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Responsive email newsletters

Optimizing Your Email for Mobile Devices With the Media Query
Wide emails often require horizontal scrolling, especially when there’s a large image. This case study by Campaign Monitor explains how emails can be optimized for mobile devices using media queries and offers a couple of useful techniques and snippets to be used right away.

Optimizing your email for mobile devices with the @media query - Blog - Campaign Monitor

Responsive Design for Email, the Largest Mobile Audience
Another interesting case study that shows how the development team behind Beanstalk applied screen-size-specific media queries to target styles, and what design decisions were made to make the mobile email experience better.

Wildbit » Responsive design for email – the largest mobile audience - Thoughts on building web apps, businesses, and virtual teams

Media Queries in HTML Emails
This article covers using media queries to target specific mobile email clients.

Guide to CSS Support in Email
Designing an HTML email that renders consistently across major email clients can be time-consuming. Support for even simple CSS varies considerably between clients, and even different versions of the same client. Campaign Monitor has put together a guide to save you the time and frustration of figuring it out for yourself. With 24 different email clients tested, it covers all of the popular applications across desktop, Web and mobile email.

Guide to CSS support in email - Articles & Tips - Campaign Monitor

5 steps to determine optimal e-mail frequency

5 steps to determine optimal e-mail frequency

You know there’s a delicate balance between infrequent email communications and bombarding your email recipients with messages to the point that they opt out. Maybe you’re interested in ramping up your email marketing in 2012 but don’t want to see all your hard lead generation work go to waste by increasing your sending frequency. How do you know what email sending frequency is the right frequency for your subscriber list?

If you guessed “test,” you’re right on the money! While we’ve performed tests and released research on email sending frequency, every brand’s email marketing campaign objectives and subscriber lists are unique and thus require fine-tuned testing to determine appropriate sending frequency.

So how do you get started with an email send frequency test? Many people have been nervous about performing this test for fear of ruining their lead generation efforts, but it really is quite simple. Let’s break down the steps you can take to perform this test so you can start understanding how often you should communicate with your email subscribers.

Step 1 – Establish Your Hypotheses

Take yourself back to high school science class, and channel your favorite lab partner. It’s important to determine what specific results you expect to see from these tests so you can identify success.

For example, you might hypothesize that increasing your email send frequency from once a week to three times a week will increase your click-through rate by 35%, or perhaps it will increase the number of “wheat bread” leads that move to the prospecting stage as a result of your nurturing by 15%. Or perhaps you have an unnervingly high opt-out rate, and you think decreasing your email send rate from daily to every other day will also decrease your number of unsubscribes. You can (and should!) create more than one hypothesis to make the most out of these tests, and be extremely specific with the terms of your hypothesis.

Step 2 – Choose a List Segment

Think of this as your sample size. Since your email list is already segmented (right?), select one segment that you will test, and ensure it is sizable enough to provide meaningful data. Make sure the list segment you select also aligns with the hypotheses you are testing. For example, if you are testing for an increased offer click-through rate targeted toward prospects, it isn’t wise to test on a customer list segment. Instead, you might decide to choose a sample (a sample, not the entire list) from your blog subscriber list that is not only sizable enough to provide meaningful data, but is also used to receiving emails with offers from you.

Step 3 – Establish Baseline Metrics

Now that you know what you want to test and on whom, you can establish your current performance metrics for that sample. This step is crucial, because you need something against which to measure the results of your test. Note the email marketing metrics you’ll need in order to determine success in your test such as your open rate, deliverability rate, unsubscribe rate, and click-through rate for that particular sample.

And don’t be afraid to expand your scope beyond traditional email marketing metrics to website performance metrics. For example, if you were to use the hypothesis of increasing an offer’s click-through rate, you would also be interested to know how many of the email recipients not only clicked through the email offer, but also completed the form required to obtain their offer.

Step 4 – Create and Schedule Your Test Emails

Create a handful of test emails to rotate through the list sample, following your regular email marketing best practices. Now is not the time to experiment with creative new subject lines, test a new sender in the “from” field, or create a new email template. These types of content changes can skew your results, and should be reserved for a separate set of tests.

Once you’ve created the emails, schedule them for the sending frequency you outlined in your hypothesis. For tests that exceed a week in duration, be sure to select the same days and times so as not to add another variable to the equation, as time of day and day of week has been known to skew results. Again, this is an important test to perform, but reserve it for another time.

Step 5 – Measure and Analyze Results

Measure your results against the hypotheses you established in the beginning and the baseline results you recorded. You should monitor results frequently throughout the experiment, too, so you can respond to any dramatic swings that may crop up because of your change in emailing frequency.

