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Emma + Really Good Emails:

The 2017 UnSpammy Awards



Sure, your email might be good… but is it REALLY good?

Our friends at Really Good Emails have made collecting and sharing the best email campaigns their business (literally), so they know a thing or two about what makes up a winning email design. Join them for the inaugural unveiling of their UnSpammy Awards, where they’ll:

  • • Show off the most-viewed (and most effective) email examples in their arsenal.

  • • Walk you through the ins and outs of sending slam dunk mailings in categories like: newsletters, promotions, product launches, retention campaigns, & more!

  • • Catch you up on the email design trends that matter now – plus what’s on the horizon.

Hashtag: #UnSpammy

Jamie: Hello, guys. Thank you so much for joining us for our presentation, the 2017 Unspammy Awards with my guests from I’m your host, Jamie Bradley and I’m a content marketing strategist here at Emma. And Emma, for those of you that might not know, is an email marketing service provider based in Nashville, Tennessee.

So, a little housekeeping before we get started, we, of course, will send a recording of today’s presentation out to all of you guys. So, if you need to hop off or you wanna share this content with a friend, we got you covered. Also, if you have a question during today’s presentation, feel free to type that directly into the GoToWebinar chat modal. We’re gonna be collecting those as we go, and then we’ll get to them at the end. So, you will be muted but your voice will be heard.

You can also tweet at us using the #unspammy. You see it spelt right there, at in the email or @reallygoodemail, singular not plural, really good email, and we’ll be watching that as well. So, who are these people who are with me? Who is Really Good Emails? Well, unfortunately, we don’t have Matthew Smith with us, but we are fortunate to have Sean Kennedy, Mike Nelson, and Matt Helbig with us. So, say hello, guys.

Matt: What’s up?

Sean: How’s it going, everyone?

Matt: What’s going on?

Jamie: Woo-hoo. And I’m very blessed to have Mike in the studio with me. So, we’ll share our webcams later. You’ll get to see that in action.

Mike: They brought me in just for the unveiling, everyone. So, this is pretty impressive.

Jamie: We did. This is a big deal. We flew him in. And so, a little bit about Really Good Emails. They were born out of a desire to see more transparency about best practices in high quality and email design, which is, kind of, lag behind its older sister web design. These guys set out to consistently collect and curate the best design emails on the planet, and that’s exactly what they do. So, if you go to, you can see hundreds, thousands of just amazing emails all categorized, you know, every, kind of, email you can possibly think of. And today, the Unspammy Awards are specifically, tell us a little bit more about that, Mike. What are we looking at today?

Mike: The Unspammy Awards is brought to you by Emma marketing. So, this is an idea that we had just to look at what the most popular emails were in 2016 that were on So, how we decided the awards were based on a couple of criteria, heavily weighed on views to that email. So, if you have time to go to the website, you wanna check things out, you’ll see that it’s, kind of, like a Masonic grid, similar to Pinterest. And if you click on one, we count that as a view. That shows that there’s a lot of interest. You wanna look at it a little bit more and more and you tell me to see the commentary on it. And so, we tallied up every single email that was submitted during 2016, and put them into buckets, and that’s what you get today.

Jamie: I love it. So, are you guys ready to unveil some Unspammy beautiful emails? Really good ones, in fact.

Sean: Yeah.

Mike: That’s right.

Jamie: Cool. So, our first category is, let’s go here.

Mike: One second.

Jamie: There you go, there you go.

Mike: There we go.

Jamie: Best newsletter. So, when a lot of people think about email marketing, this is, sort of, the classic email and almost every single email marketer’s arsenal. Gone are the days of simply, sort of, you know, translating your print newsletter to the digital realm, however. So, the people who are doing this the best, they’re doing a few things really, really well. And, you know, it’s not the early 2000s. And, you know, yeah, so we’re gonna look at who these people are. Who’s doing the best, kind of, newsletter according to the internet at large?

Mike: Yeah, the masses. So, the winner. Do we have like a drumroll?

Jamie: Oh, I wish you could. All right.

Mike: I guess it could pretty old after every single one. You guys just got what you get, all right? So, the first one is the winner of this award goes to Huckberry. This email was hella long, but it is really, really powerful with the imagery. So, let me jump over into the live view real quick and show you guys, oh, no.

Jamie: It’s okay.

Mike: No, no, no. We’re gonna go back here really quick. There’s technical difficulties. I think it…

Jamie: That’s all right, guys.

Mike: So, you guys there’s, kind of, previous other emails that made to the list. Don’t tell your friends yet. So, the far right side, you’ll see over here that there’s a, kind of…you just can see how long you have a bike. You’ve got some shoes. You’ve got a bag. You’ve got somebody working out with the shirt on. I mean, there’s so much to this email. But what they did with every single section is really tying the imagery of the text, the call the action buttons. They have links throughout. To me, I think it’s a little long but, you know, the internet voted.

Jamie: They did.

Sean: And, I mean, length doesn’t mean it’s a bad email or a good email. I mean, they understand the audience. People are shopping with them as a catalog. So, this is, kind of, like, getting your weekly catalog sent to you every day or every week. And so, I personally subscribed to Huckberry and I love their email, and I get it and actually, it’s one of the few that I will scroll through. So, they’re probably done testing, they do know it works. So, yeah.

Jamie: I love it.

Mike: Any more commentary from you, Matt?

Matt: All good. You guys are good. That’s it.

Mike: All right. All right. Next one up.

Jamie: All right. The winner.

Mike: This one was Litmus. This came second place.

Sean: Yeah, Litmus is a… They’re a big fan of us and we’re a big fan of them, and we love everything that they do. Their email, as Mike is showing here, that wasn’t confetti that was just spotted on the email. This is actually, I guess, CSS animations that they have built into your email to announce the big part of Litmus Live conference that they had last year. They’re always pushing the boundaries with their Litmus Live conferences. And this year, they did fireworks and their email is just…I love the stuff that they do from a design sense. They use their cards for pointing out different sections. They have different types of sections for big imagery that the bottom of different blog highlights.

They showcase their latest news. It’s a really good email in the sense that you can scan this. And this is, again, another email that I also personally subscribe to where I will actually scroll through it, but I can spend 5 seconds or 20 seconds and scroll through it and actually understand what they’re talking about and what the highlight points are, and then click through to read the content that is of interest. So, really good stuff. They’re always pushing the boundaries with new things and the fireworks here are the top notable thing about this one.

