For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.






Join Jamie Bradley as she helps you get personal with smart segmentation, deliver immediate value with custom content, and craft experiences that everyone – from your CMO to your newest subscriber – will appreciate.

Hello everybody. Thanks for joining us today for our presentation, Let’s Get Personal: Crafting Truly Valuable Experiences with Email. I’m Jamie. And a little housekeeping before we get started. We will send a version of today’s webinar out to everyone who registered today. So if you need to hop off or you just wanna share it with a friend, you will get a recording. I promise. So we got you covered.

We will also have a Q&A at the end of today’s presentation. So if you have some burning questions, stick around for the entire thing. And we will cover those. You can type those into the chat modal, and we’ll be collecting those as we go. So don’t be shy. You can also tweet at us using the #let’s segment or tweet us @EMMAEMAIL, and we’ll be gathering questions and all kinds of stuff up there too.

So, to get started, as I said, I’m Jamie, and I’m a content marketing strategist at Emma. And that means really, I’m lucky enough to come in every day and hopefully help people like you guys send better emails with the content that we produce, and also help us here at Emma better emails ourselves because we’re always learning together and getting better. And that’s exactly what we’re here to chat about today.

Crafting a truly personal marketing strategy with email, you know, it starts with the fact that at the end of all those impressions happening in the digital space, there’s a person. And in order to cut through all the noise and browsers and social networks and beyond, you first gotta ask yourself a question that feels at once super basic and also really daunting. And that is what do people want?

It is a big broad question I know. But unless you live in complete and total isolation, you have to be aware of the wants, needs, desires, and expectations of the other people around you. And that’s just survival. In order to actually succeed, you have to not only be aware of all those expectations but you then have to find ways to meet or exceed them.

So, in the realm of marketing, luckily, there is tons of information out there both database and anecdotal floating around that we can look to help us start to identify at least what people may want when it comes to how they receive communications from you and your business. So first of all, they want value. I don’t mean discounts, though those do come into play, and we’ll look at that. But people expect brands to immediately declare themselves as an instrumental part of our daily lives that they can’t live without, which, again, sounds daunting.

And to be competitive as a modern marketer, you have to realize that people don’t just want value. They want an experience from your brand. So what do I mean by that? Well, in a recent study by Gartner, 64% of people said that customer experience is more important than price in their choice of a brand. And that experience, you know, it can take on a lot of forms in real life. But online, you’re tasked with replicating in-person interactions and delivering value, not just monetarily but practically and even emotionally.

While it’s probably not news to most you guys here on the line today, the story of brand can tell with content, often has a higher valuation of modern consumers than anything that you could have printed on a coupon. Of course, it’s not just that content helps people make final purchasing decisions. Content is also key in driving people to seek out your brand in the first place, 60% of people are inspired to seek a product after reading content about it.

Content is the pied piper of conversion town, so to speak. And the type of content that resonates most with people is it’s not shockingly content that feels like it was written especially for them. Content that brings that direct value and feels better to consumers is content that makes people feel like you’re not just blasting messages out into space and hoping something sticks, 82% of consumers say they feel more positive about a company after reading custom content.

So what do people want? They want experiences that also feel personal. And when it comes to value, a whopping 90% of people say the more targeted and personal a brand can get with their content, the more useful that brand becomes. And as a result, the more useful your brand becomes, the less expendable your brand is to these customers.

On the flip side of that though, 74% of consumers actually get downright annoyed when content appears that has nothing to do with them these days.  None of us want that. We don’t wanna annoy our customers. So not using custom content can actually have you leaving money on the table. In fact, leads who are nurtured with targeted content actually produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities. So in short, it doesn’t just make people feel better about your brand overall. It actually converts. So, altogether now, what do people want?

They want valuable personal experiences, and they want them whenever they want them. So today’s consumer is highly mobile. They’re not stuck at their computers all day. So the latest challenge is not only to deliver the right kind of content to the right people, but you have to do it in a way that’s ready to meet people exactly where they are. They want it all from a brand and they want it fast.

So here’s a fun story. It’s a little bit of a jump, but bear with me. So Mophie, the self-charging phone case, did a promotion at South by Southwest a year or two ago. Basically, if your phone was dying, you tweeted at them using the #Mophierescue, they would actually send a little St. Bernard out with a Mophie case and a little old-timey whiskey barrel around its neck. So if you charge your phone, now it’s in the most adorable way possible. How nice? I would have had every app open. I would have been draining that battery so I could hopefully meet that puppy.

So, anyway, what does this have to do with you guys? Obviously, this is not a sustainable business model. I’m not telling you to go hire a fleet of Saint Bernard’s. But the point is, this is memorable beyond just the fact that it was insanely adorable. If you think about it, this is a metaphor for exactly what’s happening in marketing today regardless of what you’re selling.

It’s answering that question of what people want. People want these hyper-personal old-timey one-to-one interactions, just like they had in the olden days. Just like the stranded hiker on the mountain, we long for a simpler time. We aren’t willing to wait for it. Our expectations have shifted. And you can’t use a hashtag necessarily to always just conjure exactly what you want if you’re a stranded hiker, but you kind of can today if you’re a modern consumer.

