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How email marketing is totally like fashion we swear

Did you see our guide to fall email fashion?

Emma's guide to email and fashion shows you how to assemble a smart email ensemble, add features that bring it all together and style a template to suit any brand.

See full article
With Emma, you're in good company. Meet our Customers.

Do you read your emails from top to bottom? Me neither.

Confession time: I don't read most of the emails in my inbox. I open them and scan them, but if the email is too lengthy or the content isn't organized well, I'm likely to move on to the next unread item.

Short paragraphs or teasers are most likely to catch my eye, and they often end with some linked text inviting me to "read more." Without even thinking too hard about it, I click the link and am transported to more engaging content on a landing page, which contains just the topic or article I'm interested in. The experience feels customized and personal, even though I'm controlling my path.

Think about your own habits in the inbox. I'm not the only email scanner out there, right? Take note of what compels you to read an email and click through to read more, and apply those practices in your own campaigns. And if you've never created a landing page before, here's a quick overview of the basics.

So what exactly is a landing page?

Put simply, a landing page is just the place where readers land when they click on a link in your email. The purpose of a landing page may vary:

  • Promotions may link to a product page on a retailer's website.
  • Invitations may link to a registration form.
  • Newsletters may link to articles too lengthy to include in the body of the email.

How do I create a landing page quickly?

Sometimes you know you're going to use landing pages (usually on your website) before you even start creating your campaign. But what if you want to create landing pages on the fly to shorten the length of your overall campaign, and you aren't able to move the additional content to your website? You can use your Emma account to create a quick landing page on your branded stationery.

  1. Create a separate campaign for each "read more" link you plan to include in your email. Each campaign will contain the full article or additional material that doesn't fit in the email you plan to deliver to your readers' inboxes.
  2. Send each one of those campaigns to yourself. Doing so creates a link to an online version on your Emma response page, and you'll need that URL for your "read more" links.
  3. Access the online version by opening the response for each campaign you just sent to yourself. Just click the "Online Version" link on the left side of the screen when you're viewing your response overview. Your campaign will open in a new tab. Copy the URL at the top of your browser and keep it handy. This is your landing page link.
  4. Create the email campaign you plan to send to your subscribers. Add teasers in your content, each with a compelling reason to read on, and use Emma's editor to link the teaser text to the online versions of your landing pages.

How do I make sure my landing pages are effective?

Smart marketers know how to take advantage of every online interaction, and landing pages are no exception. Here are some easy tips to ensure your landing pages are effective:

  • Highlight your brand. If you're using your custom Emma stationery, you've already got a branded framework for your landing page. The key is creating a consistent brand experience across all of your online channels.
  • Add some pizzazz to your landing page. Consider these tried and true design tips from Formstack's Anatomy of a Perfect Landing Page.
  • Include something the email didn't provide. You want to reward your reader for clicking to read on, yes? Don't repeat what they just read in your email; give them further details — it's your opportunity to really engage them.
  • Create landing pages for your landing pages. This isn't as complicated as it sounds. Just make sure your landing pages link readers back to your website, blog or Facebook page rather than making it a dead end.
  • Pay attention to what readers are clicking on. A great perk of using Emma to create landing pages is that you can easily spot which links get the most traction in your response results. Use that knowledge to better understand what your audience finds compelling.

Want to talk more about landing pages? Let us know how these tips and how-tos work for you, or if you've got a few tips of your own to share.


Like this article? Read more email best practices from Emma.

Meet Emma designer Elizabeth Williams

Elizabeth shares tips for customizing your email's format and making your content stand out
Elizabeth at the office
Elizabeth works … and wears her thinking cap.

Around the Emma office, designer Elizabeth William is better known by her nickname, Lizard. You've seen her work in your inbox if you receive Emma's Roundups and all over the Emma website (like the imagery in our homepage video). Get to know her a bit better today, as she shares email design wisdom that'll help your messages stand out.

You've designed custom email templates for Emma customers. Templates frame content nicely, but what do you recommend for arranging the body of an email (its text and image fields)?

