Email marketing tips, growth hacks, industry updates, and more from Campaign Monitor's email marketing experts. Campaign Monitor makes it easy for you to create, send, and optimize your email marketing campaigns.
If you’re looking to grow your email list with qualified subscribers, lead magnets are your answer. Lead magnets are an excellent way to gain prospective customers’ contact information and send them on a customer journey.
However, lead magnets are not only time-consuming to produce, but they’re also highly competitive. Between white papers, podcasts, videos, and more—what makes someone click your call-to-action instead of competitor’s?
Is it your landing page design? The value you’re offering? Or, do you have a killer nurture email campaign?
Read on to learn how you can utilize lead magnets to grow your email list, along with unconventional examples that will boost engagement rates and turn prospects into customers.
What is a lead magnet?
Utilizing lead magnets is a marketing strategy where you offer an incentive in order to receive a website visitor’s contact information. Lead magnets are typically long-form content pieces—e-books, white papers, templates, etc.—that offer the reader value. By using this tactic, you’re able to generate organic leads who are then moved into the second stage of your conversion journey.
A typical lead magnet journey looks similar to this:
Call-to-action: A button website visitors will click to download (downloading the incentive you’re offering)
Landing page: The page where your visitor will input their contact information, like name and email address
Thank you confirmation: Visitors are taken to a second page where they can download the resource (don’t forget to thank them for joining your list!)
Email series: Once added to your email list, you can begin nurturing the prospect with a welcome series that keeps your subscribers engaged
The truth is, the average consumer is now immune to pop up ads and forms that don’t provide them with any value. They immediately click ‘’X’ and move on without a thought. For that reason, marketers need to develop different ways to engage with their website visitors.
The goal of lead magnets is organic conversion, but lead magnets also provide visitors with evergreen content that keeps them engaged with your brand. The more engagement these individuals have, the more likely they will convert into a loyal customer in the future.
What makes a lead magnet effective?
Throwing a quick call-to-action button and checklist on your website is great, but you may turn visitors off with a sloppy promotion. Instead, develop both your lead magnet and content carefully, creating something that offers real value.
Follow these guidelines to produce effective lead magnets:
Help solve a problem: Consider who your audience is and how you’ll address their issues.
Accomplish a win: Deliver on your visitor’s expectations by helping them achieve a win.
Focus on one topic: Lead magnets should never be general as you have a higher chance of converting leads with a specific topic.
Develop digestible content: Resources that are quick and scannable often convert better because they’re easy to read and your visitors won’t feel overwhelmed.
Download on-demand: People have a short attention span—don’t make them wait long to receive your content.
Demonstrate your authority: Your content should provide your brand credibility and thought-leadership in your field to ensure prospects will come back to you.
While all your digital marketing initiatives have the potential to earn customers, lead magnets will consistently deliver on expectations to grow your email list when done correctly.
Unique lead magnet examples
Content development takes time and strategy, especially if you’re trying to produce something impactful. It’s crucial that you strategize the type of material your audience needs and create something of high-value tailored to them.
Additionally, think of ways you can repurpose your lead magnets for email campaigns, social posts, and more. This way, you’re not recreating the wheel every time you need to develop something new.
If you’re struggling to think of innovative lead magnets to place on your website, look no further. Check out seven unconventional lead magnet examples that you can implement right now. Use these in your own marketing to wow your website visitors and grow your email list.
1. Email course
Combining email marketing with your lead magnet is a great way to grow your subscriber list and get those individuals engaging with your brand. The idea is to separate an e-learning course into smaller chunks and send out to your distribution list one by one in order to provide value over time.
In turn, your subscribers will continue engaging with your emails even after the course is finished. This not only increases your open rates, but it also allows you to create long-lasting relationships with your subscribers.
2. Bonus features
If you’re considering including a lead magnet on your blogs, offering a bonus pack gives your readers a reward based on learning. For example, if you have a blog about “10 ways you can save more money,” you can provide an exclusive PDF with five more examples.
These visitors are already engaging with your content, so offering a small incentive might be the push they need to subscribe to your email list and turn into customers over time.
3. Cheat sheets
People want answers on how to complete tasks—especially if there is a loophole involved. Help your visitors out by providing a cheat sheet that pertains to your brand to help people get through their tasks faster.
Cheat sheets can contain a summary, list of terms, or even a checklist to help refresh your visitor’s memory on complicated processes or strategies.
4. Calendar and planner
Best created at the beginning of the year, calendars and planners are a great way to help your audience organize future campaigns, events, and more. Develop a calendar around your niche and ensure it’s presented in a printable format.
These materials ensure branding awareness throughout the entire year and can be repurposed again for email campaigns.
Ideal for digital marketing and software companies, offering a free trial of your product is a great way to hook visitors, encouraging future purchases. For this lead magnet to work, you need to set an expiration date (just be sure to notify the user of the deadline).
To increase effectiveness, offer a discount on the product once the trial expires.
If you’re an e-commerce company, offering a discount is one of the simplest lead magnets you can provide. Once your website visitor inputs their contact information, they will receive an email with a unique coupon code to use at checkout.
After you set up your magnets and start collecting leads, you need to consider how you’ll continue to nurture prospects so your brand stays top of mind. Since these subscribers have entered your customer journey, you can implement an automated email series to keep them engaged.
Automated emails receive a 70.5% higher open rate and a 152% higher click-through rate than traditional marketing messages. You can send your lead magnet prospects many different types of automated emails based on events or their activity, such as:
Birthday and anniversary emails
Abandoned shopping cart emails
Review and feedback emails
Appointment reminders and more
With automation, you have the ability to help move leads along your buyer’s journey and educate them on the benefits of your brand.
To nurture your leads, ensure your automated emails include these points:
Identify your subscriber’s problems (you may know this already from their lead magnet!)
Explain product benefits
Outline the simplicity of transitioning to your product
Introduce the product and why it’s better than competitors (include a call-to-action and discount code)
Provide a case study on how other customers utilize your product (include user-generated content if available)
Include resources like blogs, e-books, templates, to help subscribers learn more
After you secure prospects from your lead magnet, it’s vital to continue building your relationship, since you want to secure transactions in the future. In fact, only 50% of leads generated are actually ready to purchase. So, if you’re not nurturing your leads after they engage with the lead magnet—you’re missing out on closing sales and potentially turning those prospects away from your brand entirely.
Lead magnets are powerful marketing tools that help organically grow your email lists. Not only do they have the potential to convert prospects into loyal customers, but you’re also adding value to your website and content.
If you’re looking to create an unconventional lead magnet you can repurpose for future campaigns, consider the following examples:
Free software downloads
Product discounts and more
Now that you understand what a lead magnet is, it’s time to start implementing them on your own website. Check out our roundup of the top landing page designs to start creating a lead magnet journey.
This icon set by Stylicons features 20 icons with a cool cartoon illustration style wrapped in a rounded square border. Subject matter varies from tech through to charts and locks and you can download them for free in PNG format, which makes it easy to drag and drop them into your email campaigns.
2. Flat icons
This icon set by FreeVector features 18 flat icons Subject matter includes business and social media, and they come in vector format for easy sizing to your email marketing campaigns.
3. More flat icons
This icon set courtesy of Roundicons contains 60 beautifully designed round icons with a great animation style. They all come in PNG format in an awesome variety of sizes, even going as high as 2133 x 2133 for great performance even on Retina displays.
If you do have some graphic design ability, they also come with fully layered PSD files so you can change colors and sizes until your heart’s content.
4. Vector icons
This icon set from Vecteezy features tons of icons with a very particular style. Given that there are so many icons, the subject matter varies from technology through to people and more.
The great thing about this set is how dynamic it is. You can use these icons for virtually anything.
5. Token icons
This icon set from Brsev features 128 different icons in a simple monotone style. The subject matter is heavily focused on technology with iPods, laptops and cameras all featuring.
If you have access to Photoshop, it’s really easy to change the color of these icons using Layer Styles.