So if I like your brand, if I don’t like your brand, if I wanna learn more about you, if I have a great experience, if I have a bad experience, hello at the airport, if I wanna decide whether to buy or not to buy, I know all that information at my fingertips, and I have higher expectations of you and your brand than ever before. So we have arrived whether we like it or not.

And again, why are all these phones dying? Why did Mophie even do this when we never get off of them? I even think this number is a bit conservative. But people on average check their phones about 150 times a day. And it’s not just that we’re on them, being on our phones, it’s also how we start our day.

According to this same study by Google, 30% of people admit they actually get anxious when they don’t have their phones on them. And Millennials, the coveted millennial target audience, they’re on their phones more than anyone else. 87% actually agree with the statement that their smartphone never leaves their side day or night. It is on their pillow. They are waking up with it and going to bed with it.

But we’re not just playing on our phones. We’re not just looking at BuzzFeed. People are actually learning and researching on their phones. They’re not just playing games. But, of course, with that increased frequency and dependency on our mobile devices, they obviously impact how and why we purchase things. People are using them to access actual content.

But specifically, they’re accessing content that is influencing their buying behavior, whether they even know it or not. And the experience they’re having is directly influencing how they’re making decisions. So there is a ton of opportunity to make an impression, whether it be via ads, social media, your website, and on and on and on. All those impressions should be optimized for mobile devices. I was in Target the other day and on my phone researching streaming devices. And I ended up going with the one that was the best reviewed. So this is happening. I’m sure you all have a story like that.

However, one place where mobile and the consumer expectation intersect that you have tons of control over. You may not have control over how you’re being reviewed out there. But one place you have a ton of control is in the inbox. That level of control over timing, messaging, and mobile experiences, coupled with the fact that people have asked you to be in the space alongside some of their most important messages is why 71% of mobile purchasing decisions are most influenced by emails in our inboxes.

With email as a tool, you can deliver real value that is personalized, and it can happen in real time. It’s also probably why 66% of online consumers have made a purchase directly as a result of receiving an email. With email, you can catch me whether I’m at my desk or I’m standing in Target. Therefore, email is a big deal. In fact, checking email is actually the number one activity on the entire internet.

In second place at 82%, is using a search engine. So if it weren’t for Gmail’s existence, you could kind of proudly say as an email marketer that you’re beating Google. But alas, they’ve foiled us again. And I can’t go a second without mentioning mobile. Over half of all emails are open first on a mobile device.

So again, email and its power lies in being portable and giving you control. We are living in our inboxes and living on our phones as evidenced by all these numbers we’ve just looked at. And according to Custora, sales from email marketing generated more than sales on both desktops and tablets. And again, just being in the mobile inbox isn’t where the real money is though. You have to be strategic. You can’t just show up, though that’s a good start.

So, personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates. But if you’re not doing this or you feel like you’re behind here, it’s okay, because 70% of brands are reporting that they are failing to do this well. Again, showing up in the inbox, actually tailoring content, that is where we all could stand to win a little bit more. And if we do this, our ROI for email is and has been more than double that of any other digital channel. These numbers come to us from the Direct Marketing Association. And this has been true for as long as I’ve been working in email marketing, which is going on eight years.

So again, what do people want? They want value. They want a personal experience. They want it to look good on their phones. They want it 15 minutes after they wake up. They wanted 2 a.m. at the stoplight, though they should be careful. And that is your challenge. That is what you’re competing with. And email can give you that leg up if you do it right.

So, right now we’re gonna transition. We have made the case for personalizing emails. So what does a job well-done look like with email? Well, it is delivering the right message to the right people in your audience at the right time. So how do we do this? Well, they’re people. All those people, all those email addresses, they are not email addresses. They are not data points. 78% of top affirming marketers say that list segmentation is the one marketing automation feature that they can’t live without.

If you can start to put the people in your list into the right places in your world and actually start to pay attention to their behavior, then you can set up automated workflows. You can create one message with multiple audiences with dynamic content. And you can truly personalize the experience that I, Jamie Bradley, a really human being I’m having when I experienced your brand in my inbox and elsewhere to close a loop and get me closer to converting, which is what we’re all here to do.

And when it comes to segmenting and getting started on the right foot with targeted content, there are some really easy ways to do this, ways that often seem like no-brainers once we get into this section, but we’ll go fast. Don’t worry. Well, first, before you could ever email me, you have to have my email address. That sounds really basic, but you’d be surprised. Even if you already have a sizable list, you’ve got to consistently focus on the maintenance and growth of that list because the average list turns around 30% annually.

So, what you’re looking at here, these lightbox or pop-up forms, you see them everywhere. There’s probably not a website that you’ve been on where this hasn’t been served to you immediately or after a small time delay. It’s not just trendy because we’re all just jumping on a bandwagon. They’re popular because they actually work as with most things in marketing and digital marketing. According to conversion Excel, pop-ups don’t effects bounce rates, but they do effect subscription rates, and asking revisitors even if I come back to your site to subscribe again has no proven negative impact on getting me to part with my email address when I’m actually ready, which is a bonus.

And this one is from a brand called Catbird. And they’re doing a really ambitious job out of the gate of asking for a lot of information. But they’re only requiring the email address. However, as we’ll see here in a second, there’s more time to get closer to me. You can boldly just ask me for my email address. But long story short, these forms can increase your signups two to three times more effectively than just that static form that you used to have to rely on. So I give you my email address. Well, you need to say hello in all the right ways once I give you that, and you need to do it immediately. And it’s important because 74.4% of people expect to receive a welcome email when they subscribe.

