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The Battle for the Inbox

How to stop bad email once and for all.

Overview

Transcript

It’s 2018… why do we still receive so many bad emails? The key to sending great emails doesn’t start with the email itself - it starts with intention. Great email begins with understanding what your subscribers want, what your business goals are, and strategizing on how to bring those ideas together. Join Emma Matthews, Director of Professional Services at Emma, as she reviews how to look at the big picture and lay the foundation for email marketing success.

In this webinar, she’ll discuss:

  • • Best practices on how to segment your subscribers

  • • What design elements make a great, engaging email

  • • How effective automation can help you scale your efforts


Hi, everyone. Thank you so much for joining today. We are gonna go ahead and get started. My name is Emma Mathews. I lead our Professional Services Team here at Emma. I am super-excited to get to chat with you all today about some awesome email marketing content and how to stop bad email once and for all. A couple quick housekeeping notes before we get started. Everyone is on Mute, so you’re good there. If you have any questions or any feedback, feel free to post it in the Chat panel in the GoToWebinar. And also, everyone will be sent a recording after this. So if you have to hop out early, no problem at all. You’ll receive this in your inbox here soon.

Okay, great. Let’s get started. Email marketing best practices – if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. We are inundated with email marketing best practices. If you’ve read any email marketing blog or ever gone to any conference, you’ve seen these. You’ve heard about these. And I want us just to take a step back before we jump in, and I wanna set the stage here a little bit. When we’re thinking about email marketing, we really wanna set the stage first. I work with a lot of our customers who are coming on board and a lot of prospects who are interested in Emma, and so many times people will ask me, “You know, what’s the best day and time to send an email? How many emails should I send out? What are the best subject lines to use? Should I use an emoji in my subject line?”

And typically, what we’re doing there is that we’re getting so far down the road. And these best practices, these will move the needle, definitely. But what will actually make a bigger impact on your email strategy is your intention and the foundation that you’re going into your strategy with. And that’s what I want us to focus on and chat through today. We’re gonna be going through lots of ideas, lots of amazing examples. I encourage all of y’all, as we’re walking through this, to really be thinking about your own email strategy. So that’s how you’re gonna get the most bang for your buck and the time that you’re spending out of your day to listen to this webinar is to really be thinking about, “What am I doing?” And I encourage each of y’all to write down three things as we’re walking through this, three actionable takeaways that you can walk back to your team and say, “This is what I learned, and this is what my recommendation is, and here’s why.”

Personalization [inaudible 00:02:34] got stuck on the end there. Okay, great. So as we’re thinking about the best practices and we had a marketing conference, you know, a couple months ago, and the focus was on storytelling and being authentic with your brand. And what we want to do as we’re thinking about that is really zooming out, zooming out to what our strategy is for email marketing, how we’re using email to drive engagement. And with that, we wanna think about not just the best practices. Because those are wonderful, but those are just, you know, nice to have. They’re guiding practices. But what we want to think about is our brand and what makes us authentic, and what our focus is.

So what are we focusing on with email marketing? Are you focusing on engagement, or are you focusing on reach? So with engagement, that’s gonna be a focus towards your active subscribers. Reach is very important in email marketing and that can go a long way. But with reach, we have to be careful because it gets to the point where sometimes we’re sending out so many emails, and people aren’t opening them. And potentially, we’re hurting our sender reputation. Are we also focusing on providing value, or are we focusing on selling? So I want you guys to think about your content strategy. When you’re putting together an email, what is your primary focus?

Also, a long-term or short-term strategy. The best example that I can provide here when trying to kind of really get real with where we are with our email marketing and where we want to go is, you know, our focus on the long term or short term. So there was this company that actually acquired a company out of Nashville, where I live. And they started sending out a bunch of emails. They got that fresh list, and they sent about seven emails in seven days promoting the acquisition and the new brand. That to me was a little bit of a short-term strategy. Because what they didn’t realize is that by sending that many emails, a lot of people such as myself actually opted out. And so they lost the lifetime value of me as a subscriber because they had that short-term strategy of driving sales and weren’t thinking about the long-term implications of, you know, having those subscribers stick around longer.

