The Brainiac Guide to Welcome Email Automation

April Design Showcase: Denver Edition

For our next installment of the Design Showcase, it is our distinct privilege to highlight a few cool companies in Denver, Colorado. The Mile-High City is not only the home of the Rocky Mountains, the Broncos and breweries galore, but it's also home to an Emma satellite office and, more specifically, Emma designer extraordinaire Leigh Bernstein.

Leigh has the opportunity to work with some truly great companies based in Denver, so we're taking a peek at what sets them apart as stand-out folks and email marketers.

Client: The Children's Museum of Denver
Emma designer: Leigh Bernstein
Design level: Concierge Design

The Children's Museum of Denver is a wonderful non-profit organization that asked Leigh to create something simple, but with distinct touches of their playful branding. For the header, she used bright colors and the signature bee from their website, and she included warm elements such as the ants and grass at the bottom of the design. Thanks to our friends at the museum for letting us play a role in their goal of teaching through play.

Client: Kiwi Activewear
Emma designer: Leigh Bernstein
Design level: Concierge Design

Kiwi Activewear is a small, spunky company made up of busy moms who see the importance of streamlining one's life and wardrobe. They depend on online sales and in-person trunk shows, so Sonya Peterson requested a whimsical design that would help them reach out to their customers effectively.

Leigh made the most of a decorative border that allows their campaign content to shine. The border works from one mailing to the next, regardless of the amount of content they wish to highlight.

Why does it work so well? The straight lines at the center allow for expansion. The design delighted Sonya and is a great representation of Kiwi.

Client: Impossible
Emma designer: Leigh Bernstein
Design level: Concierge Design

Located in the heart of Denver, the folks at Impossible spend their days using live action, design and visual effects to get brands noticed on television.

They love their website and with good reason: They've created a sleek aesthetic with their logo, and Leigh's goal was simply to make it translate easily into the custom stationery.

Leigh accomplished their desired look by employing a blue-to-black gradient, which fades in to a solid color halfway down to maximize flexibility.

The folks at Impossible love the design and have even been known to meet up with our Emma friends in Denver. My, how nice to be neighbors!

Client: Colorado AMA
Emma designer: Leigh Bernstein
Design level: Concierge Design

The American Marketing Association is the world's largest professional society of marketers, so you can imagine how we got excited to work with folks who love the whole of marketing as much as we do.

The Colorado branch of this amazing organization asked Leigh to take creative freedom without straying too far from their website.

She kept the logo prominent and added the eye-catching element of the newspapers to the header graphic. It maintains a simple look while staying close to the branding of the nationwide association.

Until next time … hugs, brand extension and crisp mountain air from your entire Emma design team.

A Nashville nonprofit mobilizes volunteers after a flood

When Nashville endured record-high rainfall and flooding over this past weekend, Hands On Nashville recognized that relief efforts would need to be large in scale and swift. Josh Corlew, HON's Emergency Preparedness Manager, sent a series of email campaigns urging folks to get involved and showing them where – and how – they could donate time or money. You can see recent campaigns here and here.

In a crisis that is being declared a federal disaster, Hands on Nashville is using the immediacy of email and social networking to their advantage: updating supporters when volunteer positions have filled, posting ongoing needs and keeping the spirit of urgency alive.

Of course, all of us at Emma are paying special attention to how nonprofits are helping during the flood since our main office is in Nashville. And we're pleased to have Hands On Nashville as one of our customers. But most of all, we're thrilled to see email and social networking sites play such a practical role in communicating, bringing people together and helping solve problems during a crisis.

A few ways to follow and support Hands On Nashville's efforts:

+ Sign up to receive their email newsletters
+ Follow them on Twitter (@HONashville)
+ Check out their current volunteer opportunities

You can also text "REDCROSS" to 90999 to donate $10 to relief efforts in Nashville.

By the way, Emma designer Taylor Schena designed the flood-edition Hands On Nashville stationery pictured above.

Nonprofit uses new media to win old-school publicity

How a nonprofit used email and Twitter to inspire their supporters and win a full-page ad in USA Today.

The folks at To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) recently won a full-page ad in USA Today by using email and social media together in one simple, combined effort. By using Twitter to further their cause, the nonprofit — which helps people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide — found a way to inspire their supporters and score great publicity.

"What would we say to 4 million people?" began their April 15 campaign, referencing USA Today's enviable readership numbers. The email then reminded everyone how important grassroots communication has been in the history of the organization, which Jamie Tworkowski founded back in 2006.

In the email campaign, Tworkowski asked readers to tweet a specific phrase to enter USA Today's Twitter campaign for charity. The phrase? "Let's bring hope and help to America. Please RT: #AmericaWants @TWLOHA to get a full-page ad in USA Today."

One week later, TWLOHA sent a follow-up email campaign to share the good news — they won the contest.