Great question. It's best to have your content strategy determined before you get to design. Establishing a content hierarchy is so important when making complementary visual hierarchy decisions. Here are some questions to ask yourself about the content that will help to inform the design:

1. How often do you want to send?
Sending often might mean sharing just one or two stories per email. Sending a newsletter-style monthly or quarterly email requires you to give a bit more thought to how all the stories will come together — and how your design elements will support the story.

2. What do your subscribers respond to?
Do they tend to click more on image-based links or text-based links? Do they click on stories at the top of your email, or are their clicks dispersed throughout the email? Are they mostly mobile users? The answers to these questions will determine how you should lay out your content.

3. Is the amount of content you've chosen easily replicable?
For example, if you have four articles each month and you want an image to go with each, do you have access to great imagery that will support each article every time you mail? If not, you may need to rethink what you want to do there, or think about having an in-house designer create images that you can re-use. Or, ask the Emma design team. We love making designs that work for the resources you have access to!

4. How does your brand use imagery, and how can that imagery best support your story via email? Could you utilize custom image-based headings?
Image-based headings really add pop and personality to an email.

5. What's your message hierarchy?
Do you have a featured article each time? Do you have a big image up top that spans the width of your stationery? This will help you determine if you'd like to use a similar story layout each time, or if you'd like to switch it up each month, based on the news at your company.

Other questions to consider: Can you reduce the amount of copy and let some images do the talking? Or better yet, can you create teaser copy that links to the full stories elsewhere? Can you use a sidebar for quick links, ad space or smaller supporting elements (as opposed to primary/secondary items in the content hierarchy)?

I find headlines, subheadings and body text hard to balance visually. When you design a stationery that's meant to employ consistent headline and body copy (like Emma's Agency Insider), how do you find the perfect balance?

A good headline is powerful. It needs to entice the reader, and it should be very distinguishable from the body copy. There aren't really set-in-stone rules for this type of thing since there are many ways to achieve a good balance between headline, subhead and body copy. Here's one test you can do: after you style your copy, scoot back from your computer and make sure the first thing you see in the text is are the headlines. If those are somewhat distinguishable from a distance, you're on the right track. Typically, playing with bold, italics, text-based divider lines (using dashes, forward slashes or Emma's horizontal rule tool) and color will all help to create the right balance, but always remember to self-edit.

Choose two or three styles to make each section distinct and stick with them. Don't oversaturate your text with styling. If you use much more than two fonts, two colors (even accent colors), more than two or three font sizes, it'll look cluttered. And just because I have your attention — no comic sans, please.

I've noticed that most folks stick to a clean sans-serif font, like Helvetica or Verdana. The Uppercase email (below) is a nice exception. Mixing font choices can be tricky, though. What holds this campaign together even though it employs a number of different typeface styles and colors?

Uppercase newsletter
Uppercase blends several fonts and colors in their email.
There's no shame in making daring font selections (well, daring in the realm of web-safe fonts). But you've got to have the design reasoning to back it up. In Uppercase's email (I just love Uppercase, by the way!), they clearly want you to read the text in the serif font [the main article section] first. So they set it apart using a different style of font than the rest of the mailing — and they also bumped up the size a few points to create an obvious hierarchy.

Also, since that particular copy is in letter format, the serif font gives it a more classic, formal feel which is in contrast to their use of a sans-serif in the sidebar for more ad-like copy; they want to get straight to business there. Within that serif text in the main well, they've highlighted what they consider the most important piece of information by changing the color of the type and using bold and italics when appropriate.

I like mixing sans-serif and serif fonts in headline and subhead copy. I typically prefer the headline to be in the serif font and the subhead in a sans (Georgia and Tahoma provide a nice mix), with a very obvious font size difference. Using that mixture lends a classic sophistication to any campaign, but always have your brand top of mind when making that decision.

Oh, one last thought — using a serif font within your sans text for a pull quote is also a cool way to use the mixture and give it a more editorial feel.

In last year's New Year's Resolution design, you chose a striking purple color to highlight several areas, including some of the header text. I'm guessing it's not a coincidence that this is also the shade of Claire's lipstick in the design. But which came first? Did you isolate that color from the photograph? Or did you plan the color scheme, then adjust the photo?

