November 17, 2020
In this webinar featuring our sister brand Campaign Monitor, we’re going on a deep dive of the 2020 Higher Ed Email Benchmarks, collected from hundreds of millions of emails from CM Group brands. Email experts from our team will explore what the numbers mean exactly and how they can help you improve your email strategy.
By attending, you’ll learn:
-The average industry open rates, click-to-open rates, and click-through rates for 2020
-Takeaways from these trends, including how the unpredictability of COVID-19 affected email engagement
-How to apply these numbers to your email design, content strategy, and 2021 goals
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Kaitlin Wernet: Thanks for joining us. This is our deep dive into the 2020 higher ed email benchmarks, our team alongside our team at our sister brand campaign monitor analyze hundreds of millions of emails to get these benchmarks for universities, colleges, and everyone in the higher ed industry.
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Kaitlin Wernet: This is presented by Emma, the email marketing platform loved by over 500 universities and colleges and our sister brand campaign monitor. We’re so excited to have you guys here.
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Kaitlin Wernet: They do such a great job of doing industry benchmark reports and we’re really excited that they helped us do this industry benchmark report.
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Kaitlin Wernet: So today I’m going to be joined by two of my peers, I’m Kaitlin Wernet, your host for today and content specialist for Emma.
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Kaitlin Wernet: And I’m excited to introduce you to Grace Miller, the content specialist for campaign monitor and Tylor Loposser. The art director for Emma, we’re going to dive into what we found. And what this really means for you.
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Kaitlin Wernet: So to give you kind of an overview of what we’re going to be covering today. First, we’re going to talk about the data, all of our findings, all of the stats.
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Kaitlin Wernet: And then we’re going to go into the takeaways overall for the higher education industry.
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Kaitlin Wernet: Finally, we’re going to jump into what all of this exactly means for your strategy. These can be a lot of numbers and a lot of overwhelmed, but we’re going to take that out of this process and really show you some things that you can do to improve your sentence today.
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Kaitlin Wernet: So first we’re going to jump right into what we found with the data and joining us today. We have grace Miller, she is an expert at finding all of this data and she also is a content specialist at Campaign monitor. Great. Thanks so much for joining us.
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gmiller: I’m glad to be here. Thanks for having me, Kaitlin.
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Kaitlin Wernet: Absolutely. So let’s just jump right in here we have our email benchmarks by year, and I think it’s worth noting that this is a really unique year that we are doing our first ever higher education industry report. Can you tell us kind of just big picture overview of what we found.
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gmiller: Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so as Kayla mentioned earlier, we looked at hundreds of millions of emails sent from Emma and campaign monitor within these calendar years so hiring usually sees pretty impressive metrics compared to just general industry averages.
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gmiller: And we definitely saw that stay true here. We saw incredible open rates and even click through rates and click to open rates to
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gmiller: Something I want to know. Just before we get started, is that just because you’re doing really well, doesn’t mean you can’t necessarily do better.
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gmiller: And this is a great opportunity when you have really high open rates like this to take a look at how people are engaging what they’re
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gmiller: really connecting with so that you can continue to do more of those things. And that way you can just really capture on those moments and, you know, hopefully, every year isn’t quite as
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gmiller: Intense as this year. So even though circumstances will change the lessons you learn this year will help you maintain that momentum and continue to connect with your audience. Even when things have, you know, hopefully, calm down.
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Kaitlin Wernet: There is
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Kaitlin Wernet: No shame in this game of our benchmarks. So whether your numbers as you’re comparing them or higher or lower. There’s something for everyone to learn here and I think I jumped ahead of you guys, is there something else that you were gonna say, yeah.
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gmiller: That’s okay. I’ll just
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gmiller: Go back to this. I was going to just say,
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gmiller: So when you look at these numbers, but keep in mind that the average open rate for all industries is 17.8% so you can see that in 2019 higher ed saw 23% and then in 2020 you saw a whopping 34%
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gmiller: Which is almost, you know, twice as much as a 17% that we see everywhere else, click through rate something similar. The average is 2.6% and you can see
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gmiller: Was 4% and 22 2020 was 6.8 so again drastically larger numbers there, click to open rate is 14.3 and we can see in 2019 17.2 and then 1920 this year.
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Kaitlin Wernet: That’s really exciting. I’m going to be honest I’m super pumped about this, but as a content person. I’m not totally familiar with all of these numbers and what they mean.
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Kaitlin Wernet: So I’m really glad that you’re here with us to kind of jump in a little bit deeper to talk about what this actually means for us and how we can add it to our strategy so
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Kaitlin Wernet: First up we’re going to break it down, talking about our open rate. And so that’s our total number of opens divided by the total number of delivered messages and we found the Higher Education average to be 34.3%. What does that mean grace.
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gmiller: Yeah. So as we see an open rate is opens divided by total delivered and obviously you put a lot of time and energy into these emails and you put only the most important information into it.
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gmiller: But none of that really helps your audience if they don’t open it to begin with. So these higher averages, we saw was 34.3% this year. So comparing that with 17.8. That means that a lot more of higher ed audiences are opening their emails from their organizations.
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Kaitlin Wernet: That’s incredible. And I know that something that we had talked about was
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Kaitlin Wernet: Kind of, we look at the big picture over overview of year over year, but also in a crazy year like 2020, it can be really helpful to break this down by month so I know that we’ve done that to. And so what does this say about the open rates in the month by month
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gmiller: So when you look at this, you can see that September, October, November, December of this past fall, we’re tracking pretty normally with the growth, you would expect to see year over year from higher end
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gmiller: However, then you jump into 2020 and we can see
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gmiller: Some pretty massive numbers. So, January, February, again, still tracking pretty normally and then March where here in the US, at least, is where we saw a pretty big outbreak of coven and that where
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gmiller: Is where it became pretty clear that things were going to have to change. So for universities, a lot of universities here didn’t go back after spring break.
