80% of people opening your emails are scanning, not reading, which means that compelling images in your email are key to grabbing attention.
What's all that mean? It's a good time to brush up on your image smarts, which is why we've just published our Brainiac Guide to Images in Email. You'll find five practical tips for making the most of your images with visuals (of course!) that help make the point.
But wait, there's more: all month long on the blog, we'll be going into more detail about leveraging the power of images in your email newsletters. We'll share real-world examples, expert interviews and videos. Check back often or, hey, just subscribe here or follow us on Twitter for the latest.
Also during the month of March, Emma customers can get 5 stock images on us. It's to celebrate the brand-new Emma integration with Bigstock that makes about 12 million stock images searchable right from your account -- and makes it easy to always add the all-important image to your next email campaign.
We're pretty excited about our brand new content editor and email template gallery (have ya noticed?), and we're even more excited to see how our customers are using the editor's shiny new features to create stunning email campaigns. I rounded up a few recent examples to show you how folks are communicating in style and getting great results.
It's just the right use for the postcard template. We realize folks don't send a newsletter-style email every time they create a campaign, so we created shorter template formats as part of our new template collections. The postcard nicely frames Pottery Merchant’s concise content, enhancing the announcement, rather than overpowering it.
Colors complement the content. Emma allows you to customize the template's accent colors to match your brand and photographs. Pottery Merchant matches the accent colors to the photograph, lending a cohesive feel and professional look.
It hit just the right audience. Pottery Merchant segments their audience to differentiate current customers from prospects. Not only can they can track the engagement of those groups with Emma's search tools, but they can easily send targeted campaigns that strike just the right note with those audiences.
The images are perfectly balanced. We're big fans of moderately-sized images that work in conjuntion with each other. Even if your original images are different sizes, our Smart Sizing feature automatically matches their sizes more closely to give a completed look. Plus, the images fit within the framework of the template without expanding too wide on the left and right. The campaign's images look all buttoned up and ready for display.
Every image has a purpose. Now that our content editor allows you to arrange images and text boxes almost any way you’d like, it's easy to find the right spot for each piece of content. Here, the Nashville Children’s Theatre adds centered images down the campaign and three across the bottom, highlighting each upcoming event.
The mailing arrived right on cue, and no one had to wake up early to hit send. Nashville Children's Theater used the schedule mailing feature to ensure this campaign was the first thing readers saw in their inbox when they woke up.
The background color adds pop. Emma's classic editor didn't allow for the easy addition of background colors – so we made sure to address the issue with the new editor. With the addition of a background color, this campaign's Facebook contest really stands out.
The captions give context. Image captions are easy to turn on or off with the click of a button. Add a caption when the situation calls for it, or allow the photos to speak for themselves.
The purpose is clear. This thank you note manages to highlight three calls to action without making the email feel cluttered or confusing. The result? A 17.6% click-through rate from people who want to learn more.
The newsletter template of the Toronto collection looks completely different than the Toronto postcard above, thanks to some customization byDovetail Solution. They added their own logo and spin for a professional-looking company newsletter.
Why we like it:
The column adds visual interest. Different campaigns call for different content layouts. Choose from one-, two- and three-column layouts to neatly arrange all of your images and text.
Social icons encourage sharing. I love that Dovetail Solutions pulled in their social properties. It's a cinch to do, so don't overlook it. Just drag over individual icons from the left side of the content editor and link each to your corresponding profile page or wall.
It's a team effort. Each article is authored by a different member of the Dovetail team, which means readers get to know the people behind the brand and hear a variety of voices. It makes for a more interesting email and keeps one person from having to do all the writing.
It's easy on the eyes. We wanted customers to have the ability to add subtle design additions, like these well-placed dividers, to break up content into story sections or add a bit of design appeal to images. Series of underscores, be gone. Emma’s dividers can be customized by color, height and line height. Feel free to make dividers dashed or dotted, if you’d like.
The subject line is specific and engaging. Inbox scanners saw "The Water and the Blood at the High Museum of Art - July 28, Dusk till Midnight," and 40.78% of them opened the email – that's twice the industry average!
We hope you’re enjoying our new editor features and finding ways to incorporate email best practices along the way. We’d love to see some of your handiwork! Share your campaigns in the comments, and we may just feature you in a future post.
A new batch of don't-miss articles for creative types
We love email marketing around here. (Not obvious at all, right?) And we love helping agencies, small businesses and nonprofits create share-worthy email campaigns that help their businesses grow.
We're so very excited about the recent launch of our new content editor, and we can't wait to see how you'll use it to create emails that stand out in the inbox. Here are a few reads that'll help you do just that.
Articles for the writerly types:
Bookmark the 9 must-have components of compelling email copy. It contains the basic concepts as well as specific details for pulling great subject lines, calls to action and more, making it a good read for beginners and email marketing veterans alike.
Skip to the head of the class by reading Graham Charlton's What I've learned from writing 2,000 blog posts. His article is geared toward blog posts, but it's easily applicable to email as well. (Be sure to check out the "headlines" section for subject line know-how.)
