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Have Your Best Year of Email Ever

All the tips, tricks, and stats you need to succeed this year




We see a lot of email here at Emma and, naturally, we have some favorites. Join Content Marketing Strategist Jamie Bradley as she takes a look at our favorite top-performing campaigns of the year. You'll walk away with easy-to-implement tips that drive brilliant results right now and beyond!

Hey guys, welcome to today’s presentation, “Have Your Best Year Of Email Ever”. I’m Jamie Bradley, and I’m a content marketing strategist at Emma. And really what that means is I get to come in every day and hopefully help people send better emails with the content we produce, and help us here at Emma send better emails too. And that is exactly what we’re going to chat about today. A little housekeeping before we get started. We will have time for questions at the end. So type those into your chat box, there and we’ll be monitoring those throughout the presentation and we’ll have some time to go over them. Also, if you are on Twitter, you can use the hashtag #bestemail16 and follow along with us there, and tweet your favorite stats and even ask some questions. We will be watching that but we’ve got you covered. And also, most importantly, we will be sending out a recording at the end. So I know a lot of you have asked that. So if you need to hop off earlier or you wanna share this content with a friend, don’t worry about it.

So for today’s presentation, what we are going to do, we are going to walk through best practices for how to really go into 2016 with tons of tips to rev up your email program. And really for the next 40 minutes, you know, it’ll be jam-packed with the latest stats and some of just my personal favorite examples of brands that are, you know, winning the inbox, essentially. So we’re talking about email, obviously, but why are we talking about email? That’s because email is a big deal, ladies and gentlemen. Not just because I work for a company that does email marketing, but I get to work here because email is the number one activity on the entire internet. And that is not, I’m not misspeaking there.

Number two is using a search engine and that’s pretty crazy. But to put it another way, that’s around 2.4 billion people that are accessing email, and we are spending a ton of time in the space. The average office worker actually checks their email 30 times an hour which sounds totally absurd, but it’s true. So why is that? It’s because we’re getting a lot of email. People receive around 125 emails per day. And for some of you, you’re probably thinking, you know, is that it? And, you know, I feel on an average day like I get 125 before lunch. So needless to say, inboxes are really crowded. Luckily though, if you can have your voice heard in the space, there is a lot of winning to be had. And that’s what we’re here to talk about today.

Almost 70% of US internet users report that email is their preferred method of communicating with businesses. And that is probably why email actually gets results. In fact, email’s ROI, so that return on investment, is more than double that of every other digital channel and has been really for as long as I can remember, specifically with social media. Email converts three times higher, and it’s not just the frequency really with it converts. The actual value of those impressions you’re making is 17% higher. So to put it another way, the actual ROI of email, according to the Direct Marketing Association is 4300%. And I love to use this stat because it just looks crazy. But it really means for every dollar spent, you can expect on average somewhere in the $40 range to roll back in.

And as a marketer, the case for why emails a big deal should start to become more clear as you assess where you should be spending your energy, time, and your budget because we’re all accountable for those sorts of things at our businesses. And a solid email marketing program is really the hub in the wheel and all of your other efforts are the spokes. But I like to say, email can’t live in a vacuum. But it can do really powerful things when you allow it to sit at the center of your efforts. And that’s because email helps you get the right message to the right people at the right time. And you know, we see this at Emma with our customers all the time. And it’s not just because we’re an email marketing company. Again, we approach email as the center of a really strong overall marketing plan, because we’ve seen it work and we see it work every day.

So what does that look like, you know? Email in and of itself, as I like to say, is not magic. You can’t just blast out a bunch of emails and expect it, you know, to start seeing those high returns. So simply being present in the inbox, it’s really no longer enough. To really win with email, you have to be strategic about how you’re communicating with different segments of your audience. And that really starts before you ever show up in their inboxes. So what you are looking at here is what we hear at Emma call a lightbox forum, you might call them a pop-up form. Regardless, you’re seeing them everywhere no doubt, if you are ever surfing online.

The reason that you’re seeing this is it’s not just a trend. It’s because these types of forms, these little forms that pop up when you’re on a webpage actually convert way better than your traditional forms, so your traditional sort of static sitting on the side of the page sign up for my email list form. And that’s not to say you should abandon your traditional signup form. But if you haven’t implemented a pop-up form on your site, this is the year to do it. So what we’re talking about is making the most of this year. It’s not a trend, it’s not going away. And the reason it’s not is because these forms on average see around a 46%, I can’t talk, 46% uptick in new signups when they are implemented. So 50% almost more people are signing up because of these forms.

So let’s unofficially call the next section the table stakes section of today’s presentation. So this next little bit of the presentation is really about what now, I have their email address. I can’t stress enough these next things really are the bones of any email program. So if you aren’t doing these things, you’re actually kind of behind the curve. But it’s okay because we’re here to catch up. So what are those things that we all have to do? So I’m on your list. What do you do with me now? Well, you say hello. So that form you just saw, when I fill out that form, I get this lovely email immediately. It’s automated. So if you leave here today with anything, it’s that this year if you aren’t sending a welcome note for some reason automatically when I fill out that form and sign up, this is no longer a nice to have. But why is that?

It’s important because 74.4% of people expect to receive a welcome email when they subscribe. You’re not just doing this for your health or to keep up with the Joneses or your competitors or because again, I say so. Welcome notes actually also can increase long-term brand engagement by as much as 33%, and that comes from chief marketer. So I actually will be more engaged over the long term if you just say hello. It’s simple. The other thing that you can do, is now you can automate the process of an extended hello which is really beneficial. You don’t have to ask for too much up front like you just saw they were just asking for an email address.