Mike: Yeah. I think this one got tons of hits just because people want or talking about the fireworks. I mean, this is really impressive because when you look on, we just take a screenshot. So, you don’t see the fireworks actually going off. So, this is a lot of, like, word of mouth, “Hey, you guys got to check out this email.”

Jamie: Absolutely. What I was gonna say too, you know, you guys just showed the Huckberry example and you just scrolled through this one, and we actually quote Justine Jordan, she’s, sort of the…what is she? The queen of Litmus.

Sean: Email queen.

Jamie: The email queen. And she’s the VP of Marketing, I believe, at Litmus, and she has a quote, “Embrace the scrolls.” So, you know, with mobile views being more than half of all opens nowadays, they definitely have done that and encouraged others too as well. So, I think that people aren’t scared. Look at that. That’s a long email.

Sean: Yeah, and I agree with that. I mean, embracing the scroll is one thing, but it’s also making sure that you’re not trying to put all the content in the email so that you’re scrolling because they need to read it. It’s scrolling because they wanna scan and find out what they wanna jump into.

Jamie: Totally.

Mike: All right. Third place.

Jamie: Who’s next?

Mike: Circles Co. zeroes map [SP].

Matt: Well, here we go. So, this is a really good event, sort of, email. It’s really just interesting email to look at. There’s, like, these none rectangular headers like those slices, those diagonal slices. And it brings your eye down to email once you, kind of, read more of it. It’s a bit image-heavy but it’s good balance of text, layout, and copy, kind of, throughout the entire email, and not all those sections that have copy our images, some of it is like light copy. It’s a little bit better practice than just, kind of, having a full sliced email. Two things I really like about it is, kind of, like, if you read the content of the email, it’s a giveaway email. So, there’s kind of an ask to go to Instagram, share this email with your friends. And it’s always an interesting thing when people, kind of, ask you to share email and then spread the word to a little bit more in it. And at the bottom, they have a social stare section to share tweets. It’s definitely like an interesting, lots of good call to actions, visually appealing.

Sean: Absolutely.

Mike: What I liked about this is just this section right here, between the purple and the pink, I’ve talked to some people, like, well, that’s so much space that you’re leaving out. But I think this ties in perfectly, like, this is okay to leave, you know, white space, blank space in your emails. People will still go down.

Sean: Yeah, white space can be done really, really well. And as Matt was saying, like, this is nice how they go on an angle so it actually makes their eye, kind of, follow it down and go through all the content. This email is very nice to look at. It’s very well-designed, very clear calls to action. But as what’s mentioned, I mean, one thing about this is that it is very image-heavy. It’s almost entirely images for the most part.

So, that is something to be aware of. We are not big fans of image only emails, and we’re gonna be definitely communicating that more as we go forth into 2017. So, for those of you out there, if you think about submitting emails to us that are image only, we are gonna be a lot more strict on the emails.

Mike: You have been warned.

Sean: You have been warned.

Jamie: Yeah. And this is a great time to note, again, please submit your questions. But we got lots of great question at registration, and specifically, some questions about that. So, when we get to that, I will cue that up first that you guys gonna be address, kind of, the pros and cons of, you know, images versus, you know, having a good mix of text and images and live text and all that good stuff, because there are some definite best practices there that we’d recommend as well. So, all right. What’s next?

Mike: Right. Next category.

Jamie: All right. So, welcome emails are one of our favorites here. This is a category really near and dear to our hearts here at Emma. You know, we work with tons of clients, onboard new people daily. And the very first thing that we always do when we bring someone one as we either evaluate the welcome that they’re sending, or we get them into some, sort of, conversation with the strategist here at Emma so that we can talk through how to leverage this really essential first automated touchpoint with new subscribers to your audience. There are actually stats out there that say, from chief marketer, this is a good one, welcome emails can increase long-term brand engagement by as much as 33%. So, just having that hello, that first little touch can actually get me to read subsequent emails and just have a stronger relationship with your brand.

Mike: It’s good stuff.

Jamie: Yeah. Oh, they also see a rather 50% open rate same also from chief marketer. I love the stat. That’s what I’m here for. So, what are they? Show us some good ones.

Mike: That’s really combined the Emma and Really Good Emails’ forces together.

Jamie: Yup. Now, show us those sexy emails.

Mike: Okay. You guys are ready for number one? This is the best welcome email by you guys, voted by you. Here we go. Number one, as it goes up. There we go.

Sean: There we go, Uber. So, we’ve got a number of their emails on our site. I actually really like what they do. They’ve got very clear calls to action, but for a welcome email, very nice messaging. It’s very friendly, going along with Uber’s brand, like, your free Uber ride is waiting. Download the app. They’re trying to get you to use the app and show you how easy it is to get started. So, this is a three-step imagery at the bottom there. And the one thing I do like about their welcoming of it also gauges your attention if Mike can cue it up there is that the image is actually an animated gift. So, it gives you a very good visual about how the app works, what you can do with it. And I find myself looking at this and you get sucked into how it works and wanting to download the app to try it myself, and then down below the three steps on how to use it. So, very good welcoming note. It educates somebody who may be new to Uber, how to get going and to use it.

Matt: So, I’m actually curious now that we have this pulled up, how this one breaks if those three coms actually stack or if they are…

Jamie: It’s a live test.

Matt: It’s a live test. Here we go. We will see. There they go, it’s back.

Jamie: Yeah. So, that is mobile optimization there. They have coded that.

Sean: And they hide the gif which is probably smart.

Mike: Yeah. Yeah, it is. So, yeah, it helps to load time, a couple other things. Sorry to be on the fly there…

Jamie: No, that’s fantastic.

Mike: …was so curious. All right.

Sean: Living on the edge, Mike. Living on the edge. I love it.

Mike: Cool. Yeah, I really like this one just for the layout alone. I think, you know, the black background is really, kind of, heavy which you don’t see that often. It makes the rest of it stand out some more.

Sean: Awesome.

Mike: All right. Next one. Aspiration.

