Email Insider Creative Secrets: How to Craft Messages That Connect, Engage and Sell

This is a live blog post from #OMSummit. Presentation by Karen Talavera @SyncMarketing, Top 100 Women in Ecommerce 2012 by WE Magazine.

Deliverable, Readable, RESPONSIVE, Email Message:


The traditional email: AIDA (quantity over quality approach)

  • Attention - From line, Subject line, What's visible in preview window
  • Interest - Pre-header text, headlines and subheadlines, Images and especially VIDEO
  • Desire - Subject line, Images, especially VIDEO, body copy
  • Action - Button shape, colour, copy, call to action etc.


An Alternative for Today: IEEO - selling in the way of serving first (quality over quantity approach)
  • Invite
  • Engage
  • Education / Entertain
  • Offer


  • Free trial on a new product intro without asking to buy - let us prove that it's right for you and you make your own decision.
  • Watch a free demo to help you learn XYZ  to get them engaged
  • What makes RedEnvelope different? - sent request for feedback on service and why customers appreciate them.
  • Content marketing - information / newsletter


Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow's hierarchy of Needs says "we have to satisfy our more basic needs before attempting to satisfy more sophisticated needs".
Based on Humanistic Psychogy, as the question, which level of needs does your product /services satisfy from both practical and emotional standpoints?  From most evolved to most essential basic need:
  • Self Actualization
  • Esteem
  • Love / Belonging
  • Safety
  • Physiological
Your product or service should fulfill at least one of these levels of service and address them. A high end resorts could offer a level of safety, belonging and esteem.


Key Take Aways
  • You can't control a person's level on the pyramid (but your product or service may be able to influence it)
  • Try to learn the level of your ideal clients (Keep in mind, not all target audience members at same level at the same time, if ever)
  • Pyramid is bi-directional  (Ideally people move upward, but distinct events can cause regression (temporary or permanent - natural disasters, economic crisis, "life events")
  • Change your messages based on people's immediate needs and situations. Be mindful and relevant and timely based on the NOW.


Why Resonance? 
  • Because if people can't connect, they are indifferent. If they are indifferent they won't respond (hate is not the opposite of love, indifference is)
  • Connections can be emotional or intellectual
  • Connections can be emotionally positive or negative (resonance is a feeling of  alignment, harmony and empathy, but can be in a positive or negative context)


How? Two ways to Connect
Emotionally (Authenticity, Tranparency, Personality, Community)
Intellectual (Facts, Education, Curiosity (Q&A) and Proof)
Emotions are innate and instinctive, existing before the brain, mind and ego develop
IN a reality where we're faced with hundreds of decisions per day, emotions serve as a sort of built-in "guidance system" that kicks in before intellect has a chance.
For Emails - Here's what Matters (based on the above info)
Design - Design for both deliverability and proper rendering
Email receiving environments - think both big and small screens.
Message rendering a growing issue
  • Proliferation of hardware, software, and physical place for receiving and viewing email create infinitely different and changing view-ability
  • Image blocking inoign in Google, Outlook, corporate environments
  • No uniform standards across receiving email clients (Some like iOS resize messages, others don't)
  • Anti-spam
Email Format Choices
  • Text
  • Static HTML
  • Dynamic HTML (with Animation or video)
  • Mobile


50% of all email marketing messages are now being opened on a mobile device.


Email Design Building Blocks
1. Pre-Header
  • Main Offer
  • View as web page
  • Mobile link / text option
  • Whitelist / address book request
  • Social Media connections


2. Headline (or Graphic Header)
  • Large enough to show in preview or mobile
  • Not so large as to dominate usefulness
  • Relates to Offer


3. Body
  • Sub headline(s)
  • Images
  • Copy
  • Links
  • Call To Action buttons, icons, arrows


4. Call to Action


Designing Emails for Visibilty
  • Keep "view as Web Page / mobile" links in pre-hearder
  • Add ALT-tags to images (these tags allow the designer to insert descriptive copy o rinks that views can read in place of blocked images)
  • - Keep ALT-tag copy short and specific (Less than 10 words is good, less than 5 is best)
  • Include "bullet proof buttons" - HTML code the graphic vs inserting a link or image
  • Test all URLs and links to ensure they work and display properly


Top HTML Email Design Solutions
High Impact Designer by TemplateZon -


Responsive Design 
  • An email design approach that uses a media queries to sense the type of device on which email is being used and optimize display for that device (Requires using CSS3 in HTML)
  • The most resource demanding email option, but it's the direction the industry is going.
  • Pros - consistent viewing across multiple devices, mitigates mobile email viewing frustrations, better subscriber experience, better response rate
  • Cons - Requires strong HTML and CSS coding knowledge, takes longer to code / design, long load times can still cause slow rendering especially on mobile.


Mobile Visibility Matters
  • About 44% of all email now opened on mobile devices as of Dec 2012
  • 90% of smartphone users access the same email account on mobile and desktop
  • 70% of mobile device users delete emails that display improperly
  • If not using responsive design - use designs created on a grid, use single vs multicolumn layout, view designs on smart phone and big screen while designing and viewport meta tag for iOS


Design Key Takeaways
  • Think "architecture" vs "art"
  • Assume partial vs full view
  • Plan layout to stimulate both open and click. Know where response hotspots are and use them to your advantage (upper left? Upper right? Re-header? Bottom?
  • Simplify content organization
  • Design with a "mobile is the mainstream" mindset
  • The confused eye doesn't buy! Make it as simple and clear.


