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Thinking Outside the Inbox

Using Data and Email to Meet Consumers Wherever They Are




As a marketer, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the data you have at your fingertips.

Thankfully, tools like web tracking, online forms, dynamic content, and smart email automation make it possible for marketers to take control of data overload once and for all. During this webinar, we’ll walk you through how top brands surface and combine multiple data points to create high-converting campaigns for every step of the customer lifecycle.

Hello, everybody. Thank you for joining us for today’s presentation, “Thinking Outside the Inbox.” Before we get started, just a little bit of housekeeping, so, your voices will be muted throughout today’s presentation. However, if you have questions, we would sincerely love to hear them. I would love to read them and answer them at the end of today’s presentation. So go ahead and type those directly into the GoToWebinar chat modal and we will scoop those up and make sure that you get those answers. Also, your headphones, make sure those are plugged in, that you have your computer speakers turned on to listen. Hopefully, you’re already hearing me, and that’s a moot point, but I like to point it out.

Most importantly, we will also send a recording out to everyone. So if you need to hop off, or if you just love what you hear and you wanna share it with everyone, we will send that to you via email if you registered, so don’t worry. And yeah, and again, if you have a question, just type it to us. You can also use the #TOTInbox…TOTInbox, shall I say, @emmaemail. That’s our Twitter. So you can do that there as well.

And who is this disembodied voice telling me what to do right now? I am Jamie Bradley. I am a content marketing strategist here at Emma. And really what that means is that I get to come in every day and, hopefully, help people send better contents and better emails and just get smarter together, all things email marketing. And again, we are Emma, and we are based here in Nashville. We’re an email marketing company. And yeah, so that is what we are all in together to do.

And so to kind of bring it back here, for today’s presentation specifically, you know, here at Emma, we work with customers of every size and shape, and our goal is to help them get better results and achieve their goals, all of their marketing goals, using email as a channel. And at Emma, obviously, we believe that email can deliver some of the highest value and is one of the best ways for marketers to see the highest returns possible, you know, whether it’s acquiring new leads or prospects or converting current customers into stronger, longer-lasting customers, and just keeping people coming back for more. And in the past 12 years that we’ve been in business, that’s consistently what we’ve seen. We’ve also consistently seen that email gets big results. And that’s not just because I say so. We’re gonna look at some stats to back me up.

The average ROI of email, this is not a typo is 3,800%. The DMA puts these stats out every year. And really, what this is saying…it’s kind of a fun way to look at it, but really what this is saying is that for every dollar spent on email marketing on average, you’re guaranteed just a little south of $40, give or take. And these numbers fluctuate, depending on, you know, who you’re targeting, what you’re sending. But on average, you can see a very high return with little investment with email marketing.

But it’s not just ROI. Better yet, whether it’s B2B, B2C, consumers, customers, people on the other end that brands are communicating with say that they trust content that’s coming to them via their inbox. They’ve raised their hands at some point. They’ve asked you to be in this space. And that’s probably why over half of American consumers say that they prefer to hear from brands via email. This comes to us from Adobe.

And, you know, to look at the returns another way, email, because it’s so personal and because inboxes are where we spend a ton of time, email can tend to be 40 times more effective at getting a consumer to convert into a customer than social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. So by no means is email dead. We’re not having to even fight that battle anymore. And social media and email are not competing. They’re not at odds with each other. But really this data is just saying that email has proven itself to be a more direct means of delivering the right messages to the right people at the right time. However, as an email marketer, as a marketer that’s sending email, you know, kind of gone are the days of that batch and blast style email. The consumers shifted. Email is super effective, as evidenced by all these numbers, and consumers say, “Hey, I wanna hear from you this way.”

But they also have some other stuff to say, specifically. They’re saying, “Stop emailing me so much.” In another study by Adobe, they found that while consumers prefer email, they don’t need to hear from you every single day. They don’t need to hear from you about all your news and, you know, all day long. All email from your brand to a consumer is not created equal. And not only are they saying they want fewer emails from brands, more importantly, in the same study, they’re saying they want these emails to not feel repetitive.