Are the results you’re seeing positive? Do they confirm the hypotheses you’ve outlined? Do they allow you to increase your email send even more to see positive gains to your bottom line without sacrificing things like the size or quality of your list? Or is a decrease in sending what’s in order? Now that you have a new baseline for success, iterate off of it by beginning a new email test, whether for frequency, template design, subject line, message copy, offer content, or any other host of items you can test to make your email marketing more effective.

Science of the e-mail signature

Email signatures are so easy to do well, that it’s really a shame how often they’re done poorly. Many people want their signature to reflect their personality, provide pertinent information and more, but they can easily go overboard. Why are email signatures important? They may be boring and the last item on your list of things to get right, but they affect the tone of every email you write.

Email signatures contain alternative contact details, pertinent job titles and company names, which help the recipient get in touch when emails are not responded to. Sometimes, they give the recipient an idea of who wrote the email in case it has been a while since they have been in touch. They are also professional: like a letterhead, they show that you run a business (in some countries, you’re required to do so). Here are some tips on how to create a tasteful signature that works.

Be Concise

First and foremost, the sender’s header (the “From” field) should have a name, and you should use a company email address if you can. If someone sees stevies747@hotmail.com, they’ll suspect it’s spam. If the sender’s header reads, “Steve Stevenson – Mister Stevenson Design Company” <steve@misterstevenson.com>, they’ll know it’s a professional email from Steve, their trusted designer.

Start by making your website a link. Many email clients convert email addresses and websites into links automatically, but not always. When you’re creating the HTML for an email, make sure the link will appear by adding writing it in HTML. And instead of linking text like “My website,” type out the URL, which will be useful for those who want to copy and paste the address.

An email signature shouldn’t double the email’s length, so make it as short as possible (three lines is usually enough). Don’t get into your life story here. The purpose of a signature is to let them see who you are and how to get in touch with you.

Make Sure to Include…

  • Your name,
  • Your company and position,
  • How to get in touch with you.

No need to include 10 different ways to get in touch with you. As in website design, less is more; and then they’ll know which way you prefer to be contacted. Go to two or three lines, with a maximum of 72 character per line (many email applications have a maximum width of 80 characters, so limit the length to avoid unsightly wrapping). An optional fourth line could be your company address, but use caution if you work from home.

--
Steve Stevenson, Web Designer

www.misterstevenson.com | steve@misterstevenson.com

Short and Concise, but Check the Rules

In some European countries, laws dictate what items you must put in your email signature if you are a registered company. For example, UK law requires private and public limited companies to include the following:

  • Company number,
  • Address of registration,
  • VAT number, if there is one.

You can be fined for not including this information on all electronic correspondence and on your website and stationary. Many freelancers and small businesses have ignored these rules since their inception, risking a fine. For more information on UK rules, go here. Do some research to find out what rules apply in your country.

--
Steve Stevenson, Web Designer

www.misterstevenson.com | steve@misterstevenson.com

55 Main Street, London, UK, EC2A 1RE

Company number: 12345678

Don’t Include…

  • Personal Twitter, IM or Skype details;
  • Your home phone number or address (unless you want to be called by international clients early in the morning);
  • The URL of your personal website;
  • Random quotes at the bottom;
  • Your entire skill set, CV and lifetime achievements in point form.

Random quotes are fun for friends, but you risk offending business associates with whom you don’t have a personal relationship. Unless you want clients contacting you while you’re watching Lost, don’t share your home details far and wide. Also, don’t share your personal contact information with your corporate partners. They certainly won’t be interested in it, and you may not want them to know certain details about you. However, mentioning your corporate Twitter account or alternative means of contact in your signature might be useful, in case your correspondent is not able to get in touch with you by regular email.

Duck Stand Md Wht in The Art And Science Of The Email Signature Steve Stevenson, Web Designer
web: www.misterstevenson.com
blog: blogspot.celebritiesneedhelp.com
email: steve@misterstevenson.com
home: 613.555.2654
home (wife): 613.555.3369
work: 613.555.9876
cell: 613.555.123455 Drury Lane
Apartment 22
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada

twitter:
@stevie_liverpool_fan
skype: stevie_the_man
messenger: stevie_mrstevenson

I specialize in:
Web design
Graphic design
Logo design
Front-end development
UI design

“Flying may not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is
worth the price.”
-Amelia Aerheart

Don’t do this.

Images And Logos

Let’s get this out of the way now: your entire signature shouldn’t be an image. Sure, it will look exactly how you want, but it is completely impractical. Not only does an image increase the email’s file size, but it will likely be blocked before being opened. And how does someone copy information from an image?

All Image in The Art And Science Of The Email Signature
This signature is too big at 20 KB and impossible to copy.

Any images should be used with care and attention. If you do use one, make it small in both dimensions and size, and make it fit in aesthetically with the rest of the signature. 50 x 50 pixels should be plenty big for any logo. If you want to be taken seriously as a business person, do not make it an animated picture, dancing dog or shooting rainbow!