So if you are doing a welcome note but aren’t doing a welcome series you could be missing the boat here too. You can deliver snippets of value, ask for information, and more. And this is probably why specifically for retailers, and I know we probably have, just skimming the list, a lot of retail people on the line. When you send a series of welcome emails, you can see 13% more revenue than people that just send one. And that comes from Internet Retailer 500. But B2B brands using automation in similar ways also routinely see a lift in engagement with new prospects. I know that once we implemented a series that welcomes people here at Emma, we were able to attribute more engagement just anecdotally. So it’s a good thing to do.

Another table stake in the personalized sort of automated email game is the birthday greeting. And these, you know, these may seem really cute, they can be. This one from Anthropologie, of course, is adorable. They’re also an easy way to draw an audience closer to you. And again, if you’re not doing this, it’s not going to hurt. Potentially you can see some immediate returns. In fact, birthday emails can lift conversion rates by 60% over non-birthday emails with the same offer. So it’s my birthday, I feel special. Yeah, I’ll go to Anthropologie and buy myself a present. Or I’ll go in your website and learn a bit more, whatever the flavor is, it couldn’t hurt to do it.

So we talked about saying hello earlier, we talked about birthdays. Another type of email that should be on your radar and contributes directly to maintaining a healthy list, not just growing it, is really this sort of clean up email. The choices you make with your audience don’t always have to be dictated by key dates attached to your subscribers. Emails like this give your audience opportunity to really self-select in a new way and also help you determine who should you should be focusing on because we’re gonna get into more segmentation later on in the presentation. Emails like this help you get the feedback that you need about my engagement. So if you send something like this, you are going to lose people, be prepared for that. But you’re going to keep the people that actually want to engage with your brand. And that’s gonna become really important as we move through because you want people that want to be there.

It’s also important to consider try to win me back, you know, don’t just say goodbye to me or try to cut me loose. Engage with me if you see that I’ve become inactive. So, you know, really listening, paying attention, monitoring my activity once I am in your world is important as well. In fact, according by sales, a study by Salesforce said, 63% of marketers surveyed said that reengagement emails like this one, are “very effective”. And a study by Return Path found that 45% of recipients who receive win back emails like this one actually read subsequent messages. Meaning, I may not even really interact with this mailing but I’m actually more likely to not opt out, to appreciate it, and read future emails that actually have a higher return for you. So it’s something nice to do if you’re not already.

And to sort of round out this section, I love this messaging. I was really delighted when I was served this pop-up. You know. We talked about adding a lightbox or a pop up early on to get me to, you know, when I first interact maybe one second after I hit your page. But I really love this example of a lightbox popping up when I’ve been lingering on a page for a significant amount of time without any activity. So this caught my attention. It was super clever. I felt like they cared about me, they’re asking me not to leave. And just because I’m a marketer doesn’t mean that I’m totally jaded. I was delighted, so I gave them my email address. But here’s the deal. As we’ve established, inboxes are crowded. And so just getting my attention online or on your website and serving me, you know, some table stakes or the emails out of the gate, none of this matters if I’m not actually opening your email.

There’s a lot more. You know, simply just showing up, that’s part of winning. But to take it further, you have to actually really get my attention. Remember, 125 emails a day. The majority of those also are from people or brands that I want to receive messages from or need to receive messages from. So you’ve got competition. And people spend a ton of time in the inbox. I am definitely going to give this email from my colleague, Cynthia, who is when I say colleague, my boss, if she sends me an email that says important, nothing matters. That’s going to naturally take priority over your message, over these brands. Sorry, John. Sorry, Amy, Nelson. But, you do have some things on your side or some things that you can test. So subject lines that create a sense of urgency and exclusivity can give you a 22% higher open rate. And we’ll talk about that a little bit more as we go on.

But to take it back to Cynthia being the sender, as much as we talk about subject lines, the from name is actually arguably more important sometimes than the subject line. And so many marketers, so many people overlook testing the from name, who the email is actually coming from. I see Cynthia’s name before I actually saw that it was even important. So that’s sort of the hierarchy there in my brain. And, you know, like I said earlier, it’s on the slide. The two biggest factors that influence open rate are number one, who it’s from, what brand it’s from, and then the subject line.

So, you know, we’re talking about personalization, being exclusive, all of that kind of stuff. One way that you can do that with your subject lines is to obviously personalize them. And I love this one from Uber because you don’t even have to put my name in it. Just talk to the person directly. They’re using the word you. I obviously am intrigued by this. I wanna know, where have I been? What are you talking about? How do you know? I open it. It’s from Uber. They have data, they have this beautiful email that’s really intriguing, and it’s simply for me. But at the subject line level, personalized subject lines are 22.2% more likely to be open. And that comes to us from Adrestra.

And address me, be concise, be direct. Again, you’re competing with my family, my friends, my boss in the inbox. Talk to me directly, make me feel special. It’s really basic kind of stuff. The biggest trick to winning is to use tactics in your copy that mimic the types of conversations I’m already having in the inbox. For example, you know, it’s injected into almost every text conversation that I ever have. That’s right, emoji. And automatically, anytime we talk about emoji, someone’s like, I’m a lawyer, I’m a doctor, I can’t do this. You may not be able to do this. But if it works for you, use it. You might actually get my attention. And you know, again, they’re not for everyone. They’re not for every brand. But the point of this slide is less about me telling you cheaply start shoving emoji into every subject line, and more for me to remind you that not only your inbox is crowded but your email audience is not stationary.