Matt: I think this is me, yeah. So, as you said, yeah, welcome emails are definitely like an opportunity to show off your brand. It’s like the first time you’re talking to a customer when they join your service. And this one is a financial example. So it definitely stands out to us. There’s a lot of good, like, technical points in this email actually. So, the join now button has a really nice, kind of, drop shadow, which definitely, kind of, stands out. But the join now button is actually live text. So, it’s a bulletproof button yet it still has that, kind of, underlying drop shadow. And then, kind of, going down the end, while it does a really good job to, kind of, do that one, two, three shows progress, and the steps to signing up. Good outline to show, kind of, what is going on in it.

And then, one thing that we always see too is with these emails that are financial and [inaudible 00:14:49] that do, sort of, a tasteful legal section at the bottom. So, it’s a little hard to see on this, but even though there’s a lot of legal, they, kind of, bury it and, kind of, clicked towards the bottom. So, you can still see a lot from the email even though there’s all this legal copy with it that needs to be in it.

Mike: Yeah, I know. And that’s really good Matt. And I think one thing I’ve noticed when I’ve been through, like, Litmus Live or just chatting with people at different events is there is definitely a good hunger for financial emails. They aren’t notorious slicker. They’re notoriously not that great usually. So, seeing some good, good email examples in the financial industry is good to see. I know that we have a few on our site and I’m always on the lookout for companies like insurance and financials, and those industries that aren’t notably usually represented in our categories.

Jamie: And I wanna go back really quickly. Matt used the term Bulletproof Button, and I think that’s a great thing to point out to the audience. Would you mind elaborating just exactly what that means for those that might not know?

Matt: Sure, yeah. So, the join now button is built with CSS. So, it’s probably a lot of boarders and different styles. And that, kind of, allows that when a person gets an email with their images turned off. They still see that name big CTA. So, it’s, kind of, bulletproof as in you can still see its main call to action and probably understand a lot about what the email is about, even if you have your images turned off. It’s just absolutely the best practice that we try to do on a lot of the emails that we feature.

Sean: Yeah, and to elaborate, the term bulletproof just mostly comes from because there are so many email browsers out there, what works on Gmail and maybe Yahoo Mail, what will work in Outlook. So, you need to create a button that works in all browsers. And so that’s where making it bulletproof so that no matter what browser you throw at it, it will look like you want it to.

Mike: Coincidentally, we did a great thing about buttons last year. We did a lot of research on buttons. So, that’s somewhere in our resources that you might wanna go…

Matt: Nice plug, Mike. Nice plug.

Jamie: Yeah, good plug. We can maybe dig up that link and we’ll send you an email with it.

Mike: All right. Last one in this category, Headspace. I don’t know if anyone on the call has actually used it. I love it.

Jamie: It’s great

Mike: What makes this one really powerful is their illustrations. They’re very fun and funky. The colors are really whimsical. The branding is spot on. They give you a, kind of, about what you’re getting free first, and then you get into, you know, just a nice little like, “Hey, this is a good image. This is fun.” There’s, kind of, like, a theme for these, kind of, they give you steps. The prior to have, like, one, two, and three. This one has, like, bullet points, just easily scannable. It gives you links where you need to go if you do. You have this really big CTA start session one right up there at the top. It’s, like, that’s the first thing that’s gonna happen. If you keep scrolling, we can use more information. Or if you wanna use a different device, because most likely, you’re using a device already if you’ve been welcomed. You’ll have this other three. So, just some really good layout. I like the cards, the break here, and the colors.

Jamie: Yeah. And Headspace is a meditation app.

Mike: Yes, it is.

Sean: Okay. Good to clarify. Yeah. I think with all three of this, the design trend has been, yeah, big call to action that’s clear to get somebody to jump in. But they also include, as you mentioned, the next steps on what to expect when you click that. How do you get started from that point? So, for those who’s making welcome emails, they’re great to learn from, those who are doing it well.

Jamie: Yeah. All right. Moving on. Those are some great welcomes. But what happens if I’ve maybe fallen off. Maybe welcoming to me but emailing me, but I have just not been opening anything and clicking. So, our next category is all about win-back emails or reminder emails. It’s just basically a way to touch base with your audience and say, “Hey. We’re still here. We wanna get out in front of you.” And we notice with data and by using that, that you’re inactive. And I’ve got a stat. Hey, guys.

Listrak actually did a study and found that as much as 63% of your email list may be inactive. It’s an easy thing to see. Almost every ESP out there will have a date that someone joined. That’s a really easy way to, sort of, set up an automated reminder, or just, you know, periodically throughout the year, kind of, look at your audience and see, you know, who maybe hasn’t raised their hand or clicked something a while or opened in a while. And these emails that we’re about to look at, these reminders and win-back emails return path to the study. Guys, I love the study. And they found that 45% of recipients who actually receive win-back emails like this, even if they don’t open the win-back email itself like the ones we’re about to look at, they actually are more likely to read subsequent messages that you send.

So, it’s just a great way to really show someone that may be scanning through a credit inbox that your brand matters, that you paid attention and it can go a long way both consciously and subconsciously. So, fun facts. So, let’s look at some good ones.

Mike: I love your facts, Jamie.

Jamie: Yeah. That’s what I’m here for.

Mike: All right. Here we go. Number one, Fitbit.

Matt: Fitbit, yeah. I think this might be actually one of my favorite emails on our site. So, it’s a great example of pulling in a lot of dynamic customer data. So, you see you have your personalized total step count. You have all these different things. And this, kind of, end-of-a-year emails are a good tool to bring people back into using your app re-service, showing that you’re caring about these customers and you’re willing to give all these stats for them and showing them that you’re listening to them and they know what is important.

So, there’s a lot of really good points this email. One of them is this bottom, sort of, section with the moon. It’s, kind of, a product and content upselling at the bottom. So, they’re still leading with all these dynamic data points in getting you featured. This email is all about you and it’s personalized. But here are some extra stuff that you can show that we have in our site and want you to come back and look at that, sort of, stuff.

Sean: No, absolutely. I love Fitbit emails as well. And I think in 2017, I mean, if we’re looking at trends this year, you’re gonna see a lot of personalization start coming into the play. It’s definitely a hot topic that I’ve been noticing. So, seeing companies like Fitbit do that where the email is not just the same email they’re sending everybody. They’re sending it to you with your personal data. It makes it a lot more engaging for you when you do open it. So, if you’ve got the data, share it.

