Posted on February 3, 2016
By all accounts, this was the most mobile holiday season yet, with the most important development being that mobile conversion rates and sales increased significantly. For example, 53% of all online shopping visits came from shoppers on mobile devices from Nov. 26 (Thanksgiving) through Sunday, Nov. 29, according to data from the Adobe Digital Index.
There’s been a pervasive myth that consumers don’t want to buy on small screens, and that myth has kept some brands from investing in responsive websites and responsive email design. We saw that myth crumble this holiday season, with mobile-friendly retailers reaping the benefits, as Internet Retailer reports in this article.
In 2016, the majority of emails will be read on mobile devices, and the majority of brands will adopt responsive design. Brands that haven’t adopted a mobile-first email and web strategy yet will quickly find themselves in the lagging minority in the eyes of consumers and in comparison to their competitors. After a string of “This is the Year of Mobile” declarations, 2016 will be just another year in the mobile era. Mobile has become the status quo.
Posted on February 2, 2016
Must-read articles, posts & whitepapers
The Triumph of Email (The Atlantic)
What we’ve learnt from randomly testing #EmailWeekly (Action Rocket)
Inbox Wars: The Email Awakens (Listrak)
Guilt And Shame As A UI Design Element (BuzzFeed)
The unfolding email experiment (Action Rocket)
Insightful & entertaining tweets
@SarahDuggers: *cough* pic.twitter.com/ovMit5dGhV
@TrentWalton: I wrote my first book today. Here it is in its entirety… pic.twitter.com/emRbyrZiUe
Noteworthy subject lines
Jetsetter, 1/12 — Take Your Powerball Winnings Here!
Pier 1 Imports, 1/17 — Give more than words can ever express.
Wayfari, 1/25 — Oops! Here’s the valentine we forgot to drop off
Crate and Barrel, 1/25 — Countdown to kickoff.
Walmart, 1/14 — Save now on Game Time essentials
Jetsetter, 1/6 — New Year, New Batch of Vacation Days!
Walmart, 1/7 — 2016 resolution: Save big on fitness, nutrition, tech and more
MAC Cosmetics, 1/12 — MAC Year of the Monkey — A Toast to This Charmed Sign. Plus Free Shipping.
BabiesRUs, 1/13 — Home Is Delightful, When the Weather Is Frightful
J.Crew, 1/23 — Got parka?
ModCloth, 1/25 — Winter. Just. Happened.
Under Armour, 1/28 — You Never Have To Run Indoors Again
Gap, 1/23 — if we squint, we can see spring
Express, 1/14 — $20 off every $80 + The countdown to Spring Break is on!
The Container Store, 1/6 — Best ways to contain Christmas toys!
Zulily, 1/13 — Cut the clutter! Organize your home
The Container Store, 1/12 — See How elfa Transforms These Spaces!
Brooks Brothers, 1/14 — Made to Measure: You wear it best.
Victoria’s Secret, 1/23 —What’s new: the shirttail hoodie + free shipping on $50!
Under Armour, 1/7 — 1/4 Zips: The Layer You Grab First
Petco, 1/14 — The Star Wars™ Pet Fans Collection™ strikes back with new products!
MoMA Store, 1/7 — The Rumors Are True: Now Up to 70% Off
West Elm, 1/12 — BOOM. (That’s the sound of our huge price drop…)
Moosejaw, 1/7 — FREE $101 Gift Card w/ select Jackets
ThinkGeek, 1/22 — ThinkGeek is wot bwings us togeder tooday.
Dell, 1/6 — Drops? Spills? Surges?
J.Crew, 1/27 — Meet Sam, Ryan, Betty, Irving, Jack & Jill
Lululemon, 1/26 — no butts about it
Express, 1/6 — Hailey Baldwin shows off our hottest jeans ever
Neiman Marcus, 1/25 — Burberry: New shoes, including #onlyatNM styles
Furniture.com, 1/26 — #sale #shop #yessss
Gap, 1/26 — #nothingbutdenim
Threadless, 1/22 — Worst cat, best Tumblr.
