How does your email look on iPhone or Android

In 2018, the clear majority of opens you receive on your email campaign are from mobile devices. According to Marketing Land, over 60% of emails were opened on mobile devices in the first quarter of 2018. Want to see for yourself? Look at the Campaign Reports in your ReachMail account. Navigate to the “Reports” tab, then the Campaign Reports. Click on any campaign, and you’ll see something like this:

Inbox Preview Report Summary

Fortunately, ReachMail has a tool designed to make sure your message looks good when opened on any popular mobile device. It’s called “Inbox Preview.” Here’s how to use it: go to your Mailings tab and click on the three dots on the far right. Highlight “Generate Inbox Preview” to start the process:

Generate Inbox Preview

You’ll next get a chance to confirm your choice. You’ll see the nine most popular devices that the preview will run. For more details on how to use Inbox Preview check out our help document here.

Inbox Preview Services

Five simple tips to make your email design mobile friendly

Single Column Template: Using a single column helps prevent formatting problems that can cover up important parts of your email. This layout is simpler than many of the more popular templates designed for desktop viewing, but when you consider that someone will be scrolling through your email on a small screen, this makes more sense. In all of this, simplicity is key. Too many fancy features and sections can get very confusing on a phone screen, and you want to make engaging with your email as easy as possible.

Put most important content up-front: Similarly, you’ll want to think about laying out your email, so it flows vertically. That means everything you want them to see right away very close to the top and a logical progression as they scroll through. Like any marketing email, you’ll want something interesting to hook attention early on.

Keep font to less than 13 pixels: On a desktop, this is on the smaller side of font display, but for a phone it’s perfect. Bigger fonts will get cut off and may not display correctly. Plus, if they do, it will just look obnoxious to have words that take up the whole screen and require a lot of scrolling.

Use one call to action button with a minimum size of 44×44 pixels: This is arguably the most important part of any marketing email. This is where you get your recipients to take action, and it’s important that this button be easy to find eye-catching, and clear. If you provide more than one button, it can look spammy, or even be confusing for readers. Even if the buttons all go to the same place, putting in more than one can trigger choice paralysis for readers which is exactly what you want to avoid.

Use very few images: Keeping in line with the theme of simplicity, having only a few images keeps your email from being cluttered and reduces the likelihood of something going wrong and not loading correctly. A single powerful image is much more effective than many less-compelling ones anyway, so stick to as few as you can.

You can see how great your email looks on mobile devices by trying ReachMail for free.

Bad Behavior That Trips Up Email Marketing Campaigns

As a manager of email marketing campaigns, you like to think you get it right with your messaging—people are excited to receive the emails you create, right? Unfortunately, not everyone in charge of email marketing tools uses them correctly. It’s entirely possible you’re making one or more of the many common emailing mistakes known to more savvy marketers. We think the best way to help you remember (and avoid) these worst practices is to use memorable characters to explain them! For starters, don’t be like Jeremy Grey in Wedding Crashers and just show up uninvited. Rather than email people who never signed up for your messages, invest time in developing strategies that encourage recipients to opt in to your list. Try offering deals and rewards, which are often very effective.

Stacy in Wayne’s World is another poor role model, never quite getting the clue that her ex-boyfriend moved on. If a recipient wants to unsubscribe from your emails, don’t ignore the request or make up a story about how it’ll take a while to get off the list. Just take care of it.

Make sure when people want to unsubscribe, the process doesn’t bring about aggravating images of Vizzini from The Princess Bride. Forget long checklists and multiple windows. It should be a simple click to unsubscribe, that’s it.

If you’re showing up all the time like Bob in What About Bob?, you’re doing it wrong! Sending daily messages (unless completely justified) is an easy way to turn off your target audience. Make sure when you email people, you have a compelling reason.

No email marketer wants to be like Chief Clancy Wiggum of The Simpsons. That includes you! Don’t move so quickly that you leave a bunch of mistakes in your emails. Typos, factual errors and spelling problems are just a few things that annoy recipients. Always take the time to proofread and edit carefully.

Don’t make people wait for your messages to download because of large images and fancy graphics, either. If you do, you’re Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean. Keep emails simple and concise.

Make sure your email marketing software isn’t from the Stone Age. If you’re running an outdated platform, you’re Link from Encino Man. Emails should be optimized for mobile so people looking at messages on their phone can read them easily.

Another behavior to avoid is the old bait and switch. Don’t use provocative subject lines to trick people into reading your messages, let The Joker from The Dark Knight mess around with that. Avoid using overly exciting subject lines that don’t reflect what’s really in the body of your email.