Emoji remind us of the types of communication we’re having every single day on our mobile devices. And for email, that is vitally important if you are talking about an email program because over half of all email is opened first on a mobile device now. And that number is only trending up. Actually, I think since I put this slide together, or since we made the slide here at Emma, it’s up to 54 officially, from Litmus. So we like to say you aren’t walking around with a phone anymore. You’re walking around with a mobile inbox with a phone app. And, you know, as a marketer, what that means as, you know, the consumer, as the subscriber, I’m in the driver’s seat. Email allows me to be in charge and it’s your job to get my attention and keep it. Because if you can hold my attention, really crazy conversions are happening as a result. So email is powerful. It’s a big deal as I’ve established, because influences decisions.

And even more interestingly, the conversions from mobile, you know, they aren’t just impressive. The influence mobile experiences have on consumers is powerful. Even before I turn into a paying customer, 90% of smartphone users are using their phones to research and make decisions about your brand long before they’re interacting with it directly. And they’re doing it on the go. If your brand impression in the mobile inbox and the mobile landing page, the mobile website, all of those things sort of working together is not, you know, up to date, it’s not ready to go, it’s not out of the box, you’re already behind both, you know, as a digital marketer but especially in the email space. And to that end, you have to design for the mobile inbox first. So if I’m on the go, you know, getting and keeping my attention can be a huge challenge.

So, what do we know? Well, over 90% of our brains are dedicated to processing images and our brains actually process images 60,000 times faster than text. So the fact that you are seeing emails that are filled with images, and I know we had some questions during the registration process about this, the reason you’re seeing this is because this is what’s actually getting results. This is what’s actually converting. If you are not including images in your email marketing, we should chat because it’s not difficult to do. And in fact, on mobile devices, what you are actually seeing is this shift from really simple, really short emails to really long emails. Or as our friends at Litmus like to say, emails that allow you to embrace the scroll.

On our mobile phones, we are programmed now to scroll. Think of that, how you interact with your own mobile device. You’re expecting to do that. And sometimes it feels odd when you don’t have anything to scroll down to. So don’t be afraid anymore to pack an email with all the content that you need. And emails like this really are the mobile equivalent of being transported to your site without having to wait for a page load, because that’s really honestly a risky endeavor on mobile. You know, I might be checking this on the subway or at a stoplight or somewhere where I have spotty reception. So if you don’t provide content in the email that, you know, leaves me to the mercy of site load times, you know, that can be a factor that’s out of your control as a marketer. So this is something to consider.

But I will say to reiterate, when I do click through, it’s vital that you make sure that all of the pages you’re linking out to in your mailing also look good on a mobile device. If you are considering sending me somewhere where that’s not the case, you need to re-evaluate it immediately. And again, if you’re not sending a welcome note, you’re behind. If your site is not mobile optimized, that should be a huge priority for you. According to Google, 40% of people who are having a bad mobile site experience actually will visit your competitor site instead. So it’s not just that it feels good. I will actually go buy something from your competitor. So that is to be noted.

To that end, a brand that knocks out of the park always as Patagonia. This email looks great in all forms. Eighty percent of people are only scanning both in the inbox and then once they actually open the email as well. So giving them something kind of above the fold, to use a newspaper term, something right out of the gate. You notice both this example and this example, first thing you see is a big image, very little logo space up there at the top. And again, it’s because our brains love visual content. And again, great mobile experiences like the one you see here, our brains also love that, and there’s something to scroll and it looks wonderful.

There’s also something going on here that is really, really important. And it’s worth noting, and that’s that there was a video. So moving images, our brains don’t just love images, they like them when they’re moving. Videos are a big deal in email. They significantly up a subscribers engagement with your mobile content. About 50 million people in the US now watch video on their mobile phones. That’s a big hunk, 15% of all online video hours globally are viewed on tablets and smartphones. And again, that’s where people are hanging out and interacting with your email, you have nothing to lose. The click-through rates also much higher.

Better yet for you and your brand, people share video. If you wanna quickly convey a message to me and get me to tell more people, put a video in your email, especially if you think that content has some legs. You can get buy-in from consumers and have them do some of the work for you when you present a video, and they’re more likely to. And it’s simply the promise of a video that gets people excited and clicking. None of the examples we’re showing here are auto-playing a video when you open the email. Therefore 72% of email marketers polled in the study by Experian who have used animated gifs have recorded higher transaction and click rates compared with bulk emails to the same customers.

So when we say using video, it’s the promise of a video that gets people engaged. You’re not just seeing animated gifts because they’re trending, you’re seeing them because they’re actually working. So let’s look at some. So if you look down there at the bottom, there’s a woman, oh, she’s smelling some things. She doesn’t like it. Seventy-two percent of email marketers polled out, oh, sorry, aside from catching her eyes. Animated gifts tend to actually function for the majority of people. So for starters, almost all email clients support this form of media compared with only 58% that support video. And that’s again, coming to us from Litmus. They are experts. However, if the bulk of your subscribers are using Outlook or Windows Mobile 7, and this is something that a good ESP should be able to tell you, when readers view your email through these programs, they’ll only see the first frame as a static image. So make sure if you do have a call to action, or you have a headline or some text in those animated gifts, make sure that that is the first frame that it’s frozen on. And that’s just a good a tip to follow.

And here is one of my favorites, bringing the birthday greeting up up a notch. Great example. And it’s not just fun and games. You’re seeing them on all sorts of content. So this one obviously is delightful and fun. The last one was really subtle. I love this example. You know, the gif doesn’t have to be the main event as we have already seen. But the gif in this instance it’s nestled right under the social share… No, sorry, this isn’t it. I got ahead of myself. This is an invitation to a conference. So this gif makes content that might not otherwise stand out really compelling. So I really like it. It’s just invited me to a conference. I got ahead because I’m really excited about this next example. It’s from one of my favorite Emma customers. Mario Batali.