Lenovo, 1/13 — Join our New Community: Get Connected & WIN our Latest Tech
Vera Bradley, 1/23 — Put the phone down and …
New posts on EmailMarketingRules.com
Posted on January 28, 2016
Shortly after making the jump from journalism to email marketing in the mid-2000s, I was at a party with my wife and told a new acquaintance that I was in email marketing. “Oh, so you’re the one that sends me all that spam?” he retorted. He was obnoxious, but his words really crushed my pride. At future parties, I was simply “in marketing” and would transition to other, safer topics.
But things are different now. I know I’ve made a very smart decision to be a part of this strong, important, dynamic industry—and what’s better is that now a lot more people are starting to realize how amazing and powerful email marketing is.
Posted on January 26, 2016
The problem is that for many brands, this linear A-to-B-to-C-to-D email interaction is increasingly rare—and already rare enough to reduce most email attribution to the realm of proxies. It’s meaningful, but you’re not getting the full picture by a long shot in most cases.
The ability to go to alternative channels, along with the disruptions of native inbox links and rich content, have complicated email attribution for years. Now wearables like the Apple Watch and new interactive email functionality like email carousels are making email attribution even more difficult.
In response, marketers need to make use of some new metrics and more fully embrace a holistic, subscriber-centric approach to email marketing.
Posted on January 22, 2016
Achieving one-to-one messaging is a great goal, but reducing our reliance on one-to-all broadcast messaging is probably a better, more realistic goal for most brands. This is where the one-to-some of segmented messaging can be very powerful.
Jen Rhee, Email Marketing Manager at online learning marketplace Udemy, knows a lot about segmentation and how it can power email marketing success. After all, 60% of Udemy’s total revenue is generated by email marketing.
At The Email Design Conference, I was able to interview Jen about how marketers can make the most of email segmentation by going beyond demographic segmentation.
“There’s thousands of different ways you can create segments,” says Jen. “You can come up with lots of different segments. It’s really important that you focus on the right ones, because we all have limited time and resources.”
Posted on January 14, 2016
Our subscribers aren’t all the same. They have different goals, which means that marketers should have different strategies for optimizing those relationships and measuring the success of those relationships.
Vicky Ge, Marketing Manager, Trade Books, at Amazon.com, is very mindful of the different audiences that the ecommerce giant serves. At The Email Design Conference, I had the opportunity to sit down and interview Vicky about how marketers can best approach measuring success across their various subscriber segments.
“We try to group out our success metrics by different customer clusters,” said Vicky, who emphasized that translates into a segmented and personalized content strategy.
“My goal is to make sure that any person is receiving the content that is most appropriate to that person,” she said. “If that person is an influencer, I want to send them the content that helps them be an influencer. If that person just likes to shop a lot, I want to send them content that they want to buy. If that person is a browser, I want to send them content they like to browse through.”
Posted on January 12, 2016
Where, when, and how to collect email addresses so that retailers are attracting high-value, low-complaint subscribers is definitely a common struggle, as I shared with Dom Nicastro of CMSWire, who was examining the results of the 2016 Yesmail Channel Report. The findings of that survey of nearly 200 Shop.org attendees found that almost half of retailers do not collect email addresses via social media or in-store, and that 17% don’t collect don’t secure website visitors’ email addresses.
The key is recognizing that while there are many email address acquisition sources available to retailers, not all sources are equally valuable. And then the challenge is identifying which sources for a particular retailer are great ones and which are poor ones. The best sources should be optimized to make them better, and the worst sources should be discontinued if they can’t be significantly improved. More sources isn’t necessarily better.
For instance, social media is not always a good place to attract email subscribers, which clearly some retailers have learned. While the volume of consumers is high on social media, and social platforms offer consumers a number of reasons to engage with a retailer, the interest and intent to purchase isn’t typically very strong, as demonstrated by Facebook’s multi-year struggle to gain traction with its ecommerce offerings.
Consumers are attracted to social media for recommendations and testimonials, to share experiences, to engage in cause- and issue-related reasons, and to complain, among other things. To be fair, there is significant interest in deals and promotions, but it’s just one of a multitude of interests.
