Connect with us

MARKETING

What is a digital experience platform?

Published

on

What is a digital experience platform?


digital experience platform

A digital experience platform, also called a DXP, is software that enables the creation, management, delivery and optimization of digital experiences in a variety of channels and contexts. A DXP differs from a content management system (CMS) in that it delivers to multiple digital channels, has commerce built-in and scales, among other things.

The core capability of the digital experience platform is managing and delivering the digital user experience — primarily web pages, but also mobile apps and other types of content — a need that has long been served by content management systems (CMS). While the growth of CMSs let marketers wrest control over websites from the IT department, which was largely in charge of the early web, marketers’ needs have grown beyond CMSs’ ability to meet them in recent years. Over time, businesses have undergone digital transformations to drive efficiencies, remain competitive in the marketplace and respond to changes in customer behavior. To perform everything expected of a modern marketing operation, marketers adopted adjacent technologies to enhance what their CMS was able to do.

For example, Web analytics helped marketers gather data about user behavior and the conversion funnel, with more sophisticated optimization systems allowing for A/B and multivariate testing. Customer journey analytics (CJA) gave marketers a more sophisticated sense of the path users take on the route to purchase. For many businesses, e-commerce capabilities became essential to their digital operations. Connecting all the data in these systems to the right customer or prospect and keeping track of it all required a customer relationship management (CRM) tool or even a customer data platform (CDP).

Applying the insights gained required another set of tools for orchestration, and making sure digital platforms were safe, reliable and fast required technologies like content delivery networks (CDNs).

Though each of these technologies provides a way to improve the user experience and helps modern marketers meet the demands now placed on them, this hodgepodge of systems has increasingly become a liability. In some cases, marketers are weighed down by the costs of licensing all of these disparate systems. With so many moving parts, there are more opportunities for things to go wrong.

These challenges, along with developments like the increased digitization of business brought about by the COVID pandemic and ever-heightened customer expectations, are some of the factors that have led to the rise of the DXP.


Is your marketing team ready for the future of content and experience management? Explore top digital experience management platforms in the first edition of this MarTech Intelligence Report.

Click here to download!


What DXPs do

A DXP enables the creation, management, delivery and optimization of digital experiences in a variety of channels and contexts. It serves as the hub that brings together capabilities from multiple applications or modules to deliver a seamless digital experience.

Marketers considering the adoption of a DXP should understand that the way these platforms have come together — through acquisitions and integrations, for the most part — means that native capabilities differ from one offering to another. Additionally, the modularity of these offerings is a point of differentiation — some vendors offer more composable configurations than others. However, all should feature either native functionality or connections that enable the full range of capabilities explored here.

The core capabilities of DXPs, provided either natively within the platform or via an integration include:

  • Content management, which may include digital asset management and/or product information management (PIM)
  • Support for multiple platforms and types of experiences
  • Delivery, presentation and orchestration of content and experiences
  • Personalization
  • Analytics and optimization
  • Search and navigation
  • Customer data management
  • Strong functionality for integration and extensibility

Additional capabilities which may or may not be part of a DXP are:

  • Commerce capabilities, including payment gateways
  • Customer relationship management and communications
  • Campaign management
  • Marketing performance management
  • Development platforms for multiple types of experiences, including low-code application development
  • Data enrichment

Let’s explore each of these capabilities in more detail.

Content management

Digital experience platforms provide CMS functionality such as an interface for inputting and editing textual content. This may include built-in or customizable workflows for collaboration, editing and approvals. Because this content repository will store elements to be delivered and displayed on multiple platforms and in a variety of contexts, the tools typically allow for extensive customization of the fields associated with an individual piece of content.

Functionality also often includes the capability to re-use and re-purpose modular content blocks within larger assets.

Like CMSs, DXPs will always include some sort of media library supporting images and videos, but some go further by integrating full-fledged DAM or PIM solutions. Support for more advanced types of content, such as 3D objects, VR or AR will differ from solution to solution.


Explore DAM solutions from vendors like Acquia, Widen, Cloudinary, MediaValet and more in the full MarTech Intelligence Report on digital asset management platforms.

Click here to download!


