Guide to Creating Responsive Emails

In the past, when you received a non-responsive email, you blamed the phone, you gave it a shake, or you might even have tried the classic but miraculous technique of closing and reopening the app. That was then, when our inboxes still seemed like remote digital paradises.

Now, how many emails do you get a day? 20, 30, 100? I wouldn’t know where to start counting them. For a while now, when I get an email that looks odd, with cut-off images and blocks aligned so strangely that the whole thing looks like a Picasso, I’ve deleted it without further ado. And I’m not the only one: 80% of people would delete an email that doesn’t display properly on their mobile device.

For this reason, in a world where mobile is king and people like me don’t appreciate all the effort that goes into your newsletters and campaigns, deleting them without the slightest hint of remorse, responsive email design is crucial.

What is responsive email design and why is it so important?

Responsive email design is not a new online phenomenon, but if you aren’t a designer or don’t work in digital marketing, you might not be quite sure what it is.

A responsive – also called adaptive – design is a design that adapts and displays properly on screens of various sizes. For example, avoiding an image being wider than the screen or the user having to increase or reduce the size of text to be able to read it.

Although here we’ll be talking about email design, this technique can also (and especially) be used for web page design and layout. Why is it so important for design, both of emails and web pages, to adapt to various devices? Well, this is almost a rhetorical question, but we wanted to add a touch of suspense.

An article on Email Monday claims 59% of emails sent today are opened on mobile devices, and only 15% are opened on a desktop. And the same is true of web search: almost 60% of Internet searches are done on mobiles. Both of these are more than good enough reasons for brands to want to make the user experience as easy and intuitive as possible.

So what precise factors determine how an email displays?

Device screen size

First and foremost, the main factor that affects how a user views an email is undoubtedly the device type. Email is accessed differently on a desktop computer, Samsung Mini, and a digital watch.

On a desktop, the screen is much larger and we have a mouse to help us navigate, scroll, and click easily on text links or buttons, however small they are.

On a phone, the story is somewhat different. Here the proportions of the content are reduced to fit on the micro screen of a latest generation mobile (although truth be told some phones are more like tablets). So, images are smaller, the text more compressed, and you need to scroll much more to reach the end.

Email Clients

The other big enemies of responsive email are email clients themselves. If you’re unfamiliar with this term, an email client is a program that allows you to send and receive emails, and manage an email account effectively. The best-known email clients are Gmail and Outlook, but there are many more and each one displays email in its own way.

Email clients have an impact on responsive emails

So what can we do, then? Don’t panic. As the image shows, the top five email clients pretty much have a monopoly, so you can start by adapting your emails based on this data.

These top five email clients have a market share of over 70% between them, so we should prioritize adapting our emails for mobile to be read in these clients.

Different types of email optimization

When we talk about optimizing email design, we have a number of options of varying simplicity and effectiveness. These are the main options:

Scalable email design

Scalable design is the most basic method of adapting your emails. The content of an email of this kind will simply be scaled up or down to adapt to the user’s screen size, but without changing the structure of the email or the layout of the content.

These types of email are the easiest to develop, but in truth scalable design does not deliver the best results.

TopShop Responsive Email
Source: Ondho

Fluid email design

Fluid design uses percentage-based sizing to make blocks of content adapt automatically to the screen size of the device. In other words, the content “flows” from the desktop version into the various screen widths, filling the space as the screen width varies.

This format typically works best for text-heavy emails, but it is also very hard to get the layout right.

Adidas Responsive Email
Source: Ondho

Responsive email design

Of the three types, responsive design delivers the best viewing experience on all screen sizes. What sets it apart is that it ensures each device displays a different version of the message, optimized for the specific screen size.

Laying out emails like this is quite a complex task, but the good news is that Passport, Mailjet’s drag and drop email editor, allows you to create responsive newsletters by default. We’ll come back to Passport at the end of the post.

Nike Responsive Email
Source: Ondho

How to design a responsive newsletter: best practice

If you use an email editor like ours, you don’t have to worry about media queries, CSS and equally unfamiliar concepts: the editor does everything for you. However, there are other things that might interfere with the end result, and here we’ll tell you what they are and how to avoid them.

Layout of a responsive email template

One of the most common email design errors is using a layout with multiple columns. It might happen because we get carried away by creative urges (or emotion), but this first decision could result in an epic email adaptability fail.

This is because the vast majority of mobile devices have a vertical screen design, forcing them to shrink anything with a wider format, including emails with several columns.

So what’s the solution? Opt for a single-column design; this will ensure that web browsers and email clients display the content of your email in the right proportions, and you won’t have to re-adapt the design to smaller screen sizes. When it comes to mobile devices, simplicity is your friend!

Take a look at some of the faults we’ve taken directly from our inboxes.

Email bugs from non-responsive emails

Images for responsive emails

Images (and gifs) are a fantastic way of making emails more dynamic and attractive. But in responsive email design, images can be a double-edged sword.

Choose an appropriate image size

When it comes to images in email, the (not so big) secret is not to use exaggeratedly outsized or undersized images. If you use overly big images, you run the risk that emails will not display properly or will take a long time to load. And, believe us, nobody is going to wait more than three seconds before moving on to the next email.

On the other hand, using overly small images will not deliver better results either. In fact, what we will probably get are distorted or pixelated images.

To make sure your images display properly and adapt to any device, use images that can adjust to the size of your newsletter: you can cut them down to the exact size before uploading them to your email template or, better still, use an email editor like Mailjet’s so you can edit them directly in your template.

Alt text: a must-have

Despite all the effort we put into selecting appropriately sized images, it might be that from time to time they still do not display correctly. The fault may lie with email clients, which manage the visual content of emails differently, or users themselves who, for various reasons, prefer to block images by default.