What to consider when choosing marketing campaign icons
Choosing icons for your email marketing is not as simple as it may look. After all, the purpose of the icon is not just for aesthetics. Icons help you communicate your vision, mission, and brand identity.
So, how do you ensure that your icon choice helps you meet all these goals?
1. Choose your colors wisely
When it comes to any visual element of your email, you have to ensure that it matches your brand style and personality. Colors play a big role in your brand identity, hence your choice of colors has to fit in with your brand style.
Research has shown that 80% of customers identify brands by their colors. Changing an element of your color scheme can confuse your readers, leading them to become suspicious of your emails. Your logo should blend in naturally with all the other elements of your email to be aesthetically pleasing and communicate your brand personality as well.
2. Use icons that “speak”
One of the purposes of icons is to help you communicate your message clearly. As such, your choice of icons should be determined by the message you want to communicate. In short, your icons should speak to your audience, expressing your words visually.
Simply looking at the icon immediately gives you an idea of the message it has been designed to convey. Your customers should not struggle to decode the meaning of your icon.
3. Don’t be afraid to use humor
Icons are meant to lighten the mood and make email consumption more pleasurable. One way to do that is to use humorous icons. Here’s an example of how the Beardbrand uses a marketing campaign icon to help express their humorous personality. Their icons also make an otherwise dry topic more interesting to read.
Creating an icon that is unique to your business is a great way to set yourself apart, and also to set the tone for your content.
4. Keep your marketing icon simple
One mistake some brands make with their icons is overcomplicating them. The point of using icons isn’t clever design as much as it’s simple, digestible design. Failure to keep your marketing campaign icon simple could result in mixed messaging.
This post was has been updated as of July 2019, originally published in August 2017
Back in the day, marketers were all trying to grow large lists: After all, the bigger the mailing list, the more people who would see and engage with your messaging. Or so the thinking went. These days, email marketing is more than just how big your list is.
Savvy marketers know that a smaller but more engaged list is far more important than a whole bunch of addresses, especially if the people attached to those addresses never open their emails.
The people on your list who are interested and engaged in your emails and business are far more likely to become loyal and engaged customers. But email list attrition is real, so list growth is still critical to email marketing success.
In this post, we’ll take a look at how to balance email list growth and engagement and why it’s so important to your success.
What is email list building?
No matter what industry you’re in, your email list is one of the most important elements of any successful marketing strategy, especially if you want to communicate and engage with customers regularly. To do this, you need to start building your email list.
is the strategy that builds your distribution list with subscribers who actually want to hear from you. This can be done from using website opt-in forms, creating an online community, writing blogs, offering promotions, and more.
1 in 5 emails doesn’t reach the inbox, according to a recent Return Path study. Most major to how people interact with their emails and use it to determine placement. The more your subscribers read your emails, click links, move emails to folders to save for later, or reply, the more likely your email will be delivered to the inbox in the future. All of these behaviors are considered positive email engagements that ISPs and inbox providers are looking for, and what you need to keep your subscribers excited about your emails and business.
58% of marketers said that increasing customer engagement is their number one priority.
Customer engagement is not only important for getting your emails delivered to inboxes but also vital for building long-lasting relationships. Your customers are more likely to remain loyal and engaged with your company if they have trust in your brand. As you gain an understanding of your customers and what they’re interested in, you can create a plan that includes the types of content are most relevant to their needs.
You know getting your email to the inbox improves engagement, and the more engaged your list is, the better. So, it’s helpful to understand how it works.
Email inbox providers determine engagement by the positive, and occasionally negative, actions that readers take with their emails. They look at things like read rate, replies, and forwards to see that readers are interacting and sharing your content, showing that the content is valuable. Even emails that are marked “this is not spam” are a plus, since the reader took the time to find the email in the spam folder.
Things like complaints and deleting before reading are considered negative engagement. Complaints are when an email is marked as spam, showing that the email and content are unwanted. These positive and negative engagements with email messages play an important part in getting your emails in front of your readers.
The metrics you can track for engagement are KPIs that you may already keep an eye on—opens, clicks, bounces, and unsubscribes.
Create your benchmark by taking an average of each of these numbers from campaigns over a period of time. This way you’ll know what your average open rate is, and can see how each campaign compares to that standard.
You can then know how interested and engaged your readers are. Be sure you’re comparing the same email types though, so only average newsletters with newsletters or promotional with promotional.
Using Insights from Campaign Monitor, you can easily dig into the metrics from your email campaigns and find exactly the information you need to understand engagement. In addition to the usual email stats, you’ll find the 5 top campaigns, Journeys, and even delivery rates.
One other metric to keep in mind is the click to open rate or CTOR. The CTOR measures the effectiveness of the content of your email and is a great indicator of email engagement. It’s calculated by the number of unique clicks divided by the number of unique opens. We have a helpful post that explains CTOR in detail.
Creating an is key to keeping your readers engaged, and accomplishing your marketing goals. Starting with a welcome email is a good beginning, but you’ll need to follow up with more content relevant to each subscriber to keep them engaged over time. Here are some ideas to help keep your readers engaged.
There are a variety of different segments you can create to provide more relevant content to your email subscribers. Using segmentation, you can target the right people in your lists with the right information. You can use things like geographic location, demographics, email activity, purchase activity, or even a buyer persona to set up your segments.
When it comes to automation, it’s good to use it as a complement to existing email efforts. It doesn’t replace a weekly or monthly newsletter, or emails that promote particular products or campaigns.
Setting up a welcome email is a great way to get started with automation. It allows you to send an email to new subscribers right away, allowing them to interact with your business quickly.
Once people have been welcomed, set up a series of automated emails that will take them down a path, whether it’s to make a purchase, sign up for something, or get onboard with a new software system.
Subscribers are more likely to open and engage with messaging that feels personal.
As we’ve seen, engagement is really important for email marketing, so creating an engaged list is essential. And similarly, growing your list is crucial due to ongoing attrition. You can’t go about casually building a list though there needs to be some strategy behind it.
One of the most important pieces to growing a list is data. What you plan to do with the data down the line, (i.e., personalization or dynamic content), will determine what information you need to collect in your forms.
The Insights tool can also help understand your list growth. You’ll easily find your total subscribers as well the number of new ones added. And very importantly, you can see where your most engaged subscribers are coming from. To learn more check out the guide.
Growing an email list is as simple as providing multiple opportunities for people to opt in. Here are a few popular ways to collect signups for your email list:
Create up a sign-up form and ask for information that you can use now and later. Things like birth date or age, company info, or geographic area can come in handy down the line when you set up segments. And a sign-up form can be added to various spots on your site besides the homepage. Think about using it on the Contact Us page or on your blog to help get more sign ups. To get started using a subscribe form, follow these instructions.
The point of purchase is a perfect time to ask customers to sign up for your emails. After all, these are people who have a clear interest in what you offer. Using an integration tool like Zapier can ensure all captured email addresses are automatically added to your lists.
Your social channels
If you have built a following on social media, then it’s an excellent opportunity to get them to sign up for your email list. You can quickly add a subscribe form to your Facebook page using our Facebook Subscribe Application.
You can also build your email list using email addresses you already have by integrating your existing CRM, accounting package, or e-commerce platform with your Campaign Monitor account. Using one of our integrations can be an excellent way to automatically add new customer details to your email lists.
Always keep in mind what the end goal is with your lists. You want people who sign up to be interested in your business and updates about it. Good data is the cornerstone to creating an engaged email reader. Remember this as you build your email lists, and you’ll find success.
Tricks to increase engagement for better email list growth
Now that you understand how email list growth and engagement work in tandem to create successful emails, you need to increase the activity within your email content.
When you send your email, there’s a high chance your subscriber will at least see it sitting in the inbox. What makes them click it?
Do they take action in the email? How likely are they to open the next email? These are all valuable questions to ask yourself, not only to understand subscriber engagement, but also to better interpret their entire customer experience.
If you notice low open-rates and click-through rates—don’t panic just yet. Here are a few ways to boost your subscriber engagement and improve your subscriber’s journey:
Catchy subject lines
The is the first impression your brand has—and honestly, it makes or breaks the success of an entire email campaign. In fact, 33% of subscribers open their email based on the subject line alone. So, if you’re looking to increase engagement, start by writing a subject line that walks the line between intrigue and information.
