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Design Tips for Holiday Shopping Emails

Beefree team
Beefree team
Dec 1, 2015
Design Tips for Holiday Shopping Emails
Design Tips for Holiday Shopping Emails

With shopping season in full swing, our overflowing inboxes serve upa great opportunity to check out design trends in holiday shopping emails. In today's Design Inspiration post, we'll review threetypes of effective holiday emailsto sendand how to design them, taking cues from top brands' emails.

Tip #1: Build a shopping guide

Shopping guides are a popularway to showcase products and inspireshoppers. Guides can provide ideas for specific people on shoppers'lists (an uncle, daughter, neighbor), suggestbestselling items, temptshoppers to treat themselves, or provide gift groupingideas. Whatever the approach, an effective gift guide shouldbe highly visual and easy to navigate.No need for lots of text here;viewers want to be able to check out the products quickly. Here are four effective design approaches for presenting your shopping guide in email.

Display top rated products in a grid layout

Here's a shopping guide from MAC cosmetics, showing top-rated products in a three-column grid layout.

Mac use

Notice there's ample padding between each item and very little descriptive text, making it easy forreaders to focus onthe products themselves. The streamlined photoshave no background, a style that lends itself to quick viewing, allowing multiple images to be displayed without a sense of clutter ordistraction. Overall, it'sa clean, efficient strategy to showcasea lot in a single email. Agrid layout like thiscanalso easily convert to a single-column design on mobile, so we were disappointed to see that the email was not responsive. Here's how it appeared on an iPhone:

MAC mobile

A "View Mobile-Friendly" link is available at the email's header, but it leads toa text-only version. It's easy to scan and gets the job done, but it's much less appealing than the photographic version.

mac view on mobile

Design Takeaway: Use a grid layout with high-quality no-background images, ample white space, and short descriptive text to display a lot of products in a single email—but make sure your design is responsive for optimal viewing on mobile.

List select picks with modular design

What better way to show a list than in list format? That's exactly what Design Public—a company that features products from emerging designers—did. Here's an email of 15 favorite gifts from their staff, using a single-column modular design:

Design Public

The format allows Design Public to add a bit more description, so this is a good option if you'd like to include a paragraph of text for each item on display. The horizontal green lines provide nice markers between sections, and the design is responsive, too:

Design public mobile 1

This layout requires lots of scrolling on mobile, but we know that mobile readers do scroll.Design Takeaway: Responsive, single-column, modular design is perfect for a gift list, but be cognizant of how much you'll be asking readers to scroll, especially on mobile (i.e., consider capping your list at 5 to 10 items).

Create an all-in-one-photo

Topo Designs, a seller of made-in-the-US backpacks, bags, and apparel, gives subscribers a peek at nine gift ideas in this well-designed photo collage:

Topo new

Though the email consists primarily of a single image, it avoids the pitfalls of an image-only emailwith a plain text message and ALT text for the image. The photo succeeds because the items are arranged neatly; it's simple and elegant.While there's no way to make a single image responsive, the email still looks good on mobile because the header—"FREE HOLIDAY SHIPPING"—is in a large font size, and the items in the photo are all pretty easy to make out. The concluding text is small and would have benefited from responsive design to bump up the font size, though.

topo mobile

Design Takeaway: Plan ahead to show your complete gift guide in one (or a few) neatly-organized photo that will resonate with your audience, but be cautious of how it will render on smaller screens, and be sure to have a good image-to-text ratio.

Show your shortlist with an animated GIF

Suit Supply, online retailer of men's suits and apparel, sent their "greedy" gift guide in email, rotating through a collection of five photos in an animated GIF. Here's the email:

suitsupply use

And here's the GIF:

Suit supply

GIFs arean effective way to not only catch readers' eyes and appeal to design-savvy subscribers, but also to show multiple productswithout taking up too much real estate inan email. This message is short and snappy, with no product description whatsoever. The products themselves rotate really quickly, too. The point isn't to describeeverything in email; the point is to get readers inspired, and clicking. It looks sharp on mobile, too:

suit supply mobile

Design Takeaway: Create an animated GIF to inspire readers, cycle through multiple products without requiring scrolling, and communicate quickly and visually.