And this one’s super subtle. If you look, again, it’s in the bottom left corner. It’s just this cute little Happy New Year gift. And, you know, it doesn’t have to be the main event, as we’ve already seen, you know. This email is actually also really simple. It’s just a nice little greeting welcoming people to 2016. What I also like about this email is that the gif sort of draws your eye down. But before that, what I was about to say earlier, is that we’ve got these social sharing buttons that are just nestled right above that content. So the main goal is to say Happy 2016, get you to the website to look at these recipes. If your eye is drawn down to the bottom, well, you actually have to get past that article and also the social sharing buttons. And the reason that we bring this up is because including links for your social sites is a really quick way to up your engagement.

And you don’t just do this really for a cheap boost or to skew the numbers you report to your boss. But you do it because it’s a great way to tell your brand story across multiple channels in hopes of reaching the right people at the right time. Which again, is really what we’re trying to do here. So, you know, super simple to have those buttons always included in any template that you or you can go the extra mile like Mario Batali and sort of point those out and actually make a call to action out of it. Because remember, the mobile experience is everything. Your emails are only as powerful as that experience. Bringing social sites into that fold and telling a story across multiple channels is a perfect way to really create a cohesive through line in your messaging, no matter where I am or where I find you.

Your email messaging and your social messaging, they shouldn’t be siloed. Your email marketing manager and the person running your social should be talking. And if it’s you, sit down with yourself and get on the same page with yourself, and make sure there’s some cohesion. Here’s our headline, here is summer squash, you see it show up in the email. It’s on Facebook. It’s also the headline on their website. And yes, I have a lot of internet tabs open in these screenshots. And all of this matters. You know, again, we’ve covered these table stakes, the importance of mobile devices and emails being viewed, they’re the wonderful world of a video and how gifs can sort of help bring, you know, more attention to those videos, all of these elements factor into having a successful year with your email marketing and really with your digital marketing in general. But all of these things we’ve discussed thus far are only as powerful as the messages that they contain, and specifically how relevant that message is to each individual on your list. So like I said earlier, the days of sort of this one size fits all batch and blast email game are gone. So again, welcome note, segmentation, trying out video, these are things to think about and to use.

So when we say relevant content, what do we actually mean by that? So what we mean by that is that you’re actually segmenting and sending the right content to the right people at the right time. And if you’re not there, you’re not alone. Nearly two-thirds of companies say that they wanna improve their personalization, their marketing automation, and their segmentation. So when we talk about the table stakes, we talked about things you, you know, maybe you might be behind on. If you’re not doing this, if you’re not really sending and segmenting and sending all this relevant content yet, you’re not super behind. So this is also a great thing. You can do all this new stuff in tandem this year.

And luckily, email inboxes are this really personal space. And also, today’s technology makes this easier than ever before, which is a really good thing for marketers because people are actually expecting this level of communication. Of the few, of the one third that are nailing it, they’ve really raised the bar, people expect this now. A whopping 90% also say that when they receive targeted and personal emails from a brand, they like it. It’s useful, and this totally makes sense. The more useful your brand becomes the less expendable your brand is to customers naturally. That’s fun. Everyone just feels good. But it’s not that easy. You know, being viewed as useful isn’t just kind of a feel good story. There’s obviously a goal in mind here for us, 74% of consumers actually get annoyed when content appears that has nothing to do with them. So 90% find it useful, 74% actually are mad when they get content that they think doesn’t hit the mark.

And, you know, nobody wants to annoy their customers and not using custom content can actually have you leaving money on the table also. And that’s because personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates than those business as usual kind of batch and blast emails. But again, most people aren’t doing this. Furthermore, 61% of consumers say that they feel better about a company that delivers custom content and are more likely to buy from those companies. So to be really effective, you’ve got to get your data in check. And again, that might seem really daunting. Again, harkening back to sort of that welcome series, there are touch points all along the way where you can gather some really basic data that allows you to segment and automate processes. And we’ll talk about a little a few of those here in a moment.

So, you know, before you really segment your audience, though, if you are just starting, if you’ve just got one giant list and you’re like, Jamie, where do I start? You can actually start by making me feel like I’m a part of a special group to simply by addressing me directly. Again, I love this example because it says, hey girl, they don’t even have my name because I’ve never really engaged deeply with this brand, though I do love their emails and they’re already calling me a VIP. This is a really smart and sort of tricky way to make it seem like I am getting really hyper-personalized content that they probably only have my email address at this point. So really fun tactic. Also, though, as I interact with this mailing, you can learn things about what I like. They put some products down there at the bottom, you could also do this. This is a retailer, obviously. But if you’re a B2B, you could put different types of content that you’re producing, different product lines, different options, you know, an A/B sort of test. Again, this is all image-based, it’s super easy to interact with. And they are probably using this mailing as a gauge to find out more so that they could then truly can serve me better content down the road.

And when it comes to cool stuff you can do with the right information, email marketing starts to get super cool. So as you do start to gather the right kind of data or dig into that and get your ducks in a row, email allows you to do some really, really fun stuff that honestly I don’t think you can do elsewhere. So you see the initials on the pillow, those are actually my initials and you can guess my middle name during the Q&A or via Twitter. But Pottery Barn Kids, they are making the subtle move that has a seriously impressive impact. So simple. I don’t even have children. I actually am just a nerd and they send great emails consistently. I love the language here. They pulled my initials into it using a program like it says customize your chair, no imagination is required for me and I wanna click through and get that pillow.

