Marketers need to run their emails through A/B tests throughout the design process and continue testing after launches to improve the design. Ensure that emails are being delivered properly and loaded perfectly across multiple devices and email clients, to see how your audience is responding to delivered emails, buttons and links they are clicking and processing visual and textual content.  

Video content can increase the performance of email marketing campaigns in various ways such as improved open rates, clickthrough rates, conversions, etc. But they do not work like magic, rather it takes thorough planning of selection of topics that would connect and discuss target audience’s problems and preferences, choosing the right format, duration, cover image of videos, and also the resolution and size that will perfectly proportionate to the email message. Adding video in the email will turn out to be only successful when your email subscribers will like to watch the type of videos they are searching for and watching various video playing and social media platforms. Regardless of the type of video, you are adding to the email outreach and newsletter campaigns, make sure you are following these 9 best practices to maximize the impact of adding video in email.

  1. Short is smart

While adding a video in emails, marketers should keep in mind not to add long pages of video texts. Successful video marketers recommend precise and minimum content to display in the video along with an action-grabbing play button and a topic-related image that can entice the audience to play the video. At that same time, the text in the email copy must be concise, relevant and direct. These tips will make those emails with videos improve click-through rates.

  1. Shoot Great Videos

Marketers should consider using a good video recording tool to create professional-looking and attention-grabbing videos. In this case, the most fail-safe device to record video footage is to use a DSLR camera, these cameras are known for flawless image quality, quality of optics, speed of recording, and gamuts of options for manual controls. In addition to these, marketers also need to resort to various video recording apps for creating & editing videos and one of the highly recommended apps is Camera Plus Pro which assists users in creating advanced-level videos. This app supports all iOS devices and top features include zooming, video filters, pause support among many others. Brands that create retro-style videos can use a hi-definition 8mm vintage camera to add a vintage look to their videos. 

  1. Keep Files Small

File size plays a crucial role in the quality of video and upload. If marketers embed a large video with HTML5 code and plenty of images in an email, then the email will take longer than usual to load and will drive your audience to another or a faster-loading email, thus hampering the email open rates. So, it is best to link the video with a small thumbnail of the video image or a small GIF image which should not exceed 125kb.

  1. Create a video series 

Instead of adding a single long video that can possibly prolong the email loading as well as fail to capture the short-attention span of your audience, it is best to break down down the long video in multiple small-sized videos to capture the attention of your audience for longer without losing their interest. Smaller videos will keep your audience anticipating the next video episode and will keep them engaged. 

  1. Test, test and test more

similar to other email  content, always make sure that you have thoroughly tested the performance and quality of the videos on different channels before sending it to your audience. You can simply ask professionals in your organization as well as people in your peer group to watch the video and share their genuine feedback so that you can further tweak and optimize the video content based on their feedback and tips if they share any. 

  1. Share videos for greater impacts

Before you add your videos in emails, marketers should host their videos on major video hosting channels such as Vimeo, YouTube, etc. to add more visibility of the video and sharing opportunities. These video hosting channels are free and are great in increasing traffic, getting leads, and overall, improving brand appearance. 

  1. Make Thumbnail Images Engaging

The thumbnail image  for the video is the preface and create a first and lasting impression for your videos. Hence, you need to pay heed in creating or selecting a thumbnail that will entice your audience’s attention quickly instead of just going with the default option that you get from video hosting channels. Scan through your video to find the best moment or frame that will capture your attention, gives the best view of your product if it is a product launch or demo video. Then, create the video thumbnail using that frame, so that you do not leave any stone unturned in capturing your audience’s short attention span. after you have worked hard and long on your video, it is important to flaunt the best part of the video to make people hooked to your video content and achieve maximum viewership. 

At last, do not forget to incorporate the term “video” in the subject line, possibly better if all alphabets in upper case. like “[VIDEO]” in the email subject line to attract maximum eyeballs and create an instant urge to open the email, because more recipients are likely to open your emails when they know there is a video in your email. Thus, you can make your video email attention magnet and then, half the job of getting viewership for your video is done. Additionally, also make sure that the format of the video is compatible with the major share of your subscribers. Test the format compatibility and monitor email opens and clicks in emails to measure how many subscribers are viewing the video and how many of them are watching till the end. 

Attracting and acquiring new customers is the cornerstone of any business, regardless of the size and type of business. But, maintaining a steady flow of lead generation can be challenging as well. That’s why many organizations use referral campaigns and the jumpstart referral programs, many brands turn to email marketing. After all, emails are not only easy to send, but they get results. As per survey findings by McKinsey, email is considered as 40x more effective in acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter.

