How do you make email clients accept polls?

How often do you click on a quick poll when you’re browsing a website? Chances are you won’t do it a lot, but sometimes you just can’t resist clicking to share your opinion. And it’s even cooler when you can immediately check what everybody else thinks and see how your contribution influences the results. It’s a clever tactic you can set up for your own company. Want to know if visitors have heard about your latest product? Or how often they use your brand? Put up a simple poll and find out.

It’s an enormous opportunity for us email marketers. We have a large contact database that we can email directly. We have tools to drive click-through and learn more from our subscribers. All we have to do is use a cunning trick to make our polls work in most email clients

Here’s a 4-step guide on how to do it:

1. Create your poll in plain text format
2. Place an image that looks like a radio button before or after each answer
3. Link each image to your landing page where that specific answer is prefilled
4. Have your readers click “submit” and show them the results. Done.

Another way is to measure the click-through on your poll via your ESP’s reporting. That will allow you to analyze the total number of clicks on the links in your poll in comparison with the number of clicks on a certain link in that poll. It’s as easy as that.

Conclusion: Most email clients don’t support polls. But by using a simple trick, you’ll be gathering valuable information through your newsletter.

Don’t sell the product. Tell the story.

Storytelling is a method often used by established companies or innovators, because they have a clear vision about who they are and what they stand for. But in fact, any company — oh yes, that goes for yours too — can use storytelling to engage people. Your first goal should be to clearly define what your company’s identity is.

Ask yourself these four simple questions: Who are we? What do we do? What are our goals? How do we want to achieve those goals? Use them to pin down what your identity is.

In addition to that, you can add your product or service. But don’t talk about the technical aspects, focus on the solution it can offer and what the results are. And finally: combine your confident brand identity with your visionary goals and get a message across that inspires and motivates people.

Want to use storytelling in emailmarketing? Make sure to follow these 3 fail-safe rules:

Start your story in the subject lineYou can have the best story in the world, but it goes to waste if no-one reads it. Make sure to kick-off your story with a great subject line.

Tell only one storyTelling multiple stories in one email will render it impossible for your reader to follow. Stick to one story with a clear beginning, a middle, and an easy-to-understand action you want him to take.

Use only one CTAProviding multiple CTA’s seems like a great way to sneak in multiple products. But we consider it a no-go. Try to withstand the temptation and offer only one clear CTA. It will enforce your reader’s brand perception.

Conclusion: write compelling stories that inspire your readers and that turn them into active followers.

What’s on the menu for your B2B email?

Content is king. You probably heard this one before. But how do you keep coming up with fresh and new items for your emails? This is rather simple in a B2C context. A B2B sales process however, is more complex and requires an approach with different types of content.

Need some inspiration? These five types of B2B content will surely help you along:

New products: Writing about new products or product features is always relevant. It reinforces the relationship with your client and boosts the brand recognition.

Trends: Become an opinion leader. You know best of all what’s happening in your sector: don’t be afraid to share it with your clients.

Interviews: Interviews with clients or suppliers often contain useful information for your target audience. Looking for new topics for this item? Check your FAQ section and find out what’s troubling your clients.

Company overview: Allow your readers a peek behind your company doors. What’s the latest news? What are your future plans? And what are you working on right now?

Previous articles: Keep track of the click-through rates of previous articles, identify the popular ones and write an update about it. A guaranteed sequel for the click-through rate as well!

Conclusion: There’s no such thing as good or bad content, only relevant and irrelevant. Just ask yourself what your customers want to read and your B2B email will practically write itself.

QR codes: a simple way to boost subscriptions


How can people sign-up for your newsletter when they are not behind their pc? A great way is the use of QR codes.

Just think about it, when people aren’t behind their pc, they would have to type the URL on their mobile device, wait for the page to load, look for a subscription form on a small screen and probably wait again  while saving. With a QR code you instantly scan the code and land on the subscription form. This opens up possibilities when you are rapidly interacting with your prospects on events, conferences, trade fairs, etc…

Below are some quick tips to get started:
1. Create your QR code. Sites such as KAYWA or Beqrious can help you create and design your own code;
2. When printing your code, make sure that is still scanable;
3. QR codes are fairly new so make sure to add a surprise effect or an incentive;
4. Know that not everybody has a QR scanner installed on their smartphone, so always add a URL.

Conclusion: QR codes are a simple and effective way to get potential readers instantly on your subscription or landingpage.

How to make sure your emails look sharp on mobile devices

Nowadays, lots of people read their emails on a mobile device during ‘lost’ moments. When a meeting hasn’t quite started, while having breakfast or right before getting out of bed. Often it’s nothing more than a quick peek at the new emails on your smartphone. Research points out that the peak of mobile email use is around 7AM.

In a relatively short time, the entire email landscape is going to be affected by mobile’s influence.The statistics are clear: at this very moment 16% of all emails are read on mobile devices. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that email designs should be conform to mobile devices. So, no matter which service your company provides, you’d better make sure your HTML email is optimized for mobile reading.

Here are some free tips to make sure your emails render neatly on most mobile devices:

  • Use an intelligently built template, with an ideal size of 320px wide
  • Design touch-friendly clicks: the touch target sizes of your images, links and buttons should be large enough, 44 by 44 pixels is recommended.
  • Use a text size of at least 12 points and add the style “-webkit-text-size-adjust:none” to your HTML code to prevent auto-scaling.
  • Scale your images to prevent layout breakage

Conclusion: Mobile email use is on the rise, so make it a priority to design HTML email templates which render perfectly on both mobile devices and on your contact’s desktop.