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gmiller: And you can see that. Obviously, people were super interested in what their higher ed group had to say so.
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gmiller: We went from 27.2 to 39.6 is an increase of 12.4%. I mean, that’s a massive jump again compared to 1.8 that we were seeing and those proceeding months and even like a decrease in December. So 12% growth there.
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gmiller: As like things are really starting to happen. And you can see that that tracks still April, May, June, not quite as much and then July and August we see
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gmiller: Again, people are definitely hyper engaged as everyone’s trying to figure out what exactly is even happening with their universities right now.
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Kaitlin Wernet: Exactly. And I’m thinking that this is really helpful to look at the average open rates month by month but this is something that our universities and colleges that are watching can also do for their own metrics.
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Kaitlin Wernet: Kind of look at your open rates from sep tember to August during the academic year and see what those were like, see if they follow the same patterns is what we found. And if they do, then you can kind of
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Kaitlin Wernet: Take away the same things about what was happening in the world, or think about the sense that you are sending and
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Kaitlin Wernet: How that correlates with the engagement. And so that’s a really interesting way to kind of follow along here and see where
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Kaitlin Wernet: Your trends either follow the norm or maybe they’re different and something, you know, this is all about learning about your audience. This is not about just the overall industry. We know that
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Kaitlin Wernet: This is a really helpful guide, but that each university and college is different. And so this is all about learning about your people understanding what they want and learning what they’re going to engage with
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Kaitlin Wernet: So next we’re going to talk about the click through rate. And that’s a total of number of clicks divided by the total number of delivered messages and we found the higher ed average to be 6.8% grace. What does that mean,
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gmiller: Exactly. So again, click through rate, it means how many people are clicking. Out of all the emails that gets delivered
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gmiller: Obviously is a smaller number than you’ll see with some others just because makes a lot of sense. You don’t have a lot of people will open. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily going to click through.
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gmiller: However, the higher ed average for those click through rates are still exceptionally high 6.8 compared to 2.6, you know, a good reason for this is, again, there was a lot going on.
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gmiller: With universities. This year, and every higher ed organization had something important to say.
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gmiller: And this can reflect on how many people are actually connecting and going forward and trying to learn more on your website or trying to complete an action thats related to what the content is in that email.
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Kaitlin Wernet: Yeah, that’s super interesting. And I’m thinking about just all the wheels that might be turning
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Kaitlin Wernet: Of our audience of kind of what this means for them. I also wanted to remind them that
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Kaitlin Wernet: Our team is standing by to answer any questions that you might have. So if you’ve never joined us for a webinar. Before, just know that that chat box is your friends.
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Kaitlin Wernet: You can type any questions in there and our email experts are standing by to answer any of your questions. If we don’t get to them will respond to them and email.
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Kaitlin Wernet: But regardless, we’ll make sure that will respond to those. And so I’m just thinking that, you know, this is
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Kaitlin Wernet: Kind of some can be some overwhelming information, but it does not have to be so um, now that we’ve talked about the click through rate. Let’s look at what it looks like. Month by month
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Kaitlin Wernet: Grace. What do we have here. Yeah.
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gmiller: So you can see again a similar cyclical correlation between the increase and the jump and what’s going on in the world. So again, the fall semester was kind of tracking is normally we see like a point 1.8% growth.
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gmiller: And then, January, February, again, sticking with that.
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gmiller: And then March, we see a pretty big jump. And this is interesting because the click through rate stayed pretty consistent or the change in that click through rate versus open rates that jumped really big.
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gmiller: In March, but then had calmed down a little during the summer and whereas click through rate is a pretty consistently, it has even gotten to be
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gmiller: We’ve seen an even bigger jump in July and August. So for instance, you know, March, you can see a 6% and 2020 which was a 2% growth versus in July and August we see over 9% click through rate.
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gmiller: Again, July, and August we think about what’s going on with the higher ed. So people are trying to decide what’s going to happen. Are they going to come back.
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gmiller: What choices are they going to make for themselves. They want to know what their university is doing.
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gmiller: And you can see that reflected in the click through rate, there’s obviously a lot of information being disseminated that required clicking through and to learning, learning more on the websites.
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Kaitlin Wernet: I love thinking about all the information that this could tell us that this data is really telling a story of what happened over the semester. So even if you look at this, you can see
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Kaitlin Wernet: Oh, there was a spike at a certain point and that means either our audience was really looking for a specific answer to a question that they had
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Kaitlin Wernet: Or they were especially excited about an email that was sent out and we can see this kind of in peak times when things are really changing due to code 19. So we see that
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Kaitlin Wernet: When they’re wondering, our school is going to still be open and am I going to be learning virtually kind of what’s going to happen next. And so
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Kaitlin Wernet: It’s really interesting because we know as we’re sending those emails, what was happening, but it’s really cool to see the data reflect that back to us.
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Kaitlin Wernet: So next we’re going to talk about the click to open rates. And that’s the unique clicks divided by the unique opens and the higher ed average was 19.8%. What does that tell us grace.
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gmiller: Yeah. So again, remember I said earlier, the average industry was 14.3% so again pretty big jump here. Something to keep in mind when you think about
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gmiller: Click to open versus click through rates, click through rates looks at how many people click through, out of all of your emails.
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gmiller: Or as a click to open rate look specifically at okay who out of everyone who looked at your email.
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gmiller: How, how many of that group actually click through to your website, it gives you a good understanding of what within your email is motivating people to click through what within your actual email design is really resonating with your audience.
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Kaitlin Wernet: Yeah, I love that this can really tell it give us a checklist of things to improve in our next send or things to really keep watching. So let’s see what the story is with our month by month rates. What did we find here.