Tip #2: Tell a story that's true to your brand

Another way to design an effective holiday shopping email is to engage readers through a simple narrative. When you peelback the curtain on thespecial products, people, or process behind your business through storytelling, you open up an opportunity to connect with readers on a deeper level. Like the gift guides, storytelling campaigns are equally as visual. Look at how Danner, an outdoor gear retailer, tells a story in threesentences:

danner zoom

And here's the full email, complete with more stunning photography:

danner

Telling the story of an individual tree farmer, Danner hopes to make a case for how effective and useful their gear is for actual people, inspiring readers to make a purchase. The text portion of the story is quick (just a few sentences), while the photos show readers the rest of the story. Neither the text nor the images are overly product-focused.Patagonia takes a similar approach in a recent email about "The New Localism," which they say, "engages our community to protect threatened places that are home to the sports that inspire our adventures and the products our company makes."

patagonia zoom

Similar to the Danner email, this message doesn't put Patagonia products front and center (in fact, there's no blatant product advertising at all), but it seeks to inspire readers by revealing something authentic and inspiring about the brand itself.Design Takeaway: Appeal to readers with a story that connects them to your brand identity without making your email overtly product-focused. Any story you tell should be well thought-out in advance, including original multimedia componentslike photos or videos.In a different form of storytelling, Bumble & Bumble takes an infographic-like approach to guide readers through suggested products:

bumble and bumble

It's kind of like one of those choose-your-own-adventure stories that invites readers to participate. It's cute and fun and a good tactic for engaging your audience—plus, it's more interesting than simply laying outthe products in a grid or list.Design Takeaway: Get creative with how you interpret "storytelling" and come up with a design that engages readers, inviting them to follow along and ultimately make a purchase.

Tip #3: Highlight deals and savings

One of the most common and popular holiday shopping emails is one promoting a special sale or deal. These emails are straightforward, focused, and should have a very clear call to action. By and large, these emails fall into the category of "image-only" emails, which is not an email design best practice. Image-only emails are problematic for a number of reasons: some people won’t be able to see an image-only email at all because of their email client settings; image-only emailsend up in spam folders; they aren’t mobile-optimized; and they may notgetfully downloaded. (Read our full post onhow to avoid the pitfalls of image only-email).Nonetheless, many major brands opt to take these risks in favor of designing a highly visual,image-heavy email announcing the seasons's sales and discounts. Here's an example from J. Crew, complete with an animated GIF countdown clock at the top and a tall image that makes up the full body of the email:

jcrew use

Many retailers like J. Crew commonly send image-only emails. West Elm is another brand to often take this approach:

west elm

Similarly, Casper, the mattress retailer, sent a fully illustrated email:

Casper deal

This one from Bloomingdale's is an image-only email, but it could have easily been designed with HTML background colors and bulletproof buttons in the BEE editor, as we've shown with previous examples:

bloom

Design Takeaway: It's true the image-only approach allows your design team maximum flexibility in customizing the look of your email, and the results can pay off. If you decide to go this route, make sure you have good reason: know your subscriber list and have a sense of the risk of how many readers may miss your message entirely. Test how the email appears across email clients. Be sure to have at least 500 characters of plain text, and use descriptive ALT text for all images.While many, many sale announcement emails are fully comprised of images, we found a few brands breaking up their emails with a better image-to-text ratio, while stillkeeping a creative spin to their messaging, like this one from Toby's Estate Coffee:

tobys

This is a great list-building tactic and a unique way to build excitement and anticipation.Similarly, the Museum of Modern Art sent this beautiful email that is part plain text message...

Moma email use

...and part animated GIF:

Moma gif

Likewise, this email from MOO has a GIF header, but the text below, including the CTA button, are outside of the image and appear with image-viewing turned off.

MOO email

Here it is without images:

MOO email

Design Takeaway: Keep sale promotion emails short and sweet,avoiding the pitfalls of image-only emails by striking a balance between text and great design, whether it be an image or GIF. (And make sure CTA buttons are bulletproof).It's not too late to implement these design tactics in your own holiday shopping email.Use the BEE editor to create a fully responsive, beautiful HTML-colored email. The drag-and-drop platform is easy to use, and it's free!

Related posts

How to Leverage AI in Email Marketing 2024 & Beyond

Emily Santos
Jun 11, 2024

If you haven’t started exploring AI and how it can impact your content and email marketing, it may be time to join the club. According to HubSpot’s State of Generative AI survey, 82% of marketers report that generative AI has changed how they create content. 

Today’s artificial intelligence can be an influential asset in your email marketing. From creating personalized content to delivering next-level data analysis, AI can support every step of your email creation process.

Understanding AI in email marketing

As AI capabilities expand, the societal perception that AI will eliminate jobs grows. While it is true that AI can transform an email marketing program, allowing for more efficiency, it isn’t a replacement for your email marketing team. 

Instead, AI-powered solutions are power tools to enhance your team's ability to create more engaging, effective, and high-performing campaigns. Additionally, for small teams with limited resources, AI makes email marketing more accessible and allows larger teams to scale production. 

How are email marketers leveraging AI?

Influencer Marketing Hub shows that 63% of marketers are currently using AI in their email marketing. While AI is mainly known for its content optimization capabilities - there are various other ways marketers can harness the power of AI, unlocking its full potential: 

  • Automation: AI tools can automate routine and repetitive tasks. For instance, when folks sign up for your newsletter, AI can manage those new contacts and segment them to receive an onboarding email sequence.