Support for multiple platforms and types of experiences

One of the developments driving the growth of DXPs is the proliferation of devices and platforms to which marketers must deliver content. DXPs enable the same content, or versions of the same content, to be delivered to websites, mobile apps, smart speakers, podcasts and OTT. They may also support platforms, such as in-store kiosks or drive-through displays, that take digital content into the bricks-and-mortar world.

The DXP may incorporate functionality to convert content from one format to another (PDFs to JPGs, for example), or from one language to another, to facilitate the customization of content to the place where it will be consumed.

Delivery, presentation and orchestration of content and experiences

In addition to serving as a repository for content of all types, DXPs must be able to (either natively or through integrations) deliver experiences that utilize personalization and context awareness. Many players favor a headless or hybrid approach, which allows for flexibility in presentation and enables marketers to more easily make shifts to respond to changes in the marketplace. This element may include or link to a content delivery network, which can
improve the speed of delivery and redundancy.

Personalization

Key to that delivery and presentation is the ability to leverage data and insights to tailor experiences to the needs of the content consumer. This capability may be enhanced by artificial intelligence or machine learning, which can enable automated personalization.

Personalization features tie closely into the analytics and optimization functionality as well as customer data management.

Analytics and optimization

DXPs may include features for A/B or multivariate testing and optimization, as well as analytics to provide insight on customer journeys, campaign optimization and the business impact of content.

Search and navigation

DXPs include features that enable sophisticated site search by indexing content and interpreting search queries, as well as presenting results. This can also include category pages to aid navigation, as well as filters that let users drill down to find the information or products they’re seeking.

Customer data management

Customer data management in a DXP is often offered via a built-in or integrated customer data platform, which collects data from across the enterprise and resolves identity to create individual profiles. Features include the development of audiences that can be utilized in the orchestration of campaigns or experience personalization.

Strong functionality for integration and extensibility

This is probably the most important capability offered by DXPs, because it is fundamental to their role of bringing together all of the technologies that contribute to a customer-centric experience. To fulfill this mandate, many vendors offer pre-built connectors, plug-ins or advanced integrations that have already been created and proven reliable. Such capabilities can speed implementation and time to realizing value.

When pre-built connectors aren’t available, DXPs have APIs that enable integrations, though setting these up will require application development.

It should be noted, however, that all APIs are not equal. While a REST API has become standard for nearly every martech application, many developers don’t consider it adequate for the content management use case because it is relatively indiscriminate in the data it returns for queries. Some vendors offer the newer GraphQL API, which is more flexible, allowing more specific queries that deliver more granular results. This efficiency reduces the
load on the webserver and therefore results in a faster experience.

Another related capability — stronger in some vendors than others — is the community of developers, systems integrators and agencies that vendors have fostered. In many cases, especially for customers with complex business needs, the support of strategic and integration partners will be critical, especially at the start of DXP adoption. In short, the more developers out there familiar with the ins and outs of a vendor’s technologies, the easier it will be for a customer to find assistance at a reasonable price point.

Low- or no-code development platforms

While this capability is not universal among vendors, it’s an area that appears to be gaining steam. These platforms allow non-developers to create applications and experiences in a more user-friendly interface — more user-friendly than writing lines of code, anyway. Using these platforms still requires a fairly sophisticated understanding of technology, however.

What are the benefits of using digital experience platforms?

Modern marketers are called upon to deliver coherent, customized and compelling user experiences to more devices and platforms than ever before. Enterprise digital experience platforms can help marketers in this pursuit by providing the following benefits:

