80% of people opening your emails are scanning, not reading, which means that compelling images in your email are key to grabbing attention.
What's all that mean? It's a good time to brush up on your image smarts, which is why we've just published our Brainiac Guide to Images in Email. You'll find five practical tips for making the most of your images with visuals (of course!) that help make the point.
But wait, there's more: all month long on the blog, we'll be going into more detail about leveraging the power of images in your email newsletters. We'll share real-world examples, expert interviews and videos. Check back often or, hey, just subscribe here or follow us on Twitter for the latest.
Also during the month of March, Emma customers can get 5 stock images on us. It's to celebrate the brand-new Emma integration with Bigstock that makes about 12 million stock images searchable right from your account -- and makes it easy to always add the all-important image to your next email campaign.
Now in Emma, you can test up to three subject lines, and then let us automatically send the winning version to your whole list. It's an easy way to get the most opens for your email and learn a little more about what your audience responds to.
It's also a good way to have some hard data to back up your claim to the title of the office's Chief Subject Line Captain of Copywriting Majesty before you make it official with that back tattoo.
Anyway, with the launch, we're challenging you to a SPLIT TEST SHOWDOWNto see if you can spot the winning subject line from a few tests we and our customers have tried.
It's time to highlight a few new features that we've added to Emma's signup forms, those helpful little screens that connect to Emma and allow new subscribers to join your email list.
Quite simply, they're more flexible than ever.
Customize your forms
We've always wanted to make sure you can customize your signup forms to collect the member information you need, whether or not you have web development skills. That's why it's easy to add your company logo as well as collect first and last names, company name, birthday and more using Emma's signup forms.
Did you realize your account comes with unlimited forms? Your forms can be posted anywhere you'd like – on your website, on Twitter and Facebook, and in your email signature, for example. And if you create separate forms that filter to unique groups in Emma, you can keep track of how many new subscribers are joining from the different locations.
Now, let's talk about the new features that make signup forms even easier to build and manage.
Share details with new subscribers
When you build your signup forms, it's important to consider the subscriber experience. Put yourself in your subscriber's shoes, or at least in front of their computer. When they sign up, they're likely thinking some (or all) of these things:
I'm excited to hear from you. What content can I expect to receive?
How often will you send me emails?
Will this process be simple and quick? Can I change my mind later?
It's a good idea to share answers to these questions atop the signup form itself. It instills trust and encourages your visitor to click submit, rather than abandon the form.
But don't stop there. Now that you've wooed them, use the form's thank-you page as an opportunity to win them over. We've included a WYSIWYG editor to allow you to type a simple thank-you message. Or, use our new re-direct option to send folks to your website or to share a link to downloadable content, a coupon or your features page.
With the freedom to take new subscribers anywhere you'd like after signup, we're empowering you to begin engaging with audience members right away.
Give folks the ability to manage their email preferences
You've always been able to customize the confirmation message that folks receive in their inbox after signing up. (You can even turn that confirmation message off, if you'd rather replace it with a welcome autoresponder.)
Now, we've added that same customization to the manage preferences message, the email that existing audience members receive when they re-visit your form to update their contact information. It's a nice way to tailor the experience to new and existing members alike. And if you don't want Emma to send the manage preferences message, go ahead and turn it off.
Track it with Google Analytics
Now, not only can you add Google Analytics tracking to your email campaigns, you can also add it to your signup forms. Simply plug in your Google Analytics ID on the tracking tab of your signup form, and you're all set to begin tracking how new subscribers start interacting with your site. The reporting lands in your own Google Analytics account rather than on your Emma response page, which means website data is kept consistently in one place.
Receive real-time notifications
Once you have your signup forms set up to collect new subscribers, you'll want to keep up to see who's new. You can do that by logging into your account and viewing recent activity on your audience page. Or, you can set up email notifications to get a heads-up every time someone subscribes. Our new feature allows you to choose your frequency, in case you'd like to be notified weekly or monthly, rather than in real time. You can also add up to three email addresses to receive notifications, so it's easy to send to someone else in your office, too.
We hope you'll put these features to work as you continue growing your email audience. If you have questions along the way, we're here to help.
Note: If you're bypassing the Emma-powered signup forms and using your own subscription forms, check out our API documentation to easily connect your forms to your Emma account.
We've received terrific feedback from customers on our content editor, and we're busy making improvements so it'll be faster, simpler and more intuitive. To those who asked for a button to remove formatting or wanted text wrapping *on* by default, you'll notice those changes in your account. Thanks for speaking up, and keep sharing your ideas in the comments below.
We're pretty excited about our brand new content editor and email template gallery (have ya noticed?), and we're even more excited to see how our customers are using the editor's shiny new features to create stunning email campaigns. I rounded up a few recent examples to show you how folks are communicating in style and getting great results.