But don’t despair! A simple and effective solution is to add Alt Text (alternative text) to accompany the image and display when the image does not. This text is particularly important for two reasons. Firstly, it tells users they are not seeing the missing images relating to the text. Secondly, emails that contain this tag have a better reputation with email clients, because spammers generally don’t bother adding it.

Add alt text to emails to set yourself apart from spammers

Avoid image-only emails

Talking of spammers, another ill-advised technique is to create emails that only contain images, and we’re sure you can guess why. It’s a very risky choice, partly because these messages often end up in the spam folder, but also because, as we just said, if for any reason the images don’t display correctly we have no way of reaching our contact.

Remember: For your email to be effective, aim for a text to image ratio of 60:40.

A good balance between text and image to make it responsive

If you would like to know more about images in email, take a look at this guide.

Calls to action for responsive emails

A basic element of any email design is the call to action (CTA), designed to orientate readers and encourage them to perform a specific action.

If we don’t include clear instructions for our recipients, they might be unsure what to do with our email and move on in a nanosecond. This is also why CTAs and links should be easy to identify and point in exactly the right direction.

When you design a CTA for a responsive email, make sure the buttons are clearly visible by using, for example, a color that contrasts with the palette you’re using, and big enough so everyone can pick them out easily. As we all know, some people are prone to “fat finger errors”!

And of course, no links in the text or image format: these types of CTA can be much harder to select and, in the case of images, even see. Lastly, be careful where you put your buttons and avoid putting them too close together, as in the example below.

Don't put buttons too close together because they are hard to select with fingers

Text and legibility

The text is one of the aspects we should adapt to make sure people who open our messages on these devices don’t feel overwhelmed by tiny fonts and interminable paragraphs.

Hierarchy and priorities

In a web browser, there are a number of techniques you can use to grab a reader’s attention: use colors, arresting images, elegant fonts etc. But on devices with small screens, like smartphones, this is the role of the hierarchy. The hierarchy must be clear to ensure readers grasp the essence of our message, even if they don’t reach the bottom of the page.

People receive a huge number of emails every day, so the competition is huge and it’s increasingly hard to get people to read them. That’s why we should always design our emails with the order of importance in mind, putting the most relevant items first.

Text type and size

As for the text itself, make sure your emails are legible. Don’t aim too high with your use of fonts: opt for a standard font available on any device, like the classic and timeless Arial, Georgia, Times New Roman or Verdana.

Likewise, in this instance size does matter, so be kind to your readers and use a typeface large enough that they don’t need glasses to give your latest newsletter a once over.

Lastly, don’t forget to leave white spaces between one block of content and the next: you’ll make the email look clearer and more modern, without exhausting your subscribers.

Keep text size in mind when making responsive emails

Examples of perfect responsive emails (infographic)

So far we’ve discussed the dos and don’ts of responsive email. After so many bad examples (it’s not our fault our inbox is full of them), we want to show you an example of an especially good email while reviewing all the key things to bear in mind when you design your own.

Courrier International is a French weekly newspaper that analyzes the news in the international press. It offers subscribers a daily newsletter with the most important news of the day from all around the world.

It may be that at first you don’t notice any major differences between the two emails (the desktop and mobile versions), so we’ll take a look at them and dissect what makes it a good responsive email.

Infographic of a well designed responsive email

 

Before you press send

You’re good to go and we’re sure that, if you’ve followed our advice, you have in front of you a perfectly responsive email that’s ready to send. But, before you launch your campaign, it’s always a good idea to make some final checks. Here are three ways of checking how your email design displays.

Preview your email

Use the preview panel in your editor to view how your mail shapes up on different devices. For example, in Mailjet you can view the mobile and desktop versions of your completed email and get a clear idea of how it will appear in your subscribers’ inboxes.

Preview your email to see if it is responsive before sending

Send a test email

Another everyday way of checking is to send yourself a test email. You can send it to your own address, to a colleague or a friend with access to various devices, browsers and operating systems to make sure nothing untoward happens to your email along the way. At the end of the day, having an extra pair of eyes to check the content and links and test out the UX is no bad thing.

Extra tip: Go into the reports on previous campaigns and filter them to view the breakdown of devices and the use of email clients by recipient, and you’ll be able to check which ones your customers use most.

Use specific tools

Lastly, for the most meticulous among you we recommend supplementing steps A and B with platforms such as Litmus and Email on Acid. These two tools send your email to more than 50 email clients and give you analysis and previews, saving you time and offering you peace of mind.

How to create responsive email with Mailjet

If you have no coding knowledge (or don’t fancy wrestling with HTML code), you can use our email editor Passport to create professional newsletters that adapt to any device and email client. You just need to drag and drop the blocks of content you want to include in your email, such as images, headings, texts, buttons and social media icons.

Responsive email templates

Another option, for those days when you’re lacking inspiration, is to choose one of the ready-to-edit templates from our “template gallery”, all of which are of course responsive. You just need to select one and edit it to include your content, et voilà!

Want to cast your eye over our templates? Create a free account and check them all out.

Mailjet responsive email templates

MJML

In Mailjet we also offer a solution for more advanced users which has won over developers all around the world. MJML is our open code framework that makes coding an email much simpler and faster. It will take you half the time, you’ll use half the lines of code needed to code with HTML, and adaptability is assured. Don’t believe us? Have a look for yourself.

