Features

Pro Tip: Customizing Content Based on Device

Direct Mail’s built-in templates are engineered to look great across a variety of devices and screen sizes. Even better, Direct Mail’s built-in editor ensures that any customizations, changes, or redesigns you make continue to look their best on all devices—with no extra work required on your part. If you’re a power user, though, you might find yourself wanting to customize your subscriber’s email experience even further based on what device they use to read your email. If that’s you, check out today’s pro-tip:

Did you know that you can show different content to your subscribers based on the kind of device they are reading your email on? This can be useful for customizing the layout or design of your newsletter for large or small screens. For example, the “Dive In” template that comes with Direct Mail uses this feature to show a slightly different header when the email is viewed on a mobile device.

Here’s how to do it (you must be using one of our modern templates):

  1. Click on the section that you want to customize
  2. Click on the right arrow at the bottom of the pop-up window
  3. Click on the “Visibility” pop-up menu and choose Desktop and Mobile, Desktop Only, or Mobile Only

You can use the Preview window‘s “Simulate Screen Size” feature to check out the results!

Tip: Previewing Before You Send

Did you know that you can use the Preview window to see what your final email will look like for each recipient? Click the Preview button in the toolbar to show the Preview window, then take a look at these three buttons:

  1. The “Previous/Next Address” buttons step through your mailing list. If you have any mail-merge tags in your email (like “first name”) or dynamic content, the preview will show you exactly how your message will be merged for the selected recipient.
  2. The “Simulate Screen Size” button shows you what your message looks like when it is resized down to different mobile-sized screens (including iPhone, Samsung, and iPad sizes)
  3. The “View on iPhone/iPad” button actually sends a preview directly to the iPhone in your pocket (or iPad on your desk). You’ll need to have the Stamps app installed on your device.

Making Your Email Accessible

If you’re like us, you’re always searching for the perfect combination of subject lines, photos, content, and more that will maximize the reach and impact of your email campaigns. These are all key considerations, but you might be missing out on some simple tweaks that will help you connect with an important subset of your mailing list: visually impaired or physically disabled subscribers. Here are some simple tips that will not only make your email accessible to them, but better for everyone, as well.

Add Image Descriptions or “Alt Text”

One of the easiest things you can do is make sure that each image in your email has a text-only description (also known as “alt text”). These descriptions are used in a variety of ways: screen-reading software (like VoiceOver on the Mac or iOS) can read the descriptions to the user using text-to-speech technology, email clients display the descriptions when the user has turned off image loading, and devices that don’t support HTML email (like Apple Watch) show them as part of the plain text version of your email. Adding a text-only description is easy, just click on the image and fill out the text box at the top:

Screenshot of the image editor popover

You may find it useful to use the Preview window to see which images in your email are still missing descriptions. You can use the “Show/Hide Images” button in the toolbar of the Preview window to toggle images on and off:

Screenshot highlighting the "Hide Images" toolbar button in the Preview window

Avoid Low Contrast Colors

This tip is especially important for text blocks in your email. Subscribers with declining eyesight may find it difficult to read text that is placed on a low-contrast background. For example, light gray text on a white background (or dark gray text on a black background). For examples of text blocks that have sufficient contrast, take a look at the templates that come built-in to Direct Mail.

Screenshot of an email with low-contrast text

It’s easy to adjust the colors in your email. If you are using one of Direct Mail’s modern templates, just click the “Fonts & Colors” button in the message editor toolbar. If you are using a different template, select the text and click the color picker icon in the message editor toolbar.

Bump Up the Font Size

Small font sizes may be too difficult to read (even for normally sighted readers), which might dissuade subscribes from diving into your great content. Although sizes vary by font, a good rule of thumb is to go no smaller than 14pt or 16pt. This guideline is especially important when it comes to the unsubscribe link—don’t make it hard to find! It is never a good idea to make the unsubscribe link difficult to find, because you only end up angering subscribers and inviting spam complaints.

The templates that come built-in to Direct Mail include good examples of proper font sizes. You can adjust font sizes in the “Fonts & Colors” panel. Pro-tip: click on the “Fonts” popup menu to see font combinations that look great and can be applied to your email with just one click (modern templates only).

Screenshot of the "Colors & Fonts" panel in Direct Mail

Direct Mail works great with VoiceOver!

VoiceOver icon

Not only does Direct Mail make it easy to create accessible emails, it’s also a very accessible app itself. We’ve put a lot of care into making sure that Direct Mail works great with VoiceOver, Apple’s technology for assisting low vision users navigate and use apps. Every part of Direct Mail, from the message editor to campaign reports, is accessible to users of all abilities. If you know someone that could benefit from this attention to accessibility, spread the word!

Conclusion

As an email marketer, you have many different variables you can tune and tweak to get great results. These accessibility tips will help you reach an even larger chunk of your list, and will make your emails better for everyone in the process. We hope you take advantage, and pass the word along!

Quick Tip: Comparing Campaign Reports

Here’s a quick tip that appeared in our May 2016 newsletter. Don’t want to miss the next one? Sign up for our newsletter here.

Want a super easy way to compare the results of a recent email campaign to campaigns that you sent in the past? In Direct Mail’s “Reports” tab, simply select two or more campaign reports from the list at the top of the window. As you do so, Direct Mail will reveal a table that shows how the selected campaigns compare to each other across a variety of metrics. You can also click on the “Charts” section for a visual comparison of open and click performance across your campaigns.

To select multiple reports, just hold down the command key on your keyboard while you click.

Hold down the command or shift keys and click to select more than one campaign report
Hold down the command or shift keys and click to select more than one campaign report

Weekly Tips Roundup: June 3

Whether you’re new to Direct Mail or a seasoned professional, you’re bound to learn something new from our @directmailmac Twitter feed. We’ve started posting daily tips on how to get the most out of all the features packed into Direct Mail. Every week or so, we’ll roll up the recent tips and post them here to our blog, too.

Many of our customers have discovered new features they didn’t know about, while others have learned great time-saving tricks. Take a look and let us know what you think!

Schedule your email campaign to send itself at a later date

View your email campaign reports on the go with our iOS app

Save time with handy multi-touch gestures

Organize and archive your messages (and autoresponders) with easy-to-use folders

Turn your Facebook Page fans into email subscribers

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