It's just the right use for the postcard template. We realize folks don't send a newsletter-style email every time they create a campaign, so we created shorter template formats as part of our new template collections. The postcard nicely frames Pottery Merchant’s concise content, enhancing the announcement, rather than overpowering it.
Colors complement the content. Emma allows you to customize the template's accent colors to match your brand and photographs. Pottery Merchant matches the accent colors to the photograph, lending a cohesive feel and professional look.
It hit just the right audience. Pottery Merchant segments their audience to differentiate current customers from prospects. Not only can they can track the engagement of those groups with Emma's search tools, but they can easily send targeted campaigns that strike just the right note with those audiences.
The images are perfectly balanced. We're big fans of moderately-sized images that work in conjuntion with each other. Even if your original images are different sizes, our Smart Sizing feature automatically matches their sizes more closely to give a completed look. Plus, the images fit within the framework of the template without expanding too wide on the left and right. The campaign's images look all buttoned up and ready for display.
Every image has a purpose. Now that our content editor allows you to arrange images and text boxes almost any way you’d like, it's easy to find the right spot for each piece of content. Here, the Nashville Children’s Theatre adds centered images down the campaign and three across the bottom, highlighting each upcoming event.
The mailing arrived right on cue, and no one had to wake up early to hit send. Nashville Children's Theater used the schedule mailing feature to ensure this campaign was the first thing readers saw in their inbox when they woke up.
The background color adds pop. Emma's classic editor didn't allow for the easy addition of background colors – so we made sure to address the issue with the new editor. With the addition of a background color, this campaign's Facebook contest really stands out.
The captions give context. Image captions are easy to turn on or off with the click of a button. Add a caption when the situation calls for it, or allow the photos to speak for themselves.
The purpose is clear. This thank you note manages to highlight three calls to action without making the email feel cluttered or confusing. The result? A 17.6% click-through rate from people who want to learn more.
The newsletter template of the Toronto collection looks completely different than the Toronto postcard above, thanks to some customization byDovetail Solution. They added their own logo and spin for a professional-looking company newsletter.
Why we like it:
The column adds visual interest. Different campaigns call for different content layouts. Choose from one-, two- and three-column layouts to neatly arrange all of your images and text.
Social icons encourage sharing. I love that Dovetail Solutions pulled in their social properties. It's a cinch to do, so don't overlook it. Just drag over individual icons from the left side of the content editor and link each to your corresponding profile page or wall.
It's a team effort. Each article is authored by a different member of the Dovetail team, which means readers get to know the people behind the brand and hear a variety of voices. It makes for a more interesting email and keeps one person from having to do all the writing.
It's easy on the eyes. We wanted customers to have the ability to add subtle design additions, like these well-placed dividers, to break up content into story sections or add a bit of design appeal to images. Series of underscores, be gone. Emma’s dividers can be customized by color, height and line height. Feel free to make dividers dashed or dotted, if you’d like.
The subject line is specific and engaging. Inbox scanners saw "The Water and the Blood at the High Museum of Art - July 28, Dusk till Midnight," and 40.78% of them opened the email – that's twice the industry average!
We hope you’re enjoying our new editor features and finding ways to incorporate email best practices along the way. We’d love to see some of your handiwork! Share your campaigns in the comments, and we may just feature you in a future post.
What's more, we're now offering you even more ways to become an email marketing expert with a new resource center.
+ Featured blog posts. Stay in the know on feature releases, campaign examples, customer spotlights, hiring news and more by following the Emma blog. (If you're a regular reader, use the subscribe link to add us to your RSS feeder and get new posts automatically.)
+ New videos. We're working hard to bring you even more sneak peek videos, tips & best practices and account tutorials. Watch a few of the newest here, including how to edit and format campaigns on the fly with our new editor.
+ Account help & how-to. Our former help section got a makeover! Visit the new help section for all of the account how-to's you're familiar with, plus a slew of new articles to help you get started, create the best campaign ever, put the latest trends to work and more.
Of course, real live humans are here to help you, too. Reach out to our support team at 800.595.4401 or email us during business hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm Central time. If you're new to Emma, drop us a line – we'd love to chat.
We wanted all the design around the new stuff we're sharing to reflect this more Emmafied Emma -- something of an exclamation point on the story of these new features and design tools. Today, I'd like to give you a glimpse at a few of the *visual* changes you'll see starting this week:
An updated app
There's a brand new look for the Emma application itself. Everything is still in the same place, but we've refined the colors and simplified the graphics so Emma's an even more pleasant place to do your work.
A new website
This morning, we launched an entirely new website featuring our new look and features. It includes a dedicated resource center so it's easy to search across our collection of videos, blog posts and account help in one central place.