GIF of a Burberry responsive email

Over to you

We hope we’ve put to rest all your doubts about responsive email and design; we know it’s not a simple topic. However, if you follow the advice and best practice in this post (and you use our templates 😉), your valuable newsletters will look their best.
Before you get to work, here is a summary of what we’ve covered:

  1. Use a single-column email design for optimum results.
  2. Optimize image size so they adapt easily.
  3. Work on the call to action buttons so they are visible and clickable (yes, for people with fat fingers, too).
  4. Use a typeface available on any device, and pay particular attention to text size.
  5. Make your checks before sending, either by previewing your email, sending a test email or using specific tools (or all three).
  6. Put your trust in an email provider that guarantees you responsive design by default (ahem, we’re the best for a reason).

Do you have any other tips for ensuring your emails are responsive? Share your ideas with us on Twitter!

Email List Cleaning: Why and How to Properly Clean Your Email List

Spring cleaning is a drag. We get it. But just like it’s important you get rid of all those broken pens and loose paper clips in your desk, it’s also important to give your email list a thorough cleaning. The good news is you won’t need a vacuum for this one.

What is email list cleaning?

Email list cleaning means removing old or inactive contacts from your email database, be it contacts that are no longer engaging with your emails or dated email addresses that are no longer active and might return bounces, blocks or might have even become spam traps.

Cleaning your email list is really quite simple. It’s pretty much exactly what is sounds like: looking over your email contact list and updating it as you see fit. That means getting rid of old, outdated contacts. Just like getting rid of those old pens in your desk.

But wait a minute…isn’t it the more contacts on your list, the better chance you have for a higher opening rate? Actually, that’s not quite true. Removing contacts from your list might seem scary. After all, you put in work to get them there in the first place. But placing your focus in nurturing the contacts who love your brand is the better way to go. Then you’ll be able to show them what your brand can really do.

Email list cleaning means getting rid of old contacts.

Why should you clean your email list?

Simply put, because it can impact your deliverability. That’s a fancy way of saying ‘the number of emails that make their way into your contacts’ inboxes, instead of the Spam folder’. Why should you care about this? I’ll tell you why.

Three words, four syllables: Increase Open Rates.

The way ISPs (Internet Service Providers) learn is from your statistics. They take a look at your open rates and try to gage from there how interested your contacts are in the content you’re sending them. If your open rates are low, this tells the ISP that your contacts aren’t interested.

You need to clean your email list to ensure that the ISP doesn’t take a look at your low open rates and say “This is not valuable, send to spam.” (Tip: it’s more fun if you read it in a robotic voice). If this happens, your open rates will decrease even more, fewer people will be reading your emails, and the ISP will continue to mark it as spam. It’s a vicious cycle, we know.

By cleaning your email list, you’re ensuring your open rates, which is the ratio between emails sent and emails opened, are better. Now, this won’t affect the total number of contacts that read your email; if 4 out of 100 open your email, the number will remain the same if 4 out of 50 contacts read it. The potential ROI from this campaign might remain the same, but email list cleaning will affect your reputation with the ISP. And this is key 🔑.

You don’t want a bad reputation (despite how cool the song by Joan Jett is). The worse your reputation is with an ISP, the more often your mail will end up in spam. Then, because your emails are ending up in the spam folder instead of the inbox, the number of contacts reading your email will be reduced, along with your ROI and engagement. Email list cleaning is what’s going to help you avoid this.

There’s another reason to clean your list (as if you haven’t been convinced yet). By putting your time and focus into contacts that love your brand, instead of subscribers that never interact, you can build better relationships with your active customers. Focusing on the contacts that love your emails lets you create content that suits their needs and interests, which can lead to better conversion rates. You’ll have better customer satisfaction, and higher revenue. It’s a win win.

How to spot a need of email list cleaning

You should always clean your list from blocks, bounces and spam complaints after you send an email, but even if your emails are arriving in your contacts’ inbox, you might still be in need of an email list cleaning.

Basically, the way to figure out if you need to clean your email list is to keep an eye on your open rates. What you’re looking for is an indication that they are starting to go down. If you see that they are decreasing over time, it might be time to clean that list.

Old contacts can be a couple of different things. It could be contacts that are uninterested or disengaged in your brand. These are those people that never open your fantastic emails and don’t know what they’re missing.

If it’s not them, it could be bad email addresses that your messages bounce back from (the WORST). Take a look over your email list with these two types of contacts in mind and start to scrub that contact list clean. Metaphorically, of course.

How to clean your email list (no cleaning supplies necessary)

Ok, you convinced me, I know why I should clean my contact list and I’m ready to begin. But where do I start?

Don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

To clean your email list, you can use two methods:

  • Remove blocks, bounces and unsubscribes after every email campaign.
  • Use segmentation to target inactive users.

Cleaning your list after every email campaign

We promise it’s not as much work as it sounds. After each campaign, take a look over your stats. You’ll want to look for unsubscribes, bounces and spam, and remove them from your contact list before sending another campaign. Diligence is key to cleanliness!

But, what else can you do to optimize your email contact list? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Cleaning your list every few months

You can also segment your list based on the engagement of your contacts. Look for the contacts that haven’t opened your email in the past 3 to 6 months, and send them a ‘we miss you’ reactivation email.

It’s like checking in on an old friend. You send them a little message to see if you still have anything in common, and if they don’t respond… all that’s left is to move on and remove them from your contact list. Because, let’s face it, if they haven’t engaged with you in the past 6 months, the message they’re sending is pretty clear. They’ve lost interest in what you’re offering. But the good news is you are freeing up time and effort to focus on catering to the contacts that can’t get enough of you.

You can segment your lists to email list clean more easily.