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gmiller: Yeah. So again, not just for not a surprise. At this point, but you’ll definitely see something similar, where
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gmiller: September through February of the school year, we see you know things tracking pretty normally with that year over year growth, whereas once you get to march, you see.
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gmiller: A decent jump and that maintains and stays consistent and continues to grow you into July and August. So for instance, whereas march was 15.2 April was 18 may was 21 June 22 July 26 and 24 so you can see how
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gmiller: This information was still really relevant to people. And now you can see that as people
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gmiller: Around the world are starting to realize just how significant that changes are going to be, as we can see in March and April. People are really engaging the people who
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gmiller: Are opening your emails are being motivated by what you have in your emails to click through to read more to take some action like perhaps you know
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gmiller: Respond to an email, what actions that people take an email is totally forgot momentarily, you know, reading more connecting with the right people.
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Kaitlin Wernet: That’s super helpful. Great. Thank you.
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Kaitlin Wernet: SO GREAT. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR going through all of this data. I feel like it’s given us a really good solid foundation to be able to kind of now be able to move on to the takeaways and see kind of what we saw in the industry as a whole and what that means for higher education.
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Kaitlin Wernet: So the first takeaway that we saw is that open rates really correlated with current events.
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Kaitlin Wernet: And we talked about this a little bit already just in seeing the different spikes that correlated with
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Kaitlin Wernet: events related to the pandemic. So we saw a big spike in March when things started to
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Kaitlin Wernet: Get a little bit crazy and unpredictable around spring break when a lot of schools were making big decisions about if they were going towards her into campus if they were doing.
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Kaitlin Wernet: Hybrid learning online learning. There were so many logistics to work out. And so much messaging to communicate.
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Kaitlin Wernet: And so as universities felt a real urgency to communicate these important logistics subscribers also felt the urgency to get their questions answered and to read those. So we really saw the open rates kind of follow that up and down of the unpredictability of the pandemic.
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Kaitlin Wernet: We also saw that click through rates saw 70% spikes. This year 70% spike is really huge. And so what we want to think about here is not just
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Kaitlin Wernet: The content that we’re sending with the people that were sending it to you and why was it so relevant to them. And why were they wanting to click through those emails so much
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Kaitlin Wernet: And this is something that we mentioned before, this is, you know, I don’t want to say the word unprecedented. But this is an unprecedented stat here. So if this is not remain the same. We don’t
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Kaitlin Wernet: Need to feel discouraged about that because this is truly an abnormal circumstance, but it can really help us in learning about
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Kaitlin Wernet: The strongest parts of our email what formatting or calls to action or content or imagery, our audience is really going to respond to
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Kaitlin Wernet: And since we have so many eyes on the content that we’re sending we can really learn more about them and use this to our advantage. So while our click through rates may not see a scene spike here.
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Kaitlin Wernet: It’s a really great opportunity for us. Second 20 learning about our audience in what they love
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Kaitlin Wernet: So we also said goodbye to the usual summer low, as you may expect
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Kaitlin Wernet: Students are really busy over the summer they are doing internships going on vacation. They’re working summer jobs.
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Kaitlin Wernet: They’re not really thinking about their classes and their university and what’s upcoming in the fall, because usually they know what to expect.
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Kaitlin Wernet: But this year, they really didn’t. And so while we usually see a law and sending and also open rates we didn’t see that this year because university is needed to send so many updates.
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Kaitlin Wernet: And students are really looking for that. And so they have a lot of questions that they’re looking to be answered. And so
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Kaitlin Wernet: While usually they would not be so attentive to their inbox over the summer because they know what’s going on this year. They were really standing by to get the answers that they were looking for.
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Kaitlin Wernet: And then we see that universities were not intimidated by inbox competition. So what that means here as and this is probably something that you experience in your own inbox was so many industries.
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Kaitlin Wernet: were experiencing the needs to email more with the a decreased or a loss of in person face to face communication with
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Kaitlin Wernet: Businesses shutting down because of the pandemic, they’re turning to these digital marketing tools that they have like email marketing.
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Kaitlin Wernet: And so while every industry was doing this in our inbox is we’re being flooded by statements and updates from all kinds of companies.
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Kaitlin Wernet: This didn’t really this competition did not intimidate universities. And that’s because
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Kaitlin Wernet: They were sending relevant content to their audience and their audience was really looking for those answers. And so we’ve said it again and again that kind of call and response was really key here.
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Kaitlin Wernet: But I think that that just shows us so much about. We shouldn’t just be sending things that are
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Kaitlin Wernet: Just for the sake of sending that we need to fulfill a need, whenever we send something. And so although all these other industries were sending
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Kaitlin Wernet: Emails University emails were still being opened because people really had their eyes peeled for them. And then we’re fulfilling a need. And so while we may not have been
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Kaitlin Wernet: Very attentive to something by a local restaurant or a gym that we don’t go to anymore if this the changes in this email really affected students, parents faculty
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Kaitlin Wernet: They were definitely opening them. So that means they’re sending really great relevant content and we’d like to give them a huge pat on the back for that.
00:19:58.560 –> 00:20:11.460
Kaitlin Wernet: So then we see the you know that the email is there for universities in tough times. And so that really means we have kind of talks about this pivot that so many industries had to make from in person events.
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Kaitlin Wernet: From face to face communication and meetings and admissions tours and student organization events.
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Kaitlin Wernet: That they had to pivot, all of these things very quickly digitally. And so email was really there for them. It really helps them to pivot.
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Kaitlin Wernet: All these experiences. And I think that it’s really important here because universities and colleges are so human and relationship focused and so
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Kaitlin Wernet: Email is really a way that through personalization segmentation. All of these really helpful tools, they were able to really keep that connection, rather than lose it without the FaceTime that we didn’t have
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Kaitlin Wernet: And so finally, you may be thinking, what does this mean about my goals for next year, all of the data was really skewed. This year was an abnormal year
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Kaitlin Wernet: What does that look like for my goals and
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Kaitlin Wernet: Really what I would like to advise here is to do a lot of testing and see continue learning about your audience. And so while you’re really high stats may not stay the same way, like we said, you’re getting so many eyes on your content.
