Tag: email design

Responsive who?

Responsivemailers

Cross-screen Engagement (Responsive Design)

To answer that – Well, every major brand and enterprise, practically everyone who is serious about their digital efforts paying off is going responsive. Chant “Stop, look and go responsive“.

One size fits all is a catch phrase even the clothing industry is weaning off of.

Stop thinking in terms of web pages and email templates, its’ time to start thinking browsers, devices and platforms. There is an ever-increasing onslaught of novelty in hardware, and screen sizes are moving from large, medium, and small to everything in between. We are left with no choice but to turn to a fluid design in our content.

There are numerous statistics to show that mobile penetration is surpassing all device usage records. Almost 90% urban India is suitably equipped to access and consume digital content across platforms and devices. Companies therefore must respond and change the way this content is being served.

Why Responsive?

Effective Time Spent on Content

Instead of multiple fixed width layouts, serve fluid grid layouts. Images, copy and call to actions are sized up perfectly to suit the device and platform. Consumers spend less time zooming in and out or scrolling sideways and more time actually engaging with your brand through the website or email.

Engagement

Email templates created with a responsive design are known to show twice as much engagement as traditional email. Given the fact that a growing majority mobile users are accessing emails on mobile, it’s imperative that your brand and message is not just visible but clear and conspicuous and designed to fit!

Avoid accidental clicks

It will drastically reduce the rate of unwarranted or accidental click-through. Customers who intend to click on a certain call to action will do so based on pure intent and not mistakenly land up their trying to navigate on an unresponsive design. Thus your metrics convey a truer picture.

How Responsive?

 There are specialists in the field offering custom web designs, email designs to suit every budget. Large enterprises have teams and agencies.

 We at Kenscio specialize in offering you the best in class responsive email design, suited and booted to your specifications with turnaround times that surpass industry standards- Pixel perfect magic at your service!

 Check out  www.responsivemailers.com for more !

(Contributed by: Arzoo Amrita Mann, Sr. Manager – Client Success, Kenscio)

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Cricket Fever with Kenscio’s Thermometer

Zillions of crazy Indian cricket fans were winding up their work in a Jiffy to cheer up their heroes, while we @ Kenscio were busy in developing a count-down timer in an e-mail communication to be sent by Star Sports (We call it Intimate Communication) which gives them a goose-bump with a ticking clock asking them to go home early.

With this they did not require their wife, husband, friends & families to give them a reminder. Along with Star Sports, Kenscio have done this task for them like one of their close acquaintances. We understand the urgency and we make it fine-tuned too.

With  an engaging content, Star Sports wanted their real heroes (Their consumers) to be well and advanced informed. Here is how Kenscio did the fulfillment:

Real Time Personalised Email

Real Time Personalised Email

 

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Is your email creative mobile ready?

We are increasingly moving towards a connected and perpetually active world. More and more people are beginning to depend on mobile devices to work, play or stay connected to what matters to them. As a result it is not surprising to know that people are gradually depending more on their smart phones or other smart devices to perform their favourite activities on the internet, one of them being: checking emails.

Research shows that 41% of mobile owners have made a purchase as a direct result of an email viewed on a mobile device. On the other hand as much as 63% of customers might close and forget about non-mobile friendly messages.

As a result, you the marketer, can no longer avoid the fact that your customers might experience your email communication on multiple devices, and that your creative might not be optimized enough to support all devices and environments.

One crude solution is to investigate the affinity of your customers for various devices and prepare several version of your email campaign optimised for each device. This not so bright method, fails to address the challenge that at least some of your customers might check emails on multiple devices. Some might show a pattern, others might not. The complexity just continues to increase.

A smart way of addressing this challenge would be to optimise your email creative in such a way that it is intuitive enough to provide the most optimized viewing experience to your customers on any given device.

Email optimization for mobile devices

How?

Well, there are more than one ways of achieving mobile optimization, the desirable method depends on the layout of your creative, the content, the call to action etc. among other things.

Get in touch to learn more about how Kenscio can help optimise your email campaigns for multiple devices, operating systems and browsers.