Email marketing channel allows marketers to acquire new customers more cost-effectively than using other marketing channels as well as to enhance referrals. We have used and now recommend you these four actionable and effective techniques to leverage email marketing to boost referrals:

1. Create more “Refer a Friend” emails

Use an existing list of customers to attract new customers comers. At that, a proven effective “Refer a Friend” referral strategy to generate new leads to the email list. To make a referral marketing program successful, marketers need to make an incentive offer to existing subscribers as well as new contacts. Also, when marketers are creating referral emails, they need to see that those referral emails are easy to use so that the referral process appears easy to perform. Make sure the incentive offered to existing customers must be memorable and enticing for them to encourage them to act on the offer. MarketingCharts researchers have proven that about 42% of customers respond positively to dollar-off coupons, sizeable percentage-off (such as 50% off) coupons, etc On the other hand, incentives coupon offer for new customers can be either the same or a bit lesser such as $5 off coupon.

A referral program can be a smart technique to generate new customers in large numbers, but marketers need to analyze which leads are more valuable.

2. Spot and encourage important subscribers to make referrals

An email list can be full of prospects and customers, but some of them can be more active and influential that they can entice other customers. However, every customer and prospect in your email list must be asked to interact with & engage  with the brand so customers will be more aware of the solutions, services, current, new and upcoming products and also build some form of commitment with the brand.

Marketers can mine their existing email list and simply ask those contacts to make referrals. Since the contacts are most actively engaged with the brand, marketers can get more responses from emails that ask contacts to make referrals and this email referral technique is proven to be more targeted and effective than the common refer-a-friend program. 

3. Create a contest to encourage referrals

Contests are a great way to add a new life to the email list and the gateway to enter the contest will be asking for referrals. One of the best platforms to hold such contests is social media company pages. The contest must be relevant and simply that your contacts will be able to connect and relate to that they will want to fill out the referral form and refer their friends, family members or acquaintances. To help you enhance the effectiveness of these contests, we have outlined a few tips below: 

  • Marketers need to see that the prize of the contest is relevant to the contacts’ needs and preferences as well as the brand. Giving away gift cards to use during purchase or sample products can be highly valuable prizes.
  • Marketers need to make sure that they send welcome emails to new referrals to welcome them heartily and tell them about the company and the products. Remind those new referrals they are receiving your emails after their friend has referred them to your business and because that friend has informed that new contacts might be interested in the products or the services you sell. Along with introducing their friend or the source, also talk about the benefits of subscribing with the brand to give them more to start engaging with your brand. 
  • If running a contest seems time-consuming, then, it is best to resort to a third-party tool that can alleviate the workload. Tools such as Rafflecopter, Woobox can help you reduce manual by creating contests and managing those for a monthly fee.
  • As soon as the contents will be over, you need to communicate with all the contest participants to inform them about the contest results and give every contest some value so that they will be back to participate in the contest, such as a limited coupon code, no matter whether they have won or lost. 

4. Create and offer useful content for download to referrals 

One of the best ways to multiply the number of referrals is to create a top-quality content for download that they want to use for addressing and resolving their problems, getting tips and ideas. The most popular types of content get downloaded are whitepaper, eBook, case studies, infographics, etc., that offer in-depth information and tips. When gated these pieces of content with a small form asking web visitors and subscribers to fill the form with their names and email addresses before gaining the link to download the content. After a day or two the content is downloaded, send those subscribers an email to refer the content they have downloaded to their friends who will find the guide useful too. You can also encourage them to share the content by offering exclusive coupon codes, vouchers, additional loyalty points or a free download.

Many organizations skip the step of sending subscribers reminder emails to refer to their friends and they end up losing the prospect of collecting referrals and losing on business as a whole. Also, you should never forget to remind existing subscribers of the special coupons or benefits they earn by referring their friends to your business. Because a small number of subscribers make referrals, so it is imperative to continue sending follow-up emails to subscribers to encourage them to refer to their contacts eventually.

In the previous part of the discussion 6 Ways to Boost Your Email Marketing Performance with Personalization & Automation [PART I], we have discussed the various types of emails to send to maximize conversion rates. In this subsequent part, we will focus on how to achieve email personalization. If you think of personalization for your email marketing campaign, these 6 tips can guide you to implement personalization and marketing automation to help you increase the efficacy of campaigns. 