And when we talk about segmenting, this is your first segment. When did I sign up? You have that data point about me if you only have my email address, and I am new to your world and you have a great responsibility and also a great opportunity as a brand to do some really awesome things in this space and with this opportunity. And if you do it, welcome notes can actually increase my long-term engagement with your brand by as much as 33% according to chief marketer, which is awesome.

The real magic is actually in a series, a well-crafted series of emails from welcome all the way to maybe getting me into a new segment. And the best part about this is that you can automate this process of kind of this extended hello. And it doesn’t allow you or it allows you not to have to ask too much upfront like the example we just saw.

So with really just three to four strategic touches, you can deliver snippets of value. You can also ask me for more information. You can observe my activity and engagement with this series. And this is probably why retailers specifically say that when they send a welcome series, they can actually see 13% more revenue from the folks that they’re just sending one email too. So, this is kind of neat.

Another table stake really in the personalized automated email game that is really truly customization of content is a birthday greeting. And these may seem really cute. And they can be it is also… I will let you guess the date in the comments, my birthday month. And I’m already getting these emails and no doubt will get a ton of them on my actual birthday. We talked about brand experiences, first and foremost, that makes me feel really great about your brand. Obviously, with retailers, this is a pretty simple thing to do. But really anyone can do this. And it’s something to test and play around with regardless of what you do.

Birthday emails can lift conversion rates by 60% over non-birthday emails with the same offer. And that wasn’t vertical specific. That comes to us from ClickZ. And it’s an easy segment that you can set up with a known date if you capture that information. So something to think about whether you are a B2B or B2C brand

You can also segment based on your perception of who I am. So this is a common checkmark and/or an easy thing to determine pretty quickly out of the gate based on maybe my first purchase or being what I click in that series. However, you have to be careful with messages like this. This one obviously is sort of segmenting based on whether they think that I am a man or a woman. And they handle this really, really well because really it’s based on purchase history.

Maybe I actually like the green shirt on this gentleman, which honestly, I do. It looks great. But you don’t know that they’re actually segmenting this way until you see these two examples side-by-side. So it’s not something saying, “Hey lady, so you like these yoga pants.” They’re doing this in a really subtle way. But it’s possibly going to influence my behavior. And again, it’s a really easy thing to gather very early on in our relationship.

And here’s an example that’s really brand specific on the flip side of that from Bob’s Red Mill. They at some point have gathered that these customers are either into full gluten as I would be or gluten-free, which for Bob’s Red Mill is going to be an important distinction. And just this little sort of tick during the welcome series or maybe during the signup process is going to allow them to send really tailored content that they never run the risk of alienating someone with, and they get my money. And again, this is just an easy piece of information they probably have on hand based on a first purchase and/or something that they just ask for upfront. And it can really pay off big-time. It’s very subtle.

Another piece of information you can glean really, really easily early on in the relationship is where I’m located. This is something you can ask for during a welcome series. This is something that you can also determine in many different ways. And this example is just sort of taking it a step further and providing a map for me and saying, “Hey, did you know that there’s a store nearby. So regardless of whether I engage with the email or not, they’re trying to get me to buy product.

And also Ballyhoo found, this is interesting, the custom calls to action that are based on geographical location. So if I click this email and I land on a site that carries through that message and still continues to talk about Nashville where I live, those can actually lead to 8 to 12 times more sales for people, especially in the B2C space, so super interesting there.

So when we got some of the easy stuff out of the way, people have been in your email ecosystem for a moment. You can start to dig a tad deeper and really take a look at my overall engagement once I’ve been in your world for a little bit. So here’s an example of kind of closing that loop and just thanking someone for their purchase in a timely manner, aka, immediately.

This email I received while I was still standing in the Polo factory outlet store stocking up on some work shirts. So there’s a secondary CTA also for the person, aka, me to join this mobile on the go app experience. So I love this example because email doesn’t live in a vacuum. And the experience that I’m having with your email in my inbox should be just as good if you’re sending me somewhere else, whether it be to an app or a landing page, whether I’m literally just standing right in a retail environment, or in any environment just experiencing your brand. So I love to point out. If I am, if this is happening and you’re sending me somewhere else online, make sure that it’s a good experience.

Kissmetrics claims that sometimes even as little as a one-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions on mobile devices. So make sure that all of your links are solid and make sure where I land if I am on the go and I am experiencing this in only a mobile environment that you’re really closing the loop and you’re creating some cohesion there.

Shifting gears a little bit, something else that you can do, and this is a great B2B example, is that you can actually create occasions to make me feel special anytime that feel totally custom but probably aren’t. These types of emails get a great response. Trello is a platform that we use here at Emma, and lots of you on the line probably do. And I use this product a ton, and they just sent this email that just made me feel great. So when we talked about that experience, they’re giving me something. They’re rewarding me for still being a user, but they’re kind of cheekily pointing out that I’m 1 in 10 million, which is just a really great, really unnecessary touch point that goes a long way. I’m still talking about it. And if I have been loyal and you can work that into a personalized message that truly is tailored to me, do it.

