Nice images in emails but… beware!

When we are creating marketing emails, we pay a lot of attention to the content. Not only words, but also CTAs, objects, images, etc. Everything contributes to the readability and pleasantness of the communication. The optimal approach remains a good balance of all the elements so that the reader is not bored by paragraphs and paragraphs of text.

We devoted some time ago (article one and article two) to useful tips – which are still valid – on how to create emails HTML. Best practices within everyone’s reach to ensure successful communications.

Today we would like to take up a topic that is very dear to us, the management and use of images. We have realised that many brands, for example, use very heavy images in their emails, which are stored on external servers and require downloading to the recipient’s client when the communication is opened. Inevitably this lengthens the time it takes, creating discontent among readers, and especially on mobility, it certainly requires an excessive and unnecessary consumption of gigabytes that adds no value to the quality of the message.

time and money

How to use the images

So, nice images but… be careful! It takes a few small steps to ensure that using images does not become a reason for marketing campaigns to fail.

Light images.

We were saying. Maybe light in terms of content, but certainly light in terms of weight. Without losing quality, always use images that weigh little to avoid unpleasant inconveniences such as high download times. Remember that the time that contacts are willing to wait to see an image appear is constantly decreasing. They want everything now. Also, don’t underestimate that especially for those who are on mobile, there may be a fear of consuming unnecessary data traffic. Consumers receive many emails every day and are not willing to wait for your image to appear on screen.

Image size.

Not too large sometimes even unnecessarily, to avoid the above, but not too small either, losing quality and effectiveness. It is best to create an image specifically for the email and not to reuse material found on the web or prepared for other purposes.

Background images.

They may seem like a good solution, but beware that they increase the weight and download times. Also, remember not to write text overlays so that it is not displayed when the image is not downloaded.

Image-only emails.

You need a balance between text and images. We suggest 60/40. Several studies have shown that while using images improves email open rates (Nielsen), image-only communications are negatively perceived by consumers reading us as a lack of attention and personalisation. Moreover, not to be underestimated, are the aspects of deliverability: when the image prevails the possibility of not passing the anti-spam filters increases. It can happen that they are not downloaded and the emails are understood to be empty.

Images for mobility.

Be careful to always differentiate email content so that it can be used on both mobile and non-mobile devices. And images are no less important. Always, and especially where you rely heavily on the illustrations chosen, it is essential that these are displayed correctly whatever the email system or device used. Your customer needs to be able to move from their mobile phone to their PC and still be able to view the image correctly, and the image needs to be designed and adapted for smaller screen sizes. Especially if overwritten with text, which is not the best solution anyway.

Embedded images.

If, instead of linking the images to an external site, you decide to insert them directly into the HTML, the very first benefit is to be able to more easily overcome the blocks that some email providers and email clients often put in place, but the risk of ending up in spam is increased. The weight of HTML is compounded by that of the images. We believe that for a successful sending, HTML should not exceed 60 KB.

Name the images.

Always give your images a name and make sure it is a name that represents them well, so that if they are not displayed or downloaded, the contact can still understand what they are. Don’t use special characters or blank spaces, use the ‘_’ sign instead. This will reduce the possibility of your message ending up in the spam folder. Another thing to consider is not to include CTAs in images, but to use text.

Concluding

Images are a valuable ally for your communications, an element that could be described as essential. However, they need to be used in the best possible way in order to really get all the benefits they bring without disturbing the reader.

Using images well in an email is important for several reasons, including:

  • Texts alternated with images are easier to consume.
  • Images highlight the other content in your email and often convey part of the message you want to get across more quickly.
  • An email with the right images attracts the attention of your contacts.

Contact us, we have the right technology to create HTML easily and quickly, and our creatives are at your disposal to build together the best possible emails so that they arrive in the inbox and are seen by all correctly.

 

 

 

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Send series. #4: What kind of communications can you send with Send?

We have now reached the fourth and last appointment of the series dedicated to Send, Contactlab’s digital messaging. We have spent more than a month together and had the opportunity to deepen many aspects: benefits and features, some use cases, how it is. Today we close by telling you what you can do with it, what kind of communication you can send with Send.

