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We all know that capitalizing on the upcoming holiday rush in the inbox is vital for any business that’s serious about its online operations. However, finding the time to enact a sound strategy and following through with these plans isn’t always the easiest thing to pull off. With this in mind, here’s a few quick tips and tricks that are sure to both save you time and help boost conversions as you navigate your way through the impending holiday shopping season.

Build (and Stick to) a Calendar

To start off the discussion, Practical Ecommerce’s Carolyn Nye points out that a detailed calendar is the best way to get off on the right foot and cut down on wasted time with your email marketing operations. Generally, you’ll want to have a plan that covers a month or two in advance to avoid any unexpected hiccups or delays.

So what should a strong content calendar cover? Nye points to these four details as vital inclusions:

  • Email theme and description
  • Promotion or offer, and expiration
  • Audience
  • Deployment size

Adding in any relevant information on segmentation and campaign specifics should help you extract the maximum amount of value from this calendar and ensure that you’re never bogged down by questions or concerns once emails start heading out to the inboxes of your target audience.

Don’t Be Afraid of Brevity

As you start crafting your inbox content, it’s also important to understand that brevity is one of your closest email marketing allies. Yes, it might seem like getting straight to the point can make a message feel hollow or basic. However, the truth of the matter is that customers love a brand that doesn’t beat around the bush.

By skipping the fluff and keeping your calls-to-action (CTAs) front and center, you not only reduce the amount of time you spend creating content, you also give your viewers more of what they want. It’s hard not to call this scenario a “win-win” for everyone involved.

Focus on Reusable Templates

Nye goes on to point out that drawing on any reusable templates you have in your store of email marketing assets can likewise help trim down your time expenditure this holiday marketing season. Even if you have to make a few minor alterations here and there, you’ll still come out ahead when compared to starting from scratch.

If you don’t have any templates designed with this process in mind, then it’s time to start thinking ahead for next season. Building these tools with the goal to reuse them down the road ensures that each holiday rush that follows this year’s events will be more manageable in terms of your time spent prepping and creating inbox offerings.

Give Your List a Cleaning

During the lead up to the big holiday push, John W. Hayes of Business 2 Community notes that one of the biggest hindrances to an efficient and effective email campaign comes in the form of a bloated or dated contact list. Avoiding the pitfalls of bounced messages and wasted potential starts with getting this asset in order.

Instead of simply assuming that your list is updated and current, spend some time going through these entries and segmenting members based on activity, responsiveness, and any relevant prior sales data or information. This way, you can burn less time tweaking your content based on faulty or inaccurate information, as well as miss out on dealing with unnecessary spam complaints and other issues that arise from the dregs of your contact list.

Salvage Old Content

Finally, it’s important that you realize that there is nothing wrong with salvaging old content. For many brands, going down this path can cut down on the holiday campaign workload significantly and free up time to handle other pressing matters.

Original and unique content definitely holds a lot of appeal – there’s no denying this fact. However, if you’re crunched for time, rewording an old message or simply updating an offer and expiration dates on similar deals or promotions is good enough. As long as you’re maintaining the key ideals of email marketing – to impart value and engage your audience – then chances are you’ll still do fine when it comes time to move these audience members to your virtual checkout.

At the end of the day, there’s no two ways around the fact that getting the most out of your marketing messages during the holiday season requires a significant amount of work on your end. Thankfully, with these tips and tricks in hand, you should be able to reduce this burden a bit, all while ensuring that your audience remains happy and engaged during this festive time of the year.



On Sept. 23rd, the team behind Gmail dropped yet another bomb in the world of email marketing with the release of its new “block” button. As the staff from Firstpost explains in their look at this development, this new addition gives even more control to consumers in the inbox by allowing them one-click access to a block feature that can completely shut down your targeted email operations. Before this tool went live, users would have to mark unwanted messages numerous times with a spam report to block an IP or “From” address.

Naturally, this change is a good defense for consumers against actual spammers, but it also presents a few problems for legitimate brands like your own. With this in mind, here’s five quick tips to ensure that you steer clear of unnecessary blocks from Gmail’s new button moving forward.

