• September 1, 2011
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Email Marketing Has the Look

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Responsys, a provider of email and cross-channel marketing services, has released its 2011 Email Design Look Book, which recognizes innovative email marketing designs and superior copywriting from 20 leading global brands.

The book includes promotional, newsletter, and triggered email from brands throughout the world, representing everything from consumer products and retail to the travel industry and social networking sites. It highlights companies whose targeted email campaigns are on the “leading edge of design,” with “the kinds of things that make email marketing attractive and effective,” says Chad White, research director at Responsys.

According to White, effective email marketing involves personalization that goes beyond using the recipient’s name in the greeting. “That’s not personalization anymore,” he says. “Now it’s about understanding [the recipients] and what they are about.”

White warns that batch blasts, in which everyone receives the same content, “are really thin and not very personal.” Conversely, with the companies listed in the 2011 Look Book, “each email is totally unique to the person who received it,” he says.

The 20 companies singled out this year are Anthropologie, Apple, Best Buy, Burton Snowboards, CB2, Columbia Sportswear, DSW, Etsy, Heathrow Airport, Icelandic Tourism Board, LinkedIn, MAC Cosmetics, Minted.com, Nikon UK, Style Campaign, Uncommon Goods, Verizon, Virgin Atlantic, Volvo UK, and Zappos.
“These companies did a great job of exemplifying the trends we see and the best practices out there,” White says.

“While each email stands on its own as a fantastic piece of work, the collection together illuminates the tactics that will continue to make email marketing most effective in the future,” he adds. “Personalization is vital to connecting with subscribers one to one. Triggered emails are critical in reaching customers when they’re most receptive. Mobile design is a must, as more consumers read email on smartphones. And cross-channel integration is now expected by even less sophisticated shoppers.”

The Look Book is in its third year, and White says the goal is to give the reader “something to thumb through and, hopefully, get inspired and excited to write the copy differently, redesign the email templates, inject more texture, and eliminate the cookie-cutter feel.” He adds that the book also could be used as ammunition to take to senior management to persuade it to release needed resources.

For companies seeking to improve their email marketing, White advises: “Test often. It’s difficult to know what will work for your particular brand. It’s not always easy to know what will appeal to your customers. Even a failed test gives you an idea of what you should do and what you should include.”

The free 2011 Email Design Look Book is available on Responsys’ Web site at www.responsys.com/land/email-design-look-book.php.

News Editor Leonard Klie can be reached at lklie@infotoday.com.

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