  • Faster, higher-performance websites with better search engine optimization. Traditional CMSs have become a pain point for marketers seeking to speed the delivery of their content — especially on more bandwidth-constrained devices like smartphones. With Google penalizing slow-loading sites by ranking them lower in search results, failing to achieve speed benchmarks can have serious revenue implications. Adopting a more modern headless or hybrid architecture that shifts the computing heavy lifting to earlier in the publishing process — well before the end-user device requests the content — can improve speed, and with it, revenue, dramatically.
  • Ability to deliver a better user experience. Beyond the speed improvements offered by headless and hybrid CMSs, they also allow developers to tap into more modern programming languages and frameworks. Additionally, developers can be more creative and craft solutions that are more tightly tailored to a business’ needs, rather than being constrained by the limitations of a traditional CMS.
  • More stability and reliability. Traditional CMSs deliver websites from a single server or a few redundant servers. With the DXP approach, content can be delivered from a highly distributed content delivery network, where one server can pick up the slack if another is down, ensuring that the site is never unavailable. This benefit can be especially compelling for e-commerce sites, which risk customers buying elsewhere if they have technical difficulties.
  • Easier delivery of content to new and emerging platforms. The number and types of digital devices — from desktop computers to in-store kiosks to VR headsets — is inevitably going to continue to grow. Rather than develop an entirely new CMS to deliver content to these new device types and apps, a DXP allows brands to utilize the existing content repository with a new presentation layer designed for that particular form factor. This also saves the ongoing time and resources that would be required to copy content from one platform to another when it’s meant to be delivered to multiple destinations.
  • Enhanced ability to reuse and repurpose content, leading to greater ROI. What a digital asset management system can do for visual content, a headless or hybrid CMS can do for textual content — it can serve as the single source of truth for brands’ content strategies. With tagging and other capabilities built into these platforms, it becomes easier to find, reuse and repurpose pieces of content for other devices and locales (sometimes automatically), resulting in greater revenue driven from the initial investment in creating each piece of content. Given the fact that DXPs often incorporate DAM or PIM capabilities, these benefits carry over to content in other formats, as well.
  • Fostering a modular, more agile approach to content. While it’s difficult to quantify, another benefit of these systems is that they encourage marketers to think about content in a more granular and agile manner. The more flexible architecture and general approach enables regular learning and iteration, and may help marketers gain a different perspective.
  • Unification of analytics, giving marketers a more comprehensive view of strategy and spend. DXPs also unify analytics so the task of evaluating the ROI delivered from content can be done on a single platform, rather than shuttling data from one system to another.
  • Improved personalization, optimization and the unification of customer data. A DXP’s approach to managing customer data — especially those with full-fledged CDPs as parts of the platform — brings with it the benefits of unifying data across the enterprise. This allows marketers to get a more comprehensive view of the customer journey which, in turn, lets them customize the user experience to deliver the next-best-action for each individual.

Explore platform capabilities from vendors like Sitecore, Optimizely, Pantheon, WordPressVIP and more in the full MarTech Intelligence Report on digital experience platforms.

Click here to download!



About The Author

Pamela Parker is Research Director at Third Door Media’s Content Studio, where she produces MarTech Intelligence Reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land and MarTech. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she served as Content Manager, Senior Editor and Executive Features Editor. Parker is a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its beginning. She’s a former managing editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.



Source link

MARKETING

3 email marketing shifts to make in 2023

Published

on

3 email marketing shifts to make in 2023

Whew! We made it to 2023! As we closed in on the end of the year in December, the finish line seemed awfully far away. Many marketers told me they were busier than ever. 

I myself was fielding calls for strategy help, working on business deals and managing the chaos all the way to the eve of Christmas Eve, something that rarely happens in my 20-plus-year career. 

Look back and celebrate, then move on

The first business for 2023 will be to step back, clear your head and take stock of all the great things you accomplished in 2022 despite the odds (i.e., coming out of COVID, going into a rebound and COVID round 2, moving into supply-chain shortages and other hiccups, facing down a potential recession) and how they affected the work you did to succeed.

And now it’s 2023. I hope you got your budget request approved and you’re ready to move ahead with a clean slate and new KPIs to hit. You’re probably wondering, “What can I do now to grow my program?

3 directional changes to grow your email program

Naturally, every marketer’s goals will be unique. We have different audiences, challenges, resources and goals. But I’m focusing on three major directional changes with my clients this year. Which of these could help you succeed this year?

1. Stop sending so many emails

Yeah, I know. That sounds strange coming from somebody who believes wholeheartedly in email and its power to build your business. But even I have my limits!

Email during this last holiday shopping season was insane. In my 20+ years in the email industry, I cannot remember a time, even during the lockdown days of COVID-19, when my inbox was so full. 

I’m not the only one who noticed. Your customers also perceived that their inboxes were getting blasted to the North Pole. And they complained about it, as the Washington Post reported (“Retailers fire off more emails than ever trying to get you to shop“).

