Every year, we award free Emma email and survey service to small, deserving non-profits that our customers tell us about.
Today, the nominations are in — over 100 fantastic groups doing fantastic work around the world — and we're asking *you* to vote for your five favorite groups anytime between now and the end of January.
When we say it's the most wonderful time of the year 'round these parts, we're talking about Emma 25 time. It's the annual program (now in its sixth year) where we team up with our customers to award free Emma service to deserving non-profits — 25 around the world, and 25 in the cities Emma calls home (Nashville, Portland, Denver and Austin).
If you're an Emma customer, why not nominate your favorite non-profit for free email marketing and survey services from Emma? It's a fantastic way to help those groups use email to stay in touch with volunteers, find donations, send newsletters, manage events and more.
Come early January, we'll post all the eligible groups and invite the whole world to vote for their favorites. But for *your* favorite group to be an honoree, *you've* got to nominate 'em.
It just takes a few minutes, and you'll have that warm, fuzzy feeling that no amount of delicious gingerbread lattes can rival. Go on and get to nominating!
As usual, Emma's got big plans across these United States to participate in conferences, sponsor events, and share email marketing tips & best practices. And the fall's no different — from Chicago to Denver, Scottsdale to Dallas, Emma staffers are braving bag-check fees and peanut allergies and that guy who insists on putting his seat back and all sorts of other travel perils to make an appearance at a town near you. Here's what's on our itinerary — say hello if you'll be there, too, or check out some of the discounts we're able to offer through our sponsorships. Cheers!
Our good friends over at MarketingProfs have put together another solid event with great content that will help you generate new ideas for your business. If you're in the Chicago area and want to swing by and say hello, click here to register and take advantage of the $200 discount they're still offering. Also, don't forget to come by our booth and say hello to Emma's Sara McManigal and Megan Feltes, who will be representing our gal at the conference.
Emma's latest satellite office recently opened in Austin, so we're thrilled to be a part of this event for the technology and marketing community in Texas. Our very own Jim Hitch will be giving a presentation on elements of stylish email design at 9 AM, so be sure to sign up for that if you can. You can also say hello to Jonathan Gesinger, who's heading up our efforts in Austin. If you are interested in attending, use the discount code PR9EMS for the special full-day discounted price of $65.
If you work for a business school and are interested in learning new skills and strategies to grow your school, this workshop-style event may be right up your alley. Emma's Steve Turney and Megan Feltes will be around to answer any questions that you might have. Be sure to click here and use the event code BSDC09 for an early registration discount.
This event in lovely Raleigh helps marketers and entrepreneurs hear the latest trends in internet marketing. Annie Williams, Emma's Director of Business Development, will be participating on a panel about best practices in the email marketing realm. If you are interested in attending, we've got five tickets to share and we can also offer the VIP code, which is worth $50 off your registration. If you're interested, please drop me a line. You can also register and learn more about the Internet Summit by clicking here.
Join Emma's Gina LaMar and Suzanne Norman for a morning workshop sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Direct Marketing Association filled with great tips and advice for creating your next email marketing masterpiece. If you are in the Denver area and are interested in attending, click here to register and get directions.
Enterprise LAMP is an event unique to Emma's hometown of Nashville, TN. The event is being organized by Marcus Whitney, part of the Emma emeritus team and air hockey champion extraordinaire. Nashville's ever-growing technology community has expressed a need for an event like this one, so we are thrilled that we can help sponsor. The first day of the event will focus on the overall impact that Enterprise LAMP has had on CTOs from around the country, while day two's BIG LAMP CAMP will focus on teaching many developers the ins and outs of LAMP. If you are a part of the Nashville Technology community and want to attend, please be sure to use our special discount offer when registering. Use the code 2009EMMA and you will receive $75 off of your registration or $25 off your BIG LAMP CAMP ticket.
If you have any questions about these upcoming events or want to know how you can get more info about the types of sponsorships we do, please feel free to let me know. Happy trails!
Here at the Emma office, we were especially floored about this event, as it was the first design conference that our entire design team has been able to attend. Everyone on our team had such inspired and varying feedback, that it seemed only appropriate to share the love:
Lauren Johnston: The part that particularly stuck out to me was emphasis on process work, brainstorming, and research to initially organize design ideas. Usually, I mess around with my design on the computer until I get something I like. A lot of the speakers chatted about the importance of sketching and mindmapping to really hone in on a particular thought. Then, taking your process work to the client helps to communicate the design direction more clearly.
Researching seemed to be a key part of the process as well. Paula spoke about researching particular environments and spaces before designing it. Ken and Jenn chatted about the importance of researching the clients company and style to have a more successful outcome. I really enjoyed the conference overall. It really inspired me to get moving on some projects and to revisit my portfolio.