Articles for designers:
Rethinking mobile email design is more important than ever as mobile email readership continues to grow. No longer a temporary until-I-get-back-to-my-desktop solution, mobile is increasingly the chosen platform for consumers (especially in bed or during a TV show). Edit call-to-action buttons and spacing for touch screens using these pixel recommendations.
Haven't had your fill of mobile tips yet? Read this ClickZ article on designing for a reader who's on-the-go. It might just convince you to move away from a mobile version of your email, and instead just design your primary campaign so it works for all readers.
We think you're in for a treat with our new campaign features, and we'd love to help you along the way. If you need account assistance, visit our searchable help section, or reach out to our support team. If you're an Emma Agency with questions about supporting your clients, our agency relations team has you covered.
Take a peek at the collections in our template gallery
Last week was a busy one at Emma, and we're not slowing our pace anytime soon. Our design team is hard at work, creating even more template collections for you to use with Emma's new content editor. Each collection comes with three templates – a newsletter, a postcard and a note – so you have what you need when creating monthly email campaigns, special announcements and periodical communications.
Just log into your Emma account and visit the campaigns page. You'll see both our classic editor and the new drag-and-drop editor there. The fancy, new editor is paired with the equally-fancy, equally-new template gallery. When you begin a new mailing, you'll have the option to use one of your custom templates or choose a new one from the gallery.
What's so great about these email templates, other than how lovely they look? Well, we've tricked them out (tricked out is a totally acceptable phrase in 2012, right?) with built-in font styles, customizable headers and footers, and editable image spots to place your logo.
We're giving you a look at some of the newest templates in this Facebook album, and we'll be adding even more templates soon.
We wanted all the design around the new stuff we're sharing to reflect this more Emmafied Emma -- something of an exclamation point on the story of these new features and design tools. Today, I'd like to give you a glimpse at a few of the *visual* changes you'll see starting this week:
An updated app
There's a brand new look for the Emma application itself. Everything is still in the same place, but we've refined the colors and simplified the graphics so Emma's an even more pleasant place to do your work.
A new website
This morning, we launched an entirely new website featuring our new look and features. It includes a dedicated resource center so it's easy to search across our collection of videos, blog posts and account help in one central place.
An updated logo & brand
We took this opportunity to make some refinements to our brand and logo. Emma's hair is smoother, her glasses are a bit hipper and her face is just subtly more balanced. She also has a modern new color palette to wear around town.
What do you think of the changes? Let us know in the comments.
Dear Emma customers,
Starting next week, you’re going to notice a few changes at Emma. And I thought it might be helpful to provide a bit of context around what you’ll see and how it all fits together.
Eons ago – you were probably really young and still listening to Wham! and don’t remember this – we created Emma based on a handful of things we were quite passionate about: elegantly simple product experiences, stellar design and great customer service. A fourth passion, for Scandinavian collectible figurines, did not seem particularly relevant at the time. (Just you wait.)
All these years later, here we are still hard at work bringing those themes to life, spending countless whiteboard, and regular, hours working on ways to improve our product, our designs and our service.
So what’s all the change about? Well, over the past year or so, we’ve been:
Building an entirely new email editor, replacing our intuitive but fairly inflexible editor with a slick drag-and-drop editing experience that makes it much easier (and fun?) to create fabulous email campaigns.
Creating a brand-new template design gallery to complement our custom design services. It’s a collection of really smart, readymade design templates that will expand over time and make stellar design instantly available to all.
Adding more smart marketing features, like expanded social sharing, subscriber notifications and Google Analytics integration. You can read about those in this blog post and know there’s plenty more to come on this front, smart marketing friend.
Rearchitecting Emma’s underlying platform, so that it performs better (read: faster) as we grow and includes an API layer that sets up Emma to integrate with lots of other great marketing products and services.
Designing a new website with an updated brand treatment and even a subtle account makeover to reflect all the newness and make the overall Emma experience more consistent, not to mention more modern.
These changes will be unveiled on a rolling basis beginning next week. In fact, some of you have been gracious enough to help us test the new platform and early versions of the editor and related features. You’ve helped us spot bugs, offered us lots of great feedback and lived through a not-always-awesome and sometimes-downright-crappy beta testing process. To each and every one of you, I offer a huge note of thanks. You are Emma’s champions, and I don’t mean that in a cheesy “We Are the Champions” or “Wind Beneath my Wings” kind of way, unless those are your two favorite songs, in which case that’s exactly what I mean.
And for everyone reading this, know that the culmination of this work isn’t a finish line of any sort. It’s a starting line, with lots of great improvements and additions planned and an entire team of people pretty dang fired up to make it all happen.
The team is so fired up, in fact, we felt compelled to make a video about it. Just like we can’t talk you through the new features nearly as well as we can show you, we can’t really capture the energy of the Emma shop without pulling back the curtain on the office, even though we’re moving that office to the brand-new, really old historic Trolley Barns in a matter of days.
Feel free to reach out to the team with any pressing questions about any of this, or email me directly with any big thoughts you have on the future of Emma, whenever those thoughts happen to strike you. And thanks so much for being part of the Emma journey with us. Entrusting us with even a small part of your brand and business is a big deal, and it’s a responsibility we truly take to heart.