On the other hand, visitors to a retailer’s ecommerce site are familiar with—if not already loyal to—the brand and have a strong intent to buy. Every retail website should have a prominent email subscription form on their home page—preferably, only requiring an email address, since other information can be collected post-signup or during conversion. Signup forms should appear on all product pages, and an opt-in opportunity should be a part of checkout as well.
Consumers who are visiting a retail store are similarly desirable and make excellent subscribers. The issue here is not quality, but rather logistics. A number of brands have found themselves in trouble with ISPs or Spamhaus because of their poor practices around in-store email opt-ins. Collecting email addresses via hand-written forms lead to serious transcription errors that can result in hard bounces or hitting spam traps.
Better approaches include having consumers type their email address themselves on a tablet or pen pad, or having consumers verbally communicate their email address and allowing them to visually verify that it was captured correctly. These will improve accuracy dramatically.
Retailers should consider using a confirmed or double opt-in process if quality is still an issue. This involves sending an email to the would-be subscriber and asking them to confirm their subscription by clicking a button in the email. If they don’t click, then they aren’t subscribed.
In general, email addresses are best collected closest to a point-of-purchase and customer service, because that’s where retailers’ customers and best prospects are. It’s at these touchpoints—which include ecommerce websites, stores, mobile apps, and call centers—that consumers are the most interested and engaged with a brand, which indicates they will be the most open to receiving deals, new product information, and other content.
Posted on January 7, 2016
Email marketing success metrics are incredibly tricky, in part because it’s very easy to fall into a mindset of evaluating campaign success instead of program or customer success. While individual campaigns are important—some being critical—the collective impact of our campaigns on the engagement of our subscribers is even more important.
It’s an easy trap to fall into, and one that we here are Litmus are occasionally guilty of tripping headfirst into. It’s partially because it’s so much simpler to measure campaigns, whereas drilling down to the subscriber level and adding the crucial element of time makes the math more complex.
While at The Email Design Conference, I had the opportunity to sit down with Holly Wright, Email Marketing Manager at marketing and ecommerce agency Phoenix Direct, to talk about email metrics, effective A/B testing, and how important the element of time is in determining true success.
Posted on January 6, 2016
Must-read articles, posts & whitepapers
16 Predictions for Email in 2016 (SparkPost)
Here is what 9 experts see for the future of email marketing and marketing automation (Email Vendor Selection)
The Future of Marketing 2016: New Roles, and Trends (Salesforce)
Email: Everyone’s Doing It (Direct Marketing News)
The seven deadly sins of holiday email marketing (Econsultancy)
Insightful & entertaining tweets
@krudz: I’m not sure if Desktop Zero is a thing or not, but I’ve achieved it nonetheless.
Noteworthy subject lines
Neiman Marcus, 12/3 — More than 100 Insta-worthy gifts for selfie experts and Pinterest fanatics!
Subway Restaurants, 12/3 — Sign up for texts. Get a FREE 6″. Yep. That Easy.
Anthropologie, 12/12 — Join ANTHRO & enjoy 25% OFF, 49 hrs only.
Walmart, 12/12 — Hurry, our best offer ever – open a Walmart Credit Card today
Petco, 12/3 — Santa Claus is coming to Petco… for a photo with your pet!
Overstock.com, 12/2 — Cyber Week + Hundreds of Doorbusters = BIG TIME SAVINGS
Hayneedle.com, 12/2 — More Cyber Week Sales … see inside.
FragranceNet.com, 12/2 — Cyber Week = 50% OFF retail prices or more!
Saks Fifth Avenue, 12/3 — Cyber Week Continues: Outerwear up to 40% OFF.
Hayneedle.com, 12/7 — Final hours for 15% OFF your order! Cyber Monday 2 ends tonight.
HP, 12/13 — Green Monday sale starts now!
Barneys New York, 12/6 — Have the Happiest Hanukkah!