Sometimes, though, the best segmentation that we see is really based on information like purchase history or demographic information that you’re finding out about me as we sort of get closer and we get a bit deeper into our relationship. You know, this is not stuff you do when I first join your list but stuff you learn about me over the process of how I interact online with you and with the emails that you’re sending. I love this example from Nike. They’re segmenting essentially based on purchases but, you know, also sort of gender identity or whether I’m…consider myself male or female or what have you. What I like to show this is that this would work whether I knew they were doing this or not. You only know that they’re segmenting this way visually when I put them side-by-side.

But indeed a male in my office received email one, a female received, you know, email B, but you just have to be careful with that, just like this. You know, don’t put language here that’s making too many assumptions. Especially I love to point out, we just finished the holiday season, I was buying presents for everyone except myself. So if you have data about what I purchased now might not be the best time to implement this but something to keep in mind for the future as year sort of unfolds with email. This next example I love, I love Airbnb. They are one of my favorite companies with marketing, and the thing I love about this is that, yeah, they say my name, they pull that in there. They also are saying the name of the city that I have looked at before on their site.

I’m not sure…they are, full disclosure, not an Emma customer. But this is something that you can do just based on browsing behavior, on data you’re storing about me, and then you can use this information to send me really hyper-targeted information. If you know that I want to go to New Mexico, by all means, don’t send me stuff about Aspen. I wanna go to New Mexico, I wanna go to the desert. Anyway, so it’s just really fun and I love it. If you don’t know the information, if your system is not that sophisticated, you also can just ask me. This email is so simple, and it significantly reduces the effort it takes for me to respond to this mailing.

I also wanna point out Nasty Gal is a totally reputable women’s clothing brand. Their founder is basically the rock and roll millennial, Sheryl Sandberg. She has a book, she’s great. But I digress. I just wanna point that out because I know this email doesn’t give a lot of context for that brand name. But they do fantastic email marketing. If you’re just a nerd and you wanna learn some things and you especially if you do retail, you should sign up for their list, just doing something simple like this though. This is a rating scale, these are just clickable little images, I click this. They’re able in their response data to see what I’m doing. For them maybe they put everyone that’s a seven or above into a special category, maybe they simply put anyone that engaged in any way in some sort of category and so on. So you can learn so much from just a simple mailing, and I know we talked about long visual emails earlier. This is also the polar opposite of that but still just as effective.

Oh my goodness, I love a cautionary tale in any webinar. So what I have highlighted here is the sentence, Jamie, experience the world of the Yaris ownership. Which sounds so exciting, doesn’t it? So I have a Toyota Yaris. Very glamorous, I know. They also have my name, this is from the dealership. They got all that stuff right. So what did they get wrong? Everything else. This email has literally nothing to do with me experiencing the world of Yaris ownership. The only experience I’m having is that they wished that I would buy a more expensive Camry through 2016. It’s sort of shaming me actually. It’s like, “Hey, man, I’m pretty happy with Yaris.” But this isn’t a bad looking email at all. So at first glance, to the untrained eye, not too shabby. But it’s just a good idea to be careful when you are trying to wow me, when you are personalizing. If you do have the wrong data, if your contents not relevant if it’s not matching, that gimmick is lost on me and actually can turn me off. So I love point this out. And again, I’m a Toyota owner, just giving them a hard time, but just be mindful of what you’re doing there.

So to round out today’s presentation, I wanna briefly walk you through the email marketing of a customer that’s doing honestly a lot of things really well. And that is Dogfish Head Brewery out of Delaware. And I should have put a picture of their website. It’s absolutely fantastic. But I love showing this as sort of the start because this is what you do. This is what’s greeting you immediately when you go here. And it’s so simple. And what I love to point out about this, it’s a lightbox form. It’s just says email me, Dogfish. I love that they’re using sort of this first-person language where I’m subtly able to put myself in the seat and I’m thinking, yeah, maybe I do want them to email me. They’re also not very verbose about what I’m getting, it’s straight into the point. Beer releases, events, and more, right to your inbox, email address only. Sign me up. Awesome. Love it.

So then what you’re looking at here is a welcome series. Super, super, super simple. And actually, these are sort of out of order. But just to show you the first one just says thanks for joining us. The next one’s sort of getting you a little bit deeper and sort of introducing you to some special ales that they have, you know. Then you’ve got flyer Dogfish flag, where they’re actually sort of making an ask by the third mailing. And then this is something that we love to point out about any sort of email marketing series. So a lot of times we get the question—in fact, we may have already gotten it during this presentation, I haven’t been able to check—the people ask about the welcome series. That first touch points should always be, hey, thanks for coming. Thanks for signing up, thanks for taking the time. Keep it short, to the point. You can put a little bit more content there if you like.

But if you are going to do a series, you can save it too, because you know that I’m gonna get these regardless, unless I just absolutely hate it, and it was an accident and I wanna get out of here. I love that the next mailing that they’re sending is just saying, hey, check out some of our beers, get to know us a little bit better. Just show me the beer. I wanna go look at them. It’s not asking you for anything big. The third email though, third or fourth email should definitely be, you know, a place where this is a, as my colleague Christopher likes to say, email marketing is a fiduciary relationship. This is I’m not doing this for my health. We’re not doing this as brands because it feels fun. We’re doing this again because it’s really effective. And they’re asking me now, hey, take my money, which I love. And I love that CTA and their brand is fun. Obviously, they sell beer, they can get away with that. But you know, it’s putting me in the driver’s seat. It’s making it really easy. It’s reducing the effort it takes for me to engage. And it’s just a really solid, solid welcome series.