Takeaway: Your subject line should be short, but also create urgency and curiosity. It’s important to A/B test this text with a smaller segment of your email list to see what will spark the most engagement and lead generation.
Target lists with personalized content
Subscribers don’t want to feel like they’re just a number on your list, instead, they want highly personalized emails with relevant content that appeals to them specifically. To do this, utilize list segmentation to separate subscribers based on gender, location, employment, purchase history, and more. With personalization, you build brand loyalty and customer retention with your subscribers.
Takeaway: Deliver content to your subscribers that is relevant to keep them engaged with your emails because you’re providing value to their inbox.
Discover the ideal frequency and timing
Once you start sending out emails, it’s important to monitor your email metrics to determine when and how often you should send emails. Within the Campaign Monitor dashboard, you can track opens and the geographical data behind them.
If notice you have higher opens in the afternoon vs in the morning, you can probably assume afternoon emails will perform better. Likewise, you’ll need to experiment with how many emails you send a month, which will depend on your audience’s preferences.
Takeaway: Monitor your analytics and constantly test your email campaign’s timing and frequency to ensure a high engagement based on their own preferences.
As marketers, we know building an email list is one of the most important parts of a successful email marketing strategy.
But it’s important to be mindful about how that list is built and how our readers interact with the emails. Sending content pertinent to reader interests is easier if you’ve collected the right data in the first place.
This way, you can keep readers interested in what you send: After all, clicking links and sharing content are both important steps to email success.
Starting with a few essential pieces and building over time, you can create valuable email lists of very engaged readers. To continue to grow your email list, create an automated customer journey for your subscribers to ensure you deliver engaging content again and again.
This post has been updated as of July 2019 and was originally published in November 2009
Do you know your subscribers’ preferences? Do they prefer to receive campaigns about soccer or snooker? Would they hang around if they received updates about a certain kind of music over another?
There are immense benefits to knowing your subscribers’ interests, desired email frequency, and even location. Two such reasons are better targeted subscribers and less unsubscribes.
Plus, in order to reduce email churn, you want users to be able to update their active email address. Thankfully, you can achieve this and more, simply by using Campaign Monitor’s preference center feature.
Even if you’ve had an existing subscriber list for a while now, collecting preference information and giving subscribers the option of changing their preferences instead of simply unsubscribing is easy, with a little segmentation know-how.
In an earlier blog post, we discussed how useful segments can be—if you haven’t tried segmenting your lists yet, give this post a read.
Setting preferences is akin to allowing your subscribers to subscribe and unsubscribe to sub-lists—a subscriber to a widget store newsletter may be interested in Arduinos, but not Faraday cages, and therefore may only want to receive newsletters solely about Arduinos. Having a preference center allows the subscriber to state this:
Another benefit to setting up a preference center reduces email churn (the number of emails in your list that become inactive as people discard their email addresses). On average, 15-25% of all valid email addresses are discarded each year as people move to a different ISP or change jobs—with a preference center, subscribers can change their subscribed email address without completely unsubscribing from your list.
Setting up the preference center
In this example, we’ll set up a preference center with the three interest categories above, being ‘Arduinos’, ‘Faraday Cages’ and ‘Gewgaws’.
In your account, click on ‘Manage Subscribers’, then your subscriber list, then click ‘Custom Fields’. Under ‘Edit field’, create a new field with Data Type, “Multiple Options (can select many)’ and enter your desired preferences. Ensure “This field should be visible to recipients when they edit their settings in the preference center” is checked:
To change the colors, header graphic, message and language of the preference center, click on ‘Client Settings’, then ‘Preference Center’. You can also preview the preference center:
Adding a link to the preference center in your email
Linking to your preference center is as easy as adding the following tags to your email content. When we send your campaign, we’ll convert this into a personalized link for each of your subscribers.
HTML emails – <preferences>this will be a link</preferences>
Plain text emails – [preferences]
Note that the preference center is only available to subscribers once the campaign is sent—in order to test the preference center link, you will need to send the campaign to a subscriber list that includes you as a subscriber.
Editing your subscribe form
When creating a subscribe form, you can also add custom fields so that subscribers can state their preferences when they sign up for your email. In ‘Manage Subscribers’, click on your subscriber list, then, ‘Create a subscribe form’. Check the custom field you wish to add, generate the code and you’re off:
So.. How do I get my subscribers to edit their preferences?
Using our above example, say you wanted to start sending the special-interest newsletters (‘Arduinos’, ‘Gewgaws’…) to your subscribers. Here are some tactics you could try:
For existing subscribers – Consider sending an introductory email, suggesting that your subscribers update their preferences in order to receive more relevant updates on their favorite products. Also, remind them that they can change preferences or their subscribed email address at any time. All future emails should contain a link to the preference center.
For new subscribers – In the confirmation or welcome message, make sure the subscriber is made aware that they can change their preferences, or unsubscribe at any time. It doubly helps if you have already edited your subscribe form to reflect the preferences on offer.
Making the preference center work for you and your subscribers
While the preference center may not seem like a way to retain customers, it’s probably one of the best customer retention strategies you can employ as an email marketer. Giving your customers control is a way of gaining their trust. Besides that, they know exactly what to expect from your communication.
How exactly can you use your preference center to increase customer retention? Here are three easy ways to do so:
1. Give frequency options
As much as you would love to send your customers an email every day, it just isn’t healthy for your relationship with many of them. People do prefer communicating with brands through email, but they would rather it be on their own terms.
By giving them frequency options, you allow them to be in charge of how often they want to hear from you and on which days.
This kind of control makes your customers feel in control, rather than bombarded.
2. Allow your customers to choose the content they want to receive
Many email marketers may think giving their customers control of the content they receive is shooting themselves in the foot.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
While you may want to send out promotional frequently, email marketing involves much more strategy than that. It’s about building relationships with your customers.
Even if your customers choose to receive only one type of email from you it, it’s still a win because that means you’ve retained that customer. In fact, one type of email can definitely work wonders for your business if used strategically.
Another benefit of allowing your customers to choose the content type they want to receive is that it helps with segmentation. Your customers will ultimately self-segment themselves by giving you insight into their preferences.
3. Enable your customers to update their contact details
Nothing is as frustrating as losing a valuable customer for a simple reason. But this happens a lot—emails that were previously opened suddenly start bouncing.
This is why it’s important to include a link to your preference center in every email you send. Ideally, your customers will remember it and refer to it in the eventuality that they change their email address. The result? They’ll continue receiving their favorite updates and you’ll retain a customer. Definitely a win-win situation.
Preference centers are a very powerful addition to any email campaign as they not only encourage subscriber retention, but allow you to profile your subscriber list by interest, gender, or whatever field you please.
If you’ve created a great preference center, or have seen one you like, tell us about it below. Whether it’s a cool customization or a neat way to segment your lists, we’re always keen to know about the creative ways that designers have used preference centers for everyone’s benefit.
Article first published in September 2014, updated July 2019
Almost 5% of the population is color blind. To put this into perspective, that’s roughly the same number of people who use Outlook.com or Yahoo! Mail. Yet despite this prevalence, remarkably little has been said about how to choose colors for accessibility.
To give you an idea of how email newsletters are seen by people with color vision deficiencies, we’ve simulated what a variety of email newsletters would look like to those with red-green color blindness and deuteranopia. Along the way, we’ll provide some practical tips to help you create more accessible email designs.
How common is color blindness?
Can you find the numbers on these six plates? If so, then you may be fortunate enough to not be one of the 2.7 million people (4.5% of the entire population) affected by color blindness as judged by the Ishihara Test, a color perception test consisting of 24 – 38 plates like the ones above.
The reason there are so many different tests is that there are several different types of color blindness. 99% of color blind people can see some color – complete color blindness (also known as monochromacy) is actually quite rare. The most common type of color blindness is red-green color blindness, also known as protanopia. People who experience this do not see a complete lack of color where reds and greens appear, but instead, they have a harder time distinguishing the two colors from each other as the reds will look like greens.
