215 billion emails are sent every day. It is still an effective and popular communication channel, despite what chatbot fans are saying. Email-marketing has it’s own tendencies, and the most notable of them is newsletter design. Check your newsletter look & feel.
2016 Trends that will survive in 2017
1. Responsive design
Mobiles won the web browsing war. According to the Litmus research, 55% of emails are opened on mobile devices. In 2017, the trend will continue, so it’s time to check your letters responsiveness. Follow the basic principles:
Universality. Develop an adaptive newsletter layout that will be correctly displayed on any devices.
Telephony. Harness the power of smartphones. Add a “Call” or “Call to order” CTA.
Different CTA for mobile and desktop
Usability. Make it bigger. Look at the example below. Users hardly can see the small titles in the top menu. Make the menu vertical and increase the font. Optimize all the elements to conveniently use them on small displays.
It’s critically important to test your markup for all the popular web and standalone email clients.
There’s few static content in interactive newsletters: foldable lists, moving elements, rotating images, etc. All of these allow you to turn the endless long-read emails into a compact layouts with simplified navigation.
There are tons of email clients: desktop applications (e.g. Microsoft Outlook, AOL, Thunderbird), web services (Gmail, Google Inbox, Outlook), mobile clients. Depending on technologies behind, your CSS animations will or won’t work among them. It’s necessary to provide the simplified versions of feature rich blocks and put them to media-queries.
In September 2016, Gmail finally announced the responsive design support. This is a huge step for the whole email clients industry. Moving to adaptive layouts is becoming more and more widespread.
Animated GIFs are another way to liven up newsletters. They have one important advantage — production simplicity. At the same time GIFs are perfectly able to demonstrate the product in action. That is why, despite the fact that CSS fans predicted the imminent death of GIF, it’s gonna live and prosper for a long time.
GIFs should be used carefully. They should not drag too much user attention as well as device performance. In this manual there are instructions for creating and optimizing animated GIFs for newsletters, and in this collection, you will find some really nice examples.
Another important detail — GIF loading errors (for example, due to a slow connection). If it happens, user will see only the first frame. Therefore, the starting frame should be as informative as possible. For the same reason you should not do too heavy or large GIFs.
Animated rasters are almost always a loss of quality. Vector SVG images help to avoid this. They scale without changes, save traffic and device resources.
5. Shop from Email
Email still remains as a main tool for retargeting. Shops do know which pair of shoes the user viewed in the catalogue, put it in a basket, but never purchased. Letters as a retargeting tool will continue to evolve, refusing the plain text messages in favor of fully interactive shop cards right in the letter.
7 Email Marketing Trends to Follow in 2017
The Guardian tells video is a future of content marketing. According to the Cisco forecasts, video will cover 69% of all Internet traffic in 2017. It will go beyond YouTube and will be actively used in email-marketing.
Companies that have already implemented videos to newsletters, mark their advantages:
- Clicks increase by 55%.
- Users spend viewing emails 44% more time than usual.
- 41% social sharing increase.
- Conversion grows up to 24%, ROI — up to 20%.
- The average checkout increased by 14%.
Nevertheless, video is still rarely embedded in letters. In most cases, it’s still gonna be just a YouTube link.
In fact, it’s not that difficult to embed a video into email. The majority of services like Mailchimp support link embedding. There is also an online editor Mailigen to work with video backgrounds.
2. Image Galleries
Images can be combined into a slider or gallery, instead of scattering all over the layout. The gallery approach saves space and makes it easier to concentrate the user’s attention.
3. The Hybrid Layout Mailings
Using the hybrid coding technology instead of relying on media queries, helps to create extremely adaptive layouts. The technology combines principles of static and fluid layouts, which allows properly adapt even for Microsoft Outlook.
4. Bright Color Schemes
General trends in web design will be reflected in newsletters as well. Duotone will fight full-colored images, and the overall newsletter design is going to be quite bright like in “Memphis” style.
Saturated colors help to structure the content better.
5. Typography and Navigation
Even beautifully decorated letters sometimes do not work as expected. The reason is content. It deserves the same attention as layout. And it’s all about the typography.
Include table of contents at the very top of voluminous letter. You can display it as a table with anchor links to individual elements. This will improve navigation and enable readers to explore exactly that content which is most interesting to them.
Text is the main newsletter tool. According to the research, 43% of users switch off the images in their email clients. To highlight the key messages, apply styles to text: colors, font style and size. Try to use widely spreaded native system fonts or at least Google Web Fonts.
How to make a plain-text dynamic? Use paddings. They make text easier to read, so users read these newsletters more carefully which is confirmed with psychology studies.
6. Social Networks Integration
Social links are vitally important for the newsletters. Currently the live social feeds integration trend is growing.
Litmus research proved that Twitter integration increases involvement. Users are eager to tweet with special hashtags to make their posts appear in brand’s newsletter.
7. Built-in Mini Games
Newsletters are becoming more and more similar to Web. All the web technologies, we are used to gradually migrate into the letters.
We already noticed that newsletters became quite interactive: surveys, trade cards, simple animated elements. In a short time we should expect even more daring experiments with user engagement. For example, point-and-click mechanics mini games.
Why email is not going to die in 2017
Email is not going to disappear. Possibly ever. Until the robots kill us all.
— Paul Buchheit, creator of Gmail, co-founder of FriendFeed, infrastructure engineer at Facebook
The death of email-marketing was predicted many times: by SMS, social networks, and even collaborative apps. However, marketers continue to use newsletters. Experts give three explanations for this:
Email is the channel of communication, where the content can be adapted to each recipient individually.
Mailing lists are one of the most affordable marketing tools. ROI can be as high as 4300%.
Mailing Efficiency is easy to measure, and the letters can be optimized and improved with every campaign.
Wisely use these design trends in your content strategy and remember that design is only the 50% of success.