Mike: So, this is actually the email that I got. And so, when we go live, you’ll be like, “Oh, man, he hasn’t lost any weight.” It’s absolutely what I’m working for. But what I loved about this when I got this was that it not only showed me, like, this is how you’ve done through the year. But it also made me feel bad about myself because, like, compared to other Americans, I wasn’t as on the go. And so, that was another motivator to use Fitbit. It was like, “Well, if I’m not doing as great as everybody else, maybe I should pick it up a little bit. So, in the essence of this working, it worked phenomenally for me and it’s a good design.

Sean: Yeah. I think the other thing on design too is that I’m a big fan of emails that break out of just the square blocks. So, even though it’s just a little icon that sticks out from between the different sections, like the circular icon, it just helps give it a little bit of interest to guide your eye down to the following section. So, if you’re looking at designs, trying to stick away from just straight hard lines, maybe diagonal lines or little bits that come out.

Mike: Yeah, the blended colors really work out too because it breaks that content. And so, it make it, kind of, boring from section to section. All right. Ready for the next? Here we go.

Sean: Let’s do it.

Jamie: What is it?

Mike: Grammarly. So this is me.

Sean: That’s you.

Jamie: Tell us, Mike.

Mike: All right. This is another one I received. First of all, Grammarly’s illustrations are always awesome. They always bring in some cheeky text or branding into what they’ve done as well. So, you just unlocked the wrinkle in time badge meaning you haven’t been here for a while. And this is a big red go button. I think this is very, very simple that most people can copy, you know, good image, a little bit of text, and just a big, fat CTA, which is not typical a surrounded button. So, this is actually an image but, it gets you to really, like, push on that, and it says actually “push to continue,” just in case you don’t know what a red big button does. You have that there.

Jamie: It’s great.

Sean: Yeah, I love it.

Mike: Next one, Harry’s.

Sean: Harry’s, ah, good old Harry’s. So, this is a really nice email. And what is different with it versus the others is it’s a little bit more clean. It’s using white space very effectively. So, when you first opened it up, I mean, you should be able to see that it is a Harry’s email with the big logo, very clean content layout. A big fan for nice typography in emails. And sometimes, all you need is just really, really good typography, and that’s the route that Harry’s has gone with. Big product image and then a very clear call to action at the bottom.

Whether you get to the three column bit at the bottom to click into additional stuff, I mean, the meat of the email is, “Hey, you mean a lot to us to say thanks for offering H2 razors. Click this button to get them.” And there’s no noise. There’s no multiple call to actions that somebody needs to, kind of, fight through. And if you’ve read up or are trying to learn about how to make an email effective, I mean, the whole purpose of it is to try and only have one call to action. Every email has one focus, and I think this one does it really, really well.

Jamie: Totally.

Mike: Well, I think what’s really good about Harry’s actually, when we were doing the voting counting, they came up in multiple areas and multiple categories and just barely missed the mark, maybe to the fourth place or fifth place. So, if you go through the site and look at Harry’s, they’re just phenomenal imagery and photography, text, colors. They really hit the mark with almost every single email they send out.

Jamie: Agreed. And I was gonna say too, I’ve got a stat. So, white space like Sean was saying in design, you know, that literally, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the color white or I guess absence of color, but it really is just space around each element and to Sean’s point, it’s really easy to see the razor, to read that paragraph and adding an adequate amount of white space actually increases the comprehension of whatever you’re sending. So, when you have space around things, I mean, your brain likes that. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying razors or consulting services. It’s just a nice, sort of, user experience regardless, so really, really cool stuff.

Mike: And the paragraph here is broken up by an image which a lot of people put their image first and then, like, three paragraphs. And then, I just, kind of, like the layout with this one.

Jamie: Yeah. It’s very easy to say what they want you to do. It’s great.

Sean: Yeah. Absolutely, and I think it’s also just to add on to what Jamie was saying. I mean, with white space, a lot of marketers having trying cram as much as they can in emails. And it’s very much the opposite. If he wants me to pay attention to something, take away everything else and just put me to focus. And, yeah, I think that’s why this is so well.

Jamie: All right, guys. So, best promotion. We’re gonna move on. Exciting category. Here’s the deal. Email marketing. We’re not doing it for fun. It is fun. We’re trying to make some moolah, right? And email turns out as an incredibly powerful channel to do that. The Direct Marketing Association puts out numbers every year, as long as I’ve been working with email marketing which has been eight or nine years. I know, I know. They’re long in the tooth. The average ROI for email has been about doubled that of every other digital channel. Right now, it’s somewhere around $38 for every dollar spent. And that’s only if you do it well.

And obviously, we’ve looked at some great examples. So, that’s not just any old email. But if you follow some great design tips, you know, you make it so people can see and easily parse information, you make it personal and great, you do stand to win in the inbox and see some money. So, when you’re trying to promote something, that’s a very direct, sort of, fiduciary relationship. And so, these emails exemplify that. Oh, also, one more stat, MarketingSherpa found that a whopping 61% of consumers enjoy, literally said they enjoy it with glee receiving promotional emails weekly, and 28% would like emails to come even more frequently. People love promos. So, looks like its some good ones.

Mike: I think people like savings.

Jamie: And they like savings. I love saving. I’ll buy anything.

Mike: I love the added with glee in there.

Jamie: Mm-hmm. With glee, yep.

Mike: That’s how I had in my experiences.

Jamie: So, that’s a great promo. What are you looking at, Mike?

Mike: All right. So, the winner for this category is Apple. Apple, just their imagery, in general, is amazing. They really focused on displaying their products at different angles, or ways that it’s not just blah. They spent a lot of time figuring out how they’re gonna lay out that product, and then where text relates to that. You know, again, here’s your good hierarchy with the header with subjected text, and then you’ve got your call to action. And then if you go below, it’s like, “Oh, here are some other ideas from them.”

One thing about Apple is I don’t see a discount code. I don’t see a 35% off. I don’t see, you know, blowout sale, buy two get one free. Right here, this is a beautiful product. We control the market. We can do what we want. But no, it really just helps that, you know, they have a lot of branding which you don’t necessarily need to ask for those kinds of things. But in the promotional sense, this is a mother’s day promo. And they don’t even put in 30% off, 20% off, 10% off, 5% off, not even free tax. This is what it is.

