ExactTarget Inspires with Relevant Content & Colorful Branding

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Providing the fact that Justine & I are currently at ExactTarget Connections (#ET12), we found it fitting to feature one of their emails as our Inspiration post this week — especially since we received an awesome email from them last Friday!

RELEVANT & HELPFUL CONTENT

My favorite aspect of this email is how relevant the content is to me. I received this email on Friday, which was 3 days before I flew out to Indianapolis for Connections. It was perfect timing because I was planning on packing over the weekend and, low and behold, ExactTarget included information about what to wear and what the weather was going to be like in Indianapolis while I was there!

The email also broke down important information about transportation to and from the airport, where to check in for registration, morning walks and runs, and updates to the Breakout Day sessions. In addition, the email also provided an email address so subscribers can follow up with any addition questions that they may have. What’s better than that?

The email was extremely relevant & helpful and I’ve referred back to it numerous times since I received it.

SUCCESSFUL BRANDING

Another great aspect of this email is how well it emphasizes the “orange” of the ExactTarget brand. Not only are the header and footer orange, but the icons/images in the body of the email, as well as some important links, are also orange. The email has ExactTarget written all over it and this definitely coincides with the color scheme of the conference — orange! Everywhere I turn there is the ExactTarget name and color. I really like how the email is so synonymous with the actual conference. There are even orange flowers and soap in the bathrooms!

Photo credit: Lindsay Lee Siovaila

IMAGES-OFF OPTIMIZATION

Another great aspect of this email is how great it looks with images off!

While the images in the header, footer, and body of the email are no longer displayed with images-off (obviously!), everything else about the email essentially remains unchanged. Since numerous email clients disable images by default, it is important that emails are optimized for images off so that subscribers can still receive the pertinent information of the email if images are not present. ExactTarget successfully optimizes for images off — the email maintains its clear hierarchy and highlights all of the important, relevant information to subscribers regardless of whether images are present or not.

Another great aspect of the image-disabled email is that they use an orange background color in the header and footer of the email so the borders are still there regardless of whether images are present or not. In addition, ExactTarget also uses styled ALT text in the header and footer of the email so that there is a description of the image when images are disabled. The styled ALT text in the header is, “CONNECTIONS 2012,” and in the footer it is, “www.ExactTarget.com.” In both the header and footer, the ALT text inherited its style from the container cell.

Want more information on how to style ALT text and which email clients support it and which don’t? Check out Justine’s post, “The Ultimate Guide to Styled ALT Text in Email.”

BLUE LINKS ON IOS DEVICES

As Justine states in her post, “Banning Blue Links on iOS Devices,” it is not “uncommon to find phone numbers, addresses, and dates styled blue complete with an underline indicating a link when viewing email on an iPhone or iPad. These links trigger different types of events based on the pattern detected in the text (making a call, launching a map, or creating a calendar event).” Since ExactTarget provides subscribers with important times and dates for Connections, there are numerous blue links in the email when viewed on an iOS device.

While it may be handy for Connections attendees to be able to add dates and times for certain events to their calendars, the blue links definitely take away from ExactTarget’s branding and color scheme. In order to remove or restyle the blue links, ExactTarget could have have added a simple bit of embedded CSS in the <head> of their HTML. This fix could change the color of the link to better tie in with ExactTarget’s branding.

WHERE’S THE PREHEADER?

One of the only major places of the email that could use a little help is the preheader since, well, there isn’t one! Since some email clients (Gmail, Outlook, iPhone, Windows Mobile 7) will display a portion of your preheader text as “preview” or “snippet” text, it’s important to use these few lines of text to your advantage. Readers only spend about 3-4 seconds deciding whether they are going to open & read your email, so the preheader is a perfect place to get your subscribers’ attention, sum up your email and include the call to action.

Unfortunately, ExactTarget didn’t use a preheader in this email, so the “preview” text picks up the first few lines of the email — which is the ALT tag, “Connections 2012;” “View with images;” and “Forward this.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

What do you think of this email? Are you as impressed as we are? If you’re at ExactTarget, Justine & I would love to see you, so tweet us at @litmusapp or @meladorri and we’ll meet up!

SUBMIT YOUR EMAILS TO BE FEATURED!

Do you have an email that you’d like us to feature in our inspiration series? Send it to us at inspiration@litmus.com!

  • CBLemuel

    do you believe that too much/complicated css and html coding might be filtered as spam.

    • Lauren_Litmus

      Thanks for your comment! I think it’s a somewhat “old school” idea that emails with large file sizes (complicated CSS & HTML coding, such as adding an animated GIF in your email) will get you blocked or cause deliverability problems (kind of like the theory that including the word “free” in your subject line will get you in the spam folder). However, deliverability these days is more about your sending practices than the technical aspects of your email (file size, text/image ratio, etc.). With that being said, if your permission or sending practices are already poor, an email with a large file size may contribute to your woes.

      Hope that answers your question!

      • CBLemuel

        thank you.