Posts Tagged ‘Email’

Gmail Grid ViewGoogle has made waves again in the email marketing world with the new “grid view” for the Gmail Promotions tab. This image-heavy layout will display thumbnail pictures for each message in a Pinterest-like framework. For email marketers, this can be a great opportunity to grab the recipient’s attention with a captivating image that previews the message contents. If you combine the image preview with a strong subject line, you have the ingredients for increased open rates and engagement.

Gmail will automatically choose an image from the contents of the message, but you can designate a specific image to appear with your email by adding a small piece of code. Identifying the image is especially important if your message is text-heavy or if it includes smaller graphics. The required dimensions are at least 580 x 400 pixels, and it can be saved as a JPG or GIF. Gmail will resize larger images, but it is probably best to stick to these dimensions.

Once you have the image designed and uploaded, just overwrite the blue text in the code below with your image URL and then copy all three lines into the HTML of your message.

<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Offer“>

<link itemprop=”image” href=”INSERT FULL URL HERE“/>

</div>

Additionally, grid view also includes a link and image for a Google+ page associated with the sender. This is part of Google’s on-going efforts to build engagement on their social network. If your business has a Google+ profile, this can be a valuable tool for cross-channel marketing. If you don’t use Google+ for your business, you might want to consider establishing a presence. You can read how to setup the Gmail/Google+ connection here.

Finally, Gmail has provided some details on optimal sender and subject lengths. They recommend keeping the sender name under 20 characters and using a subject line that is no longer than 75 characters. Staying within these limits will ensure your email is viewed correctly within the new layout.

What do you think of grid view? Do you think other email services like Yahoo or Outlook will follow Gmail’s lead and add a visual-driven inbox setting?


is Director of Digital Strategy and Design for Paramount Communication Group. Adam is a Certified E-Marketer (CEM) and a Certified E-Marketing Analyst (CEA). Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamHubka.
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In December 2013, Google announced that images within emails would be displayed automatically for all Gmail users, regardless of whether or not they clicked “Display Images Below.” Google will now cache images and serve them through their own secure proxy servers to protect users from viruses or malware that could be associated with externally hosted images. The change was also made to speed up the open time for each message and make the user experience more consistent with mobile email.

How will this impact email marketing?

The biggest change for marketers will be with unique open rate data for Gmail messages. Since the image cache will only serve the first image, email marketers will only be able to track unique opens for Gmail users.

Google says the change will have a positive impact on open rates since marketers will no longer have to depend on users both opening the message and loading the images. This may in fact lead to Gmail open rates increasing, as well as boosting total opens.

However, while open rates may increase, Gmail will no longer be sending the IP address information of their users, effectively limiting the amount of data collected from opens. Tracking geolocation and whether users view it on mobile, desktop or web could prove to be a challenge.

Gmail is reported to have over 425 million users, so this change is definitely worth noting, especially if it starts a trend within the email industry. It also means email marketers should focus on the appearance of their design more than ever. Gmail recipients will no longer have to click to see images, so the message will be front and center upon first viewing. Placing emphasis on email best practices and strong email design can help you maximize the increased visibility and make a great first impression.


is Director of Digital Strategy and Design for Paramount Communication Group. Adam is a Certified E-Marketer (CEM) and a Certified E-Marketing Analyst (CEA). Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamHubka.

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emailchart1If you’ve been sending the same email messages to your list and have noticed a decline in performance, it might be time to consider a few changes to reignite the response.

Simple A/B testing can identify elements within the email campaign that can be improved or adjusted to boost overall performance. These changes can optimize your content and jump start your marketing efforts.

Here are some good examples of things you can test within your email marketing strategy:

  • Message subject lines: Shorter vs. Longer? Question vs. Urgency?
  • Text copy: Wording, fonts, headline, length
  • Design elements: Colors, images, buttons, layout
  • Send time: Afternoon vs. Morning?
  • List segmentation: Location, activity, time zone
  • Call-to-action: Wording, placement, size, visibility
  • Day of send: Weekday vs. Weekend?

You can also add personal customizations like First Name and Birthday messages to provide additional relevancy. If you’re sending clicks to a landing page, be sure to test elements on there as well.

Whether you’re looking at one item or larger, multi-layered changes, testing can keep your email content fresh, relevant, and better positioned for continued success. Even minor changes can have a big impact, but you’ll never know unless you test.


is Director of Digital Strategy and Design for Paramount Communication Group. Adam is a Certified E-Marketer (CEM) and a Certified E-Marketing Analyst (CEA). Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamHubka.