00:21:15.570 –> 00:21:31.560
Kaitlin Wernet: And you want to keep you, you want to keep your readers engaged as they can. And so you want to really learn what they love and test different formatting CTS imagery, anything like that and really just kind of push yourself to see if you can
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Kaitlin Wernet: Maybe start a new initiative to respond to these Q and A’s or, um, I think that this is really deep into our relationship with our subscribers and so thinking about ways that even if over the next year, things change again. How can you really maintain these relationships via email.
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Kaitlin Wernet: And so now that we’ve talked about the trends and the numbers that we found, and then kind of the overall industry takeaways.
00:22:00.030 –> 00:22:04.260
Kaitlin Wernet: We’re going to talk about what this means for your strategy and I’m really excited to have Tyler
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Kaitlin Wernet: Emma’s art director and the genius behind all of our email design here to talk us through kind of some really practical tips that you can apply to your emails using this data, Tyler. Thanks so much for joining us.
00:22:17.310 –> 00:22:28.110
tloposser: Yeah, happy to be here. Caitlin that last point that you made about responses. A really great segue because that’s basically what design is it is just a response.
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tloposser: To the way that people are behaving. And so I’m really excited to share some tips and tricks today. So yeah, I think we can get right in to talking about open rates.
00:22:39.150 –> 00:22:47.400
Kaitlin Wernet: Absolutely. Let’s do it. So we want to kind of start with our benchmarks and so take your open rates. Your click through rates. Your click to open rates.
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Kaitlin Wernet: And think about the areas that you want to improve and we said before, this is not a pass or fail experience. There’s always something that you can be improving
00:22:56.340 –> 00:23:05.430
Kaitlin Wernet: So even if your statistics are pretty high, like the rest of these or they’re even exceeding them. Or maybe there’s a few areas that you know that you want to work on.
00:23:05.730 –> 00:23:20.310
Kaitlin Wernet: There’s always things that you can be learning and their real skill is are you sending messages that are relevant to your audience that they’re enjoying. So now, Tyler, we’re going to talk about if we’re looking to improve our open rates. What are some things that you would advise
00:23:20.760 –> 00:23:29.910
tloposser: Yeah. Well, typically conversations about open rates can focus on subject lines there are design, design strategies that can help us increase this metric
00:23:30.840 –> 00:23:40.170
tloposser: Let’s focus on this welcome series that I’ve created because these initial mailings have some of the highest open rates and are the best way to welcome a new member to your list.
00:23:40.680 –> 00:23:42.990
tloposser: We want to talk about the strategy portion of this
00:23:43.440 –> 00:23:55.200
tloposser: We can think about each mailing within this series sets expectations for the subscriber and helps them build stronger relationships with your brand and should also have a clear and concise objective.
00:23:55.680 –> 00:24:00.420
tloposser: For these examples here. We’ve created opportunities for the audience to take surveys
00:24:00.720 –> 00:24:13.050
tloposser: Define their preferences would tour options and see if they are looking for additional assistance, all while supporting the goal to understand this audience thoroughly and increase effective communication.
00:24:13.470 –> 00:24:20.550
tloposser: So what I’m saying is that you can use the actions that are taken in these emails to send your subscriber down the right path.
00:24:22.050 –> 00:24:22.350
00:24:22.380 –> 00:24:23.460
Kaitlin Wernet: Loving that I feel like
00:24:23.490 –> 00:24:24.330
Kaitlin Wernet: I’m sorry, go ahead.
00:24:25.410 –> 00:24:26.370
tloposser: No. Go on.
00:24:28.290 –> 00:24:33.720
Kaitlin Wernet: I love that because I’m welcome series is something that can really apply to every
00:24:34.260 –> 00:24:48.390
Kaitlin Wernet: Department. And so whether you’re in admissions or athletics or academics. This is a great way for if someone joins your list or applies to your university or makes a donation for the first time, or
00:24:49.050 –> 00:24:57.540
Kaitlin Wernet: purchases a season pass for you to really nurture that relationship and set the tone for your communications moving forward. Yes.
00:24:58.410 –> 00:25:08.760
tloposser: So if we want to talk about, you know, building the brand visually, you’ll want to use some of your strongest brand elements here. So thinking about your colors and logos.
00:25:10.080 –> 00:25:16.290
tloposser: That’s a really great place to get started, especially with schools, you know those tend to be really recognizable.
00:25:16.950 –> 00:25:28.680
tloposser: And these helps you increase resonance with your university or college. They also helped to establish the, who is this email coming from which paves the way to trustworthy communication.
00:25:29.160 –> 00:25:41.820
tloposser: When selecting the visuals that will go into these mailings really have a think about the path that the subscriber will take to get onto your subscribers list and use familiar imagery to help them recall their journey.
00:25:42.600 –> 00:25:55.860
tloposser: If we take a look at day one and four. You can keep the header layout similar in order to build some consistency with your audience. However, feel free to switch out that hero image to add a little bit of variety and interest.
00:25:56.700 –> 00:26:07.050
tloposser: But here on day eight I tried a different layout and this is a great way to test to see if that change Garner’s any new activities from your subscribers.
00:26:07.680 –> 00:26:19.950
tloposser: Now you may be wondering about cadence for this series. Turn to your audience for this, we found that anywhere from three to five mailings works best for any campaign and optimal times and dates can be tested into
00:26:21.180 –> 00:26:37.050
tloposser: In this scenario, our audience heavily leans towards mobile devices. So we kept the layout mostly to a single column, so that the email scales down properly another tip for those mobile readers. Keep the CTA buttons large to make them easily possible
00:26:38.100 –> 00:26:46.830
tloposser: While it’s not my expertise, I can offer some advice on deliver ability as keeping in good favor with your subscribers will always garner more open rates.
