Email Markup Language: A Guide to Inbox Actions and Highlights

If you’ve used a mobile boarding pass to fly recently, confirmed a hotel reservation or even reset your login password all directly from your inbox, you’ve already seen email markup language in action.

Markup language in email marketing can make it easier than ever for your prospects and customers to take action – with this innovative process, you can place calls to action and options right into your email subject line.

Learning more about this advanced email marketing method can help you implement it for your own business and get ahead of the competition, too.

While big brands have been quick to adopt and implement email markup, mid-sized and smaller brands have not, providing you with a true edge over your competitors.

Not received an email with a call to action button yet?

You’re just not using Google or Gmail; these are the only clients that have adopted Schema.org for email so far.

Email markup is already having a big impact on the way consumers interact with brands and email.

What is email markup language?

Email markup language allows you to offer your prospects, customers, and recipients fast, easy, and convenient ways to take action.

While some may be unfamiliar with the term email markup language, another way to refer to this feature is email actions.

Sometimes, this phrasing is considered more helpful to marketing teams simply for the fact that the clickable calls to action are easily identified by the button or highlight that appear in your email’s subject line.

You can use email markup for:

  • Confirming appointments
  • Scheduling calls
  • Confirming reservations
  • Providing flight or appointment details
  • Completing purchases
  • Resetting passwords

While email markup is often used for completing a purchase, brands are also using it to confirm reservations, schedule appointments, and request information.

The benefits of using email markup

When you offer actions right in the email inbox, your subscribers have it easy.

The user simply clicks a button to take immediate action.

For them, this is a huge time saver and cuts out the hassle of opening the email, visiting your site and then acting.

For you, email markup provides an easy way to boost your conversion rates.

Right now, the average email open rate is hovering around 17.92%, with click-through rates at about 2.69%. Remember, when you have a lower open rate, you naturally have a lower CTR.

Adding email markup language and a call to action in the actual subject line can help boost this key metric and as a result, your revenues and leads generated, too.

Email markup makes it easy to interact with both customers and prospects and provide them with outstanding and convenient service.

When you use markup, you give the people who receive your emails and your customers a richer and more convenient inbox experience.

Not everyone can send and receive email markup right now. If you’re one of those who can’t make use of email markup at this point in time, you should still be aware of what it is, how it works, and the future potential of this dynamic interface.

Examples of email markup actions

Email makeup actions are wonderful not only for the consumer, but the sender as well because they help to simplify messages such as confirmations.

Below, we’ve listed several examples of how your brand can use email markup to serve customers better:

RSVP Actions

Have you planned an event, scheduled an appointment, or otherwise set up a specific session or experience with a customer?

Using Schema markup to RSVP allows your recipients to confirm attendance in seconds with a Google Calendar invitation.

One-Click Actions

One-click actions are great on several different levels, especially for those shopping on your website.

Adding on-click actions to your marketing email subject line can do several different things, including:

  • Allow recipients to clip a coupon for a specific purchase
  • Confirm or update a subscription
  • Revisit a cart they may have left abandoned

Email markup actions can allow your consumers to do all this right from your email’s subject line in Gmail.

Add a Review

Want to boost your reviews on either your site or a given product?

Alternatively, are you simply looking for a quick and simple way for your consumers to leave feedback and testimonials?

Add an email markup button that makes it easy for your recipients to add stars and comment on reviews for your business without having to track down your website or the right page on their own.

“Go-to” Actions

Some things are too complex for Gmail but can instantly deliver the recipient to the correct location for the process.

Processes or data behind a paywall or inside the user’s account can’t be completed in Gmail, but can be launched from your email markup button, the user can then log in securely to complete the action.

For updating payment information, package tracking, resetting passwords, and opening discussions, your customer can launch an action right from their inbox and then complete it on your site.

Commonly Used Actions

Common calls to action that can be used include:

  • “View”
  • “RSVP”
  • “Reset Password”
  • “Update Payment Info”
  • “View order”
  • “Complete Purchase”
  • “Track Package”
  • “Confirm Registration/Reservation”
  • “Confirm”
  • “View on”
  • “Review Transaction”

Examples of email markup highlights

Each of the industries below has incorporated email markup directly into the customer service process, making it more convenient than ever for their clients and customers to interact.

Hotel Highlight

For hotels, email markup is used to relay reservation information, to allow guests to update, cancel or change reservations and even to add notes about their trip.

