Email marketing has changed dramatically over the years. Static text-only messages delivered to all client database addresses have given way to a more web-like experience with dynamic pictures, video, and a high level of personalisation. Emails must now render effectively on all types of mobile and smart devices, and marketers must continue to push their inventiveness and use the latest technologies to stand out in subscribers’ cluttered inboxes.
In this blog, we’ll show you how to use the most recent email functionality and design best practices to build emails that are bold, relevant, and effective. We discuss interactive email features such as kinetic design and AMP, how to use personalisation improvements to increase engagement, and how to use email automation to ensure that you always react to clients and prospects on time and with appropriate information.
6 reasons why email is an effective marketing tool
Before we get into how to make your emails more fascinating and engaging, let’s go through some of the reasons why email is still the most successful corporate communication channel. According to recent surveys, email continues to beat all other channels in terms of ROI. Email marketing delivers a $38 ROI for every dollar spent, which is much higher than other message and social platforms.
So, what makes email so powerful?
Nothing beats email in terms of the amount of individuals who use it on a regular basis. Although digital messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Viber, as well as social media platforms such as Facebook, have seen significant growth in recent years, the total number of email users worldwide remains significantly lower.
Email remains an important aspect of the online experience because an email address is typically required to activate accounts on other platforms. According to the Email Statistics Report – 2021-2025, the global email user base will increase from more than 4.1 billion in 2021 to almost 4.6 billion by 2025.
Businesses with well-maintained and authenticated email lists can achieve delivery rates of more than 98% for their marketing communications. In comparison, on social media, algorithms limit unpaid posts to less than 5% of those who follow you. Email is the way to go if you want your messages to be viewed.
Email, of all the messaging channels available to organisations, has the most flexibility for creating appealing, engaging content and powerful CTAs. Text, video, personalised photos, and kinetic material (detailed later) can all be integrated to create a dynamic and memorable web-like experience in recipients’ inboxes.
Email technology has developed as consumers have transitioned from predominantly using desktop PCs to now reading messages on their phones, tablets, and even smart TVs. Email designers, like website designers, can now utilise responsive design to ensure that emails look and perform as intended on any device, regardless of screen size or operating system.
Ease of Creation
While incorporating responsive design and interactive elements into email was once a complex and time-consuming process, modern email tools, such as those available in our Moments customer engagement tool, now include a drag-and-drop responsive editor and a rich set of templates, allowing email marketers to quickly and easily create great-looking emails with interactive contentment and a high degree of personalization.
Email is the most straightforward message channel to track and report on. Almost all email service providers provide instant feedback on message delivery statistics, open rates, click rates, and a slew of other useful metrics that enable marketers to swiftly assess campaign ROI. This data contains a wealth of actionable information that marketers can utilise to improve their campaigns and produce more leads.
What is interactive email content?
To get the most out of your email marketing, make sure your messages stand out in recipients’ inboxes. How do you go about doing this? The solution is to use interactive email content.
These emails, as the name implies, have dynamic functional aspects that allow receivers to interact with the text. This could range from scrolling through a carousel of product photographs to clicking on a link to redeem a coupon, or even playing a game or taking a quiz to earn prizes. The possibilities are almost endless.
The more visual experience provided by interactive content encourages recipients to interact with your emails, click on links, and can enhance conversions by minimising the number of steps to purchase, such as by incorporating interactive shopping carts within the email itself.
Types of interactive email content
We’ll look at two forms of interactive content and its benefits and drawbacks to help you decide which is better for the types of emails you want to send.
Because animated GIFs and video are considered kinetic, many businesses may already be using basic kinetic content in their emails without realising it.
More advanced kinetic content can be developed utilising HTML and CSS techniques to duplicate the types of experiences available on websites, such as image accordions and carousels, multiple tabs, hotspots, and a variety of flip-over and hover-over animations.
There is one caveat: some email clients may filter out this HTML or rewrite it in such a way that it does not render correctly. The good news is that most email programmes, including Apple Mail (on both MacOS and iOS), Yahoo!, and several popular Android clients, fully support kinetic emails. Even if kinetic content is not supported, fallback techniques can be used to display a different version of the message that still looks nice.
Interactive aspects in emails make it easier for subscribers to find the material they want, resulting in higher click rates and click-to-open rates for your email campaigns.
However, keep in mind that some interactive elements necessitate quite complex HTML-code, which will result in larger emails. It is best to select the pieces that bring the most value to each specific use case. For example, for high-volume deployments such as monthly account statements or messages such as order confirmations that must be delivered fast, it may be best to avoid animations and keep your emails as lightweight as possible.
Examples of Kinetic Email Content
Here are a few kinetic email examples and their applications.
Use pictures and animations to bring attention to your most important offerings and give recipients a more compelling reason to click through. To offer extra information or a slightly alternative CTA, use a flip animation. Reduce the amount of text and convey your message in a unique and punchy way.
Carousels of images
Rather than displaying a single static image in your emails, display many images in an easy-to-navigate style. Excellent for displaying different product characteristics, colour changes, or views from various perspectives.
Image carousels are also a great way to include all of the imagery you want without making the message too long and forcing recipients to scroll down to find the stuff they want.
Accordions and tabs
Accordions and tabs, which allow you to stack content in sections that recipients can discover by expanding or clicking between, are another excellent technique to convey more content in a small space. This allows individuals to rapidly identify the information that is relevant to them and skip through the information that is not.