 

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Discover the series dedicated to Send!

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Put data at the center of your strategies and create formidable customer experiences

In times of pandemic more than before, consumers are proving to be demanding. They demand special attention and this does not spare the world of marketing communications. Increasingly, you’ll find them active on multiple devices at the same time, constantly solicited by brands. They have to decide who and what to focus their attention on and you have to make sure that you are their choice.

That’s why more and more marketeers – and not only, to tell the truth – put data at the base of their decisions. Starting from data means acting following indications that emerge from knowledge and experience.

If, on the one hand, it is necessary to consider and centralize the customer and all the information he generates, on the other hand it is necessary to make good use of past teachings, that is, to learn from what has already been done in order to prepare for the future.

This is how communication strategies are born, which are the result of the analysis of each individual consumer with their own characteristics, needs, preferences and propensities, and the continuous refinement of engagement marketing activities carried out in the field.

This is where the Contactlab Marketing Cloud comes in, addressing both aspects and providing you with the tools to get what you need and guide you in this direction.

The tools that the platform puts on the table for your marketing communication strategies

Single Customer View

The Customer Data Platform we offer, allows you to get profiles for every single contact. These are single points where you can collect in an organized and structured way the information they provide you and all the footprints they leave every day scattered here and there. Integrate everything about them in one place and create unique views for each one. You can attribute to a single profile all the data declared when filling in a form, on the preference center, talking with your customer service, or even the reactions to emails or SMS you send, the navigation behavior on your website such as the pages visited, the products or services put in the cart and all the details regarding the transactions completed. And not only online data but also offline data such as those managed in your stores. Moreover, with the support of our analysts, with simple standard algorithms or with customized ones, designed together and tailored to your business and your needs, you can process all these data and bring out new ones otherwise invisible: the email engagement index, the customer lifetime value, the RFM are just some examples. This is all information you can use to get to know your contacts better and design personalized campaigns for them, creating clusters and targeting them with journeys based on the themes, times and methods that best suit each individual.

A/B testing and customer journey splits

With test deliveries, you can verify the effectiveness of your messages before it’s too late. Decide to send multiple variations of the same campaign to part of your audience and only the one that gets the best results will be sent to the entire target audience so you get right to your contacts and maximize each send.

Dato al centroOr you can design automation by creating different, parallel streams at any point in the journey. You test them and choose the most efficient one to reach your goal, blocking the others. Think about your Christmas fundraising campaign, for example. Before launching it all over the place, you can check with your most loyal donors which message is the most interesting among interviews with doctors and health personnel, and testimonials from patients and relatives. Or for discounts and promotions you can use two different senders: the store where your contacts buy most frequently, and an email address created specifically for the occasion.

Campaign feedback and deliverability reports

Monitor KPIs and view statistics on deliveries. Check the delivered and undelivered emails, the causes of non-delivery – inbox full or non-existent, unable to contact the server, etc., the number of opened communications or clicked links. Get the CTOR index – click to open rate – to understand the interest towards the proposed contents. View the trend of shipments in the last month. See who decided to unsubscribe or considered your activity an abuse; check the behavior of different mailbox service providers when receiving your emails. You’ll see that not everyone reacts the same way and that you may need to take some action. With the cooperation of our experts, keep your reputation high and ensure the best delivery rates by also adhering to winning practices such as DKIM, DMARC, SPF. Download the user lists and get all the details of the campaign carried out.

Dato al centro

Audience Effectiveness and Revenue Attribution

The platform provides self-service tools to know the returns on shipments. You can measure the impact of communications on the purchases of the contacts included in your targets. Understand which activity has been most successful and check if the most purchased product following the mailing is the one proposed in the newsletter. By consulting the top 5 best-selling products, you may even have some surprises!

Compare in a few clicks the performance of your segments by viewing them side by side, check which one has brought more results and determine the influence of your planning on the sales of products or services on time. Build your audiences and plan your campaigns. Once executed, use the available dashboards to understand the total number of contacted users, influenced customers, and the value of influenced revenue. Then view charts showing the distribution of revenue over the chosen time period.  Find out how opens and clicks influenced purchase behavior and revenue.