Start off with Relevant Content

The best place to start, according to Target Marketing magazine’s Heather Fletcher, is with top tier content. While it might not be the tip you were expecting, emphasizing quality and value makes a lot sense in the face of this new block button. Users who aren’t interested in reading over poorly composed or unexciting offerings are more likely to just outright block your brand instead of taking the time to unsubscribe from your list – something that can definitely be damaging to your reputation with Google.

By reinvigorating the message and delivery of your content with strong supporting visuals and fun, engaging content, you can circumvent this unwanted outcome entirely. Simply put, don’t let substandard content bet the reason why you miss out on this golden opportunity to connect with your Gmail following.

Make Unsubscribing a Breeze

Fletcher goes on to note that if these viewers still want to leave your list, even with great content sitting in their inbox, then don’t make this process difficult or confusing; it’s better to just let these readers go on their way. Not only will failing to have an unsubscribe button front and center in your marketing messages earn your brand a quick block button response, it could also put you in some hot water with the enforcers of Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL.)

Only Reach out to Members of Your Contact List

Another way to avoid unnecessary blocks via Gmail’s new feature is by only reaching out to the people that actually requested your content in the first place. In her look at this tip, Jess Nelson of Media Post’s Email Marketing Daily blog explains that cold emails or any other unprovoked outreach is a big no-no not only with current anti-spam regulations, but also in terms of racking up spam reports and blocks from consumers.

Too many of these responses invariably reduces your sender reputation score with Google, thereby causing your content to end up in the email marketing abyss that is the Gmail spam folder. Once you’ve hit this point, it’s a daunting task to climb back into the primary folder and redeem your reputation with Google and viewers alike.

Learn from Your Audience

If you do notice an uptick in your blocks as this tool’s usage becomes more widespread, there’s no reason to freak out right away. Nelson goes on to point out that this negative reaction isn’t a death sentence for your email operations, but rather should be viewed as a learning experience for your brand.

By taking note of the type of content sent, as well as the message frequency and sending times, you can optimize and adjust the variables of your campaign to improve your performance in the inbox. It might take a little bit of testing and a healthy dose of patience, but if you listen close enough via these practices and other feedback from your audience, your viewership will have no problem telling you exactly what they want in an email and when they want it to show up in their inbox.

Manage Your Reputation Outside of the Inbox

Finally, you’ll also want to manage your reputation outside of the inbox appropriately. Otherwise, don’t be surprised when inquisitive new email viewers come away with no desire to continue interacting with your brand after checking out your site content, social profiles, and other digital presence.

By staying active and offering value on these fronts, as well as via your email marketing campaigns, you can ensure that your inbox audience doesn’t get the wrong impression and head straight for the block button as they research your brand’s operations online. When paired up with the rest of what you’ve learned here, you should have all the tools and tactics you need to avoid any unnecessary backlash via Google’s latest upgrade to the Gmail user experience.



With the emphasis on securing mobile viewership always on the rise, it’s no surprise that every little change within the latest generation of smartphones sends ripples through the email marketing world. The current fervor surrounding the new “3D Touch” feature found on the iPhone 6s is no exception to this rule. To ensure that you don’t miss out on vital opportunities to interact with your audience members who can’t put their iPhones down, let’s take some to time talk about what this new feature entails and how your brand can make the most out of this development.

Breaking down the Particulars of Apple’s “3D Touch”

For those readers who didn’t rush out and grab the latest edition of the iPhone when it launched on Sept. 25th, chances are that you’re sitting on the other side of this screen and wondering just what the heck all the commotion is about. As Dom Esposito of 9 to 5 Mac explains, the uproar is all thanks to the new 3D Touch functionality found on this mobile device.

Essentially, Esposito notes that the 3D Touch variations of the iPhone enhance the touch screen capabilities of these devices and introduce a few new tactile control options to users. By sensing the amount of pressure placed upon the screen by users, this new feature offers up “layers” of response options that provide haptic feedback to let you know that you initiated an action.

In terms of your mobile email opens and views, the big navigational changes with the 3D Touch display can be distilled down to the “peek” and “pop” options. As the name implies, the peek touch command lets users take a look at an email without opening it, all while blurring out the rest of the screen and zooming in on the interior contents of the offering. Basically, this response keeps viewers out of the actual message while still allowing them to decide whether or not to trash this new transmission.

