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.

RM DMA Day
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.

The Brainiac Guide to Welcome Email Automation

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.

A few of our YMCA friends

A quick note from the NAYDO conference in Charlotte, NC, where Steve Turney and I are meeting some really great folks from YMCAs all over the world. (Hi, Carlos from Kenya and Johan from Norway!) We're learning so much about the YMCA organization and mission — these people seriously rock the philanthropy.

We're also having the pleasure of chatting with Emma customers and hearing how we're helping Y's, big and small, reach out to their members, volunteers and donors in new ways.

One lovely story comes from Kevin Kosik of the Berkeley-Albany YMCA in Berkeley, CA. They used Emma to drum up support for their run at a $250,000 prize from Pepsi Refresh. They sent Emma email campaigns to encourage their members and friends to head to the Pepsi Refresh site to vote. It would have been an even better story if they'd actually won, but he was proud to say that the Berkeley-Albany YMCA, a small regional non-profit, came in ninth overall in a crowd of some pretty heavy contenders, and he credits Emma for their stellar showing.

Another quick shout-out to our friends at the YMCA of Middle Tennessee, who won a coveted Eagle Award for Excellence in Fundraising. This amazing team raised more than $77 million last year (um, wow) and continues to push the envelope with a lofty goal to create an endowment that equals their operating costs (um, double wow).

We're so proud to be even a small part in these amazing organizations. With one more day of the conference to go, Steve and I are hoping to make some more connections and hear some more cool stories.

Meet the Communicatrix

How a communications expert grows her audience list and achieves sky-high click-through rates.

About her newsletter
Every month, Colleen Wainwright, who has dubbed herself the Communicatrix, sends a newsletter to her growing base of loyal fans. Using Emma's response metrics and handy Send to a Friend feature, Colleen's audience list has grown from about 50 people in the fall of 2007 to nearly 3,000 people. This media maven covers topics such as building your brand and marketing yourself, finding peace amidst a busy schedule and prioritizing your passions.

Why we like it
It's quirky and honest. Colleen connects with her readers. You'll find no inaccessible jargon or overly formal language here. Colleen writes her newsletters as if she's talking to a friend, and the warm, conversational tone pays off. Her newsletters have open rates between 45 percent and 52 percent, far exceeding the industry average. She isn't afraid to be herself – admitting her weaknesses, expressing her best and worst habits, sharing her humor – and this knack for honesty makes her immediately relatable.
In short: Be personable and present in your newsletters, and your readers will take notice.

The links are interesting and relevant. With all the email in our inboxes these days, it takes something extra special to catch our eye and compel us to participate. Colleen keeps up with trends in marketing and social media, and she peppers her newsletter with relevant links that inform and entertain. Each newsletter also includes a sidebar with rotating resources ("fly-on-the-wall," site of the month, inspirational sites, communication resources) that may be irreverent or reflective, silly or substantive, depending on Colleen's mood.
In short: Try balancing informational links with amusing links. Don't link to anything you wouldn't invest time in yourself.

The send-off, at a glance
Sent: Feb 10, 2010, to 2,803 people
Open rate: 50.79%
Click-through rate: 23.78%
Subject line: Handling the mess of real work [ctrix]
Emma details: Created using a custom layout

More details
See the website
See the campaign online

Note: This post launches another new category for Emma's blog. We love showing off our customers and their marketing success stories, and we look forward to doing more…

March design showcase: from tacos to traveling

This design showcase launches a new category on the Emma blog – each month, our design crew will present their latest and greatest hits. In this edition, we look at how a slew of businesses are highlighting their brand in their email campaigns through their new Emma stationery. We love seeing how our customers build trust in their brand with custom email design that either mirrors or extends the design of their website and other materials, and these four examples show the value of doing exactly that.

Client: Taco Mamacita
Emma designer: Taylor Schena
Design level: Concierge Design

Our new Nashville neighbor, Taco Mamacita came to us interested in extending their current branding while maintaining a simple aesthetic.