 

Influenced rev

Contact us now, our skills and our experience can be at the service of your business to learn from the past, know more about your consumers and together set up communication plans to support and boost your business and your revenue.

 

 

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Send series. #1: Benefits and Features

A new series starts today! It is dedicated to Send, the Contactlab digital messaging platform. We will keep you company with four appointments and we will see together the differentiating elements, what you can do, how to proceed and finally the type of communications that can be conveyed. Stay with us!

 

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Discover the series dedicated to Send!

Send series #1 eng-send-series2 Send series#3 send_series_4
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Call us and find out why our competitors are talking about us

We’ve seen it with our own eyes, they talk about us, and they do so by mentioning our Marketing Cloud as an alternative to respectable solutions in the global landscape of digital marketing communication technologies. So?

So we are proud, we consider it an acknowledgement. It means that we have hit the mark and that the path we took a few years ago is the right one.

A winning combination of technology and expertise

Marketing Cloud

Many of you will remember, Contactlab comes from more than twenty years’ experience in the world of email marketing, one of the pioneers in the Italian market. Over the years, with the new emerging needs, chatting with our customers, and the advent of new ways and channels for interacting with consumers, we have flanked our multi-channel digital messaging platform with a marketing cloud dedicated to customer engagement with a strong human imprint.

The human imprint is our treasure, our resources. Thanks to the long-standing presence in the market, the skills brought home over time and the ongoing training,  our experts enhance the qualities and functionalities that the marketing cloud can offer your business.

Together we can build unforgettable customer experiences that will allow you to transform your contacts into customers, build loyalty, pamper them and convince them not to abandon you.

What does the Contactlab Marketing Cloud help you to do?

You can talk to your customers, collect their preferences, update them on the latest news, offer them discounts and promotions… you can be found wherever they expect you to be, on all the communication channels they use, you can tell them things they are really interested in, you can even tickle them with disruptive proposals that are always in line with their tastes. In short, you can help your business by creating lasting relationships and you can do it in just 4 steps:

  • Create unique profiles for each contact by integrating all the data coming in from the various touchpoints.
  • Process all the information that consumers sow here and there on a daily basis to find out the level of interest in your email communications, discover behavioral patterns of purchase, predict which customers are at risk of churn and which are loyal.
  • Profile your audiences.
  • Engage them into different customer journeys, designed for each of them, respecting their characteristics, with customised content, timing and communication methods. You can automate your communication activities and focus on other things: the marketing cloud takes care of that.

If that’s not enough, you can find out how your campaigns are going, how much they are affecting your business and decide to continue them, block them or simply modify certain aspects of them to achieve maximum effectiveness and maximum return.

With the certainty that you will never be alone, because behind the Contactlab platform there are people who work every day to ensure that you always have the best technology available and all the strategic support to make it work as you really need it to, for your business and to achieve your objectives.

Don’t go far, we are here, always by your side. Choose us as your fellow adventurers in the magical world of your digital communication for customer engagement. Together we open communication channels with your contacts, we maintain and enhance your customer relationships. Contact us now, we are ready for the challenge, it’s missing only you!

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The best of the Marketing Cloud in 2020

We have just said goodbye to a special year in which we had to deal with unexpected events. We were used to our balances but they have been upset and the forecasts made for 2020 have been questioned, also in the field of marketing communications and customer engagement.

More than in the past, it’s time to look at the results, and so we have tried to do so, highlighting the best of what happened at the Marketing Cloud last year.

It was immediately apparent that social distancing called brands to new challenges, and in many cases accelerated digitalisation processes that had been postponed or put on hold.

The importance of customer relationships and the continuity of the relationship over time has gained strength. Brands have been forced to take every opportunity to communicate in the best possible way. Contact methods have been revised, timeframes have been changed and the management of increasingly high expectations has been modified.

Brands have thus realised how crucial it is to have the right tools: technologies and experts who team up and support them to accompany their customers during the purchasing phase and in the loyalty process, offering memorable experiences.

Let’s take a look at what happened in 2020 and try to get ideas to start again together for a breakthrough 2021!

 

Smartworking, (smart)platform.