I didn’t run any numbers to measure volume, isolate cadences or track frequency curves. But every time I turned around, I saw emails pouring into my inbox. 

My advice for everyone on frequency: If you throttled up during the holiday, now it’s time to throttle back.

This should be a regularly scheduled move. But it’s important to make sure your executives understand that higher email frequency, volume and cadence aren’t the new email norm. 

If you commit to this heavier schedule, you’ll drive yourself crazy and push your audience away, to other brands or social media.

If you did increase cadence, what did it do for you? You might have hit your numbers, but consider the long-term costs: 

  • More unsubscribes.
  • More spam complaints.
  • Deliverability problems.
  • Lower revenue per email. 

Take what you learned from your holiday cadence as an opportunity to discover whether it’s a workable strategy or only as a “break glass in case of emergency” move.

My advice? Slow down. Return to your regular volume, frequency and cadence. Think of your customers and their reactions to being inundated with emails over 60 days.

2. Stop spamming

In that Washington Post article I mentioned earlier, I was encouraged that it cited one of my email gripes — visiting websites and then getting emails without granting permission first. 

I could have given the Post a salty quote about my experiences with SafeOpt and predatory email experiences (“Business stress is no excuse to spam“) for visitors to its clients’ websites. 

Successful email marketers believe in the sanctity of permission. That permission-based practice is what you want to be involved in. Buying a list means you don’t hire a company to sell you one, whether it’s a data broker or a tech provider like SafeOpt. 

Spamming people doesn’t work in the long term. Sure, I’ve heard stories from people who say they use purchased lists or companies like SafeOpt and it makes them money. But that’s a singular view of the impact. 

Email is the only marketing channel where you can do it wrong but still make money. But does that make it right? 

The problem with the “it made us money” argument is that there’s nowhere to go after that. Are you measuring how many customers you lost because you spammed them or the hits your sender reputation took? 

You might hit a short-term goal but lose the long-term battle. When you become known as an unreliable sender, you risk losing access to your customers’ inboxes.

Aside from the permission violation, emailing visitors after they leave your site is a wasted effort for three reasons:

  • A visit is not the same as intent. You don’t know why they landed on your site. Maybe they typed your URL as a mistake or discovered immediately that your brand wasn’t what they wanted. Chasing them with emails won’t bring them back.
  • You aren’t measuring interest. Did they visit multiple pages or check out your “About” or FAQ pages? As with intent, just landing on a page doesn’t signal interest.
  • They didn’t give you their email address. If they had interest or intent, they would want to connect with your brand. No email address, no permission.

Good email practice holds that email performs best when it’s permission-based. Most ESPs and ISPs operate on that principle, as do many email laws and regulations.

But even in the U.S., where opt-out email is still legal, that doesn’t mean you should send an email without permission just because somebody landed on your website.

3. Do one new thing

Many email marketers will start the year with a list of 15 things they want to do over the next two months. I try to temper those exuberant visions by focusing on achievable goals with this question: 

“What one thing could you do this year that could make a great difference in your email program’s success?”

When I started a job as head of strategy for Acxiom, I wanted to come up with a long list of goals to impress my new boss. I showed it to my mentor, the great David Baker and he said, “Can you guarantee that you can do all of these things and not just do them but hit them out of the park?”

Hmmmm…

“That’s why you don’t put down that many goals,” he said. “Go in with just one. When that one is done, come up with the next one. Then do another. If you propose five projects, your boss will assume you will do five projects. If you don’t, it just means you didn’t get it done.”

That was some of the best advice I’ve ever received and I pass it on to you. 

Come up with one goal, project or change that will drive your program forward. Take it to your boss and say, “Here’s what I’m going to do this year.”

To find that one project, look at your martech and then review MarTech’s six most popular articles from 2022 for expert advice.

You’ll find plenty of ideas and tips to help you nail down your one big idea to drive growth and bring success. But be realistic. You don’t know what events could affect your operations. 

Drive your email program forward in 2023

The new year has barely begun, but I had a little trouble getting motivated to take on what’s shaping up to be a beast of a year. You, too?

I enjoyed my time off over the holidays. Got in some golf with my dad and his buddies, ate great food and took time to step back and appreciate the phenomenal people I work with and our amazing industry. 