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Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 17

16. Navigation and Search in Email Message

 

Your email is basically an extension of your Website so, where appropriate, make the navigation of your email message consistent with your Website — but also highlight key areas of your Website that are likely to get customers to take action. If you have Bargain Basement, Closeouts, Featured Products and other areas on your site — use them in your email.

If your Email Service Provider provides the feature of visually providing the user attention through the links clicks, You can analyze which sections of your email message are generating more clicks and optimize the offer placements to areas where the users are more likely to click.

You can also use multi-variate testing to test the email content and subject lines that provide the highest open and click through rates, before sending the email message to the entire audience.

If you have a search capability on your Website, add it to your email. Your customers can type in their search phrase, hit submit, and it will take them to your Website’s search-results page. You now have those people on your Website, where you have the potential to convert them to customers.

Allow your landing pages to be searchable by the search engines and look for user search phrases. This can provide what users are looking for on the web and this will provide very useful information on the subject lines for your email message.

Read earlier blogs on the subject “Guide to a Better HTML Email Design” on Kenscio Blog.

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Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 13

12. Preview Panes and Blocked Images

 

The two advances in email clients are combining to deliver a double whammy to email marketers:

  1. the horizontal/vertical preview panes which allow a reader to view just a narrow strip or square of an email message without actually opening it, and
  2. a blocked-images feature that prevents images from downloading unless the reader requests them. Around 75% of people who use preview panes prefer the horizontal version, while the remaining 25% prefer the vertical version. You can cover both pane configurations by placing the most important information in the top left corner.

Email Newsletter - Blocked Images
The Sprinklr India Newsletter in the Outlook preview pane: although the images are blocked, recipients can preview the email’s contents from the teaser text and a concise subject line.
Individually, each of these features can throw off your open rate and prevent users from seeing your most critical information. In tandem, it means your email performance may be reduced significantly if you don’t redesign your emails to deliver key information as quickly as possible. In fact, you should assume that you have only 2 to 4 inches of space to tell your story and persuade viewers to open your email instead of just previewing it.

Although this has implications for both business and consumer email marketers and publishers, the problem is especially acute for B2B emailers, because a significant portion of their readers are likely using Outlook and Lotus Notes — the two email clients that combine preview panes and blocked images.
Some email industry observers have even attributed drops in open rates to widespread use of blocked images, because an “open” is generally counted when a small, clear image within an email message is called from a Web server. If the image is being blocked, the “open” is not counted.

While most Web-based email clients don’t use preview panes, Yahoo Mail has a relatively new Web client that behaves more like a desktop client with a preview pane and default image-blocking. Yahoo Mail and other Web email clients also use image blocking as a default setting.

Take these steps to make your email more preview-pane/disabled-image friendly:

  1. Redesign the top of your email template so that key content shows in the preview pane even if images are disabled or blocked. Content-oriented newsletters should include headlines or “In This Issue” teasers. Newsletters with banner/image-based ads should switch to text ads and content teasers. Ecommerce and other promotional-type emails should summarize or highlight the key proposition, offer or products right up top.
  2. Study your click-tracking reports to understand where readers are clicking most often. Use this information to determine the best placement of images and links.
  3. Ask to be added to your subscribers’ address book. Images are displayed by default if you’re in the address book for all AOL and Hotmail recipients as well as anyone using Outlook or Outlook Express. Always send from the same address, since that is the address the recipient will add to the address book.
  4. Move less critical administrative information to an Admin Center at the end of the email or newsletter, especially if it draws few clicks. But consider keeping or including text links to key actions below your “In This Issue” or teaser text. At Sprinklr, we saw a fairly high number of newsletter subscribers clicking the “View Message Online” link. So, we kept that and added “Update Profile” and a few other key actions.
  5. Your From and Subject lines become much more important in this new reality. Sixty percent of readers told us they consult subject lines to decide whether they’ll scan the message in the preview pane or just delete it without a glance.
  6. In this new preview-pane format, the From and Subject lines become the top two points of a triangle, with the third point being the top of your newsletter or email. All three have to work together to snag a reader’s eye.
  7. Remember that email clients vary in how they show From and Subject lines in the Inbox. You should keep both to no more than 50 characters each.
  8. Use both text and HTML in advertisements, logos and branding messages rather than live images linked to your Website, such as JPEGs or GIFs. You’ll still be able to deliver key information even to readers whose email clients block images.
  9. Use alt tags that describe an image’s content or action.
  10. Review your HTML coding to make sure it complies with W3C standards.
  11. Review how well your format complies with the quirks and nonstandard rendering of Lotus Notes. Depending on your B2B readership, your Lotus Notes subscriber base might range from a low of 5% to as high as 15%.
  12. Eliminate skyscraper or vertically rectangular ads that go deeper than the pixel equivalent of 3 or 4 inches.