Jamie: It’s a very competent mailing, and I say that without any sense of condescension or irony. I’m like, “Hey, all right, I will buy a tablet.”

Mike: I think anyone would be happy to get an iPad for their daughter or son.

Sean: I think Apple just…I think this was to them understanding their audience. I mean, Apple’s got a really, really royal fan base. When somebody owns an Apple product, they’re extremely loyal usually. And so, all they need is a reason to buy something more. So, “Hey, buy something for mom.” “Oh, that’s a great idea. I think I will.” That’s where they understand their marketing, know what works. Just out of curiosity, Mike, do we know if that top part with the big header is an image or is that actual text?

Mike: That’s one big image. Yeah. But they really gets you on that nice Z pattern below. It just, you know, moves your eye down.

Sean: I do like the Z pattern. I mean, shame that it’s all one a big image, but I do like the pattern and design that it went with.

Mike: Yeah. But, you know, people voted, so it’s not what we say, Sean. Well, people say.

Jamie: All right.

Mike: All right. Next one. Trunk Club.

Sean: Trunk Club, is this me or?

Mike: That’s you.

Jamie: It is.

Sean: This is me. All right. Let’s do it. So, Trunk Club, this one I’ve seen actually recently. We’ve been getting quite few emails around Trunk Club that have been coming in. So, this is a promotional email for you to try and find, I’m assuming it’s a suit, and to try and to become a member of their club. So, as soon as you open the email, I mean, you can see you’ve got some really big imagery, the big call to action that I immediately draw to or at least that my eyes draw to is the heading, the best way to get fit. Not sure if that really tells me what the email is, so I’d maybe scroll down to go through the email. But what I really like about this is as you get into the email, you can see it on the right-hand side, those four steps of how the whole process works.

And so, even if I’m new to Trunk Club, I know where to go, what to do, and how the whole process is gonna work. And I think that’s what makes this, you know, really successful is that even if you didn’t read all of the content, this short bits that are included in the email are very easy to skin and digest and understand what’s gonna happen. So, best way to get fit, become a Trunk Club member. Get some perks. Talks to you about when to do it, where to do it, and how to do it. And, yeah, then you get on. You get on with your day.

Mike: Yeah, I think if they just went straight into the numbers, this wouldn’t have been as impactful. I think this one example that I feel like text really helps just the break and the layout of this email.

Sean: Yeah, absolutely.

Mike: All right, number three. Next. Dan.

Matt: Yeah. So, actually, I think this one might have actually got presented at Litmus Live by Eric from that. So, he, kind of, talks about building these interactive emails. So, as you see, like, there’s all these different, kind of, things you can click on. As you click on them, it, kind of, gives more information about the product. So, he, kind of, talked about how this email did a really good job by, kind of, showing people how to use the email versus telling them.

So, as you notice you might click on these little buttons to, kind of, our gift and flash and make you wanna click them. So, these interactive emails, they’re not for everyone. They’re not for every brand. But if they make sense for your brand, they’re a really good way to engage with users, kind of, make that email experience a little bit more special.

Sean: Absolutely. And I think in 2017, we’re gonna start seeing a lot of interactive emails starting to come across. It’s definitely been a hot topic, I got talking with Eric at Litmus Live in San Francisco they put on last year, and just really interesting stuff that they’re working on. And to be able to see, like, the lines between email and website almost being blurred a little bit and how you could interact with them, and I mean, if anybody has been following the email, leading edge, the technology where you can almost build shopping carts in emails now. This whole interactive thing is really gonna be interesting to see how it pans out this year.

Mike: But if you want a buzz word leading edge.

Jamie: It’s true. And we recently, we did a webinar. We featured another email by Nest, and I love they do this, you know, sort of, this fun interacting emails, but they’re also really functional as you said. Sometimes they just simply mirror the image carousel, sort of, when you click an arrow and it goes through several images, and it, kind of, revolutionized putting that in email first, and I know it made code available. I think that’s really easy for designers, I am not a designer, to snag or so I’m told. Yeah, so it’s just really neat. They’re really leading the way in some awesome ways.

Mike: Yeah. It’s so fun because you don’t see this in email. You don’t get to play with the emails. This is another reason why I think, you know, I personally thought this one would take the cake, be number one. I just don’t really think a lot of enough people saw this or understood what it did from our site, which is a bad problem on our end if that we’re working on.

Jamie: Yeah, you’re sharing the good news now.

Matt: We’re working on it.

Jamie: Yeah. It’s an awesome email, though. All right. So, now…

Sean: For anybody who does not subscribe to Nest, whether you wanna buy their products or not, they just create inspiration.

Jamie: Yeah, absolutely. They’re doing some incredibly innovative things with email. All right. So, our final stretch before the Q&A. We looked at promotions, and now we’re looking at product launches. So, you know, whether you’re selling a consumer good or software like we are or B2B services, it doesn’t matter. Email can be, again, an incredibly powerful tool in your arsenal for spreading the word about really whatever it is that’s new and exciting in your brand’s world. And, you know, we’ve already, sort of, chatted through this potential returns and engagement of emails, so, really in this final stretch, we’re gonna look at three brands that completely blew the really good emails audience away and me with their innovative and really just downright beautiful approach to launching it for any new products.

Mike: Before we jump in this one though, I wanna say that I think this is a cool category because outside of your newsletter or outside of your welcome email, you have to get their attention again to introduce something new. So, this is really impactful other than we just threw in a new feature into your newsletter. This is a relaunch. This is in your face. So, we’re gonna jump into those. And number one.

Jamie: Who is it?

Mike: Envision.

Jamie: Ah, they’re good.

Mike: It’s you, Sean.

Jamie: Hello, Sean.

Sean: Sorry, I had my mic muted.

Jamie: That’s okay.