If 4.5% of the entire population is affected by color blindness, then it is definitely something you should consider in all design projects – including email design work. And it’s especially true if your target audience is male, since 8% (1 out of 12) experience red-green color blindness, compared to 1 out of 200 women. It’s one of the reasons that Facebook is blue – because founder Mark Zuckerberg experiences red-green color blindness, thus making blue the color he sees best.
How email newsletters appear to the color blind
Designing with color blindness in mind does not mean removing color completely from the picture, but it does mean taking into consideration the areas you want to truly stand out. Let’s take an example newsletter design run through a color blindness simulator. Here’s a comparison of a very-colorful email would look to those with red-green color blindness:
As you can see, the email is still legible. The only difference is the areas with red no longer pop like they did before. And speaking of a loss of pop, look at this comparison, with the example on the right as seen through the eyes of someone who cannot distinguish greens and purplish-reds – a rarer color blindness also known as deuteranopia:
Again, while it’s still legible, it loses a lot of its contrast. It’s most especially noticeable with the text that was meant to stand out in pink. These are the things you need to know when highlighting specific portions of your email content with color, on colored backgrounds.
Best practices for designing email for color blind audiences
While the differences in how your color blind audience sees your email messages can be dramatic, designing for the color blind can be done without revamping existing color schemes. Just follow these tips:
1. Do not try to convey specific messages through color alone
Considering the above, here’s an example of what red and green selection buttons would look like to someone with red-green color blindness:
The text may be helpful in distinguishing the choices, but it goes without saying that at first glance, it’s confusing as to which option you should choose. Likewise, when offering a product in a variety of colors, adding labels beneath each of the options means that someone with color blindness will have less trouble determining what to choose amongst the group.
2. Make sure text stands out on colored backgrounds.
As a general rule, you don’t want to use one shade of red text on top of another shade of red, regardless of whether you are considering design for a color-blind audience. If you find the text a little difficult to read, someone who finds it difficult to distinguish reds will have troubles as well. The more contrast between your text and your background, the better for all audiences.
3. Go monochrome
While you don’t have to go black and white, sticking to one shade of color in your emails can help. Observe this original email in purple (center), with variations simulating red-green (left) and blue-yellow (right) color blindness:
As you can see, the design looks stunning. By designing monochromatically, you can easily see how well your text and calls to action stand out without wondering if one shade of color is distinguishable from another.
4. Test your email designs
In addition to the color blindness simulator that you can use to upload images to see them through the eyes of specific color blindness types, Mac users can install an app called Color Oracle. This will place a toggle at the top of your menu bar that allows you to change your entire screen resolution to that of one specific type of color blindness:
Instead of having to take screenshots, you can view your current design through a specific color blindness type and edit accordingly. It’s also a great way to preview images, especially prior to purchasing stock photography or using image backgrounds for your buttons.
Knowing how well your call to action button will stand out from your email newsletter’s background is just as important as checking the readability of your main email content. For example, if you have a green button on a red background, it will not stand out to someone with red/green color blindness. You will want to make sure, at a minimum, the contrast between the button and the background are distinguishable. All it takes is adding a different color border around the button, such as the silver borders around the help and act now buttons above.
As you’re editing your emails for color accessibility, remember that the same rules can be applied to the pages you want your visitors to click through to. Don’t lose conversions because your email works for the color blind, but the landing pages they are directed to are confusing.
In summary, by considering your color blind subscribers, you’ll not only be a nice person but increase the likelihood of everyone having the chance to read and respond to your messages as intended. Hopefully, after reading this post, you’ll understand what a difference a color-accessible theme throughout your campaigns and landing pages can make.
How to design for accessibility
In the past, digital marketing was not geared towards those with disabilities such as blindness and vision impairment. However, as technology continues to advance, many platforms have made strides to become more inclusive towards supporting those with needs.
If you don’t believe this is important, you’re missing the boat. In fact, 285 million people across the globe have visual disabilities.
Email accessibility affects millions of people every day—including your customers—so ensuring that your emails follow the correct guidelines to make your message receptive to all is vital. Accessible emails mean that your subscribers with disabilities can read, access, and interact with your content better. That’s a win-win for everyone!
If you’re thinking about totally scratching color and design to be more compliant for your subscribers—hold up. Designing accessible emails benefit of all your subscribers as you provide more logical content—but that doesn’t mean you have to lose your branding.
While you don’t need to eliminate the creativity that sets your messaging apart, you should follow accessibility requirements which include organizing your layout, utilizing contrasting colors, and designing clean code.
What are the accessibility requirements?
First things first, you need to understand how emails can meet basic accessibility requirements. Your emails must follow these guidelines:
Include a logical reading order: Email content needs to assembled left-to-right and top-to-bottom.
Order heading elements in code: Keep a consistent hierarchy by using <h1>, <table>, etc. code so the information stays in the correct order.
Include contrast between background colors and text: As many people are sensitive to color, the background and text need to contrast enough to be readable.
Alternative image text: Describe what the image is with alt text.
Feature informative link text: Link text tells people what the link will be once clicked—‘read more’ is not enough.
Code concisely: Messy code often leads to longer load times and can have unexpected display results.
Write an informative subject line: This string of text works as the first impression of the email and will determine if the email is relevant to the subscriber.
Take this example from YouTube, which is known for its initiatives to support those with disabilities. The email has all the content displayed on a white background so it’s easy to read with contrasting red icons and links. It also logically flows from left to right and the CTA tells the subscriber what to expect once they move out of the email.
Designing your emails for colorblindness and accessibility is vital to ensure your marketing materials are as accessible as possible. Luckily, it only takes a few small changes to your emails to make them more user-friendly for everyone on your list.
Here are a few more best practices to follow:
Use a large and readable font
Keep the content short and simple
Embrace white space
Offer a text-only preference
Highlight links in another color
Start making your emails for inclusive for all your subscribers today to start harnessing more brand loyalty, engagement, and overall usability. Discover more to continue creating the best emails for your audience.
[…] using data and numbers is a great way to get your emails noticed, demonstrate a clear and straightforward message about your offer, and set the right expectations. Just like with blog titles, using numbers in your subject line is an effective email marketing best practice. You might use numbers to refer to the title of your listicle, the page length of the offer you’re sending, a specific discount, or the numerical benefit of a particular resource you’re providing — like “Join more than 750 others at this event!
Include at least one number in your subject line to boost your email open rates.
4. Put an emoji in your subject line
Campaign Monitor recently researched the use of emojis in subject lines to understand if their inclusion increased open rates. When I chatted with Kim Courvoisier a few months ago, who was a marketer here at Campaign Monitor, she suggested:
Brands that are using emojis have seen a 56% increase in their unique open rates. This isn’t a report from experience. We’re really seeing an increase in emojis, and you can use them as a brand appropriately, and they do add a nice little bit of flare and attention-getting in the inbox.
If you’re wondering where you can find emojis:
Windows: PCWorld suggests using the WIN + . (actual period punctuation mark) to open the emoji keyboard.
Mac: Hit Control + Command + Spacebar to open the emoji window.
If neither of these suggestions works: Check out GetEmoji and copy/paste.
Best practice suggests using 1-4 emojis in your subject line will boost your email open rates.
5. Write the best length email subject line: 17-24 characters…
While the 20 studies analyzed for this article differed drastically on the topic of email subject line length, there is some general best practice advice throughout:
That study suggests the psychological reasoning behind title case’s success is perceived authority:
Even something as small as using title case instead of sentence or lowercase in an email subject line is an authority badge for the sender.
It’s like showing up to an interview in a suit instead of a pair of shorts.
For the curious…
Title case: Pack My Box With Five Dozen Liquor Jugs
Sentence case: Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs
Lower case: pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs
Write your subject lines in title case to boost your email open rates.
That study suggests the psychological reasoning behind title case’s success is perceived authority:
Even something as small as using title case instead of sentence or lowercase in an email subject line is an authority badge for the sender.
