Have you noticed all the buzz around hashtags recently?
You're used to seeing 'em on Twitter, G+ and Instagram. They pop up on the screen when you're watching your favorite TV show (read: Shark Tank) or the commericals that air in between contestants' business pitches to the sharks. (We're still talking about Shark Tank, right?)
Take a look at your own social feeds. Some people – and brands – embrace hashtags, while others avoid them altogether. Whether you love them or hate them, it seems like hashtags are here to stay. And to help you make the most of them, I've outlined a few considerations for your hashtag use.
Search social sites to discover which relevant tags are the most popular before choosing what to use in your tweet. Content curators may be searching for popular tags, and you want your content to surface.
Create a unique tag for special events or campaigns. Pick one that's logical and not super-long (you don't want to impede RTs), and make it public so folks at home can play along. When we launched our Brainiac Guide to Images in Email, we tagged some posts with #Brainiac. It's a great way for all of our Brainiac content to surface in one search.
Never punctuate hashtags or include spaces – you'll break the tag and look like a social amateur. If you're looking to make the tag more legible, capitalizing the first letter of each word may help. #LikeThis
Are you a #hashtag #convert, or are you hoping they'll go the way of Tamagotchi pets? Leave a comment and let us know!
Emma is headquartered in the Nashville district known as SoBro (that's South of Broadway if you're mashup-averse). It's a growing hub for technology companies and startups, and we get together with our neighbors from time to time for drinks, snacks, socializing and general merriment. What other social happenings went down this week? Here's a roundup from our Twitter and Facebook feeds:
SurveyMonkey is known by marketers everywhere as the leading tool for collecting feedback, data or just general information about your audience. And Emma's new integration with SurveyMonkey makes it easier than ever to get that information quickly and in style. Check out the 1-2-3 of a perfect survey sendoff:
1. Use one of 15 new customizable invitation templates – in your account now – to make your survey feel personal and exclusive.
2. Complete the one-time step of connecting your SurveyMonkey account to Emma (this video shows you how). Select the SurveyMonkey survey from the dropdown menu in Emma's drag & drop editor.
3. Once you've gathered your feedback, be sure to thank your survey-takers for their input, and consider rewarding them with exclusive content or a coupon – a little surprise is a great way to cap the survey experience. And with 16 gorgeous thank you templates waiting for you in your account, it's easy to add your content and send.
If you're in the business of creating online surveys to collect feedback from customers, volunteers, and colleagues, then you're probably one of the 15 million people who rely on SurveyMonkey. Well, we've got great news! Now in Emma, you can connect with your SurveyMonkey account and have one-click access to surveys you can link to right from your mailing. It's the easiest way to send your survey invitation in style.
SurveyMonkey is the world's largest survey company, helping customers collect more than 1.5 million online survey responses every day. SurveyMonkey revolutionizes the way people give and take feedback, making it accessible, easy and affordable for everyone. Customers include 99 percent of the Fortune 500, academic institutions, small businesses, HR departments and neighborhood soccer leagues everywhere.
With 15 different survey question types to choose from, an intelligent question bank and flexible survey templates, SurveyMonkey makes it easy for you to engage with your audience by asking the right questions in the right format. Whether you want to gather feedback from a recent event, collect customer satisfaction data or just learn more about your audience, Emma + SurveyMonkey can help you get it done in style.
It's been a busy week here at the Emma shop. We caught some folks hanging around our Kanban board, which sits front and center in the atrium-style room of whiteboards Emma staffers call "The Thunderdome." It's where we track the progress of new features and account enhancements that we can't wait to share with you – including a cool announcement we'll make next week.
In the meantime, check out the happenings from the World Wide Web, and if there are any other Kanban fans in the house, leave a comment and let us know!
Whether you're new to the drag & drop editor or you've already fallen in love with it (as I have), this new series of short, how-to videos walks you through the steps of creating gorgeous emails in less time.
Oh, and if you're still using the classic editor, with its preset layouts and clunky workflow (there, I said it), it's time to make the switch. And we just updated the look of the drag & drop editor on your Campaigns page, so it's easier to spot in your account:
What other video tutorials will help you achieve email marketing greatness? Comment below to share your ideas.
But when you get the personalization wrong, it can put off an amateur vibe or even worse, make your reader feel completely irrelevant. Here are three easy ways to make sure your emails come across as personal, sincere and polished.
Use a valid reply email.
We're human, and we all make mistakes. It is possible that one day your list merge may go awry. You just might address your customer Sara with "Dear George." And Sara may want to reply to let you know about the mistake. A noreply@ address not only feels impersonal, but it could cause you to miss out on an opportunity to learn about your mistake and lead to an unnecessary number of unsubscribes. Make sure your customers can help keep you in the know.
Make sure you have the data.