Since most travelers need this information on the go, having it right in their inbox during travel and in the days leading up to the trip can eliminate confusion and ensure the customer always knows where they stand.

Restaurant Highlight

Restaurants, coffee shops, and cafes are using email markup to allow customers to easily schedule reservations, get details about the menu, specials and hours and even make changes to existing reservations with ease.

For the competitive industry, sending a customer to Google or another search engine or requiring them to take extra steps could result in the loss of a reservation or sale when the customer finds a competitor with an easier, more user-friendly setup.

Flight Highlight

Airlines may be the largest users of email markup so far, pushing basic flight information, check-in, online boarding passes, flight cancellation options, and more via email.

Travelers on the go can simply check the status and even take actions for their trip from their inbox.

As more travelers depend on mobile devices to navigate the airport and transportation zones, markup is a big hit for this industry.

Event Highlight

For those who buy tickets in advance, reminders can easily be accessed right from the inbox, along with seating confirmation, tickets, and more.

For those who haven’t purchased a ticket yet, the recipient can be directed to a secure location for purchase and reminded that only a select few tickets or spaces remain.

Shopping Highlight

E-commerce and brick and mortar retailers can use email markup to deliver receipts and basic order information, prompt a return visit, and even confirm deliveries.

This ensures that your customers are receiving their information in a quick and simple manner, which shows them that they are a priority to you and your business.

Order & Delivery Highlights

These highlights are particularly useful because they include options for displaying a customer’s basic order information, billing details and more.

Once a package has been sent out, tracking actions can help a consumer track their package as it moves through various checkpoints. By displaying basic shipping and delivery information, consumers can keep track of their orders as they are shipped out.

How do I start using email markup?

Since email markup only works with Google and Gmail, you’ll need to register with them and follow their requirements.

Here’s the form to complete the Gmail Schema Whitelist Request.

It is not difficult to get whitelisted, but it will take some time, so if you are considering using markup, start planning now to take advantage of all this process has to offer.

First, you need to register with Gmail to become whitelisted to use markup; to be whitelisted, you have to be a high-volume sender.

Google defines a high-volume sender as someone who sends at least 100 emails each day to Gmail addresses – and that has maintained that level for several weeks.

Your spam complaint rate also needs to be low; Google does not want to whitelist senders who could abuse the process or spam recipients.

Gmail Postmaster Tools can help you troubleshoot any issues you have in this area.

Email markup can only be used for the types of emails outlined above; these are usually transactional in nature.

You can’t use markup for bulk mailings or newsletters; only secure, https:// links will work for markup.

Every email you send needs to be DKIM or SPF authenticated and be sent from an email address that matches your authentication domain.

For sending, your emails need to come from a static email address.

You also need to comply with all existing Gmail Bulk Sender Guidelines.

While this list can seem overwhelming, an ESP like Delivra can handle most of these points for you automatically, making it far easier to take advantage of this unique selling opportunity.

Testing your email markup language

How can you make sure email markup is working the way it is supposed to?

The Email Markup Tester tool offered by Google makes it easy to paste your code right in and check for errors.

You can also send yourself a test email using your markup via Gmail. This helps to ensure that your markup is working correctly because it puts you in your customer’s shoes. Sending a test message to yourself will allow you to see exactly how a markup works and responds before you send it out to your emailing list.

Email markup currently works with Schema.org. This site is a collaboration between Google, Bing, Microsoft, Yandex, and Yahoo and designed to make emails better for recipients.

While tracking how well your own client base will respond can be tricky, the hefty buy-in from these big providers and a variety of industries ensures consumers will be seeing and interacting with Markup on a regular basis.

Another way to monitor the success of your email markup language is to monitor your email click-throughs and conversion rates carefully. If you begin seeing increases in both of these figures, then chances are, your audience is responding well to these simple to use actions.

Another way to monitor your audience’s reaction to your email markup is to ask them directly. Remember, your clients want to feel important to you, so sending them a feedback campaign on the addition of these email markups can help provide you with some valuable insights that you may otherwise miss out on.

If you send high volume campaigns, want to increase conversions or want to stay a step ahead of your competition, email markup can help.

Being aware of this approach can help you make the most of your email campaigns – and Delivra makes it easier than ever to incorporate this new technology right into your campaigns.

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