So how do you interpret that, that sending list not being repetitive? The savviest story email marketers know that the best way to combat that feeling of repetition, and really, intrusion in the inbox that a person might feel is to send email that actually connects with that consumer. And that means relevant email. Relevant email is gonna get the best result. That’s email that feels custom, that feels tailored to the consumer. Every single time, that’s gonna win.

However, there is a problem out there that a lot of marketers do feel. In order to send truly relevant emails, to send emails that aren’t that sort of one-size-fits-all approach, you have to know, you have to catalog, you have to track, you have to segment your subscribers based on data, you know, data that’s actually unique to them. And a lot of times, marketers say that they feel really overwhelmed by the volume of information coming in. Sixty-two percent of marketers say they feel like there is too much stuff hurling at them, they don’t know how to apply it, much less keep up with it, and it can feel really, really daunting.

And we know that for a lot of you, sending email is not your only job. Your overall goals and KPIs, you know, those can extend well beyond inboxes and your subscribers. And most of you are charged with really big, high-level goals. You know, you hear it all the time, you need to build more pipeline, you need to turn leads into prospects, you need to do all of this faster. You need to nurture them, and send the right content, and evaluate that content’s success, and spin up the social program, and, like, yada, yada, yada. It goes on and on. Sell more stuff. And when you’re hearing that, coupled with the fact that, you know, you feel like you’re getting buried in data about these people, it makes sense that you would feel overwhelmed, right? And when you are overwhelmed, you can’t do some key things well. You aren’t efficient, and you’re not probably going to achieve these awesome goals and see this awesome ROI that we know is possible.

So what’s happening here also is that, you know, marketers are feeling overwhelmed, and yet they’re still not adopting tools and strategies that would help them, you know, get out from under some of those, that pile of data, to help them scale their efforts and deliver the types of experiences to inboxes that actually really help them start to achieve those goals. So that’s what we’re here to help with. That’s what we’re here to tackle today. And one thing that we feel really strongly can aid you in that is automating some of these efforts. You know, that’s a term that we hear all the time. It can actually start to feel really, really trite. It’s like, “Okay, great. I know I’m supposed to be doing that. How do I do that?” And turns out you’re not alone. Only 13% of email marketers, in a study by Autopilot, are actually using the correct kind of software, marketing automation software to do that, to actually scale those efforts.

So, you know, again, we’re all in this together, and you’re not behind. But it is gonna be a way that you can, you know, start to embrace this new game here. And of those that can get on board, that are fully automating, they are over 133% more likely to send emails that actually match a customer’s life cycle. And that’s gonna become important as we look at examples here today that really are kind of shining and cutting through the noise in those inboxes. That’s why email really is the key to delivering targeted, you know, campaigns that matter, because when we say to automate our efforts, what we really mean is that at the heart of that, at the center of those efforts, that bulls-eye there that you see on your screen, email really can help you hit that. And if top marketers out there are seeing huge returns from email that’s matching these life cycles and they’re using the “right data points,” how are they doing it? How do they avoid some of the pitfalls of this information overload?

And so for today’s presentation, we’re gonna look at this wheel here, this beautiful little circle. And I’m gonna walk you through each step and point on it. And we’re gonna look at how we take what’s happening outside of the inbox, that key points in the consumer’s interaction with your brand, and we’re gonna show you specifically which emails you could send at each of these key interaction points in this life cycle that really help you draw consumers closer to your brand and serve up actual value with every send.

So first, we’re gonna look at getting them in the right doors. So what I mean by that is that are they on the right places on your site? Are you serving up the right sort of interactions with them on your website and out there before they even ever get into your list that helps them actually, you know, get on the right pathways? So let’s look at these doors, let’s open some up.

So first and foremost, you cannot harness the power of email without an email address. That sounds pretty logical, right? But you’d be surprised. And there are some ways and some methods of acquiring those email addresses that are more powerful than others, so we’re gonna look at those.

