The Brainiac Guide to Welcome Email Automation

Emma’s a ‘winning workplace’

We're honored to be among Inc's 2011 top small company workplaces.

We're not ones to toot our own horns, really, but we feel like it's, uh, toot-worthy to announce that Emma just made Inc. magazine's list of the 50 best small company workplaces.

Get to know our fellow finalists and find inspiration aplenty to shape your own company's workplace.

While you're there, you can "like" our Inc. profile on Facebook, if you're feeling particularly likey, and help Emma move to the top of the list.

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Care to join our (award-winning! yay!) workplace? We're hiring all kinds of folks, so take a look at our openings and do some horn tooting of your own.

Emma’s design team is hiring, part deux

Attention, customer service gurus with a love for design and branding: Work with us!
Emma Design Consultants
Just your basic workday-funday with two of our lovely design consultants.

We're looking for a design consultant in Nashville to round out our team of advisors who help our clients discover and articulate what they want from their custom designs.

As a design consultant, you will often be the first and most enduring face of the design team for many of our customers. Because of that, it's essential that you possess the perfect blend of solid design knowledge, project management chops and customer service skills. The person we're looking for could confidently explain why layered files make for easier revisions, translate those revisions into design-speak for the designer and then coordinate the completion of the project itself — all with the warmth and genuine enthusiasm that our clients deserve.

Experience in marketing coordination, ad trafficking or similar fields would definitely be a plus, as these jobs often require the same basic strengths and skills as the design consultant position. Our team turns out high volume on a quick turnaround with style, and we also enjoy a good afternoon snack to celebrate our efforts. (Especially if said snack involves Taylor's tandy cake. Yum.) Other things we like include Razor scooters, nicknames, office visits from co-workers' puppies and making new Pandora stations.

So what do you say, dear reader? Would you like to advise our fabulous clients on email form and function? For more information or to apply, please click here.

If you're a graphic designer, we're looking for that as well! Check out that position over here.

Rumours Wine & Art Bar’s stylish email makeover

A fresh email strategy and a brand new look for a Nashville hot spot

I love a makeover. There's something magical about seeing a sweeping, marked improvement and wondering about the journey from point A to point B. You can imagine my excitement, then, when I saw such a makeover pop into my inbox recently.

Rumours Wine & Art Bar | Before the Makeover

My favorite Nashville wine bar, Rumours, is an anchor of the trendy 12th South neighborhood and a top-notch spot with a relaxed, artful atmosphere. Over the years, co-owner Christy Shuff has worked to ensure Rumours' role as a vibrant contributor to (and supporter of) Nashville's local business community — and becoming one of Emma's first clients in 2005 was just one part of that initiative.

Since then, Rumours' owners have been intentional about informing their patrons of upcoming specials and events. Christy's business partner handled the responsibility of email campaigns in the early days, using a stationery that served them well for a number of years.

The time eventually came for an update, but amid the chaos of owning and running a restaurant, it was a project that ended up on the back burner. Rumours continued to send email campaigns, but without a stationery design to frame the content. As a result, this fabulous hot spot's mailings weren't capturing their fun personality and stylish image.

Rumours Wine & Art Bar | After the Makeover

Then came January of this year, when Christy's decision to re-evaluate their email strategy led her to our design team. Emma designer Elizabeth Williams took a look at the Rumours brand and crafted something that artfully, dynamically blends the caliber of the restaurant with the spunk of the atmosphere. That new design inspired Christy to take a fresh look at the content layout too, and the result is impressive — it brings Rumours' style to the forefront of their emails.

"[Our campaigns] have a more professional, structured format now," says Christy. "It's as if the right background for a painting had finally shown itself. I've received many compliments on our campaigns and feel that our message looks and feels more professional."

Just look at the profound difference between the old campaign and the new. We are so proud of Christy and Rumours — not just for making good design a priority, but for having the tenacity to protect and promote the brand identity they've worked so hard to develop over the years. We raise our glass to you, Christy! Here's to many more years of celebrations.

Kelley Kirker | Emma Email Marketing
Kelley Kirker, our resident makeover expert, has taken fabulous turns as both Jackie *and* Marilyn in the last year. Her current style, created by her twin sister and stylist, was inspired by the fiery elegance of Julianne Moore. We can't wait to see what Kelley tries next.

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If the Emma design team can reinvent your current email design — or help you dream up the first — please let us know: Give us a shout if you'd like to start an account. Or request a design if you're already part of our community.

A tasty tour of a few Emma customers’ email campaigns

How folks in the food industry use email marketing with style

Thanks for helping us plant more trees

Saving (and planting) trees through email
Earth Day infographic
The infographic that was shared far and wide by our friends. Click to see the full version.

Last month, in honor of Earth Day, we sat down to dream up a plan worthy of our leafy green friends. We wanted to plant 100 extra trees — in addition to the five we already plant for each new customer — and we asked for your help.

We created a snazzy infographic to represent the value of one tree, and we asked you to share it with your networks on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. If you shared 100 times, we'd plant 100 trees. And, boy, did you deliver.

Without further ado, here's the breakdown by-the-numbers:

  • 142 people shared our April Roundup on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • 36 people forwarded the roundup to their friends.
  • More than 90 people tweeted and re-tweeted the infographic on Twitter.

If you're doing the math, that's about 270 shares — simply crushing the goal. Here's just a small sample of the tweets:

Tree tweet by @courtenayrogers
Tree tweet by @hilaryasmith
Tree tweet by @virginiaeagle
Tree tweet by @JohnYates

Thanks so much for your tree-lovin' enthusiasm, and we're happy to report that our partners at Plant-It 2020 will be planting 100 additional trees in the world this spring.

