Optimizing for Gmail: Annotate Your Promotion Email

2.9 billion. That’s the projected number of email users by

the end of 2019
according to Statista.

And, according to the same report, 320 billion emails will be
sent per day by the end of 2021 (the current number stands at 2.69
billion).

That’s a lot of emails.


320 billion emails will be sent per day by the end of 2021 (the current number stands at 2.69 billion).

Image Source:
Statista

Bringing it closer to home,
research by Radicati
shows the average office worker receives
122 emails a day. For marketers, this means the competition is
fierce.

To simplify inboxes, Google came up with a brilliant idea:
dividing the Gmail inbox into 3 tabs. Gmail, by using powerful
algorithms, compartmentalizes emails into primary, social, and
promotional tabs.

As a marketer, your promotion email will often find itself in
the promotion tab.

When Google introduced this system, many marketers feared their
emails wouldn’t be seen. However, the opposite is actually true.

Return Path
studied 3 million Gmail users and discovered they
actually use the promotions tabs. What’s more, this new tab
improved promotional email deliverability and open rates while
decreasing spam complaints.

To give you an edge in attracting your subscribers’ attention,
Gmail has introduced annotations in the promotions tab.

Email annotation: What it is and why you should use it

Annotations are a way of highlighting your promotional emails in
the promotions tab. According to Google, annotating your
promotional email allows you to add key information like images,
your logo, promo codes, expiration dates on deals, and a whole lot
more.


annotating your promotional email allows you to add key information like images, your logo, promo codes, expiration dates on deals, and a whole lot more.

Image Source: Google

By doing this, you can bring your promotional email to life.

Email annotations are a way of helping you drive engagement with
your subscribers, thereby leading to an increase in conversions.
And annotating your promotional emails isn’t all that difficult,
either. You can do it simply by adding
JSON-LD
code as a script tag in the head of your emails’
HTML.

One thing to note: Annotating your emails will not result in
your promotion email magically landing in the primary tab of your
subscriber’s Gmail account. If, however, your email is filtered
into the primary tab, the annotations will not show. The
annotations feature only works in the promotional tab.

While the annotations feature is great news for marketers, it
also has another implication—fierce competition.

That’s why, if your promotional email is to perform well,
you’ll have to learn how to optimize your email marketing for
Gmail.

How to optimize for Gmail

With Gmail’s new annotation feature, you’ll be able to
customize five elements. These include:

  • Image preview URL
  • Deal badge
  • Sender logo URL
  • Promo code
  • Expiration date

In order for your promotional email to stand out from the other
mail in your subscriber’s promotion tab, you will have to
optimize these elements.

Let’s take a look at how you can do just that.

Image preview

The image preview section, as the name suggests, is where you
add zest to your annotation by adding an image. While you have
various options when optimizing your email for Gmail, the image
preview is a must if you really want to grab your customers’
attention.

Don’t neglect the image section. People are largely visual,
and people’s actions can often be influenced by colors and
graphics. When it comes to optimizing your promotional email, an
image will immediately draw the reader’s eyes to your email. In
fact, research has proved over and over again that images play a
big role when it comes to
increasing conversions
.

So when you annotate promotional emails, make sure you include
an image.

But to increase the chances of your email being opened, it could
take more than a stock image. You will need to pick the right kind
of images. Product images and lifestyle images have a reputation
for performing particularly well when it comes to grabbing
attention and inspiring action. Besides carefully picking the type
of images you will use in your annotation, you’ll also need to

choose quality images that represent your brand
.

When it comes to image size, don’t worry much since images
will automatically be center-cropped. And for your promotional
emails to do well, avoid using the same image twice. Keep them your
images and graphics fresh and new to have a greater impact.

Besides, your recipient sees the same image twice, they might
disregard your email thinking it’s a duplicate.

Deal badge

The deal badge section allows you to highlight your promotions.
For example, you can highlight your discount, free shipping, or any
other promotion you’re running.


The deal badge section allows you to highlight your promotions. For example, you can highlight your discount, free shipping, or any other promotion you’re running.

Image Source: Google

In order to optimize this section, make sure to keep the message
as simple as possible. There’s no character limit in the deal
badge section. However, when the text space is full, your text will
be truncated. And that means the impact of your message is reduced.
20% off (shown above) is a good example.

Using too much text in this area will reduce the impact of your
subject line and could overwhelm your reader. That increases the
risk of them being distracted and reduces the chance of them
clicking into your email.

The best way to avoid cluttering your deal badge section is to
avoid run-on sentences. Highlight your deal and leave it at that.
No need to include other information like “while stocks last,”
for example.

Another pro tip: As tempting as it may be, don’t use the deal
badge as a call to action.

What is the one thing you should keep in mind when optimizing
the deal badge area? Keep it as simple as possible.

Discount code

If you’re running a discount as your promotion, you’ll most
likely have a discount code. The discount code area is where this
information goes. And just as you did in the deal badge section,
keep the code simple.

The shorter, the better. Short codes are ideal since there’s a
risk of long codes being truncated. Besides, long codes discourage
customers who are unsure about your product.

On the other hand, if your promotion doesn’t involve a
discount, leave this section as is. Don’t try to repurpose it,
especially since it will say, “code” before the text. This is
even true when the text isn’t a code.

If you try to repurpose this section, you could confuse your
customer and appear unprofessional to subscribers.

In short, use the discount code section for discount codes.
Period.

Expiration date

The expiration date section does more than just alert your
customer when your deal ends.


The expiration date section does more than alert your customer when your deal is ending.

Image Source: Google

If you’re running a promotion, an annotated promotion email
can be very valuable to you, especially the expiration date
feature. This feature affords your email 2 chances of appearing at
the top. The first time is when you first send it, and the second
time is when your deal has 3 days left before expiration.

In order to optimize this section of your annotated email for
Gmail’s promotion tab:

  • Set your time zone
  • Include a starting time and the time your deal ends (in a
    24-hour format)

Failure to do so will result in Google using its default
settings. Depending on which part of the world you and your
customers live, that may not be best for you.

According to Google, don’t leave an expired date in the
annotation. This may cause the email to be treated like an old
offer. In other words, it won’t populate into a bundle.

Logo URL

The logo URL is a great way of quickly letting your subscriber
know who the email is from.


The logo URL is a great way of quickly letting your subscriber know who the email’s coming from.

The logo will only be seen in the email preview, but it does
help make your email look professional and gain trust.

The only optimization tip for this section is this: Always use
an https:// URL, as this proves your URL is secure.

Sending an annotated promotion email: Is it really worth it?

Email annotation is arguably the future of email marketing. Not
only does this process help you drive engagement, but when done
well, it’s bound to increase your deliverability, open rates,
click-through-rates, and ultimately, your bottom line.

The best part about this process is its design. Annotation was
created in a scalable fashion, which means you can easily add it to
your promotion
email templates
or HTML. This allows you to add your annotated
promotional email into your marketing campaign, strategically
during the customer journey.

The result?

Meeting your goals. After all, email annotation is not strictly
limited to deals and discounts.

Bottom line—optimizing for Gmail by annotating your emails is
definitely worth it. And that’s especially true when you consider
its cost: free.

Wrap up

Ready to conquer Gmail inboxes? The answer lies in an annotated
promotion email and luckily for all of us, optimizing emails for
Gmail isn’t that hard.

When done right, your customers won’t be able to resist your
promotions.

If you want more tips on giving your email marketing
strategy a power-up, here’s a guide on .

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Optimizing for Gmail: Annotate Your Promotion Email