So what we’re gonna look at next is the stuff that they do in their Emma account to segments. So in Emma, you have groups which you can proactively make, meaning that I can basically, if I’m sending out that welcome series and people are interacting, I can put them into a segment, which is sort of automatically happening just by default. And those segments are dynamic. So when I sign up, I’m a new sign up, if I recently clicked a mailing, I go into, you know, that segment. A group though, is when I am just proactively paying attention or I’m pulling data out of my CRM or I’m, you know, doing that sort of thing. So I love what Dogfish has done. Not all of these mean something to us, you know, but the mug club I love to point out is an exclusive sort of VIP club. It has a paid membership. Those people get exclusive content first. They also do events out and about, those people are obviously put into their own groups. They’re doing some sort of run, the Dogfish Dash. So their distributors are in a different segment than the consumers, people that visit the distillery, on and on and on.

So, you know, when it comes to segmenting, it’s not necessarily rocket science. Really think of how people are interacting with your brand and that’s a great place to start with just the most basic segmentation. Same thing with creating sort of these dynamic segments. Obviously, if I’m a new sign up, or also if you really wanna mix things up and you’re putting multiple signup forms on multiple pages, track where those are coming from. Create segments for those people and maybe test sending them different content along the way. And the other thing that Dogfish Head does really well is that they harness the power of video. And their brand like I said, they’re fun. They partnered with a company that wanted to feature their very dynamic CEO in some fun videos. Also doesn’t hurt the dude is friends with, these guys are in, you know, a comedy group that people are really big fans of, all that kind of stuff. But they’ve kept it really simple. And this is just a great a great mailing and so we’ll kind of look at that.

So they sent this mailing out and to show you how it performed, you know, these are great metrics. So we get this question all the time. What’s a good open rate? What’s a good click-through rate? A lot of that information also is relative. It depends on the point of the mailing. It depends on what you were doing. It also depends on how segmented your list is or how targeted this content was. So this email only went to 288 people, it went to a really small group. So 41 clicks relatively doesn’t sound like a lot, but that’s 24% of the people that received it. Also, there was only one thing to click really, there was a button and there was a video. And in this example, the overwhelming majority interaction with the video. The open rate in this email and why I selected it is because it was 50%. So it was a fantastic, fantastic example.

I did not include the subject line because that area of the page sort of gets cut off. But I can look that up and send it to you if you’re curious. But also the preview pane, a lot of people are viewing that. So people probably, likely myself included, saw that there was a video to click and I may not have even read the subject line. So we can dig into that a little bit later as well. So if we sort of look at just a really brief hierarchy and anatomy of an email, these emails do a great job. A, it’s really simple, but they’re teasing that multimedia content up at the top as we said. Also, the copy is really clear. It’s really direct. I also just love this is really aspirational. It’s very direct in the sense, you’re going to love our new show period. Your brand voice may not be as fun as theirs but the same, you know, sort of structure and best practices can still be implemented and translated over. Also, again, attention-grabbing call to action, watch episode one. It’s direct, it’s telling me to do something.

So how they’d do? So they sent this out and this mailing went to a larger group. By and large, though, over 5000 people clicked to see that mailing. Also, if you look over to the left-hand side of your screen, you can see where people are opening the email. For them, it’s like a 50/50 split of desktop and mobile. But I mean, we’ve got a pretty significant mobile audience. And again, like we said, video is really easy and fun to interact with on those mobile devices. And they get that and they always, you know, take that into account. So scrolling down in the mailing, though, the text link got very little interaction. First We Feast and the button actually went to the same place. Hardly anyone clicked that text link.

So this is where I get on my soapbox about how effective buttons are. Buttons are so much easier to tap on a mobile device. If you think about how you interact with content on your phone, a button is going to be the sort of one-way ticket. People cannot interact with text links as well as they can a button. However, if you are gonna include text links, absolutely give people multiple options. Everybody’s different. Some people did click the text link, just make sure that your font size is big enough so that I can still interact with it on a mobile device. And we recommend somewhere between 14 to 16 sort of pixels. Most email clients, you would just select the number 14 or 16. A great thing also is to send a test to yourself. If you can’t touch it, if you can’t click it, neither can your audience member. So you’ve got a phone, just, you know, some of these tips. It’s kind of a no-brainer, you know, think about your own interaction with this.

And so, when I click through to sort of end it all, it looks really great. And to sort of wrap it up, this actually took me to YouTube. It didn’t even take me to their website. And this is a great reminder also. When you’re tying all of these pieces together if you do have a video and you’re hosting it on YouTube, YouTube’s automatically mobile optimized. You can’t lose, you know it’s going to look good on my phone. People also probably have a YouTube app. It’s really easy. If your YouTube page doesn’t order and it’s easy for me to do what you want me to do if all you want to do is engage with this video and share it, link out to that. If you are going to take me back to your site, just make sure that the experience is just as good, just as good there.

So, love Dogfish Head, can’t say enough things, sign up for their emails and watch their very fun videos. Also, I think I mentioned we all freaked out when we saw this because we love them. And we love Mario Batali and they’re together and it’s really fun. So that being said, we are now going to open it up or I’m gonna open it up for questions. And I can tell we had lots and lots coming through. Let’s look here. So first I’m gonna take a sip of water so I can do this. That’s refreshing.

Okay. So, oh my gosh, I love this question. And this comes from let’s see, let’s see. This comes from Suzanne. And Suzanne asks, “What’s the most interesting subject line that you’ve read?” We actually had a ton of questions come in about subject lines. I know we covered a lot about them. If you do have a really specific question, we’re still taking some and we do have some time today to get to those. But the most interesting subject line, you know, again, subject lines should be direct, they should be this or that. They can be personal. Sometimes though, just the tone and the language of what you use can be super compelling. And so I’m on a list for a brand called Boot Prints and they do I think they, you know, it’s funny. Let me look up what they do exactly. Their tagline is inspiring weekends everywhere.