The pop option requires a heavier press and transfers the user into your marketed message from their app of choice once they have given your content a quick preview. While not as impactful initially as its peek counterpart, it is still important to understand the functionality of this navigational input as you learn more about the particulars of 3D Touch capable iPhone models.

Why This Change Matters to the World of Email Marketing

“Put simply, the iPhone 6s 3D Touch feature will force email marketers and brands to raise their game. The margin of error for marketers is now much smaller.” – Simon Farthing, Head of Consultancy at Profusion.

This quote, via a piece from Ben Frederick of Media Post’s Email Marketing Daily blog, does a great job of highlighting the impact this change in functionality could have for iPhone-based email marketing audiences moving forward. Peek previews won’t count toward open numbers because the email isn’t viewed in a traditional sense, yet it still can lead to a dismissal from your viewer if they don’t engage with your content.

The long and short of this development is that raising – or even simply maintaining – open rates just got a lot harder when it comes to the iPhone segment of your target audience.

Perhaps even more concerning is the fact that this could be just the first in a long line of phone manufacturers that travel down this path. If Samsung, LG, and other major brands also continue to enhance and incorporate preview functionality that diminishes open rates, all while mobile usage continues to skyrocket, the future for email marketing could look a lot different than the landscape that we know today.

Ensuring You Don’t Lose out on Opens with This New Feature

Fortunately, the iPhone 3D Touch system isn’t a death sentence for your inbox initiatives. In fact, with the proper response, there’s no real reason why the impact of your email marketing operations has to diminish at all. As Frederick goes on to note, it’s all about renewing your emphasis on captivating and vibrant images and copy within your preview panes.

Just like on a desktop browser, everything “above the fold” is more important than ever before. Thankfully, if your subject lines, visual content, and opening few sentences of actual body copy are refined and optimized for the person on the other side of the screen, then this latest upgrade to the iPhone line of products shouldn’t stand as a bump in the road for your brand.



No matter what brand your industry calls home or how well you know your audience, there’s most likely been a time in the past when you would have given anything to turn back the clock and yell, “Stop!” as you did something that your organization undoubtedly came to regret. Unfortunately for you and the rest of the email marketing community, there is no rewind button in the inbox.

However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from these lessons and move forward with a game plan that not only minimizes these regretful moments, but helps boost productivity and reach within your contact list at the same time. To help you along this path, let’s talk about some of the best ways to keep your future email marketing decisions on the right side of the regret paradigm.

Understand What Causes Regret

The first place to start reducing the amount of regret you face during your time in the inbox, according to David Baker of Media Post’s Email Insider blog, is by building a healthy understanding of what actually causes regret. While most talking heads in the industry would claim that there is no singular answer to this seemingly nebulous question, Baker suggests that virtually all regrettable email marketing actions come down to one common attribute – wasted marketing spend.

Whether you failed to tailor content to specific segments of your audience, or selected a sub-par email platform to serve as the basis of your operations, all of these decisions factor into money that was improperly allocated as part of your marketing budget. Thankfully, by understanding that the fundamental reason for regret comes from this source, you can ensure that history isn’t bound to repeat itself.

Learn to Automate Properly

So now that we know that almost all regretful outcomes originate from decisions that didn’t maximize your marketing budget, we can start to hone in on ways to optimize your marketing spend and guarantee that you always make your presence felt with customers on the other side of the screen.

One of the best ways to go about this process is by learning to automate the portions of your content strategy that truly benefit from this approach. As the HubSpot Blog’s Erik Devaney explains, there’s nothing wrong with starting off small. Automating the segmenting of your audience via surveys and feedback forms that funnel into your overall contact list is a good place to start, as is the refining of “triggered” content that occurs when individuals make a purchase or join your mailing list.

The best part about scaling up your automated efforts over time is that as you become more and more comfortable with the role of this approach in your standard email marketing operations, you can afford to turn more of your attention toward other practices and strategies that don’t necessarily lend themselves toward automation.

Build a Better Connection Between Your Emails and Your Site

Devaney goes on to point out that supporting your email content with a strong website experience can help limit the amount of wasted potential within your email marketing campaigns. Essentially, having a poor showing on your branded page stands as an indirect cause for marketing spend that doesn’t generate a strong return on your investment.

