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Ask us Anything:

Get Your Emails Ready for 2018

 

Overview

Transcript

As the end of the year quickly approaches, what's the best way to get your marketing on track for 2018? Join us for a live Q&A with Emma's email experts to find out!

You'll walk away with:

  • • Practical tips for getting the most out of all the features in your Emma account.

  • • The latest trends in email design, automation, segmentation, and more.

  • • Answers to all of your burning email marketing questions.


Jamie: Hello, everybody. Welcome to today’s webinar, Ask Us Anything: Get Your E-mails Ready For 2018. I am your host and moderator today, Jamie Bradley. I’m the customer marketing manager here at Emma. So that means I get to talk to customers all the time at a broadcast level just like I’m doing today, and also via e-mail, and even sometimes in the app. So if you came to us that way, welcome. I personally invited you. I’m very excited you’re here.

Just a little housekeeping before we get started. We will send a recording of today’s presentation to all registrants, and actually to more customers, so if you have another person on your team that didn’t get invited, we will be sending this out for everyone’s benefit. So that’s great. So if you have to hop off, don’t worry. And also you are muted, so to ask a question, just type that directly into the GoToWebinar chat module down below, and we’ll be kind of scooping those up and taking them as we go. So really exciting stuff.

And I have an esteemed panel here today of really smart awesome colleagues that are truly the experts about all things Emma and email. And so I’ll just kick it off. First, I wanna introduce you to Emma Matthews, our director of professional services. And Emma, tell us just the elevator pitch, what do you do?

Emma: Yeah. Thanks, Jamie. So my name is Emma Mathews. I run our professional services teams here. We are focused on working with our customers to identify areas of improvement in their email marketing strategy, and also helping our customers use their email accounts to the fullest.

Jamie: Wonderful. And then beside me, I’ve got the illustrious Logan Baird, who is doing a little shoulder shimmy. You can’t see it, but you’ll be able to hear it in his voice. He is our design services lead. Logan, what does that mean?

Logan: Jamie, first, thanks for acknowledging my shimmy. I was afraid that people would miss it. So I’m Logan Baird. I’m the design services lead here at Emma. And my team works with existing brands to help create a seamless brand experience from your other marketing channels to your inbox. And so my team of designers and developers works with you to craft emails and templates that will help push forward the needles that you want to push forward in your email marketing.

Jamie: Lovely. And then, last but certainly not least, and you will hear more from him in just a moment, I’ve got Miles Price making his Ask Us Anything debut, better late than never. And he’s our product marketing manager. So, Miles, tell us a little bit more about what you do in your role.

Miles: Hey everybody. My name’s Miles. I’m the product marketing manager here at Emma. And, really, my job is to work closely with our product team, our product managers, and engineers, and also with our marketing team to help get the word out about all these really new awesome features that we’re building on a very quickly and regular basis. So I actually work really close with Jamie to do customer marketing. And, yeah, I’m really excited to walk you guys through what’s new in Emma. 

Jamie: Awesome. Well, what is new in Emma? Let’s see here. Hold on. There we go. There we go. So last week, a lot of you I know attended our webinar. That was really a high-level look at what’s to come in the year 2018, just in the industry, and email marketing generally. We went through some trends, some topics. I’m gonna recap those here in a second.

What today’s webinar is really focused on is really you the customer, the Emma customer. So everyone here on the line today uses Emma, or wants to use Emma, has an account. And so we’re gonna…Also after I kinda go through the trends, and do a little recap of what’s to come, Miles is then gonna come back and show us just some practical ways that you can apply these things in your account, just by showing you the areas in your Emma account, where you can start to put these things into practice.

And then we’re gonna kick it into the Q&A. We got a ton of really great questions from registration. But again, don’t be shy, as we’re going through, especially during the product section, if you have specific questions about why we did something, how we did it, or how you could apply it, please let us know. We’re happy to get to as many of those as we can today.

So to kick it off, last week, if you were in that webinar or if you weren’t, last week we sort of looked at some trends coming up. So those trends are in no particular order. Trend number one or prediction number one for 2018 is that we’re gonna start to focus more on engagement rather than reach. And really, that is not a new concept by any means. But what it means is that in 2018, it’s going to not only be just something that’s a nice to have or a nice to do, it’s going to be really vital that you start to use email as a channel, that starts to feel more personal, and more like a one to one connection with a client. And that’s what we mean by engagement.

So not just segmenting your audience, but truly thinking about how is the data that you’re getting back and forming the content that you’re sending? How are people responding? Are you testing? Are people truly responding to the e-mails that you’re sending out there? How can you be more efficient with tailoring those messages and getting the right message to the right people at the right time? Versus just trying to kind of, you know, please every person on your list, and cast a really, really wide net. So you’re going to see that more and more. And the tools that we’ve built for you and the services that we provide hopefully will help you achieve that. So that’s prediction number one.

Prediction number two. Again, not a new concept, but we think that in 2018, finally, you’re gonna start to see marketers actually taking a more multichannel approach. So gone will be the days when people say, “Oh, we don’t really have time for e-mail,” or, “Oh, we do e-mail really well but we don’t really care about our social channels,” or this, or that, or the other. Or you’ve got the siloed data center living off somewhere, and then you’ve got all these other channels. The technology is catching up so that you…you know, the people are there, we are here so that we can start to get your data into the places that it needs to be. Or you can start to get the data from places like Emma back where it needs to be, so again, you can start to send those more engaging e-mails. And you can also start to take insights from other channels, and infuse those into the messages that you’re sending. So that’s a big win for us, and it’s going to be a big win for all marketers.