So what you’re looking at here is a website, specifically, it’s a specific page on a website, from a brand. And when I landed on this page, I was served this little blue banner that just sort of appeared down there at the bottom. And banners like you see in this example, they actually perform incredibly well. Banners, they sort of are a hidden gate. And then as I land on this page, maybe even if I scroll just a couple of little scrolls here, they’re triggered, they roll up into sight from the top or bottom of a web page. They’re not intrusive, I can still absorb content, but they’re always there kinda hanging out. And I can, of course, exit if I don’t want to be a part of this experience.

Our partners at Privy, they’re a brand that actually integrates with Emma, and they can help you build all kinds of fun, advanced banners and things like this. They actually found that banners outperform lightboxes and static signup forms on your site, because it’s really easier…you know, easy for visitors to not feel bombarded and, just, you know, simply opt-in to the experience on their own time which, as we go through this presentation, you will see, is a big trend.

However, those lightboxes, I like them too. And if I’m more familiar with your brand, if maybe I’ve navigated to lots of different places on your site, or maybe I’ve been on a certain page for an extended length of time, it’s safe to assume that I’ve absorbed some content, that’s when these lightboxes are, you know, A-okay to deploy. This one is actually set on a timer. I was on the home page of our customer, The Dessy Group’s site, for a minute, and they popped this up. They’re asking me, once I click “Sign Up Now”, for one little piece of information. And, you know, they’re also giving me a discount right out of the gate.

And, you know, there are tons of ways to go about it. If you’re not in retail, these two examples were, this is a great place to serve up a best-performing piece of content. Give me something valuable. It doesn’t even have to be a discount. Just give me some sort of way to see that there’s inherent value in the trade kinda happening at this touchpoint. And there’s lots of different pathways. And again, that static form on your site doesn’t mean it…you know, it’s not something that you need to get rid of, necessarily. But these banners and popups way outperform at sort of these super top-of-funnel touchpoints in your brand experience on your site.

So in summary, if we’re looking at these, getting in the right doors, you don’t have to ask for too much up front. You don’t need to know anything more than my email address. And banners can actually be a new method, a new way. Lightboxes are still good, too, as well as static forms, but be mindful that if you just have a static form embedded at the bottom, it’s probably not gonna get a lot of action. And then first, you know, sorta lastly, make me an offer that I can’t refuse. Provide some sort of incentive for me to join, whether it’s content or a discount, or whatever it may be.

So I gave you my email address, I’ve parted with it, now what are you gonna do? Well, now you actually have to do something with it. You gotta say hello. You gotta treat this like we’re in a new friendship, a new relationship. And at this stage of the game, it’s important to automate this experience. You know, the majority of your subscribers are expecting this touchpoint, and you’d really still be surprised how many brands fail to do this. I feel like I have talked about welcome notes for a really, really long time, which is what that section will be all about, but it’s still something that we educate a lot of our newer customers on and even existing ones to use in powerful ways. So they’re not all created equal, so let’s look at a few different examples.

First, some stats. We think they’re important because not only do they feel good, not only do they sorta mimic what a real sort of conversation would be like, these types of interactions, this very first interaction kinda right out of the gate, actually, can show 33% more long-term brand engagement versus brands that aren’t doing this. And if you think about it, if I approach you to start a conversation and then you just walk away, or we meet and you say you’re gonna follow up with some info and then you never do, that’s not really a great experience. And that’s the same thing for your email audience. You have to say hello, and it bodes well for you to do so.

They also consistently see ridiculously high amounts of engagement. If you think about it, I just took an action. I just gave you a highly personal piece of information, and if you’re gonna just walk away from that interaction, you’re missing the boat here. The open rates for these messages are always more than 50%. They are way more effective than, you know, just your sort of business-as-usual email.

