Plain text emails can look good too!
Recently I’ve been spending quite a bit of time designing and building HTML email templates, but the plain text version of the email always seems to be an afterthought (or ignored/forgotten about entirely). Don’t forget about your plain text email the next time you’re building an HTML email campaign.
Why spend time and resources on a plain text version of your email? MailChimp has a great article covering some of the most vital reasons for a plain text version, including:
- Some people prefer text emails, in fact they may even block or disable HTML emails from displaying.
- Email spam filters have gotten much more aggressive over the years, and many filters scan both the HTML and plain text content for possible triggers (not having a plain text version at all could be an even bigger spam flag).
- Many email applications are still severely out-dated and lacking in support for even basic HTML rendering. Some of these applications even default to the plain text email if an HTML issue occurs (especially on mobile devices).
So what can you do to spruce up your plain text email template? Check out Campaign Monitor’s Designing for the Inbox articles, especially Chapter 2: Designing Plain Text Email.
More and more companies seem to be re-designing their websites with a responsive layout that adapts to the size of the device/browser being used, and the BBC News site has joined them. But the BBC News site, isn’t your ordinary blog or news site. This new responsive design has to support no less than 80 different browser, operating system and device combinations.
Tom Maslen has put together an interesting post that details some of the process behind the re-design, and the challenges that had to be overcome. For those that want more be sure to check out the Responsive News site, which is where the BBC team posts about their latest developments (http://blog.responsivenews.co.uk/).
Rumors have been flying after Google’s Matt Cutts announced an upcoming search algorithm change targeting webspam, and today we have a name to go with it; Penguin.
Like it’s friendly cousin Panda, we know that this new update will target websites violating Google’s quality guidelines, and decrease their search rankings accordingly. Web Pro News has a great collection of new posts concerning the Penguin update already, and also details Google’s basic quality guidelines and unwritten rules.
Google’s Developer Programs Tech Lead Maile Ohye has also been busy producing a number of short segments covering a variety of Search Engine Optimization Do’s and Don’ts (such as Pagination and SEO and 5 Common Mistakes in SEO).
UPDATE: 06/25/12 – The Google Webmaster Team has also conveniently released a new video playlist on youtube labeled “Webmaster Academy”; aimed at helping webmasters to get their websites performing better in search results.
Followed a very interesting webinar yesterday from Hubspot about the science of email marketing, where they used hard data (over 9.5 billion emails from Mailchimp), focus groups and surveys to identify general trends in email marketing.
Here’s a link to the webinar in its entirety (http://www.hubspot.com/thanks-for-registering-the-science-of-email-marketing), and I’ve also included some cliff notes from the presentation:
- ‘Email is Homework’ to users
- Saturday and Sunday have the best clickthroughs
- Monday/Tuesday have the highest unsub rate and Thursday/Friday have the lowest
- Early morning is best time for clickthroughs (6am)
- Night is worst time for clickthroughs and unsub rate (10-12)
- 80.8% of users reported reading email on a mobile device
- # of links doesn’t have an effect on clickthroughs
- # of links does have a small effect on unsub rate (more links more unsubs)
- ‘Use lots of links’
- ‘Serialize and label your emails’ to make them fresh, new, and interesting to users
- ‘Give your subscribers special access/make it feel exclusive’
- ‘Send email from someone they’ve heard of’ – use the brand or an identifiable person
- Best clickthrough is for 1 send/month, all other rates are near even (up to 30+/month)
- Worst unsub rate is for 1 send/month, the best rate comes from 5+/month
- ‘Don’t be afraid to send too much email’
- 58% of users have a separate junk email inbox
- Allow social sharing from within marketing emails
Just read a great article over on Css Tricks about “The Heating Company Analogy” for Designers and Developers, and wanted to follow up with my own post on the topic.
The basic idea behind the article is just like the heating/oil company tries to anticipate your needs and charge you a steady rate throughout the year, we need to anticipate our clients needs and give them a similar option. Whether you’re offering graphic design, web design, development, or any other of a myriad of services, you should be able to use a subscription-based offering for additional work with your clients.