We'd love to hear how you're making the world a greener place. Tell us over on Twitter or in the comments below.

5 questions for Premise

Patti Faulker | Founder of Premise Advertising
Patti founded Premise in 2003.

Patti Faulkner is the founder and owner of Colorado-based Premise Advertising and Premise E-Connect, the agency's email marketing division. She was kind enough to take some time out of a busy Monday to answer five questions.

Tell me a little bit about your shop, Patti.
I'm a really small shop. I have one other full-time employee and one part-time employee. And I have anywhere from two to eight freelancers working for me at any given time. Our size has given me a lot of flexibility with scale. In addition to running Premise Advertising, I'm also a mom of three, which makes my business the perfect size. It's small enough that I get to work with every one of my clients and not have to solely worry about running the business side of things.

We're a full branding firm, so for most of our clients, we've developed their entire brand. From their logo to their website, to their on-site marketing materials, like brochures — we have them covered. We work on their online presence through email, online advertisements and SEO because it really is one of the most cost-effective ways that you can get out there.

What Emma feature could you or your clients not live without? Which feature has had the biggest effect on your bottom line?
It's a very simple and basic tool, but it's the ease of creating a group and being able to copy people from one group to another. Being able to easily select members that are in multiple categories and groups, then sending them very, very specific emails — that's phenomenal. Honestly, that's the one thing that pulls people over to my solution time and time again. I set up their email systems a little like a CRM, so that no matter who your client is — if it's a restaurant and you're looking at your lunch crowd, or if it's real estate and it's people who are looking for a two bedroom — we can drill right down and send very targeted messages.

We typically get anywhere between a 28% and 36% open rate because we are very specific and targeted when sending our emails. That has to do with groups. I also do a lot of work on the backend to make sure I have a lot of detailed information about my clients' members, so I can find those segments. That's my number one, most-used tool in Emma.

I know that sounds very simple, but I don't think that people really think about how intentional and targeted you can be by using groups and searches. At any given moment, my clients will know how many people are in their lunch crowd, how many people signed up on a certain campaign and how many people are from their Facebook account. It's nice because people care when they think that you know who they are.

What's your "niche?" Why is it that new clients decide to come on board with you?
My biggest advantage is that I have both corporate and design backgrounds. So I really think very strategically about each client and how they can position themselves most effectively.

Who is your brand crush and why?
Southwest Airlines. They have done an amazing job at branding themselves with their "We Love You" campaign. From their online presence to when you get on a plane, you know that everyone that works there supports that motto. They've definitely personalized the enormous airline industry that's, otherwise, so impersonal.

Who's the one person or band you'd like to see live that you haven't seen yet?
Well, I'm originally from Seattle, so music is huge there. I've pretty much trucked and seen a lot of my favorites. So, it's hard for me to think of someone I haven't seen. I just saw one of my coveted favorites, Eddy Vedder from Pearl Jam perform acoustically at a private concert. Before that, I would have said "to see Pearl Jam play again." I'm still waiting on the Pearl Jam come-back tour, though.

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Emma at a Glance

Not a customer yet? Interested in seeing more about the features Emma offers? Take a look at Emma at a Glance — it's a meeting-ready PDF that highlights Emma's email marketing features and pricing.

Comparing email results across several mailings

Part four of four to building an effective engagement strategy

And the winner is…

If you've taken our lead and done some testing recently, you may be ready to find out how different mailings stacked up against one another. We wouldn't send you on your way without providing some guidance as to what to do when the mailings are complete. Our compare mailings feature is the perfect way to find out what practices you want to keep and what should be left behind. You may discover things about your audience you never knew. Get ready to compare mailings, and find out which test is the winner. (Time to settle up on those bets, eh?)

Compare mailings

Compare your mailings to see how they performed.

What is the compare mailings feature?

The compare mailings feature, found in the response section of your account, allows you to compare up to five mailings at a time. You can see an overall summary of the mailings as well as compare the opens and clicks among the five. This is the perfect way to see which subject line your audience members preferred or perhaps which types of links got more clicks (image links vs. text links, for example). You aren't obligated to choose five mailings to compare; if you'd rather just compare a simple A/B subject test, choose the appropriate two mailings to compare.

Why compare your mailings?

Comparing your results not only allows you to see which of your tests proved more successful, but if a mailing's response rates seem particularly low, you can do some sleuthing to find out why. Maybe you're in the practice of sending on the first of every month. If the first happened to fall on a Friday and subsequently suffered particularly low results, you may realize you should always send on the first Wednesday of the month instead. It may sound simple, but the purpose of comparing results is to be proactive; use what your response rates are telling you to guide future strategy.

How to compare mailings in Emma

Emma makes comparing your mailings super simple. You are just a few clicks away from determining the winners of all the testing work you've done over the past few weeks. Click on the Compare Mailings button in the top right of your main response screen. On the next screen, check (up to five) campaigns from the list and click Compare Mailings. Or, after you've selected to view a particular campaign, you can click the Compare Mailings button to compare that particular campaign to others. The Excel spreadsheet will show you a breakdown of the campaigns you selected and a summary of all the numbers combined. Once you see the winner of the tests, you'll be able to choose which strategies to keep and what to leave behind.

Wrapping up the series on engagement

From part one of this blog series, where I wrote about triggers, to parts two and three, where I gave tips on list hygiene and new strategies for more personalized campaigns, we've covered a lot of ground.

I'd love to hear how you're thinking about engagement. What tests are you running, and how are you gauging the success of your mailings? Have you compared mailings recently, and what has it revealed? Or do you have a different set of metrics in mind that I haven't mentioned to validate your mailing success?

If you're using triggers, personalization or other strategies to boost your response, let me know in the comments below.