Email Design 101

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HTML email design basics, avoiding spam filters, and measuring success, and good email design examples.

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Email Design 101

  1. 1. Email Marketing 101 How Not To Screw Up & Get Blacklisted Like An Evil Spamming Scumbag Thursday, January 21, 2010
  2. 2. Who is this guy? • Ben Chestnut • Co-founded The Rocket Science Group in 2000 • Built MailChimp in 2001 • Currently 40k users, +65k managed lists, +75M subscribers Thursday, January 21, 2010
  3. 3. What We’ll Discuss: • Design obstacles, workarounds • Measuring good design • Good email examples Thursday, January 21, 2010
  4. 4. Anti-Virus Software Thursday, January 21, 2010
  5. 5. Anti-Virus Software • No JavaScript • No ActiveX • No Flash • No embedded movies • No sound files • Nothing fancy-schmancy. Sorry. Thursday, January 21, 2010
  6. 6. Email Readers Thursday, January 21, 2010
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  13. 13. Webmail Services • Strip your <BODY>, so no bg images. Use embedded tables instead. • Strip your <HEAD>, so no CSS, no JavaScript, etc. • Strip your CSS, so you’ve gotta INLINE it. • Because all that would interfere with their web app interface. Thursday, January 21, 2010
  14. 14. Desktop Clients • Upgrades every year that break stuff • Outlook 2007 using Word, not IE • Old installations and patches • Legacy code (from the .RTF days) • User-specific settings Thursday, January 21, 2010
  15. 15. Preview Panes Thursday, January 21, 2010
  16. 16. Thursday, January 21, 2010
  17. 17. Outlook2003 - Horiz. Thursday, January 21, 2010
  18. 18. Outlook2003 - Vertical Thursday, January 21, 2010
  19. 19. Thunderbird - Horizontal Thursday, January 21, 2010
  20. 20. Yahoo Mail - Horizontal Thursday, January 21, 2010
  21. 21. Windows Live Hotmail - Vertical Thursday, January 21, 2010
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  24. 24. Email Reader Tips • Design like it’s 1999 • Simple tables, no CSS-Positioning • Inline CSS only • Fail gracefully • Design for tiny preview panes Thursday, January 21, 2010
  25. 25. Image Blocking Thursday, January 21, 2010
  26. 26. Thursday, January 21, 2010
  27. 27. Why? Porn Spam. • Kids open email inbox, see nasty stuff. • Parents complain. • So images are now blocked by default. Thursday, January 21, 2010
  28. 28. Design Implications? Thursday, January 21, 2010
  29. 29. Design Implications • All your pretty pictures are OFF by default. • Assume recipients are too lazy to turn them ON • ALT-text can be your friend (sometimes) • However, if you get on their trusted- senders list, they’re ON by default. Thursday, January 21, 2010
  30. 30. Thursday, January 21, 2010
  31. 31. Trusted Sender Thursday, January 21, 2010
  32. 32. What’s this about? Thursday, January 21, 2010
  33. 33. “Good thing I clicked.” Thursday, January 21, 2010
  34. 34. Thursday, January 21, 2010
  35. 35. Spam Filters Thursday, January 21, 2010
  36. 36. The Trick: 1. Open up your junk folder. 2. Look at what spammers do. 3. Don’t do what they do. Thursday, January 21, 2010
  37. 37. Don’t do this: • YELL IN ALL CAPS! WOW! • Use excessive exclamation points!!!!! • get cr3at1v3 with sp3ll1ng v14gra • send image-only emails to trick filters Thursday, January 21, 2010
  38. 38. Spam Assassin Criteria Spammy Criteria Score Attempts to disguise the word 'viagra' 2.8 Two or more drugs crammed together into one word 0.5 Subject is all capitals 0.76 Subject line starts with Buy or Buying 0.5 HTML font size is huge 1.76 HTML has a low ratio of text to image area 1.73 Frontpage used to create the message 0.5 Money back guarantee 2.05 HTML has "tbody" tag 1.01 Stay below 3. Thursday, January 21, 2010
  39. 39. Server Filters • IronPort/Senderbase: data from 25% of world’s Internet traffic • All over globe, and they talk to each other • Cloudmark, Barracuda, Postini • High-level filtering: reputation, suspicious activity, fingerprinting Thursday, January 21, 2010
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  42. 42. Spam Complaints • If 0.1% complain, you’re blocked. • You need to know when you’re reported, and clean your list • Get on feedback loops (FBLs) • Prevent FBL complaints... Thursday, January 21, 2010
  43. 43. Thursday, January 21, 2010
  44. 44. Permission reminder Thursday, January 21, 2010
  45. 45. Tips • Avoid too many • Make sure to include a spammy, “sales-y” words permission reminder in (FREE!!! NOW!!!!) email footer • Design for “image: FAIL” • Avoid sending to old lists (no more than 6 • Don’t get lazy with your months old). Try segmenting on “actives” design work • Only send permission- based marketing, to avoid FBL complaints Thursday, January 21, 2010
  46. 46. Measuring Good Design • Open Rate • Click Rate • ROI (ka-chings) Thursday, January 21, 2010
  47. 47. Open Rates Thursday, January 21, 2010
  48. 48. Tracking Opens • Transparent .GIF in • If they click, that’s an bottom of email open. • Each download is an • Take open rates with a “open” grain of salt. • Image-blockers mess up open rates • Open rates typically only tracked with HTML emails, not plain text Thursday, January 21, 2010
  49. 49. Thursday, January 21, 2010
  50. 50. mailchimp.com/charts Thursday, January 21, 2010
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  53. 53. Click Rates Thursday, January 21, 2010
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  55. 55. 85 people clicked the event banner! Thursday, January 21, 2010
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  58. 58. Email ROI Thursday, January 21, 2010
  59. 59. Conversion Tracking • Google Analytics, Omniture, WebTrends • Append URLs with special tags, which pass data to the analytics package • Setup conversion goals in Analytics package Thursday, January 21, 2010
  60. 60. Thursday, January 21, 2010
  61. 61. What’s your email campaign’s ROI? Thursday, January 21, 2010
  62. 62. Anatomy of a good email design Thursday, January 21, 2010
  63. 63. • Background table Thursday, January 21, 2010
  64. 64. • Background table • Campaign-Archive Thursday, January 21, 2010
  65. 65. • Background table • Campaign-Archive • Logo slot Thursday, January 21, 2010
  66. 66. • Background table • Campaign-Archive • Logo slot • Content block Thursday, January 21, 2010
  67. 67. • Background table • Campaign-Archive • Logo slot • Content block Thursday, January 21, 2010
  68. 68. • Background table • Campaign-Archive • Logo slot • Content block • Footer Thursday, January 21, 2010
  69. 69. • Background table • Campaign-Archive • Logo slot • Content block • Footer Thursday, January 21, 2010
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  83. 83. mailchimp.com/resources mailchimp.com/charts mailchimp.com/blog Thursday, January 21, 2010

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