Emma's New Year's Resolutions campaign
Elizabeth's design uses a striking highlight color in the text and image.
Oh, interesting question. The color scheme for the campaign was decided before our photo shoot. I actually played off of our Emma green and used magenta as an accent color to give it a fresh feel since it was all about New Year's Resolutions. We edited the photos accordingly, and then enhanced her lipstick with that purply-pink text color to tie it all together. Photoshop is fun.

Pulling a highlight color from a logo or photograph is a great way to bring the email together visually. But, at least initially, it sounds a little daunting to those of us without design chops. What sorts of tips and tools do you recommend?

Since Emma's email tools are simply an extension of your brand, I think the most daunting part is making the foundational commitment to your brand. That is, choosing brand colors, denoting the primary, secondary and accent usage cases for each, the font styles you want to use, etc. Get together with your team to build a brand style guide, then find the specific color codes for the colors you've selected.

If you're working with an Emma designer, we'd love to help with color selections, and we can provide the proper color codes to input when using Emma's text editor. If you need a free, on-the-fly "color picker" check out Eye Drop for Chrome, or Colorzilla for Firefox. You can identify the HEX code for your color, then input it in the Emma text editor.

I also like free photo editing tools like Skitch, Gimp and Pixlr. With a little practice, they become pretty easy to use.

What is the Emma design team up to now?

We're really busy — and really excited — to be working on a new template gallery for Emma customers. They'll be able to choose from hundreds (literally, hundreds) of free readymade templates, then customize the look of their campaigns with their logo and brand colors. It's a lot of work, and we can't wait to unveil the designs soon.


Emma powers the emails of more than 30,000 businesses, nonprofits and agencies.

Five things you didn’t know about daily deals

Seize the Daily Deal
Click to download the PDF.

Lots of business owners have been turning to daily deal email campaigns to attract new customers lately, and many more are wondering if it's worth a try. To help cut through the hubbub, the Bradford Group teamed with Emma to create a guide of best practices, case studies and strategies for daily deals.

Download our Seize the Daily Deals guide here.

Along the way, we discovered some interesting facts. Here are five things we didn't know about daily deals:

1. Your industry matters

Are you a restaurateur? An interior designer? A ballroom dance instructor? When it comes to daily deals, your industry greatly influences the odds of a successful campaign. A Rice University study found that health services and special events were the most profitable deals for business owners, with 70% of businesses claiming profitability. Restaurants and spas were the least profitable, with 44% of businesses claiming profitability. Ironically, restaurants are also the most highly purchased deal. Go figure.

2. Expect spurts and lulls

The largest surge of daily deal customers typically occurs at the beginning and end of a promotion. A Yipit study found that approximately 25% of coupons are redeemed in both the first and last months of the deal. When determining how long your deal should last, factor these spurts and lulls into your foot traffic estimations. In most cases, a deal with an expiration of three or six months should suffice. A year is too long.

3. 85 is the new 100

Historically, 15-20% of buyers never redeem their coupons, but businesses still receive profits off these sales. So if your business sells 100 deals, look for 80 to 85 to be cashed in. A ForeSee poll found that 62% of these shoppers are potential new, or infrequent customers. With 100 deals sold, your business can expect about 50 new customers walking through the doors.

4. No two deal providers are alike

To differentiate themselves, daily deal providers take either the super store or boutique approach, driving business through either the quantity and reach of their email subscribers or via the importance of location and business niche to their subscribers. Partner with a daily deal site whose business goals are most in line with your own. For example, if your company has a philanthropic vein, you could find a deal provider that will donate a portion of its profits to a non-profit in your company's name. You can also find vertical-focused sites, like Daily Gourmet for foodies.

5. Timing can be tricky

Most daily deal providers have a waiting list — some as long as nine months. On the one hand, this gives you plenty of time to plan your deal; on the other, if you've been putting off running a daily deal until a special event or your next slow time, you might want to consider reaching out to a provider to get a little more information and a realistic timeline.