So in this email, I can automatically see how many points that I have from this hotel group. And messages like this are gonna make me more engaged.  It’s not just me. Again, the unicorn Millennials that we talked about, 49% of them say that they actually prefer to learn about their points via a simple notification. I think there’s some hilarious sort of idea that just because people are on their phones, the youngins, the majority of your workforce now, and your audience doesn’t wanna receive emails about these things. Don’t text it to us. Just tell us in an email.

And it’s important to point out my engagement with your brand as it is to point out my disengagement like you see here. In fact, according to a study by Salesforce, 63% of marketers surveyed said that when they send these reengagement style campaigns, they are very, very effective. They see returns. And you can always dangle special sort of incentive or discount in front of your disengaged subscribers, which is smart. And by doing this, you’ll not only see who’s still interested, but you may even generate some immediate conversions.

A study by Return Path found that 45% of recipients who received win-back emails like this one reads subsequent messages, meaning they increase overall engagement and bubble your brand up in consumers’ minds. And, in fact, I got a reengagement email from Return Path two days ago. So I need to add that to my library here.
And yet another…I like this one specifically because the preheader text, aka, that grey line of text if you’re on a mobile device that supplements in the inbox view underneath the subject line, they’re just sort of tying it all together. They’re also giving you a free shipping offer and they’re even just blatantly telling this segment. If you do not respond to this, you’re going to be removed. When you do this, you will lose quite a few subscribers. But you know that those people are actually engaged. So if you wanna boldly do that, it’s not unprecedented and you’ll end up with quality over quantity on that list.

And if I decide on my own that I wanna leave, you can still give your brand a fighting chance. And this is we stress saying hello in all the right ways earlier. You need to say goodbye as well it’s not better as a brand. And this is often overlooked. I can’t I tell you how many times that I have gone to opt out of something, I don’t receive some sort of landing page or experience like this that even attempts. In fact, I sometimes get six emails, automated emails that are hideous that are reminding me why I wanted to leave in the first place.

So, Michaels, the craft store, just absolutely nailed it with this. They kept me on their list. This language is fantastic. I didn’t know that I could simply get less emails from them. I also didn’t know that they were such amazing brand marketers. So, they opened my eyes. The number one cause of opt-outs, by the way, is almost always cited as “too many emails.” And I would go ahead and say it’s not too many emails in general. It’s too many emails that have nothing to do with me. That’s what we’re talking about today.

And just a word of caution. When I wanna opt out, if you can’t save me, make that process really clear and intuitive. This is an email from JCPenney that my friends does not remember opting into. He’s male. There’s women’s clothing. It’s calling him JCPenney’s rewards member. They don’t even know his name. It’s so impersonal. When he went to opt out, they made him call a phone number. He sat in a phone for 10 minutes. We don’t have time to even play that or show you what that was. The point being this was a bad opt-out experience. JCPenney is not a bad brand. They’re great. But this is not doing their brand any favors by doing this.

If I’m loyal to your brand, don’t make me feel like I wanna want to leave and don’t entrap me. By all means, make it really easy for me. There’s nothing wrong if I wanna leave. You can’t always control why I wanna stop receiving your email. It may not be have anything to do. It’s not you. It’s me but just make sure that I’m having a great experience with your brand and you’re seizing every opportunity in this inbox. So, outside of demographic and general engagement data, what else do you know about your email audience? What else do you need to know rather to…need to know about me to make this experience more valuable, useful, and memorable in the inbox and beyond?

So let’s look. Well, you can segment based on where I am in the buying process or in your buying cycle. And this is handled really beautifully here. The Dallas Symphony is simply sending out emails, just a reminder, letting you know obviously, they’re trying to sell some tickets. They don’t, however, leave off the people who already have tickets. They still go ahead and send a message to them, send this really great reminder that this awesome event is happening. But they tailor the message to students who already have tickets or to students that they wanna give a special offer to and to maybe some folks that are not over that hump yet.

Emails are an amazing asset in the ticket lifecycle. So if you are selling tickets to something, whether it be an event or anything of that nature, email can help you, as our friends at Eventbrite say, defeat the trough of death as sort of that lagging dip in sales immediately before and right when you first release ticket. So it’s a great reminder and segmentation is super helpful.

Also doing this, what they’ve also done really beautifully, 80% of people are only scanning the top half of your email if they open it. So make sure that if you are gonna go with a visual indicator that you’ve segmented, doing that in that top little above the fold sort of headline real estate is a great place to do it.

This message from Uber is also fantastic. It’s actually rewarding my loyalty in frequency, not just telling me my point, so not just telling me how many rides I have left and all that good stuff. And they’re giving me VIP status. They’re making me feel good. 70% of corporate execs agreed to some extent that the internet and consumer app companies like Uber are setting a new benchmark for customer experiences. And I point that out. I don’t necessarily think that someone from Uber is on the line today.

But I point that out because even if you don’t have the benefit of being them, this is who you’re competing for my attention with. If you are Johnny nonprofit and you don’t have a budget, you’re competing with brands like Uber that have a lot, you’re no longer just stacked up against your competitor. You’ve got to kind of stay on the forefront of what others are doing out there. And they’re doing a really great job of tying together customization and really that experience element.