They wanted the content of their campaigns to complement the design of the stationery itself. So Taylor designed vibrant stationery for this local "funky-fusion taco joint" that showcases the company's memorable logo.

Client:Sweat and the City
Emma designer: Lauren Johnston
Design level: Concierge Design

Sweat and the City, a health and fitness company based in San Diego, has an eye on the future … the future of their website, that is. We like that they support every level of athlete, and their dedication to philanthropy is the cherry on top.

They asked for a scrapbook feel, so Lauren designed with that style in mind.

To maximize deliverability, Lauren steered clear of a background image and used the space above the footer for some rich texture.

Client: Gray Photography
Emma designer: Elizabeth Williams
Design level: Concierge Design

Meet the spunky husband-and-wife team of world-class photographers who call themselves Gray Photography.

This duo lives in Nashville, too, and they inspired us.

Elizabeth knew that they wanted to maintain the edgy feel of their site while adding a more personal touch to the email stationery design.

By incorporating the personable-looking signatures of both of their names as well as texture above the footer, Elizabeth added warmth in a tailored way.

Client: TQ Adventures
Emma designer: Jimmy Thorn
Design level: Concierge Design

TQ Adventures made us want to take a field trip. They take folks on excursions that range from golfing to salt-water fishing and help create memories to last a lifetime.

Naturally, we wanted to provide them with stationery that would tell a story.

Jimmy created a rustic look that conjures the Wild West by yellowing out some images to make them appear antiqued. He also added a subtle wood texture that creates interest without distracting from the focal point: the logo.

Let the journey begin, indeed…

Until next time … hugs and brand extension from your entire Emma design team.

Where in the World is Emma in 2010? April Edition

Emma's own Jesse Worstell models one of our lanyards from the March SXSW Interactive Festival.

Hello, April! That's what we Emma staffers are saying around the house here in Nashville. The weather is finally starting to get warm, the jackets are staying in the closet and no one has played any believable April fool's jokes on me yet. With the arrival of spring, we've got another full list of events we'll be attending.

If we're in your area, please let us know. We're always hoping to catch up with customers and new friends at these events and hear about all of the great things you've got going on. And who knows, if Emma's own Sara McManigal is around, drinks may be on her.

NAYDO 2010
April 7-10 :: Charlotte, NC

We're fans of all things YMCA. Everything from their philanthropic work to their focus on overall wellness and motivation is cause for us to support the North American YMCA Development Organization's 29th annual conference. If you're in the Charlotte area and want to meet up, let us know. Our very own Megan & Steve will be representing our gal at the conference.

Workology Conference 2.0
April 11-14 :: San Diego, CA

Workology is the user group conference for Workamajig, a web-based tracking and integrated project management software. We're actually the only email marketing service that connects to Workamajig, which we like to think is pretty cool. What's even cooler, my friends? There's word around their office that they've got their own drink, Workamadrink. We haven't tasted it yet, but we hear it's darn good. We'll have a table set up in the Crown Room, so be sure to stop by and say hello if you're there.

Mirren New Business Conference
April 12-14 :: New York, NY

The Mirren New Business Conference happens in New York City during mid-April, and they're expecting more than 300 advertising agencies from all over the country. We'll be exhibiting at this year's conference, and Mirren will be using Emma's services to send out the event schedules each day of the conference. If you're in the Big Apple and would like to meet Laura & Heather, our team members at the event, let us know ahead of time and we'll try to set something up.

2010 Green Business Summit
April 13-14 :: Nashville, TN

Lipscomb University is hosting this green event in our hometown. We're strong supporters of sustainability, including businesses that do what they can to better our environment. (We plant five trees for every new customer, after all.) This two-day event will be full of workshops, keynote luncheons and tips to help you become a little greener. (I promise that's a good thing.) If you join the Nashville Sustainability Events Meet-up group by April 7, you can receive $45 off your registration.

AACSB's ICAM
April 18-20 :: Anaheim, CA

This business school event brings together more than 1,000 educators and business school leaders from more than 45 countries and helps those folks network and gain insights on hot topics. This year's event is in Anaheim, and Emma will be exhibiting. If you've got any questions or just want to say hello, look for Megan & Rami around the event.