Want to optimize your current email template design? Emailgarage can help you with full analysis of your template and mobile rendering.

Why customers break up with brands

There have been lots of articles lately proclaiming the end of the email era. But that’s far from the truth. All social networks need email to survive, and email is still the largest growing digital communication channel. Did you know that 93% of internet users in the US willingly receive at least one commercial email daily – that’s immense!

Moreover, email is the first thing 58% of those same people check when they go online in the morning, compared to just 11% who check their Facebook page first. Go figure.

But still: customers have the final word and sometimes they just decide to “break up” with your brand, no matter what channel you use to communicate with them. A lot of companies are still wondering why this unfortunate event can take place in just the blink of an eye…

Here are the three main reasons why customers (or fans, if you like) break up with their once beloved brand:
• brands talk too much, too often, (frequency)
• they repeat the same information continuously (boredom)
• and there are other brands out there who do it better (relevance)

Conclusion: it doesn’t really matter which social media channels you choose to talk to your customers. It’s all about how you engage with them. The frequency and content of your marketing efforts need to be tailored to the unique needs of your subscribers, fans and followers.

How capturing client data can improve the performance of your emails

The use of personalization has always been a great way to improve your newsletter. It improves the opened rates and the perception of your brand dramatically and is a great jumpstart for your emails and newsletters.

Just to give you an idea, we tested the use of personalization in the subject line of the newsletter we sent on June 23: the one with simple firstname personalization had a 5,9% higher opened rate than the one without personalization.

The problem most email marketers face is that their database only has records containing just the email address of the subscribers, and in that case, personalization is not possible…

So, the big challenge for marketers is to capture more personal data after the opt-in, which will lead to a more personal approach and better results in future communications.

Here’s how to do it:

–    Add a link in each newsletter to an online form where subscribers can update their data. Like this.

–    When subscribers don’t have to give their details when they subscribe to your newsletter, try to send them a confirmation email to thank them for their subscription and to give them the possibility to add their details.

  • Try sending a dedicated email to ask your subscribers for their contact details.
  • When you use a non-personalized salutation in your emails, try adding something extra such as: ‘Dear subscriber, we would love to greet you by your first name, but unfortunately we don’t have your details. If you can give us a second of your time by telling us you name here, we will promise to make our newsletter even better for you”.

Conclusion: By asking your subscribers for extra personal data, you can easily increase the performance of your newsletters.

Get more out of your out-of-office messages

When leaving the office for just a day or for a longer period, we make sure our contacts know we are away. But can’t we make our automated out-of-office replies more interesting and hook them up them with our email marketing campaigns? Sure we can.

Most of the out-of-office messages are quite simple. They just inform the contact about your absence, maybe followed by a reference to a colleague or general phone number / email. A plain and simple text message – nothing more, nothing less.

But what if you’d include html, visuals and design in your out-of-office message? How about linking to a number of resources, including pictures or a video explaining your company’s best offer? An out-of-office reply is a full-blown email marketing opportunity. As the sender is expecting a message back, your out-of-office reply will most likely have an extremely high open-rate. So why not seize the opportunity to inform your contacts about your latest products, current actions and seasonal offers?
For example: “I am not at the office today. But while I’m away, be sure to take a look at our on sale products / like our facebook page / reserve your seat at our upcoming conference / follow our activities on Twitter …”
Make sure all messages are well-packaged, prioritized, written and designed in an engaging way, of course.

Conclusion:  Seize the opportunity and get more out of your out-of-office message by incorporating short email marketing messages to drive sales and generate traffic!

Grow your email list with an e-news subscription form on your Facebook page

Social media and email marketing are a perfect match, that’s a proven fact. Most companies who have a clear online strategy already use social media like Facebook and Twitter in their email marketing campaigns to grow their brands and fans.

But it also works the other way round.
You can incorporate email marketing in social media. A very simple example is creating a newsletter subscription form on your Facebook page which makes it super easy for visitors to sign up for your e-newsletter directly.
Nothing complicated about it. Simply create your own little Facebook app in a few steps and set up your subscription form in an iFrame on Facebook. 

A good example is our own EmailGarage Facebook fanpage which has a nice and simple subscription form to receive our weekly tipmails.

Conclusion: Setting up a simple newsletter subscription form on your company’s Facebook page is a real simple way to boost subscriptions and grow your email lists.

How to use location-based elements to boost your email marketing

During summertime lots of marketers have the tendency to change their email marketing behavior. It’s not coincidentally that you receive an email with an interesting discount on garden chairs or barbecue sets, just when the weather forecast announces a string of sunny days. Smart marketers use those local elements to boost the response to their email marketing campaigns.

Just think of Groupon, who offer national discounts as well as local discounts. What’s more: their offer varies a lot according to the weather or local occurrences. And doesn’t it make perfect sense, receiving an email with a promotion on photo albums, just when you return home from holiday?

Here are a couple of elements you can use to localize your own email marketing:

Geographical settings
Divide your target market into different regions and use local assets to promote your campaigns. For instance, use images of your product together with recognizable regional landmarks.

Weather conditions
Increase the response to your emails by waiting for the right moment to send them out. If you’re, say,  a supplier of winter tires you’ll benefit from the first snow to send out your newsletter with promo.

Regional events
Use a local holiday as a reason to give away a promotion to the segment of your database that lives in that region. Guaranteed to work like a charm.

Conclusion: Local elements boost the interest in your emails and — when done right — help you generate that extra revenue.