Sean: I just got some great stuff. All of their emails whether it’s their blog or their product launches are all really well designed, which you can’t blame them. I mean, they are a design company and building a design product. So, this email though, as you look at it is they’re launching their new product or their new style guide feature in their product. And the one thing that I think catches my eye the most in this email is actually the background image. So, it’s a very different thing that we haven’t really talked too much about in a lot of these emails, is that the email includes this background image that may not appear from all, but for those who it does appear for, is very different and grasps your attention right off the bat. And then, as you scroll through, you can see a product sample of it which has nice drop shadows, clear text with really nicely laid out typography, and then a big call to action to update your Craft account.

So overall, at the surface level, it looks like a really simple layout, but it’s actually got a lot of little intricate things that were thought of by Envision when designing it. It just help guide your eye and follow it through.

Mike: Yeah, they really break the mold of it being a 600 pixels wide, if no matter what your screen size is, this is gonna be a beautiful background.

Sean: Yeah. And, I mean, if you’re on a browser that doesn’t support the background, you’re still gonna get the full solid blue background which is gonna look great nonetheless anyway. So, for those who have a more modern browser, great, you’re gonna get that little extra pop to it. But for those who don’t, you’re still gonna have a really, really good experience where it might look a little bit more like the bottom with the call to action was just a solid blue but still very legible and very easy to look at.

Mike: Yeah, and I would’ve like is, you know, again, dark background color with white text. You don’t really necessarily see that that often. And so as a relauncher, a launch email, this is, kind of, more in your face, hell, I should probably pay attention to what’s going on here.

Sean: Yeah. We’ve seen that a bit in other emails too because as you’re scrolling through and get white backgrounds everywhere, then also with a bright blue background or white mellow background or something, it just really makes you stop for about a half a second to pay attention.

Jamie: All right. Next one up, Nike.

Matt: Yeah, Nike. This is almost more like a hype email than a launch email. On the CTA, I think it’s like notify me. So, this, kind of, went out right when Apple announced that they were gonna be collaborating with Nike. So, this is just a nice, punctual email to, kind of, send out, gets you excited about the product before it comes out. It, kind of, join the product in its full beauty. One of the good product images there. And like you said before, embrace the scroll, this email definitely is also longer… It has a pretty good mobile responsive view as well. It, kind of, moves that navigation to the bottom of the email. So, it, kind of features the product front and center on mobile, and just a pretty nice, good email. It has some callouts on the bottom to download their app. So, overall, nice, good hype email for sure.

Sean: Yeah. Big thing is, like, really, really nice product shots. I mean, they’re showing you the product in all different angles. If you’re looking at shopping for a new smartwatch, I mean, you wanna be able to see it by going to the store. But this gives you another good alternative just to be able to see it right from your inbox on different angles.

Mike: Yeah. I think a B2C viewpoint is, you know, the product speaks for itself. And so, that’s all they need. Now, some people on the call would be like, “Well, I have B2B. I sell paperweights and paper clips to people.” That’s not as sexy. But thinking a little outside of the boundaries here, I would love to actually see just a massive paper clip. I think that would be cool.

Jamie: Yeah. Show me your paper clip.

Mike: Yeah, that’s cool. So, anyways, and then the last one we’ve got on here. On. So, I love this email.

Jamie: This is my favorite. I know, I know.

Mike: Your favorite? You’re picking favorites now?

Jamie: I can’t help it.

Mike: Okay. So, what we’ve got here, I’m gonna just click into the live view because in all it’s glory.

Jamie: It’s neat.

Mike: So, there’s a lot of overlays. The shoe is over this beautiful background image. There’s text overlay. It’s a bulletproof button here. As you scroll down a little bit, you just have another experience, a little more call out, different type of layout two by two, which is different than a lot of people do. They’ll just do, like, one column or a Z pattern. On really went for this. Shop men’s, shop women’s, very clear which side is which. Again, going to some more products here, and then their general perks for shopping with them. But just the impact of opening this image or this email in your inbox with this beautiful, just edge to edge image is just, like, so powerful.

Sean: It’s very website-like.

Jamie: Yeah. Well, it’s so pretty. I’m just excited.

Sean: I wanna go where that guy is. That’s where I wanna go.

Mike: Again, great place for a paperclip.

Jamie: Right. I know. It’s immersive. You know, we actually many moons ago did a webinar that was all about brain science principles and UX principles, and it turns out that your brain loves wide open spaces. It actually makes you more likely to do stuff as, sort of, subconscious. Like, our caveman lizard brain is like, “Oh, I can see all around. I’m safe. I feel happy and content.” So it’s like, that guy is, like, standing on top of a mountain. I’m like, “I want that shoe. I feel great. I don’t even know why.” It’s so good.

Mike: I hope we see a tweet for caveman lizard brain…

Jamie: You heard it here first, guys. Well, actually, I think if you move the browser, doesn’t the background, it does some really cool stuff. Sorry, I’m, like, taken over. I didn’t mean to [inaudible 00:41:59] you.

Sean: Are we gonna live test this?

Mike: We’re gonna live test this one.

Jamie: I hope it works.

Mike: That’s it. I’m gonna move it.

Jamie: There we go.

Mike: Oh, that’s because the GoToWebinar things in this…

Jamie: There we go.

Mike: There you go. So, if we pull it in.

Jamie: Yeah. It’s like he moves with it, like, I think he, kind of, goes away at a certain point or did…

Mike: Yeah, so it’s like, kind of, fixed in the center.

Sean: How is this image…what’s the fallback for it if you weren’t able to see the background? out of curiosity? Do you know? Do we have a chance to look at that?

Mike: Since we didn’t get this in our email, and we didn’t do images off, so I’m…

Matt: I’m not sure about that.

Sean: If anybody does have this email in their inbox, I would love for to see what the fallback for it just because it is so multicolored in an actual full image. But nonetheless, very, very breathtaking to it.

Mike: There’s also this concept where the individual is looking at the product. You think that he is actually looking at the background, but his eyes just feel like, what’s he looking at? I should buy that.

Sean: Yeah. And jumping onto Jamie’s psychology there, I mean, your eyes are gonna focus to whatever the subject you’re looking at that’s looking at.

Jamie: Yeah. More caveman lizard brain.

Mike: Caveman lizard brain.

Jamie: You’ve got to look at each other’s faces to determine, you know, are we safe? Are you gonna hit me over the head with a club? Am I gonna buy these sneakers?

Mike: Lizard brains, brought to you by Emma.