Think of it this way: You come close to converting a reader into a customer, but end up missing out on this sale because your site isn’t functional or user-friendly. This mishap isn’t directly tethered to the budget you allocate toward email marketing, but it definitely diminishes the positive effects of your spending.

Ensuring that your site is responsive to mobile platforms, resistant to bugs and technical errors, and also offers up vital information for those who make their way from the inbox to this point of the sales process can help minimize the potential for regret and provide you with a steady stream of conversions that would have otherwise fallen through the cracks. This approach can also do wonders for your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings, thereby bolstering another portion of your multi-faceted digital presence that contributes to sales and site traffic.

As you can see, minimizing regret requires a keen eye for details and a willingness to start from the ground up in terms of refining your email marketing operations. However, with these tips in hand, as well as a better understanding of the root causes of this kind of regret, there’s no reason why your brand can’t leave these worries in the rearview mirror as it cruises toward a happier – and more profitable – future in the inbox.



Mistakes are a part of life. From rushing into a purchase that probably wasn’t within your budget, to simply making the wrong choice when it comes to what to have for lunch, these occurrences are both numerous and often not that big of a problem in the grand scheme of things.

However, the one place where you can’t afford to let these mistakes pile up is in the inbox. With this in mind, here’s a list of the five mistakes you probably don’t even realize you’re making right now with your branded newsletter, as well as what you need to do to ensure that these issues don’t have a spot in any of your future offerings.

Having Your Readers Jump Through Hoops to Convert

Making it hard for the readers of your newsletter to convert is seemingly one of the most obvious mistakes to avoid as you develop these messages. Yet Kivi Leroux Miller of the Nonprofit Marketing Guide blog points out that plenty of newsletters simply don’t make it as easy as possible for readers to take the next step after reading over the content in question.

Instead of just telling your readers to visit your site, be sure to incorporate a highly visible link or button that stands out from the rest of your text. Putting this vital inclusion at the top of your newsletter, as well as at crucial points within the content, guarantees that you don’t leave interested viewers stranded as they try to figure out what to do next.

Forgetting to Brand Your Content

Coming off as “salesy” or overly promotional definitely isn’t a good idea, but neither is failing to build a branded presence in your newsletter. People want to know who is reaching out to them, so forgetting to incorporate logos, visuals, a clear “From” address, and other indicators of identification is a quick way to turn off your audience.

To avert this mistake, embody the notion of consistency in your content. Recurring logos, body text language, and even design schemes ensures that the person on the other side of the screen knows that this newsletter is from your organization and not just some anonymous sender who happened to come across his or her email address.

Failing to Optimize the Preview Pane

Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, and virtually all of the other major email services incorporate a preview pane, so you need to be ready to optimize this window into your content. Otherwise, don’t be surprised when viewers look the other way when your newsletter shows up in the inbox.

ClickZ’s Jeanne Jennings notes that the preview pane should entice the reader to give your content a click via a catchy snippet or quote. Stunning facts, examples of social proof, and even insight from a thought leader all fit this mold perfectly. Think of this portion of your content strategy as a second subject line; it needs to be exciting and espouse the value held within your newsletter.

Lacking Access to Social Share Buttons

Another easily overlooked mistake that can derail the effectiveness of your content is a lack of social share buttons. People love to tell others about something engaging, entertaining, and informative on these networks, so it’s imperative that you give these contact list members the chance to do so with your newsletter.

One important thing to note is that even these buttons can be optimized based on your audience. It’s not always a good idea to add functionality for every network out there, so spend some time testing different selections – and using your consumer data – to see which channels are most likely to work with each audience segment.

Getting the Educational to Promotional Ratio Wrong

Finally, Ginny Soskey of The HubSpot Blog explains that plenty of brands ruin a perfectly good newsletter opportunity by getting the “educational to promotional” ratio of content wrong. Specifically, you’ll want about 90 percent of your content to be informative and objective, with the other 10 percent going into the sales and promotional side of things. Skipping over this suggestion and cramming a newsletter full of thinly-veiled product or service pitches can quickly disenfranchise a significant portion of your following.