So we need to expand our focus. And this is what I was talking about from the beginning with not just thinking about best practices but thinking about, “What are we actually focusing on with email marketing, and what is email marketing best used for?” Email marketing is best used as a way to retain our subscribers or retain our customers. So for a long time, when we thought about marketing, we thought about acquisition. And what we actually want to be thinking about is that acquisition plus retention equals marketing. There’s a huge push right now for retention marketing and the benefits that it can have, and email marketing is an amazing vehicle to do that. And we’re gonna talk about why that’s so important.

But what we want to think about when we’re thinking about our email strategy is creating an experience that’s memorable, that’s valuable, and that’s repeatable. And with that, we’re trying to maximize the lifetime value of our subscribers by keeping them around longer. So not having that short-term strategy, where we’re just gonna churn and burn through our list, or not having that strategy where we’re so focused on selling that we’re not actually providing valuable content that makes people stick around longer. Email marketing is actually about building relationships. So as I was mentioning that email is this amazing vehicle to increase retention and maximize lifetime value and in order to do that, we need to actually build a relationship with our subscribers. And we’re gonna walk through exactly how to do that in a couple of quick tips that you can use, and make sure that these are implemented in your strategy in some form or fashion.

A couple of stats to start us out. It costs five times as much to attract a customer than it does to keep an existing one. We have heard this so many times across so many different industries, and it’s true. And that’s why, with email marketing, if we just focus on acquisition, we’re spending a lot of money to attract those subscribers. And then if we just start mass blasting them, chances are a lot of them are gonna burn out early, and they’re gonna unsubscribe or stop opening your emails. That’s an expensive strategy because we have to keep going back to acquisition. So what can we do in order to keep our customers around longer so that we don’t just have to focus on acquisition? We can focus on retention in order to help us hit our goals. I love this stat, and this is all about that, even increasing your retention rates by 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%.

That’s incredible, and we can think about that in terms of your email open rates. Even by increasing the amount of active and engaged subscribers you have, that means more potential for revenue for your business, and we don’t want to miss out on that. And so as we were talking about at the beginning, we need to have this understanding in order to understand how those best practices should be put into play. So if we don’t have this understanding of why we’re doing these things and why we would want to, we end up having an email strategy where sometimes we do this, sometimes we don’t. Or we just don’t at all because we’re okay with where we are, and we’re seeing results that are okay. But there’s a lot of revenue being left on the table by not having a customized email strategy and not looking at your subscribers and seeing what you can do for them and how to provide more value in order to make them stick around longer.

So what now? So now, we’re gonna go through three key areas of focus that I’ve laid out for you that make it really clear on our goal towards stopping bad email and building a relationship with our subscribers that keeps people more connected to our brand. And in turn, drives more revenue for us and more value for our subscribers. The first thing we’re gonna start with is, make the connection. So in any relationship ever, when you start building it, there are a couple things that you need to do in order to make the connection, and one is to actually go out and meet someone. So a sign-up form. As we were talking about before, you know, it is expensive, acquisition. We need to make it as easy as possible for people to sign up for our emails.

All the examples that we’re gonna go through here today are examples of customers that we work with, with our Professional Services Team, who have seen amazing success implementing just a few best practices. And, more importantly, understanding email marketing and how it’s best used, and having that really clear intention that they set from the beginning. So when we think about sign-up forms, we want to think about a sign-up form that’s easy to find. I recommend testing your own sign-up form and testing that sign-up strategy. If you can’t find your sign-up form within three to five seconds of going to your website, chances are there is a little bit of a problem. People aren’t going to your website to sign up for your email, so it’s incredibly important that you have that so that it’s easy to find and it will pop up as soon as someone joins the sign.

I love this laurenconrad.com example because it also has a valuable incentive. So again, people aren’t going out of their way to do things. They want to know what’s in it for them. So make sure that you have that clear incentive. And I love the design of this. It’s just very simple and compelling, which we’re gonna be talking about today. But it’s super-important to not miss any opportunity. And think about everywhere that you meet your subscribers, so any events that you go to or in-store. I know, Emma, we have a free iPad app for sign-ups. And also think about your social media or even in your website signature, where it is located on your website. You know, all those places that people are coming in contact with your brand, we want to give them the opportunity to stay connected and to have a great experience, you know, first and foremost with the sign up.

