Our twitter chat with #emailgeeks revealed some interesting insights into balancing relevancy and creativity in email.

We recently held a twitter chat with our good friends ActionRocket (you may have even seen it and taken part!) Our #emailtalk was around staying relevant in the inbox, and how email marketers are managing to do this. What followed was over an hour of great engagement, ideas-sharing and thoughtful insights into what is a tricky balancing act for us as #emailgeeks.

Since the topic was so engaging, we wanted to dig a little deeper into some common themes that arose from the discussion. So let's examine them, and get some extra learnings

Dynamic content and 'non-stock' imagery are important to helping keep content creative and fresh.

Keeping content creative and fresh, whilst ensuring it is still accessible, is an equilibrium that email marketers are always striving to find, because the relevancy of content and features is always shifting! Whilst there are a few ways to try and achieve this, two came to the surface more prominently, and one of them might not be what many may have thought of.

Dynamic Content

This is perhaps one the best ways to generate engaging content that is fresh and relevant. Features like feeds or more advanced personalisation (such as product categories based on previous purchases) may be more suited to this task. They can drop new, engaging and relevant content directly into the subscriber's lap. Want to populate your fashion-based email with pictures of the latest trends from your instagram? No problem, use a live feed (either RSS or from a third-party like Liveclicker) to do so. Or recommend products and offers to your individual subscribers based on previous purchases or browsing. It's your content, but it's a live feed so it's the most up to date content you can provide. You can't get fresher than that!

Fashion brands tend to lean heavily on dynamic content, especially personalisation and feeds, to engage audiences.

Non-stock imagery

Perhaps most interesting is the desire for 'non-stock' imagery. Stock imagery has its place for brands, and the scale of offerings from companies like Unsplash, Shutterstock and even Adobe is big enough to avoid repeat images. However they can be seen as not carrying enough of the message in email because, as these images are not bespoke and in an age where brands endlessly strive to be unique, everything visual about a brand needs to say something directly related to it. Using sites like Pinterest and having a library of your own custom imagery (see Bulb as an example) can help shake this up and keep your visuals fresh and relevant to you.

Subscribers grow numb to the same thing - add a little excitement with fun and engaging features. 

It didn't take a lot of debate to agree on this, but finding a solution created some great ideas. What fun and engaging features can keep subscribers from losing their interest, and prevent repetitive emails? 

Image swaps and GIFS are a great way of adding some visual fun into your email. They are effective at drawing the eye and, especially for GIFS, speak to a more interactively-inclined audience. Another little feature we are seeing more of is the 'countdown clock' in promotional, offer-led emails. It's an effective feature to get your audience involved with an offer that is time sensitive. Moving iconography and backgrounds, playable short videos, even simple text highlights (read our blog post on this!) provide a little bit of fun and interest.

Features like a video / video link encourage interaction with the email's content, and can funnel audiences towards your website.

Of course, it is worth mentioning that all of these will not work for every brand. Some do not fit the tone and style of the brand, but there are enough options for everyone. However, there is a big caveat with everything you have just read. 

Not sending an email for the sake of it - what's the purpose, what does it solve, what value does it provide?

This really came through strongly whilst discussing adding fun features. Interactivity and the latest features and email gadgets are great for grabbing attention, but it shouldn't be the primary focus. Emails should always pivot around the message, and use the fun features as the conduit to this. 

There is a balance to be struck, but having access to the latest feature presents a pressure to get emails out using it without thinking through its purpose. And that can create scenarios where companies send emails with no real messaging or intent to their subscribers, leading to a lack of returned interest. Always ask yourself before embarking on creating an email campaign - what is the purpose of the email, what problem does this email solve for our subscribers, and/or what value does it provide? After you have filled these criteria, you can then position the fun and interactive content to compliment the message. 

How ActionRocket can help with creative design.

Need a helping hand to bring your email ideas to life? ActionRocket are a boutique team of email experts, they create award-winning marketing campaigns focusing on strategic thinking, creative ideas and customer journeys. Head over to their website and see what some of their clients have said about them.

How Taxi can help with interactive features in your emails.

Taxi for Email is revolutionising how email is made. It's an online tool that enables everyone on your marketing team to produce better email, quicker and at a larger scale. With the ability to construct best-in-class Email Design Systems, incredibly smart coding in the form of Taxi Syntax, and a supportive and easy-to-use editor, you and your team can build highly interactive emails easily, quickly and without error. Get in touch to see how Taxi can help your email design needs.

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