By bringing these five inadvertent or unintentional faux pas to light, there’s no denying that you have a better understanding of what makes a newsletter truly effective. The only thing left to do now is put this newfound knowledge to good use with the next edition of this highly valuable and engaging piece of branded content.



Telling your email audience about how great your product can be is nice, but plenty of customers can’t help but receive this self-endorsement with a healthy dose of skepticism. Fortunately, there’s no rule in the world of email marketing that says the only voice allowed in your inbox content is your own. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the role social proof can play in your content creation, as well as how best to leverage the power held within this exceptional tool.

What Counts as Social Proof?

Before digging into the particulars of how to incorporate social proof into your next piece of winning email content, it’s a good idea to ensure that we’re all on the same page when it comes to what exactly constitutes this practice. To help out on this front, TechCrunch’s Aileen Lee offers up a comprehensive look at the evolution of social proof in the modern digital marketplace.

From a big picture perspective, Lee explains that social proof is the psychological tendency of consumers to view the actions and decisions of others as the appropriate response to a given situation or choice. For instance, if a consumer sees that a friend or family member has purchased an item and posted about this acquisition on Facebook, he or she is more likely to consider that product worthy of consideration later on down the road.

As far as the inbox goes, social proof can come in many forms. Testimonials, embedded tweets, and even excerpts or interviews from social events and gatherings all fit this billing. The main point is that whatever kind of social proof ends up in front of your email contact list members, it has to offer up meaningful insight and avoid the pitfalls of coming off as too “salesy.”

Why This Inclusion Makes Such a Big Difference

Of course, if you’re already running a successful email marketing campaign, chances are that switching things up and adding social proof to your repertoire of outreach tactics seems like a risk that’s not exactly worth taking. However, as Sasha Seddon of Business 2 Community points out, there’s plenty of reasons why social proof deserves a spot in your next marketed message.

To start, the notion of social proof is so much more than a simple marketing buzzword. Although humanity has made great evolutionary strides, Seddon notes that the continued existence of mirror neurons in our basic neurological anatomy ensures that the desire to follow along with others as part of a “monkey see, monkey do” tendency is alive and well in modern society.

Aside from deep-seated psychological implications, there’s also the reality that properly implemented social proof flat out boosts the return on your investment (ROI) when it comes to email marketing. In fact, The Wall Street Journal’s Stephanie Simon reports that this tactic has shown to be considerably more effective than financial incentive and other sales tactics when it comes to nudging buyers in the right direction.

Making the Most of the Potential Found Within Social Proof

So now that we’ve established the need for social proof in your inbox content, it’s time to talk about the best ways to gather and share this valuable content. To kick off this part of the discussion, it’s important that you receive permission to use the words of these satisfied customers before you go any farther. The last thing you want to have to do is send out a retraction or apology when word starts making the rounds on social media that your brand incorporates customer reviews and recommendations into emails without asking for permission first.

Once you’ve gotten the all clear to start processing this content, take a moment consider the best conduit for spreading your message. Does your audience respond best to Twitter, Facebook, or other social posts? What about more formal testimonials and reviews? Leaning on the insight held within your consumer data can help you make the right choice when it comes to the type of social proof to include in your inbox content.

In terms of the actual message of this social proof, it’s best to let these satisfied customers speak in their own words. By avoiding the desire to “coach up” respondents, you can generate an accurate and honest reflection of your services; something that potential customers simply adore. If you can take this tactic and combine it with the rest of what you’ve learned here, then there’s no reason why your next run of email content can’t get a massive boost in reach and visibility thanks to the power held within social proof.



Great email subject lines share a lot of traits; being short, to the point, and having an engaging hook all fit into the standard definition of winning offerings on this front. However, there’s a growing notion in the email marketing community that another attribute – the concept of giving your readers a “choice” in the subject line – also deserves to have a spot in this conversation. To see if there’s any merit to this rising claim, let’s break down the choice approach from a variety of angles and find out once and for all if it really is time to put this decision into the hands of your inbox audience.

The Basics of This Subject Line Theory

According to Laurie Sullivan of Media Post’s Email Marketing Daily blog, giving your audience a choice in the subject line is all about making these individuals feel empowered or in control. Instead of speaking at these readers, your brand transitions into a passive role and places the ability or need to act onto the shoulders of the person on the other side of the screen.