What gets me going at last? Reaching out to my team, friends and you. Much of my motivation comes from fellow marketers — what you need, what you worry about and what I can do to help you succeed. 

If you’re on the struggle bus with me, borrow some motivation from your coworkers and teammates, so we can gather together 12 months from now and toast each other for making it through another year. 

It’s time to strap on your marketer helmet and hit the starter. Here’s to another great year together. Let’s get the job done!


Get MarTech! Daily. Free. In your inbox.



Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About the author

Ryan Phelan

As the co-founder of RPEOrigin.com, Ryan Phelan’s two decades of global marketing leadership has resulted in innovative strategies for high-growth SaaS and Fortune 250 companies. His experience and history in digital marketing have shaped his perspective on creating innovative orchestrations of data, technology and customer activation for Adestra, Acxiom, Responsys, Sears & Kmart, BlueHornet and infoUSA. Working with peers to advance digital marketing and mentoring young marketers and entrepreneurs are two of Ryan’s passions. Ryan is the Chairman Emeritus of the Email Experience Council Advisory Board and a member of numerous business community groups. He is also an in-demand keynote speaker and thought leader on digital marketing.

Source link

Continue Reading

MARKETING

Promote | DigitalMarketer

Published

on

Promote | DigitalMarketer

Up until now, any “promotion” your customers have done has been passive. But in the promotion stage, your customers actively spread the word about your brands, products, and services. They tell stories, make recommendations, and share your offers because they truly believe in them.

Active promotion may be an affiliate or commission relationship—or just a free offer for sending some new customers your way. The point is, it’s a win-win for both of you.

One thing worth mentioning before we dive in; Happy customers don’t promote, SUCCESSFUL customers do. 

Our biggest question in the Promote stage is: How are you going to turn your BEST customers into your marketing partners? 

If you don’t have a referral program, an affiliate program, or a valued reseller program … who is willing to drive your message to the organization you need to build out these programs? This is word of mouth marketing, and it is very important so start thinking about how you want to build this. 

Look to your most successful customers, they’re going to be the people who actively promote for you. But then, let’s think about our customers who already have our prospects but are offering a different product or service. 

At DigitalMarketer we are a training and certification company, we are not a services based company. What that means is we don’t compete with agencies or consultants. This also means that there is an opportunity for us to work with agencies and consultants. 

When we realized this we decided to launch our Certified Partner Program, which you can learn more about at DigitalMarketer.Com/Partner. This program lets us work with the largest segments of our customer base, who have customers that we want but they’re providing a solution that we’re not providing. 

When we train our customers, they are able to use our company frameworks to work with their clients. If their clients want to learn to do their marketing themselves? We’re the first education company they see.

So who is that for you? Remember, it’s not the happy clients that refer, it’s the successful clients. If you want to create more promoters, make sure that you’re doing everything that you can as a marketer to ensure that you’re marketing great products so you can see great results. 

How can our example companies accomplish this?

For Hazel & Hems, they can add an ambassador program to grow their instagram following and increase credibility with viral posts. 

Ambassadors can earn affiliate commissions, additional boutique reward points, and get the chance to build a greater following by leveraging the Hazel & Hems brand.

For Cyrus & Clark, they can offer discounted rates to their existing clients if those clients are willing to refer them to their strategic partners. 

For construction companies, this could be a home builder recommending Cyrus & Clark services to the landscapers, real estate developers, and interior designers that they work with to serve their customers.



Source link

Continue Reading

MARKETING

11 Email Marketing Design Tips to Drive More Revenue

Published

on

11 Email Marketing Design Tips to Drive More Revenue

When you think about what factors and processes are needed to get the most out of your email marketing campaigns, you might consider these first: more sophisticated personalization, leveraging first-party data more effectively, or more precise targeting and timing. 

While those are all important, there’s another more fundamental aspect of email marketing that’s just as critical to success: email design. 

With more than 333 billion emails sent and received every day, and adults logging more screen time than ever before, it’s never been more crucial to have well-designed emails that can quickly cut through the overflowing inbox clutter, capture recipients’ attention and compel them to take the desired action. 

Whether you’re looking to supercharge your email newsletter or inject new life into your lifecycle email campaign strategy, here are 11 email design tips and examples that can drive site traffic, purchase intent, conversions and revenue.