And, you know, another way that you can maximize your engagement at this touchpoint is to follow through with that promise that you made when I signed up. So be mindful of what I experience there. If you said you were gonna give me 15% off and then you don’t, that seems pretty basic, but you’d be surprised. So here’s the actual sign up…or sorry, welcome note that I received when I parted with my information on The Dessy Group’s site there, so, pretty nice. And again, if you’re gonna give me something, follow through. If you’re B2B and you’re gonna give me a white paper, either, you know, serve that up to me immediately or send that in an email and make sure that I’m getting it.

However, you know, brands…again, not all form types are created equal, not all welcome experiences are created equal. And there can be multiple doors on your website, multiple pathways for me to enter into some sort of email conversation or relationship with you. So let’s look at another one. So this same customer of ours has a completely other area of their site. What they do is they actually sell bridal, party wear, I guess. It’s a very specific niche brand. And what they do is, you know, once you get in, if you’re not just casually browsing, if you are a bride, you actually can create a showroom and invite your entire bridal party to join in this experience, come here into this virtual showroom, be a part of this brand, and kind of, you know, have a conversation amongst yourselves, hosted on this site, which is pretty nice.

So on here, we see blown up, is a way for me as the, you know, hypothetical bride, to add my friend, put them into an experience from this site. When this happens, I receive a note that looks like this. This is technically a welcome note from this brand. However, the way that I joined this…this is a highly personal thing, let’s be honest, if I’m in this bridal party, I’m expecting to get lots of things like this. This is an invitation to an invitation. However, I didn’t specifically say, you know, I’m browsing on this website. So this interaction here, they’re setting up how I got here, what’s happening, they’re personalizing it from me, the person that sort of got them into this experience, and then they’re making it very easy for me to then go back to the space on the website that it would make sense for me to be. They’re not giving me discounts. They’re not showing me multiple products. They are simply making this an experience, you know, about the way that I entered into this relationship. So it’s two different welcome experiences, one brand. And, you know, same thing if I were B2B and I landed you on a pricing page instead of on a page with more content. That’s gonna feel disjointed. So it’s important to be mindful of all of that.

And, you know, when we say to send a welcome note, oftentimes, what we really mean by that is to actually set up a series. If you think about it, and you’re not asking for too much up front, you have one data point. You have one thing that you know about me. So it’s actually on you to maximize this opportunity. This touchpoint, this top-of-funnel experience here is a great way to sorta have an extended hello. And we can dig into this more in the Q&A. I wanna kind of briefly go through it, though. What you’re seeing here is a four-part welcome series. The first email is just saying, “Thank you” as an introduction. And they’re giving free shipping, they’re making good on the promise. Second email, though, so it comes a few days later, is actually giving me a case study, some social proof. It’s telling me why this brand matters. It’s showing me how others derive value from this brand.

The third touchpoint that you see here, this is showing me more ways that this brand…you know, it’s showing me their mission statement. Most importantly, though, what it’s giving me is six different…seven different calls to action. Granted, it’s really just one big call to action, but seven different pathways in the sort of flavors of it. And what this tells me as a brand on the back end, when this email goes out, if I interact with this and let’s say I click that “I’m interested in retail outlets,” they then can profile me, they can send me more information about retail outlets. If I say, “I’m interested in the residential program,” they can then do that. If I don’t interact at all, maybe they just, you know, they don’t put me into any group. But you can actually use this series to learn more about me on the back end without even having to ask for more information.

By the fourth email, what they’re doing…and again, all of these are spaced out and a couple of days apart. What they’re doing by the fourth email is that they’re actually being bolder with their call to action, they’re asking me to be a recurrent donor, and they are being a little bit bolder. So you don’t wanna come out of the gate asking me for something, but four touches in, it might be safe to assume that I’m ready. And this might be, you know, have a demo of our product, take a tour, talk to a salesperson. Whatever it might be, this is a really nice way to do that and to parse out that information.

So series can be powerful, that’s awesome. So in summary, welcome notes increase your engagement. If you’re leaving this off, you’re missing the boat. They’re high performing every single time. Make sure that the welcome that you do give me matches my signup experience. And also, hey, if you’re not doing a series, you might wanna consider it. And if you are a customer, reach out to us. This is something that we coach people through every day.