Jamie: All right. So, enough of that. So, that’s it, guys. So, yay. Those were the 2017 first annual?

Mike: Twenty sixteen, sorry.

Jamie: Twenty sixteen.

Mike: Those are all last year’s.

Jamie: All last year’s. So, you still have time to make it for next year if you’re…well, actually tons of time this February.

Mike: You have the whole year almost.

Jamie: Yeah. But thank you guys so much for sharing it with us, and we’ve got lots of great questions. We’re gonna hop into that, and I actually think we’re going to share our cameras. So I’m gonna pop that on here.

Sean: Uh-oh. Close-up.

Jamie: Here we go. Hi, everyone. Here we go.

Sean: Let’s do it. Here we go.

Jamie: Make that bigger. Here we go. So, I’m Jamie. Mike, really good emails. We’ve got Sean and Matt, and we’re gonna hop into some questions. I hope you’re feeling…got your thinking caps on here. All right. So, first one, and actually we, sort of, touched on this earlier, but Tiffany who is live online today, why are you not for image-only image-heavy emails? It seems to go against everything that’s been messaged? Has this just been overdone? And I think you guys touched on some of the technical issues. It’s not necessarily the images are bad, right? It’s, sort of, the way the email is built. But what are all of your thoughts on that?

Sean: I’ll jump into this one. I mean, for emails when you’re building them, if you’re showing your email with all images and somebody opens it and say, “I’ll just pick on Outlook or Gmail.” But a lot of browsers do hide images by default. And so, when somebody opens up your email, they can’t see all those images. All they’re gonna see is the clip to show image links that sometimes show on Outlook, or if you have all-text, you should have all-text. They’ll see the all-text for the email. And if all the content of your email is built within those images, essentially, there’s gonna be nothing there for them to even preview before deciding whether they wanna show the images or not. And there is definitely some controversy where some people say, all image emails are not a bad thing. There’s a lot of people that are on the other side of the camp. I generally go one of the side of user experience.

If I open an email and technology fails me, can I still read that email, or can the users still read that email? And that’s just where you can see posts on ways to, if images are hidden style they’re all text. So, you can use colors, and you can use blocks, and you can use things to actually make it at least the image-free version of it or image-hidden version of it, appear still very presentable. But that is the big one is that image-blocking does really break emails for that first few.

Jamie: Sure.

Matt: And I think also just chime in real quick, like loading times, when email has so many images and some of them are super big size. It’s really gonna slow down how fast your email loads. So, definitely, it’s something to consider. A lot of the emails that we look at that are submitted to our site, we, kind of, still look at those images, weight sizes and make sure the email is gonna load fast, depending on your corrections.

Sean: Absolutely. I mean, with emails becoming a lot more mobile these days, that’s definitely something to be aware of. Mobile devices need to download all those images. Also with image bloat, I mean, if your image, I think it’s 102 kilobytes in size, Gmail will actually clip your image or your email so it won’t show the full email. So, you need to be aware of that. And, yeah, it’s just…images are great but they should [inaudible 00:46:48] with the content.

Mike: We like to go best practices.

Jamie: Yeah. I was gonna say I think you touched on it, you know, with the Huckberry example, you know, that’s a very specific use case. That’s really like we want them to shop with An the email. It’s mimicking a catalog. But then we saw a lot of really great examples that were just really focused, and I think as we segment more, as we, sort of, open up more data and know more about our audiences, I think you’re seeing people, sort of, go towards more, like, the short, sweet, simple, focused, kind of, format there. Cool. All right. More questions. Oh, my goodness. Molly had a question. Are all of the emails shared being sent by Emma? They’re not, so it is something to address. These are just the best emails out in the wild. So, you can, though. We did make sure everything you did see today you could do in Emma if you signed up. But, yeah, no. ESP agnostic, it’s just the best of the best.

Mike: Well, good thing about email is it’s Gmail-based, right? So, you can throw it into anybody.

Jamie: Any old system.

Sean: Preferably Emma, though.

Jamie: Thank you. I like Nest is my favorite.

Sean: That’s the maps. That is in the mail.

Jamie: Yeah, if I’m ranking, yeah. Okay. Oh, here’s a good one. And, you know, you guys, we have some customers that would fall under this, but, you know, in your experience, we do have a ton of non-profits that come to our webinars, so hello if you’re a nonprofit. So, Kylie just wants to know, who are some nonprofits out there that you think are doing really great email? Do you have any that come to mind?

Sean: Charity: Water.

Sean: I was just gonna say Charity: Water does really good stuff. Although, it’s important to note actually, a lot of their emails are very image-heavy which contradicts what we’ve been talking about.

Jamie: Know your audience.

Sean: You gotta know your audience, but the thing with Charity: Water is their imagery is just like Nat Geo quality, like top-level photography. And their emails have generally been really, really minimal text. They’re just bringing attention to a cause with imagery and then ask you to help. And it’s really, really effective. We’ve got a couple of them on our site if anybody wants to check those out. I’m trying to think of other charities and nonprofits.

Mike: You know what’s sad is though a lot of charities I’ve worked with in the past just don’t have in-house people to design these kind of things, or time to put these things together. They’re on a shoestring budget. And so, a lot of the things they send out are, you know, even plain text, which we’re cool with. Plain text works really, really well. I don’t know if there’s a question about plain text or rich text, but that can be just as powerful as a picture of somebody who needs your help.

Jamie: Totally. Absolutely. And we actually every year in December, it’s open to all, you can apply and get a Emma account for life. We limit it to 25 a year, but, you know, definitely, I think it’s a great point. And there are other great services out there that are, you know, affordable and you can do text only. It’s really just a, yeah, what you wanna say is clear. Clear call to action.

Sean: And I think with a lot of ESPs too, if you do mention that you are nonprofit or a charity, they do generally have discounts that you can apply for and get to help you out.

Jamie: Yeah, absolutely. Let’s see here. Oh, Jillian, this is a good one. Are there any new trends and subject lines because we just looked at the body of the email?

Mike: Yeah, yeah. We’ve done a lot of testing on this one, hi Sean.