Brooks Brothers, 12/6 — Happy Hanukkah
Gilt, 12/6 — Happy Hanukkah! Plus, Gifts for Him, Re-Boot, Zanerobe and More Start Today at 9pm ET
Art.com, 12/7 — Tick. Tock. Your Work Can Wait…
Uncommon Goods, 12/7 — Gifts For Your Babysitter, In-Laws, and Every Hostess in Between
Brooks Brothers, 12/7 — Gifts for wanderlust-ers.
ModCloth, 12/12 — 10 gifts they’ll never see coming.
Lowe’s, 12/10 — NEW Lowe’s Giftables are Here
ToysRUs, 12/9 — You’re Going to Need a Bigger Bow!
Lands’ End, 12/9 — As you wish! Up to 50% off everything today only, get her gifts now.
ThinkGeek, 12/6 — This is not a trap: 20-50% off ALL Star Wars ends tonight!
ThinkGeek, 12/9 — ThinkGeek’s FREE shipping tauntaun is BACK!
ToysRUs, 12/17 — These *Are* the Toys You’re Looking For! Buy 1 Get 1 40% OFF ALL Minecraft Figures
Discovery Channel Store, 12/18 — Top 10 Star Wars ™ Gifts! Order Now To Get in Time for the Holiday
Hasbro, 12/18 — We have Star Wars toys! Get them now while they last.
Target, 12/18 — New Star Wars is in theaters today! Celebrate with a sale.
Sears, 12/18 — The Star Wars Flash Sale starts…NOW!
Karmaloop, 12/18 — Gifts From The Dark Side! And, There’s Still Time… Shop Quick Ship!
Brooks Brothers, 12/17 — 8 days to go. We’re here to help.
Overstock, 12/17 — THERE’S STILL TIME! Look for the Icon to Get It by Christmas!
ThinkGeek, 12/18 — We’ve got last minute gift ideas + final shipping countdown!
Costco Wholesale, 12/18 — Gift Baskets & More – Order these items by 11:59 PM PST on 12/19 to receive on or before 12/24!
Furniture.com, 12/10 — Our Best for YOUR Guests!
Kohler, 12/13 — Ho Ho Home. Update Your Home For the Holidays
Horchow, 12/18 — Fast food: Order your Christmas dinner here & now! Time is running out!
Nike, 12/25 — Use Your Gift Card: Shop the Season’s Best
Victoria’s Secret, 12/25 — Merry Christmas! Psst… E-Gift Cards still available!
Home Depot, 12/25 — Forget a Gift? eGift Cards Have You Covered
Walgreens, 12/25 — Merry Christmas – we’re here for you. Most stores open 8am-10pm
Zulily, 12/256 — That moment when Christmas is over
FansEdge, 12/26 — 25-70% Off Clearance = Gifting Yourself What You Really Wanted
Lands’ End, 12/26 — Get what you really wanted in our Great Winter Sale!
Drs. Foster & Smith, 12/26 — Did Santa Paws Missing Something?
Uncommon Goods, 12/26 — S.A.L.E. (Santa Always Loves Extensions)
Feeding America, 12/26 — 2015 Is Ending. But Hunger Isn’t.
Lululemon, 12/17 — she’d love to get into our pants
Wine.com, 12/2 — The #1 Wine of 2015 is…
Art.com, 12/9 — Introducing Pantone’s Color Of The Year
Jetsetter, 12/9 — Why Your Passport Could Be Denied in 2016…
New posts on EmailMarketingRules.com
Posted on January 4, 2016
Email marketing was ignored, under-resourced, and declared uncool and dead during the rise of social media. Now that leased media is morphing into paid media and paid media is morphing into blocked media, brands are returning to permission-based email marketing to find that it has new synergies, powerful new capabilities, broader integration, and fresh blood.
This is the premise of 5 predictions for email marketing in 2016 that I shared on the Convince & Convert blog:
- We’ll see many more positive media stories about email marketing than negative in 2016.
- The majority of email opens will occur on mobile devices in 2016.
- The majority of brands will use responsive design for their marketing emails in 2016.
- Another major ESP will be acquired in 2016 by a software titan.
- The first brands will offer checkout experiences that are fully contained within emails in 2016.
For all the details on these predictions and more on how email marketing is changing,…