Number five. When it comes to design, and I bet Logan would agree with this, less will be more when it comes to design. Gone will be the days where we’re throwing everything out and seeing what sticks. It’s gonna be, you know, not just about…doesn’t mean you can’t have nice colorful designs, because I do like a flamboyant e-mail in my inbox. But really what that means is that you’re going to start seeing really focused calls to action. Again, that’s where the engagement comes in, and that’s already something that we promote really heavily here internally. But you’re going to stop seeing those e-mails that are trying to do too much. And so we’re gonna, you know, happily walk you through how to achieve that so that you can keep up with the others in the inbox there, who are doing it.

And, lastly, you’re gonna start to see fewer discounts and more value. And that doesn’t mean that you’re not gonna still get emails that are a percent off here, or, you know, free offer, this or that. But we really are seeing more and more, and I think it’s only gonna continue to happen, brands actually promoting their values, brands promoting content. And brands that you wouldn’t expect, you’re seeing it everywhere, from brands like Patagonia going out and not trying to sell at all, or even talking about their products, but talking about issues that are happening. You’re seeing B2C brands, retailers send content marketing pieces out, and thought leadership in ways like a B2B brand will. You’re gonna start seeing that more and more, and again, that all goes back to point number one, where engagement is the most important thing to a recipient. Discounts are gonna start to be sort of ignored because they are so saturated. So the pendulum is swinging towards providing value, and meaning, and leading there first. And if you’re a nerd like me, you’re starting to see that more and more this holiday season and it’s very fascinating.

So, yeah. So that’s pretty much what we’re looking at as far as predictions go. Sixty-four percent of marketers, some stats here, do still say though that they don’t feel like they have the time or the personnel to do the marketing they would like. So we are going to hopefully provide some insight into ways that you can get more value out of e-mail specifically as a channel, after all, that’s what we do. And why that’s important is that the bulk of ROI that we’re seeing from e-mail is still coming…Sorry, in all of our channels and that multichannel mix is still coming from email.

This is from a study that we conducted in the spring. We asked which digital channel is kind of the breadwinner in that mix. E-mail still came out ahead. And these were not all email marketers that we asked, this was a general poll. So that was exciting to see that that trend is still true, that our data, you know, is aligned with other people like the direct marketing association, and things like that. So this is gonna continue to be the case.

And 72% of marketing Sherpas, audience of marketers said that they do prefer companies to communicate with them via e-mail. So as far as trends go, emails aren’t going away. If anything, it’s becoming even more important, and valuable, and again it is the best way to kinda get that one-to-one communication going with your audience as best you can.

So those are the trends. Those are the tips, and we’ll get into the tips and tricks. Now, Miles, I’m gonna kick it over to him, and he’s actually going to walk you through some different areas of our product that you should be aware of, that can achieve some of these things.

Miles: Cool.

Jamie: So we’ll get right into it.

Miles: Thanks, Jamie.

Jamie: What is this?

Miles: So 2017, we did a lot of work finding out all these really awesome predictions about where marketers are going, but we were also really busy building incredible features and value into the Emma platform. And just to kick it all off, let’s start with the homepage. As soon as you log into your Emma account, we’ve added a marketing dashboard over to the left. This gives you increased visibility into your e-mail schedule. So it makes it so much easier for your team to work together, and to help you make adjustments to your marketing strategy on the fly.

We also added A/B content testing. This is really cool. This lets you build two mailings with similar content, but test out one part like a call to action button, or a certain type of design with your audience. And the cool part about this is that you send it out to a percentage of your audience, let’s say 20%, and then the winner of that, you know, whichever mailing does the best automatically gets sent to the rest. So it kind of takes the guesswork out of your marketing, you don’t have to manually, you know, kind of guess at what content is working. So this A/B content testing is really, really awesome.

Jamie: Yeah. We actually use it here internally too all the time, and it’s pretty dang cool. All right, so up next.

Miles: Up next is our automation workflow platform. This lets you officially build and execute those ongoing campaigns that keep your brand top of mind in the inbox, so you’re not manually hitting send all the time. So you can automatically trigger targeted email based on literally any action your customers or your subscribers are taking, even if they’re outside your inbox, we can set it up so that if they, you know, put an item in their shopping cart on their website, they can get put into an automated email series.

And here is our new segment builder. Our segment builder is a really powerful tool to let you get targeted and personalized with your e-mails. You know, this is the key to getting the results that you care about. And our segment builder lets you do just that. You can create segments based on customer data, response to your mailings, you know, whether or not somebody opened, or whether they clicked on a link, or even where they live. You can do zip code segmentation. The important part here is any information you’re collecting on your subscribers, you can segment off of it.

All right. Let’s take a look at our drag and drop e-mail editor. This is how you create a mailing. Everything is drag and drop. It’s super simple to use. And it’s key to helping you design this compelling mobile responsive even e-mails that are gonna be sent out to your subscribers. And actually, just a couple of weeks ago, we released a new feature in the editor that’s an RSS to email function, so you can actually automatically add your blog content, you know, whether you created it in WordPress or Squarespace page, all that stuff goes right into your mailing, so that you don’t have to manually create it in Emma Email.

And for those of you that are code savvy and you’re coding your own e-mails, you can actually test those e-mails using our built-in Litmus Inbox Preview. This lets you see exactly what your e-mail will look like in almost any inbox. We’ve got a range of desktop e-mail clients, mobile devices, you name it.