And speaking of nonprofits, Travel Oregon, who’s a customer, does a really good job of this, probably not with Uber’s budget because they’re government funded organization. And with this example as side by side, all they’ve done is just a really slight tweak. They’ve added VIP language and segmented their audience by super engaged people that get this message first versus the general audience. So, it doesn’t have to be rocket science. You don’t even have to have the bandwidth to play around with a really advanced features, but just some simple segmentation and simple timing can really help you. And they do this also with their newsletter.

And one thing that people talk about a lot, and it comes up a lot when we do these webinars, is someone inevitably asked about newsletters. We like to say around here, the newsletter isn’t dead but it may be your T Rex as email marketers. It can’t do everything for your brand. That’s what this whole presentation is about. But if you are sending newsletters, be mindful of who’s getting them.

So what Travel Oregon’s doing is that they’re segmenting that newsletter and they have three different versions. They’re just really reordering the information based on what they think will be most important to these audiences. And this is a super easy thing to do, and any brand can do this. Who needs to give this information? When do they need it? And how can I organize this information to get the highest return? This is something that you can set up sort of the methodology of doing it on the front end and go with it. This is not a template that they have, and they run with it each month. It’s just swapping out the information. Just kind of getting started on this foot was half the battle.

It’s not just who I am. When we talk about companies, like remember Uber a second ago, Airbnb kills it in the inbox. So it’s not just who I am or what you think you know about me. It’s how I actually am engaging. So I got this email featuring Taos New Mexico. I had been looking up Taos New Mexico. And obviously, they serve that to me. I caught my eye in the subject line. I thought it was serendipity. I’m a marketer though. I know better. So it’s just really simple. It’s dynamic content based on my last interaction that I had with them.

And no-brainer, the last interaction that I had with your brand is usually a good indicator of what I’m interested in and what I might want next from your brand. And email is a really simple way to track that information and put it somewhere that has a big impact. Same thing, West Elm does this all the time. I looked at blue couches. Lo and behold, now I’m getting blue furniture every day. Too bad, I already made a purchase in person, but maybe they don’t know that yet.

Here is another cautionary tale. So we can’t let JCPenney just hang out to dry there again. I love you guys. But Triple-A, I really love you guys. You have helped me many a time. And, in fact, I got this email because, guess what, my last interaction with their brand was a dead battery. And so I get an email that’s addressing that. That’s addressing, don’t let a dead battery kill your plans, they’re saying my name in it. Wow, this is really tailored to my experience with their brand.

The problem is, and why I like to point this out, when we talked earlier, it’s about the right message to the right people at the right time. So I got this email I think about a month after my battery was dead. What is a dead battery do to your day? Well, it ruins it. And once you get that jump off from Triple-A, you’re driving by a new battery. That’s what I did. So getting an email a month later about a dead battery is really not helpful. Batteries also last about five years if you’re lucky. Unless I got a bad one.

So the reason I like to point this out this is they did a lot of things really, really great. This is a great email. But what could have been more helpful is that they know that I have a dead battery. They know that my car is about five years old. Oh, they also probably know, “Hey, these tires are about to go or she probably needs a tune-up. So they could have used that data on me to actually serve me. It’s a corresponding content that actually would have had a giant impact and probably made me go, “Whoa, oh, I need to figure that out. I need to go see if they’ve got some coupons for some new tires.” So again, just with a few tweaks with your strategy, you could make a huge impact and use some data points that are super meaningful to me. So again, I love Triple-A but I love to point this out.

So as we sort of head into this final stretch, I always like to kind of highlight a brand that does a lot of these elements really well, and puts it all together in a cohesive way that isn’t just one-off examples. And a customer of ours that kind of really does this well top to bottom and really effectively nails especially that initial engagement to leverage the customer lifecycle is Oxford American. So I’m not sure how familiar all of you are. I know you’re not all from the south like we are.

But Oxford American for the uninitiated is a quarterly arts and culture magazine focused on the southern region of the United States, Southwest, and they feature everything from music to the arts, tons of literary figures. There’s Barry Hannah, I think the world of them. And they are actually, and this is a print publication. And they do a really excellent job of translating a print experience to the digital space. And naturally, email plays a huge role for them.

So to dig into every aspect of what they do really well would take us a lot of time. But I wanna sort of just dip our toe in the water of what they do. So if you were to go to certain pages of and stay on those pages for longer than a moment, you’re going to see light boxes, plural. They have a goal of getting email and magazine subscribers because they’re actually a print publication. And they use forms for both call to action. So basically, this lightbox that you’re seeing here, this is on their homepage. If you fill it out, you’re just generally on sort of the homepage signup form.

They have light boxes on multiple pages of their site. So that’s kind of nice. And that’s pretty great. So the lesson is your lightbox is a great way to get me. This pop stuff immediately when I land here on the site, fill it out, whoo-hoo. So, because they’re star pupils, they do something with that information. I feel out the lightbox. I immediately get this thank-you email. So if I fill out one of these forms, I get thanks for signing up. This email I like to point out.  Again, like I said earlier, 80% of your audience is merely scanning. So this email does a really good job of kind of putting its best foot forward.

Right out of the gate, I see strong branding. It’s Oxford American. I’m familiar with this. I can just skim this and say thank you. Also, the only images in this email are pictures of past covers of the actual print magazine, so you have this a little well of content down here at the bottom. Our brains actually process images 60,000 times faster than text. So I may not be a big reader, I may not read every word of this fun fact rarely if ever is anyone reading every word of your email or articles, honestly for that matter if you produce content. I know that’s sad, but I gotta break it to you.