If you don't have many members' names stored in your audience, or if you're storing details that are NSFI (Not Safe For Inboxes), it's best to skip personalization altogether. You can send out a manage preferences form to collect and use that information in the future, but you don't need to start off addressing nearly every member of your audience with placeholders. It defeats the purpose.
Avoid generic placeholders.
I get it – you value me as a customer. But you don't need to address me as "Dear valued customer" in your emails; it feels generic. Placeholders are a helpful safety net, but sometimes they detract from the message you so carefully crafted in the rest of your email. My advice? Segment out the recipients who don't have a first name and nix the personal greeting altogether. They won't know it's missing, and your content will take center stage.
Bottom line: Addressing your recipients by name in the subject line or greeting of your email is a great idea. You just need to check your list more times than Santa Claus and test, test, test to make sure you've gotten the experience just right.
Want more ideas? Read tips for personalizing beyond the greeting in our resource center.
Have your fantasy baseball teams been off to a great start? Over here in the Emma shop, Big League Chewie, Wookie Season and #FreeCharlieHustle are swinging for the fences. (That strategy sounds a lot like: "Should I be starting a new pitcher every day?")
If fantasy baseball is a bit off base for you, We've got you covered with a different type of strategy: the digital type to be exact. Check out some links we pitched this week, and walk into the weekend with home run advice. See what I did there?
And lastly, a favorite find from our own Twitter feed
Sure, everyone loves a freebie, but what makes Imogene and Willie's giveaway so great is that they share the personal story behind it. What a great way to connect people with your brand on a personal level.
When savvy shopper W. Mark Whitlock took to the Twittersphere earlier this week, he had a goal in mind: Find out if he's partnering with the right email service provider.
That's something that you see pretty often on social media, and asking for advice on Twitter is a great way to get recommendations from peers. It's also a great way to feel out brands that take great care of customers over social media.
We have alerts set up to notify us when @emmaemail is mentioned on Twitter, so whenever we see our name included amongst some of our biggest competitors, we can't help but respond and throw a vote in the hat!
Turns out, we were the only one in the group of ESPs listed to respond. That meant something to Mr. Whitlock, and he decided that being with Emma was the right fit for him. And we're certainly excited to have him in our community!
The takeaway: Don't be afraid to jump into the conversation when your brand can benefit. When done right, the payoff is big.
Those horses are back (don’t they ever stay in their pen?) with more about optimizing your content’s display for whatever device your audience is using to consume it.
Rather than design a specific version for tablets, smartphones, etc. that might overlook certain types of tablet or web users with different monitors and resolutions, responsive design allows you to customize your work in a way that regardless the way you view the content, it’s going to look right – or left, depending on the flow of traffic.
Now for the lightning round, with UX Designer Cale Mooth and Senior Product Owner David Wright:
What goes into changing one of Emma’s templates for mobile?
Cale Mooth: For our templates in particular, it’s going through and looking at the widths of the template, going from a fixed width to a more fluid width, something that’s going to expand to whatever environment that template is now in on the mobile site.
David Wright: If you’ve got a one-column layout, there isn’t a whole lot of extra attention you need to take. When you think about multiple columns, I guess general considerations would be we’re assuming that the left column is the primary column. The content that gets fed into that primary column is going to show up first. There are other things you can do like putting in jump links, a table of contents and summarizing the mailing with some content up top.
Who benefits from mobile optimization?
Wright: When content’s formatted for the device that people need to use it on, it’s a win. All of our customers would benefit. Continue that user path completely on a phone or completely on a tablet without having to get halfway through the version they’re looking for. I think mobile is not going away. We thought it was important to optimize our gallery templates, which are available to any one of our customers.
I don’t have an iPhone. How do I know how iPhone users are seeing my emails?
Mooth: Actually send the email and look at it in the webview link. That way, you can shrink the browser down really small to kind of simulate what it will look like on the phone. In our case, our emails will, if you’re on a desktop machine, the email will look one way, and then on a smaller device like a phone, it’s going to look a little different. The idea is that both versions of the email will be adaptive to that particular device.
Wright: With mobile in general, if you think about how someone interacts with their mobile phone, they’re using it for quick tasks, at-a-glance information, social media – That is a little bit different than the task focused when I’m at my computer and sitting down to purchase something on Amazon. When designing for mobile, there’s more emphasis on that leading image and a quick call to action.
Besides using an optimized Emma template, what else should I be doing?
Wright: My recommendation would be to think mobile first in terms of trying to create that conversion. Subject line is important, so split testing comes into play there. As more and more customers are going to be interacting on mobile anyway, a super-long email is extra prohibitive. I would think a quick call to action in any case is important. If you think about the customer who’s going to be magnifying to view it, taking them to a mobile optimized experience if possible, a call to action would be a second-best option.
Find a mobile-optimized template in our design collections
Emma customers can look for the "mobile-ready" label on templates in the drag & drop editor.