Daniel Brown: There was a lot that really stood out but I think one of the main things for me was the IDEO guy [Ian Dapot] saying that he only likes 1 thing out of 10 that he does. So, DO a lot. I can be inclined to not do something if I don't think it will turn out well but that's a bad way to look at it. You never know when something will take a turn for the awesome, so the more you do, the better your chances are of making something great.
Jennifer Crigger Kasdorf: As designers, we generally take criticism about our work more than the average person. Use the criticism as a way to grow and to see your designs in a new light. – Jenn & Ken Visocky O'Grady Problem-solve in creative ways. Sometimes we do need breaks, so take them! You might be surprised with the results. – Jenn & Ken Visocky O'Grady + "The Harder I work, the luckier I get." – Thomas Jefferson (Dave Werner) + Self-promote. Be honest. Be yourself! – Dave Werner + Be inspired by your work. – Ian Dapot + Sometimes you have to design through the problem to see the solution. – Ian Dapot + Find new ways to create, new ways to be passionate about your work. -Paula Scher + Create for you. – Paula Scher + Surprise yourself. – Paula Scher
Jessica Saling: I really liked Paula Scher when she discussed creating a distinct style. At one point, her brand identity for the Public Theatre was ultra-successful. People liked it so much they actually starting mocking the style all around the city. While this was a compliment to Paula, it destroyed the brand. After the style caught on to many designs around town, the Public Theatre lost its presence.
This really spoke to me to always think about the context your work is displayed. Design can change its effect with the time or place. Designers need to always see the whole picture and not just the design. Also, while design can be effective at one time, it can quickly lose its effect if we don't pay attention to what changes around us.
Elizabeth Williams: I was really impressed with the varied perspectives of each speaker. They each brought something different and thoughtful to the table without too much overlap.
I feel that the motivation to take risks is what I really took away from the conference. A couple of quotes I enjoyed: one from Ian Dapot who encouraged us to start, "exploring what you don't know, NOT exploiting what you have", and one from Albert Einstein via Jen and Ken reminding us that, "Imagination is more important than knowledge". It's easy to fall into the same routines and tricks that you feel comfortable with, but it takes much more courage and gumption to build upon the ideas stored in the "probably absurd zone" of your brain. So, three cheers for risk taking motivation!!!
Kelly McClain: During the Q&A discussion, someone asked all the speakers to share a piece of advice that's stuck with them, and one of the panelists said how one of his instructors once told him that "everyone has the same 24 hours." It's a nice reminder that if you manage your time properly, you can complete even the most daunting projects that as long as it's humanly possible, you have the same amount of time within each day that any other human capable of completing the task would have.
Taylor Schena: I liked with Ken and Jenn's speech where they talk about how what you contribute is more than just the final piece and with OkayDave's, where he talked about doing interesting things that aren't related to your portfolio/body of work. Also, I enjoyed Paula Scher where she talked about how she did work to pay the bills and the work she loved on the side. I think it helps to keep a designer fresh and not burn out.
Jimmy Thorn: I think the thing that sticks out the most was Paula telling me to work the jobs to make money to afford the luxury of doing the projects you really feel strongly about, and to never let a project that you feel passionately about go by the wayside. She said that she would design 135 record covers a year, and be truly happy with five, but those five were her passion projects. I like that.
As for me, one topic that seemed to come up in one form or another, is the fact that a good designer usually spends the least amount of their time on the actual design. I was reminded how many other variables are so important to the design process and when one covers all these other bases, the design usually just flows right out. I believe it was Jenn & Ken who mentioned the phrase, "Design the system, not just the product." I look forward to focusing more energy on this way of design thinking.
We hope you all enjoy our moments of inspiration and if you're able to attend Think Tank: 2010, I highly encourage it.
Once again, I have returned to share the exciting news of where our gal will be in the next few weeks. Our fabulous Emma staffers on-hand at these events are always looking to have great conversations with Emma customers & prospects about email, marketing, and anything else that may come up. In fact, the other day, I heard one Emma staffer ask a customer about the ham sandwich he was having. Not only is that a great topic, but it's also a nice segue into more lunch-related conversation.
Ok, now I'm getting hungry. So without further ado, here's where we'll be in August…
The Colorado Business MarketPlace is a tradeshow and networking event put on by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. We hope you'll come by to meet Emma staffers Gina LaMar & Brooks Alford. This event is free and open to all Chamber members.
This delicious-sounding event brings together experts on social media and online marketing to help you build social media into your marketing plans. Rami Perry & Patrick Copeland will be representing Emma there, so if you have any questions about deep fried ham sandwiches (it's a croque-monsieur) or want to know how social media and email can work together for your marketing efforts, stop by and say hello. Oh, and you can save $30 on your conference registration with the discount code EMMA.
We're hosting a social hour at the fabulous Nosh in Colorado Springs. Emma's Jim Hitch, Gina LaMar & Megan Feltes will be there with tips and ideas for creating effective email campaigns and building your opt-in lists, and any and all friends and customers in the Colorado Springs area are welcome to join us. Did we mention the drinks are on us? Sign up here.