5 Ideas to maintain a healthy email list

1. Use a double opt-in

A double opt-in means that when a customer signs up for your mailing list, you fire off an email asking them to confirm their subscription by following a link in the email. Setting up a double opt-in system helps you prevent fake email addresses from entering your database. This means that only those that are interested in receiving your content will confirm the subscription, and there will be fewer bounces, blocks, etc. Think of it as a first defense for a cleaner and healthier list.

2. Ask your contacts

It can be hard to tell if your contacts are simply not interested in what you’re sending them, or if they love it but just don’t feel like taking further action with it. A way to separate these two audiences is to ask questions. We have a couple ideas for how you can do this. So go on, don’t be shy.

  • You can ask your contacts to vote in a poll, with a question about how much they are enjoying your content, or maybe what they would like to see more of. I mean, come on, who doesn’t love a good poll?
  • Request some feedback on something you’ve sent, a new format you’re trying out, or anything else you’re curious about.
  • Ask your contacts to set their own communication preferences directly within the email. You can ask about preferred frequency, topics they might be interested in, etc.
  • Offer your contacts the ability to easily make product or feature requests.

Once you’ve sent out a round of these emails, filter out the contacts that are still not engaging with your content. Voila! Cleaned.

3. Start a re-engagement campaign

Remember when we were talking about those ‘we miss you’ emails? That’s a re-engagement campaign. Low engagement in your content doesn’t necessarily mean that your contacts aren’t interested in your brand, it could just mean they aren’t too interested in the content you’re providing. So before you scrub them from the list completely, see if you can pique their interest a bit. We have a few ideas for you:

  • Offer a free gift, or maybe a discount (no one can resist free stuff). But be careful with this one. It has potential, but what you really want is for your contacts to be interested in the content you’re providing, rather than just re-engaging for the freebee.
  • Give them a special perk, or maybe access to special content. Everyone loves to feel special every now and then.

Another tip is to take a quick glance at the calendar. Sometimes, people love your content, they’re just being bombarded by emails because of the time of year. Like during the holiday season when they don’t want to open even one more email. Just make a note to re-engage with these contacts later on.

A re-engagement campaign to add people back to your list after email list cleaning

4. Make it easy to unsubscribe

It’s never a good idea to hide your unsubscribe link from your customers, or to make the process of unsubscribing difficult, time-consuming or confusing. If they can’t find your unsubscribe link, or don’t want to take the time, they may just mark you as spam. You don’t want that, and we don’t want that for you.

We know it may seem backwards to offer your clients an easy way for them to leave. But, if you’re providing your contacts with quality content (which we know you are), then they won’t even look at that unsubscribe button. Just make sure to make it worth their time by providing worthwhile content.

Mailjet's unsubscribe link in our emails

5. Never buy email lists

Repeat after me: I will not buy email lists. Good. Now say it five times fast.

It may seem like a quick and easy way to build up your sender list, but don’t be fooled. It’s far better to build up your own list of subscribers that chose to receive your content.

A bought list is usually poor in quality. They aren’t targeted for your brand, so you’re not going to get good value from interacting with them.

They could also have something called spam traps in them. These are email addresses that used to be valid, but will now get your IP address blacklisted for sending to them.

So before you go to buy that list, remember all those annoying emails you got that you rolled your eyes at and sent to the junk folder. That’s not where you want your emails to end up.

How to clean your list with Mailjet

Manually cleaning your list would be really time-consuming, so we made it easier for you. With just a couple of simple steps, you’re on your way to a sparkling clean list.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is click on the title of the last campaign you sent out. Scroll down until you see ‘Show me the reports’ and click on that, too.

Show me the reports button

Then select the ‘Status’ drop down menu, and take your pick. You’ll mostly want to focus on the Unsub, Spam and Bounced options.

Drop down menu showing you the segmentation options

Once you’ve selected one of those options, click on the button ‘Export to a list’ at the bottom of the page. When that new box opens up, in the left drop-down menu, you’ll want to select the contact list that you want to clean up. In the right drop-down menu, select ‘Remove contacts’. Now take a deep breath, and press the ‘Export’ button.

Export them to a separate list, and your done with your email list cleaning

That’s all there is to it. You are now a few contacts lighter.

We hope you feel refreshed and organized after cleaning up your email contact list. If you have a few cleaning tips, whether it’s for email lists or the office, share them with us on Twitter.

How to Switch From Mailchimp to Mailjet in Less Than 10 Minutes

Unhappy with Mailchimp’s recent changes? Don’t want to pay for unsubscribed contacts? Check out all the reasons why you should switch to Mailjet (Spoiler Alert: it’s cheaper and the email builder is intuitive and really powerful).

Already convinced?
Here are the steps to switch from Mailchimp to Mailjet in less than 10min.

For this, you’ll need:
Your current Mailchimp account
A new Mailjet account: Create one for free here.

Part 1 – How to migrate your contacts from Mailchimp to Mailjet

  1. Log into your Mailchimp account.
  2. On the top menu, click on “Audience” and then go to “View Contacts”.
View-Contacts-Mailchimp
  1. Click on “Export Audience”. You’ll have to repeat this action for all the audiences you need to export.
Export-Audience-Maichimp
  1. Download the CSV and unzip the folder.
CSV-file
  1. Now it’s time to import these contacts into Mailjet. Log into your Mailjet account here.
    Important: If you have several audiences in Mailchimp (contact lists)
    : upload each audience in a separate Mailjet list.
  2. Click on “Contacts”, select “Contact lists” and then choose “Create a contact list”. Select “Manually paste contacts or upload a file” option and drag and drop the CSV file containing all your subscribers’ details.
Create-List-Mailjet
    1. Match the fields if necessary. All your contact properties (name, company, date of birth…) have been imported. You can then use them to segment your data base or personalize your emails. Click on “Save and continue
Match-Fields-Mailjet
      1. Now, let’s import your unsubscribed contacts. This step is important to ensure you won’t email contacts who previously opted-out. Click on “Edit Contacts”.
Edit-Contacts
        1. Choose “Unsubscribe contacts” as the type of update, and drag and drop the CSV file with your unsubscribed users. Match the contact property fields if necessary.