Ready to plan your first, or next, promotion and looking for more tips? Download our Seize the Daily Deal and get a crash course on planning, launching and profiting from deal-a-day promotions.

Have some daily deal advice of your own? We'd love to hear from you in the comments section below.

Erin Gagnon
Erin Gagnon is an account executive for the Bradford Group, a full-service public relations, advertising and marketing agency based in Nashville. You can reach her by email at, or via Twitter at @ErinDGagnon.

When life gives you iPads & Kindles, make an email marketing strategy

How authors and publishers use email to increase reader engagement

I'm a sucker for a hardbound novel that's way too heavy to carry, but looks like a piece of artwork on my shelf. Even though iPads and Kindles make buying, consuming and transporting reading material incredibly easy, I'll never stop collecting gorgeous physical copies of books.

While I hope book buying never fades away completely, a relentless technological tide and shifting economy have forced even the most traditional denizens of the literary world to go with the online flow. Since more people are reading online, it makes sense for publishers and authors to focus their marketing efforts there as well.

Here are a few examples from folks in the publishing industry who are successfully utilizing email marketing to stay in touch with readers and broaden their audience. Hopefully, these will inspire you to put pen to paper, er, fingers to keyboard.

Janet Evanovich's newsletter
Keep up with your favorite characters with Janet Evanovich's newsletter.

Janet Evanovich | Living beyond the page

Ever put down a book and find yourself immediately missing your favorite character? Me, too. Janet Evanovich builds excitement for her next novel by sending email updates written in the voice of Mooner from her bestselling Plum series.

Have a little fun and let your imagination do the heavy lifting. Consider using Emma's trigger feature to send a clever (and automatic) hello from you or one of your favorite characters when someone subscribes to your newsletter.

+ See a recent campaign
+ Follow @janetevanovich on Twitter
+ Sign up for Janet's newsletters

Patti Digh
Want to know where Patti will be next? Sign up to receive her emails.

Patti Digh | Making an appearance

Self-help author Patti Digh would like to read to you. And more importantly, inspire you! After all, musicians aren't the only ones who get to travel the country spreading their talent to lucky listeners.

Send an email letting fans know when you're doing a reading in a town near them. Ask for subscribers to provide their zip codes, then use Emma's search and segment tool to easily follow up with them when you're pulling into their city.

+ See a recent newsletter
+ Follow @pattidigh on Twitter
+ Read Patti's blog

Oxford American previews what's coming up next.

Oxford American | Featuring offline content

Wondering what to expect in the next issue of Oxford American Magazine? Here, the team at OA does a great job of touching on topics to look forward to, as well as encouraging email subscribers to purchase hard copy versions.

Sending an issue synopsis is the perfect way to pique your reader's interest. Don't forget to create links that easily direct traffic so folks can dig into your content back at your website. Then, check out Emma's response section to see who's clicking to read more and which topics resonate.

+ See a recent newsletter
+ Follow @oxfordamerican on Twitter
+ Connect with Oxford American on Facebook


Want more ideas? Check out the slide show below for additional examples from authors.


Not yet an Emma customer? Learn more about our products and service.

Crazy about email design?

Our picks for the best design-related posts on the Emma blog
An example of a sliced image

In the past year, we covered everything from fancy-lookin' customer emails to email makeovers to (lots of) mobile design tips. In this roundup, we're sharing the best design-related posts on the Emma blog.

1. Building a slice and dice campaign: Instead of compromising email deliverability with one big image, we taught you how to code an image into smaller slices.

2. Designing emails for smartphones: Guest blogger Anna Yeaman, creative director of Style Campaign, shared her top six mobile design tips.

3. Research, inspiration and doodling: Taylor Schena offered a behind-the-scenes look at her design process.

4. Stylishly formatted email campaigns: We featured five customers with effective content arrangements in their emails.

5. HTML code for email layouts: We gave you access to the code of Emma's content layouts to use and adapt if you're building campaigns with an Upload Your Own HTML template.

6. More mobile tips: Miles Price weighed in with more design tips for crafting emails for mobile devices.

7. An email makeover: We highlighted a refreshed email strategy and brand new look for Rumours Wine & Art Bar in Nashville.