And another really awesome feature we released this year is the landing page builder. So using the same drag and drop tools that you would use to build an email, you can now build a self-published landing page. We know that marketers are not necessarily web developers, and it can be kinda cumbersome to, you know, have a need for a landing page but you’ve got to go through a design department or a dev department. So we gave you the tools to build it yourself.

Jamie: Oh, I know.

Miles: Yeah.

Jamie: This is an awesome tool because it definitely…for those things that you just need to get out quickly, and efficiently, and not, you know, like you said, have to go through all the internal channels sometimes, this is a great, great asset.

Miles: Exactly. And coming soon, we’ll actually give you custom domains, so yourcompany.com. You can have that appended to the landing page URL.

Jamie: It’s nice. And this is the same view, correct? This is just the landing pages?

Miles: Yeah.

Jamie: Yeah.  Cool. So you see the e-mail on the left that’s mobile optimized, and then you click in and land on that landing page.

Miles: Exactly.

Jamie: Very cool.

Miles: And, finally, we’ve, you know, made some enhancements and improvements to our response page. You see here the green heat map down below that shows you exactly where your audience is clicking in your email. This is a really valuable tool. So that you know what’s working and where there might be areas of improvement in your e-mail. But we also added some new e-com response information so you can see how much money your e-mail generated. So somebody clicks through your e-mail to your store and they buy something, we can track that ROI right inside of Emma.

Jamie: Yeah. So this is from Eventbrite, we have integrations with some other platforms as well, so we can…

Miles: Yeah. Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce.

Jamie: Pretty nice. And then actually coming up in New Year, we’ll make more improvements to the response page and show even deeper response information.

Miles: Exactly.

Jamie: So all pretty cool stuff. So we’re going to kick it over to the Q&A here in a second. Let me see here. Yeah. But first, during that section with Miles, if you saw something today that you don’t see in your account, please give us a shout. We do have some people that may or may not have all of those features toggled on, we do it, you know, sort of in batches, in wave. Some of those features are really new and just came out of a beta testing phase. So you can email engagement@myemma.com to raise your hand, and get a feature that you may not have that you may have just seen turned on in your account. So we want you to have the new hotness at all times.

All right. All righty here. You’re ready? You guys are ready for these questions? We got some really, really good ones. Okay.

First one, we got a live one here, we got Carolyn who just asked, “Miles just mentioned setting up automation for if someone adds something to their cart on our website. How do we set that up?” So what would be the best…without getting too detailed for everyone else on the line, where should she go to do that?

Miles: So the best place to do that. In the automation section, you can actually go, like when you build a new trigger, the abandoned cart would be at the very end of that list.

Jamie: Okay. So it’s just a button that she clicks, and it’s a dropdown?

Miles: Yeah.

Jamie: Okay, option, very cool.

Miles: And I will say right now, the abandoned cart automation works with Shopify only. We do have an integration with Magento, but Shopify abandoned cart feature is the one that’s available right now.

Emma: If you are interested in triggering other types of e-mails based on website behavior, you can use our event API for that which is also in automation. If you need help setting that up, our technical services team can do that for you. So you have to do work with your developers and get that synced up.

Jamie: Yap. All right. Oh, here’s a good one. I like this one. How can I…Ann wants to know, “How can I design newsletter’s to be more engaging?” So I know it’s a big question, but we did touch on design, we talked about simplicity. Logan, you shimmied and perked up. But I’d love anyone’s thoughts here. What’s a good, sort of, design trend and engagement trend? What are we seeing out there right now?

Logan: So, well, we know that e-mails with single calls to action and single pieces of content certainly convert better than any other sort of e-mail. We understand that a lot of you, you know, need to send out multiple pieces of content. And so, if you’re gonna do so, I think one of the trends that I see design wise is that people will be afraid of having to put in so much information, so they’ll end up cramming it all into like smaller spaces because they’re afraid of making people scroll. And if you haven’t heard, you know, kind of the phrase, “embrace the scroll,” it’s certainly something that is ricocheting around e-mail marketing conferences, and talks, and tweets, and whatnot.

And so I would say if you were going to put in multiple pieces of content and multiple calls to action in your e-mail, spread it out, put plenty of whitespace around every piece of content so that people can easily parse, and kind of jump between pieces of content. And then also don’t be afraid to make sure that you’re linking out of that content. If you’re including an article, link out maybe even using our new landing page feature so that you can see how far down are they scrolling before they engage, and what pieces of content are converting well for you?

Miles, you perked up a little bit too. Did you have any thoughts?

Miles: No. I was definitely agreeing with the whitespace. And I have no problems with scrolling whatsoever.

Logan: It’s good to know.

Miles: Yeah.

Jamie: All right. Okay, Emma, I’m gonna throw one at you because I think this is a great question and actually touches on one of the trends we talked about earlier, which is really about, you know, people starting to send more valuable e-mails, versus sending, you know, discounts or things like that. So kind of in that same vein, another Anne, not the same Anne, wants to know, “I’d be interested in learning new ways to improve fundraising via e-mail, ways to improve click rates and open rates.” So I know you guys deal with this a lot on your side.

Emma: Yeah. That’s a great question. We definitely help a lot of customers look into their specific email marketing strategy in the open and click rates that they have, and where they wanna go. So specifically for fundraising, one thing that we have seen to be effective is adopting the practice of storytelling. So if you are going to be asking for a donation, I try and steer people away from just sending e-mails and asking someone to purchase something or donate something just from one e-mail. That’s what we call, kind of like a friction call-to-action. There’s some anxiety around that decision.