Whether your email subscribers are B2B or B2C, use of the preview pane will only increase. You should act now to redesign your emails for a world of blocked images and small preview panes.

 

Read earlier blogs on the subject “Guide to a Better HTML Email Design” on Kenscio Blog.

 

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Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 12

11. Create a Web Version of Your Email Newsletter

 

Although the vast majority of email clients and email Web interfaces (e.g., Yahoo, Hotmail) render HTML correctly, your recipients could be using an older version of Lotus Notes or AOL, which might not render your images properly. Giving readers a link to a Web version or offering a text option ensures recipients see the message as you intended.
Three tips:

  1. Include a “View Online version of this message” link at the top of your email. Also, include a link to the Web version in the footer or admin area of your email message. The link can automatically direct to a Web-hosted version (your email software should be able to automatically generate this link for you) or to a link to your Website where you’ve posted the message (perhaps along with back issues for newsletters). Most of the Kenscio clients report that approximately 4% of recipients click on the Web version link. This is a significant number if you have a large list.
  2. Include “Format Preference (HTML or Text)” on your opt-in form. Also, include a note worded like this: “Choose text if you use Eudora Light, Eudora Pro 3 and below, Lotus Notes versions below R5 or AOL 5.0 and under”.
  3. Include a link to a Profile Update page allowing recipients to change their preferred format from HTML to text at any time in the future.

 

Read earlier blogs on this subject “Guide to a Better HTML Email Design” on Kenscio Blog.

 

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Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 11

10.Use Image Alt Tags

 

HTML “alt” tags display a text description of an image either when the image does not display or when a cursor rolls over a displayed image. Using alt tags in your HTML emails is important for three reasons:

Recipients using dial-up or other slow connections might not see images for several seconds. Displaying alt tag text can convey what is to come.

Many email clients (Outlook and Outlook Express) and email services (AOL, Yahoo and Gmail) disable images by default or display a warning message or command to download the images.

Gmail uses what it calls “snippets,” which display the first few text words it sees in an email, following the subject line. Gmail will also display the text from alt tags, so it is important to use this to your advantage – as an addendum to your subject line, for example.

A sample alt tag looks like this:
<img name=”index_r2_c2″ src=”http://mailer.aghreni.net/imgproxy/img/809298233/index_r2_c2.jpg” width=”163″ height=”85″ border=”0″ alt=”Aghreni logo” border=0>

 

Tips on using alt tags
Newsletters:
For logos, headers, section titles and other uses of images, describe the logo and image, but consider adding a brief teaser that explains that section of the email. If your email is a newsletter, an example of an alt tag that serves as both a teaser and a text version of the image might be: “Optimization — Strategies for improving email marketing performance”.

E-commerce Email:
Include short but complete descriptions of product photos or offers such as “50% off”.

Charts and Graphs:
Include enough text to explain the value and contents of the chart or graph, such as “Chart: Open Rates from A/B Split Test”.

Gmail Snippets/Preview Text:
Use an appropriate image in your header to display key teaser info. For ec-ommerce emails, the information might expand on special offers mentioned in the subject line, reinforce Free Shipping or promote additional products. For newsletters, consider mentioning additional articles beyond what is in the subject line, or expand on the existing topic.