The next thing we’re gonna talk about is a welcome email. Welcome emails are talked about all the time. They can increase long-term brand engagement. It’s the most opened and most clicked email that you’re ever gonna send. So we really want to be sure that we do this right, and I have a couple of key points that I wanna walk through for why this email, I think, is such a good example and something that everyone can, you know, take a couple of things from this and start incorporating. The first is authenticity. So there’s a big push for being authentic in marketing, and it’s so effective. People wanna know who you are and what you stand for, and I love this Kari Gran example. They’re a natural skincare line. It’s a few women running it. They make everything handmade. And I love that they straight up say in the beginning, you know, “This isn’t a miracle cream or snake oil. This is gentle, timeless, and natural.”

They’re not trying to be something who they’re not. And so many times we see brands out in the world who are, you know, mimicking another brand. But in order to really stand out, I think it’s so important just to be authentic and own who you are and what you stand for, and what you do or what you don’t do. And the welcome email is a great place to showcase that and help really build that connection and that relationship with your subscribers. We also have a brand story here. So as we were talking about at the beginning in that we want to get really clear with what our story is as a brand and what value we provide, people are connected to stories. And we’re gonna talk about that in a second here. But it is super-important to be able to showcase that and have something that people can relate to.

Simple and compelling. I love this one-click call to action. There’s lots of whitespace happening here. So that’s super-important with making a connection is making sure that people, you know, can read your emails and see what they’re meant to be saying. So I love this example. It also goes to, I read an article the other day about how a cluttered design actually causes stress in people. So that’s certainly not what we’re out to do. So lots of whitespace here makes it easy to read. And I love the use of video as well. Videos are shown to be extremely effective. And also, I recommend using a landing page. We have landing pages at Emma where you can host the video so that it’s not taken off into YouTube, where people are going down what I call the “YouTube rabbit hole.” You can keep control of that experience even after encouraging people to open and click the video. 

Storytelling, I told you guys we were gonna be chatting about that. There’s a big push in marketing for storytelling as well, because it is so effective. There are four main key areas that story impact. One is memory. So we remember stories better than we remember statistics or anything else. I’m sure you know that, you know, as a child, just stories that you heard so long ago are still engrained in our minds. And I love this example from charity: water because it’s going through an example of a brand not talking about themselves, but actually talking about the customers that they are…In this case, they are giving out water to these villages. But they’re talking about the people whose lives are impacted by their company. So this isn’t brand-focused, but I love that they’re able to do this. And if you have any…Any brand or industry that you’re in, there are people whose lives you’re impacting. And being able to tell their story is, you know, a great way to connect with your subscribers and have some of that social proof and testimonials that are so effective.

Value, so stories also impact perceived value. So especially for luxury brands, you see a lot of storytelling going on. Also, emotion. Obviously, our storytelling, when someone’s telling a story, our brains can’t tell the difference between a story being told to us or us actually living the story on our own. And that’s a great way to make that connection and also, obviously, that impacts emotion and action. If you’ve ever gone to any charity event ever, chances are there’s gonna be someone that gets up and tells a story before they ask for a donation. So for any nonprofits who are out there listening, any of you that work for a nonprofit, I always recommend using storytelling before you’re ever asking for a donation in order to nurture people and get them more connected with your brand and with your mission. And that’s gonna encourage them to act because they remember it, they see the value, and they’re emotionally connected to what you’re talking about. So great way, if you ever have to ask for a donation, to use storytelling to do that.

The second key area of focus that we’re gonna walk through is nurturing and providing value. So when we think about nurturing, what we’re thinking about is, you know, as we think about lifetime value, we need to be sure that we’re providing value. And sending emails at the right time in our subscribers’ journey in order to keep them connected and keep the emails relevant for them. So a thank-you email is a great and easy way to do that. This is a thank you after a purchase. And I love this email because it has a link for a survey. So asking for feedback is incredibly important. I call this, you know…A lot of times, people internally will spin their wheels. You get your team together and you start talking about, “What do our customers want? What are they interested in? What type of content should we be sending them? How was their experience? How can we enhance our product or service?” And it’s an easy way to use email marketing to gather that information and ask for survey feedback after a purchase.