So in order to warm people up to the idea and also play to their emotional response, we love using storytelling. A video is a great way to do that, or a picture of someone that was affected with whatever the fundraising is that you’re trying to do with this story around that. Storytelling affects the people’s memory, it affects their action, the value that they perceive. There’s a whole slew of research on storytelling that I think would be great to look at.

But that’s definitely something I recommend. And specifically, video is a great way to do that. And I love jumping back to the landing page, I love our customers using landing pages for videos. You’re not sending people to YouTube, and now they’re down in a rabbit hole. You can control that conversation if you put it that way, of the video on the landing page, and then maybe have the call to action to donate there after they’ve watched the video, and engaged with that, and have that connection.

Jamie: It’s actually really interesting. So Logan’s answer and Emma’s combine when you think about what’s happening in human brains. I recently read an article about, you know, how obviously our attention spans are short, you need to get people’s attention really quickly when they open your e-mail. So the tips that Logan just gave are all about, sort of, making it really easy, I mean, ultimately for people to understand, and read, and comprehend. So if you can get people’s attention, if we can get the words and the pictures in front of them so that they can decide that they wanna go forward, if you can then reel them in with emotional content, and, you know, things like watching a video, things like telling a story, do that. It’s actually proven that you can increase long-term, sort of, memory of the thing that you are saying if you can play it at the emotional side of that. It happens in a different part of your brain where you store data longer basically. So it’s great for us little primordial beings sort of wandering around here.

All right. So next question, this is actually going back to the application. It’s a good one though to clarify since I think this is a cool feature, and it was at the very beginning. So Ashley wants to know, “Will the calendar that Miles showed show future campaigns that are set in the future but have not occurred? And do they give you a view of kind of what’s planned?”

Miles: That’s a great question, Ashley. So the marketing calendar, it shows scheduled e-mails and A/B content tests. So anything that has been, you know, built inside of Emma, and actually has had a scheduled date will be on the calendar. Anything that has been sent will also be on the calendar as well. And you could hover over that date. If you sent an e-mail, you know, last Tuesday, you could hover over last Tuesday and get to the response. But for things that are scheduled to go out in the future, it will show up there. We don’t have drafts showing up there right now. But I could see plenty of use cases where that would be useful, so I’ll add that to our feature request list.

Jamie: Nice.

Miles: But, yeah, again, it’s scheduled mailings and content A/B tests.

Emma: And I love for next year even looking back on the holidays and the emails that you sent this year, and it’s saying what was effective for Black Friday, or your holiday campaign, and checking out what you did, and, you know, improving on that, making sure you’re using that data to inform future mailings.

Miles: Exactly.

Jamie: I love that idea. So to that point, actually, I’ll tee this one up, this is from Tina. To that end, you know, as you were just saying, we’re in December, we’re sort of coming out, we’re right on the heels of this…you know, in the thick of this holiday season right now. But we’re about to be in a place where it’s over, you know, we’re standing in the clearing, we’re catching our breath, we’re about to, you know, dust off our keyboards, and figure out sort of what’s next. So in January, here at Emma, sneak peek, we’re gonna talk a lot about just sort of what is next with your list, and your subscribers, and how do you make sure that people didn’t get too fatigued during these crazy times, and if they did, how do you get them back, all that jazz.

But Tina wants to know, “What is good criteria for determining whether someone is an engaged subscriber? And what would you recommend, you know, that we do to send them maybe something different, or keep them engaged?” I think that’s a great question. Like what is the…maybe for Emma, you know, when you’re sitting down, or your team is sitting down, what do we look at to determine, you know, is someone really paying attention maybe outside of just open rate?

Emma: Yeah. That’s a great question. It’s a loaded question. There’s so many different directions you can go with that.

Jamie: This could be a whole webinar.

Emma: Yeah, it really could be. As far as the criteria for that, I love that you’re even thinking about engagement. The biggest thing that we talk about with every engagement strategy which I recommend everyone do, you need to keep your list healthy. We need to understand that people that signed up a year ago, or six months ago, they might not still be engaged, and that’s okay. We wanna let them go before they negatively hurt our sender reputation, and inbox placement, and all those fun deliverability things.

So typically, what we recommend from a high-level for engagement is definitely as we were saying, do something different. These people have not been opening your e-mails, if you just send them the same subject line, same e-mail, maybe vary up the from name so it’s still on brand and still identifiable, but maybe slightly different. So try something different.

I also recommend, especially after the holidays, if people weren’t opening your e-mails consistently, or if they didn’t open at all, pause sending to them, they’re a little bit fatigued, that’s the number one reason why people opt out. So give them a little bit of a break. You can create a quick segment for any of those people that fall under that inactive segment, and just suppress them from your future mailings, maybe give them a few months off. And then try some new content that is really thoughtful and intentional.

As far as what to base that segment criteria on, depends on how many mailings that you’re sending. If you’re sending every day and someone doesn’t open in 30 days, they’ve had 30 opportunities, that could probably go as someone being inactive. If you’re sending every other week, or, you know, a lot of it is subjective, you wanna be sure that people have been given a chance.

It also depends on your open rates. If you’re around 15% or lower open rates, there could be some deliverability concern that we would love to help you with, with our deliverability deep dive consultation, figure out what’s going on there. If you’re hovering around 20 or more, you’re probably in a spot where you could be a little bit more flex with the people that you’re considering inactive and not as stringent on that.