  • Personalization: According to Campaign Monitor, personalization can increase email marketing revenue by 760%. AI can spot patterns in customers’ activity and use these to personalize their emails, such as sending them content about a topic or product they’ve been viewing on your site or product recommendations based on their browsing history. 
  • Analytics and insights: AI is excellent at gathering and analyzing data for insights that will help you improve your future campaigns. For example, it can identify the best times to send emails to particular customers, increasing engagement. 
  • Segmentation: Dividing your mailing list into segments based on customer behaviors and patterns is crucial when sending targeted campaigns to customers. AI can help by picking up patterns and creating segments based on these patterns, allowing you to send relevant content to the right people.

Challenges and considerations of AI

As much potential benefit as AI has for email marketing, no change comes without its challenges. Some challenges to consider are: 

  • Data privacy concerns: Data privacy is always concerning when using third-party solutions. Given that AI handles large volumes of personal data, it is vital to ensure that the solutions you onboard comply with regulations such as GDPR and CCPA. Additionally, communicate these changes to users, updating your terms of use and privacy policy to promote transparency. 

  • Errors: Because AI is driven by the data it is trained on, errors or biased outcomes are possible. However, we believe this to be true without AI as well. It is important always to have multiple steps of quality control and assurance and to fine-tune AI prompts to avoid biased responses.

  • Loss of human touch: As mentioned earlier, AI is not meant to replace email marketers but to support them. Regarding email marketing, a human touch and a conversational tone are crucial for engagement, something AI simply can’t achieve alone.

How to get started using AI in email marketing

With all the potential AI has in your email marketing, if you haven’t tried it out yet, now is the time.

  1. Audit your email marketing process, jotting down areas of opportunity.  As interesting as AI advancement is, it is not necessary to use AI simply for the sake of using new technology. Once you clearly understand your current email marketing process, you can identify specific areas where AI can enhance your efforts. 
  1. Make small but measurable changes. Compare performance between AI strategies and manual strategies. For example, send out two campaign versions, one with AI-generated content and the other with content you created without AI, to see which one performs better. Use these results to determine where AI can make a practical, profitable difference.
  2. Identify the most repetitive or time-consuming aspects of your email marketing. Automating these tasks with AI can significantly improve efficiency and free up valuable time for more strategic activities. Use this list to help you find the right tools. 

AI email marketing tools

With over 70,000 AI businesses worldwide and 42% of companies exploring how to integrate AI, it’s easy to get overwhelmed - so where do you start? Here is a roundup of some of the top AI solutions allowing marketers to optimize their email operations: 

  • Grammarly: This solution needs no explanation. Grammarly is a leading AI-powered copy editor helping marketers create clear, concise, and error-free messaging. 
  • ChatGPT: The tool that changed the AI game. ChatGPT serves as a solution for ideating, writing, and proofreading copy for marketers. Many tools, such as Beefree, have integrated ChatGPT into their product, empowering users with a built-in AI assistant for all content needs. 
  • Seventh Sense: Seventh Sense analyzes when your recipients open and click emails, spotting patterns and then automating your email send times to send emails to individual recipients when they’re most likely to open them.

A new generation of email marketing with AI

The power of AI in email marketing is undeniable. For email marketers, AI solutions can help create more relevant, timely, and stronger customer relationships, inevitably driving higher conversion rates. However, the adoption of AI shouldn’t be just for adoption sake. 

At Beefree, we take pride in slow progress that helps solve users' most prevalent needs. Our implementation of the AI copy Assistant has helped Beefree users save time juggling from tool to tool and optimize email content directly in-app. This is how we recommend you embrace AI, making perhaps small but meaningful changes in your process that allow you to stay ahead in this new, fast-paced era of email marketing

If you’re ready to optimize your email marketing efforts and try AI, consider trying Beefree—after all, it’s free! 

The Future of Email Marketing in 2024

Explore the future of email marketing trends like AI personalization, multi-channel experiences, and other innovative digital strategies for enhanced engagement.
Emily Santos
May 24, 2024

While new marketing platforms pop up everyday, marketers are not tossing email to the side. While some claim that Gen Zers don’t use email and refer to other platforms such as TikTok and Instagram to make purchases,  a recent poll by Media Post reports 53% of Gen Zers still enjoy getting weekly emails from their favorite brands.

Jennifer Harmon, Content Strategist and Creator of Convince & Convert, confirms that email marketing is likely to only become more important as changes continue to happen with paid media, cookies, and permissions.

With a ROI of $36 for every dollar spent and 79% of marketers naming email as one of their top effective channels, the idea that email is dead is ... well, dead.

The continuing dominance of email marketing

It isn’t luck or routine that keeps email marketing alive and thriving, but rather it's unique advantages:

  • Unparalleled reach: Email marketing provides a direct channel to connect with vast audiences worldwide. With an expected 4.73 billion email users by 2026, marketers can leverage automation tools to send personalized emails at optimal times regardless of geographical boundaries or time zones.
  • Personalization at scale: In addition to being able to reach audiences far and wide, email marketing allows marketers to personalize messages at scale. With segmentation and automation tools, personalization requires minimal manual intervention - a benefit not offered by other digital platforms.
  • Cost-effective growth: Unlike other marketing methods that may require investment in print materials or ads, email campaigns can be executed at a fraction of the cost. As the audience base grows, With the right tools, marketers can easily scale email production as their audience base growth.

Key trends shaping the future of email marketing

As we delve into the growing need for marketers to not only catch the attention of their audiences but also to connect and drive conversions, there are three key trends shaping the future of email marketing:

AI-driven personalization

According to Hubspot, segmented emails have 30% more opens and 50% more clickthroughs than general emails send to your mass audience. The need for segmenting and personalization aren’t new but the way we approach them is.

AI today is used as a power tool to collect relevant data about users. For instance, it can use customers’ purchase history or viewing history to email them personalized product recommendations. This is increasingly important, with 71% of consumers now expecting personalized interactions from brands, but it is only the tip of the iceberg.

63% of marketers of marketers leverage AI to help them get more done, faster. ChatGPT or bullt-in AI solutions tools like Beefree’s AI copy assistant make it easier to find the right messaging for email campaigns, by optimizing existing copy or tailoring copy to unique audiences they might not know much of yet.

Interactive email experiences

Interactive email content achieves 73% higher click-to-open rates, according to Martech Advisor. Interactive email content includes surveys, polls, carousels, gamification elements, and more. Email builders and third-party solutions have made integrating such content easier than ever allowing the every-day marketer to up their email content without the need for developers.

Microinteraction such as small animations or a CTA hover are growing in popularity.These small elements make an mundane task such as reading emails, an interactive experience.

Navigating the challenges and seizing opportunities

While innovation brings a world of possibilities, it also brings a few challenges for marketers. The rapid pace of emerging trends and their life cycle makes it hard for marketers to quickly adopt and stay ahead of the competition without causing email fatigue. Additionally, as highlighted by Norton, 69% of users are more concerned than ever about their data privacy, which in turn makes them more wary of what they engage with.

Email fatigue

Frequent emails result in email fatigue leading to reduced engagement rates, or worse case scenario an increase in unsubscribe rates. To combat this, it's crucial to strike the right balance in email frequency to your industry and audience. While finding the the right frequency is not a one size fits all, we recommend auditing your emails sends.

Start small with sending the right emails at the right time like when a user first subscribers or completes a desired action. Slowly integrate additional content and test its performance. Each email should serve a specific purpose and provide valuable and relevant content, this is where segmentation and AI-driven personalization becomes your best friend.

Privacy concerns

While for marketers the ability to collect a wide range of data on user demographics and behaviours is gold, for users this brings concerns. Marketers can mitigate these concerns by making consent and transparency regarding data collection and usage easily understood with an option to opt-out. Not only does this allow users to make informed decisions, but in the long term allows for increased trust and loyalty.

AI biases

While biases is not exclusive to AI, the rise of Artificial Intelligence has brought this concern to the forefront of marketer's mind.

Because AI is influenced by the historic data it processes and individual prompts, it may inadvertently perpetuate responses based on stereotypes and biases patterns. This can lead to content that is skewed and alienates certain segments of the audience.

Much like anything else that is public facing, we recommend implementing internal process to detect biases. This may mean having a review process in place to cross-reference AI outcomes with multiple folks with different background and experiences. Another suggestion is to regularly audit AI prompts keeping diversity and inclusivity top of mind to ensure fairness and accuracy.

Beyond the inbox: Integrating email marketing with other digital marketing strategies

As valuable as email marketing is, 72% of customers say they prefer to engage with brands through multiple channels. By coordinating email marketing efforts with other channels, marketers can build engaging and cohesive experiences for customers. In the same way that all conversations with a friend feel the same - whether they’re in person, over text, or on the phone - a holistic digital marketing strategy allows marketers to create space for immersive interactions that meet customers where they're at.

The future of email marketing lies in its integration with other marketing channels. Some standout ways to do this include:

  • Landing pages: For marketers, landing pages helps lead customers to take a desired action, increase conversion. For users, this cohesive integration offers a smooth transition from email to a browsing experience where they can find more information that helps them make educated decisions.
  • Social media: Marketers can leverage the power of social sharing, UGC, and email marketing to amplify their reach and establish a balance of nurturing new and existing audiences. For customers, this means a seamless way to engage with one brand regardless of the channel they prefer, fostering a sense of community.
  • Content marketing and SEO: Email campaigns can drive traffic to valuable content resources, such as blog posts, whitepapers, videos, and infographics. For customers, this means having an easy way to acquire new knowledge and interact with the brands they love.

Embracing the future of email marketing

Change is inevitable in all aspects of life and marketing is no exception, but this doesn’t mean you need to throw out your old playbook. Rather, it's about recognizing how the landscape if evolving and adapting. As mentioned today, some of the key areas driving the future of email marketing include AI and automation, multichannel marketing, and the emphasis on enhanced interactivity. While these might seem like heavy strategies to implement, know that you don't have to do it alone.

At Beefree, we're dedicated to empowering marketers with the tools and resources needed to thrive in this dynamic environment. Our intuitive HTML email builder, AI copy assistant, and wide range of email and landing page templates support marketers in the search of innovative solutions to respond to the shift in the market's need.

To find out more, sign up for Beefree today!

Marketing Agency Email Templates to Enhance Your Communications

Learn how your agency can balance multiple brands and email campaigns while saving time with HTML email marketing templates.
Emily Santos
May 17, 2024

For marketing agencies and their clients, email marketing serves as a powerful method of acquiring and retaining clients. In a 2023 survey, 50% of B2B marketers name email as their most effective marketing channel, performing 13% better than social media posts and 11% better than social media ads.

This emphasis on the importance of email marketing, while opportunistic, also presents a new wave of challenges for agencies to tackle.   

Unique challenges in agency email marketing

As a marketing agency in the digital age, staying on top of evolving trends, strategies, and algorithms is hard enough. The pressure to perform doubles when paired with client expectations to quickly develop, monitor, and execute the latest. 

So, how can agencies balance multiple brands and clients wanting to experiment with the newest trend with tried-and-true best practices while maintaining brand integrity?  

Email templates have proven to be a great asset in cutting down email production speed and increasing efficiency and productivity. Jim Maddock, Freelance Email Developer and CRM Consultant has developed over 670 emails for a wide range of departments, artists, and organizations, all extensions of only a few templates he built with Beefree customized to fit different brands. 

Benefits of using HTML email templates vs. custom coding or text-only emails

The days of email specialists and developers being the only ones involved in the email design process are long gone. Text-only emails are now mostly reserved for everyday communications, while HTML emails are used by a wide range of brands and organizations for internal communications and marketing material. 

Unlike text-only emails, HTML emails are dynamic, engaging, and personalized to showcase a brand’s identity and instill brand recognition in readers. 

Because all email-sending platforms support HTML,  email makers benefit from peace of mind knowing that their emails will display as intended across devices and email clients. 

While historically, manually coding HTML emails is known to be time-consuming and tedious work, the rise of no-code email builders is saving agencies valuable time and resources when building emails. To take it one step further, HTML email templates are becoming standard practices. Much like Jim Maddock, agencies only have to create these templates once and reuse them for multiple brands. 

Another option is to source an HTML email template that has already been built and tested for responsiveness, allowing your team more time to work on other deliverables. 

How to choose an HTML template

When choosing an existing HTML email template, there are a few considerations to take into account:

  • Customizability and usability: When working with multiple brands, it is crucial that your agency delivers on-brand designs. When choosing a template, the ability to customize it to fit into any given brand identity easily is non-negotiable. This means colors, fonts, font sizes, images, and more.

  • Versatility: Whether you’re creating an HTML email template from scratch or sourcing one, you’ll probably want to start with a few templates that can be used in multiple ways to decrease the amount of time spent on repetitive designs. An effective template should have all of your email's basic elements: hero, footer, and nav bar, and it should be flexible enough to add or remove blocks as needed. 
  • Best practices: The right HTML template follows email design best practices, including mobile-first design, dark mode, and spam prevention guidelines, to ensure an optimal viewing experience and delivery. 

By choosing an HTML template that fulfills all of these elements, you can quickly iterate the template to try new strategies (pleasing your client) while standing upon a strong foundation of what makes an effective email campaign (pleasing your agency). 

3 Essential email templates for marketing agencies

If you’re unsure where to start on your search for an HTML template, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ve curated three essential email templates for marketing agencies in the Beefree catalog. 

The Beefree HTML template catalog hosts 1,700+ templates for a wide range of industries, holidays, and usage. All templates are free to use on the Beefree editor and completely customizable to fit any brand style guidelines. The email builder also ensures that all emails created with Beefree render properly across all screen sizes. 

While assigned to a specific category, the following templates have been chosen due to their versatility. With a little creativity, each of the following templates can be used for a wide variety of email campaigns, industries, and brand styles due to their layout and simplicity.

Welcome email template

A welcome email template is just as it sounds - an introduction to who you are. While the contents of an email template may vary depending on the industry or purpose, there is usually a similar story told through them: this is who we are and this is what we do. Here is an example of an email template designed for an agency: 

At the top, the email provides a space for a logo, a nav bar, and a title. 

Above the fold, the template kicks off with an introduction of “Who are we” which answers to a welcome emails main purpose: introduce new audiences to who you are and connect with them off a first impression. 

As we scroll, the email layout changes to help guide the reader through “what we do” and an introduction to the team with clear CTAs with next steps.

The email ends with a footer containing vital information. 

Browse all Welcome email templates: https://beefree.io/templates/welcome

Newsletter template

A routine newsletter is an excellent way to nurture leads and maintain relationships. Depending on the business, a newsletter offers readers various resources, updates, or offerings. An effective newsletter template offers multiple content block formats to pick and choose from. 

In this example, the template contains a prominent hero section with a bold CTA leading to resource #1. We recommend starting emails with a strong hero section to grab the attention of the reader above the fold. 

As you scroll, new resources are presented using a different layout to help differentiate the multiple pieces of content. 

The final resources in the template are presented in video format, which can easily be interchanged with an image to suit different brands' needs.

Browse all Newsletter templates: https://beefree.io/templates/newsletter

Survey email template

Surveys are excellent ways to gather feedback from different audiences. A survey email template should be short, clear, and concise. The purpose of the email should be easily digested and understood. 

The following template pulls the reader in with a large and clear header and body that clearly communicates to the reader that their feedback is wanted and why.  

This template offers two different ways to collect feedback, making it versatile for a brand’s needs. Below, you’ll see the survey embedded in the template and a CTA linking readers to the brand survey. 

Browse all Survey templates: https://beefree.io/templates/survey

The value of email marketing for agencies

The value of email marketing for agencies and their clients is undeniable. With an ROI of $36 for every $1 spent and being generally low-cost, it is one of the most effective ways to communicate to multiple audiences in one location—their inbox. 

Email templates help agencies save time and resources in email production so that your team and clients can benefit from more time to: 

  • Refine a brand’s messaging to ensure it aligns with its ideal customers. 
  • Personalize emails for the segmented recipients 
  • Grow the brand’s emailing list
  • Optimize email communications and increase conversion
  • And so much more.

Explore Beefree’s email marketing template library

HTML email templates can empower your email marketing agency to create responsive, high-performing, and engaging emails with ease. Beefree makes this process even quicker with its extensive template library and intuitive drag-and-drop builder. In addition, Beefree’s agnostic nature allows you to easily integrate with your client's sending and marketing platforms making it a seamless experience from start to finish.

How to Leverage AI in Email Marketing 2024 & Beyond

Emily Santos
Emily Santos
11 Jun
2024

If you haven’t started exploring AI and how it can impact your content and email marketing, it may be time to join the club. According to HubSpot’s State of Generative AI survey, 82% of marketers report that generative AI has changed how they create content. 

Today’s artificial intelligence can be an influential asset in your email marketing. From creating personalized content to delivering next-level data analysis, AI can support every step of your email creation process.

Understanding AI in email marketing

As AI capabilities expand, the societal perception that AI will eliminate jobs grows. While it is true that AI can transform an email marketing program, allowing for more efficiency, it isn’t a replacement for your email marketing team. 

Instead, AI-powered solutions are power tools to enhance your team's ability to create more engaging, effective, and high-performing campaigns. Additionally, for small teams with limited resources, AI makes email marketing more accessible and allows larger teams to scale production. 

How are email marketers leveraging AI?

Influencer Marketing Hub shows that 63% of marketers are currently using AI in their email marketing. While AI is mainly known for its content optimization capabilities - there are various other ways marketers can harness the power of AI, unlocking its full potential: 

  • Automation: AI tools can automate routine and repetitive tasks. For instance, when folks sign up for your newsletter, AI can manage those new contacts and segment them to receive an onboarding email sequence.

  • Personalization: According to Campaign Monitor, personalization can increase email marketing revenue by 760%. AI can spot patterns in customers’ activity and use these to personalize their emails, such as sending them content about a topic or product they’ve been viewing on your site or product recommendations based on their browsing history. 
  • Analytics and insights: AI is excellent at gathering and analyzing data for insights that will help you improve your future campaigns. For example, it can identify the best times to send emails to particular customers, increasing engagement. 
  • Segmentation: Dividing your mailing list into segments based on customer behaviors and patterns is crucial when sending targeted campaigns to customers. AI can help by picking up patterns and creating segments based on these patterns, allowing you to send relevant content to the right people.

Challenges and considerations of AI

As much potential benefit as AI has for email marketing, no change comes without its challenges. Some challenges to consider are: 

  • Data privacy concerns: Data privacy is always concerning when using third-party solutions. Given that AI handles large volumes of personal data, it is vital to ensure that the solutions you onboard comply with regulations such as GDPR and CCPA. Additionally, communicate these changes to users, updating your terms of use and privacy policy to promote transparency. 

  • Errors: Because AI is driven by the data it is trained on, errors or biased outcomes are possible. However, we believe this to be true without AI as well. It is important always to have multiple steps of quality control and assurance and to fine-tune AI prompts to avoid biased responses.

  • Loss of human touch: As mentioned earlier, AI is not meant to replace email marketers but to support them. Regarding email marketing, a human touch and a conversational tone are crucial for engagement, something AI simply can’t achieve alone.

How to get started using AI in email marketing

With all the potential AI has in your email marketing, if you haven’t tried it out yet, now is the time.

  1. Audit your email marketing process, jotting down areas of opportunity.  As interesting as AI advancement is, it is not necessary to use AI simply for the sake of using new technology. Once you clearly understand your current email marketing process, you can identify specific areas where AI can enhance your efforts. 
  1. Make small but measurable changes. Compare performance between AI strategies and manual strategies. For example, send out two campaign versions, one with AI-generated content and the other with content you created without AI, to see which one performs better. Use these results to determine where AI can make a practical, profitable difference.
  2. Identify the most repetitive or time-consuming aspects of your email marketing. Automating these tasks with AI can significantly improve efficiency and free up valuable time for more strategic activities. Use this list to help you find the right tools. 

AI email marketing tools

With over 70,000 AI businesses worldwide and 42% of companies exploring how to integrate AI, it’s easy to get overwhelmed - so where do you start? Here is a roundup of some of the top AI solutions allowing marketers to optimize their email operations: 

  • Grammarly: This solution needs no explanation. Grammarly is a leading AI-powered copy editor helping marketers create clear, concise, and error-free messaging. 
  • ChatGPT: The tool that changed the AI game. ChatGPT serves as a solution for ideating, writing, and proofreading copy for marketers. Many tools, such as Beefree, have integrated ChatGPT into their product, empowering users with a built-in AI assistant for all content needs. 
  • Seventh Sense: Seventh Sense analyzes when your recipients open and click emails, spotting patterns and then automating your email send times to send emails to individual recipients when they’re most likely to open them.

A new generation of email marketing with AI

The power of AI in email marketing is undeniable. For email marketers, AI solutions can help create more relevant, timely, and stronger customer relationships, inevitably driving higher conversion rates. However, the adoption of AI shouldn’t be just for adoption sake. 

At Beefree, we take pride in slow progress that helps solve users' most prevalent needs. Our implementation of the AI copy Assistant has helped Beefree users save time juggling from tool to tool and optimize email content directly in-app. This is how we recommend you embrace AI, making perhaps small but meaningful changes in your process that allow you to stay ahead in this new, fast-paced era of email marketing

If you’re ready to optimize your email marketing efforts and try AI, consider trying Beefree—after all, it’s free! 

The Future of Email Marketing in 2024

Explore the future of email marketing trends like AI personalization, multi-channel experiences, and other innovative digital strategies for enhanced engagement.
Emily Santos
Emily Santos
24 May
2024

While new marketing platforms pop up everyday, marketers are not tossing email to the side. While some claim that Gen Zers don’t use email and refer to other platforms such as TikTok and Instagram to make purchases,  a recent poll by Media Post reports 53% of Gen Zers still enjoy getting weekly emails from their favorite brands.

Jennifer Harmon, Content Strategist and Creator of Convince & Convert, confirms that email marketing is likely to only become more important as changes continue to happen with paid media, cookies, and permissions.

With a ROI of $36 for every dollar spent and 79% of marketers naming email as one of their top effective channels, the idea that email is dead is ... well, dead.

The continuing dominance of email marketing

It isn’t luck or routine that keeps email marketing alive and thriving, but rather it's unique advantages:

  • Unparalleled reach: Email marketing provides a direct channel to connect with vast audiences worldwide. With an expected 4.73 billion email users by 2026, marketers can leverage automation tools to send personalized emails at optimal times regardless of geographical boundaries or time zones.
  • Personalization at scale: In addition to being able to reach audiences far and wide, email marketing allows marketers to personalize messages at scale. With segmentation and automation tools, personalization requires minimal manual intervention - a benefit not offered by other digital platforms.
  • Cost-effective growth: Unlike other marketing methods that may require investment in print materials or ads, email campaigns can be executed at a fraction of the cost. As the audience base grows, With the right tools, marketers can easily scale email production as their audience base growth.

Key trends shaping the future of email marketing

As we delve into the growing need for marketers to not only catch the attention of their audiences but also to connect and drive conversions, there are three key trends shaping the future of email marketing:

AI-driven personalization

According to Hubspot, segmented emails have 30% more opens and 50% more clickthroughs than general emails send to your mass audience. The need for segmenting and personalization aren’t new but the way we approach them is.