Part 2 – Migrate your email templates

We’re not going to lie, if you were expecting to export your Mailchimp templates and continue editing them with our intuitive drag and drop email builder, this is something you won’t be able to do.

But that doesn’t mean all is lost. You have two options to work on your email templates with Mailjet:
Option 1: Recreate your templates using our awesome email builder.
Option 2: Download your Mailchimp template in html and edit them in html in Mailjet

Obviously, if you choose to recreate your templates with our email builder, all you need to do is get started. You can test our email editor, Passport, here.

If you’d like to download your existing templates, here are some simple steps for you to follow:

        1. In your Mailchimp account, go to Templates, and click on “Export as HTML” on each of the templates you’d like to download.
Teamplates-Mailchimp

  1. In your Mailjet account, go to “Campaigns / My Templates” and click on “Create a new template”. Then, select the option “by coding it in HTML” on the top menu, where you’ll be able to import the HTML file.
Create-Template-Mailjet

Part 3 – Download your statistics

It’s not possible to transfer your statistics from Mailchimp to Mailjet. However, it’s important you keep track of your progress.

In your Mailchimp account, click on “Report” and then choose “Download All Reports”.

Reports-Mailchimp

And now, you’re all set.

Make sure you validate your sender domains and addresses to see your emails in your recipient’s inbox, and set up your SPF, DKIM and DMARC records to guarantee the best deliverability. ;)

Also need to migrate from Mandrill’s API to Mailjet? Check out our dedicated guide!

Omnichannel Marketing: How to Enhance Your Strategy With Email Marketing

Let’s do a quick activity. Try to remember all the times you’ve used the internet today. Every Google search, every email you’ve sent and received, every time you pulled up Instagram or scrolled your Facebook or Twitter feed. I’m guessing it’s a lot? And most of your customers are just like you. In every search, email or social media scroll lies an opportunity to grab your audience’s attention. Omnichannel marketing is what’s going to put your brand in front of your customers on all the platforms that matter to them.

What is Omnichannel Marketing?

Omnichannel marketing is all about providing your audience with a seamless, smooth, and hassle-free experience across all relevant channels.

In the modern digital age, the audience accesses the internet with multiple devices – and this allows for better connections and more control over the buying experience. All successful organizations of today are employing omnichannel marketing strategies to make these interactions a consistent, integrated, and effective experience for their customers.

Your customers are ready to interact with your business on different channels anywhere, anytime. The question is, are you ready to accommodate them?

How Does Omnichannel Marketing Work?

Omnichannel marketing methods involve meeting and interacting with your audience where they are. With millennials and generation Z making up a large portion of your audience base, you need to make your communication efforts more personalized across all channels.

In essence, omnichannel marketing is a customer-centric approach, rather than a company-centric approach. It requires you to see through your audience’s eyes and stand in their shoes. The basic assumption of this marketing approach is that customers tend to shift from one channel to another as they try to find the perfect solution for their needs.

Omnichannel marketing on a laptop

Our 4 Tips for a Successful Omnichannel Marketing Strategy

We understand that it may be confusing to devise a kick-ass omnichannel marketing strategy from scratch. However, to make things easier for you, we’ve listed a few tips that will help you get started.

1. Get to know your audience

First and foremost, you must be aware of your audience’s needs and interests. Understanding what exactly makes your customers click is a prerequisite to creating a successful omnichannel marketing strategy. Find out which channels your audience is the most active on and then equip yourself with the right tools to help you convert your prospects into customers.

Ideally, you should tap into all the channels to determine the specific behavior patterns relative to each of them. The best way to boost conversions is by correctly identifying and efficiently filling the gaps in the buying process.

You should focus on interacting with your audience not only after they’ve made a purchase, but also before it. Proactive companies stay on their prospects’ mind by sending them personalized emails to highlight positive reviews of their products from other customers.

2. Pick the best channel for your products

For a successful, targeted campaign, you should be able to determine which channel is best suited for your product or service.

You should think outside the box when trying to engage your audience because, as the digital space grows, so do your customers’ needs. You should always be ready, both mentally and resources-wise, to adapt to the shifts. That’s the only way to continue to deliver quality relevant content that’s unique, fresh, and engaging.

3. Don’t overlook performance insights

All your omnichannel marketing efforts will go down the drain if you don’t find a way to keep track of your performance.

Using some form of analytics is a key step without which you may not be able to get insights into your audience’s digital habits, purchasing patterns, and transaction tendencies. Your business’ performance insights will help you modify your omnichannel marketing strategy to find more targeted solutions.

4. Focus on email marketing

Smart businesses always focus on their email marketing strategy, aiming to reach their audience in the quickest and most direct way possible – their email inbox. Email is a reliable form of communication that allows you to build a meaningful connection with your existing and prospective customers.

The best thing about an email marketing strategy is that it offers an opportunity to connect with your audience on a personal level, rather than addressing them as a whole – and customers love the individualized treatment!

When it comes to attracting and acquiring new customers, you may be surprised to hear that email is approximately 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined.    

So, if you think email marketing is an outdated strategy, think again!

The Role of Email Marketing in Omnichannel Marketing Campaigns

You may be wondering why our focus is on email marketing and not on social media marketing. After all, social media is ruling the internet and providing brands and companies with a great platform for marketing their business and generating sales.