I also love this example because we’re encouraging social media engagement by using the hashtag. And so that’s another wonderful way to kind of promote cross-channel and encourage engagement on multiple levels. Tennessee Titans sent out this example. This was one that one of our email specialists helped with. And I love this example. They got amazing engagement on this, and this highlights their customers. And that’s a great thing that you can do as well, is user-generated content is an awesome way to increase engagement. There is a big push right now for user-generated content. I recommend if you have an Instagram page for your brand, clicking over to where you can see posts that you’re tagged in. And highlight some of your users or some of your customers that are using your product or talking about your service, and highlighting them to, you know, have that positive social proof.

Also, great use of pictures here, pictures and videos in this email to drive engagement. And as I was mentioning, positive social proof is actually more influential than saving money. People wanna know what other people are doing. And even with this Titans example, people are looking at what other fans are doing. They’re engaged with this content. And especially, if you have a company where you can’t offer a discount, or you’re not interested in discounting, that’s totally fine. There are other mechanisms that you can use and other best practices you can use. And social proof is one of those that you can highlight in your emails to help encourage people to purchase or make them feel like your brand is safe and it’s someone that they can trust. People typically trust people more than they trust a brand, so be sure to be leveraging that in your email strategy as well. 

This next example is from Canyon Ranch. So this example highlights how subtle tweaks can make a big difference in your email strategy. Canyon Ranch actually divides out the email based on people who are already members, people who are interested in being a member, and someone who maybe came to one of their resorts and inquired about a membership. But I love this example. And I want to just spend a minute talking about this because it’s so important to remember that we really do need to be treating our customers differently or our subscribers differently based on where they are. As we think about just that small increase in retention can drive a lot of revenue for your business, it’s important that we go the extra mile and that we make emails that are targeted, and so we have the best chance of keeping people around longer and encouraging them to make a purchase.

You know, some of you might be thinking that you don’t have that data on your customers. You’re not sure of your email subscribers, who’s a customer and who’s a prospect, the same can be said for just looking at response data and sending out emails differently from your active subscribers to your inactive subscribers. And just, you know, realizing that people have different tendencies, they have different interests, and there are some slight changes that you can make to create a customized experience that will really pay off, you know, in the end for you. And it doesn’t take much extra work at all.

Birthday emails, these are so underutilized. I was doing a quick run of just the latest statistics on birthday emails. I’ll let you guys read through these. They’re phenomenal. This is a quick win, and this is something that you can ask for birthdays in maybe even your welcome email. That’s a good place to ask for additional information. Or send out an email to your customers, you know, asking for their birthday if you don’t collect it on sign up. That is one question that we do get a lot in terms of what information to collect on sign-up forms versus what information to put in an email. Typically, what I say is that the information you collect on a sign-up form should be your like mission-critical information. And any information that’s nice to have, you can ask for that in an additional email.

But go out and collect birthdays. Or if you have birthdays, you know, be sure that you’re utilizing them and have a birthday email set up. They’re so effective and such a nice touch. And I love at the bottom of this email, it actually says, you know, “We want to hear from you. If you have a suggestion or if you want to chat, reach out to us.” That creates that two-way conversation which goes a long way in creating and building a relationship with your subscribers. We’re not just talking at them, we’re talking with them, and we want their feedback.

I love this example here of, this is a Wine & Design loyalty example. And I wanted to pose this question here because this is, a lot of times, what people are missing is this idea of, “How are you rewarding your customers?” We’ve been talking about, you know, your existing customers, your existing subscribers are your VIPs. And what are you doing to be sure that we’re acknowledging that, and we’re not just spending all of our efforts on new customers or new subscribers? But that we’re focusing also on the people that are already engaged with our brand. And we know that that’s where 80% of our future revenue is gonna come from, and that’s where we need to expand our focus and make sure we’re going the extra mile and connecting with them. So I do recommend, you know, everyone just thinking about your own strategy. And where and how do you interact with people that are super-engaged with your emails? How do you treat them differently? Or if you know people that are purchasing, how do you treat your customers differently and what emails are you sending them to help them, you know, feel that from you?