But what they are doing with this email is fantastic. I get the sentiment. It’s the most important thing, again, for that long-term brand engagement is that I’ve got it and that 74% of people are expected immediately. Awesome, they’re hitting that note. And I’m able to just skim. They’re giving me lots of opportunities to engage in a super basic way. They’re letting me know that I can subscribe. They’re letting me know that they’ve got a social presence. And boom, this email accomplishes everything they want.

So here’s a fun fact though. I, Jamie Bradley, did not get this email when I filled out a form on their website. I got this email. And why I point this out, this is my welcome note. I am actually an Oxford American reader. I am a subscriber. I have experiences with their magazine. There is an indicator because I filled out a form on a piece of their website that I can only access because of being said subscriber. They knew where I was coming from. They knew that they could take a wild guess that I was very familiar with their brand. As a result, I’m served content that is gonna feel a lot different. It is a little bit wordier.

As a print publication, you might even posit that maybe they think that I might actually be a reader in general. I might actually read things. So they’re taking a chance. Also, it’s written like a letter. This format, even if I’m just skimming, I don’t read every word of this, it feels more personal. It feels more targeted at me, which is nice.

Also down below they’ve sort of curated some top content that they think I might be interested in. And this is actually a huge benefit both to me as the new subscriber. They can highlight some stuff online. Maybe some of these are exclusive pieces of content that are online only. This is also a giant advantage to Oxford American, because guess what they can do with my interactions with this mailing. They can actually profile me in this process. If I click on this poetry article down here at the bottom, they might automatically when I click on that put me in a segment that says, “Jaime likes poetry.” If I also click on let’s say the Jason is well article. They might say, “Hey, she might like this type of music,” and so on and so forth.

So if you actually look at the articles that they pick, they have a pretty wide range of the types of content.  There’s fine art. There’s poetry. It’s just a really smart way to see what I might be interested in. If I don’t interact at all, then I still just sort of stay in this general segment. But it’s pretty fantastic, again, because here’s the deal, they have a product that is tangible. They can’t stand over my shoulder and see me dog-earing the page about the poem are ripping it out and pasting it on my wall. But they can see this in a digital space. Regardless of whether you’re a magazine or not, think about that experience. Regardless of your vertical, use that same idea with email to sort of find out what I might be doing when you’re not around in a physical realm.

And I’m showing this. This is actually what some of their segments look like in their audience. So I love to point this out as well. It’s kind of fun just to peek behind the curtain, if you will. So they’re segmenting based on purchase activity, dollar amount, some dates, and also some split tests that they’ve done, subscribe but not purchase, et cetera. Again, they’re not doing this for their health. A lot of their segments are based on whether or not I convert it or not basically. So that leads us into sort of our final little thing to look at here that I love to highlight.

So what you’re looking at here is an email that I received about Oxford Americans music issue. And what I like to point out with this is that this email was really honestly tasked with doing a big job for them. So, not everyone gets the music issue. It’s a quarterly really thick, if you’re a reader Vogue, I think the September issue, it’s a really thick special article or a sort of issue that comes with a limited edition CD, all this kind of stuff. It’s a big deal to their brand. And again, not everyone gets this. And so they’re really relying on this email to do some work for them.

I, because I’m a subscriber and I’m loyal, got this email asking me to pre-order the issue here. And I got this because, again, I’ve spent money with them. I’m engaged with their brand. Other people probably did not get this email. It’s a timing thing. It’s also that they want me to know, “Hey, it’s here and we want you to have a leg up on the competition.” And also, “Hey, this woman’s probably likely to buy something because we’ve gotten her money before.” About 24 hours after they sent this email, they have an integration with a partner of ours called Shopify, they’re able to immediately see that when they sent this, they got about 40…I’m sorry, $5,300 in revenue just from this one mailing.

Also fun thing, you know, if you look over, this is from their EMMA account. Their mobile audience for this was lower, and it’s kind of funny. Just because we say that 53 or 54% of people are opening your emails on a mobile device, at the end of the day, and kind of where I wanna leave this before we go into the Q&A, is that every audience is unique. This audience, maybe because when they sent it or a segment that I’m in, they know that I’m sitting at my desk at my job and I’m impulsively gonna buy this magazine because it has James Brown on and I love James Brown and it’s Music Issue, and all this good stuff.

But at the end of the day, you know your audience. You need to pay attention to the data regardless of sort of the general statistics and pay attention to also who you’re sending it to, when you’re sending it, and what time you’re sending it. And you’re gonna be much more likely to see some really great conversions in this space.

So, let’s look here and look at some of our questions that we’ve gotten. So, let’s look. Oh, my gosh, hold on. Stop the presses. Rebecca says, “I wrote that Towson email.” And that is super exciting. So, Rebecca, we should talk later. I’m a very big fan of your work. Clearly, that’s awesome. Let’s see. So, to start out…okay. Sorry, I gotta get my bearings here. We get this one all the time. And I need to take a little sip of water. Okay, I’m back guys.

Okay. So, great question from John. He says, “Okay, I’m a B2B brand. Lots of these examples are B2C. Help me out here.”  Okay. So we get this and actually we have a couple other things in that same sentiment. First and foremost, it’s hard. A lot of B2C brands are just killing it in the inbox as B2B folks, that’s why we’re here. We’re here to do this together. We gotta catch up. B2C moves a lot faster. There’s a lot of factors.