Hotspots and hover images
Hover pictures and hotspots are two more excellent space-saving animations derived from website design. When the recipient moves the mouse over the primary image or a hotspot in the message, these display alternate or additional images. Again, this is excellent for displaying additional views of a product or paying attention to a certain feature in a visually appealing manner.
AMP was a Google-backed project that debuted in 2015 as an open framework that allowed any publisher to create pages that loaded quickly on mobile devices. Google reported in 2017 that 900,000 web domains were publishing AMP pages, with over two billion pages published per year.
In 2019, the framework was expanded to include email support. Marketers could now add AMP components into emails, providing current app capabilities and standard interactive web page behaviour. AMP, similar to kinetic email content, allows email marketers to include accordions, carousels, forms, and hamburger menus in their communications.
However, there are a few key considerations that marketers should be aware of before implementing AMP. Let us examine the advantages and disadvantages:
The benefits of AMP email include:
- The AMP coding standard is fully documented and quite stringent, therefore it is supported by all email clients. AMP emails will render correctly without the need for any hacks or tweaks.
- It permits the presentation of live content within emails. This could range from current stock values to the brand’s Twitter feed. This implies that marketers can present all essential information in a single email rather than needing to refer users to landing pages or third-party websites.
- AMP uses far less code than the kinetic equivalents discussed above, and there is no need to provide fallback options or CSS workarounds to ensure that content displays properly.
The disadvantages of AMP emails:
- The main disadvantage of AMP is that it requires email service providers and marketing software companies to provide support for a new, dedicated MIME-part in addition to the existing text and HTML. This is a significant barrier, as only Gmail, Mail.ru, and Yahoo mail currently support AMP. Outlook.com provided a sneak peek in 2019, but it was officially withdrawn in October 2020.
- Email marketers must understand the AMP 4 email coding language in order to use it. Despite the fact that instructions and a sandbox for testing are available online, the very rigorous criteria for AMP emails mean that there is a high learning curve before the first email can be published.
- When a recipient passes an email to another person, any interactivity is gone. This is because the third MIME-section is removed when forwarding, even to email clients that support AMP.
- After a recipient receives AMP content, it expires after 30 days. Following that, the HTML fallback will be displayed.
- There are no statistics available. Despite Google’s commitment to provide insights about the performance of the various widgets in AMP emails, these are still unavailable.
Today’s consumers, it is widely believed, expect brands to communicate with them as individuals. This is much more than simply addressing them by name in your messages for email marketers. It all comes down to offering appropriate content to each people at the correct moment to enrich their lives and make doing business with you easier. Customers that are invested in a brand relationship are more likely to remain loyal and spend with you – it’s that easy.
Here are a few ideas for adding meaningful and valuable customization to your emails.
After all these years, Amazon, the ultimate success story of online shopping, still employs the ‘customers who bought this product also bought product X’ strategy – simply because it works and increases sales. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference incorporating some simple product suggestion logic into your email templates can make.
Here are a few examples:
- Alternatives to things that a person has looked at or perhaps left in their shopping cart
- Products with a better rating than those in which they have expressed an interest Regional variations based on each person’s location
- Associated products and add-ons for previously purchased items
- Refills and extensions for previously purchased items
AI-powered look-alike modelling
Taking simple product recommendations a step further, think about utilising AI to analyse your customer and transactional data to anticipate what things a person might be interested in based on previous purchases and any other information you know about them.
Many brands do this extremely well, from music streaming services discovering new artists you might like to your favourite retailer analysing your loyalty card transactions to identify trends, buying cycles, and new products you might be interested in.
Capture people’s attention by creating video content that is targeted specifically to them. Product videos, reviews, and endorsements from industry figures can all be powerful tools for attracting attention and driving sales. Make sure to embed short videos within your emails rather than providing links to YouTube, which could easily distract recipients.
Use email automation to stay current and relevant.
We discussed email automation in full in a previous in-depth piece, but here is a high-level review of the primary benefits and why you should use automation as part of your email marketing plan.
- Optimal resource utilisation: Automation enables you to accomplish much more with less resources by drastically lowering the number of manual stages in your business workflows. Responding to FAQs, sending reminders, and scheduling transactional deployments such as monthly account statements are just a few examples of chores that may be readily accomplished with email automation. Furthermore, your email automation workflows can run continuously and include send time optimisation, ensuring that messages arrive in recipients’ inboxes at the optimal time to be opened.
- Effective throughout the sales cycle: Email automation allows you to send relevant and effective messages at all phases of the customer journey, making it effective throughout the sales cycle. From marketing messages to entice new customers to welcome messages, service alerts, and loyalty programmes to ensure a great customer experience, we have you covered.
- Personalised messaging at scale: Without a question, email is the finest channel for sending a huge number of personalised messages rapidly and affordably. When banks send out monthly statements to all of their customers, consider the cost savings associated with sending these via email rather than physical mail.
- Fill your sales funnel by doing the following: Increase brand trust and loyalty by using email nurture flows to educate and inform customers and prospects over time. Subscribers will appreciate being kept up to date on messages that are of interest to them, which could range from new product updates to special discounts that reward loyalty. Regular, high-quality emails help to keep your brand in front of customers’ minds and prevent churn.
- Simple and adaptable: Developing and implementing an efficient email strategy for your company no longer necessitates extensive participation from the IT department and the time of costly developers. Modern email systems have grown to give all of the capabilities required by marketers to easily design and deliver automated email campaigns without the use of technical personnel. An easy no-code interface allows you to do everything from precise client segmentation to integrating personalised interactive content and employing AB testing to optimise email outcomes.