Subject Line Best Practices 
  • Use your brand or company name
  • Get to the point
  • Do TEST long vs short - even long subject lines have proven effective
  • Do test your subject lines for both response and filter tolerance level
  • Do monitor affiliate subject lines and sending for CAN-SPAM and corporate policy compliance
  • Do relate the subject line to message content
  • Do relate the subject line to your offer
  • Do follow naming or title conventions for newsletters, etc.


Key subject line words that work:
  • Free product offer
  • Discount offer
  • Contains familiar brand name
  • Contains recent pruchase info
  • Free shipping offer
  • Limited time offer
  • Breaking information / news
  • New product announcement


Apply and Align Messaging to the Customer Lifecycle
  • Pre-conversion (Prospects)
  • Conversion (All Customers)
  • Post- Conversion
  • Relationship-Building
Storyboard your email program (some message frequency and sequencing can be planned, but allow for triggered emails. Create a flowchart illustrating message types, timing, etc)

Why Impact Radius is Impacting Tracking

An integrated marketing suite. That's what they are. They are an affiliate marketing platform, tag management system, media measurement tool, pay per call solution and much much more. Why is this important to internet retailers? Because with their system you can make and save more money.

Here are 5 cool features Impact Radius has to offer.


1. Tag Management

One of Impact Radius's main features is extensive and flexible tag management. You can add and remove tags anywhere you want. You can manage multiple affiliate networks within it so you don't get hit by double pay outs. You can track re-targeting ads. You can track and measure all media. If your ad campaigns look anything like this then Impact Radius is right for you:

  • Organic Google
  • Affiliate Program
  • PPC Ads
  • Re-targeting Ads
  • Email Campaigns
  • Social Media Campaigns
  • Shopping Feeds

The tagging system then calculates all your costs and ROI metrics in one place, plus it's more accurate than Google analytics by correcting the discrepancies between marketing channels reported in analytics. It's best to use both. Google analytics can't capture the level and depth in accuracy that Impact Radius can. For example, analytics do not have rules that match up with your program terms in your affiliates program (ex. 30 day cookie period) and consequently do not accurately credit the affiliate channel, but can help give the user a better understanding of on site issues Impact Radius can't.


2. Set Up Marketing Channels and Properly Measure Them

Impact Radius STARTS with accurate data tracking. They do not replace analytics, but they give you a stronger idea of how your marketing channels work outside of your website performance. You can set up rules within the platform specific to each channel, such as "I want to track click throughs with a 14 day window from this source".

Merchants can credit affiliates properly based on rules set in the platform. This means you can create a system that says "if these two things happen, affiliate X gets paid" or "if these two things happen, I know to credit it to my re-targeting ads" or email campaigns, or SEO efforts and so on. Analytics alone is not able to understand that. This means, Impact Radius is all about successful attribution tracking down to every dollar spent.


3. Partner Management Solution

Impact Radius offers a lower cost tracking solution than most of the affiliate networks out there including CJ, Linkshare or Google Affiliate Network.  For example, if you are paying out $100,000 per month in affiliate commissions, your network could be adding an additional 30% ($30,000) fee. Tracking those same partners on Impact Radius might only cost you $1,000 - $3,000 resulting in a significant cost savings. This allows you to then spend the savings on ad buys, hiring a good outsourced affiliate program manager, or put it back into profits.

Strategy Tip: Take your top 10% of affiliate performers driving 90% of your profits and work with them directly through Impact Radius instead of the network. You'll get better tracking and at a much lower cost.

Impact Radius is generally 15-40% more accurate in affiliate tracking than other affiliate networks because of its unique tracking methodologies. It has the ability to  cross check standard cookie tracking with "fingerprint" tracking which means sales are not lost when cookies are not set.  For internet retailers, Impact Radius helps with coupon management as well. You can assign promo codes and set rules around them so coupon codes will stop getting credited to the wrong affiliates and people who should be credited for sales using an exclusive code regardless of the affiliate tracking link will get credited accordingly. Impact Radius coupon tracking also works in direct mail, social channels such as Facebook and Twitter and across any other touch point on or offline.


4. Attribution Reporting

Impact Radius shows the exact touch points associated with every sale, including every touch point within the affiliate marketing channels. For example, if Affiliate A is the first touch point, Affiliate B gets touched half way and Affiliate C closes the sale - you can model the media costs and sales revenues across all three partners so you get a more accurate representation of each partner's contribution. This works across multiple channels and with every touch point, so you can assess the true cost of acquisition and which channel contributed the most value to the sale.  By being able to determine your true CPA per touch point, you will be able to  determine how and where to spend future marketing dollars for greater ROI.


5. Pay Per Call Solution

If you need an alternative to Ring Revenue for pay per call tracking, Impact Radius offers a tracking solution as well. If you'd like to use this within marketing channels where you are buying media, or within your own affiliate program, this will give you a complete integrated solution to track calls and sales from phone number tracking as well.


What's the bottom line? if you need a fully comprehensive tool that allows you to track your efforts more accurately for smarter marketing and higher ROI then Impact Radius is it.



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