Jamie: Now, those are great tips. And that’s, you know like Emma was saying, you know, there are so many strategies that we could also chat through with you to do for next year.

Emma: Yeah, for sure.

Jamie: To plan so that you don’t end up in January, you know, because it is crazy to not be in January 2018 and already be thinking about December 2018. But, you know, I think we’re also gonna start seeing people really focusing on not just other channels, but how’s the year in e-mail looking for you too, not just mailing to mailing. So all really, really good points.

Let’s see here. Here’s a good one. Virginia wants to know…Because I think this is a great tool, and actually we may even sneak peek, send a survey ourselves soon to a certain list of people who attended our webinar. But Virginia wants to know, “I’m interested in implementing surveys into e-mails.” So how would she go about that? And do you guys have any tips?

Miles: Well, I can answer that. So we have an integration with SurveyMonkey, which is a really popular survey tool. So when you’re building your e-mail over on the left-hand side, you can actually drag in the survey block, and connect to your SurveyMonkey account. And basically, you paste in the button to the survey. That takes them right to the survey that they can fill out. All of those responses are showing up in your response section for that mailing.

Jamie: Cool.

Miles: So you can actually see the traffic that went to that survey.

Jamie: Yeah. And I do think too, you know, a big philosophy we have is, especially when it comes to the data that you need, if you want to get the right information, someone should just have to ask people.

Miles: Exactly.

Jamie: So that’s a great point. And do you guys have more details about SurveyMonkey? Like you’d have to go to SurveyMonkey first and set up an account.

Miles: Yes.

Jamie:  So that’s the thing, yeah. So step one, go to surveymonkey.com. Step 2?

Miles: And it’s free to set up SurveyMonkey.

Jamie: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Good question, very useful question.

All right. Xavier. Xavier wants to know, “For a company newsletter, how much information is too much information? We have a lot we wanna share but we don’t wanna overwhelm our subscribers.” This kinda goes back to what you were saying, Logan, but it’s…you know, what are your thoughts on that?

Logan: Sure. Well, I think that you can…to accurately kind of measure it like how much of information is too much information, go ahead and send out everything that you have in mind for an initial try and then see what your response data is like, see what people have engaged with. And really, and then that way when perhaps your superiors or other people in your organization who are like, “This has to go out in this newsletter,” you can say, well…

Jamie: It doesn’t.

Logan: It doesn’t always. Or, “Let’s break that up into its own mailing, let’s kind of break up these sends a little bit more.” It’s a little bit more work. But if you’re putting in the time and effort to create a newsletter to begin with, and people aren’t engaging with the content, then that’s not helpful for you or for your company.

Jamie: I would say, too, we actually…this happened at Emma. So we do e-mail marketing here at Emma. And, you know, for years, we had sent a newsletter that people loved and expected…and if you’re not on our e-mail list, please go to our website and subscribe. We’d love to send it to you. But, you know, for years, we’d sent this newsletter out, we’d sometimes wring our hands, we weren’t sure what to put in it. And, you know, probably I think in December or January of last year, we were in this position where someone just asked for the “kitchen-sink,” and we were like, “You know what? We’re gonna do the kitchen-sink tactic.” And we had every possible thing you could possibly ever wanna know about Emma.

And what we did see over time is that, you know, people were not clicking down at the bottom. The only things they would click at the bottom were job listings. They weren’t actually engaging with, you know, our content. And so we did find that, you know, that’s probably not the right place for the news that we really want you guys to know. It’s getting lost. Most of you were not reading it, the only people who are still reading it are people that wanna apply for a job, which also has its place. And we now put that information in different places.

But, you know, what that did is we took it back, and now we’ve gone to a format that we’re testing out now, where we are sending the three biggest articles and/or bits of information that we think you should know. We’re not holding it to three, it could be five next month, we never know. But we’re starting there, and we’d love your feedback if you’re on that list, and receiving that email. But, yeah, I think to Logan’s point, it’s worth looking at your data, and just seeing, are people scrolling all the way down to the bottom? Are they actually clicking on things? And that will help inform how much is too much from our perspective. What do you think, Emma?

Emma: Yeah. I think I totally agree with that. And I was actually gonna do a little spoiler, where just for the attendees who are on right now, who maybe don’t make it all the way to the end, but this is exactly why we designed our annual hearing or our annual review service to help our customers go back and look at what happened in 2017. I know you were talking about it’s January, what do we do? What’s our plan? The plan is to go back and check out your response analytics. What we’ll be covering in the service is engagement benchmark. So a lot of times, people have an audience, but it’s broken up into smaller segments. Let’s not say that we have, you know, a 15% average open rate, one might be 25%, one might be 10%. Let’s really look at the different audiences that you are sending to. The best subject lines you send, the worst subject lines, the best e-mails that got the highest click rates, the lowest click rates, the features that you’re using, making sure you’re utilizing all the new features that you have access to. So, think exactly what you guys were saying, is doing that analysis, and even better that, you know, we can have an email expert do it for you, and provide you with some new strategies, and some new ideas, and some fresh takeaways for 2018.

Jamie: Yeah. I’ve been begging Emma to do our review but I’m last in the queue, guys, so you should take her up on it. It really is very valuable. And, you know, you’ve got to look at what you’ve been doing before you make sweeping changes. But I think that’s a great question. When we say sending focused-content, that does not mean you stop doing a newsletter, there’s still tons of value there. But it might mean that you need to focus with the intent of that mailing.

Emma: Or I understand that different audiences may react differently with us. So some might engage more, some might engage less, and using that to…You can still send those mailings but maybe not to everyone.