00:26:48.000 –> 00:26:55.740
tloposser: My advice is fundamental, maintain a good sender reputation with your audience by continuing to follow can spam regulations.
00:26:56.100 –> 00:27:04.860
tloposser: Additionally, give your audience a manager preference option so they can tell you what list. They want to be on and what content is relevant to them.
00:27:05.400 –> 00:27:16.920
tloposser: Plus, keep your emails concise and code efficient heavy or dense emails can make their way to the spam folders, allowing your subscribers to miss out on mailings altogether.
00:27:17.550 –> 00:27:33.840
tloposser: To wrap up while open rates metrics tend to focus on subject lines and pre header attacks. There are some design strategies that you can employ to build better relationships with your subscribers and make an irresistible email that people can’t wait to open
00:27:35.310 –> 00:27:40.380
Kaitlin Wernet: That’s really helpful. Tyler I loved your point about deliver ability because that’s something that we definitely want to focus on
00:27:40.680 –> 00:27:51.810
Kaitlin Wernet: And I think that these are all things that we can, if we don’t already have in our strategy we can kind of think long term to add them in add in a welcome series. Make sure that your can spam compliant compliance.
00:27:52.770 –> 00:28:06.660
Kaitlin Wernet: And make sure that your delivery ability is on point. And now we’re going to talk about kind of some things. If this is about your long term strategy. We’re going to think of kind of the smaller micro picture of things that we can add to our strategy today.
00:28:07.740 –> 00:28:17.490
Kaitlin Wernet: So some things are really remember like Tyler mentioned is for open rates subject line and pre header text really make the difference. And so the first thing that you want to think about
00:28:17.760 –> 00:28:22.440
Kaitlin Wernet: Is kind of what is the thesis of your email. What is the main point that you’re trying to convey
00:28:22.740 –> 00:28:33.360
Kaitlin Wernet: And you want to make sure that while your subject line is catchy and interesting that really the email is going to deliver on the promise that you make in the subject line. So it really would not make sense.
00:28:33.690 –> 00:28:42.420
Kaitlin Wernet: For you to say something like giveaway $500 and then open the email and it’s just a newsletter from your university.
00:28:42.870 –> 00:28:49.140
Kaitlin Wernet: And you can’t really make any false claims. I don’t think that any of you all are doing that. That’s a really extreme example, but
00:28:49.410 –> 00:29:04.080
Kaitlin Wernet: I think that we can get caught up in having really interesting catchy. I love a good pun subject line. But I think that if it deters away from kind of the point of the email and what you want your reader to gain from it, it may
00:29:04.560 –> 00:29:13.560
Kaitlin Wernet: persuade them to look keep looking in their emails and not open that one. And so here’s some subject lines that I really love first. This is an example from
00:29:14.280 –> 00:29:22.740
Kaitlin Wernet: A North state university that we’ve kind of dreamed up for our perfect email examples. And first we see news for the class of 2014
00:29:23.070 –> 00:29:34.290
Kaitlin Wernet: And I love this because it’s relevant, and it’s very personalized and so I know automatically that this is going to be something that’s relevant to me as long as long as I’m in the class of 2014
00:29:35.220 –> 00:29:43.440
Kaitlin Wernet: But it’s really helpful to know that this this content has been curated and so compared to something that just says
00:29:43.740 –> 00:29:53.490
Kaitlin Wernet: You know, November newsletter or something like that. This is a little bit more segmented and relevant and what you could even do with dynamic content is creates
00:29:53.940 –> 00:30:03.960
Kaitlin Wernet: The same newsletter format but change out different image or contact content blocks and subject lines for different classes so it doesn’t mean that you have to create
00:30:04.620 –> 00:30:17.220
Kaitlin Wernet: A new email for the class of 2014 and 15 and 16 and 17 but you can kind of use personalization to continue those relationships, without making a lot of more tasks on your to do list.
00:30:17.910 –> 00:30:24.270
Kaitlin Wernet: Then we have. It’s game time for Season Passes reserve your seats for the 2021 season. So here is really where
00:30:24.870 –> 00:30:29.070
Kaitlin Wernet: The subject line and pre header text really works together. And I think pre header text.
00:30:29.370 –> 00:30:37.260
Kaitlin Wernet: Is something that can be very easily overlooked because we think it’s not very important. It’s something that if we’re sending out an email last minute.
00:30:37.500 –> 00:30:47.490
Kaitlin Wernet: We think it doesn’t matter very much but it truly does. And it’s something that went works in partnership with your subject line and the content, it can really kind of be that bridge that kind of
00:30:48.720 –> 00:30:58.050
Kaitlin Wernet: Convinces your reader to open the email. And then finally we have. Thanks for your interest in su David and I just think back to
00:30:58.710 –> 00:31:10.560
Kaitlin Wernet: When I was applying to colleges or I was signing up for campus tours and how overwhelming and lonely that experience could be of trying to make really difficult decisions, wondering, wondering where I’m going to fit in.
00:31:11.250 –> 00:31:23.340
Kaitlin Wernet: Wondering, the best program for me. And so I think that here personalization is something that’s really going to make a difference to your potential students or donors or anyone else that you’re really trying to build a relationship with
00:31:24.090 –> 00:31:34.800
Kaitlin Wernet: Because I think that this really reflects back to me that they care about me as an individual. And that’s something again with dynamic content that you can do personalization really does make the difference and
00:31:35.220 –> 00:31:49.920
Kaitlin Wernet: I just think about how affirming and rewarding. It would be to sign up for something and then have someone immediately address me by my first name. It really does make the difference and make me feel a little bit more interested in learning more about a university.