"Right now, we simply want to say, 'Thank You.' Your support is indescribable. We have a voice because of yours. We are all in this together, this conversation about pain and hope," Tworkowski wrote to his supporters. Continuing the spirit of collaboration, the campaign encourages readers to use Twitter to share their ideas for what message should be included in the ad.

It's great to see nonprofits tap into the power of social networking as a way to extend their reach and find new people who also care about their mission. (By the way, Emma's new social sharing feature makes it easier than ever to pair up your email campaigns with social networks — you can try it out now in Emma Preview, if you want to see how it all works.)

Key takeaway: Look to your email subscribers to help you spread the gospel of your organization using social media mediums like Twitter.

Superhero-ify your email campaigns

Emma's new Social Sharing feature is now available in Preview, so log in anytime you please for a sneak peek.

With this new feature, everyone on your list has the opportunity to easily share your campaign with all of their friends and followers on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Why all the fuss about social sharing, you may ask? Because when you pair the steady reach of email marketing with the huge influence of social networks, you give your campaigns superhero-like powers.

Here's how Emma's new feature works:
+ You click an Add Social Sharing Options button as you're creating your campaign and select which social network icons you want to appear on your emails.
+ After they receive your email, your recipients click an icon (or more than one, if that's how they roll) and share a link to your email with their friends and followers.
+ Then you hop over to your Response page to see which audience members are sharing your email, and which networks are generating the most traffic to your campaign.

While this feature is in Preview, we'd love for you to try it out and send us your feedback through the Preview Bar running along the bottom of your account. Oh, and remember: Emma Preview is the place to see and test the latest feature upgrades, but it works just like your real Emma account with the same information and the same campaigns. So if you send, you're really sending.

If you want a few more details about how it all works, you can watch our how-to videos and learn more about social sharing in our help section. Or just log in to get started … cape and mask optional.

By the way, the superhero-inspired illustrations above are courtesy of Emma's own Elizabeth Williams, a member of our stellar design team.

Update: If you don't see this feature in your account, double-check that you've logged into Preview or send an email to We're happy to help.

Where in the World is Emma in 2010? May Edition

Laura & Heather representing our gal at the 2010 Mirren New Business Conference in New York last month.

It's that time again, readers. No, not the time when I belt out Journey's classic "Faithfully." I'm referring to that time when I share all of the exciting places Emma will be this upcoming month. You'll have to wait for the next karaoke happy hour to hear me butcher the vocals to some classic Steve Perry. Until that day and without further ado, here's where you can find us in May:

Mainstreets Conference
May 2 - 5 :: Oklahoma City, OK

This is our second year in a row participating in the National Mainstreets Conference. This conference is put together by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and educates the cities about preserving areas that will help grow new businesses and create more jobs. We'll have a booth at this year's event, so be sure to stop by and say hello to Casey and Sam.

MarketingProfs B2B Forum
May 3 -5 :: Boston, MA

We're big fans of the MarketingProfs crew. We've been attending their events for a few years now and always have a great time. At last year's event, they had more than 375 B2B marketers in attendance and supplied some content that was really popular. Our very own Rami, Brooks, Steve and Carolyn will be around during this event, so please look for them and give Steve a fist bump. If you sign up now, you'll get $200 off your registration. Click here and use the coupon code b2bspn. Hey, I'll fist bump to that.

Innotech Oregon
May 6 :: Portland, OR

In 2009, we sponsored Innotech Austin, the Business & Technology Innovation Conference. The show had a great turnout and sparked so many positive conversations that we decided to participate in this year's Innotech Oregon. Another exciting aspect of this event is that it's in another one of our home cities, Portland. If you're going to be in the Portland area and would like to meet Kris, Jenny and Matt at this year's event, you can register here.

May 19 :: Denver, CO

We'll have a booth at this year's DM DAY for Denver-area direct marketers. The schedule for this year's event includes workshops and seminars from marketing experts and an excellent lineup of speakers. Brooks and Gina will be at the Emma booth in the exhibit hall during the show, so be sure to stop by.

Colorado Business MarketPlace
May 20 :: Denver, CO

Our next stop in Denver is the Colorado Business MarketPlace. This Denver Chamber event is a tradeshow and networking event and is free for all chamber members in the Colorado area. You'll be able to enjoy some one-on-one time with Gina and Brooks at the Emma table there as well.

National Restaurant Association Show 2010
May 22 – 25 :: Chicago, IL

No, we aren't a restaurant, nor do we serve world-class dishes … except for a few of our staffers who make killer brownies. But we do enjoy supporting the restaurant and food industry, so that's why we'll be at this year's NRA in Chicago. (We also love sampling the delicious food while we're there.) Our booth will be in the Technology Pavilion, and Steve, Rami and Frank will be there to answer any questions you may have.

We'd love to run into you at any of these events around the country. If we're in your city in May and would like to meet, feel free to let us know — especially if you'd like to work up a Steve Perry karaoke duet.

New feature sneak peak: social network sharing

We have loads of great features in the works for the Emma community. The most recent one coming soon to beta is a new way to share emails through popular social networks.