Logan: Yeah.

Miles: And maybe use that A/B content testing feature to figure out who is engaging with what.

Jamie: Absolutely.

Logan: True. Like when you go to a party and you go and you tell one version of a story to one group of people, and then you tell a different version of that story, and you just sort of see, like what gets the most attention?

Jamie:  Right. I mean, my friends definitely get a different story than…

Emma: Note to self when Logan tells you a story next.

Jamie: Right. He’s a sociopath, guys. [Crosstalk 00:34:39]

Logan: I’m definitely assessing everyone.

Jamie: Read your audience, you know. I like that.

Logan: Just trying to, you know, iterate and improve.

Jamie: So, actually, this is a really good follow up question. This is from Sherry. “So what is the most valuable thing to report back to my team within our e-mail analytics to show how we’re doing on each send?”

So, you know, I think, to Emma’s point, you know, we can sit down, and we can, you know, add all that stuff up for you. But when it comes to what is the most important, is there a metric time and time again that you guys see, or is it really just to Logan’s point? Who are you talking to? Are you talking to the CEO, or are you talking to Miles and I? So what are your thoughts there?

Emma: [inaudible 00:35:21] the CEO?

Logan: Miles, I’ve got an e-mail to you that I should talk to you about that.

Miles: I think too it’s also important to look at like what kind of business you are. You know, if you’re a nonprofit, you’re probably going to be wanting to report back to your team with, you know, donations. Or if you’re a retailer, it would be, you know, purchases based on clicks on that email. So it’s kind of figuring out like what metrics that are attached to your email are most important to you. Obviously, opens are a great measure of engagement but, you know, what’s past that open? Like what did they actually do past that?

Jamie: Absolutely. Yeah. And I think another adage and something that I’ve said a lot to several different people at the party, and they all seem to like it, is that if you don’t know why you’re sending an e-mail, don’t send that e-mail. It’s just like in real life, you know, like if you’re drafting something, how many times have you done that? You get halfway through an e-mail, and you’re like, “This isn’t an e-mail, this is a meeting. Or this isn’t an e-mail, it’s a slack.” Same with your e-mail marketing, think of your audience, again, like it is a one-to-one communication. If there’s not a clear purpose, then you want to be careful, and mindful, and think about what is that goal, is it fundraising, is it just general news, is it, you know, telling someone very specific, you know, to nurture that relationship, you know, of a story or what have you? So those are all important things to be aware of

Emma: I’ve always referred to that as “thank you content.” Like the content that your subscribers get that they would in real life, say thank you, or I appreciate, or adds values. So being sure that looking at it from that lens and not just lens of the business needs but also what the subscribers want, so you don’t just, you know, churn and burn your whole list to kinda get sales or whatever that is, and keep the subscribers.

Jamie: One hundred percent. To the point earlier, there are certain brands now that you’ll see in your inbox that sell…like there’s a brand called Aesop, and they sell lotion basically. Really nice…I mean, it’s high-end stuff but they…Now, you know, when you sign up for their emails, it looks like a sort of media publishing newsletter. It’s stories that’s long form content. It’s really, really interesting. And because of that, I have this crazy affinity for the brand that I did not have previously. I wasn’t really that familiar with it, and someone had forwarded that email. And now, I saw one of their storefronts the other day, and I ran up to it like with glee.

Emma: I’m here.

Jamie: I know. I really did because I just so appreciated that they wanted to tell me stuff that I might find interesting and not just say, you know…

Logan: And it speaks I think really to one of the ways that e-mail stands out as a marketing channel, which is that it is really kind of the most personal marketing medium that we have. People are inviting you into their inbox if you’re doing it right. And then you’re able to build trust and build relationship with them to where they begin to look forward to what you’re sending. And that’s powerful.

Jamie: All right. So you bring up, you hinted at a good point which is, essentially, you know, if you’re doing it right, all of these people on your list are opted in, all of these people are raising their hand and saying that they wanna receive e-mail from you again. Seventy two percent of people say they like to talk to you as a brand that way.

But Sophie has a very specific question. And it involves something that you’re going to hear a lot about if you are…especially if you’re in charge of e-mail at your company most likely. I know we are talking about it around here quite a bit. So Sophie wants to know, “How can you help us with the upcoming general data protection regulations?”

The shorthand for that is called GDPR. And, Miles, I’m gonna make you answer this one so that we don’t say anything incorrectly. But basically, what is Emma gonna do? And what should people online be aware of if they’re customers?

Miles: Totally. Just for some background. So GDPR, like Jamie said, stands for General Data Protection…

Jamie and Miles:  Regulation.

Miles: Yes. It’s a new standard of deliverability and compliance for people that are actually mailing to their subscribers in Europe or in the European Union. So it kind of, like regulates how data is processed, how data is stored and captured. The TLDR, too long, didn’t read, is that we are prioritizing this work to make sure that Emma is GDR compliant by the deadline of May 25th, 2018. So we are making sure that all deliverability, and all of our systems, and data are compliant with that. And we’ll keep everybody posted on developments and any kind of guidelines that you need to be aware of between now and then. But we’re on it, and it’s gonna be as smooth.

Jamie: Yeah. Bottom line, we have a lot of work to do, but you don’t.

