The Brainiac Guide to Welcome Email Automation

Join the social media conversation

Lots of you have been using our new Social Sharing feature in Preview, and we love reading your comments. We've even used your feedback to shape how the feature works. We know you're excited about how this tool can help your organization because you've been telling us in all sorts of ways, such as …

  • "The social sharing is a great new feature! Thank you for continually upgrading your system!" – Jess Goedken, WBG
  • "Worked like a charm and looks great!" – Peggy, Warner Norcross & Judd
  • "Just like Burger King: 'Have it your way!' You guys are simply awesome! I had asked for this, and here it is!" – Suzanne, Documentary Channel

(So you can see why we're blushing even as we're busily working on the feature.)

We're already thinking about how our product will evolve, and a big part of that future depends on how you all use social media. So we thought we'd toss you a question to get your perspective and give us more feedback to share with our product team:

Tell us: Do you use social media primarily for listening or for speaking?

Some of you have already answered us on Twitter:

@boomerangzone says, "We use them for both. For social media to work, you need to engage in conversation. It's also a way to watch/build your brand."

@kenjisan says, "In my personal life, social channels are mainly for listening. Professionally, they're for sharing."

So come on, join the conversation and let us know how you're using social media in the comments below. We look forward to hearing from you.

Meet Design & Image

How a design shop refines brands for their clients and strengthens their own identity, too.
About their newsletter.
Design & Image, a visual branding firm in Denver, sends out monthly and weekly newsletters and event invitations to their clients and fans. They illustrate brand studies, offer tips and classes for streamlining company branding and host a first-Friday happy hour for clients each month. Their penchant for clean designs and smart email marketing makes them a strong contender in the world of brand management – segmenting their audience and testing subject lines are two strategies they use to increase engagement.

Why we like it.
The formatting is attractive and balanced. Design & Image's aesthetic is colorful and punchy without being cluttered. They've chosen relatively subdued colors – light blue and gray – and embellished with bright orange images. They place a visual splash with a focus on their key message up top, strategy questions in the middle and links to learn more at the end.
In short: Use formatting to your advantage without overdoing it to get your message in front your readers.

They focus on their audience. Sometimes we forget that our email newsletters should be less about us and more about our audience members. The Design & Image email poses industry questions that their subscribers can ponder, and then offers a complimentary marketing consultation. It's easy for them to track their most interested audience members by measuring click-throughs and consultation conversions.
In short: Think about new and creative incentives that encourage audience engagement.

The send-off, at a glance.

  • Sent to segmented audience groups in three separate sends (Mar 10, Mar 18, Apr 6); to 172 total members
  • Avg open rate: 39.2% :: Average click-through rate: 24.1%%
  • Subject line: Online Marketing Gameplan from D & I
  • Created using an Upload Your Own HTML template

More details

See the campaign online
See the website

‘Lost’ with Emma? Just this once

If Google's Ms. Pac-man hasn't provided enough Friday diversion for you, we've just launched a special limited edition of our 404 page for "Lost" fans. (That's the webpage you see if the page you try to visit on our site doesn't exist.)

It's up for this weekend only, in honor of the series finale of "Lost" on Sunday night. You can also see it by visiting any non-existent page on the site, like

Thanks to front end web developer and "Lost" devotee Jeff McKeand for, ahem, hatching this little idea.

Post-Finale Update: We've had a little trouble letting go, if you know what we mean. So while our main 404 page is back to its normal, mustache-themed self, we're keeping the smoke monster page alive.

In-store experiences and email working well together

How World Market used email to begin a lovely brand + consumer relationship.

Sometimes a good email experience starts on a random Saturday afternoon while you're holding onto a rug and standing in a check-out line. World Market, known for affordable and stylish goods from around the world, does some savvy marketing that starts with the point of sale and heads right to the inbox. They use several best practices to build relationships with customers and keep them coming back for more.

When I was recently buying a World Market rug, the cashier asked me if I'd like to become a member of the World Market Explorer Rewards Program. She compared the program to a Kroger Plus Card program, assured me it was free and said I'd receive coupons if I signed up. So, of course, the bargain lover in me signed up: name, email and telephone number.

Simple enough. Expectations set. Bring on the coupons…

A day or so later, I got an email prompting me to set up my Explorer membership, confirming my interest with an official opt-in. After entering a couple of details (taking 15 seconds, tops), I received a 10-percent-off coupon in my inbox within minutes. (I already had my next rug purchase in mind.) What's especially important to note here is that World Market reached out as soon as I joined the list while my memory of signing up was fresh. Lots of organizations forget to do this, and they lose the opportunity to get people engaged right away.

A few days later, they sent me a $10 off coupon. I knew I would receive coupons, but two in one week was a nice surprise. I was further intrigued when the next email invited me to go to the World Market Preference Center to indicate my personal interests in their brand. World Market will use those details so they can send me content that they know interests me.

With one swift interaction and a couple of emails, World Market made me into a repeat buyer.

Takeaways for your own email strategy:

+ Let your subscribers know what they should expect when they sign up for your list, and follow up with them quickly.
+ Follow through and meet — or exceed, if possible — those expectations.
+ Engage your customers through email, listen to what they have to say and tailor your messages accordingly.

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.