My (unsolicited) recommendations for an email marketing campaign
ComiXology is awesome! These tips will make their email marketing awesome too.
I quickly realized that it was a mistake to attempt to read The Simon and Kirby Superheroes while riding the NYC Subway. Strap-hangers are not known for their patience and they are unlikely to appreciate a 4.2-pound hardcover book being accidentally hurled towards them (even if it contains nearly 480 pages of artwork by Jack ‘The King’ Kirby).
Thanks to Comixology, I can read comic books with ease on my Android phone. What exactly is ComiXology?
“ComiXology, is a cloud-based digital distribution platform for comics… It offers a selection of more than 100,000 comic books, graphic novels, and manga across Android, iOS, Kindle Fire, Windows 8, and the Internet.”
The current ComiXology email campaign
ComiXology distributes a daily email (example) with details of the latest bargains and new releases.
I have been working in digital marketing for over a dozen years and I have a few tips that should improve the effectiveness of this campaign!
Please note: I will be making my recommendations under the assumption that the email will need to be optimized for as many email clients as possible.
I feel that we can improve the following areas:
- Subject Line & Preheader
- Layout and hierarchy
- Images and Mobile-Optimization
1.) SUBJECT LINE & PREHEADER
Before we can discuss design, we’ve gotta convince recipients to open the email! An email subject line should remain succinct (fewer than 50 characters) and is most effective if it contains a strong offer and/or instills a feeling of urgency or curiosity in the recipient.
The ComiXology subject line above contains an enticing offer and is just slightly over the recommended character count. The preheader text reiterates the savings available.
Subject line recommendations:
Continue to keep the subject lines short and give emojis a try. A report by Experian indicates that using an emoji in your subject line can increase open rates by 45%! So, perhaps something like one of the examples below:
- 🦇 Save up to 86% on the best Batman stories!
- 📚 80 of Batman’s best collections at up to 86% off!
Stop using the first sentence of the email as the preheader and avoid redundant messaging.
The preheader can be “invisible” if implemented just beneath the opening body tag like this:
<span style=”display:none; font-size:0px; color:#ffffff; line-height:0;”>Fan Favorites, Hidden Gems, Rebirth and more!</span>
Most importantly, instead of repeating the “up to 86%” savings in the preheader, we can use this opportunity to emphasize other aspects of the sale that we didn’t have room for in the subject line. This is a crucial opportunity to entice a recipient to open the email!
2.) LAYOUT AND HIERARCHY
The design of an email can be subjective, but utilizing best practices is typically a good way to go! When creating digital content, it is best to prioritize function and form.
Assuming that all elements of the current layout must be included in the redesign, I put together a draft, which can be seen below (or view the email code).
Even though I enjoy looking at illustrations of Batman (doesn’t everybody?!), I feel that the current campaign’s modular layout gets a bit repetitive (especially for a Batman-focused offer like this). My proposal offers a bit more variation, improved content hierarchy, and clearer calls-to-action.
Using WebAIM contrast checker tools, I was able to maintain an accessible color scheme.
I am frequently called upon to create email layouts that will remain mobile-friendly even without the benefit of Media Queries. So, my proposal utilizes a spongy approach that should display as intended in nearly any email client.
3.) IMAGES AND MOBILE-OPTIMIZATION
According to the US Consumer Device Preference Report from MovableInk, 66% of all email in the United States is opened on a smartphone or a tablet.
The current email is constructed almost entirely of images and appears blank or broken when viewed on a mobile device until the “show images” prompt is selected.
Whenever possible, avoid including the text as part of the image. In this example, much of the text can be converted to light-weight, crisp-looking HTML. Even if images are disabled in a mobile email client, the use of HTML text will mean that some of the essential content will appear.
Currently, the email text has to be edited within the image. Converting the text to HTML should also increase production efficiency as the layout will be easier to edit!
The email contains a series of links that resemble the ComiXology website navigation. These links are images and are difficult to touch on mobile.
The minimum mobile button size should display at 44px by 44px. My proposal includes a responsive layout and replaces the image links with HTML text.
When thumbnails are included (example), it is unnecessary to optimize the images at 2x for retina display. In this specific case, the thumbnail images are more than twice the display size. ComiXology can trim the size of these images, which will be beneficial for load time and avoiding spam filters!
“To save on download time, instead of saving the image at 2x the size, you can save the image at 1.5x the size and lower the quality of the image in Photoshop to around 80% when exporting. You’ll still get a good result.“
Email can be an effective marketing tool. Even a small increase in open and click-through rates can increase your conversions.
Although these tips are specifically catered to ComiXology, many of the lessons can be applied to any email campaign!