Providing value, so we’re gonna talk next about content marketing. Content marketing, the definition of it would be, it’s content that’s put out there that people would seek out themselves. It’s helpful, valuable, and relevant content. We have seen a ton of success working with our customers, incorporating content marketing into their strategy. This is an example here of DropZone Marketing. And I love this example because it goes into, at the bottom, they’re asking people to register for an event. But they know that some people might not be interested in registering for the event, or maybe they already have registered. And they still wanted to put a piece of helpful content above that to encourage people to still connect with their brand, connect with their content, go back to their website, even if the second piece of content isn’t relevant for them. This is something I strongly recommend for those of you who are getting any pushback internally about sending sole content marketing emails.

Some people might say, “You know, we need to have a promotion in there. We need to drive sales.” You would be surprised at how many sales you can drive by putting out this valuable content. But in the case that you can’t have a sole email focus on content marketing, you can still have a piece of it be something that’s relevant, and then have a piece that’s that promotional push. I typically…Well, we’ve heard this, and this was in one of our Emma industry reports that the sweet spot for email marketing is where what your business needs overlaps with what your subscribers want. And this is exactly, you know, a wonderful example of that, where we’re focusing on the business initiative by putting the link to register. And we’re also focusing on what our customers want, which is how to do their jobs better, how to make their lives easier, ways to improve, you know, whatever it is that they do. And this email has a great balance of both.

“Stop selling, start helping.” You guys have probably heard that before. That’s my motto. I say it all the time, but I think it’s so true in email marketing. When we stop focusing on selling and start focusing on helping people, you’d be amazed at the relationships that you build and at the revenue that you’ll drive. The next example that we have here is from Arta Tequila. So this is a great way to showcase that you’re an expert in your industry. So when Arta first started working with my team, they wanted to build out their welcome email series. And we were thinking about the second email, and we wanted to highlight, you know, something about Tequila and what made Arta unique. But we didn’t wanna make it so brand-focused to where people weren’t also getting value about it, and it was just, you know, all about Arta.

And so what we did is conducted a focus group to generate some new ideas, and we asked people, “What would you want to hear?” And overwhelmingly, people wanted to he-…they had questions about tequila and things that they had heard, and they also just wanted to know more about the history and, like, what makes it unique. And so Arta was able to do this in a really fun way with kind of this game that they put out, “The Six Tequila Myths.” And throughout each myth, they’re also able to talk about how Art is unique and how it’s triple-distilled, and all things like that. But it’s very subscriber-focused as well, and this email has seen great success. And all it did was take getting a little focus group together, asking a couple questions, and they already had this industry knowledge and this knowledge about tequila within their company. And we were able to leverage that and create an awesome-looking email that’s been super-effective.

This last example of content marketing that I want to walk through, back to Kari Gran. I thought this was so awesome that they were doing this. They’ve seen a big increase in their sales with using content marketing emails, and they’ve really pushed it to an extent that’s worked for them. And we talk about being authentic and going beyond the bounds, and not just being tied down to best practices but figuring out what works for your brand. They actually send out emails that are related to food. As you can see here, I got an email the other week about their documentary that they’re watching. They know that their subscribers are interested in health and life, and just their general well-being, and they can get away with this content.

And they’ve been very successful with the sales that they have been driving off this email because people are going back to the blog, and then going to their website. And also, if you have any blog content that only lives on your blog, I definitely recommend using email as a way to repurpose that content and get it shared out more. But I love this example. It’s just a great, you know, fun way to think about what you’re doing and really not be afraid to test the content that you’re sending. And even if it’s not exactly related to your product or service, but you know that the people that are interested in your product or service are also interested in this other type of content, test sharing that out and see how it goes.

So the next thing that we’re gonna walk through, the third and final key area of focus is listen and learn. So we’ve walked through a lot of great ideas from making the connection, your sign-up form, your welcome email, using storytelling, using content marketing, using different emails to drive engagement. And we need to make sure that we’re not missing out on, you know, one of the most important pieces, which is listening to your audience, seeing what resonates with them, and learning, and taking that to inform your email strategy moving forward. So when we think about listening, I have to put up here the definition of insanity. So many times with email marketing, we get stuck in a rut. We are stuck sending to the same customers or subscribers that we know who haven’t opened in a very long time. All of you out there, you know who you are.