00:31:52.020 –> 00:31:58.050
Kaitlin Wernet: So now let’s talk about our click through rates. What are some things that we can do to improve those
00:31:58.950 –> 00:32:05.370
tloposser: Yeah. Caitlin. So, you know, click through rates are way that we measure engagement and interactions within a single mailing
00:32:05.700 –> 00:32:19.650
tloposser: It’s important to remember that mailings or just vehicles that help motivate subscribers to other destinations and seeing on what and where people are taking action is a valuable for the process of creating a strategy.
00:32:20.610 –> 00:32:27.840
tloposser: I wanted to share two examples of how we can apply design techniques to promote more of these actions.
00:32:28.200 –> 00:32:40.680
tloposser: If we take a look at the example here on the left and then you’ll see that pop out and that’s where we’ve really taken some rather Mon mundane copy that, you know, we’ve kept all in black and
00:32:42.000 –> 00:32:51.300
tloposser: You know, a little long in the pop out shows us some examples of things that we can apply to make things a little bit more visually appealing.
00:32:51.930 –> 00:32:56.250
tloposser: If we start to look at that copy it starts off with a small
00:32:56.850 –> 00:33:12.030
tloposser: Bit of copy that lays above that headline. I like to call those labels and their function is that they allow subscribers to scam and find articles that are relevant to them. We know this is an action and email is skimming, so let’s make it easier for
00:33:12.960 –> 00:33:25.080
tloposser: These subscribers. If we take a look at the headlines. They’ve been made bold larger than all the other copy and we add a use of color here to make them more enticing
00:33:26.010 –> 00:33:41.460
tloposser: I would say keep these brief but engaging the body copy what I’ve done here is I’ve abbreviated it and I’ve add ellipses. And what this does is kind of create an air of mystery and it gives the reader, just a little bit of
00:33:41.970 –> 00:33:46.380
tloposser: You know that bite that will then cause them to click on that CTA
00:33:47.430 –> 00:33:57.480
tloposser: Also the hyperlink. So originally we use those sort of read more hyperlinks in the first one, but in this new example we’ve turned these into buttons.
00:33:58.230 –> 00:34:08.430
tloposser: These are extremely enticing and they make people want to, you know, engage with them. So that’s a couple of things that we’ve did on that example on the
00:34:08.940 –> 00:34:09.570
gmiller: Real quick.
00:34:09.720 –> 00:34:10.860
tloposser: Yeah, definitely.
00:34:11.430 –> 00:34:20.340
gmiller: Well, one thing I love about this, especially this on the left, is that how simple those changes are, you know, to create an email that has that pop out with the different colors.
00:34:20.670 –> 00:34:26.310
gmiller: And the clear hierarchy for people whose skin, you know, it really doesn’t take any more time.
00:34:26.580 –> 00:34:33.180
gmiller: than it would to create the email on the left, you know, it’s really simple, especially when you have an ESP like Emma or can’t be monitor
00:34:33.420 –> 00:34:43.590
gmiller: With a drag and drop builder. It really takes no you know talent or expertise to change those things, you know, when you already have your colors and things included in that
00:34:44.370 –> 00:34:54.900
gmiller: And I really appreciate that about these those. You don’t have to be an email design expert or anybody with any type of technical experience to make these really drastic changes.
00:34:55.860 –> 00:35:13.470
tloposser: Yes, Grace. No magic. One is needed to do this. So taking a lot of the mystery out of the things that we do as designers and just, yeah, sort of showing it and you know light gray said a lot of drag and drop editors, or email builders, make it really easy to implement these changes.
00:35:15.000 –> 00:35:22.860
tloposser: So if we want to talk about that example on the right, we can see how adding a couple more tips.
00:35:24.000 –> 00:35:36.780
tloposser: Here to increase engagement. So one of the first things that I did is I added that diagonal line that you see behind the t shirt. What this does is help to lead the I back and down to the
00:35:37.590 –> 00:35:50.850
tloposser: The copy area. Once again, you know, we’d like to always hit people with a great hero image, but we also need something that pulls their eyes downwards into that CTA. So that was sort of just a little trick there of
00:35:51.900 –> 00:36:02.970
tloposser: You know, pulling focus, again, you’ll see those hierarchy principles applied to the copy there, you know, just giving some variance in between headlines and labels and
00:36:03.360 –> 00:36:15.420
tloposser: Body copy just adding that visual interest, it becomes more engaging. It also is good for cognitive retention. So it helps people to remember these things that they’re actually seeing
00:36:16.920 –> 00:36:29.580
tloposser: I also wanted. I applied a technique here sort of pulling from an old printing term which is above the fold so we saw in that first example that the t shirt. We sort of saw a vision of all of the t shirt.
00:36:30.240 –> 00:36:46.080
tloposser: So at some point we have to make a decision about maybe where to crop that and bringing that copy further up. So if we think about this being viewed on a desktop, or even a mobile device. We’re just getting people to that content section a lot quicker by cropping that image.
00:36:47.370 –> 00:37:00.750
tloposser: So to wrap up while serving your audience content that is relevant to them is the only way to ensure increased engagement designers can help create experiences that make those choices easier and more convenient.
00:37:02.310 –> 00:37:15.240
Kaitlin Wernet: Tyler. This is amazing. I do have a quick question for you. It’s obvious that there’s so much thought and intentionality that’s gone into all of these decisions. Is there anything that you’ve done in these emails to enhance accessibility.
00:37:15.930 –> 00:37:27.300
tloposser: Yeah, I’m kind of what I said earlier about that that retention of cognitive retention is usually helped by those variances, but also we know
00:37:27.720 –> 00:37:37.440
tloposser: That being making sure that we are having proper color contrast in these emails is a really great way to make sure that these are usable by the most amount of people
00:37:38.340 –> 00:37:48.060
tloposser: We also use when we do make things a different color. We also apply maybe bold or larger copy to that.