8. Animated GIFs of the future: Cody De Vos paved the way for using animated GIFs in your email campaigns.


For even more design inspiration, see our design showcases.

What design topics would you like to see us feature next? Let us know by commenting here.

Design showcase: The navigation edition

A look at custom email templates that direct readers to more than just the homepage

Navbars, nav links, navigation menus — no matter what you call them, they're part of almost any website that you visit. They're usually a series of buttons or text links like Home, About Us or Order a Platypus, and they provide the most direct way to move about a website's various pages (especially if you're like me and are always looking for the shortest route to a platypus bargain).

What you may not know, though, is that they can also be a very helpful addition to your email template. Let's take a look at some of Emma's custom designs that include navigation links, and some of the benefits of including them.


University Settlement custom design | Emma Email Marketing

Client: University Settlement
Designer: Kelly McClain
Design Level: Concierge Design

University Settlement is a fantastic organization that provides a range of social services and support for immigrant families in New York City. Their colorful tab navigation is eye-catching and easily recognizable to anyone who has visited their home page.

Kelly's inclusion of those tabs in her design creates strong brand recognition due to the visual consistency between their website and email stationery. That kind of familiarity really helps when subscribers are deciding whether they should read your painstakingly-crafted campaign, and it also keeps their experience of your online presence as seamless as possible.

Lex Gillette custom design | Emma Email Marketing

Client: UCSD Track & Field / Lex Gillette
Designer: Kelly McClain
Design Level: Concierge Design

An inspiring paralympic athlete and motivational speaker, Lex Gillette has a content-packed website and a lengthy navigation menu to match. Much of what makes his site so visually memorable, though, is his striking portrait in conjunction with the spare color palette. Knowing the best approach would be consistency here, Kelly chose to echo the look and feel of the website to reinforce his singular branding, as she did with the University Settlement design featured above.

The big difference here is that University Settlement's five colorful tabs are a primary feature of their stationery header; Lex Gillette's has twice that number of links, so the header would look cluttered if the navigation were more prominent. Kelly's challenge, then, was to include the links as unobtrusively as possible without making them too inconspicuous — a goal she accomplished quite tidily.

And while ten navigation links is a lot to include in a stationery design, there's definitely a benefit: on Emma's response page, the client will be able to track click-throughs to each linked page. That way, he'll be able to gauge each campaign's ability to generate interest in specific areas of his site.

Homeworks custom design | Emma Email Marketing

Client: HomeWorks
Designer: Taylor Schena
Design Level: Concierge Design

HomeWorks, a company that not only contracts home improvements but offers do-it-yourself coaching and educational services to homeowners, has a distinctively hand-drawn, tactile look and feel to their website. Their main page contains ten navigation links — like the Lex Gillette site mentioned above — and Taylor's design is an excellent example of a different way to handle that many links.

In this case, instead of trying to cram all of those whimsically-penciled navigation icons from their site into the smaller confines of an email stationery header, Taylor helped the client narrow down the links to what they considered to be the four most essential. This is a helpful reminder that you don't have to include all your nav links; in fact, limiting links will aid in driving traffic to particular pages of your site that you'd most like to feature.

Anna Mae Southern Bread custom design | Emma Email Marketing

Client: Anna Mae's Southern Bread Co.
Designer: Cody Newman
Design Level: Concierge Design

Of course, your design doesn't have to look like your website in order to include a navigation menu. Anna Mae's Southern Bread Co., a bakery that crafts slow-risen, artisan sourdough rolls, loved the look of their site but preferred that their stationery resemble their delightful product packaging.

Cody recreated the look of their packaging by using the distinctive border decoration, block print graphics and background texture, and he was also able to cleverly incorporate their four nav links into the design. Their inclusion doesn't take away from the feel of what the client wanted, while still offering the advantage of direct page links in their header.


Want to see even more custom email templates with navigation menus? Take a look at these six examples from Emma customers.

If you're ready to get yourself a fancy new stationery with navigation links ("Order Platypus" button optional), you can get started by filling out our design request form and we'll take it from there.

Until next time, much navigational love from your Emma Design Team!