While this sounds like a lot of work, at most it probably adds 5 to 10 minutes to your email production. Most importantly though, marketers who don’t use alt tags appropriately risk lower open and click-through rates because recipients might decide not to display images or act further.

Read earlier blogs on “Guide to a Better HTML Email Design” on Kenscio Blog.

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Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 10

9. Images in Emails

 

You can use as many images in an email message as you wish – the right number depends on the purpose, type and focus of the email. For instance, e-commerce emails often have more images than promotional emails.

Consider using graphic images and buttons to draw a reader’s attention. These images can convey concepts in combination with your copy. Make sure your call-to-action is not only supported by an image but also by text. This way, if the images are turned off, the call-to-action is still clear.

Images for emails should be hosted on a Website and not embedded within the email to ensure proper rendering and to minimize the email’s file size.

Important note:

Define the size and parameters (horizontal and vertical height in pixels) of each graphic in the <IMG SRC> tags.

For example:
<img src=”http://www.companyabc.com/image.gif” width=”75” height=”60” alt=”Titleof Image”>

 

Read earlier blogs on “Guide to a Better HTML Email Design” on Kenscio Blog.

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Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 7

6. Color and Background Color

 

In everything from images to fonts, colors play an important role in the email design process but can also create problems. For example, don’t choose a font color such as a muted gray on a gray background that makes your headlines and calls-to-action difficult to read. And don’t run the risk of hiding valuable information in your emails by blending the content into the background.
Men and women react differently to colors, but several polls on color preferences by gender and age yield interesting results:

 

Target Audience Favorite Colors Least Favorite Colors
Females Blue, Purple, Green
(all “cool” colors)
Orange, Brown, Gray
(“warm” & “neutral” colors)
Males Blue, Green, Black
(two “cool” & one “neutral” color)
Brown, Orange, Purple
(“neutral”, “warm” & “mixed” colors)
All Genders Preferences for Green decrease with age;
Preferences for purple increase with age
Dislike of Orange increases with age

 

For more information on color preferences and perceptions, check out these resources:
http://desktoppub.about.com/cs/color/a/symbolism.htm
http://desktoppub.about.com/od/howcolorworks/l/aa_colorsee.htm

 

Background Color

Use a white or very light-colored background with a dark to medium font color to make it easy for recipients to read your email message. Also, if you use background colors in sidebar boxes contain them within tables and avoid using a body background color, because Web-based clients remove the body tag and typically place its attributes within a table. Email clients such as Microsoft Outlook might retain the specified background color when replying to or forwarding the email, but other clients use their colors, making message text difficult to read in some instances.

 

Read earlier blogs on “Guide to a Better HTML Email Design” on Kenscio Blog.

Font, Font Size and Font Color – Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 6

Using Forms in HTML Emails – Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 5

Validate HTML Content and Avoid Using Scripts – Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 4

HTML Email Coding Guidelines – Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 3

HTML Email Layout – Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 2

Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 1

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Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 6

5. Font, Font Size and Font Color

 

In general, only universally-supported fonts such as Arial and Times New Roman should be used in email messages. Arial is a font that was specifically designed for onscreen readability. Studies indicate that Web users prefer Arial, Verdana and Tahoma to others when viewing Web pages and email.

If you include fonts that are not loaded on your recipients’ machines, their email clients will substitute different fonts, which can affect your design. When using a special font (such as the unique font for a company logo), place it within an image.

Fonts can be specified in pixels, points or HTML font size value. Use a point size no smaller than 10 pixels, 10 point, or size “2”.

Beware of using white as a font color. While it is tempting to use a dark background and white font to make the text stand out, many spam filters identify the use of white (#FFFFFF) in a font tag as a possible spam trigger. Spammers often use a white font on white backgrounds to hide information from recipients. Use your color wheel to find contrasting colors that can accentuate your message and readability.

 

Read earlier blogs on “Guide to a Better HTML Email Design” on Kenscio Blog.

 

Using Forms in HTML Emails – Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 5

Validate HTML Content and Avoid Using Scripts – Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 4

HTML Email Coding Guidelines – Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 3

HTML Email Layout – Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 2

Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 1

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