Also, a lot of B2C marketers have great teams. And even if they don’t have big old teams, they’ve got a lot of resources at their disposal. They’ve got a physical product oftentimes that they can take pictures of, and let’s just spin on this. A lot of those brands are a lot sexier. It’s a lot easier to just see them and they get to take risks and, in fact, have to take those risks a little bit more. B2B brands, we’re kind of competing sometimes with people that are just still doing the batch and blast. I like to call like it, shooting cannonball email. So we’re not seeing as many innovative B2B examples.

However, I will say the biggest point of this whole presentation is that we’re all human. I don’t stop being a human being that is a consumer because I come to work at Emma. On the contrary, because I work at a B2B brand, I am keenly aware that some of the emails that I’m getting and things from people ham-fistedly pitching me things, because I’m a marketer, it’s a little bit harder.

For B2B brands, some of those data points that I feel like are helpful when it comes to tailoring content and the importance of tailoring content is twofold. And it starts by asking, again, where am I in your buying process or where am I in the life cycle of interaction with your brand. Am I top of funnel, am I already in your pipeline and am I someone who’s downloaded a ton of content from you before? Am I really engaged? Am I attending a webinar? Am I just a casual browser that just joined your list? A lot of the same ideas and the fundamentals of the things we talked about today translate really well to the B2B space.

Most importantly, again, I don’t change as a person. I still want to receive tailored content. If I’m on your website and I’m filling out a signup form then all of a sudden you immediately send me an email that’s like, “Buy this $2,000 software,” I’m much less likely to be engaged and I’m much more likely to be turned off by that. So you still have to do the same tactics. It’s just what you are sending may not be pictures of a charm bracelet, it might actually be content.

And again, like that Oxford American welcome email, the one that I received, that’s a great tactic for B2B marketers, especially if you have some existing content that has different flavors to it. If let’s say with Emma, for instance, we’ve got short articles, we’ve got some white papers, we’ve got some things that might be super technical, and if we put all of those and maybe a digest format based on the responses biscuit, we’re gonna be able to put people in buckets and serve them more content and/or create more content if we get a wide response if we’ve done in the past. We just like all marketers make assumptions all the time, and you’d be surprised and just by paying attention to my engagement and where I am with email. That can be a really simple way to as a B2B brand give me what I want, perfect questions. Thank you, John.

Okay. Oh, and Chris actually asked a similar question. And it’s the same thing. We’re a B2B brand. We’re not really selling product but really services and expertise. And I think everything I just said it’s even more important. If you’re selling thought leadership or you’re selling consulting or you’re selling yourself essentially as someone to be trusted, at the stat, people trust customized content. People are expecting you to customize this experience and people are expecting you especially if you’re selling something.

If you’re consulting for B2Bs, it’s on business savvy and marketing in that realm and if you’re not doing that, you are failing your audience and you’re really failing your brand and you’re failing yourself because the best way to do that I think, especially in the B2B space, B2C, there’s plenty of people out there. It’s so funny. I’ve talked to my dad and he’s like, “It’s so crazy. I’ll click on something and then I start seeing it in my Facebook timeline. And I’m like, ‘Yeah, it’s a cookie.’” You’re being followed on purpose. When you’re B2B and if you’re selling to other people who are savvy, it’s not a trick. We know. I know that I’m being cookied. I know that I’m being followed around. I know that people are gathering data on me. So really the expectation almost in that realm is even higher.

So if you’re selling thought leadership, first and foremost, focus on content that you think really exemplifies that. And you can start small and maybe do a little diverse range of examples of what that expertise could mean from maybe some high level to tactical to something else, and put that content in your welcome email, or if you only have one big list and you’ve never…haven’t emailed them, send an email of the sort of, “Hey, select what applies to you.” It’s also okay. I think people get scared. You don’t trick people. Update my preference. Ask me what I wanna know more about, and I’m gonna appreciate that. So that applies no matter what you’re doing but especially in B2B.

Let’s see here. Oh, this actually goes really nicely. So Deanna thoughts about getting subscribers and members especially to update their profile with an email request. I think one of the biggest things about that is, again, don’t feel like you need to trick people. I think that’s really the best advice there. It’s be transparent about what you’re doing. And I will say too the other biggest thing is almost from a design perspective. Make it really, really, really easy for me to do that.

I can’t tell you how many times I received something and it’s like, “Fill out this short survey.” And I click on it saying, “First of all, I’m probably gonna click on it,” but its text link. And if I do click on it, I go to this landing page and then I have to go somewhere else and then maybe something pops up and it’s five pages long. I’m not gonna complete that. You’re not gonna get the data you want. That is not a good experience.

And this sort of goes back to what I said earlier about making these experiences great. And I’ll actually kind of go off on that in second, because I see some other questions that are about mobile. But I would say the biggest thoughts there are be really focused on your call to action. Don’t ask me to tell you everything about myself. Is there a vital piece of information that you as a brand need to know that would help you do your job a little bit better and prioritize it?  What’s the thing that it would be…if I could only get one piece of information, this would help me do my job better?