Emma City Guide: New York, NY

Tour NYC this Valentine's Day and meet some of our favorite Big Apple customers

I'm back for another stop in our tour of Emma cities, and today I'm highlighting some of our New York City customers. And since it's Valentine's Day, I've added a bit of a romantic twist to my lineup of Big Apple destinations. February 14th means different things to different people — that is, not everyone expects to meet their soulmate at the top of the Empire State Building today — but the magical thing about New York City is that there's enough romance for everyone.



219 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn


Were you that kid in 2nd grade who distributed handmade Valentines while your classmates settled for assembling the boxed variety? Do you gravitate toward great design, appreciate a well-curated shop and just love love? Then you'll want to pop into Catbird this month to get in on the Valentine goodies. Or if you're admiring NYC from afar, visit their website and ogle collections of jewelry, stationery and treasures for the home. Oh, and while you're there, sign up for their emails to get a heads-up about free shipping offers, new products and maybe even a little special surprise on your birthday.


+ See a recent campaign
+ Visit their website

Kiki de Montparnasse

79 Greene Street, Manhattan


Kiki de Montparnasse
If you've moved past conversation hearts and Bee Mine cards (buzz), New York City has got you covered. After all, it's home to Kiki de Montparnasse, which boasts a luxury lingerie line sure to make your Valentine's Day special. Every product in their flagship boutique is ensconced in romance, and their online shop lets you get in on the fun even if a trip to SoHo isn't on your agenda. Kiki de Montparnasse uses Emma to promote new products and invite subscribers to exclusive events.


+ See a recent campaign
+ Visit their website

Daniel Boulud Restaurants


Boulud Sud
For some, Valentine's Day is all about candlelight, good wine and just about the best meal you could possibly imagine. Look no further than the restaurants of renowned Chef Daniel Boulud. Whether you're catching a quick pre-theater meal at DBGB Kitchen and Bar (try the burger!) or spending the whole evening lingering over a four-course prix fixe menu at Boulud Sud, it'll be a night to remember. Subscribers to Boulud's emails were recently enticed with a sneak peek of the Valentine's Day menus and a link to online reservations. They had me at Chocolate Macadamia Almond Cream Cake …


+ See a recent campaign
+ Visit their website

Brooklyn Public Library

10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn


The Brooklyn Public Library is an unexpected Valentine's Day destination, but it's a lovely place to spend an afternoon with someone you love. With an impressive permanent collection highlighting Brooklyn's rich history and ever-changing events calendar, BPL sends the highlights to more than 100,000 subscribers so they'll know to check out cool exhibits like Building Stories. Go yourself, and you won't only get to be cute and couply with your Valentine, but you'll learn about city architecture and start seeing your surroundings in new ways.


+ See a recent email campaign
+ Visit their website

Whole Foods Culinary Center

95 East Houston, Manhattan


Whole Foods Culinary Center
Rather than go out for a Valentine's Day meal with all the other couples, surprise your sweetie with a cooking class at Whole Foods Market. The Bowery Culinary Center is offering up a menu of intriguing classes this February — who wouldn't be delighted to attend Beer & Southeast Asian Cuisine or The Winter Herbal Kitchen? The Culinary Center uses smartly placed signup forms to keep website visitors in the know, and their campaigns contain clear calls to action with class registration links.


+ See a recent campaign
+ Visit their website

Physique 57


Physique 57
Maybe you're not in a romantic relationship right now. Maybe you're still going to have the best-ever Valentine's Day, thanks to your best-ever friends. If you're looking for ideas to gather the gals for an outing, consider a group fitness class at Physique 57. In one hour, you'll stretch, strengthen and tone by performing a variety of exercises to energizing music that's always changing to keep things fresh. You might even catch their Love Songs playlist in an upcoming class, which was cleverly promoted in a recent email campaign. It's the kind of exercise experience that always puts a smile on my face and makes me feel a little less guilty about indulging in a Valentine's Day pastry later in the day.