Sean: I’ve been testing like crazy with our emails. Some of you may get our emails on Thursday night, Friday morning, Wednesday night. We’re always testing with stuff to clients and sending the which ones. For anybody, there’s no silver bullet. It’s just test with your own audience and you need to know what works. I’ve been testing with things just to give you guys a sense of using emojis in the subject line versus not using emojis. Using square brackets to really call out, like, a flag item. So, like, podcast in square brackets and then the subject to the podcast. Resource, download, things like that, I find those to be really, really effective.

Using things in subject lines, I was testing with summarizing the email with, like, three comma separated, like, topics versus just something funny and casual. I’ve been testing with length of the subject line versus, like, one, two, three-word subject lines. I haven’t really been able to put my finger on a pattern, because I think as long as an email says really good email, we’ve got a really loyal fan base that are pretty much open. The differences I’m seeing are very minimal, but I have seen with other people that I’ve worked with or other customers that sometimes, the slightest change will make a big difference. And so, you really do have to test with yourself. There’s not really a trend that is gonna be the be all and end all for everybody.

Matt: I think there is one anti-trend that we’ve seen sort of, and recently is the fake response. So, it has, kind of, read comma. We, kind of, want, yeah, that’s, like, one thing that if we get that in our submission box, we’re not gonna feature it.

Jamie: Ooh. Inside our show.

Matt: The fake response and the fake foreign is kind of one of those trends that we’d rather not see, because we don’t have no real reason to deceive your customers, kind of, just here’s your messages, the offer.

Sean: And just to clarify that, you’re talking with the subject line that starts with re: right? And then whatever the subject line, yeah.

Matt: Yeah.

Mike: So, two [inaudible 00:52:24] on this one, personalization has always helped us no matter what we’ve, so, you know, if we’re sending to Jamie, include Jamie’s name in that subject line. And we’re just, as a brand, we’re really lucky that we can say whatever we want. This is a recorded live recorded webcast so I’m kind of, filter myself a little bit.

Jamie: Yeah, watch your mouth. Family webinar.

Mike: I mean, we say stuff like, shake it like a Polaroid picture. Or, I mean, we just try to be, kind of, fun. Just know your audience, and that’s probably the best thing to go.

Jamie: Yeah. We did that… We have a conference in April.

Mike: Oh, do tell.

Jamie: Marketing United April 19th through the 21st. And we, you know, of course, we’re sending tons of commercial email. Email is a huge driver of ticket sales and interests and all that good stuff. And so, we’ve been doing a lot of testing. And we, sort of, stepped out of the box. And one of the biggest margins of a split test, sort of, a winning split test that we’ve ever had, like, typically, I think to Sean’s point, a lot of times it’s like a winning subject line will be 1%, 2%. It’s not a giant change, and I think this was under 10% but it was definitely a significant margin.

We had a pretty dry subject line that was announcing some speakers that were returning, and then we had the other subject line was they’re back, like, “Poltergeist” style. And that just everybody. You know, and you think about it it’s fun. We’re a fun brand. We have the same, sort of, luxury as some others. But again, yeah, to your point, it’s really knowing your audience. And not being afraid to test, subject lines are, you know, a vital, I think, component. I mean, it doesn’t matter how beautiful that is if nobody’s opening it.  All right. I think we have time for probably one more. I can do this whole day. You guys are, like, “We have to go back to work. Leave me alone”

Sean: We have to work. We have to make money.

Matt: We have jobs, yeah.

Jamie: I know. Giovanni. I’m gonna ask that because I like that name. Do you have any best practices around things like font size, header fonts, character counts? What are your thoughts there just in the body of the email? Like, there are some mobile best practices, but what do you guys think?

Sean: I think that this is getting actually segue nice from the previous conversation, is you got to know your audience. And so, for example, if your audience is an older demographic, you’re probably gonna wanna lean towards a bigger font, larger copy. I mean, in our email ourselves, I think our body font size is like 20 pixels. It’s a large size for standard email which normally is like 14 or 16.

As far as headings go, I mean, this is really gonna be your design sense and your designers helping you out, and, like, what’s gonna make the nicest flow, what’s gonna contrast? I think one of the typography aspects of people ignore a lot more than they really should is line height. And that is the spacing between lines in the paragraph first. And that’s different from the spacing that comes after the paragraph. And really breaking out the spacing of your text, so that it is a lot more legible and a lot easier to scan. Best practices though, that’s a tough one. That’s really just knowing your audience. I would say general rule of thumb, it’s trying to stick to a 16 point font if you can or bigger.

For headings, I would say probably 20 or larger. If you’re doing like a heading one style, probably bigger than 25, more like a 30. But it all comes down to your design and how that’s gonna work out. I mean, you can see in the examples that we’ve had. Some have had, like, 48 size fonts for their headings versus, [inaudible 00:56:02] we only have 20. There’s really no golden bullet there. So, it’s just understand your design, but definitely, I wouldn’t go usually below a 16 per body.

Jamie: Yeah. Agreed. I like it. And hand the mic.

Sean: And mic drop.

Jamie: Yeah, exactly. Well, we are out of time. I am so sad. This was super fun. I hope you guys out there in internet enjoyed it as well.

Sean: Next time we’ll all [crosstalk 00:56:35] in this video.

Mike: If you are in Nashville, hit up Emma. This place, this city is the shiz.

Matt: Just show up to their office.

Jamie: Yeah, just show up. I sit in the front sadly. I’m the person that sits in the front and it’s like the sandwich delivery man I’m like, “All right. It’s Caroline, oh well.” But yeah, no, but thank you so much to Mike, Matt, Sean, and Matthew who unfortunately couldn’t be with us today. But anything you guys wanna…any parting words, parting thoughts?

Sean: I’m checking this out. If you’re looking for an inspiration, I mean, we’re always updating our site and always putting inspiration. We definitely do want more submissions. So, if you do have emails out there that you like that you think we should feature, or maybe you filter them and you want our critique or you wanna see if it’s got what we think it takes to be a really good email, send it to us at, I believe it is.

Matt: Summit-email.

Sean: Summit-email, sorry. And yeah, come check us out or if you wanna tweet at us @reallygoodemail, no S on the end and, yeah, come say hi.

Jamie: Awesome. Cool. Well, bye, guys. Thank you so much.

Mike: Thanks.

Matt: Have a good one.

Jamie: Do this again.

Sean: We will.

Mike: See ya.

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