It’s like showing up to an interview in a suit instead of a pair of shorts.
For the curious…
Title case: Pack My Box With Five Dozen Liquor Jugs
Sentence case: Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs
Lower case: pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs
Write your subject lines in title case to boost your email open rates.
Bonus tip: Utilize preheader text to boost subject line open rates
Preheaders are excellent to use after your subject lines. Preheaders, also known as the “Johnson box,” summarize the content in your email for added enticement. Your audience gets a chance to preview the email, even while it sits unopened in their inbox.
This is a great way to hook your reader, compelling them to open their emails. Also, adding emails with preheaders and subject lines can boost open rates by 7%, so add this practice to your email marketing repertoire to see greater opens and better return from your emails.
Whether your customers open their emails on mobile devices or desktop computers, preheaders add more space for you to hook your readers and impress them.
How to write an email preheader
Want to know the basics to write an effective email preheader? Here are three tips to get you started.
Limit the character count
An ideal preheader includes 85-100 characters. You want to keep it short and straight to the point. Your audience will only spend a few seconds scanning an email, so condensing your preheader, with a hook included, will keep them from skipping your email entirely.
Make it meaningful
Since you only have up to 100 characters, you need to include engaging and meaningful language in your preheader.
Use strong verbs and keywords and introduce the subject of your email immediately. You can even include emojis to grab your customer’s attention if your branding allows it.
Add personalization where you can
It’s always a good idea to personalize all elements of your email and the preheader is no different.
Include your customer immediately, whether that means using their name as the first word or providing them with pertinent information. People love to see their name on an emails=, and they especially love updates pertaining to products they ordered online.
How to combine a subject line and preheader for a compelling email
So, now you have the secret formula for crafting an attractive subject line and preheader. However, what do a great subject line and preheader look like? How do you craft a preheader and subject line that boosts open rates?
Here are four examples from companies who got their subject line strategy right.
This subject line is 5 words, hitting the target of 3-5 words for higher open rates.
In the preheader, Birchbox used the customer’s name as the very first word in the sentence. They also stuck a short, 7-word sentence at the very beginning of their preheader. This is a great idea to implement because the customer sees the premise of the email without opening it.
Skillshare gets down to the crux of their email–wasting no time. In the subject line, the company indicates how much time their customer has to act upon their subscription. Then, the preheader gets right down to the price.
Knowing basic information from the start gets customers to click fast. They know what they can expect by and clicking on this email, which means they’re more likely to actually purchase if they open it.
Netflix beckons their customer back with a 3-word call to action, “Come back today,” as if an old friend says they miss them. In the preheader is another call to action, this time appealing to an emotional need the customer might feel to enjoy themselves through the streaming service. This is a perfect example of a great subject line strategy that “hooks” your customer’s attention.
You want sales. But without email opens, you get zero clicks to your website which means zero traffic that you can convert which means zero sales.
Something as simple as email open rate can help you concentrate on the lead indicators that influence more significant metrics down the funnel.
So, if you’re thinking of improving your open rates with a little help from data:
Use a few of the words that are proven to increase open rates.
Avoid the terms that typically decrease open rates.
Test using a number in your subject line.
Include at least one emoji.
Make it about 17-24 characters long.
Shoot for approximately 3-5 words.
Write it in title case.
Utilize preheader text.
Learn from other companies.
You’ve got this.
Now that you understand why subject line open rates are so important, try your hand at creating your own with these formulas.
But there’s a lot to know. From automation, to personalization, to building a list, first-time email marketers have a lot to learn. In this post, we’ll show you how to create an email marketing campaign that delivers results.
1. Grow your list by offering value
You can’t start an effective email marketing campaign without an email list. Since email is all about communication. The more engaged people your messages can reach the more value your business will get from email marketing.
Growing your list might seem like a daunting challenge but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, if you already have customers you don’t need to start from scratch.
Import existing customers
You can import your customer’s email addresses into your email marketing tool. Campaign Monitor makes it easy for you to either manually upload an existing list (from Excel or Google Sheets for instance). Campaign Monitor also integrates with your favorite CRM tools and software.
Though you have to ensure you have permission to contact these people to avoid legal trouble. You can learn more by reading our guide on permissions or contacting our support team.
Get subscribers online
Your existing customers can only take you so far, to really get the most value from email marketing you need a reliable way to get a steady stream of subscribers, and there’s a simple way to do it too.
All you have to do is provide value in exchange for your visitor’s email address. We call this a lead gen offer in email marketing. What you offer can range from an ebook to a discount. But whatever it is your lead gen offer must provide value to your visitors.
Then you can collect their email addresses with a subscription form. Campaign Monitor has tools that make collecting email addresses online easy.
Let’s be honest: some emails look terrible. The text leaves no breathing room and doesn’t seem to ever end. The colors are hard to look at and you can scan the entire email twice without even knowing what it’s about. You can wait to go back to your inbox.
So how do you make sure your emails don’t leave that effect on people? Well you don’t need a degree in design to send out beautiful emails.
In fact, just knowing a few principles is enough to ensure that every email you send looks great and clearly delivers its message.
Here are a few email design tips to get you started:
Use the inverted pyramid technique: Your emails should catch attention with a prominent headline. Then build intrigue with a captivating body and finally close with a call to action. This gives it the shape of an upside down pyramid and directs attention.
Make your call to action prominent: Your CTA should catch the attention of your readers immediately.
Add lots of white space: More people are reading emails on their mobile devices, adding white spaces to your email’s body improves its readability.
Use single columns: This reduces the chance of distraction and lets you easily communicate what the reader should focus on.
Make it scannable: Most people scan before they read, so If your email copy is long, separate important points with a subheading.
See how Speck implements the inverted pyramid as well as other design practices to create a captivating email.
If you don’t want to spend the time designing your emails from scratch. Check out our free email template library to find beautiful designs you can quickly use to power your marketing campaigns.
3. Write persuasive messages
So you have a growing list, your email looks good, now all you need to do is fill it with content. You need to make sure everything in the email encourages users to take action.
Now you don’t have to be an expert copywriter to write great emails, and if facing a blank page scares you. Here are a few questions you can answer to write more compelling copy every time.
What do I want my readers to do? Never send an email without knowing what you want your readers to do. For example, maybe you want them to read an article, buy a product, sign up for an event etc. Knowing what you want your readers to do leads to clearer more persuasive emails.
Who is going to read this? This simple question allows you to picture the people at the other end of your email campaign. This will influence how you express certain things like words to use and even copy length.
What do my readers care about? Ultimately copywriting isn’t mind control. If your email doesn’t offer anything of value to the reader they have little incentive to take action.
Would I be happy if I saw this email in my inbox? This is a good way to determine if you’re on the right track. If the answer to this question is no then you need to provide more value.
It’s clear that personalization drives result and it’s easy to understand why. Wouldn’t you rather engage with an email that matched your needs and expectations? In today’s crowded inbox the best way to stand out is to deliver valuable and targeted messages.
The more personalized you can make your emails the better they will perform. Personalization goes beyond just using a first name though.
Here are a few ways to send more personalized emails:
Segment your email list: As mentioned earlier segmentation is a powerful email strategy. It ensures that the people receiving your email care about what you’re offering them. You can segment by interests, location, age, occupation etc.
Personalize your landing pages: If your CTA takes readers to your website, don’t send them to a generic landing page or even worse your homepage. Use the concept of message match from digital advertising and create a landing page that looks like and references the same things the email does.
Use Transactional Emails: Transactional emails are different from other types of email because a subscriber only receives them after triggering an event. They can range from birthday notifications, abandon cart emails and even welcome emails. Transactional emails have higher open rates and click-through rates (CTR) than normal emails according to a study by IBM. You can get started with transactional emails by setting up some simple .
Here’s an example of a very personalized transactional email from GasBuddy.
5. Build a relationship with your subscribers
Want to know the easiest way to boost your email engagement rates? The best way to ensure that the people you’re emailing not only open your emails but click through to your offer and convert? Simply build a relationship with them this is known as nurturing.