Miles: Exactly, yeah,

Emma: So we got you Sophie, and anybody else. All righty. Let’s see. Man, so many good questions. You guys are really, really good. Here, let’s see. Oh, here’s one that’s kind of putting it back in the design realm. And this goes back to starting to see stuff in your inboxes that maybe you didn’t see before. Rachel wants to know, “Plain text emails, yay or nay? When are they right?” What are your thoughts on that? I don’t know if right or wrong is the correct way to frame that, but when is it a good time to use plain text email?

Logan: I do think that there are very few questions that we’re getting that are just like yay, or nay, or just…Well, it depends. You know, like it’s very contextual. Plain text e-mails are certainly a trend, and depending on your brand, they can work for you. I would say that the more successful brands that I’ve seen use it, it’s been mixed in with other sorts of content. So like Indochino is a brand that I think does it pretty well, where they send kind of full image marketing emails. They’ve got great deals on suits. But then they also will send follow-up e-mails that are more personalized and are just plain-text, and say, “Hey. I just wanna let you know this thing is still ongoing.” And it feels personal even though I’m sure it’s automated at scale. But plain text e-mails if you’re using them for like sales or like a marketing lead, I’ll say if you’re trying to pretend that it’s a personalized e-mail, and your recipient recognizes that you’re pretending that it’s a personalized email, there are few quicker ways to get somebody to mark your e-mail as spam, I think.

Jamie: Yeah.

Logan: Anytime you’re trying to pretend the email is something that it isn’t.

Jamie: Right, exactly. I would say too, on the plain text e-mail front, you know, it’s something that we ourselves have absent e-mails like that, and the way that we sort of do that it’s not we wanna trick people today, it’s more…This would be a scenario where I kinda wish I could BCC a thousand people. But you would never wanna do that. That’s why you use a service like Emma. But it really is, we wanna send a message that truly is personal. We just need to kind of tell the same thing to a lot of people, for really specific reason. It’s targeted, and it does come from a person. We want to make sure that it’s visually differentiated from marketing messages so that people know that there’s probably a more direct call-to-action, and that it probably is really applicable specifically to them as a group of people and recipients. So, yeah, that’s kind of what we think about that.

So we’ve got time for a few more actually. So Kara has a good one. “How do I get my open rate higher?”

And I feel like there’s tons of different ways to do that. And, Emma, you’re kind of a…You know, if you were like a general practitioner, this would be like the cold and flu season. I feel like that’s probably like…How do I get my open rates higher? This is a common question.

Logan: That’s why we call her open rate yogi?

Jamie: Exactly.

Emma: Let’s go with it. So, yeah, great question. This really comes down to, so many people start with the content in the e-mails that they’re sending, which we will get there. But open rates are really determined by the health of your list. So your list is gonna churn around 20% to 30% per year on average. What that means is that if you’re not growing your list as quickly as it is going to naturally churn, you’re going to start seeing your open rates decline over time. So for this, we really wanna focus on getting our open rates higher. We wanna focus on new subscribers first, making sure that your list is healthy, making sure that we’ve removed people that haven’t opened your e-mails in a significant amount of time, or they are in the separate re-engagement strategy.

And focusing on the sign up forms, we also want to focus on welcome e-mails. So welcome e-mails are a great way to introduce people to your brand, they can long-term increase brand engagement and e-mail engagement. So for open rates, what I would focus on is, look at your sign up forms, or that every single point of contact that your subscribers could potentially come into contact with your brand, is there a valuable incentive? Is there a reason for someone to sign up? Making sure that that is prominent first and foremost, and then the welcome e-mail, and then obviously, we wanna go back and look at your current list, make sure that you have a healthy list, that you’re sending content that is relevant.

Another reason people might stop opening is because they’ve received so many irrelevant e-mails in the past that they’ve just lost interest. So that would be the order that I would look through your open rates, and we’re happy to dive into that too and see if we can spot any trends or any of the areas of improvement that need to be focused on.

Jamie: Absolutely. Yep, and again, too, getting yourself ready for 2018 is going to be all about looking at that list, are your open rates, to Emma’s point, you know, I think she threw out the stat earlier, are they in the 20s? If they’re in the 15-range, you might actually not even have a tactic problem, you might actually have some issues with capturing subscribers, or with, you know, the content, you may have some deliverability issues too, so all of really important things to look at.

Okay. So we have another question. This is about previewing emails before you send them out. So Ashley wants to know, “When viewing drafts in the inbox, we always want to confirm the look on iPhones, droids, tablets, desktops. Which mobile device do you simulate?” And I feel like both of…I like to tell you guys what’s happening. Miles and Logan both perked up. So because we had the Litmus preview, that doesn’t necessarily apply in all cases. So what do we do and how can we make sure that they’re able to see how their e-mails are gonna render?

Miles: Well, so like Jamie said, the Litmus Inbox Preview is for the folks that are using the code your own HTML template. For those of you using Emma’s drag and drop editor, we have a built-in inbox preview. So as soon as you build your mailing, you can hit the preview button at the top and you’ll see a desktop view, you’ll see a mobile view, and you’ll see a tablet view. So in Emma, we haven’t like made them, you know, brands. They’re brand agnostic right now, so you can actually go in and customize those dimensions. So if you know the dimensions of an Android, like a Galaxy Note versus an iPhone 7, you can see the differences there. Logan, you wanna jump in?

Logan: No, that’s fine. Yeah, absolutely that. And then also we always recommend like if you have actual devices available that you know some of your subscribers are opening on then, and you get kind of the device numbers in your response data, please do test. That’s what we do regularly. Like if we know that we’re gonna be sending to a particular list, we know that there are devices on there that we have in office, we will test in office.