Most email clients store images as attachments or block them by default. So, if you present your signature as an image, your correspondents will have a hard time guessing when you’ve sent a genuine attachment.

The best way to include an image is to host it on a server somewhere and then use the absolute URL to insert the logo. For example, upload the logo to http://www.example.com/uploads/logo.gif. And then, in your email signature’s HTML, insert the image like so:

1 <img src="http://www.example.com/uploads/logo.gif" width="300" height="250" alt="example's logo" />

Don’t Be A Fancy Pants

Use vCards With Caution

While vCards are a great, convenient way to share contact information, in emails they add bytes and appear as attachments. It is often said that you shouldn’t use a vCard for your email signature, because as helpful as it might be the first time you correspond with someone, receiving it every time after that gets annoying. Besides, the average email user won’t know what it is. Look at the example below. Would an average user know what that is?

---
Steve Stevenson, Web Designer

www.misterstevenson.com | steve@misterstevenson.com

Vcard in The Art And Science Of The Email Signaturewidth="162" height="52" />

If you do want to provide a vCard, just include a link to a remote copy.

What About Confidentiality Clauses?

If your emails include confidential information, you may need to include a non-disclosure agreement to prevent information leaks. However, good practice is never to send sensitive information as plain text in emails because the information could be extracted by third parties or forwarded by recipients to other people. Thus, including a non-disclosure agreement doesn’t make much sense if you do not send sensitive information anyway.

Keep in mind, too, that the longer a confidentiality clause is, the more unlikely someone will actually read it. Again, check your country’s privacy laws. Some big companies require a disclosure with every email, but if you’re at a small company or are a freelancer and don’t really require it, then don’t put it in. The length of such clauses can be annoying, especially in short emails.

---
Warm Regards & Stay Creative!
Aidan Huang (Editor)
-------------------------------------------
Onextrapixel
Showcasing Web Treats Without Hitch
web . http://www.onextrapixel.com
twi . http://twitter.com/onextrapixel
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the sender. This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. If you are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this email. Please notify the sender immediately by email if you have received this email by mistake and delete this email from your system. If you are not the intended recipient you are notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited.

--

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential. If you have received this email in error please notify the sender and then delete it immediately. Please note that any views or opinions presented in this email are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Company.

The recipient should check this email and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Company accepts no liability for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this email.

Company may regularly and randomly monitor outgoing and incoming emails (including the content of them) and other telecommunications on its email and telecommunications systems. By replying to this email you give your consent to such monitoring.

*****

Save resources: think before you print.

Don’t Be Afraid to Show Some Personality

Although your email signature should be concise and memorable, it doesn’t have to be boring. Feel free to make your email signature stand out by polishing it with your creative design ideas or your personal touch. Using a warm greeting, adding a cheeky key as Dan Rubin does or encouraging people to “stalk” you as Paddy Donnelly does, all show personality behind simple text.

The key to a simple, memorable and beautiful email signature lies in balancing personal data and your contact details. In fact, some designers have quite original email signatures; most of the time, simple ASCII is enough.

--
h: http://danielrubin.org
w: http://sidebarcreative.com
b: http://superfluousbanter.org

m: +1 234 567 8901
i: superfluouschat

k: h = home, w = work, b = blog, m = mobile, i = aim, k = key
Paddy

--

The Site: http://iampaddy.com
Stalk Me: http://twitter.com/paddydonnelly
--

With optimism,
Dmitry Belitsky
http://belitsky.info
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
/// Matthias Kretschmann     ///   krema@xxxxxxxx.xx            ///
/// freelance designer &     ///   www.kremalicious.com         ///
/// photographer             ///   www.matthiaskretschmann.com  ///
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
/// media studies / communication science & art history         ///
/// MLU Halle-Wittenberg                                        ///
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
--
With greetings from Freiburg, Germany,
Vitaly Friedman (editor-in-chief)
-------------------------------------------------

HTML?

If you can, stay away from HTML formatting. Every Web designer knows the pain of HTML newsletters, and while HTML is supported for email signatures, you’ll likely have problems with images and divider lines in different email clients. Some nice ASCII formatting may work in some cases.

Of course, if you’re really keen to use HTML, keep it simple:

  • Make sure it still looks good in plain text.
  • Use black and standard-sized fonts, and stay away from big, tiny and rainbow-colored fonts.
  • Don’t use CSS. Inline HTML formatting is universally accepted.
  • Use common Web fonts.
  • Including a logo? Make sure the signature looks nice even when the logo doesn’t load or is blocked.
  • Check how it looks when forwarded. Do all the lines wrap correctly?
  • You may want to load your company image as your gravatar from Gravatar.com as Joost de Valk does.
  • Feel free to experiemnt with your e-mail signature: Jan Diblík uses a signature with dynamicaly changed promo image.