And we wanna take a second and just, you know, discuss that if we’re sending emails to people who haven’t opened in a year, the chances of them opening again with doing the exact same thing are pretty slim. So I know it’s easy to just hit Send to your entire audience, but there are a couple different things we need to think about here. One is that by sending to people who are not opening your emails on a regular basis, you could potentially be hurting your sender reputation and future emails might not make it to the inbox. And two, we wanna just be thinking about, you know, there are some slight tweaks that we can make to help drive engagement back with those people who have gone inactive.

This is a great example from The Dessy Group, which goes into just acknowledging that, “You haven’t opened our emails in a while, and we’d love for you to tell us a little bit more about the type of information that you want to receive.” Before you ever send out any type of email that’s trying to reconnect with your audience, I definitely recommend pausing sending to contacts. So the number one reason why people unsubscribe from emails is receiving too many emails. So it might just be that lessening the frequency of emails could be effective. If you have a list, I know we work with some customers that absolutely cannot, you know, pare down their list at all, and what we recommend is just send to your inactive subscribers every third or fourth email. So that they’re not, you know, hurting your sender reputation, but you’re still getting that reach while focusing on engagement. Again, expanding our focus to what is important to us.

But I love this example as just highlighting that and, definitely, just acknowledging that, “We hear you, we see you, and we want to do better.” This example from Orangetheory is one that focuses on retargeting your audience. So on the flipside of listening to people who are not opening your emails, opening and clicking, and engaging, we wanna focus on also the people that are engaging with your emails and send them more content that’s gonna be relevant for them. So this is a great example of a link-click automation. Someone clicked on a link in the first email that had to do with brides, and they were followed up with this content as well.

When we think about learning from our audience, a big thing is testing and not being afraid to test. So we see that people are either opening or not opening our emails, we see our open rates, we see our click rates, and I wanna walk through a couple key things that I recommend testing. We’ve gone through this today, but one is your sign-up form. So if your list isn’t growing as fast as you want it to, I recommend looking at your sign-up form and where that sign-up form is in all the places that it’s listed. I also recommend looking at your incentive. So if you feel like your sign-ups are kind of dropping a little bit lower than you want, what’s the value proposition? Why would someone sign up for your emails? Are you making that clear? That can be a big driver in the amount of people that are signing up. So I definitely recommend taking a look there.

Also, your welcome email, we talked a lot about that, incorporating, you know, authenticity in your brand story and incorporating a video, making sure that you have a welcome email that’s timely, that goes out as soon as people sign up. That’s a great thing to test when we’re thinking about, you know, building relationships with our subscribers. Storytelling, I recommend testing using that in your welcome email. Or test using that in any other emails where you have, where you’re either trying to encourage a donation or not. You could use A/B content testing to try one email that asks for a donation with a nurture series that incorporated storytelling before and one that didn’t and see what the results are for your business. 

Targeted mailing, so we talked about this when we looked at that Canyon Ranch example, specifically. But making sure we’re not missing an opportunity to make a slight tweak to really create a customized experience. Again, I know it’s easy to just hit Send to Everyone, but there’s money being left on the table if you do that. And there’s just, you know, a couple quick things that you can do to personalize the email in a way that will make a difference for your subscribers. Lastly, content marketing. So like I mentioned, this has been a huge vehicle for success for a lot of our customers. And I definitely recommend repurposing your blog content, you know, doing a focus group with some of your customers or your subscribers and seeing what they’re interested in hearing more about, and putting that in your email. And not making it about your brand or about your business but focus on helping rather than selling and see what results that drives for your brand.

Oh, and one more, frequency. So when we think about reengagement and also your sender reputation and the, you know, deliverability and your list health, definitely, important to test frequency. People will opt out if they receive too many emails or if the emails are irrelevant. So a lot of people will ask and I’m sure there’s some questions that have popped up already as far as, “How many emails should we be sending?” And again, it goes back to what your initial strategy is, what you’ve set out to do. What is your intention, and what is your focus? And using that to determine the frequency of emails. But I do recommend, you know, for people that have shown that they’re not as interested in your content, they’re not opening or clicking on your emails, trying lessening the frequency up a little bit and see if that works better for them.