People buy from who they trust and email marketing allows you to build this trust more effectively than any other channel. The reason your email isn’t performing as well as you’d hoped might not be because your subject lines are bad or your writing poor.
It might be because you haven’t built a relationship with your subscribers, reaching out to your subscribers only when you want something from them doesn’t strengthen your relationship with them.
Your email list is only as valuable as the level of relationship you’ve built with your subscribers. And the easiest way to build a relationship with your subscribers is to send them something useful regularly. You have to see your subscribers as more than just email addresses and as people with problems and needs.
Your job then becomes to help them solve some of those problems. And the best way to do this is to use email automation to send your subscribers useful content on an ongoing basis so when you finally ask your subscribers for something they take action.
6. Measure and improve your campaigns
What is measured is improved and email marketing is no different. The data you get from your email marketing campaign tells you everything you need to know about making the next one better.
Here are just a few examples of how you can use email metrics to improve your campaigns.
Low open rates: Test different send times and subject lines to see if it improves.
Low click-through rate: Improve your list segmentation, make your CTAs more prominent, improve your offer.
A/B test your offers: Know how many people would buy without the 30% discount.
Design better emails: If your subscribers are mostly using Apple and Gmail clients on mobile devices, optimize your emails for mobile and these clients.
With , you can track and test every aspect of your campaign ensuring that they only get better with time.
Integrate your email with other digital marketing
Once you know how to get started with email marketing, you’ll find it’s a great tool. However, you can see even greater returns when you integrate all your digital marketing channels and combine your efforts. You’ll connect with more people and build greater trust with your biggest fans.
The modern marketer’s toolbox is broad and diverse. Bring them all together to see your greatest possible results ever.
Combine email with social media for better reach
What do your have in common? You can probably think of many things, but one that jumps out is the audience size. Getting started with email marketing is a lot like getting started with social media. The first step is to build a list of subscribers or followers.
Once you’ve gotten started, you can combine your growth efforts. Comb your social audience for potential email subscribers. Feature user-generated content in your newsletter and include a link to subscribe to your newsletter in your social bios and stories. Cover trending topics and hot hashtags your followers like in your email newsletter. There are tons of possibilities when you combine these two channels.
In this email, four different snippets are previewed. Try searching under the broader category of tech on social media and you can probably find these four topics trending high in that category. When promoting a newsletter like this on your social channel, you can tag all those topics.
Now imagine the traffic potential and the number of tech lovers who will be willing to sign up.
Landing page links fit great in emails
As marketers, we all have pages on our site we want millions of eyes on. Once you learn how to get started with email marketing, you will find the goal is similar. You want lots of attention to both. If that’s the case, why not promote them together?
This example is brimming with CTA buttons to a variety of store pages. Not only is the email driving traffic to the store, but they’re also driving it to various, individual categories. The organization is better for the site, and it’s also good for the reader. Readers will always appreciate needing fewer clicks to get where they want to go.
Blogs keep your emails fresh
When your emails are fresh and engaging every time they’re opened, people will stay subscribed. Even better, they’ll keep interacting with your emails. So when you’re looking to spice up your email marketing, consider including content from—and links to—your blog.
So, if you have a killer title that’s destined to get clicks from its native site, you can use that same wording in your email, maybe even as the CTA or subject line.
Email marketing is a powerful way to grow your business and it’s not going away soon. To make sure you get the most from every email you send, you have to grow your list, design better emails, write better copy, personalize your emails, build a relationship with subscribers and then measure to improve.
Looking for more examples of how to get started with email marketing? Check out one of the best publishers today.
Successful digital marketing requires a solid strategy. But with the flurry of new digital tools and platforms landing in marketers’ hands every day, it’s easy to overlook one of the original digital communication channels: email.
But how do you begin turning all of those inboxes into an opportunity for your business? That’s where a clearly defined email marketing strategy comes into play, and an email newsletter should be one of the first tools in that well-rounded kit.
But before we explain why an email newsletter needs to be part of your digital marketing strategy, let’s talk about what differentiates it from other types of email messages.
What exactly is an email newsletter?
An is used to inform your audience about the latest news, tips, or updates about your product or company. They come in many forms, designs, and layouts, as you’ll see in the examples below.
Some are weekly digests of content, like Rolling Stone’s roundup of recent articles. Note how each article on the list only previews a small snippet of information. It’s the proverbial carrot on the end of the stick, enticing the reader to click the link to view the full content and while simultaneously driving more traffic to the site.
Others email newsletters are used to promote new products or events. Storq, a line of maternity basics, does a great job of building a community of moms (and moms-to-be) by balancing their email newsletter with fun advice, helpful articles, and sale promotions.
Newsletters are also a great tool for internal communications. This one from Discovery Creative uses recurring columns so that employees know what to expect in each edition, making the email easier to navigate. Doing this through Campaign Monitor is actually really simple—using the drag-and-drop email builder, you can present information in a compelling and engaging way that doesn’t feel like you’re info-dumping on people who might feel they already know the premise behind the story in each column.
Ultimately, the point of an email newsletter is to keep your subscribers connected, engaged, and informed about what’s new with your organization or business.
Why email newsletters are crucial in a digital marketing strategy.
Out of all the digital marketing techniques in your toolkit, email is the most successful strategy, hands-down. Here’s why:
1. Email connects you to your customers.
An email newsletter gives you the opportunity to showcase your brand’s personality, helping distinguish you from your competitors. And much like meeting people in the real world, the more they get to know you, the more trust and loyalty they’ll feel toward your brand. And that’s a sweet spot for marketers—it’s where repeat sales happen.
Resy does a great job of connecting with their foodie audience by portraying their brand’s hip, humorous and self-aware personality through their weekly roundup of hot restaurants recommendations.
2. It offers you a way to send tailored messages to new and existing customers.
Advances in email automation have made it easier than ever for marketers to personalize their messages. Personalization goes way beyond adding a subscriber’s name to the subject line.
This kind of personalized marketing is the best way to attract new customers and delight existing ones. Knowing your customer and sending relevant messages has become the ultimate benchmark of a successful marketer.
3. Email newsletters can drive traffic to your website.
Relying on people to organically land on your site can be frustrating. It’s kind of like looking for a gas station to fill a nearly empty tank with Google Maps or Waze on the fritz. Instead, use your email newsletter to direct people there. Invite them to view your content or provide them with an incentive to stop by your site. Make sure to use a strong call to action, like in this example from nonprofit Parkrun:
Not only are they using a “teaser” to entice you to read more, but the actual CTA button stretches the length of the message in a can’t-miss-it shade of orange.
4. They can drive sales.
Here’s an encouraging stat: 68% of millennials stated that promotional emails influence their decision to complete a purchase.
Along with presenting your customer with relevant and useful content, use your email newsletter as a chance to bring one of your products or services into the limelight while listing its benefits and driving consumers to a point of sale—whether it be on your site or at a brick-and-mortar (and in some cases, both). Essentially, you have a captive audience here—carpe diem!
You can also help the transaction along by providing an incentive for your customer to purchase the product. Discount codes and promotions can go a long way toward making it a successful sale.
5. That uptick in social media followers? Thank your email newsletter.
If you think of your digital marketing strategy as a conversation, your email newsletter is the icebreaker. It’s where you can first start to engage with your customers before taking them to social media, where more meaningful interaction can be had.
Including social sharing buttons on your email newsletter can help increase engagement on social media by reminding subscribers that your brand has an active social community.
Fruit of Loom created an email entirely devoted to creating awareness around their social media channels. What’s really nice about the example below is the ample space each social media platform was given along with a brief description of what customer can do there—which help to set expectations—and a clear call to action.
How to implement an email newsletter
Technology has not only given us the capability to effectively market using digital channels, it’s made it simple. Yes, we’re in the era of the DIY marketer. Today’s email service providers make it easy to create eyeball-grabbing emails through intuitive, easy-to-use tools.
Include a signup form on your website or incorporate a pop-up that can collect contact information and any relevant data that can be used for segmentation purposes. (Pro-tip: Try not to use more than three fields in your signup form.)