Just last week, Daniel’s post about Emma’s new Template Gallery spurred a flurry of excitement among customers and fans.
Daniel mentioned that the templates will work with our new drag and drop editor, and I’m here to fill in some of the details of what you’ll see when we release the editor and Template Gallery a little later this month. Our goals for the new editor and Template Gallery are simple:
Provide world-class, accessible design
Whether you use one of the new, hand-crafted templates in our Template Gallery or a custom design by an Emma designer, our new editor gives you the tools to create stylish, professional-looking campaigns that represent your brand.
Keep the workflow simple
Let Emma auto-save your work, and if you’ve created a campaign you want to use as a starting point each time, you can save that campaign as a template for future work.
Make layouts flexible
Drag and drop text and image blocks into your campaign, add a sidebar with a couple clicks, then rearrange the whole thing in no time flat if you change your mind.
Hand the creative controls over to the person creating the campaign
Within minutes, you can customize a template with your brand colors, adjust margins and padding, move your content around, and give your images an extra polish.
Want even more details on the many ways we’ve made our new editor simple and fun to use? We’ve listed ‘em (and added more sneak peeks at how it all looks) below.
Workflow that makes sense
We’ve designed the editor with a streamlined workflow to save you time.
An auto-save feature that saves as you go. No more clicking back and forth between edit and save.
A nice big canvas for work. Get a view of the campaign’s look without a whole lot of scrolling.
Live preview and proofing.
Move or lock your editing toolbar. Place it wherever makes the most sense to you as you work.
With our Template Gallery offerings, you have control over the color scheme and branding.
Change a template’s accent colors with just a couple of clicks.
Add your logo, tagline and contact information in editable areas.
Save your changes as a new template to skip a few steps next time around.
Choose from one column, left column, right column or three column layouts, then customize them as you please.
Assemble text and image boxes easily by dragging, dropping, rearranging and editing them as your email campaign comes together.
Adjust the alignment of your content blocks, add captions and set text-wrapping to suit your campaign’s content and style.
Use our Smart Sizing feature for images to automatically make them the same size — and make sure they’re in proportion to your campaign.
Give your campaign a professional look with a bunch of handy features.
Background colors. Call attention to important blocks of content using color, or set the background color of your entire campaign.
Borders. Highlight a section of content and add design interest, plus create coupons and call-out boxes.
Styles. Quickly apply coordinated styles for headlines, body text and captions.
Images. Choose an image from your computer or Emma library, or connect to pictures on Facebook and Flickr.
Built-in testing features
It’s super-easy to make sure your campaign looks great before you send the real deal.
Send free tests to up to any 25 people.
Emma automatically adds “test” to the mailing’s subject line.
Add a note for your test recipients to call out sections you’d like them to proof or pay extra attention to.
We’re testing the Template Gallery and new editor with a small group of Emma customers, and we’ll let you know when they’re available in your Emma account. If you don’t have an account but still want to know when the Template Gallery and new editor go live for everyone, sign up for our emails so we can stay in touch.
How usability testing and private beta are inspiring changes that you'll love
How do you improve the campaign editing process that 30,000 customers use daily?
That’s why we’ve built in usability testing sessions and a private beta period before Emma’s new content editor is ready for prime time.
In the winter, we invited customers to try the first prototype in usability sessions at Emma. We looked for insights into how to make the editor easier to use and nip any confusing points in the bud. Geoff’s already written a great blog post detailing how we do usability sessions at Emma, so I’ll jump right into the new editor features and what we learned from watching customers use it.
Ch- ch- changes
Flexibility is the mantra for designing the new campaign editor. You want three images in your newsletter, no more and no less? No problem. You can just drag another one in. Need to bump your first article down a few slots? Drag the whole article where you want it and drop it. Get the picture? You’re going to have drag and drop control, ladies and gentlemen.
Oh, wait, you weren't expecting that?
In our test sessions, however, we saw that folks weren’t dragging and dropping! It just wasn’t obvious on their first use, so we knew right away that there was an opportunity to improve that first time experience.
This isn’t surprising at all when you consider how easy it is to miss something when you’re not looking for it. Have you seen the awareness test that asks you to count passes on a basketball team? If not, watch this one-minute clip from a cyclist-awareness advertising campaign, then come on back. I’ll wait.
About half of folks who watch that video “fail” the awareness test. In our case, drag and drop was practically moonwalking across the screen for our design team, but our first time users were looking for something else.
Changes that you'll love
Based on how we saw customers interacting with the campaign editing prototype, we made a few tweaks. Now we have clear signs that get you started on the right foot quickly (and get out of your way once you’ve got the hang of it).
What else are you going to love?
Editing and previewing on the same screen, without having to click back and forth to save
Arranding images in a column, row or grid, without having to switch layouts
Adding background colors and borders to individual sections
The same Emma style and simplicity you signed up for.
We appreciated the insights from our customers in the usability testing sessions so much that we opened up the editor to a private beta period. We’re asking early testers to tell us the good, the bad and the buggy — and we’re using their feedback to put finishing touches on the editor.
New to Emma? Learn about sending stylish email marketing campaigns.