So once you’ve got me in, putting your data to work. So let’s say you gathered a little bit more information about me at those touchpoints. Maybe you have to spin in your database for a while. I’ve been clicking around on your site, you’ve got a little bit more information. Now is the time to sort of start looking at me. I’m maybe not, you know, a fully-fledged customer yet, but chances are, if I’m in your email list, if I’m poking around on your site, if you’re starting to integrate your efforts with your email marketing, there’s some really powerful things that you can do. So we’re gonna look at those now.

So one reason that we talk about putting your data into work is that as you start to personalize emails, they can actually deliver six times higher transaction rates. Again, though, personalization, actually segmenting your audience, based on data that you have, in real ways, this is still something that a lot of your competitors and a lot of marketers are falling woefully short in doing. Seventy percent of brands are failing, still, to do this. And triggered emails specifically, not just personalized, but emails that are based on my behavior, they can actually drive 624% higher conversion rates than those sorta general emails. So I will knock you over the head with this today.

Additionally, you know, all that awesome sort of ROI, all that great revenue, 75% of that revenue that we looked at is actually generated from tailored, triggered emails. It’s not from the general newsletter. And personalization isn’t just dropping my first name into the subject lines. We’re gonna look at that now, what that looks like. It’s really about mapping the customer journey. So the example that you’re looking at here, my colleague looked up cold-brewed coffee on the Starbucks website. They were just poking around. They didn’t even put anything in a cart. They just landed on a nice product page. It was really casual. A few hours later, they received this very subtle email. They may not have even noticed it if they weren’t a big geek like we are, but they received an email that is only about their cold-brewed items. It’s a variety. It’s every way to “explore” the cold brew experience with Starbucks. So, and this is really subtle. It’s based on behavioral web tracking. It’s based on an event that is happening on their website, and then an email is triggered off of that event in a sort of a timely manner with the right content.

Another way to look at it, this is really…this is less subtle. This is probably one that you’re more familiar with. These are the same mechanisms, though. I looked at boots on the Frye website, then I get an email. I did not put these in my cart. I am not spending $258 on duck boots. But they did, they tried. They tried to tantalize me, and oh, it almost worked. They sent me an email that said, “We love these, too.” And it was really clever, it was really smart. And again, I didn’t even take an action beyond just lingering on this page and clicking on it a whole bunch and fantasizing. And so, you know, this is beyond cart abandonment. This is just simply based on my behavior.

And here’s an example that happened completely within my own inbox. This is an even deeper level of sort of behavioral triggering. We call this branching automation here at Emma. This is an email that’s deployed off of my experience with another email. So I got this email here on the left. This was a general message. I get this weekly from them. I clicked specifically on Hotel Havana, and then a few days later, I get, “Hey, there’s still availability at Hotel Havana.” They dynamically dropped in that gorgeous, blue picture that I’d seen previously. And I remembered it, I recalled it. I went back and was like, “That’s very clever. I can’t believe they did that.” And so this is a type of trigger deployed based on my behavior with just another mailing. So you don’t even have to have advanced tracking on your site. This is something that you can do strictly just within your own email program. And this is highly effective, whether a consumer recognizes that it’s happening or not.

And it doesn’t just stop at email. You know, it’s kinda creating a whole loop. If you can land me on the right spot from just any email, from even a general one, you stand to see an average increase in sales. So marketers that use a personalized web experience can actually see a 20% bump in the quality and the frequency with which people are converting.

So here’s a beautiful example of that. This is actually one that went from the website to my inbox, back to their website. So I went on this page. Initially, I set my cap at $200 a night for a website. I then received an email a few days later, with the emails that are only $200 a night. They dynamically dropped that in. And so then when I clicked through to check out some of these options in different cities, I was able to only see options that are, again, capped at $200. And the reason this is powerful and incredibly important, they can probably…especially when it comes to money or a price point if you’re setting parameters like that, I either can’t or I’m unwilling to spend more than that for their service or their product. So imagine if they landed me back on their site and I’d seen luxury penthouses for 2 grand a night. You know, that would have felt disjointed, and it would have been much less effective.