Being aimless and unfocused like The Dude in The Big Lebowski can cause problems. After reading your email, recipients should have a clear understanding of the logical next step.

Be careful, too, that your messages don’t come across as insincere. Acting like you’re someone’s close friend when you’re not comes across as sleazy, like Ned from Groundhog Day.

And finally, make sure you use a consistent tone in subject lines and the content of your emails. Otherwise you’re acting like Frank Abagnale, Jr. of Catch Me If You Can. Be sincere and straightforward—people know you represent a business and you’re reaching out to a list. Don’t pretend otherwise.

We hope these tips make some of you squirm in your seat as you reflect on the email marketing tactics you’ve used thus far. From now on, be the good guy and follow the Golden Rule—communicate with people as you’d like other businesses to communicate with you!

What Can You Do With Gmail’s Promotions Tab?

By now, you’ve probably heard about the recent change that Gmail has begun to roll out called the “Promotions” tab. If you’re blissfully unaware, Google is now filtering users’ emails and automatically filing what they deem to be marketing-related away from the primary inbox and into a separate tab. What does this change mean for email marketers? Well, so far, the impact has been relatively minor, with reports of a drop in open rate of around 1-2%. While this may not seem like a huge amount, it can still ultimately affect your bottom line, and with the rollout still not complete, we could see these numbers rise.

The good news is, there are some things you can do to counteract this new feature and improve the chances of your emails effectively reaching the primary inboxes of your target audience. Here’s how.

First and foremost, don’t make it obvious that your emails are promotional in nature. Instead, focus on crafting messages that have a more personal feel. You can accomplish by applying the following guidelines:

  • Address each recipient by name
  • Format your messages more like traditional letters
  • Keep your messages short and to the point
  • Avoid using too many images
  • Limit links to just one or two

Not only do these things make the reader feel like they are being addressed individually rather than receiving a mass sales pitch, but Google tends to view these types of messages the same way, which means they’re less likely to be flagged as “promotional.”

Next, focus on the actual content of your emails. The ultimate goal isn’t just to avoid being relegated to the “promotions” folder, but to actually get your recipients to open and read your messages. This isn’t going to happen unless they feel as though doing so will be worth their while. Make sure you’re delivering content that is useful and valuable to your target audience. The more engaged your recipients are, the less likely your messages will be rerouted to the circular file.

Of course, you can’t expect people to open your emails if you’re not drawing them in with captivating and compelling subject lines. Think of these as the wrapping on a gift. You want your subject lines to catch the eye of your target audience and entice them into wanting to open up and see what’s inside.

You also have to know what words and phrases tend to trigger Gmail’s auto-filtering feature. For instance, research has shown that using words like “free,” especially when in combination with other common words, like “trial,” “sample,” or “quote” in your subject line can significantly increase the likelihood of your email being flagged. Your best bet? Grab a thesaurus and find a really good synonym.

Another simple way you can help your emails avoid ending up in the promotions tab is to simply reach out and talk to your customers. Many still haven’t received the new feature and those who have may not even be aware of the change. Others may not realize they can control their email options. Start by educating your audience about the new feature and then provide specific instructions on how they can ensure that they continue to receive your messages. (Provided you’re doing your job of delivering quality content, this part shouldn’t be that challenging because your audience will actually want to keep reading your emails.)

Another way you can take much of the guesswork out of making sure your emails end up where you want them to is by working with an email marketing service provider – preferably one that knows how to leverage technology to maximize deliverability. This includes things like automatic white-listing, identity authentication, spam analysis and ongoing monitoring, all of which can dramatically improve the chances of your emails making the cut the first time, every time.

Finally, it’s important to point out that while these tips are effective, they’re not foolproof. There’s really no magical formula for “beating the system,” so to speak. For this reason, you’ll also want to take appropriate measures so that if your emails do end up in the promotions tab, your audience will go looking for them. Some tricks of the trade include creating more time-sensitive offers and using a numbered sequence in your emails (i.e. part 1 of 4, etc.). Play on your readers’ fear of missing out.

So, whether you’ve already begun experiencing the backlash of this latest Gmail feature, or you’re trying to plan ahead, it’s never too early to start developing a strategy to help lessen the impact this change will have on your bottom line. The tips and tricks listed above should help position you for ongoing success in your future email marketing endeavors.  Finally, you can experiment at no extra cost by signing up with free email marketing provider ReachMail where you can get a free account for life!