Specifically, utilizing the words “choose” and “choice” in your subject lines kicks this method into high gear when you sit down and develop your inbox content strategy. The big key here is that you leave the subject line open-ended enough for your audience to understand that their actions in response to this outreach truly can affect the outcome of whatever sale, event, or promotion serves as the backdrop for these emails.

The approach of books found within the “choose your own adventure” genre stand out as a great parallel to this subject line method. For every action enacted by the reader – from simply clicking through your call-to-action (CTA) button and ending up on a landing page to choosing between multiple products – a meaningful response from your brand awaits.

Does It Really Work?

On paper, this tactic sounds novel and engaging; but does it really have any tangible benefits over traditional subject line writing practices? As Experian’s Shelley Kessler explains via research conducted by this organization, the answer is an emphatic, “Yes!”

By giving customers a choice in the subject line, your email marketing campaigns can experience a healthy boost in a variety of different areas. At the top of the list is a whopping 117 percent jump in the transaction to click rate when compared to email marketing benchmarks. Your standard transaction rate can also rise by as much as 42 percent via this method. Finally, participants in this research project noted a surge in revenue by email that topped out at 22 percent.

By this point, it’s safe to say that the facts support incorporating a choice in your future subject lines by at least some degree or measure. Otherwise, you could miss out on the rewards that come with adopting this intriguing trend.

Understanding the Best Ways to Put the Choice in Consumer Hands

Now that you’re on board with give your audience a choice, it’s time to talk about a few quick and simple ways to go about this process. For starters, don’t be afraid to lay out your position in a clear – and potentially even blunt – manner. “Choose Your Next Car Today,” “You Have More Choices This Holiday Season than Ever Before,” and virtually any other way to put the ball in their court when it comes to making a decision works exceedingly well.

Once you’ve honed in on subject line that gets to this point in a hurry, it’s also a good idea to keep the theme of consumer choices and decisions flowing within your actual message content. Laying out options, explaining the pros and cons of each selection, and even recapping the actions of others via testimonials or social proof all fit this expanded approach. Essentially, if you’re able inform and educate your audience as they start to settle in on a decision, then you have more than likely just hit a home run in the inbox.

At the end of the day, building a “choice-laden” email marketing campaign does require an intimate knowledge of what turns your audience on and how best to frame these decisions in a way that boosts your brand’s conversion potential. However, with the research and tactics held within this post guiding the way, there’s no reason why your next email offering can’t give your readers all the tools they need to make a choice that leads to a long and healthy relationship with your organization.



In many ways, email marketing is one of the grizzled, veteran members of the digital marketing landscape – and thus home to plenty of dated practices. Yes, the potential for inbox interaction with customers is bigger than it has ever been before, but that doesn’t stop many brands from clinging to these ancient tactics that should have gone the way of the dinosaurs a long time ago. With this in mind, let’s talk about how to say goodbye to these archaic methods and replace them with alternatives that can help bring your email campaign out of the Jurassic Period and into the modern world.

Go Mobile with Your Templates

To kick off the discussion of joining the modern era of email marketing, Mashable’s Eric Krattenstein points out there’s no better place to start this process than by going mobile with your marketed messages and email templates. Yes, desktop content still needs to play an important role in your campaigns, but the reality of the situation is that 65 percent of all emails are opened on mobile devices – and this trend is only going to continue heading north.

Optimized mobile templates are responsive to varying screen sizes and device parameters, thereby ensuring that the person on the other side of the screen doesn’t simply trash a distorted or hard to understand message. Going a step farther, it’s also a good idea to take the same approach with your landing pages and site content. This way, when users seek out more information after clicking on your calls-to-action (CTAs), you can keep the mobile-friendly vibes rolling all the way to the virtual shopping cart.

Give Your Data a Facelift

One of the most stunning stats that detail the extent of the aging email marketing world is the fact that, according to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), 32 percent of all businesses willingly work with outdated or inaccurate audience data. Considering how important this information is to learning about when and what kind of content to send to your readers, the fact that so many brands don’t give this vital asset its due is beyond disconcerting.