So in summary, behavioral triggers based on browsing data, they’re really underused. And this is kinda the new frontier there. If you can, you know, hook up what’s happening on your website to your email marketing program and start to send relevant product and service offerings before they ever even make a purchase, you can really capture someone’s attention and really fight through the noise in those inboxes. However, if you don’t have that capability and you wanna keep that happening just strictly in the inbox or inside of your email program, you can do that, too. But by and large, at the end of the day, customers, or potential customers, expect relevant recommendations at every touchpoint with your brand at this point. And there are easy ways to sorta hook this up and do it, and we’re happy to walk you through that in more detail.

So let’s see, you’ve tantalized me. I’m on your site, it’s awesome. It’s your job to keep it going. Don’t just, you know, sort of snare me on the front end with this great, sort of relevant experience. You’ve got to keep following up over time, again and again with tailored messaging that matters. You know, and it’s important to serve up that great experience at the top, but let’s look at what that looks like sort of along the road here.

So this is a customer of ours. They sell really nice, high-end boots. And what I love about this example is that this is not specifically a sort of shilling product. This is actually an event invitation. They were having an in-store experience. But what you see here and what’s consistent, what I like to point out, is sort of that hero image, that big picture at the top, that, to use a newspaper term, above-the-fold real estate. Something really interesting is happening there. So the two on the left, if I previously purchased men’s boots, I get email one on the far left. If I previously purchased women’s boots, I get the one in the middle. If I purchased nothing or I purchased both, or the data is inconclusive, I get the one on the far right.

And what’s really interesting about this, again, the goal of this mailing is not a direct sale, but by segmenting based on my experience with that brand, they increase the likelihood that a subscriber’s gut reaction, sort of that very first interaction, is going to be subconsciously tied to my previous experience with that brand. So it’s really kinda happening on a deeper level. It’s also saying, “Hey, we’re paying attention, and we only wanna show you stuff that’s relevant to you.” It’s also not saying, “Hey, you’re a woman,” or “Hey, you’re a man.” It’s just saying, “We know what you bought. We wanna show you more of it.” I think that’s really important and something that works regardless of whether you’re selling boots or you’re selling consulting services or whatever it may be. Just taking my past experience, if I have made a purchase, and plugging that in in smart ways across the board can be really effective.

And a brand that is personalizing and targeting mailings with a use of data incredibly well actually is a B2B brand that I wanna highlight called Wistia. They are a video hosting program. We use them. Full disclosure, we are clients of theirs, and we integrate with them. They’re awesome. But what they’re doing here, which I absolutely love, is that they’re sending an incredibly targeted mailing to people that recently took part in a survey. And specifically, they’re only sending this to people who said, “Hey, we love Wistia.” They say, “Thank you so much for your stellar rating that you gave us.” So they’re saying, “Thank you for something highly relevant.” Then, right out of the gate, they’re saying, “Hey, here’s a T-shirt.” You know, “Where do we send it?” They also put a really funny video there, which is incredibly relevant because they’re a video company.

Also, side note, videos in email garner astronomical engagement rates when you have just the promise of a video. People are much more likely to engage. It’s appealing. Even if you’re skimming, you know, there’s something fun and valuable here. But then down there at the very bottom, what I find most fascinating is that they’re not just saying, “Thank you,” they’re not just giving us this funny T-shirt and the video, they’re actually asking us for a favor. They’re saying, “If you have two minutes, I mean, you already took the time to do a survey, do you wanna leave us a review on this website? It’s highly important to us.” And marketers here on the line, especially in the B2B space, you probably know how important reviews are for your brand.