00:37:48.480 –> 00:37:54.030
tloposser: That helps with visibility, but also color should never be a sole indicator that something
00:37:54.480 –> 00:38:04.440
tloposser: Is different just because some people don’t see color. The way that everyone else does. So, um, yes. Accessibility is always a first on our minds.
00:38:04.710 –> 00:38:14.130
tloposser: Also, you know, making sure that we use as much live text as possible so that these emails can be read by screen readers so that everyone gets the same experience.
00:38:14.790 –> 00:38:26.370
Kaitlin Wernet: That’s really helpful. I know that you know it’s something that all of us care about, but don’t always know the small rules like that that can really make a big difference. So thank you for sharing those. Sure.
00:38:26.880 –> 00:38:32.850
Kaitlin Wernet: Now we’re going to talk about what can we do to improve our click to open rates. Do you have any tips here.
00:38:33.390 –> 00:38:43.710
tloposser: Yeah, so I mean a lot of this is you know just more visual trickery. Um, but yeah, one of the most fail safe ways to increase your clicks is to put animation.
00:38:44.490 –> 00:38:52.650
tloposser: Or video into your mailings. In fact, there’s been it’s been shown to improve email conversion rates by 103%
00:38:53.460 –> 00:39:02.490
tloposser: So a tip when a video is a content piece for your mailing though, and this is more talking about the layout of it. Be sure that it is either the singular
00:39:03.150 –> 00:39:15.660
tloposser: Focus of the mailing or move it to the bottom of your mailing like you see an option one. And that’s just because of the functionality is that when someone opens this email. They’re going to want to watch that video.
00:39:17.040 –> 00:39:23.490
tloposser: But with support being the way it is right now for videos inside of an email. Typically, it’s going to take that person to
00:39:23.910 –> 00:39:30.240
tloposser: Another site a YouTube or Vimeo, something like that to actually watch that website or watch that video.
00:39:30.570 –> 00:39:39.930
tloposser: And when you do that, you know, you’re taking them away. And then you’re putting them in this pool of distraction. They’re typically going to keep clicking and go on to some other cat video or something like that.
00:39:40.140 –> 00:39:47.790
tloposser: And they sort of miss out on all of that other content that you may have had in that email for them. So that’s sort of a reason why to shifted to the bottom.
00:39:47.970 –> 00:39:54.630
tloposser: Just so that they read all the points you want them to read and then sort of be rewarded with that video at the end of it.
00:39:55.350 –> 00:39:57.810
tloposser: Because we certainly don’t want you spending tons of work.
00:39:58.590 –> 00:40:11.070
tloposser: You know, designing having a great strategy for an email and a person only sort of reads one thing and everything below that gets wasted. And so it’s just a way to sort of steer or make a direction for this audience.
00:40:12.030 –> 00:40:19.140
tloposser: I have shared a couple of examples on how you can use animated gifts in your mailings option one.
00:40:19.650 –> 00:40:26.130
tloposser: Is really just taking what would normally be, you know, a static image that has like a play button on top of it and just
00:40:26.700 –> 00:40:36.000
tloposser: You know, dropping these little sort of confetti bits on there and just once again just pulling focus to that video to that play button so that people really see it.
00:40:36.660 –> 00:40:44.730
tloposser: And the reason why we want to do this is because you know the while the support for embedding videos into email is lacking in the world of email clients.
00:40:45.210 –> 00:40:53.520
tloposser: The support and access to animated gifts is ever increasing. So it seems like a much more accessible way to accomplishment. This
00:40:54.180 –> 00:41:07.890
tloposser: If we take a look at option to this is just a really great way to motivate some fundraising showing that movable target or that that bar really just sort of that gets people engaged and interested in the process.
00:41:08.490 –> 00:41:18.990
tloposser: And you know the progress, I guess of your fundraising. So this is a really great way to do that and option three is, you know, more for just, you know, aesthetics, so
00:41:19.530 –> 00:41:33.510
tloposser: Really, it’s a great way to sort of wake up your audience a little bit more is to maybe add an animated GIF in that hero section really just so as soon as they open up this email, they’re going to start to see that movement.
00:41:34.590 –> 00:41:37.350
tloposser: And it’s going to be, you know, really rewarding for them.
00:41:39.030 –> 00:41:50.820
tloposser: Some overall things just to think about is, you know, to keep your animations simple and subtle as not to way down your mailing sort of what we talked about earlier about keeping your emails light so they end up in the inbox.
00:41:51.660 –> 00:42:01.800
tloposser: And if you’re not lucky enough to have a designer in your pocket. There are tons of free gift makers on the internet that you can utilize to get you closer to this goal.
00:42:03.120 –> 00:42:04.620
gmiller: Hey, Tyler I have another question.
00:42:04.800 –> 00:42:05.220
00:42:05.670 –> 00:42:20.400
gmiller: You talk a lot about pulling focus with the image and you know the diagonal line earlier and these gifts that we’re seeing here. Are there any other ways that people here, sending email can draw focus down to their CTA is
00:42:20.940 –> 00:42:26.880
tloposser: Definitely. So whenever we’re organizing content. I always speak about an inverted pyramid.
00:42:27.480 –> 00:42:37.650
tloposser: You know, really making sure that you sort of organize your content appropriately. So, you know, your best your most primary message should be at the top, and we should work our way downwards.
00:42:38.490 –> 00:42:51.930
tloposser: And as we go to a secondary or tertiary option we should think about how those images that we accompany with them or maybe sizes of fonts and styles and stuff like that. Start to also decrease or change to
00:42:52.680 –> 00:42:59.520
tloposser: There’s an old saying that if you emphasize everything you emphasize, nothing. So there definitely has to be some sort of visual
00:43:00.060 –> 00:43:04.650
tloposser: Sort of decline as we work our way down so we can think about it.
