Recently, Linda West, Manager of Demand Generation here at Act-On Software, joined forces with Matt Byrd, Email Marketing Manager at Litmus, to present their futuristic tactics for improving the results of email campaigns. These tips represent the latest trends and best practices from experts in the field, with examples that demonstrate how leading brands are setting these ideas into action. There were so many excellent questions asked during the Q&A session that Linda and Matt didn’t have a chance to answer them all. Matt has already tackled many of them – take a look to read his insights about B2B email tactics and marketing tips. And be sure to watch the original webinar if you haven’t already. Here are five additional questions from the session with answers from Act-On experts as well as our customers and partners.
1) What are some creative ways you can use to get your messages opened and read?
Tim Asimos, Vice President and Director of Digital Innovation at circle S studio: You have around 3-5 seconds to persuade a recipient that your email is worth reading. Needless to say, it is absolutely critical that your email conveys a relevant, engaging message to an appropriate target audience. The design of your email plays a big role in helping make that happen – or preventing that from happening. Here are ten essential best practices to guide you when you design your emails.
- Put key information at the top
- Limit email width to 600px wide
- Stick to basic HTML
- Design with mobile in mind
- Match fonts and colors to your brand standards
- Make your call to action stand out
- Use attention-grabbing text
- Keep your design clean and simple
- Test your email in all types of browsers and devices
- Have a backup plan – include “View in Browser” link and plain-text version
Read more about these tips and get additional insights from Tim in his post on the 10 crucial design elements that get your emails opened – and read.
2) How do the new Canadian anti-spam laws affect you?
David Fowler, Act-On’s Chief Deliverability and Privacy Officer: Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) went into effect July 1, 2014. The days of non-opted in, un-permissioned emails are over. In the US, we are the only country in the world that has no permission requirement for our email marketing efforts. So if you just take that one statement alone, reverse it and apply it to any program globally, you need to obtain permission of recipients, or consent before your outreach. Permission is the key in anything. Permission, disclosure, consent – all those things. If you have those buttoned up, then you shouldn’t have any issues as you move forward. If there are any holes in that process, that’s where you could get into trouble Read more about CASL compliance in this transcript of a recent Q&A session with David.
3) Are you able to integrate email with social media and website landing pages connecting the lead data? How do you integrate direct email with Facebook?
- Make sure they’re aligned strategically, tactically, and operationally.
- Make sure to have an email opt-in in your Facebook page.
- Increase your opt-in conversion with social sign-in.
- When you perform day-of-week and time-of-day email testing, try applying your results to when you post on Facebook.
- Conversely, look at your Facebook interaction window and try applying those to your email sending window.
- Apply your winning email subject lines to Facebook headlines, and vice versa.
- Do the same with images. Try those that have a high email click-through rate on Facebook, and use images that get higher engagement in Facebook in your email.
- Determine which of your products do well on Facebook, and give it some email emphasis.
- Mine social chatter for email topics.
Find more information in the slides from the Marketing Sherpa Email Summit on SlideShare.
4) What is the best way to create responsive emails that work on all or almost all phones and tablets?
Monique Torres, Senior Writer at Act-On: In a recent conversation with Act-On and the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), Scott Abel, content strategist and professor of Digital Publishing at UC Berkeley, focused on tools that content marketers should not ignore, including adaptive content. Adaptive content is designed from the start to adjust to the needs of the customer. It’s created specifically so machines can (1) interpret it and (2) change parts of it to better reflect the needs of the Reader. To be clear, adaptive content is not responsive content; that is, it is not solely a cosmetic change wherein the content automatically resizes to read well on any device, from the big screen to the smartphone. (Though, according to Scott, it always should.) Rather, adaptive content changes in both substance and capabilities based on things such as:
- Where a person is
- What they’re doing
- What device they’re using
- What platform they’re using
- What language they speak
- What they’re trying to accomplish at the moment they tackle your content
And it can do so either automatically or on-demand. Read more about adaptive content, and discover four more technologies for content marketers.
5) What should be put in the subject line to get attention of the reader?
Lisa Cannon, Senior Writer at Act-On: Getting your customers and prospects to open an email can be extremely challenging in today’s crowded marketplace. Many people get hundreds of emails every day. Which ones will make them click? Which ones will cause them to hit the delete button before giving them a second glance? We all know what works on us. But putting this knowledge into practice for our readers can be a challenge. That’s why it’s important to focus on the big attention-getter when it comes to open rates – subject lines. In general, they should be:
- Short and to the point
- Accurate about what’s inside the email
A great subject line will also be clever – and maybe even a bit unusual as well. Keep in mind, these are not hard-and-fast rules. Your audience will tell you with their clicks what works and what doesn’t. So use these guidelines to get started, but always test your subject lines first to find out what works for you (and for your audience). Read more and get 12 tips for writing effective subject lines that can boost the results of your next email campaign. Just getting started with email marketing? Get the jump on it with this free toolkit: