It’s been more than 40 years since the first email message was sent, and the look and feel of an email have come a long way since then. These days, design and fonts play a critical role in getting your email marketing message front and center with your subscribers. And fonts, in particular, are a tricky beast to personalize to your brands.
Fonts are an essential way to reflect your brand personality. Yet, in the digital space, specialized fonts require that recipients of your message “own” the same font on their device. But with the advent of “web fonts” and “web-safe” fonts, that’s not the case anymore.
Web Fonts vs. Web-Safe Fonts – What’s the Difference?
Like, you are using web-safe fonts in your emails (particularly your personal emails). Fonts like Arial, Verdana, Georgia, Times New Roman, and Courier are deemed “web-safe” or “email-safe” because they are installed by default on just about every computer, device, and operating system there is.
Web-Safe fonts should not be confused with Web fonts. Web fonts are not installed on every operating system and device. That said, oftentimes, you’ll find Web fonts are embedded into web browsers and downloaded into a user’s browser through rendering and applied to text.
The advantage of web fonts is the increased flexibility and versatility to make your text more attractive and provide more of a brand experience.
Where Can I Find Web Fonts?
Google Fonts is one of the easiest sources to find web fonts. You’re able to download the fonts for free and use them how you like—in Adobe Photoshop, Sketch, etc.
You can also choose from web fonts from paid services like the following:
You can also use a proprietary font by hosting it on an online hosting platform and linking to it. However, often when including a custom web font, you’ll need to license it. Generally, the costs for licensing web fonts depend on the number of monthly opens.
Adding Web Fonts to Your Email
An important note: Downloading a web font to your computer does not mean it will render properly in your subscribers’ inboxes. You’ll need to add the web font into the code of your email in some form.
There are three primary methods to do so:
1. Use @import
@import may be the easiest method to import web fonts into your email. Just add the below-mentioned code within the head tag of your email, preferably at the top of <style>.
@import url(‘https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=<fontname>’); If using Google fonts
@import url(‘custom url where the font is hosted’);
You can get the URL from your web font service. For companies hosting the font themselves, the link has to be directed to the address of web font file.
2. Use <link> tag
Similar to @import method, the href value is either determined by the web font service or the address of the hosted server of the font.
There are two things to consider when choosing between the <link> method and the @import method: Support and Load Time.
The <link> method is supported by AOL Mail, Native Android mail App (not Gmail app), Apple Mail, iOS Mail, Outlook 2000 and Outlook.com App.
The @import method delays the loading of the web font that’s being imported until the HTML in which it’s embedded gets fully loaded. The <link> method loads the resource inline. If your web font file is particularly large, the @import method may be a better bet given that the email gets loaded even if the web font is “on its way.” If the web font is smaller, then the <link> method may be sufficient.
3. @font-face Method
Five file formats are mainly available in the online web font services.
Emails work the best with .woff format. Using the @font-face method enables you to choose the file format you wish to import.
font-family:'Gill Sans MT';
src:local('Gill Sans MT-Regular'), url(link) format('woff');
Example of Web Fonts in Email
Fortnum & Mason uses at least one web font in their email text:
Email Web Font Compatibility
Web fonts are compatible in the following email clients:
Native Android mail App (not Gmail app)
As you can see, many email clients (and notably some of the bigger one, like Gmail) don’t support web fonts. This is why it’s important to provide a fallback or “default” font for your subscribers who won’t get to enjoy the unique experience.
Choosing the Right Fallback Font
Your fallback font should match as closely as possible to your email design and the web font you chose. For example: If your web font is a serif font, your fallback font should also be a serif font.
To be safe, you should also choose a fallback font that has roughly the same vertical height (or x-height) of your chosen web font. This way, your overall design doesn’t suffer too much from lack of web font support.
To get a clearer idea on web fonts and their fallback fonts, check out CSS Font Stack.
Outlook Issue with Web Fonts
To put it kindly, Outlook is the one email client that does everything… “differently.”
Outlook won’t fallback to a font you choose out of the box. Instead, it will fall back to Times New Roman.
Use the class fallback-text if you have your web font family as below:
<td class=”fallback-text” style=”font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Arial, sans-serif;”>Open sans font for all!</td>
Remember to TEST
As with everything we recommend when it comes to your email marketing, test your web fonts and fallback fonts. Every email client renders web fonts differently—so test to ensure your creativity doesn’t go unnoticed.
Are Web Fonts Worth It?
Look at your mailing list and see how many subscribers view your emails in an email client supporting web fonts. For example, if your subscriber list is heavy on iPhone use, then using web fonts may be worth the effort. If a predominant portion of your list is on Gmail (which doesn’t support web fonts), then perhaps it isn’t worth the effort.
An Alternative to Web Fonts in Email
Is there a font you REALLY want to use? Put it in an image and provide suitable alt tags and inline styling to format it. Remember this: Make sure you maintain the 80/20 text-to-image ratio while doing so. Images-only emails can create their own issues.
If you find it’s worth exploring, using unique web fonts in emails can be innovative and a great way for your messages to stand out from the crowd. If you need help moving forward with web fonts in your email marketing campaigns, InboxArmy would be more than happy to assist you.
Email marketing is part art, part science, and part strategy. Art comes from creativity and an understanding of the balance of design and message delivery. Science comes in with research and leverage of subscriber psychology. And finally, strategy focuses the art and science on conversions and ROI.
InboxArmy is here to help you find that balance between the three with five evidence-based email marketing tips that are sure to work wonders for your email marketing program.
1. Your List (and Good Segmentation) Comes First.
Segmenting your list and pushing more targeted content can boost open and click-through rates for your email campaigns. MailChimp puts forward the evidence for the effectiveness of segmented campaigns.
With better segmentation, you should see vastly improved subscriber engagement metrics. And engagement should ultimately lead to more email conversions and ROI.
2. Personalize Your Emails
To many e-marketers, segmentation is synonymous with personalization. The truth is personalized emails go well beyond segmentation and “Hello [First Name].”
Using a subscriber’s first name is just the start. You can also personalize your emails by crafting targeted content that factors in subscribers’ demographics, buyer personas, past purchases, and a host of other data points.
Is it worth the effort? You bet. Personalized emails can bring in about 58% of total business revenue. You’ll raise your email marketing standards and get recognized handsomely by your subscribers.
Note: InboxArmy and FreshMail put together an eBook on how you can leverage data in building smarter email marketing programs. Download this eBook now >>
3. Design for Mobile Devices
More than 50% email opens are recorded on mobile devices. If your emails are not coding to render well no matter the device—but particularly on mobile devices — you’re losing subscriber attention (and losing ROI).
Responsive design and code is only the start. You can utilize a “tappable” CTA, short and catchy subject lines, minimalist designs, and even fixed CTAs to make sure your email message and its ultimate purpose are conveyed effectively regardless of device.
Triggered emails work wonders. Why? Because they’re sent based on actions your subscribers have taken.
In fact, triggered emails achieve 624% higher conversion response for the same number of email sends when compared to “batch and blast” emails. It also garners about 381% higher click rate, and 180% higher post-click conversion rate.
These emails work because of high relevance. They strike the right chord with your subscribers and direct them towards conversion. And the best part? You can automate them.
5. Make Sure Testing is in Your Arsenal
Every brand is different. Every list is different. Incorporate A/B testing to learn what types of messaging work for you.
There’s no “right” subject line length, but the safest bet is to keep it as short and concise as possible. This is particularly important to keep in mind for your mobile email viewers where subject line truncation comes into effect.
Try to cut down on characters without changing the meaning. For example, instead of “Half Price,” you can write “50% off.”
Pro Tip: Utilize your preheader text to convey more information and add more “oomph” to your main CTA.
2. Take a descriptive approach (that matches your brand personality)
Sometimes, a descriptive subject line that clearly conveys the purpose of the email brings better results than a fancy one. Just make sure it matches your brand personality.
I recently received an email from Terrain with the subject line
“An all-weather sofa for outdoor rooms.”
Simple, yet engaging.
Chubbies sends out emails with “funny” or “unorthodox” subject lines every once in a while. Check out this subject line:
“Me to me: Open one more”
The From Name on this email jumped out at me as well:
Me: You opened enough emails today (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This would certainly pop out of the cacophony that is my inbox. You can see if a similar approach works for your brand!
Pro Tip: It was disclosed at Email Evolution Conference (1-3 May 2017) at New Orleans that there is no such things as trigger words anymore.
3. Personalize your subject line
“Hey *YourName*! Exclusive 50% off for you”
Seeing your name in a subject line is a great way for marketers to grab your attention. It always feels good to be addressed by your name rather than a simple “Hey”.
Subject lines personalized with a recipient’s first name can lift open rates by 20%. Using personalization as part of automated email programs is also a great way to get your exclusive birthday discounts or cart abandonment emails to stand out.
Pro Tip: You can even use the recipient’s location in the subject line to add a more “local” feel.
4. Make wise use of emojis
When done strategically, emojis can add a visual appeal to your email and subject line.
Use emojis that are relevant to your offer. Avoid over-emoji-ing your subject line and email content. Moreover, make sure that the emojis you do use render correctly across the email clients used by your subscribers.
Pro Tip: Employ A/B testing with one subject line with an emoji and one without.
5. Add “emotion” to your subject line
Humans often get carried away by emotions, don’t we? Use emotional appeal to get your subscribers to open your email. Don’t sound too desperate or pushy but subtly convey a sense of urgency through the subject line.
Create the “Fear Of Missing Out” by choosing the right words. Have a look at this subject line by Travelocity:
“Rooms are booking up fast! Find great hotel deals now >>”
Pro Tip: Don’t use too many exclamation marks or CAPS LOCK in the subject line as it turns the subscribers off.
Keep your subject lines long enough to bring your offer or necessary information to the table, but short enough to arouse interest and curiosity with your subscribers. When in doubt, test your subject lines and determine what types of subject lines work with your mailing list, and what types simply don’t.
Need help with your email marketing subject line strategy? InboxArmy can offer you email marketing strategy packages within your budget that can help boost ROI. Learn more now >>
It’s human nature to love interaction that inspires purpose and creativity.
As opposed to plain PowerPoint slides, we embrace visually rich presentations more. This same idea holds true in the world of email marketing. That’s why email marketers and their email marketing templates have transcended to a world of interactivity in email.
Why Add Interactivity in Emails?
Interactivity can transform your emails and take user engagement to a whole new level. Instead of simple emails, these “mailable microsites” can be a magic wand that delight your customers and bring you great returns.
Here’s why you should try your hand at interactive emails:
1. Grab subscriber attention
Interactive elements like GIFs can instantly catch subscribers’ attention and get them hooked into your email for a few more seconds—precious eyeball time for any marketer!
2. Boost click-through rates and email conversions
Interactivity arouses curiosity in the subscribers’ minds and better tempts them to click through your email, thereby driving more email conversions.
3. Enhance user experience
Interactive elements like dropdown and accordions help subscribers find all the relevant information inside the inbox without the need to go to the browser.
4. Enable optimal use of space
Displaying multiple products through GIFs, accordions, and dropdowns lets email marketers convey sizeable content in limited space. As a result, consuming information becomes all the more effortless for the subscriber.
How Can I Add Interactivity?
Let’s talk about the most loved interactive elements of the present times.
1. Animated GIF
Animated GIFs add a bit of fun and thrill to your emails. You can experiment with types of animations that make your call to action more interesting.
USE CASE:GIFs can be especially effective when used by retailers and ecommerce marketers for engagement.