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Email coding and website coding are not exactly the same thing. Yes, they both use elements of HTML, CSS, images and enriched media, but ISPs and email providers tend to lag behind web browsers when it comes to how content is displayed. Unfortunately, there are no universal standards for email rendering, so creating the perfect design can become a little tricky. Here are seven tips to give your email the best possible appearance across all channels.

Avoid CSS and code with tables.
When possible, standard HTML tables should be used to ensure ideal message rendering. Embedded or external CSS will be stripped out by many email clients, which leads to errors and broken coding. Inline CSS within tables or Span tags are safer and can provide more flexibility. A good rule of thumb is to try to keep your code as basic as possible—think 1997 style coding.

Avoid background images.
They’re not supported in most versions of Microsoft Outlook, and they won’t load in many other email platforms, which results in blank space.

Use Alt attributes on images.
This will provide alternate text that shows up if images are blocked or turned off by default. Alt tags are especially important when viewing image-intensive emails on mobile devices.

Include height and width definitions on images.
Defining image dimensions can speed up message load time and will create a clear structure for the overall message.

Use the Block tag for piecing together images.
The Block tag will protect your design from unwanted breaks or white lines between images. This is useful whenever your design pieces together multiple images to create a seamless appearance.

P tags can create paragraph spacing issues.
Although P tags are very common for paragraph coding, it’s usually safest to use double BR tags to create paragraph breaks and to avoid spacing issues.

Always test.
ISPs and email services are constantly changing, and message rendering defaults can vary, so it’s always a good idea to send yourself a test through as many email platforms as possible. There are also a lot of great tools that allow you to pinpoint design flaws, optimize content and expose potential issues prior to send.

What best practices or design tips have you used when formulating an email marketing message?


is Director of Digital Strategy and Design for Paramount Communication Group. Adam is a Certified E-Marketer (CEM) and a Certified E-Marketing Analyst (CEA). Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamHubka.

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If you’ve been sending out email marketing messages or email newsletters and you’ve noticed a decrease in performance, it might be a good time to consider some changes.

Changing the designs can be a great way to give your email a boost if it isn’t performing well. If the message has run into issues and the design has never changed, ISPs can begin to identify the email based on how it’s constructed. That can increase the odds that it will be blocked or go straight to the junk folder. Changing the design a bit (even if it’s just font sizes, colors and header images) can add something new that might help the overall performance. Of course, you always want to follow best practices when setting up your email: be careful to avoid spam terminology, send it to the appropriate recipients, and follow correct opt-out procedures.

If the email is already performing well or it hasn’t run into delivery issues, sometimes adding a few design changes here or there can still help. While a complete overhaul probably isn’t necessary or recommended for emails that are performing well, adding a few small but noticeable changes can be a great way to spice up the message and re-engage the recipient. For instance, if someone opens the message and notices a new design, it could motivate them to check out the rest of the email when they might otherwise have just skipped it.

A design change when the email is already performing well probably wouldn’t have as big an impact as changing the design on a poorly performing email. If it’s done correctly and best practices are followed, it usually doesn’t hurt to mix things up in the design.

What techniques have you used to reinvigorate your email messages?


is Director of Digital Strategy and Design for Paramount Communication Group. Adam is a Certified E-Marketer (CEM) and a Certified E-Marketing Analyst (CEA). Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamHubka.

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Have you ever noticed white border issues when creating image-heavy email designs? A lot of email platforms will take an image-heavy design and break up the image quadrants to expose a white gap. This extra spacing can ruin the flow and appearance of the design and lead to rendering issues.

Luckily, there is a quick way to fix this issue by adding some additional coding into your HTML.

Simply add this line of code into the <HEAD> section of the template:

<style>img {display:block}</style>

Then add the “display:block” tag into each of the individual images to ensure that everything lines up correctly. For instance, a typical image tag (with this additional coding emphasized in bold) would look something like this:

<img alt=”Name” style=”display:block” src=”imagefile.jpg”>

By incorporating these two display block tags into your email design, you will be able to correct any rendering issues related to gaps in your images.


is Director of Digital Strategy and Design for Paramount Communication Group. Adam is a Certified E-Marketer (CEM) and a Certified E-Marketing Analyst (CEA). Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamHubka.

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