And so what I love about this example is that this is a totally accessible way to take data. They’re actually also mirroring kinda that welcome series experience. They’re saying, “Thanks,” they’re providing value, and then they’re making an ask. But because I’m much deeper in this relationship, they’re able to do it in one mailing instead of five. So I think it’s super important. I think the most critical thing is that they did not send this mailing to people who did not respond favorably. If I gave them a zero or a one, I have a feeling that they probably sent them a vastly different note. They probably picked up the phone and said, “How can we serve you better?” So, you know, it’s important to look at that data and think about how you can leverage that and what the experience should look like on both sides.

So moving on, though, here’s Dessy Group again. They’re gonna pop up a lot because they’re doing a lot of things well. If you don’t know, I’m a human being, ask me. When in doubt, instead of sending me irrelevant stuff, if you’re not sure, just be upfront about it. Give me pathways. You don’t have to play a guessing game. And honestly, I appreciate and trust this brand even more, because they just saying, “Hey, we wanna make sure that you’re in the right spot. You’re not responding.” And if I’m a groom, surely I’m not gonna be responding to bridal emails. So it makes sense that I’d be getting this. So tell me how to do it.

So in summary, above-the-fold still matters, we say it all the time, we probably always will. Eighty percent of your audience is scanning your mailings in their inboxes, so it’s a great place to capture someone’s attention with just dynamic images. Also, serve value ahead of a big ask always. Better yet, don’t ask for something from a subscriber that may be disengaged or unhappy. And if you don’t have what you need to send me relevant content, just ask me. I’m a human being, and I will appreciate it. We’ll both be better for it in the end. So I’m so close to converting, and/or I’ve purchased from you once and maybe I wanna buy something again, but you still gotta keep it going. Your work is never done. You’ve done so much to make sure that I’m seeing the right information, and you can still do a lot with email to ensure that I don’t leave, I don’t go anywhere.

So we’re gonna kick off this section with some common email, kind of, winners, some sort of low-hanging fruit, some things that maybe a lot of you are already doing, so I like to point that out. Because it’s like a lot of times, I’m like, “Nobody’s doing this.” But a lot of you probably are. So these are some winners. And then I’m gonna move into some sort of newer methods of using your data on recurring customers or ways that you can sort of get people thinking. So right, to get started. Oh, I love these. Isn’t that fun?

B2C marketers who take advantage of automation, including everything from cart abandonment programs to birthday emails have seen conversion rates as high as 50%. So that’s pretty cool. And again, B2C, B2B, GIFs are always cool, and I actually saw a question come in about animated GIFs, so I’ll save that for the end if you wanna talk more about them. But they actually work, and they’re very effective.

Another fun thing, these are actually two different birthday emails from Jack Daniels. I point this out because I love it. Talk about maximizing one data point, these emails deploy, obviously, based on a birth date that’s stored in their system. They take it further, and halfway through the year, they send me a half-birthday email. And I think it’s really funny to point out because a study by Clicksee showed that birthday emails lift conversion rates by 60% over non-birthday emails with the same call to action. So they are cheating, they are putting two in a year. I’ve also seen a monthly birthday email. So those are a really fun way. But people feel special, they’re more likely to be self-indulgent, honestly, and take you up on an offer, and it’s pretty nice.

And cart abandonment emails, you know, if we would look at those more closely, 23% of potential online buyers purposely abandon their shopping carts to get coupons. People are gaming you, they are playing you guys. So you gotta play the game back. And those emails, though, they’re really effective. According to a study by Google, people expect to be retargeted. So “abandoners” is what we’re gonna call them because that’s what Google does, they actually spend 55% more when they’re remarketed to. I don’t know how many times we’ve all done it. You fill that cart up, and you know, we know we might get a coupon, this is a great example of that, but if you actually do your job and you get me to come back, I might actually spend way more money. I’m impressed, you’ve snared me, and you actually made it a lot easier for me to pick who’s who.

