Back in Ithaca NY, Aba Blankson sent this report about the session she attended yesterday at EduWeb in Baltimore: “HTML Email & Flash Appeals The Basics and Beyond,” a session presented by Andrew Iskowitz.
The development track sessions at the conference have been quite informative. The presenters have provided great insight, but I’ve also learned a lot just from the questions and discussion from the audience.
The presentation started with an audience poll: “Who is currently using plain text emails to reach out to constituents? Who is using HTML? Who is currently using 3rd party email vendor? Any sending hundreds of emails from their desktop using outlook?
There were quite a few using text emails, some using HTML, and few using rich media (such as flash, video, or audio). Much to my surprise there are still some people sending mass emails from their desktops! Who knew?!
Interesting Research Findings
- Email marketing spending is forecasted to grown from $885 million in 2005 to $1.1 billion by 2010. (JupiterResearch)
- Over 60 percent of email users have the ability to receive HTML email, which gets twice the response rate as text emails. (JupiterResearch)
- Email open rates were 12.5% higher and click-through rates were 75% higher when the subject line contained 49 characters or less. (EmailLabs)
- Flash plug-in on 97.7% of internet enabled desktops worldwide (NDP Research, 2006)
- The ‘from’ and ‘subject’ lines are the most important factor motivating consumers to open emails. (DoubleClick)
- Broadcast emails can be used for solicitations, newsletters, reminders, event registration, survey, birthday acknowledgements, etc. But whatever the case, the emails should be targeted, measurable, and actionable – the ‘Marketing Trifecta.’
- HTML emails are more visually appealing than plain text emails and have the potential for better click-through rates. But…they may not render the same in all email applications.
- Be careful when using rich media. While the flash, video or audio may be more engaging than HTML emails, they take longer (and cost more) to develop.
- Consider using 3rd party vendors/products when doing HTML / rich media broadcast emails. They can help you think through some of the issues described above.
- Whether you do it yourself or use a 3rd party, it is critical to test before launching any broadcast emails. Test internally with a group of colleagues, test different email applications (yahoo, hotmail, gmail, outlook, etc), test different subject lines… test test test!
- When sending the emails DO send on weekdays after 9 am, but before noon. DON’T send on Friday afternoons and weekends