“All aspects of email design – including accessibility, readability, layout and responsiveness – have a huge impact on open rates and conversions. In reality, email marketing design is the gatekeeper to campaign success.”

Samantha McGrady, Tinuiti Strategist, Lifecycle Marketing

 

Essential Elements of an Email

 
You might not consider all these quote-unquote “design” components, but they all play a central role in how an email is perceived and consumed. 

  • Subject line
  • Pre-header text
  • Header/headline
  • Logo
  • Color scheme
  • Images
  • Body copy
  • CTA(s)
  • Signature and footer
  • Unsubscribe button

 

The Eleven Keys to Effective Email Design

 
All elements of an email come together to create an overall design. Whether that design is cohesive or advances the objectives of the email depends on how well the individual elements are executed. Here are 11 tips for making email design work for you.
 

1. Responsive Designs Pay Off

 
Mobile-friendly email design is a must. While the exact percentage of emails opened on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets vary by source, it’s estimated that over half of all emails are accessed on mobile. That means ensuring an email displays correctly and can be read easily across devices, screens and resolutions are essential. If an email displays poorly, it’s likely to be deleted in under three seconds

Utilizing a responsive email template will automatically adjust your email to fit the screen it’s being viewed on, whether that’s a desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet. Most drag-and-drop email builders feature built-in responsive design templates, but you’ll also want to keep mobile formatting in mind when considering image size and the length of copy blocks within the email.  
 

2. Keep Accessibility Top-of-Mind

 
One key aspect of email design that goes hand-in-hand with responsiveness is accessibility. Accessibility refers to an email’s ability to be received and understood by persons with disabilities or using assistive devices. So just as responsive design ensures that emails can be accessed across device formats, good accessibility practices preserve an email’s usability regardless of the recipient’s circumstances.

An accessible email will have a logical flow and high readability in terms of descriptive subject lines, links and headers, and larger and well-spaced typefaces. It will also use high color contrast and utilize alt-text liberally. Perhaps most importantly, an accessible email will not lean too heavily on visuals or hide information in images, as adaptive tools like screen readers can struggle to convert them.  

Keeping accessibility top-of-mind is important for reaching the maximum percentage of your subscribers or target audiences and contributes to good overall email marketing usability.
 

3. Customize Your Pre-Header Text

 
Pre-header text used to be an afterthought, and many marketers defaulted to the first few words of email body copy. Now, because of the way emails are displayed in mobile and desktop inboxes, pre-headers are widely recognized as the second-most important text element after the subject line. Pre-header text indicates to the reader what the email is about; it’s essentially a visible meta-description of the email. 

As such, the pre-header text should complement the subject line and reinforce the critical call-to-action within the email. It should, like the subject line, entice the recipient to open the email and keep reading while also reading while offering an informative preview of the email itself. And it needs to accomplish all of this concisely in an abbreviated space. 

Crafting a compelling subject and pre-header pair can feel like writing poetry, but getting it right can significantly impact open rates and conversions. 
 

4. Use an Effective Layout

 
The layout is the most recognizable aspect of email design and likely what most people think of first when considering the design elements of an email. Layout determines the flow of your content and the order in which your readers consume information. The most basic principles of email layout are maintaining organization and logical consistency, capturing attention through aesthetics, and manipulating the recipient’s eye where you want it to go.

  • Organization: In essence, this means establishing a clear visual hierarchy. Try to display the most important information and convey essential details early on (higher) in the email.
  • Aesthetics: incorporate white space to give your content breathing room and lend a more elevated look. Clutter and “walls” of text are difficult to read and lead to email abandonment. Instead, utilize negative space to accentuate key points and keep the recipient reading. 
  • Guiding the eye: Use directional cues to draw attention to the most essential part of your email. Effective layout templates leverage natural reading and eye movement patterns to focus the recipient on desired email elements. 

 
Many email templates use the following common layout patterns, each of which guides the reader’s attention in specific ways:

  • Z-pattern layouts place a zig-zag of content within the reader’s typical sight line, starting at the upper left corner. 
  • F-pattern layouts emphasize the left side of the email, inviting readers to return their eyes to that side for most information. 
  • Inverted pyramid layouts, perhaps the most familiar layout, load critical information at the top and create a visual funnel toward a CTA at the bottom.