Emma staffer Jim Hitch will share more advice and ideas on creating stylish & sophisticated email newsletters to help your brand stand out in the inbox. Gina LaMar & Megan Feltes will also be in attendance to answer any questions that you might have after the session. The event will take place at Dixon's Downtown Grill from 7:30-9:00 am and it is limited to 40 attendees, so please sign up here to guarantee your spot.
Where will we be next month? Stay tuned for more updates, and hope to see you soon. Cheers!
We were flattered to see that FOLDRite, a service that lets designers easily allow for folds in their print work, chose our brochure as last week's Fold of the Week. Evidently, our brochure features an "iron cross with cool reveal," which is neat, although we didn't realize that our brochure folding technique may also double as a gymnastics routine.
Anyway, thanks to the folks at FOLDRite for featuring us. You can see other folds of the week, and read about folding technique and strategy to your heart's content, at FoldFactory.com.
At Emma, we plant 5 trees for each new customer that joins us. Readers of this blog decide where the trees should go, and for June you told us that we should plant trees in California. And we thought that was a lovely idea.
Thanks to the new customers who started in June, we've got 1,770 trees to work with. Our tree planting partner, Plant-It 2020, will choose an equatorial region for half of the trees. The other half will soak up the sun (and occasional water) in the Golden State.
It's a new month, and more tree-lovin' states are lined up for your vote. Pick one, won't you?
VideoLink is a stylish video production company headquartered near Boston. And, as an Emma customer, they understand that a stylish email stands out in the inbox. But in a recent campaign they added video, and it stood out in the response data as well.
They set up the campaign to promote their new (and, may we add, fabulous) website. But before hitting send, they were true to their name. They made a short video, added a screen shot to their email and linked it to a video landing page they made through a service called Flimp On-Demand.
"We worried that a text-only email would be overlooked," said VideoLink Sales Manager Marty DeLoreto. "So by adding the video player to the email we hoped it would attract more attention and hopefully more click throughs."
Plenty of folks clicked through, all right. Their click-through rate was a fantastic 26.2 percent. And while Emma was tracking all the email response data, Flimp was tracking the data for the video page. Of people who started the video, 64.5 percent watched the entire thing. And 127 people clicked a link to visit the website.
While video in email may not be for everyone, it's certainly worth trying. Consider these statistics from Forrester Research:
Still, there's no perfect way to embed video to play within an email (yet). But what VideoLink did is fairly common and effective: use screen shots and text links to send people to a landing page that hosts the video. Emma customers can also host videos in their document library and link to 'em, too.
And the video doesn't have to be fancy to be effective, either. VideoLink's video lasted only 49 seconds and it was fairly simple, with CEO Gina Chudnow describing the new website's features.
"We also had more personal comments back to the CEO praising her performance and congratulating her on the launch," Marty added. "That kind of communication would rarely happen with a text-only email."
Marty plans to use email and video together in the quarterly newsletter, featuring other high-level employees. How about you? What kinds of things are you doing (or want to do) with video and email? Do let us know, won't you? We'd love to hear about it.
The Emma crew took a trip to Austin, TX last week for the HOW Design Conference, one of the largest gatherings of design professionals each year. Jessica and Allison went to represent our design team, Steve and Kendrick came to chat with the attendees about Emma and I led a breakout session about designing emails with clear goals (and revenue) in mind. After the conference, I sat down to summarize the ideas that will stick with me for a while. Here are the top five…
3. Powerpoint gets a bad rap, but it may be for bad reasons. Nancy, from Duarte Design, posed the question 'Is Powerpoint broken? Or is the way we use it broken?' It made me think of email marketers that aren't quite happy with their results. It's a hard question, but is email what's broken? Or is it the way it's being used? Speaker: Nancy Duarte
4. Good copy can (and should) come from bad. Wayne recommends writing the boring version of your headline first, and then creatively translating the idea from there. Speaker: Wayne Geyer
We're having a great time in Austin at the HOW Design Conference. This week has so much to offer, so we're doing our best to take it all in – the food, the live music and of course the inspiring conference events. Yesterday I got a chance to do a breakout session about designing emails with clear goals in mind, so I thought I'd share a few links to statistics and stories I told during the presentation.
+ It depends on the industry, but about 50% of folks surveyed by Epsilon said they were more likely to buy in the future if you have an email strategy. Click here to read more.
+ MarketingSherpa and SmartBrief told the story of how adding social networking links to emails can give a big boost to your traffic from those sites. (subscription required) Click here to read more.
+ Hollis Brand Culture and The Sofia, my favorite hotel in San Diego, helped me tell the story of a boutique hotel trying to boost the bottom line by sharing discounts with guests. The team described email as their 12th man. (Thanks for all your help, Amy!)