The reason is simple: when it comes to conversions, social media isn’t as effective in influencing and directing buyer decisions. Email lends itself to the audience making those decisions.

Email marketing is capable of driving the highest ROI as compared to other digital marketing channels. Unraveling the audience’s internet-based life is the most crucial element in any omnichannel marketing approach.

Omnichannel Marketing on multiple devices

The 6 Benefits of Email Marketing Strategy

Here’s how your email marketing strategy fortifies and enhances your omnichannel marketing program.

1. Promotes targeted and personalized communication

Email marketing allows you to divide your audience base into segments based on their specific needs and preferences, enabling you to curate highly personalized content for them. From coming up with a catchy subject line and choosing images that align with your customer’s needs to producing content that resonates with them, email marketing is the ideal channel to drive engagement.

2. Reaches a wider target group  

With emails, you don’t have to worry about where your audience is located. All you need is an internet connection and a compatible device to let them know that you care about them and their needs. This ease of use gives email marketing a greater reach than other channels.  

3. Allows you to send behavior-based emails

Email automation allows you to act on the audience’s behavior, setting yourself up for improved conversion rates, maximum profits, and improved customer retention.

According to a study, 39% of marketers found that the use of automated emails based on customer behavior were the most effective marketing strategy.

You may use behavior-based email strategies when a customer views a product on your web page or spends time on the FAQ section, or perhaps adds a few products to their online cart but doesn’t check out.

4. Serve as mailable microsites

The world of email marketing is advancing –you can now send microsites and say goodbye to static messages. By allowing customers to watch videos, browse through product categories, and even make purchases while still being in their inbox, you can take your subscriber experience game to the next level.

5. Allows you to build a loyalty program

You know that most of your revenue comes from loyal repeat customers. And this is why you should focus a large part of your email marketing strategy on customer retention.

One of the best ways to do this is by creating a loyalty program. One great example is a referral program that’s a win-win solution for both you and your audience.. Referral emails are those that contain special offers for the customers to share with their friends and family. For each referral, they will get a reward.   

You could incorporate loyalty a program into the very first email you send to your subscribers as a welcome gift.      

6. Allows integration with other channels

You may integrate social media into your emails to increase the number of website visitors and social media followers. To ensure that potential customers don’t get detoured on their purchase journey, you should consider integrating your emails with other channels so that everything works together. By allowing you to target the audience multi-directionally, email marketing guarantees more leads.

Summing Up

Email marketing may only be one piece of omnichannel marketing, but it can be considered as the bridge that connects all the other channels you want to reach your customers on. It lets you personalize messages, reach a wider audience than a social media platform would, and can even direct traffic to your social media profiles.

If you think you don’t have enough time to spare on creating the best emails for your subscribers, you should consider getting help from professional email marketing services. From mapping out the ideal email marketing strategy to implementing it in the most creative ways, these expert services will handle everything in your best interest!

The Definitive Guide to A/B Tests in Your Email Marketing

We spend a lot of time on this blog discussing how you can optimize your email campaigns for your audience. We do this with tips on deliverability, email design, and optimizing your team. But, an important aspect of not only email marketing, but really any kind of marketing – is testing. 

You wouldn’t release a new product without first testing if it works, so why waste time sending emails that don’t work. 

In order to test what campaign works best, what message resonates with your audience, or what CTA generates the most clicks, you can use A/b testing in your email campaigns.

If you’re asking – “What is A/b testing” or “how in the world can I do that”… Well, we hear you and help is on the way. We’ve compiled the definitive guide to A/B tests in your email marketing. 

 

A/B testing explained

A/B testing allows you to compare and contrast two versions of the same piece of content. You can use it to test everything from website copy, to paid search ads, and of course marketing and transactional emails.

In the context of email, A/B testing allows slightly tweak a part of your emails to test which version more often generates opens, clicks, and conversions. For example, does adding an emoji to a subject line increase opens? Does a bright red button (instead of a white button) increase clicks?

Split testing varies from simple to complex testing. Simple A/B testing includes one or two elements which are easy to customize like described above  (e.g. subject line, button color and size).

More advanced testing includes the customization of multiple elements in your email campaign like picture placements, overall messaging, personalization, or comparing different email templates against each other.

The benefits of split testing your email campaigns

To get the best results possible, you need to test and analyze all of your email campaigns (marketing email, transactional emails, and email automation workflows). While the cost of acquiring new customers and newsletter subscribers can be high, the incremental cost of improving your email conversion through A/B testing is minimal.

A well-planned split test increases the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts. By using controlled tests, you will figure out which content and visual arrangements work best for your target groups. If you know what works best, then it is easier to send the most effective email for your audience. You can do this manually, by monitoring performance and sending future campaigns based on your analysis. Or, better yet, you can automate your A/B tests with tools like Mailjet to send your campaign to a small sample audience (e.g. 20% of your list) and once you collect enough data, Mailjet’s A/B test tool would send the best performing version to the remaining 80% of your list.

Even with small testing and optimization afterwards, the Return On Investment of A/B tests can be massive. Split testing allows you to significantly increase the open rate and click rate. The result is a significant increase of leads, sales and revenue.

Try Mailjet’s A/B Test Tool Now!
With its advanced A/B testing functionality, Mailjet lets you test not just two, but up to 10 different versions of your message. The best performing version is then sent to the rest of your list.

Try it Now

What you can test

You can test nearly everything! You can test design and text related elements. In fact, to understand which campaign performs best, you need to test both.