To ensure you don’t leave anything on the table thanks to ancient audience data, make it a priority to constantly update and “prune” your contact information. Trimming consumers that have opted out, adding in new members to the list, and constantly polling these viewers via surveys and feedback requests is the best way to maximize the value found within this portion of your email marketing campaign.

Be a Social Butterfly

While it should go without saying that email marketing and social media are a match made in Heaven, there’s still far too many organizations that fail to capture the potential of this platform as a supporting member of your inbox operations. The truth of the matter is that failing to have a stable of social profiles can come off as creepy.

Think of it this way: If you’re looking to learn a little more about a brand or company before making a purchase and this organization doesn’t have a maintained Twitter, Facebook, other relevant profile, doesn’t it at least cause you a little pause before hitting that payment confirmation button?

You don’t have to have the biggest following ever, just try to be active and inviting when it comes to consumer feedback. A quick trick to get the ball rolling on this front is to incorporate share buttons on your email messages and also to post this inbox content regularly for your social audience that isn’t already signed up for your regular email offerings.

Learn to Change with the Times

The last suggestion for bringing your email marketing campaign from out of the time of the dinosaurs and into the modern era covers a shift in your mindset. Essentially, it’s imperative that you learn to embrace change and become an early adopter at times. Otherwise, don’t be surprised when your brand is constantly playing catch-up with those members of your industry who aren’t afraid to take the initiative in the inbox.

Just because a practice or tactic was successful at one point in time, that doesn’t mean that it can always be a “go-to” asset in your campaign planning process. Times – and audiences – change in the blink of an eye, so being flexible is one of your best assets for dealing with this realization. If you can embody this mentality, and put to good use the rest of what you’ve learned here, then there’s no reason why your brand has to be stuck in the Jurassic Period of email marketing’s evolutionary history.



On the surface, the Events for Gmail feature found within the shared space of Gmail and Google Calendar doesn’t seem like it has much influence on how brands and marketers operate within the inbox. Up until a few days ago, the sentiment behind this statement was right on the money. However, Google has a funny way of turning the digital world on its head from time to time.

By altering how Events for Gmail interacts with incoming messages, this tech giant might have drastically shifted your approach or strategy when it comes to connecting with customers via this platform. With this in mind, let’s dig into the myriad implications of the Events for Gmail update.

Breaking down the Events for Gmail Changes

As the team behind Gmail explains in the official blog post covering this update, this change allows email content to directly add information and reminders to a person’s Google Calendar account. Specifically, this leading force in the world of email has pinpointed messages that contain restaurant reservations, hotel bookings, flight details, and even event tickets as the primary targets for this newly integrated service.

Provided that the user in question keeps this now default setting active, each entry will cover not just date and time reminders, but also flight numbers, check-in requirements, and any other pertinent information. Events for Gmail’s new look approach can even adjust this information as needed should a delay, rescheduling, or some other such unforeseen circumstance occur.

It is important to note that Google Apps for Government domains aren’t currently supported as part of this update, although the reason for this absence isn’t available as of yet.

Understanding Google’s Thought Process

So why exactly would Google go through the trouble of creating this new feature? In his look at this news, Venture Beat’s Emil Protalinski points out that the founders of the Gmail empire are all about making life a little easier and more convenient for its valued base of users. With each “creature comfort” feature Google adds to its email platform, this organization ensures that it both maintains and grows its impressive 16 percent share of the email client marketplace.

Why This Matters for the World of Email Marketing

In terms of email marketing implications for brands like your own, April Mullen of Media Post’s Email Insider blog notes that there’s plenty to be excited about – especially if you currently operate within the hospitality, travel, or entertainment industries. By tapping into the scheduling functionality of Events for Gmail, your brand can frontload messages with more crucial purchase or event information, thereby building a deeper and more meaningful connection with its audience via enhanced customer service. It also doesn’t hurt to have your brand name and upcoming happenings stay in the limelight even after readers close your email communications.

Mullen goes on to explain that this update to Events for Google is also the perfect opportunity for brands that might not currently offer up this information via the email channel to jump into this portion of the digital world. SMS or standard phone calls are fine for confirmations, but having the Gmail app automatically remind your target audience about upcoming events and interactions via their mobile devices is an exceedingly powerful asset to have on your side for essentially no additional cost.