Design an eye-catching email using a template.
Instead of creating a new email from scratch every time, use a pre-defined newsletter template to save time and help maintain a consistent brand image. When someone selects a template to use as the basis of their email design, they are free to make changes and edit as they see fit—however, those changes will only take place in that email, they do not affect the original template.
Use email automation tools.
While you can use the old batch-and-blast method to send out a mass email to your subscriber list quickly, email automation can help make your newsletter relevant by targeting interested customers. Email automation tools allow you to pre-make emails and schedule them, or deliver emails to subscribers based on their behavior, which is definitely a more desirable—and more successful—option than batch-and-blast.
Reap all of the data rewards.
Email newsletters can provide a wealth of data about who your customers are and offer insight into their preferences. By importing your transaction data to your email service provider, you can identify who your best customers are, who’s about to lapse, or who hasn’t made a purchase yet. You can also round up crucial behavioral metrics through your email newsletters open/click rates.
How do I make a good email newsletter? More great examples
If you want to learn what makes a great email newsletter, look at how the pros do it. Even if you’re a seasoned email marketer, it helps to look at the ways others in the industry make their newsletters stand out.
Creating an email newsletter is similar to developing any type of content marketing material: You should be mindful of the design, the copy, and most importantly, the connection the message makes with your audience.
Leesa shows what it means to have a holistic newsletter in this example. Their content, at a glance, has everything. The color scheme is diverse but still cohesive. The unique mixture of text and images keeps readers engaged as you scroll through. That’s especially impactful for longer email newsletters like this.
It also shows the effects of the readers’ previous engagement. This comes in counts of items donated, trees planted, etc.
These days, people are more likely to engage if they see positive results from your marketing and your mission.
Takeaway: This newsletter shows balance. It’s not just balanced in terms of graphics and text—which is good content marketing etiquette—but the information is balanced, too. You can see the impact of engagement and then find CTAs that allow readers to act. The various opportunities maximize the chance of engagement.
Longer newsletters need two things to keep them fresh: a theme, and a differentiating factor. In this case, Vimeo’s theme is the number 18. Choosing the list’s total number based on the year is a clever way to make the content relevant, and give this edition of the newsletter a unique spin for the end of the year.
The differentiating factor here is the nice use of color to separate each entry into its own section. Content is better when it is digestible. Small bits of information win out over massive walls of text. Just like breaking down a job into smaller tasks, breaking down big blocks of content make the newsletter less intimidating.
Takeaway: It’s like turning from page to page in a book. Not only is the presentation inviting, but the content builds on itself, making it more likely the reader will continue on. Even though the newsletter is a little on the lengthy side, it works.
Our final example of a newsletter we love comes from Filson. Immediately, the images in this one jump out. Good visuals are a part of good newsletters.
However, this newsletter shows off a few different types of visuals. The first a behind-the-scenes look at the work being done in the Filson workshop. The second is a creative background that consists of their materials; the images are so close you can see the textures. The final is to include a shot of tools. All three make the reader feel like they’re right in the factory.
Takeaway: Creative images are a sure way to spice up any email newsletter, and make a reader feel more connected to the brand. Peppering in high-quality closeups of the merchandise doesn’t hurt, either.
A great digital marketing plan relies on a solid strategy made up of various communications channels. However, email continues to be the glue that holds these various channels together. In fact, a well-designed newsletter that offers targeted messages to customers based on their preferences and behavior can be a powerful driver of sales and ultimately, brand loyalty.
But is it possible to be a little too good at personalizing your marketing messages? At some point, do the messages begin to feel creepy, weird, and like a brand knows a little too much?
In today’s digital ecosystem, marketers are personalizing their messages in more sophisticated ways to ensure that what they deliver is relevant, valuable, and far from creepy. In this post, we’ll take a deeper look at delivering personalization that compels not repels.
Marketers focus on relevancy
Consumers demand personalized experiences these days. Industry trends show customers want emails that offer recommendations based on past purchases, as well as access to exclusive deals based on loyalty status.
Consumers do respond to personalized emails, but some big brand marketers are taking issue with the word “personalization.” It conjures up images of a robot that tracks our every move, then “blasts” our inboxes. But nothing could be further from the truth with personalization that is done well.
Because of this, some marketers are now replacing the term “personalization” with “relevant content.” A great example of relevant content is this email from Guess.
For example, the email below would only be relevant to people with children.
It might seem like marketers are getting hung up on a word, but they’re trying to take the robot, “we’re-spying-on-you” feel out of personalization and focus more on creating relevant messages that feel more human. As brands navigate the journey from 1:many to 1:1 messaging, they need to do it in a strategic and thoughtful way in order to make it successful.
That’s not to say brands will shy away from collecting and using data to power personalization and relevant content. Instead, they’ll try to be more selective about how they use it.
How to create content that’s relevant
As you work to create and improve your email marketing strategy, you’ll want to figure out how to personalize your messages in a way that feels relevant rather than creepy.
Here are a few ways to reach subscribers with relevant content that doesn’t cross over to the dark side:
Check your email frequency
Email frequency can make or break a subscriber’s perception of a brand. If your brand sends too many emails, subscribers can feel like you are violating their boundaries and retreat away from you.
To cope with this, figure out the right frequency for your subscribers, keeping in mind that one frequency won’t fit all. Different segments will likely want different amounts of emails, so you’ll have to test your email frequency to land on the perfect number of emails per month.
If you aren’t sure where to start, Campaign Monitor research suggests that sending an email every two weeks gets high response rates without burning subscribers out. Use this as a starting point and test your frequency as you make adjustments. And. always deliver what you promised when subscribers signed up to hear from your company. If you change it, communicate it to subscribers and let them choose if they still want to hear from you at that frequency.
Use dynamic content
Dynamic content gives brands the power to change pieces of an email campaign depending on the subscriber.
For example, if you’re having a holiday sale and want to feature different products in an email, you can use dynamic content to send emails that highlight relevant products to each subscriber group.
You’ll create an email that advertises the sale, but the product images change based on the subscriber. For example, men might see men’s’ clothing, while women would see women’s. That’s the dynamic content.
Build landing pages specifically for email campaigns
When a subscriber clicks on a link in an email, they’re taken to a separate page– a landing page– which has the same look, copy, and CTA.
The point of the landing page is to provide a consistent, relevant experience. The landing page shows that you didn’t just blast an email into inboxes– it has more thought behind it and provides a fluid way for subscribers to go from thinking about a product to paying for it.
Here’s an example from La Mer. The company sends an email that focuses on products for brides and directs interested subscribers to a landing page that provides testimonials about each product and a way to buy.
Create email courses tailored to subscribers’ interests
A growing number of brands are finding success by creating email courses that offer subscribers a relevant and educational experience.
Rather than sending overly personalized messages based on data collected, a course encourages subscribers select courses that feel particularly relevant to them. This makes the subscriber feel as though they’re in the driver’s seat. For example:
A nutrition site could create a 5-day course on eating healthy. Each day the subscriber gets a meal plan emailed to them with links to helpful blog articles.
A photography company could offer a three-email series that gives amateur photographers tips to take better portraits with homework assignments to complete each day.
Apartment Therapy, an online resource for urban apartment dwellers, offered baking classes that are geared toward small living.
Here’s a look at one of the classes:
This kind of email course typically results in a high engagement rate. The email course not only gives subscribers something of value, but it also gives brands new insight as subscribers interact with specific content with further opportunities to personalize the customer experience as they go.
Humanize transactional emails
After a purchase, brands typically send a transactional email, which serves as a confirmation or receipt. Since the message is sent only after a customer takes an action like making a purchase or booking a flight, these emails are highly relevant to the subscriber. Even so, they typically have a robotic feel.
To take the machine-created feel out of transactional emails, consider trying some of these small changes:
Create a tailored headline that references the customer’s action.
Include a quick thank you note from the CEO as part of the email.
Give subscribers a way to reach an actual human for follow-up questions.