This is an example of A/B content testing in Emma. This is a great way to test, and it’s super-easy. This was a test of, with Koloa Landing, we recommended using a single call to action, and they wanted to test that against their standard three calls to action in an email. And we did a simple test sent to 20% of their audience and, overwhelmingly, we got, you know, more than double the click rate on the email with the single call to action. So this is a great way just to showcase taking a best practice, not just assuming it’s true, but testing it out with your audience and making sure that that’s true for you. And it’s so simple to do, and it’s fun. It’s fun to watch the results come in and see who’s gonna win.

So we went through a bunch today. I’m gonna do a quick recap. And I encourage you, as I’m walking through this, to think about those three things that you said at the beginning for the actionable insights and the takeaways that you walked away with this webinar. I know we walked through a bunch of examples, a bunch of different, you know, best practices. And even if you walk away with a new intention or understanding how important retention is to email marketing, or how you can use email marketing to build a relationship with your subscribers, that’s all great too. So first, expanding our focus, not just thinking about the short term, but thinking about the long term, thinking about retention and acquisition, thinking about engagement, as well as reach. Then, after we have our strategy set and we understand what makes our brand unique, we wanna go in and make the connection with our subscribers. We do that by the sign-up form experience, welcome email, storytelling, and having simple and compelling design and copy.

We also wanna nurture and provide value. So in your subscriber journey, find the times where it makes sense for you to reach out to people and either say, “Thank you,” or, “Happy birthday,” or send them a replenishment email. Or ask them to donate, and maybe use storytelling for a vehicle for that. And also providing value and using content marketing as a way to increase engagement. We’ve seen so much success with content marketing that a lot of our customers have actually alternated sending one promotional email and one content marketing email, where previously they were only sending promotional emails. And they’ve seen an uptick in their open rates from that. And lastly, listen and learn. Listen to your audience. Listen to what they’re interested in and what they’re not interested in. And use testing as a way to learn your audience and get to know them as a unique audience and see what works for them.

Thank you, guys, so much for your time. I’m gonna stick around and answer a couple of questions that have been posted. So feel free to stick around if you’re interested in those, and submit those in. And I’m gonna go ahead and take a look and see what we have.

[00:38:36]
[silence]
[00:38:51]

Okay. I’m just reading through a couple of questions here. So someone asked about A/B testing in your system and asking if it’s a matter of just copying an email and making a few tweaks. And that is exactly right. So you’ll create one email, you’ll make a copy, and you could incorporate one piece of content marketing or test a different call to action, or whatever that may be. And then, you just jump over to the A/B content testing feature, and you pick the two emails and let it run. And Emma will pick the winner depending on how many hours you set and what percentage of your audience you want to send the test to.

Another example, so someone was asking about…Let’s see here. There’s lots of good questions coming in. I’m trying to read through them all quickly. So someone asked about using emojis and GIFs in emails to try and improve engagement. So that’s something that we have definitely tested with a lot of our customers. GIFs, especially, are a great way to add some more interest to your email design. So I would definitely recommend testing those, as well as emojis. Subject line split testing is one of the easiest things to do. Right before you send an email, you can just click, you know, two different subject lines, and maybe just put an emoji in one and not in another. Super-simple to test out, and I recommend doing a few to your audience.

Again, it’s all about understanding, you know, your unique audience and what works for them. So what works for someone else might not work for you. But yeah, I definitely recommend testing, and emojis are a simple way to do that and GIFs too. If you just type in “online GIF maker” into Google, there’s tons of free platforms that allow you to just upload a few images and rotate through them. So we do that a lot with customers, and it’s definitely helped boost click rates when we do that. And it’s super, actually, very simple to do if you’re just streaming together a couple of images.