AI today is used as a power tool to collect relevant data about users. For instance, it can use customers’ purchase history or viewing history to email them personalized product recommendations. This is increasingly important, with 71% of consumers now expecting personalized interactions from brands, but it is only the tip of the iceberg.

63% of marketers of marketers leverage AI to help them get more done, faster. ChatGPT or bullt-in AI solutions tools like Beefree’s AI copy assistant make it easier to find the right messaging for email campaigns, by optimizing existing copy or tailoring copy to unique audiences they might not know much of yet.

Interactive email experiences

Interactive email content achieves 73% higher click-to-open rates, according to Martech Advisor. Interactive email content includes surveys, polls, carousels, gamification elements, and more. Email builders and third-party solutions have made integrating such content easier than ever allowing the every-day marketer to up their email content without the need for developers.

Microinteraction such as small animations or a CTA hover are growing in popularity.These small elements make an mundane task such as reading emails, an interactive experience.

Navigating the challenges and seizing opportunities

While innovation brings a world of possibilities, it also brings a few challenges for marketers. The rapid pace of emerging trends and their life cycle makes it hard for marketers to quickly adopt and stay ahead of the competition without causing email fatigue. Additionally, as highlighted by Norton, 69% of users are more concerned than ever about their data privacy, which in turn makes them more wary of what they engage with.

Email fatigue

Frequent emails result in email fatigue leading to reduced engagement rates, or worse case scenario an increase in unsubscribe rates. To combat this, it's crucial to strike the right balance in email frequency to your industry and audience. While finding the the right frequency is not a one size fits all, we recommend auditing your emails sends.

Start small with sending the right emails at the right time like when a user first subscribers or completes a desired action. Slowly integrate additional content and test its performance. Each email should serve a specific purpose and provide valuable and relevant content, this is where segmentation and AI-driven personalization becomes your best friend.

Privacy concerns

While for marketers the ability to collect a wide range of data on user demographics and behaviours is gold, for users this brings concerns. Marketers can mitigate these concerns by making consent and transparency regarding data collection and usage easily understood with an option to opt-out. Not only does this allow users to make informed decisions, but in the long term allows for increased trust and loyalty.

AI biases

While biases is not exclusive to AI, the rise of Artificial Intelligence has brought this concern to the forefront of marketer's mind.

Because AI is influenced by the historic data it processes and individual prompts, it may inadvertently perpetuate responses based on stereotypes and biases patterns. This can lead to content that is skewed and alienates certain segments of the audience.

Much like anything else that is public facing, we recommend implementing internal process to detect biases. This may mean having a review process in place to cross-reference AI outcomes with multiple folks with different background and experiences. Another suggestion is to regularly audit AI prompts keeping diversity and inclusivity top of mind to ensure fairness and accuracy.

Beyond the inbox: Integrating email marketing with other digital marketing strategies

As valuable as email marketing is, 72% of customers say they prefer to engage with brands through multiple channels. By coordinating email marketing efforts with other channels, marketers can build engaging and cohesive experiences for customers. In the same way that all conversations with a friend feel the same - whether they’re in person, over text, or on the phone - a holistic digital marketing strategy allows marketers to create space for immersive interactions that meet customers where they're at.

The future of email marketing lies in its integration with other marketing channels. Some standout ways to do this include:

  • Landing pages: For marketers, landing pages helps lead customers to take a desired action, increase conversion. For users, this cohesive integration offers a smooth transition from email to a browsing experience where they can find more information that helps them make educated decisions.
  • Social media: Marketers can leverage the power of social sharing, UGC, and email marketing to amplify their reach and establish a balance of nurturing new and existing audiences. For customers, this means a seamless way to engage with one brand regardless of the channel they prefer, fostering a sense of community.
  • Content marketing and SEO: Email campaigns can drive traffic to valuable content resources, such as blog posts, whitepapers, videos, and infographics. For customers, this means having an easy way to acquire new knowledge and interact with the brands they love.

Embracing the future of email marketing

Change is inevitable in all aspects of life and marketing is no exception, but this doesn’t mean you need to throw out your old playbook. Rather, it's about recognizing how the landscape if evolving and adapting. As mentioned today, some of the key areas driving the future of email marketing include AI and automation, multichannel marketing, and the emphasis on enhanced interactivity. While these might seem like heavy strategies to implement, know that you don't have to do it alone.

At Beefree, we're dedicated to empowering marketers with the tools and resources needed to thrive in this dynamic environment. Our intuitive HTML email builder, AI copy assistant, and wide range of email and landing page templates support marketers in the search of innovative solutions to respond to the shift in the market's need.

To find out more, sign up for Beefree today!

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