And one of my favorite things is that they send emails about, you know, where you can go check out wilderness basically. It’s really content marketing for like sort of outdoorsy people. I’m not super outdoorsy. I at some point, sort of signed up for this list. And to be honest with you, I’m not really their target audience but I am so delighted by their subject lines consistently that I’ve stayed on it. And we’ve actually featured them on our blog because what they send is they write content that’s really straightforward. The email for the subject line that I’m gonna reveal here in a second was the main headline was three awesome backcountry cabins. It’s just the straightforward forward article about cabins that you can stay in.

The subject line of the email though was three great places for ax murderers. And I saw that and I, you know, I was like, is this a mistake? What’s happening here? I also kind of have a fun sense of humor. It was just so compelling and I opened the emails, like what is going on here? What are they talking about? And then I saw they were just trying to get my attention because these cabins are in the backwoods. And then I noticed as I stayed on their list or I searched my inbox rather and found that I hadn’t opened a few emails from them. But when I looked it wasn’t a mistake. All of their subject lines are awesome. You know, I’m trying to find another one.

Let’s see, crowdfund your vacation. Let’s look here. There’s lots of good ones. I encourage you to sign up, but I really love that subject line because it was so kind of incongruent with the tone of the content and the straightforwardness of it. But it definitely got my attention and now I know are they operate on kind of two levels. They’re funny but they’re also really, you know, just providing great content that’s interesting. And so, I would not have done that otherwise. So that’s the most interesting one that I’ve ever read. And I love it.

Another question that we have here. What kind of schedule do you recommend for the welcome email series? Do three to four emails happen once a week, faster? And that comes from Joel, and that’s a great question and I didn’t touch on that. So that cadence of that welcome series, I mean, first and foremost, an email number one should be immediate. So I give you my email, I’m expecting that, you know, don’t send it to me 10 hours later. Like I often sign up for things and then go directly to my inbox. You can get creative with sort of the next ones. And I would encourage you that’s…we didn’t really talk a ton about A/B testing. In some other presentations, I talk about that a little bit more.

The cadence of that welcome series, when you first started or if you haven’t done it yet, you may not know. I typically, you know, sort of encourage or we sort of encourage every maybe two to four days at first if you maybe are…you know, you don’t want me to forget that I signed up for something. But you also don’t want to send it to me every single day, unless you’ve set the expectation. So I’ve seen this too, it’s okay to send it once a day or make the series longer, honestly, if you have enough content. But you definitely want to give me a heads up that that’s about to happen. And so to kind of take it back to what we talked about throughout the presentation, this is like a relationship basically, you know, not to scare anyone or give anyone cold feet, but really we are mimicking relationships that we’re having.

And so if you are not setting the right expectations, if you’re bugging me, you’re sending things, you know, every hour and I’m not expecting that, I’m gonna be turned off. But if you, you know, start out and you say, hey, over the next seven days, you’re going to get seven pieces of blank or seven strategic, you know, x, y, and z’s, then it’s okay to do that. Otherwise, I would suggest space it out a few days. If you’re feeling that the engagement is significantly, you know, sort of dropping off, you can look at the content. You can look at the cadence, look at the timing, those are all things to test. Because you definitely don’t want people to become disengaged and not kind of make it to that third or fourth touch when you might have a stronger call to action. So I hope that was helpful. That’s again, there’s no silver bullet. There’s no, you know, right or wrong answer. But if it is gonna be an everyday kind of occurrence or a long series, let me know that that’s happening. Let’s look.

Ah, this is a great question. And this comes from Katra. Do you have any advice for university marketers? What should we be doing differently? The best… I love it when people ask vertical specific questions when it comes to content of this nature because so many aspects of what we are talking about are truly applicable. It doesn’t matter if you are B2B, B2C, you work in the university space if you are a nonprofit. And in fact, as a university, depending on what department you work in, and we actually work with a ton of universities here at Emma, depending on the department, your goals could be so vastly different. For instance, the annual giving fund at a university is going to have sort of different goals and calls to action. It’s going to be much more akin to maybe a retail email or nonprofit email where you’re asking for donations or that sort of thing.

Whereas the sort of admissions group, maybe sending more, you know, straightforward information to students. I think at the, you know, at the heart of all of this, it doesn’t matter if you again, work for B2B, B2C, these are really human reactions to email. Being successful with email marketing is recognizing that it is a hyper-personal channel and that it’s also a place where, again, really important conversations are already happening. It’s also really personal. People are super attached to providing their email addresses, especially if your brand is not necessarily requiring it. If someone’s just actively kind of out of curiosity or out of interest in your brand, giving you their email, not because they had to, it’s your sort of responsibility to treat that a certain way.

And to really communicate with people, again, directly make them feel valued. Don’t just try to sell them something in every email. You know, obviously, if you’re a B2B company, sending content that is helpful and not just hitting you over the head with, you know, by this now. Again, even Dogfish they want you to buy beer but they also want you to feel like they want you to be there first. They wanna say thanks and they wanna show you what they’re all about and sort of open the doors for asking for something. So I would say you know, people, your audience, it doesn’t matter who they are, they’re human beings. And if you lose sight of that as an email marketer, you’re missing the bigger, the broader point.

I will say Katra, we can in any university, we are actually doing a webinar on the 27th with the American Marketing Association, that will be geared to universities a little bit more. And we can maybe tweet that link out to you guys a little bit later and be sure to check it out. So let’s see here. All right, let’s see. I love this question. So this is from Chris, what is the best time to send an email? Which days, time of day? This question is very similar to the cadence question that Joel asked earlier about the welcome series. There is no right answer. I know that’s such a cop-out but every time we get this question, there’s no silver bullet, there’s no smoking gun.