Making the Most of This Update

If your brand stands in one of the industries that can make the most out of this update, Mullen offers up one final piece of advice – spend some time working out a few quality assurance measures. Even if you’re a seasoned veteran that stands tall within the email marketing ranks, assuming that your content will port over to the Events for Google/Google Calendar shared interface without any tinkering or tweaking is a dangerous way to approach this opportunity.

A quick look over how this information translates to the calendar, as well as how each entry adjusts and changes in response to an updated email, can ensure that you always have a smooth and pleasant interaction with the customers who rely upon these reminders to stay on schedule. Considering how important this bond is to future sales and interactions for your organization, it’s well worth the time and effort that go into this testing process.

From this point, you should be ready to take your audience by storm with a sleek new take on Google’s latest update. The only thing that’s left to do now is to wait for the next big email marketing opportunity that comes from whatever upcoming changes Google has in store.



As a nonprofit, making the most of your time in the inbox isn’t just a good idea, it’s vital to keeping the fight for your cause moving forward. However, raising funds via email marketing isn’t always the equivalent of a digital slam dunk. To really win over your audience, you’ll need a measured and powerful approach. With this in mind, let’s take a look at six simple tips that are sure to supercharge your next fundraising message.

Keep the Theme Going on Your Donor Page

The first tip on the list, as explained by Caron Beesley, is all about keeping things consistent between your donor page and the particulars of your fundraising emails. Essentially, you’ll want to match the design, layout, and even message blurbs or quotes from one platform to the other. You’ll score bonus points if you include donation request amounts and event recaps in this mirrored content approach. Viewers love a consistent and streamlined approach, so keep this in mind as you build a cohesive user experience that links the inbox to your website.

Appeal to the Heart of Your Audience with Images

Beesley also notes that aiming for evocative imagery is a powerful way to leverage your email content into more donations. Appealing to the heart of your readers is all about sharing the need for your cause, so don’t be afraid to highlight important figures and stories within these messages. Putting a name to the face of someone who benefits from your nonprofit helps ensure that the person on the other side of the screen understands exactly why his or her donation truly matters.

Keep Your Message Focused

As far as the actual length of your content goes, it’s hard to go wrong with a more succinct and brief message. There’s no doubt that you have much to say on behalf of this cause or fundraising drive, but the simple fact of the matter is that people aren’t willing to read a novel in the inbox.

Instead, you’re much better off aiming for a 10 to 15 second experience. By distilling your core message into something that can be consumed within this window, you’ll have the perfect blend of impact and brevity that’s capable of keeping your readers focused and engaged.

Release Your Inner Social Butterfly

When it comes to supporting your email content, the team behind the Maine Cancer Foundation point out that it’s imperative that you release your inner social butterfly. On its own, email marketing is a powerful and effective tool. However, you can extract so much more value – and reach – out of this process by integrating a social experience into this process.

From incorporating “share” buttons within your emails, to posting this content on your own Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts, there’s no reason why you and your organization’s inbox audience can’t spread the word to not just your contact list, but to the rest of the web as well.

Testing Is Always a Good Idea

Just like members of the commercial community, your fundraising emails can benefit drastically from the aid of A/B testing. It might take a little getting used to – or some one-on-one time with an email marketing expert – but having multiple variations of your core message that appeal to different segments of your email audience helps guarantee that you don’t leave any potential donations on the table.

Going a step further, this process can also help enhance and prepare your next email campaign by generating a considerable amount of relevant data and information that pertains to your contact list membership.

Repeat Yourself Often

The last – and perhaps most important – tip on this list covers the need to repeat yourself often within your message content. On the surface this advice might sound crazy; especially in the face of the previous tip regarding brevity in your emails. However, having multiple links to your donation page, as well as a constant theme or phrase that appears throughout this content, drives up engagement and helps capture interaction that might otherwise fall through the cracks. In some cases, developing this piece of the email marketing puzzle now can lead to a variety of branding or slogan options down the road.

At the end of the day, fighting for your cause and raising much needed funds in the digital world is an arduous endeavor – there’s no getting around this reality. Thankfully, with this information now firmly on your side, there’s no reason why your nonprofit can’t ignite the charitable spark within its audience and drive email-related donations to unprecedented levels.

© 2013 Elite Email Inc. Blog Admin