 
These principles are laid out in the following two wireframe examples of common email layouts. Notice how both lean on the reading path of the human eye while maintaining a recognizable hierarchy and putting vital information up top:

two examples of email design template wireframes

Remember to rotate your design layout to avoid using the same framework repeatedly – otherwise, your emails will be perceived as stale by your subscribers.

 

5. Choose Colors Strategically

 
Color scheme is an essential element in any design, and emails are no exception. The right combination of colors – or the strategic limitation of a color palette – can elicit emotion, direct attention to important content, reinforce brand image or distinguish a single email from a series or campaign. 

There is plenty of room for experimentation with color in email marketing. Still, good general rules of thumb are to avoid clashing colors or using too wide a variety of colors, use bright colors sparingly, and stay consistent with color usage across branded marketing assets. And as with accessibility and responsiveness, it’s also important to consider how an email is being viewed; for example, if being read on a mobile device in “dark” mode, pure black text can appear illegible. 

It’s important to remember that color isn’t limited to graphical elements or iconography in the email; the text color used and dominant color in embedded images or photographs should also be considered. These colors should work in harmony to support your content, brand and the purpose of the email.
 

6. Use Clean and Clear Text

 
An organized layout and strategic use of color will go a long way toward making an email readable and effective. Ultimately, though, the information you want to communicate stems from the email copy itself. One hard and fast rule for text in an email is to be clear and concise

Remember the 333 billion emails sent and received last year? Your target audience received some of those, and they almost certainly didn’t read every word of every email they received. So many of those emails were probably never opened, thanks to poor subject lines.

Emails should draw the eye with an attractive design but be easy to skim. Get to the point quickly, or risk ending up in the trash.

 

example of clear and concise email marketing design from Hyperikon

 

When in doubt, follow these guidelines:

  • Maintain a good text-to-image ratio
  • Keep the headline to two lines or less
  • Keep text on a simple background so that it’s easy to read
  • Bold or highlight keywords or phrases

 

“Reduce the cognitive load. We really want to create our emails to be clean and concise.”

Sammi Nutsongtat, Klaviyo Design Specialist

Portrait of Sammi Nutsongtat
 

7. Treat Email as a Brand Opportunity

 
Of all the potential touchpoints a recipient might have with your brand, the email you just sent them is unlikely to be their first. That makes it very important to keep email design consistent with your overall brand design. 

Incorporating strong branding – not just a logo or a tagline, but brand-specific colors, imagery, typography and content tone – helps email recipients identify the message’s source and provides a more cohesive experience from the inbox to the landing page. That can reduce your bounce rate as users interact with your brand across different channels.

A good branding evaluation question to ask: If I removed our logo from these email designs, would our subscribers identify our company?

 

example of good branding in email design from Bryan Anthonys and Diff

 

Your brand’s identity tells your story, so it’s important to be conscious of your email branding. Branding should remain consistent across all channels, whether email-to-email or email-to-website. 
 

8. Your Typography Style Matters

 
Using a consistent typeface in email design can reinforce your brand image and identity, though, like color, there is some opportunity for experimentation. The most important thing to remember about typography is that it should be easy to read at a skimming pace and shouldn’t detract or add confusion to the message.

Emails can also contain more than one kind of typeface, for example, one font that looks better at a larger size for headers and another that looks cleaner for entire sentences of body copy. That said, too many different fonts in an email can make it hard to read. A limit of three fonts per email is a good common-sense rule. Again, a drag-and-drop email builder usually has several typeface options and suggestions for specific email elements or sections. 
 

9. Personalize Elements of Your Emails

 
Personalization is one of the dominant themes across the marketing and advertising industries right now, as technological advancements and the rise in importance of zero- and first-party customer data have made true one-to-one, brand-to-customer engagement possible. Email marketing, which was perhaps the first marketing vector to make widespread use of basic personalization (think mail merge and auto-filled salutation lines), can also incorporate more sophisticated personalization techniques – and should. 

The goal of personalization should be to make an email meaningful and valuable to the recipient. That means incorporating bespoke, custom content blocks based on customer data, including insights like purchase history or position in the customer lifecycle or buying journey. Narrow segmentation can help target specific customers, and personal touches like incorporating profile information or preferences can help humanize your brand and create stronger relationships.