The Accordion feature allows you to stack a great of content in a small amount of space, allowing your subscribers to click into the content they want to view. (It’s very similar to that of a mobile version of a website, after all). You can organize your content into these sections and allow the accordion to deliver it. A nice benefit of this feature is that you’ll have the ability to track the sections that receive the most clicks, giving you further data on what content your subscribers are looking for.
USE CASE: Retailers who feature multiple categories of products can use accordions to allow customers to find the specific categories they’re looking for. Media and technology companies can also use the accordion to display content according to the desired genre or field.
Similar to an accordion, the Dropdown enables easy navigation for your subscribers across various products or services. Email marketers from various industries can show tabbed information through dropdowns.
Slider is a unique interactive element that allows you to display multiple products all at once. A common element on websites and blogs, this feature has become an option in email templates.
USE CASE: Sliders make it easy for retailers, ecommerce marketers, banks, automobile companies, and travel websites to display their various offerings. The sliding element can keep the eye fixed on the email.
Countdowns create a sense of urgency and hit on the “Fear of Missing Out”. It can effectively promote a discount offer available for a limited time, events or product launches covering several industries.
If you think adding these elements can enhance your email marketing campaign and give your brand an impressive personality, InboxArmy can help you out.
Mother’s Day is that wonderful time of year where we commemorate all the selfless love and tireless efforts of our Moms — and marketers try to find the right tone to generate maximum revenue.
Think it’s worth your while to put your best foot forward in your email marketing? Here’s why you should:
Consumers are likely to spend an average of $186.39 for Mother’s Day, up from $172.22 in 2016. 85% of customers are expected to splurge on the big day with total spending reaching $23.6 billion, the highest in 14 years.
Mother’s Day is a great opportunity for the email marketers to build their brand image and generate greater conversions by connecting with their subscribers on a personal level.
Here are some email marketing tips that can help you in enticing your subscribers to make a purchase.
1. Use Emotional Appeal and Urgency in Your Subject Lines
Mothers can conjure up all kinds of emotions in their kids. Leverage these emotions (in particular, guilt and love) in your subject lines to drive action. You can also target the procrastinators in your listand offer them “Free Shipping” or “Last Chance to Get Discount.” These emotional triggers play a major role in driving email conversions.
2. Maximize Your Preheader
Highlight your main offers like discount coupons and free shipping in the preheader—or simply write a warm Mother’s Day wish.
3. Make Your Email Content Interesting
Make the email content interesting with images or GIFs and relevant copy supporting them – as per your brand and industry. Include product recommendations according to the gender and age demographics. Also, take into consideration past purchases to determine what the Moms would like to receive.
REMINDER: Your subject line, preheader, and email copy should all be in sync. Your email copy should be such that the subscriber gets enticed to scroll through the entire email and click through your desired call to action.
4. Try a Unique CTA
Put on your thinking caps and test a unique CTA like “GIFT TO MOM” or “MAKE MOM SMILE” instead of the usual CTAs like “BUY NOW” or “SHOP NOW”. Make sure the CTA color matches the overall theme of your email but still stands out.
Sur La Table tries a different angle:
Sur La Table has made brilliant use of preheader text to entice the subscribers to open the email with an emotional appeal. The images, content and CTAs are perfectly in sync with the overall theme of the email which makes it a winner.
Check out another email example by GODIVA:
Preheader text brilliantly cross-promotes the giveaways for Administrative Professionals’ Day followed by a banner incorporated with a CTA.
They offer subscribers a Mother’s Day Gift Guide to help them decide on the perfect gift for Mom. That’s a great idea to generate more conversions. The entire email is so beautifully designed that the subscribers are surely tempted to check out their chocolates and making a purchase.
If Mother’s Day is a holiday where your product makes sense to promote, don’t forget about this highly marketable opportunity. If you’re not sure about how to approach Mother’s Day or other upcoming holidays (Father’s Day is in a month!), InboxArmy can help.