More SXSW notes: collaboration, social space and science fiction

From looking at product design through the eyes of science fiction to searching for the most influential people using your product, topics at this year's SXSW are as varied as usual, and they're almost as thought-provoking as the queso is delicious. (Which is to say, very.)

A couple of main themes to talk about so far, from my perspective as Emma's product manager.

1. Collaboration, innovation & expectations. As we all know, consumer expectations have changed. Not only do we want access to the latest information and support when we encounter problems, but as consumers we also want to be a part of the product itself. To that end, it's important that companies don't create new products in a vacuum. After all, we're creating and building something that we hope will bring value to our customers, so we should get them involved early in the process and let them help shape the final result.

We're also learning that releasing new products or features is just the beginning of the process. New technologies to collect and respond to feedback, paired with iterative development techniques, are giving users a more active voice in how products evolve over time. As product builders, our role is to listen to lots of single voices and ideas, and then synthesize and reshape that information to create innovative solutions that do more than just solve problems – they create value.

It's not quite a haiku, but:
Collaboration leads to innovation…
Innovation is shaped through iteration…
Iteration validates the vision…
The vision inspires collaboration.

2. Social space trends: reach & influence. So if reach indicates how wide your network is and influence indicates how much your endorsements matter, it's time to rethink what's actually more important. Reach used to be all the rage, but influence is measurable.

And as for the science fiction, one session about "design fiction" emphasized that story-telling, including science fiction, can do things that science itself cannot. Imagining people in the future keeps ideas focused on how we'll work and play, buy stuff, communicate with friends and coworkers and so on. As the stories of people emerge, the objects and gadgets and interfaces that they'll use start to magically appear right along with them. And sometimes those objects look very different than if the conversation starts by trying to envision the "future version" of the gadgets we use today. People use products, so the more clearly we can visualize how people will change, the more clearly we can aim the technology to support those new stories.

And with that I give you the future of note-taking – maybe.

visualnotes12.jpg

From SXSW: What’s your email’s ah-ha moment?

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We heard Daniel Burka (of Tiny Speck, formerly creative director at Digg) and Rob Goodlatte (product designer at Facebook) give a talk about how important the first fifteen minutes of your experience with a product is. It was great content for us, of course, as we're always trying to make Emma's service easy for folks to use from the moment they first log in. But among the many great points they made, one seemed as relevant for email marketers as it did for software developers.

What's the ah-ha moment?

Goodlatte told the story of Facebook's user testing as they tried to improve the registration process. Their research and development team recorded the eye movements and faces of folks as they signed up for Facebook for the first time. In one woman's case, they watched her have a not-so-great experience. She got lots of error messages. She had an invalid email domain. She was confused. That was all before the ah-ha moment. She got to the point in the registration, after she'd filled in her high school and college information, that Facebook showed her pictures of folks she might know. When she recognized an old friend from high school, her face lit up, she leaned forward in her chair and she grinned for the rest of the registration process.

It was an ah-ha moment for the Facebook team, too. They got to see this woman realize how their technology was worth her time. In fact, she stopped relating to Facebook as technology altogether and saw instead the value of reconnecting with old friends. With her in mind (and a lot of other users), they redesigned the setup process around that notion and eventually saw a 5% lift in the registration process.

So, what's the ah-ha moment in your email campaign? It's the moment folks stop relating to your email as just another email and instead find something that's worth their time. Have your ah-ha moment in mind when you first start your email design and content, so you can introduce it in a way where your subscribers will find it in the first few seconds of reading your email.

Maybe it's an article that speaks to a problem they're dealing with at work. Maybe it's a discount or a special offer. Maybe it's hand-drawn illustrations that accompany each news story. Or it's something less tangible, like a certain tone you write with or the unique way you personalize your campaigns. It's different for every organization, and it may change from email to email, but it's about connecting the point of your email to the delight of your subscribers. After all, you're not just sending an email. Like the team at Facebook, you're designing an experience, connecting with people and inviting them to engage more with you.