So someone asked, “What’s your process for receiving and implementing feedback from customers? Do you close the feedback loop?” I think that’s a great question. And as we were talking about, building that relationship and, you know, saying “thank you” to people who are either purchasing from you or taking a desired action that you ask them to do, I definitely recommend closing the feedback loop and saying, “Thank you for filling out this survey,” or whatever that is, and just acknowledging the time that they spent. And then, in terms of implementing feedback from customers, we’ve done a couple of different focus groups. And most of the time, what I’ve found is that people are wowed with the new ideas that they get from their customers, or they help you think about something in a way that you weren’t thinking about it before.

As I was mentioning, you know, a lot of times when we get an internal team meeting put together, everyone just ends up spinning our wheels, or we might be running through the same ideas. So it’s just nice to have a fresh perspective and get in some fresh voices and opinions on what we’re doing right and wrong. And it might change your perspective and what you thought, you know, as a gut feeling, worked, might not actually work that well. And it’s great place, you know, to then use testing in order to see the different results and how that feedback applied across your whole audience. 

So someone asked about storytelling and when, you know, privacy of your clients is important. So with storytelling or with testimonials…Someone also asked about and this kind of relates to asking about using social posts in your marketing. Obviously, this is not like a disclaimer or not legal advice, but you should always ask whoever you’re posting about, you know, if you can use that information. And so many times, people are willing if you say, you know, “We’d love to give you a free month’s worth of service if you would do a testimonial for us or if we could do a customer interview for you.”

If you’re offering something in exchange and are transparent up front with where you’re gonna use that information, we have a ton of customers that we get testimonials and reviews from that we repurpose. And most of the time, people are happy to do it. It also gives them another opportunity to highlight their brand in another way. So you’d be surprised, you know, once you just ask. But yes, definitely make sure that you have permission. And if you’re using any user-generated content, just send them a quick note and ask if you have permission to use, you know, what they’re sending you in your email marketing or on your Instagram. 

So someone asked about best practices on how to collect additional data after getting their email address. So I mentioned that briefly. But what I recommend is that any absolutely critical information you need to craft, you know, an amazing email marketing strategy, I would ask for that in the sign-up form. Typically, limiting it to three fields, you’re safe. If there’s other information like birthday or something like that that you want to collect, I recommend either asking for that in the welcome email or sending a targeted email. I know the Titans sent an email out that had great engagement rates that was about, you know, “Where do you live? We want to make sure we’re sending you information based on events that are going on in your area.” And the biggest thing that I would say when asking for other information, if you do that in an email, is just make sure that there is some kind of incentive or some reason why someone would offer that feedback. Otherwise, typically, you know, people aren’t gonna necessarily go out of their way to do that.

[00:44:55]
[silence]
[00:45:06]

So I’m just looking through, trying to see if there’s any other questions here. So someone asked, ‘When it comes to testing email send frequency, how long should we run a test like that? I’m afraid of being too inactive with my communication and engagement rates dropping as a result.” So email send frequency is one of, like, the hottest topics that we get questions about, “How often should we be sending emails?” And I recommend, take the people that are already not responding well to your emails…So if you know that this group of people, Group A, is responding well to your emails and has a healthy open rate, you could continue on that path. Potentially, even try sending them more content. But it does depend on, you know, making sure that the content that you’re sending is valuable and not just sending to send.

For the people that are inactive, it depends on how often you were sending before. If you were sending every day, maybe try sending once a week to those people. If you were sending every month, maybe try every other month. So it does depend a little bit on, you know, what your previous send frequency was and how much relevant content you have to send to people. But typically, with a test of frequency, engagement rates should increase. Especially, if you’re focusing on people that were already inactive before, we can only go up from here because they haven’t been engaging with us. So that is a good place to start testing.

Okay, great. And then, yeah, just one last question came in about lower frequency, top-of-mind awareness, track for inactives. Definitely, recommend that. It’s kind of what I was speaking to in terms of, we want to still stay top of mind without, you know, sending too many emails to where people are gonna eventually opt out. So definitely, just limit that. And you’re still getting that reach, again, as I was mentioning without having to, you know, stop sending to them entirely or damage your sender reputation by continuously sending to those contacts.

Okay, great. Well, thank you, guys, so much for all of your time. I hope you enjoyed this webinar, and I hope you have a great rest of your day. 

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