Make sure that your audience falls in love at first sight. You can reach this with a killer designed email. However, the design may be the reason they do not delete your email right away, but what really drives the conversions is the content you provide. In the following section, we give you a step-by-step guide outlining which elements you should focus on when starting your A/B tests.

A/B Test Subject Lines

The very first thing you should test is your subject line. Your hard work may be for naught if your audience does not even open your email. So, make sure you create a subject that encourages them to open your email.  You can try out clear messages (“Our special Christmas offer for you”) or subject lines which are more mysterious (“You really do not want to miss this offer”). You can even play around with emoji’s, pre-header texts, personalization to drive clicks. 

A/B testing Emoji in subject line

A/B Test Images

Now that your killer subject line drove a ton of opens, you can now focus on optimizing the content of the email. Pictures and other visuals will be the first thing that catches the eye of your reader.  Try different banners, product pictures, and other captivating images. etc. You could also experiment with GIFs, and video previews, and other visuals to drive

The internet is in love with video, and we assume your audience is too. So, do you include videos in your marketing campaigns? If not, then you really should. It can really make the difference. And if you do so, then try some A/B testing. You can start testing the size and placement.

Source: Mailjet Newsletter

A/B Test Copywriting

Sometimes, fancy visuals and funky subject lines aren’t enough to convince your audience and your paragraph texts need to win them over. Try different wording, text length,, and placement. Focus on the key messages and wrap the other elements around it.

If you are an online shop, you could test price or different discounts, headings, text sizes, colors, placement.

A/B Test Calls-to-Action

When your headlines, subtitles, and paragraph text are optimized, then your audience is willing to click on your Calls-to-Action (CTA). CTAs buttons are one of the most important elements in a marketing email. This is what it all comes down to. Your mailing is meant to get their attention, but above all, it has to generate leads to your website.

So, do not forget this in your testing. Play around with colors, sizes, text, placement etc. Keep in mind that the CTA text also needs to be on point.

A/ testing Call to Action buttons

A/B Test Links

Besides CTAs, there are other links you can include and test. An example of these links is Social Media buttons. Getting in touch on multiple channels is necessary. Most brands now include Social Media buttons in their marketing emails, linking to other channels like Twitter and Facebook. To see how to get the best engagement, test different formats, colors, and sizes. 

A/B testing Social Media Buttons
 

A/B Test Sending Time

Last but not least is the ability to test the date and time of your campaigns. Does your audience prefer to open their emails in the morning, in the evening, during the week or at the weekend? Use your testing to find out, and in fact, you can then create segments for each, to maximize engagement going forward. 

The 4 Steps to your A/B Tests

The best way to run a successful A/B test is to follow a strict process. It will help you to get profound insights from your campaigns. A proper process need to include the following steps:

1. Problem identification:

Study your email campaign statistics. Define the user’s behavior and find the problem areas in your conversion funnel. Include the landing pages your audience reaches after clicking a link in your email.

2. Defining a Hypothesis:

Based on your analysis, build a hypothesis. Define which result you expect from which changes. For example, a hypothesis could be:

“My customers do not like to scroll down. Putting the Call-to-Action button at the top will increase their attention and results in conversion.”;

Or…

“Most of my readers open my newsletter on their smartphone. Increasing the size of the CTA button will make it easier for them to click on it which results in more conversions.”

3. Testing the Hypothesis:

Based on your hypothesis, set up the split testing. Create a variation and A/B test it against your current email template.

4. Analyzing the test date and draw conclusions:

Once you’ve successfully sent out your split email campaign to the defined target groups, now it’s time to monitor the results. Which variation performs best? If there is a clear winner, then go ahead with its implementation. If the test remains inconclusive, go back to step number two and rework your hypothesis.

The 7 Rules to A/B Testing

To do a proper split test, you need to follow these 7 rules.

Rule 1: Set Goals – Know what and why you want to test in your email campaigns

Testing without a specific goal is just wasting time. Don’t pull randomly select an A/B test for now reason. Know the reason why you want to use split testing (increase open rates, increase click rates, test new messaging, pricing models) and think about what changes may get you the desired results.

Rule 2: Focus on frequently sent emails

The moment you start conducting A/B tests, you will be on fire and want to test every single email campaign you are sending. But stay calm, take a deep breath. To start, only focus on the emails you are sending most frequently.

Rule 3: Split your list randomly

Choose a smaller, randomized portion of your contact list to test for the most optimized email version before sending the campaign to the rest of your contact list. To get conclusive results make sure you choose the same sample sizes.

Rule 4: Test one element at a time

To best be able to identify which variation works best, focus on just one element at a time and leave all other variables the same. For example, create a few different CTA colors, but do not change anything else. This way you can identify whether an increase in engagement is because of the CTA color. If the color and the text are both tested at the same time, then how can you tell which change drove the most clicks?

Rule 5: Wait the optimum amount of time

If you are automating your A/B tests, by sending to a small sample first and then the full list after the test is complete, then it’s important to wait long enough to gather enough data. Usually, we recommend waiting 3-5 hours after sending to your sample before sending to your full list. 

Rule 6: Check if results are statistically significant

The struggle with doing A/B testing is having a large enough sample size. Use a A/B Sample Size Calculator to find the right sample size.

Rule 7: Test and test again

After the testing comes more testing. Now you know the best subject line, calls-to-action, and hopefully more. Now, you can try testing another element. Rise and repeat.

 

Now you know everything you need to start A/B testing your marketing campaign: the elements you should focus on, the best practice process and the 7 rules you need to follow. Sign up for a Mailjet account and let’s get the split testing party started.

What is your experience with A/B testing? Which elements do you want to test? What improvements do you see? Tell us all about it on Twitter with the Hashtag #emailmarketing.