00:43:05.280 –> 00:43:13.350
tloposser: You know, if we just want to think about images. Right now, you know, the hero section is always a great place for photography, we find that people tend to engage
00:43:13.710 –> 00:43:21.930
tloposser: With other people that look like them a lot more they identify with those people. So we always like to see, you know, imagery in that hero section.
00:43:22.260 –> 00:43:31.470
tloposser: For secondary things we may think about illustrations or thumbnail images, you know, something that’s a little smaller. A little more abstract even
00:43:32.190 –> 00:43:40.410
tloposser: You know. So it pulls out a little bit so it’s not as detailed and then we could also think about you know iconography.
00:43:41.070 –> 00:43:45.930
tloposser: Or just anything that’s really symbolic to maybe touch on those tertiary items.
00:43:46.710 –> 00:44:01.350
tloposser: So you know it’s it’s really just almost about zooming out of abstraction, you know, having that first thing that’s super engaging and super clear so that you recognize it almost immediately, and then just as you work your way down feels free to become more abstract
00:44:02.130 –> 00:44:03.300
gmiller: Yeah, that’s great. Thank you.
00:44:05.280 –> 00:44:10.260
Kaitlin Wernet: Something else that I love about these emails is although there are gifts and
00:44:10.980 –> 00:44:19.410
Kaitlin Wernet: Imagery there’s still a lot of brand consistency. I think it’s really easy to get excited about a video or a gift.
00:44:19.770 –> 00:44:27.570
Kaitlin Wernet: And kind of maybe throw our brand standards out the window because we want to feature that thing. But I think that you’ve done a really great job of
00:44:27.750 –> 00:44:38.190
Kaitlin Wernet: Still showing that consistency and brand loyalty, because I think that’s so important, whether it’s for sports teams or just unity within a university or college
00:44:39.330 –> 00:44:46.560
Kaitlin Wernet: I think it’s, it seems like a small thing, but it actually really does help kind of unify the audience and the University
00:44:47.730 –> 00:44:55.590
tloposser: Yeah, and with universities and colleges, they tend to be one of the easiest because they do have such a strong relationship with color.
00:44:56.520 –> 00:45:04.200
tloposser: I think we all know that very well. And so being able to apply, you know, color, and these screens to like images.
00:45:04.710 –> 00:45:17.550
tloposser: Is a great way to sort of turn something that could be a generic image into, you know, your actual branded images. And also, like you said, build that consistency. Yeah, that’s a great tip.
00:45:17.790 –> 00:45:25.020
Kaitlin Wernet: So now let’s talk about more that we can do to improve our click to open rates. Is there anything else that you would recommend
00:45:25.560 –> 00:45:35.130
tloposser: Yeah. One of the last things I would recommend is I’m really starting to understand and utilize dynamic content. So this is another way to sort of
00:45:35.670 –> 00:45:50.550
tloposser: Raise your personalization game. So, you know, a lot of this is done with code using conditional formatting. So those if then statements you know if this person is in this segment, then they get this
00:45:51.180 –> 00:46:03.540
tloposser: Content. This is an efficient way to create a single mailing that has these interchangeable modules that send you know different or more relevant portions to different segments.
00:46:04.380 –> 00:46:14.850
tloposser: We know that relevant content increases actions within your mailings so coupling that with the design techniques that we’ve talked about earlier, mostly this hierarchy option here.
00:46:16.470 –> 00:46:21.180
tloposser: We learn that these pieces will inevitably get more clicks.
00:46:22.200 –> 00:46:30.870
tloposser: So a lot of your, you know, if you’re not if you’re not coding these images are coding these emails on your own, there are, you know, a lot of
00:46:31.440 –> 00:46:40.320
tloposser: Drag and drop editors, or email builders that do have these like HTML blocks in it, which will allow you to sort of install those if then statements.
00:46:41.100 –> 00:46:49.650
tloposser: But in the example here I’ve provided we see to the left, you know, this is just a general newsletter, with a little bit of stuff a little bit of
00:46:50.130 –> 00:47:03.420
tloposser: You know content for everybody, but if we start thinking about, you know, dynamic content, we could really just switch up that your news section to only send you know news that is relevant. So in this case,
00:47:03.720 –> 00:47:18.120
tloposser: You know, I just had two segments subscribers that are into sports and subscribers that are into arts and sciences. And so this allows us to sort of create those, those, those stories that are directly relevant to those subscribers.
00:47:20.160 –> 00:47:25.950
Kaitlin Wernet: I really like this because I think especially for a large campus. There’s so much going on.
00:47:26.310 –> 00:47:35.880
Kaitlin Wernet: And it would be easy to send a really long newsletter that has sections about sports and arts and sciences and everything else going on and current events.
00:47:36.180 –> 00:47:43.740
Kaitlin Wernet: But I think this choice really helps you to hone in on your audience and helps signal to them that you are sending relevant content to them.
00:47:44.610 –> 00:47:53.670
Kaitlin Wernet: So I think that this is a great opportunity to really like, like you said, reflects back to their audience what they look forward to. And these emails.
00:47:56.400 –> 00:48:09.870
Kaitlin Wernet: Guys that went by so fast. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you. Grace. Thank you. Tyler. This has been so much fun going over a higher ed benchmark report first ever for the university and colleges and
00:48:10.950 –> 00:48:19.560
Kaitlin Wernet: So thank you for joining us. And thank you to our sister brand campaign monitor. If you’d like more information about campaign monitor because it can be a monitor.com
00:48:19.830 –> 00:48:33.390
Kaitlin Wernet: Or more information about Emma. If you’d like to request a demo or just get more email marketing resources we have a lot for universities and colleges visit my emma.com thank you all so much for joining us. We’ll see you again soon.
00:48:34.140 –> 00:48:34.770
tloposser: Thank you.