+ See a recent campaign
+ Visit their website

Canal Room

285 West Broadway at Canal, Manhattan


Canal Room
Perhaps a night on the town is in order, too. Why not meet up at Canal Room, a music and event venue that has some pretty irresistible shows on its February calendar. Make plans to dance the night away to your favorite guilty pleasures, courtesy of 80s cover band Rubix Kube. The Back to the Eighties show runs Saturdays in February and March, and it's guaranteed to be one of those dance-in-a-circle-you've-tossed-your-purses-in-the-center-of kind of nights. Canal Room fans learn about upcoming events through regular email updates, and since the email stationery matches the look of the Canal Room website, it's a seamless experience to hop from one to the other.


+ See a recent campaign
+ Visit their website

Whatever your plans are, we wish you a lovely Valentine's Day! And if you want to catch up on our other city guides in the places Emma calls home, click to read about Austin, Portland and Denver.


Emma powers the emails of more than 30,000 businesses, nonprofits and agencies. Try Emma. For free. Inquire now.

Improving your email list

How to use advanced tools and strategy to nurture your growing audience

Yesterday, I offered tips for turning your email readers into buyers , but those tactics may not do you a ton of good until you've really engaged your audience. Today, we'll look at a few strategies for nurturing your growing audience.

Email audience

Make time to nurture your growing email list.

So, take a walk with me down memory lane. When your email marketing strategy was young, you created signup forms to help it grow. As your strategy blossomed, you promoted your email newsletter through social channels and enabled Social Sharing . You kept it in line with a straightforward privacy and permission policy . You even developed a birthday club and segmented your audience by demographics.

Your list is all grown up. What now?

At this stage, I imagine that your email marketing goals are more advanced. You're keen to keep your original fans while attracting a larger crowd, but as you do so, you want to maintain strong delivery rates and engagement. Now's the time to pair your goal of growth with additional measures like effective messaging, relationship building and higher delivery rates.

Here are a few ways to do just that:

+ Segment beyond demographics . Your audience list likely falls into more relevant categories than male/female and north/south. For example, a brand new subscriber may respond better to being treated like a very special newbie than simply receiving a particular demographic's message. To kick off that relationship, develop a series of welcome emails for new subscribers that introduces them to your content and messaging. Retool a particularly successful past campaign or build a new one from scratch, or both. (For more ideas, Cody gives tips galore on segmenting your subscribers based on their relationship with you .) Alternatively, if you have a longer purchase cycle than traditional retail, you may want to segment based on your recipients' place in that process. Read my perspective on segmenting based on customer lifecycle .

+ Elicit audience actions to help your emails succeed in filtered inboxes . Most popular webmail clients (like Gmail and Hotmail) do some automatic filtering for their users. Unloved email senders start to get filtered to the "unimportant" category — and sometimes right out of the inbox. To combat this, encourage your readers to perform the actions that say "this email is valuable" to the inboxes that use these algorithms.

A reply is one of the most powerful indicators to the inbox filter that your email is wanted. Ask your subscribers to reply to your email, vote in a poll or ask questions. Subscriber clicks are also powerful boosts for your reputation; craft situations where readers click, even if they're not shopping or reading more. For example, let subscribers provide feedback by clicking on links right from your email. Keep in mind that every non-open hurts your reputation with all recipients at that domain, so send and segment wisely.

Ask subscribers to reply to improve inbox placement.

Email expert Mark Brownlow encourages subscribers to reply directly to him.

+ Measure past the click to learn what speaks to your audience. Your Emma response page shows you which links in your newsletter were the most popular. For an even deeper look into your audience's preferences, tag your links using an analytics tool like Google Analytics to learn where your subscribers are ultimately landing. For a tutorial, read Cassie's guide to implementing Google Analytics .

+ Develop a plan for non-engaged subscribers . Disengaged subscribers hurt your sender reputation. Periodic pruning of your list is a good idea. First, define what "inactive" means for your brand. Is it someone who hasn't opened, clicked or engaged through any channels in three months? Six months? A year?

Next, create your plan of attack. Will you send a few emails asking folks to opt back in and then remove those who don't? Is opening the reactivation email enough to be considered active? Give your plan a try, and then move those lifeless email addresses out of your regular sending list. You may decide to remove them completely or send less frequently for a while before saying goodbye. Just don't be alarmed if your reactivation campaign doesn't win the majority of folks back. With email address turnover these days, many of them may not be salvageable.