Smartworking_2020When your brand has been smartworking, Contactlab’s Marketing Cloud has been a valuable ally in providing continuity in customer relationship management.

From the office or at home, day or night, with or without technical knowledge, at all levels of the company, a platform that is always available, up-to-date and within everyone’s reach. Accessible from any device or browser, with any type of connection and at any time of day. The brands have been able to really appreciate and understand how much the business survival can depend on the reliability of the available tools. We have put and continue to put everything at our disposal on the table so that business does not stop despite everything.

 

What the health emergency teaches to marketing engagement.

Personalized experienceThe Marketing Cloud has not only facilitated smartworking but has always provided what is needed to ensure a prompt response to new consumer needs and demands. The year 2020 teaches us that brands cannot do without paying attention to time management – timeliness and speed of communications and operations, to the quality of the relationship with the customer – unique and recognised across different channels, to the satisfaction of expectations – personalisation, attention to detail and fulfilment of promises. We must learn together from the past and renew our commitment to the future.

 

The personalisation of marketing campaigns made each relationship unique.

Personalization_2020

The Marketing Cloud has accompanied marketers in personalising their customer relationships. Through deep consumer knowledge, target profiling, automated customer experiences and omnichannel marketing, you were able to instantly recognise contacts at every opportunity, optimise communication time, maximise dialogue points and make your relationship unique. Your contacts understood that you were taking care of them.

Consumers are coming out of the emergency with an ever higher demand for attention, an immediate response to their searches, minimal time to process requests… they want to be heard immediately and managed consistently across all channels.

 

When traffic and orders on your ecommerce site increased, you were ready…

ecommerce & marketing automation…because you chose marketing automation! The pandemic has turned the world of shopping upside down and if at first we were forced to buy online, at a later stage we chose it. Analysts agree that the use of ecommerce will remain widespread post-pandemic. In 2020, the number of online transactions increased significantly, and this was more evident in products than in services. Brands have resorted to all the means necessary to manage a relationship that has moved from the store to the digital world. The Contactlab Marketing Cloud has followed you and supported you in the management of your ecommerce during the various stages of the sales cycle: promotional, purchase, post-purchase or abandonment, during the shipment of goods or customer care… often repetitive and standardised activities. This is precisely why it became vital to automate operations as much as possible, even the simplest ones, during a difficult time when it was necessary to concentrate energies and channel resources. The strong link between ecommerce and marketing automation became apparent.

 

You gained the attention of your contacts at first sight.

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Consumers were heavily pressured by brands, they received many emails and the challenge was to capture their attention in a few moments. Contactlab’s email editors’ journey towards excellence has continued, and in 2020 we’ve offered you some great new features to make your work even easier and more intuitive while increasing the possibility of obtaining attractive emails in just a few clicks. Automatic import of your product data from the catalogue, different templates for desktop and mobile, changes to the email structure with a simple drag & drop, tags in the titles to create hierarchies even in the display of your HTML, real-time preview of your communications… these are just some of the releases we have put in place for you, and not only for the transactional communications that the distancing has imposed on you, but also for HTML to be used in your plans or in your customers’ journeys to fuel your dialogue, boost the conversion of your ecommerce visits into purchases, reduce the risk of abandonment, and increase the loyalty of your customers.

 

You have ensured that your reputation is always at the highest level for emails straight in the inbox!

Customers couldn’t get into your stores as much as you would have liked and so you found a way to go to them…digitally, revising the way you do email, intensifying contact opportunities and improving the quality of each appointment. But what good would all this have been if emails hadn’t reached the inbox of your contacts? So you have learned that not all malbox service providers behave in the same way; or how to improve the delivery rate to Gmail accounts which represent a large proportion of your recipients; or how, alongside an excellent tool for sending emails, Contactlab also offers experience and expertise to put in place actions that keep your brand reputation high; you have learned the meaning of terms such as DKIM, SPF and DMARC and how to use them to optimise your deliveries.

And you’ve discovered once again how the Marketing Cloud is the right partner for these adventures: from content creation and feedback management to deliverability and brand reputation. So that the final destination of your emails is always your customers’ inbox.