  1. Engage, Personalize & improve Your ROI with marketing automation 

Marketing automation platforms enable a completely data-driven marketing processes which puts intensive focus on consumers, their demographic and behavioral information. With all these data at their disposal, marketers can take more well-informed strategies for customer engagement and lead nurturing campaigns. Customer insights also help marketers to ensure that their email messages reach the right segment of the email list, at the right time by quality testing, scheduling, and automating all the communication well in advance. Thus, email marketing armed with a marketing automation platform can help marketers achieve better segmentation, personalization and engagement which generate better quality leads, more opportunities, and higher prospects of conversion. 

2. Delivers better online user experience with automation 

Automation is not Robotic. If implemented properly automation can help you to take care of your existing & new customers. Using marketing automation we can target customers with exact targeted content tailored to their interests, thus preparing them to make the required purchase of a product or a service. Customer segmentation, marketing analytics plays a crucial role in providing this overall user experience.

3. Machine Learning in Automation Enhances Personalization

Yes, machine learning helps marketers collect customer data, analyze their behaviors based on the customer engagement from diverse marketing channels. Thus, marketers will be able to target smaller and specific segments of customers with better accuracy. The 1:1 personalization can be possible by using a marketing automation platform which enable businesses build excellent relationships with all their customers and that can get stronger with due course of time.

4. Automation offers customers what they need and want

Email marketing has been known to yield greater conversion rate than any other of any type of marketing. At that, this kind of return on investment on is possible by leveraging a marketing automation platform that better enables brands to deliver the kind of messages customers want to receive from the brand, at their preferred time of the week and day. Larger enterprises producing varying type and large masses of content is even better manageable with an automation platform. These platforms provide marketers with insights on what subscribers want and options to schedule emails for delivering them with personalized, relevant messages, at the same time preventing the risks of sending wrong content and email messages, to the wrong segment of prospects and customers, at the wrong time. Thus, such automation platforms can assist in increasing customer engagement and actions as well as sales.

5. Increased relevancy leads to sales.

With a marketing automation platform paired to the marketing process, marketers not only benefits from the option of delivering targeted and relevant emails based on certain preset triggers, but they will also be able to target delivery of email messages based on the rules can be set on the automation suite. Moreover, users can implement various personalization techniques to improve the relevancy of the message, to increase conversion rates. 

6. Personalization makes consumers feel special.

Consumers and prospects want to engage with businesses that are willing to optimum personalization and help them making better purchasing decisions. Most brands fail to personalize even with persuasive techniques; that’s when they need to implement marketing automation platform to perform higher personalization by not only personalizing email to their first name, but personalizing subject lines to their names, email copy focused on their preferences in information they wanted in email preferences and many others, based on the customer data recorded in the automation platform. Hence, in terms of increasing sales through email marketing, use of a marketing automation is the best tool to achieve personalization are key.

Final words

Use of personalization with automation can amplify impacts of email marketing campaign by increasing the efficiency of customer engagement, relevancy, scopes of revenue for any business. These automation platforms enable creating scheduled, automated, and personalized buying journeys for more effective lead nurturing campaigns for diverse segments of subscribers. Therefore, subscribers feel special and get heard and solutions they need to address their problems, thus boosting the chances of accelerating them through various stages of the buying journey, without using too much persuasion in the process.

Are you considering setting up marketing automation platform for your company? This complete marketing automation guide is created to guide you on how such automation platforms can enhance marketing operations. This article explains a wide range of benefits in terms of optimization, saving your staff’s time, automating and managing repetitive tasks for the marketing department. We have also covered all the advantages of using marketing automation platforms. So, let’s start…

  1. Alleviated staffing cost with automation

Using marketing automation software, marketers can set up more efficient lead nurturing, lead scoring and routing and many other marketing campaigns. Once set up, these campaigns can be automatically triggered as per the specific criteria were set during configuration. After setting these campaigns successfully, brands can start schedule and launch automated campaigns, deliver hundreds of personalized emails every day on autopilot mode and lessen costs on staffing.

  1. Customer Loyalty with Personalized Referral or Discounts Program

Businesses can use marketing automation platforms to create and promote products. Users will be able to configure referral programs will offer rewards customers and prospects when they will refer your products or services to anyone in their family, friends or peers. To find out more about how to use emails for referral program, you can find tips and ideas from 4 Types of Email Marketing Campaigns to Boost Referrals for Your Business.