Offer exciting, compelling images within the email to show off the brand or related products and services.
For example, Talbots, a women’s clothing retailer, sent a thank you email after a customer made a purchase in-store. It’s a nice way to follow-up with a customer and provides a human touch via a digital channel.
Review your customer service process
As customers interact with your brand and product, they’re likely to have questions. Make sure customers have a way to reach a real human for help.
Offering troubleshooting guides and knowledge bases is essential, but there should also be a simple way for customers to talk about a question or a concern with an actual person. The process should be smooth, without jumping through a million menus or being bounced from one person to the next.
It’s always a good idea to audit your customer service process to make sure it’s providing the right level of relevant assistance. When you’re sending support emails, make sure you give subscribers a list of ways to get in touch.
How to design hyper-personalized content that pushes the right buttons
Now that you’ve laid the foundation for your personalized email marketing campaign, let’s take a look at some of the key factors in creating personalized content that will move your customers to take action. Remember, your customers don’t respond to generic content.
They respond to content that has been deliberately tailored for them.
1. Understand your company’s sales funnel
That may sound like something odd to say, but you need to understand your company’s sales funnel – from your customer’s point of view.
As much as you may feel like you’ve got the best sales funnel on the planet from a strategist’s viewpoint, it won’t serve you well if it doesn’t improve the customer journey. In order to fully understand your sales funnel, put yourself in your customer’s shoes and travel down it yourself. Or better yet, take a group of beta testers down the funnel and get their feedback on how each stage feels.
Use this to improve your funnel until it provides a seamless journey from start to finish.
Understanding each stage of the funnel from a customer’s point of view will help you to create content that is super relevant for each stage of the customer journey. It will also help you come up with optimized and personalized content delivery systems.
2. Understand your customers’ pain points
Another key to creating content that evokes the right reaction is to take the time to understand not only the problem your customers face but the emotions the problem and the solution elicit from them as well.
Understanding your customer’s pain points helps you empathize with them and also helps you design a content personalization strategy. The result is your customers will stop seeing you as a brand that’s just after their hard earned money but as a caring friend.
And that’s what fosters brand loyalty.
For audiophiles who live an active outdoor life, one major pain point is having a good set of earphones that don’t fall out of the ear during rigorous activity. Jaybird addressed this paint point by creating a reliable product.
To get people to buy into it, they created a personalized email campaign with hyper-targeted content.
Once you’ve got these two factors embedded in your marketing DNA, you are then able to anticipate exactly what your customers need. That is the key to sending targeted content that gets consumed and elicits readers to take action.
As brands rely more and more on data to tailor messages to customers, it’s important not to lose sight of the human being at the other end of your messages. Subscribers want relevant content that’s of interest, but every brand has to make that happen without going too far. The tips above should put brands on the right path to relevant– not creepy– email content.
We’ve all been the recipients of personalized marketing campaigns that may have fallen a bit flat. Even the biggest brands have sent emails with the wrong name or default text that went awry.
Personalization mistakes can quickly change someone’s opinion of a brand, so you have to be careful how you approach your target audience.
At the same time, consumers respond positively to personalization done well. According to Accenture, 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, or knows their purchase history.
Luckily, you can now do personalization far better than just ‘Hi [Your Name]’. You can dynamically segment your messages based on what users are doing on your company’s website right now, triggering marketing campaigns that offer personalized messages based on their real-time activity.
This type of personalization can impress, entice, and, of course, drive higher conversion rates. It’s personalization done right. Here’s how you can accomplish it for your brand.
Gain a deeper understanding of your customer
Personalization is only as good as the data you have about your buyers. Unfortunately, today’s buyers may have as many as six separate IDs in your systems, including:
Multiple browsers, like Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer
Mobile devices, like a laptop, desktop, cellphone, or tablet
Multiple emails, customer identities, or phone numbers
With an advanced CRM, you can identify every customer’s actions across multiple browsers (on a mobile device or desktop) and on multiple platforms (email, web, mobile, ads, and more). By unifying all of that complex data into one single and accurate customer ID, you can better understand exactly who your potential buyers are, and what they’re interested in.
With that data in hand, you can then do a more specific segmentation of your customers according to their behaviors across platforms and channels. It’s not just about simple demographic data like age and location — now you know what they’ve clicked on, what products they’ve viewed, and much more.
Then with that specific information, you can send out far more personalized messages to your audience like the one below. In this example, Mack Weldon sends out recommendations based on what’s already in a user’s cart.
Leverage real-time marketing automation
Many marketers think they’ve already got a handle on marketing automation. In actuality, today’s technology can do a lot more than just trigger an automated welcome email when someone fills out a form. By using that same data around customer behavior on your site, you can use marketing automation to trigger emails based on specific actions taken by buyers.
For example, if a customer views women’s shoes multiple times, you can automatically send them an email with a coupon for that specific line of shoes. Or, if a customer abandons a cart, you can drive conversions by triggering a cart abandonment email to drive urgency.
This email from Asics was automated to arrive in the customer’s inbox exactly one hour after the item was abandoned in the cart, dynamically adding in the exact product they left behind along with an offer for free shipping. These types of triggers don’t require anything from the marketer to accomplish — they all happen in real-time as customers take actions across your site. With real-time marketing automation, you can make the message not just personal, but timely as well.
Use true omnichannel personalization
Emails are not the only way to achieve personalization and automation. In fact, these tools become even more powerful when you execute campaigns across multiple channels.
With omnichannel personalization, you can actually use that same data and same marketing automation to push out ads across channels — on Facebook, Google, YouTube, Instagram and more.
Instead of a win-back campaign only through email, Vineyard Vines used a coordinated effort to win back a customer through a sale via multiple channels, increasing the rate of success. Some customers may ignore your email but respond positively to web push or targeted ads. This type of detailed and specific personalization will help e-commerce brands stand out from the crowd.
Anticipate the buyer’s position in the sales funnel
Marketers know all about meeting buyers where they are. It’s a good practice to influence your efforts, but we often limit our thinking to coincide with the tactics we’re already using.
Sure, we think about how our product could help a person, or where they are as far as their location or financial status. However, what about their position in the sales funnel?
People have different interactions with companies, and therefore the next step for each individual may be unique. For example, people just viewing content may need to be nudged toward a sale with lead-generation techniques.
The same could be said of leads, who may need things like customer support access to get questions answered before they’re ready to become customers. Customers could need the right platform to become promoters with reviews, and so on. As we can see, there are many opportunities for personalized email content at each level.
You don’t want to ask for product reviews from people who haven’t bought anything, nor do you want to explain to a person who is ready to make a purchase why they really need your product. Personalization is about giving people the relevant messages they need based on where they are.
Anticipate the pain points of customers
A great product is designed to do one thing above all else–solve a problem the customer faces. Personalized email shouldn’t just send people offers for products you want them to buy. It should focus on providing customers with products and resources you know can help them.
The result is a win for both sides. Customers are more likely to buy, and the company is more likely to have a higher click-through rate on their personalized content. So, if you’re looking to solve customers’ problems, identify those problems and craft your email around how your product—or services or resources or customer support—can solve them.
Keeping a weight loss goal into the new year is difficult, so much so it’s become a running joke to make weight loss a new year’s resolution.
This email specifically targets the pain point of missing out on that delicious taste of the foods you love while trying to cut back on carbs. In doing so, it immediately establishes a connection with subscribers who’ve faced a similar problem.
Personalized email content isn’t just about filling in the customer’s name or information. It’s about relating to their struggles and helping them reach their goals. What’s more personal than an individual’s deepest desires or their hardest obstacle to overcome?
If your email content can tap into that, you’ll have mastered personalization and will enjoy the engagement that comes after.
Rather than worrying about making an awkward mistake, your marketing can be hyper-personalized to exactly what your buyer is looking for. Even better, they’ll see your message across multiple channels, always getting a consistent impression of your brand. With the right personalization combined with real-time automation across channels, you can truly start to personalize your marketing.
Looking to get a little more inventive with personalized email content? Learn tips on how to incorporate the customer’s journey into your content creation and distribution.