Gmail deliverability

You have counted on marketing automation that goes beyond sending newsletters: personalised, multi-channel, real-time journeys.

Mktg Automation infographic In recent years, marketing automation has revolutionised digital communication by reducing the time and distance between brands and consumers. The opportunity to automate was widely seized during the health emergency to keep continuous communication channels open. Automating has meant optimising all the customer relationship activities – think of the entire ecommerce world – reducing the dispersion of energy and improving engagement. Contactlab has focused a great deal on this area, considering it the activation engine of an engagement platform. An intelligent engine where you can orchestrate the customer journey with excellent content tested before use, effective and verified flows for enhanced promotion and refined targets, perhaps based on online purchasing behavior. Imagine how many engagement strategies you can put in place with data at your disposal, processing it to better understand your audience and profiling it to dialogue at the right time and in the right channels, on topics of real interest.

 

You have experienced a new UI with the latest design system.

Design_System_2020When choosing a platform, it often happens that much attention is paid to the features it offers and how it meets one’s needs. Usability, on the other hand, is left in the background. In a year like 2020 when platform usage has increased significantly, your marketeers could see how wrong this is. With the Marketing Cloud they have benefited from a renewed interface that has allowed them on the one hand to navigate between the functions in a more immediate and intuitive way, saving time, and on the other hand to be more effective and efficient in their daily operations with a significant reduction in the resources used. We have worked to give continuity to the process of constant improvement of the UI by reviewing labels, structures and elements and inserting components that guide users into the platform.

 

You have offered access to unique, enriched, updated and real-time customer profiles for all your business, marketing and other needs.

By using the Marketing Cloud you have realised that while collecting every possible piece of information about your contacts is of paramount importance, having huge amounts of unstructured data collected on separate systems far away from each other makes it unusable and of little value.

After Gartner and the CDP Institute, the platform has received another award that places it among the world’s leading partners for Customer Data Platform projects. Quadrant Solutions highlighted the features of the platform that make it a true CDP: the creation of single customer views, profiling and immediate availability of information. In addition, having an engineered CDP – i.e., one that has been conceived and designed to work seamlessly with Marketing Automation tools – allows brands to immediately activate data for your multichannel campaigns or customised customer journeys.

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The hope of a breakthrough 2021.

We have already planned a lot of new things for the new year. We are learning that the world of digital marketing and customer engagement has changed and is constantly evolving. The platform is moving in precisely this direction, taking into account new variables that have emerged in the health emergency: new time management and new expectations on timing, a new way of using content, the strengthening of new purchasing and relationship channels, different needs and requirements. Contactlab renews its commitment to be at your side with a combination of technology and services that can make the difference for your business. Trust us, together we will face a great 2021. Contact us now.

 

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Do you want to see how your emails will be displayed just as you create them?

On desktop and mobile devices and for different mail and web clients?

In the next few days the latest web clients will be added to the long list of existing systems on which you have the possibility to preview in real time the email you are drawing. Exactly as your customers will see it!

You can do it directly in Send with a simple click, using the Instant Preview feature, without exiting the application to open and use an external tool. You can find the feature inside the wizard to create your delivery, accessible through a grey button.  

 

 

 

If the display doesn’t work correctly and there are changes to make, you can do them immediately in Send by requesting the generation of a new preview to check the result. The thumbnails of the email, open on different clients, are ready in a few seconds. You can also refine the request by filtering by client or by choosing a specific device or operating system in the drop-down menu.

By clicking on the desired thumbnail, the preview of the message is enlarged to its actual size. You can also get the horizontal view reproduced when the mobile device is rotated!

The new features introduced allow you to get previews for Outlook, Office 365, Gmail, AOL, Google Gapps and Comcast web clients on Edge, Firefox and Chrome.

And that’s not all: for the Outlook web client, the preview in Dark Mode has also been introduced, that is increasingly used by your customers.

If you still don’t use this feature, you can already try it directly in Send without requiring activation. In fact, every company has ten free previews available. Once they are sold out, you can decide whether to subscribe to the service and continue using it. For more information, contact your Contactlab representative or Customer Service.

 

 

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