In short, you should seize every opportunity to include more personalized elements in your emails.
 

10. Always Use a CTA

 
This might seem like email marketing 101, but no list of email marketing optimization tips would be complete without addressing calls to action or CTAs. Usually rendered graphically as a button, a good CTA should concisely describe the exact action the email reader can expect upon clicking and be placed at a point in the layout where the next step is logically implied. 

Effective CTAs typically appear at the bottom of a section in a contrasting color to the email’s overall color scheme. Multiple CTAs can be used – some research suggests that having more than one CTA increases click-through rates – but only where the natural progression of the content suggests they appear. As with many of the design tips presented here, CTAs should be used in a cohesive, consistent manner. 
 

11. Avoid Abrupt Design Changes

 
Consistency isn’t just important within an email; it’s also important across campaigns. Design shock, or suddenly presenting drastically different creative to an existing audience like your subscriber base, can impact the success of an individual email or an entire campaign.

When updating your email designs, consider rolling out the changes in an iterative fashion or testing the new creative out on a small group of subscribers before rolling it out to your entire audience.

 

example of avoiding email design shock from Ritual

 

As the example above illustrates, gradually transitioning to a new layout while keeping many other design elements consistent helps minimize the effect of design shock. Keep this in mind as you embark on new email campaigns or make universal changes to your email marketing approach.
 

How to Use A/B Testing to Improve Your Email Design

 
 You can put as much thought and preparation into email design as possible, and the email might still fall short of performance expectations. The only way to ensure a successful campaign and maximize conversions is to engage in A/B testing by sending slightly different versions of an email to distinct segments of your audience. It’s a straightforward process that many email platforms support, but sadly, nearly  42.9% of marketers don’t know what to test.

When assessing an email design’s impact on an audience, there are various things you can test to help drive higher clicks, conversions, or overall performance. These include:

  • Call to action button styling
  • Overall layout
  • Number of products featured
  • Lifestyle vs. product imagery
  • Cheeky vs. simple copy
  • Animation vs. static

 

Once you know what to test for and have identified what you’re trying to prove, run a few test emails to sample groups, isolating one variable at a time over a series of weeks. Evaluate which works best for reaching, resonating with, and converting the most recipients, and you’ll gradually improve your conversion rates.
 

Resources & Tools to Improve Your Email Design Game

 
There is no shortage of email design tools available to help you get the most out of your email marketing strategy. Some are full-service email-building platforms, while others are helpful stock image sites or graphics libraries. Here are a few of our favorites:
 

Klaviyo 

 
Klayvio is a well-established, full-service email marketing platform optimized for ecommerce and featuring sophisticated personalization tools. Klaviyo’s robust library of customizable, responsive templates, support for A/B testing, and dynamic content capabilities can help users of all levels put email design optimization tips into action.
 

Tinuiti Performance Creative 

 
Need a more comprehensive and data-driven approach to email and lifecycle marketing? Our own Performance Creative offering is based on moments that matter and features integration with multiple channels and touchpoints throughout the customer journey.
 

Adobe Stock

 
It’s perhaps unsurprising that one of the biggest names in design software also has one of the most robust stock image catalogs available. Adobe Stock allows users to search for specific image types or browse by category, ensuring you’ll find the perfect photos or images for your email campaign.
 

Figma

 
Any design process – including email design – can be collaborative. Figma provides a platform to facilitate that collaboration that includes several email-specific features, including a library of visual assets teams can build themselves.
 

Final Thoughts

 
Design is a central aspect of email marketing performance, and getting it right can be the difference between a positive ROI campaign and a forgettable brand encounter. You can probably think of several marketing emails in your inbox that slapped a basic template together with uninspiring (and uninspired!) copy and called it a day. Or maybe not, because you deleted them without getting past the subject line. 

Your email campaigns can help solidify customer relationships and prospects through accessible designs that embrace solid layout principles, on-brand typography and images, a concise and catchy subject and pre-header, logical CTAs and compelling copy.  You’ll ultimately generate more opens, leads, conversions and revenue for your company, too.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published by Greg Swan in August 2019 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

en_USEnglish