Moving beyond "one size fits all" messaging and saying goodbye to your non-openers isn't always an easy transition, but your response rates will reflect the additional effort. Before you know it, those folks who stick around will be engaging with you in ways you may not have expected — and helping spread the word about you to new, attentive subscribers.

This is part three in our blog series on audience growth. Read parts one and two .


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A peek at the New York Giants' email marketing strategy

This Sunday, millions of people will gather to watch the Super Bowl. For some, it's all about the commercials. For others, it's about critiquing Madonna's half-time performance. And for the sports fans among us, it's about the matchup of two football teams who had very different, and equally exciting, seasons. Regardless of which side you're rooting for, Emma is proud to power the emails of this year's NFC Champions, the New York Giants. The folks that handle the Giants' premium ticket holder relations have knocked their email strategy out of the park, er, into the end zone. Take a look at a few of the ways Rachel Wohl and her team tackle email marketing.

The right message to the right people

The Giants' marketing team understands the art of audience segmentation. With various levels of ticket holder, messaging has to be specific. By segmenting smaller groups based on ticketing level, the Giants ensure the relevancy of every message that hits the inbox. In turn, recipients trust that their time is not being wasted with unnecessary information. The Giants average open rate is a whopping 55% — that's more than twice the industry average!

New York Giants' response numbers
Taking time to target your messages can make a huge difference in your response metrics.
In short: While the Giants have built-in segments to work with, any business can find ways to get more focused with messaging. If you're a nonprofit, consider creating unique audience groups for donors versus volunteers. Retail shops and restaurants can group by recipient preferences. And businesses with multiple locations can use zip codes to divide their database. Find what groupings make sense for your business and industry, and use Emma's search and segment feature to make it happen. Then, test to see if segment-specific messages make a difference in your response rates.

Having fun with the brand

With a legacy that goes back to 1925, the Giants have established themselves as one of the most recognizable brands in the NFL. The block-style "NY" logo is as instantly familiar as their blue and red uniforms. In keeping with that tradition, the Giants' email stationery boldly conveys the brand. And once you've got brand recognition, it's easy to loosen up and have a little fun. The Giants call on Emma's design team to occasionally adjust their existing stationery by adding subtle nods to various seasons. From hints of pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month to leaves for fall and snowflakes for winter, the stationery stays true to the brand while delivering a little surprise and delight along the way.

New York Giants' email stationery
Adding new elements to existing stationery is a fun way to change things up.
In short: If you're getting bored of your newsletter's look, chances are your audience is a little bored too. Why not get creative? Adding holiday elements for an end-of -year push is an obvious place to start, but any season or special event in your business or industry can inform a slight variation on your existing template. Send a design request to our team, and we'll walk through the details with you.

Keeping the party going

The Super Bowl is a time to party, and that's especially true for the Giants and their fans this year. As a special thank you for continued support, the Giants planned a party for their premium ticket holders. They worked with our design team to create a custom email that has the feel of an exclusive invitation, while incorporating brand familiarity. To manage the response, the Giants linked the invitation to an Emma-powered survey, which acts as an RSVP form. When recipients fill out the survey, all the information goes right into the response section in the Giants' account, making it easy to track and follow up.

New York Giants' invitation and RSVP survey
Pairing a survey with an email invitation makes tracking and follow-up a breeze.
In short: Consider managing your next event right within your Emma account. Create an email invitation, link it to a survey that collects all of your RSVP details, and then set up triggered emails to remind attendees about the event in advance. You could even create a follow-up survey after the event to gather feedback. Need help geting started? Our support team would be happy to show you how it all works together.


As you watch on Sunday and get swept up in the gameday antics, take a moment to marvel at all the behind-the-scenes work that boosts fan engagement and participation. We're thrilled to be partnered with the Giants, and we're excited to see how their marketing team continues to smartly reach their fans.


Ready to freshen up your email stationery? Request revisions from Emma's design team.