 

50% of the High Street Offers No Sustainable Alternative to Paper Receipts

£32 million spent on paper receipts and still 50% of the High Street offers no sustainable alternative

  • Despite the rising importance of sustainability among consumers, 50% of high street brands still have no paperless option
  • Brands that do are utilising customer surveys & social sharing to enhance the customer experience
  • Data compliance is clearly top of mind for paperless receipts, yet some brands are falling short

 

New research by Mailjet has found that 15 of the UK’s top 30 high street clothing labels are failing to offer any kind of e-receipt to customers when shopping within their physical stores.

In the UK, around 11.2 billion receipts are printed each year, at a cost of at least £32 million. Despite the boom in recent headlines around sustainability brought on by David Attenborough’s ‘Climate Change – The Facts’ documentary, it appears that half of UK high street brands and retailers are still reliant on physical receipts for every purchase.

Among the best in class, Uniqlo, Dorothy Perkins and Evans proactively promote sending customers e-receipts via signs or tablets in-store. In all other cases, e-receipts were only sent after the survey testers specifically made the request.

Michyl Culos comments, “Consumers have been making a clear call for the fashion industry to lower it’s environmental costs. Last month, online platform Rent the Runway, allowing people to rent rather than buy their clothes, was valued at 1bn USD. When it comes to the high street, there is room to revitalise methods long considered standard, like paper receipts, and reduce environmental impact by going digital.”

Survey testers opted to receive e-receipts at all 15 stores where they were available. The study then analysed the e-receipt emails received and scored them according to a range of direct marketing metrics including personalisation, shoppability and brand alignment in addition to data privacy compliance.

Sustainability & Consumer Engagement

While many brands initiate the shift to e-receipts for ecological reasons, they are also exploring how else this new format can be leveraged. Every brand tested, with the exception of JD Sports, Mango and Selfridges, included a customer survey within their e-receipts. New Look, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Topshop, Evans, Wallis and Urban Outfitters all offered rewards and incentives in exchange for feedback on the in-store shopping experience.

Many brands also capitalised on the opportunity to direct customers to other marketing-friendly channels. Under the ‘multi-channel marketing’ category, JD Sports scored full marks for including a phone number, email and dedicated support Twitter handle, alongside social media and app links. Debenhams and French Connection also received top marks for including store locators as well as social links.

Michyl Culos notes, “Reducing environmental impact while enhancing engagement with in-store customers is a win-win. It’s clear though that retailers are still in a test-and-learn phase when it comes to determining the best way to leverage e-receipts. For example, some brands use them to encourage customers to post their purchases on Instagram with a hashtag, while others (Uniqlo) offer an incentive for completing a product review on the item purchased.”

Playing By The Rules

A hot topic associated with e-receipts is how to harmonise them with data privacy. This includes clearly informing clients about how their data will be used, but also ensuring they are not automatically opted into any other marketing communications or sent any unsolicited emails for which there is no specific consent or legitimate interest.

Positively, most brands surveyed offered some sort of information regarding the use of the data captured from the customer; with the leaders in this category, Evans, Wallis, Uniqlo and Dorothy Perkins, offering very clear signs or information at store-level. Some brands, including JD Sports, Mango and New Look, also followed up with information in the e-receipt about how data would be used.

Unfortunately for the high street though, a number of brands still did fail to include clear information on data usage in the e-receipt and, in some cases, this information was only provided by asking directly at the till or not provided at all.

More surprisingly, it seems that many marketers still can’t let go of the mindset that the larger your email list is (opted-in or not) the better. The study exposed that some high street brands followed up their e-receipts with unsolicited marketing emails, an activity that might put them at risk of non-compliance with GDPR if brands cannot ensure there is a legitimate interest, that is, a clear link between the email promotion and user’s purchase.

Michyl Culos adds, “Data-compliance when it comes to paperless receipts is a new challenge for retail. It requires awareness and training for both marketers working in head offices and sales assistants who are key in communicating data usage information and registering customer opt in preferences at the point of purchase. Moving to paperless is a large project for retailers, and it would be a shame for them to fall short by simultaneously taking a step forward for sustainability and a step backwards for data protection.”    

 

About the research:

Methodology:

A team of email experts analysed e-receipts sent by 15 leading high street brands and retailers in the UK in March 2019. Each email was individually scored according to how well it met the below criteria, (e.g. scoring system: 3.0 = best possible score, 1.0 = worst possible score) the average result was then calculated for each candidate.

List of brands included in the research (both those who did and did not send e-receipts);

& Other Stories; Berskha; Debenhams; Dorothy Perkins; Evans; Footlocker; Forever 21; French Connection; Gap; H&M; House of Fraser; JD Sports; John Lewis & Partners; Marks & Spencer; Mango; Matalan; Miss Selfridge; Monsoon; New Look; Next Primark; Pull & Bear; River Island; Selfridges; Sports Direct; Topman & Topshop; Uniqlo; Urban Outfitters; Wallis; Zara.

Scoring criteria:

  1. Personalisation: any evidence of segmentation/personalisation/changed fields based on demographics, location, ect.
  2. Multichannel Marketing: social media buttons, redirecting to mobile app or website content, mixing online/offline – in-store actions.
  3. Marketing Opportunities: e-receipt includes additional marketing initiatives (which have legitimate interest), including surveys.
  4. Brand Alignment: strong imagery, brand voice, consistency with website.
  5. Mobile-first: email is viewed on a desktop, mobile and tablet device and scored according to whether it is responsive and how well the design works across formats.

Also measured – Data Privacy Compliance: clear information on how the data would be used and no forced opt-ins to marketing emails.