I would say again, it’s about looking at your audience as people. It’s about assessing, who is your audience? And where are they most likely to be? Are you B2B brand that’s sending like Emma content about, you know, getting smarter about email, and we want you to read that? Most of the people that we are talking to are marketers, who are probably are at their desks, who probably are maybe not on their mobile devices as much as maybe a retail audience. We send a lot of email of course, during the business day. When you’re doing that we like to say a good place to start is, you know, Tuesday through Thursday, maybe anywhere from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. That’s a really safe sort of spot. Monday morning might be a little hectic. Friday afternoon I’m checked out, but that’s our audience. We also test it. We also switch it up. If all of our, you know, competitors and peers are sending email at 10:00 a.m, we don’t want to get lost in that shuffle. So we do mix it up and we might change, you know, the times that we send emails as well. So there’s that.

If you are, you know, let’s say like Bootprints in the travel or sort of leisure industry, you might actually perform better, you know, on the weekend, when I’m more likely to be taking time for myself and I, you know, I have a nine to five job, I’m your target market. I’m looking at Airbnb, I’m looking at Taos, New Mexico on a Sunday afternoon. If you send me content on a Sunday afternoon, it’s not going to get lost in my work inbox. It’s, you know, so it’s taking those kind of factors into account. And again, there’s no hard and fast rule. Depends on what you do, who you’re trying to reach. And if you’re sending emails and you feel like no one’s looking at them or engaging with them, the time of day might be a factor but it also might be that from name, it could be your subject line. So those are all factors to keep refreshing and keep mixing up because there’s no, again, there’s no silver bullet. It’s really looking at your audience as people and paying attention to the data that’s coming back. And all of those things in any any good ESP are really trackable. You guys are asking great questions. Let’s see here.

Okay, okay. Getting some good ones, getting some good ones. Katie asks image to text ratio, what’s the deal? I see a lot of emails come through that are made using mostly images and I thought that was a big no, no. So as we established in the webinar, not only is it not a no, no, it’s actually becoming the norm. However, just like with the last answer, you know your audience. As a general rule, most people they’re interacting with a higher frequency emails with images. Again, we’re learning more as we get smarter as marketers about human behavior and human interaction and get curious about that, and also start watching the data. All of these sort of image heavy emails, which obviously, you know, I always tell people retailers, we use a lot of retail examples because honestly, they are the ones that are usually ahead of the curve with email marketing because it’s so typically easy, I think, for them to play around. They usually have fun brands, they usually have, they obviously have something to sell. And obviously, with e-commerce being such a direct sort of relationship, there’s quicker wins that can happen. So naturally, they sort of rose to the forefront of kind of killing it with email, so to speak.

But they really set the stage for that and the thing is, you know, even if you’re not a retailer, they really raised the bar for everyone. And that is why you start seeing it. And what happened is people started actually interacting with it. And then what happened beyond that is that people started saying, well, why are people interacting with it? And then we land on the conclusion with, that’s just how our brains work. Our brains can process images. Like I said earlier, you know, over half of our brains are dedicated to just processing images. Your brain is going to innately see an image first, especially when I talked about the gifs and that kind of thing, moving images, and your brains going to be drawn to it.

And we actually have a whole host of content in our content hub that goes even deeper into how our brains interact with that. And we’ll actually be following up with you guys this week with a guide that actually even digs further into the psychology behind what makes people click. So that’s kind of an exciting bonus that you’ll get after the presentation. But yeah, I mean, the image to text ratio, obviously you should have some sort of text that lets me know. But I think we’re seeing image heavy, less text. And if you are going to have text, make sure that it’s meaningful, make sure that it’s actionable. Make sure that it supports the images and make sure that it’s readable because that’s a big deal. Like I mentioned earlier, the font size, or the typeface size for mobile, people aren’t reading on their mobile devices. They’re not reading your emails. They might read an article that you link out to from the email, but they are busy, they’re on the go, they’re clicking images. Images are also much easier usually to interact with on a mobile device. So that ratio really, I would say image heavy.

However, you know, and when it comes to like rendering and that kind of thing, most USPs are going to do everything that they can. I mean, for instance, we make sure that our emails are coded, you know, properly, the templates are kind of unbreakable, all that kind of stuff to try and make sure that we are on the up and up with those trends. And not trends rather but how email inboxes are receiving those images. So I mean, the reason you’re seeing it more frequently is that technology has caught up so that you really don’t need to worry about that. And you certainly don’t need to worry, saw some questions about will it go into a spam folder? And if you’re using an ESP, which is what Emma would be, and your emails are being either coded professionally by someone or you’re using templates that a service like Emma would provide, that are coded properly, that really starts to become less of an issue on the deliverability front and on people actually receiving it.

Your content actually matters more for, you know, that kind of stuff and people putting you in their priority inbox and all that good stuff, which is a whole other conversation. But yeah, I mean, again, image to text ratio, I would say go heavier on the images. Also, what you can do is you can put what’s called alternative text behind images so that in the event they don’t load, I still know that there’s images there and that I can make the choice to download them. And I can sort of mark you as someone that always sends me really beautiful emails.

So, great question. Thank you so much. You guys were wonderful. We’re out of time for the day. If you have any questions, send those in to us and we would happily answer them. And yeah, we’ll be in touch. We’ll be sending you some more information. We’re gonna send you the recording when we are done sort of packaging that all up. And yeah, thanks so much. Have a fantastic day and hope you have your best year of email ever.

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