Social sharing allows your audience to share your email campaign on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. This works almost exactly like our existing "send to a friend" feature, but instead of just allowing people to share your campaign with their friends through email, it allows them to share a link to your campaign even more broadly. You select which networks you want to make available to your readers, and the right icons will show up.

Then what?

Once someone receives your email campaign and clicks on one of the icons in the header of your email, they'll be taken to the corresponding social network where they can expound on how awesome your email is to all their adoring followers.

Once a few people have shared a campaign and their friends have clicked back to your campaign from the social networks, you'll be able to see what's going on in the revised response tab for "Shares."

Something to keep in mind here: a "share" is when an email recipient clicks one of the icons in their email, and "traffic" is when another person then clicks through to your campaign from a social network.

They're both important numbers, and they'll become even more valuable when you see how they're different.

We're sure that adding this shiny new tool to your Bat-utility-belt will help grow your already high-quality lists. Want to be among the first to use this handy new feature? If you're an Emma customer, sign up to be a beta tester, and we'll let you know when it's ready for you to start using.

Interactive Charts: Let the data-loving begin

Now in your response section, you'll find Interactive Charts, displaying all of the useful email results that Emma collects for you in a handy, visual way. You'll know at a glance how your campaigns perform over time. You'll see individual results unfold over hourly increments. And best of all, these new charts make it easy to spot trends and patterns in your email strategy. (And they look so nice. Is it wrong to have a crush on a chart?)

Which trends might you identify, you ask? Well, seeing your data packaged so handsomely might lead you to several conclusions. Consider these scenarios:

1) Your clicks and opens drop in months with a higher sending volume.
Maybe you're sending too frequently.

Not to induce high school math flashbacks, but this pattern is an example of the ol' inverse relationship. As the number of campaigns goes up, your audience engagement goes down.

What to do? Consider sending fewer emails. You can consolidate messages or modify content so that your various audience groups only get the most relevant and tailored messages. (Not to be confused with messages from your tailor. That reminds us, we have to pick up our dry cleaning.)

2) You don't see consistency with either results or volume.
Sounds as if your results are just, well, all over the place.

When the campaigns line jumps around, you may notice that your results are a bit erratic as well.

What to do? Build some consistency with your sending schedule so your audience knows what to expect. Set a realistic goal for how often you'll send. If sending once a week is too much, aim for every other week or once a month. Then see what your most popular campaigns have in common — a morning send-off time, or a certain kind of content — to make those things a more consistent part of your strategy.

3) Your opens drop but your clicks go up.
Perhaps you have fewer, more engaged readers.

If your open rate remains relatively low but your click rates are high or even increasing, your content might be hitting the spot with only some of your audience.

What to do? You might test different subject lines or do something to encourage those folks who are signed up but appear to have checked out (then impress your colleagues by calling it a "re-engagement campaign"). Or look at your signup form – maybe you're attracting people who don't really connect with your organization. Send a survey to find out how often your subscribers would like to hear from you and what topics interest them.

4) Your opens and clicks are both falling.
Your measures of engagement may be decreasing over time.

Sometimes your strategy and content might need a little shake-up, and seeing a graph like this is one suggests that your audience is ready for a change.

What to do? Take a fresh look at your content and sending strategy. Think about new ways your emails can bring value to your subscribers, whether it's new content, different promotions or something else entirely. Consider a new designed look, or try laying out your content in a different way. Some Emma customers have sent an Emma survey to learn what their subscribers like best and what they'd prefer to see less of, then used the feedback to relaunch their newsletter strategy. It's a fantastic way to build better relationships with your members *and* have better email results to show for it.

And, as always, remember that you should only take a data-driven romance so far. Numbers are only impressive if they're relevant to your own goals.

If you're an Emma customer, go ahead and login to your account … you'll start seeing your response data in a whole new way.

Happy Earth Day!

It's Earth Day, and as such, it seems like an appropriate day to recognize just how much paper — and how many trees — the Emma Community helps to save each and every month by sending email newsletters and campaigns instead of printing 'em.

If everybody in the Emma community printed a campaign for each recipient instead of sending an email, here's how that paper would add up in just a single month:

+ Stacked end to end, the paper would cover the distance of a three round-trips between New York and Paris.

+ Folded into little origami swans, those little origami swans would form a line as long as the Earth's diameter.

+ Turned magically from paper into pocket-sized Etch-a-Sketches, we would be able to give everybody in Finland 27 pocket-sized Etch-a-Sketches.

+ The Finns just really like to doodle, is all.

And if that weren't enough, the Emma Community has helped us plant more than 55,000 trees since we first starting planting 5 trees for each new customer back in December of 2007. Here's one last number to ponder, then: If each of those 55,000 trees were turned into a small squirrel, then that would be kinda uncool, because squirrels are neat and all but we'd rather have the trees.

How are you celebrating Earth Day? Share your favorite environmental causes in the comments, and here's to making the world a little shadier, in a good way.