An updated logo & brand
We took this opportunity to make some refinements to our brand and logo. Emma's hair is smoother, her glasses are a bit hipper and her face is just subtly more balanced. She also has a modern new color palette to wear around town.
What do you think of the changes? Let us know in the comments.
Take a peek at the new features coming soon to your Emma account
If you've been reading here and over on Emma Tech, you know we've been hard at work to make Emma simpler, speedier and better for our customers. We've shared info about our new platform and changes to come, and today, we're delighted to give you a closer look at the features and enhancements you'll find in your account over the next few months.
Emma’s getting upgraded with a faster, more feature-rich platform and a handy API for your developers to use
We've been talking about it for a while, and we're now beginning to roll out our new API — and the new Emma platform to support it.
More about the API
We've discussed the new API a bit previously, but to catch you up to speed, an API is an interface that a developer can use to get other programs talking with Emma. That means you can do things like add audience members and groups, pull response data, search your audience and edit member fields all from outside of Emma. If you follow our tech blog, you've heard Alex talking about our Salesforce integration, which relies heavily on this new API. Needless to say, this opens up many exciting avenues for both you as a customer and for Emma overall.
More about the new platform
Even if you're not a developer, Emma's new platform is going to offer some nice upgrades for everyone, with many more on the way. When your account is migrated to the new platform, you'll immediately see improvements like:
International character support
Multiple test groups
Faster send times
Overall improved performance
And in the coming months, you'll also see some new features being released on this new platform, including automated split testing, signup and survey notifications and social features for campaigns built into your account. All of these features take advantage of our new platform, and many more will follow. Exciting, right? Here's a sneak peek so you can get a better idea of what's to come.
What's happening behind the scenes
To allow you to take advantage of the new system, we'll be migrating all of our customers to this new Emma platform. That's a major undertaking that entails moving all of your data from one system to another, one that has an entirely new structure to make these improvements possible. The new system will allow us to scale in a fast and stable fashion, and that means a more reliable and flexible Emma for everyone. This should be a seamless process for you, as each individual account can be moved in a matter of minutes, and downtime per account should be a fraction of that. Additionally, we'll be doing these moves at non-peak hours to ensure we don't cause any problems for customers. The entire process of moving all accounts will take some time, so we appreciate your patience as we make the big switch for everyone.
Want to be first in line?
We'll be rolling out the new platform to all accounts over the next few weeks. As a side note, you'll only see any new features we release if you're on the new platform, so if you'd like your account to be upgraded sooner rather than later, let us know here.
If you're a developer and would like to stay updated with the latest API news, let us know here.
Our plan to make your experience better, plus a sneak peek at what's to come
If you rely on Emma to communicate with your customers, supporters or colleagues, I'm here to say thanks. We love being your email partner. And we know that relying on Emma means when the system isn't performing, you're losing valuable time and resources.
In the past few weeks, many members of the Emma community have experienced intermittent bouts of page load slowness and delayed mailings. I want to provide a little insight on the problem and share how we're improving overall performance in the short term while moving forward with the implementation of a newly architected system platform that will allow us to scale our service (and add some cool features along the way) without compromising the in-account experience.
What's causing the slowness?
As we add new customers and send and track more mail, our current databases are feeling the effects of the added load. While the system is stable, and all of your data is securely backed up, spikes in volume (usually from very large mailings) are putting a strain on the system, and that affects page loads in Emma and causes mailing delays.
What are you doing to fix it?
We've seen this problem before, and in the past, we've solved performance and speed issues with the build-out of additional databases and a rebalancing of the load. While we have a more long term solution in the works (more on that in a moment), that's exactly how we're going to mitigate the slowness in the short term. Our tech team has just built an additional relief database, which is being tested right now and will take on some of the large processes starting this week.
Will we see more slowness when the new database gets full?
We know we can't continue building new databases every time Emma experiences a growth spurt, so we're also planning for long term expansion. Over the past eight months, our platform developers have been re-architecting a new Emma platform, and by the end of the year we will have moved all of our customer accounts onto this speedier, more robust system. Effortless scaling is just one of the perks of migrating to a newer system, but it's arguably the most important because it affects every Emma user and ensures the speedy account experience that we're dedicated to providing.
What are the other perks of migrating to a new platform?
A shiny new platform means more than just speedy page loads and zippy mailings. See, the new system comes with a versatile API (read more about it on Emma Tech) that empowers our developers and the wider tech community to build integrations and features that will help you make smart marketing decisions and add value to your existing account. Features already in the works for the new system include:
A/B/C split testing of subject lines, from details and send times
Automatic notifications when new subscribers join your audience or complete a survey
In-account posting of your campaign to Facebook and Twitter
Two-way integration with Salesforce
We'll share more details as those features get closer to being released. In the meantime, I'm sorry if Emma's caused some frustration lately, and we all look forward to providing a better experience very soon.