  1. Improve alignment and accountability within marketing and sales teams

Marketing automation platforms are an exceptionally useful marketing tools in identifying campaign performance issues, by defining various processes clearly, as well as getting quick view on the marketing reports and latest status of the sales pipeline. Often most of the leads captured by marketing teams do not get nurtured & are not  followed up so as to convert those into sales-ready leads – in such scenarios, marketing automation platforms can come in handy by providing marketers with instant feedback on leads they need to nurture more. They can also use lead scoring features of marketing automation platforms to track which lead needs more nurturing and which leads are ready for sales follow ups. The  feedback tool also assists businesses in lessening the challenges of complex sales conversion, in aligning marketing and sales team members with clearer view and easier access to lead and attribution data e It also helps in improving the accountability of employees in making sure that the part of the automation system is working perfectly.

  1. Less errors, more accuracy and creativity

Businesses can lessen a great deal of manual repetitive tasks by implementing marketing automation tools. The key feature of these tools  is to automate marketing processes and programs. Thus, strategists can free up an adequate amount of time to dedicate in focusing on more creative tasks and planning strategies for more impactful marketing campaigns. Businesses that have already implemented marketing automation platforms have significantly benefited from overall hike in productivity and creativity as their employees can find more time in varying creative projects, avoid the risks of missed activities by scheduling and automating processes in advance, ensuring accuracy by performing tests before the launch, as well as following the timeline and the flow by scheduling marketing programs and thus finding overall better work satisfaction by freeing themselves from mundane repetitive tasks and investing their time in doing research, enhancing their skills in other marketing tasks.

  1. Increased revenue

Marketing automation tools not only enable automating the marketing processes, but also helps automating sales processes such as, upsells, cross-sells, and regular follow-ups. With these processes getting automated, businesses can benefit from an improved value in customer lifetime. By combining this automated upsell or follow-up processes with lead management practices and customer prioritization, you can achieve better sales activities and greater ROI.

  1. Better targeting across diverse marketing channels

One of the best benefits of leveraging marketing automation platform is that these tools provide marketers with the capability to improve their customer reach and target them with better personalized communications through various marketing channels from email to direct marketing. While marketers create the sequence for different marketing activities such as sending them newsletters, sending postcard via direct mail, reaching them via text message, or connect with them via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other social channels or simply pursue via phone call – they can plan and schedule these activities to nurture leads until those leads turn sales ready or are at a certain phase of the buying journey. Marketing automation tools feature various options to achieve such multi-channel marketing and customer targeting goals by enabling users to automate email, text messages and phone calls, direct mail, social media marketing as well as sending postcards.

  1. Schedule programs and campaigns in advance

One significant feature of marketing automation platforms is that it helps marketers in staying ahead of time, keeping all the programs, campaigns and assets organized and  helps in planning, testing and automating all the campaigns ,programs, social media posts and all other marketing posts well in advance. Though scheduling functionality is common in social media marketing and email marketing platforms, but the added advantage of scheduling and automating in marketing automation tool is that these tools make it all the more easier to schedule multiple types of marketing posts, target various segments of the customer base and personalize communications and content based on customer data that also gets synced with the CRM systems. Also, marketers can, instead of just scheduling one message for the entire customer base, schedule multiple variants of a single message for different segments of the targeted audience and attain enhanced personalization..

  1. Continue A/B testing campaigns

Contrasting to traditional marketing systems wherein marketers can split test their marketing campaigns and assets such as emails, forms or landing page only once or twice before launching to the targeted customer segment, a marketing automation tool makes it extremely easy for marketers to continue running A/B tests on present programs and campaigns. Users can perform A/B tests on all marketing campaigns, in each stage of the marketing process before and after launches. The changes and fixes can be implemented in diverse stages of marketing activities create substantial improvements in the effectiveness of the funnel.

Bonus tip:

Get Better reporting and analysis of what is working and what not

The marketing automation tools not only will determine which campaigns, programs or marketing assets can work and which cannot, but also these tools let marketers identify the type of customers and prospects they need. With this level of data analysis and reporting, marketers will be better able to understand their customers and decide which of the segments need more attention.

Additionally, marketing automation tools also assist in recycling and reusing existing content in the present and future lead nurturing campaigns. Thus, automation tools can help marketers make the most of their content resources by setting rules and automating content to educate their audience for improved nurturing impacts in various stages of the lead lifecycle.