Or if we’re trying to troubleshoot some particularly gnarly bit of code or rendering issue, we always try to find…We’ll put out a little call in our messaging system, and say like, “Anybody have one of these?” And then we test directly to it. So test, test, test, and then test again is always our mantra. We have a lot of mantras but that’s one of the mantras.

Jamie: That’s the top.

Logan: It’s probably the most repetitive mantra now that I am talking about it.

Jamie: These are good things that you all said.

Okay. I like this one. Randy, “What kind of segmentation advice can you offer for a product category that purchasers typically do not buy more than every five to seven years such as luggage?”

I think that that’s an interesting way to put it because there are…you know, obviously, we talk a lot about, you know, examples from our own inboxes, and of course in my day-to-day life, I’m reading a lot of like retail examples, and we know that there’s a diverse set of customers out there that are not working in this field. So what would you suggest, or what would you recommend? Maybe not even to specifically relegate it to segmentation, but list tactics, or even growth, or capture tactics for people that do maybe work and have a longer sales cycle, you know, or they are wanting to engage with people that aren’t just gonna buy? That’s not the goal.

Miles: I think that that’s where content marketing really makes a really big play. You know, being able to keep your audience engaged with the content that you’re producing as a brand. So, you know, obviously, blog content, you know, you could use that RSS feature to link back to your blog in your campaigns. And also, this is a good example of touting your social networks and where you are, other places online. You know, building campaigns that kind of highlight your social content, or even what people are saying about you online. Maybe that actually helps shorten that sales cycle.

Emma: Yeah, I totally agree. Content marketing, sending valuable information, and especially if you’re in that industry, because if you’re pushing promos, and sales, people are going to unsubscribe, and the benefit of them staying on your list is that you stay top of mind. So in conversations with their family or friends about luggage or whatever else, your brand is top of mind because they are receiving e-mails. At that point, you can probably lower your frequency, so you probably don’t need to be sending once a week. You know, once a month, or once every other month, is something that I would test. Definitely building a list of new subscribers, making sure that that website form is optimized, that people that are finding you are signing up so that you can send e-mails encouraging the sale.

And then also specific to segmentation, that is a great example of when segmentation is so valuable because I would recommend marketing to people who haven’t purchased first, who have purchased very differently. So putting people that you know haven’t purchased on more of a content marketing, and promo, or pushing a sale campaign series. And then people who you know have purchased, avoiding that, or only around the holidays, or something if it could be something that was given as a gift or, you know, just focusing more on staying top of mind than…

Jamie: Yap. Keeping on the segmentation train, we’re probably gonna round it out with this one from Julie, and then close shop. But Julie wants to know, “Some ideas for segmentation when it’s not possible to integrate one CRM with Emma.”

Do we ask subscribers to self-report their interest? Do we segment based on what they clicked on in the past? This is super common. There are definitely…you know, there’s tons of different ways that you can integrate your data with them. But sometimes, and especially, in a lot of industries, it’s not possible to do that or it’s not advisable to do it based on the data that you’re capturing. So what are your recommendations there when people are just sort of manually getting people into Emma or using our capture forms?

Miles: That’s a really great question. Our sign up forms are customizable so that you can add any fields that you want, that your subscribers should be filling out. So whether or not this is optional information that they can fill out if they want to, or if it’s something that you would require that would really be a basis for what you would be segmenting, all of that is included when you’re building your sign up form.

In addition, you know, segmenting based on what they clicked on in a past campaign is a huge segment that a lot of our customers actually use. That gives you really clear information on who is, you know, super engaged. So, Emma, do you wanna channel on that?

Emma: Yeah, I love all that, Miles. I would say, for the sign up form for what you’re collecting, we call that the need to, like the need to have information, you need to collect upon sign up because that’s your best chance of getting it. Nice to have information, you can definitely go back and ask for in your welcome series or in a targeted campaign.

And then as Miles was alluding to the segmentation based on response analytics, the segment builder, the changes that have been done in the past here are absolutely amazing. I call it either resending or retargeting. So resending is sending an email, only reserve this for like a special event or something that has a lot of weight behind it. But resending an email to people who didn’t open with maybe trying a different subject line or a different send time, if it is that important email that you wanna get as many eyes on as possible. We do see a nice uptick with resending occasionally and retargeting as well. So this would be retargeting people that did click on the mailing is another, you know, good use of that.

So all the response analytics and Emma give you powerful segmentation, and then also asking subscribers depending on the type of information at different points in their lifecycle to start building out your customer data set.

Jamie: One hundred percent. All right. Well, I think we’re out of time for today. So to reiterate, if you’re interested in getting a little bit deeper into the weeds of your email account, and letting green shoots grow throughout the winter and spring, you can get a complete review of your e-mail strategy with an expert from Emma’s team by going to myemma.com/services/review. Check out what that entails. And, yeah, fill out the form if you’re interested in taking advantage of that.

Emma: If you just want just general services help but maybe not the review, you can still fill out the form and get a consultation, or head over to myemma.com/services.

Jamie: Yep, exactly. So take off review, general services, we’ve got you covered.

And again, if you saw something today, or if we mentioned something today and you’re like, “I don’t know if I have that in my account,” do not hesitate to reach out to engagement@myemma.com. Someone can pull up your account, kind of we go over, sort of, you know, with that, you know, with you, and make sure that you are truly seeing all of the most valuable, most up-to-date things in your account.

And, yeah, thank you so much to my esteemed panel. You guys are the best. And we’ll talk to you soon. Bye-bye.

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