Email does a better job for you when it has one job to do. So there’s that priority. Then make it design-wise really easy for me to give you that information. TurboTax, actually, TurboTax…I don’t know if you guys are familiar with that software. I love it. They have my loyalty because they make the user experience… I can do my taxes in half an hour because they have all my data. It’s crazy how easy they make the process of just the entire experience. So I can’t say enough great things about TurboTax.

And no, they are not paying me and they’re not even…I’m a customer, but they should call us. But they do an amazing job in the inbox of asking for feedback. And I do it. I mean, never in a million years I think I’d be sitting here going, “Oh man, I couldn’t wait to review this tax software,” like that is not…take about an unsexy thing.

But they do a great job because they send an email that says, “Did you have a great experience, smiley face that’s green.” And it’s just a picture that I can click. Frowny face that’s red. That’s just a picture I can click. And I did it. And I click green, smiley face in my inbox, and then I’m taken to a great landing page that then, guess what, lo and behold, starts asking me more questions. This is gonna sound almost insulting to all humans, but this is just human nature.

The more you reduce friction in getting that click the better, just because you think your brand’s really sophisticated or your audience is really sophisticated, at the end of the day, we’re human beings, and humans, again, respond faster to pictures. So a simple picture is not a lot of words. And I’m much more likely to do you a favor, which essentially when you’re asking me for information, I’m doing you a favor. But I’m also doing myself a favor if you do something with it because you’re gonna send me what I want. So I would say make it super simple.

On yourself, asked for the most important piece of information that helps you do your job better. But make sure also that then you, in turn, do right by your customers, and you actually start giving them something in return. And that doesn’t even mean you need to reward me for taking your survey. The reward could just be that you actually care about my preferences. And I was really long-winded, but I could talk about that all day. It’s reduce the friction, make it simple, and make it mutually beneficial for the consumer and your brand regardless of what you’re doing.

So let’s look here. So we’ve got…oh, the importance of mobile. We had a couple people ask some questions about this, and I’ll just sort of bake them all into one high-level thing. So I touched on this earlier. And in some presentations, I will go off on it for a hot minute because I love talking about mobile devices.

I think that your first order of business is if you open your emails on your own phone and you’re having an experience that is not easy, it’s not intuitive, it’s hard to click the buttons, again reducing friction. It’s not just what you say. It’s not just the tone of the copy or the color of the pictures. It’s is the button big enough for my fat finger to tap on it, like there’s a user experience component to all of this as well.

Text links are very hard to click. Any sort of font size that is smaller than 14 pixels will not render well on an iPhone or any mobile device. And, in fact, iPhones will actually size up your text. iPhones they’re so smart. They’re the smartest smartphone, which I know is a topic of debate for some people, but it’s a smartphone truly and it will size up your text. It will rearrange your pictures. And you want to be in control of that.

So just make sure that you are designing the emails with the mobile inbox in mind. Like I said earlier too if I…and also shameless plug for Emma. Any email that leaves Emma is automatically mobile optimized.  There’s still strategy behind it that you can use, but we won’t leave in a lurch. We’ll make sure that those fonts are big enough and all that good stuff.

It’s important, even if the email is flawless and oh man, you’ve got this awesome button that has a snazzy call-to-action and I’m just in it to win it, I cannot wait to click on this smiley face and your email, or whatever it might be, if you then land me on a website that is just unmobile optimized, junky experience, and everything’s tiny and everything’s floating around because mobile was just a complete afterthought, you are… It doesn’t matter. I’ve had a bad experience.

And actually, there’s data that suggests, when people have a bad experience, when they’re engaged and they hit a site that’s not optimized for mobile, not only will they abandon that immediately, like the bounce rate on those is astronomical, some people get so mad that they actually will deliberately go to your competitor because they’re like, “Well, these people do not have it together.” And so it’s as if we need to put more responsibilities on our plate as marketers. That mobile experience is important.

The good news about mobile though is honestly, and this comes up a lot, we work with a ton of people who don’t have the budget or they don’t have the control in their organization. You might be a marketing coordinator, manager on this call that is like, “I have no power to change our junky website that runs through some crazy seven layers above me entity.” What you can control as marketer though are making sure that you’re being strategic about things. And there are plenty of sites out there. You can send people to YouTube, a great YouTube channel that is already built for mobile. You can send people to…You can use landing pages, like their brands like Formstack or Leadpages or SurveyMonkey.

There are lots of really great sites out there that are free or very inexpensive where the places…they can host the sort of experience for you and help you get around maybe having some deficits on your website if especially if you can’t control them. So, I would just say first and foremost, it is of the utmost importance that both your email and these sort of through-line look great. And again, this all sort of ties back in together. At the end of the day, when you’re doing tests as a marketer, you’re a human being. Do not forget that. Are you having a good experience? Was this easy for you? Does it feel like too many steps? If the answer is yes, go with your gut because it probably is.

So, we are out of time. I’ve actually gone one minute over. You guys have been absolutely fantastic. I know we had a lot of questions. We will follow up with you guys. Again, we will send this recording out. We will also send just some related articles that we think will be helpful to you. Please if you have any questions, reach out to us. Do not hesitate. We would love to keep this conversation rolling with you. And thank you so much for your time today.

Ready to do your best email marketing?

Request a tour

We use cookies to serve personalized content and targeted advertisements to you, which gives you a better browsing experience and lets us analyze site traffic. Review our cookie information to learn more. You can manage your cookie preferences at any time.