So I go to your site, I fill up my cart, I took the plunge, you’re doing everything right, and I become a customer. This is great, what now? And these aren’t stats that are B2B or B2C. This is just in general, the probability of selling to a brand new prospect, 5% to 20%. The probability of selling to an existing customer, 60% to 70%. And oftentimes, when it comes to email marketing, those are the people that we don’t target as much. Again, especially in a marketing team, your goals are probably really tied to new revenue and new people, and it’s so important to fill that pipeline if it were, and get new people in the gate or in the door. But your existing customers are the ones, that retention, that can really make all the difference in the world.

So what does that look like in the inbox? Well, here’s a classic B2C example. So if you’ve ever bought anything or purchased anything from, you probably have gotten these emails from them. Fun fact, 35% of their revenue is generated by this recommendation engine, not specifically via email but, you know, in general, 35% percent of their revenue. They make a lot of money.

However, this is a very underutilized tactic by marketers in general. Thirty-nine percent of online retailers send personalized product recommendations via email. And, obviously, this is a classic sort of B2C example, but this same method could be applied to anything, especially I keep mentioning content. If I’ve downloaded content about, let’s say, you know…with Emma, here’s a great example, university marketing. We work with a lot of universities. It would be great if we sent them more content that’s about universities. Or if they’ve downloaded content that’s about webinars and we send them more webinars, you know, so on and so forth. So there’s lots of different ways to play this that aren’t necessarily relegated to just fizzy water.

The other thing I love to point out in this example, if you look at the very top, there’s a dynamic ad that is being served into Amazon’s sorta engine there from San Pellegrino, a direct competitor of LaCroix. So, you know, big ups to San Pellegrino, playing that game, that fizzy water game. But yeah, this is just an excellent email and it’s something that anyone can try.

Another example…and again, this is B2C, but I’m about to drop some sort of suggestions on how lots of different brands handle this. So Dollar Shave Club, they are amazing email marketers, you should join their list. They take it even further. You can shop directly from this email. This is brilliant. And what they are doing, they’re a subscription-based model, so they send this email and they’re just telling me, just innocently, “You’re next one’s gonna ship in a week.” That’s just at the very top. It’s some personalized content. This entire mailing, though, is just trying to get me to buy more stuff. If I click that add button and I’ve previously downloaded their app and I’ve added my payment information and I click add, I just bought those cartridges. I just bought that cleanser. I have someone that shall remain nameless on my team here that probably has every item they’ve ever sold because she is addicted to this email. And so reminder emails like this one are an incredible way to increase sales.

Another very effective method for using this type of email, we see it often, we have several non-profit clients that have people set up as recurring donors. Those recurring donors are their bread and butter. Those are the people that are the most engaged. And instead of sending, you know, an email saying, “Your next box will ship,” they actually do the same thing. They send an email saying, “Hey, remember, we take out this donation. This is how much you’re donating each month.” And then instead of having, you know, body cleanser, they actually have a story about how your money is being used. So they have a well that was funded or they have, you know, a woman whose life was saved from, you know, like, thistle farms. And they do all of this kind of stuff just with simply a recurring, date-based email. But it’s an amazing way to remind people why their contribution matters, why being a customer matters, and it’s an incredibly easy type of mailing to set up with just a few data points.

And winning back. So here’s this example again from The Dessy Group that we looked at that was doing a really great sorta job with copy. It’s also a great example of what we would call a win-back email. And these emails deploy based on inactivity. So, you know, if I’ve been in your system for a year or 18 months and I’ve never opened an email from you or I’ve never clicked on anything, you can actually set up emails that come directly to me to just do exactly what they’re doing. “Have we got it right? Is this the right thing? Do you wanna be here? Are we doing our job?” You can even say, “Hey, you can leave our list.” You want people that actually want to be engaged with your email list to be there. And 45% of recipients who received emails like this, even if they don’t interact with this mailing, they actually read subsequent messages. So just the act of bubbling your brand back up into their consciousness is much more effective and more likely to get someone to re-engage with your messaging. Oops, here we go.

And so I kinda wanna round out the examples portion before we hop into some, you know, questions with you guys, with this really great sort of cautionary tale. And it has a happy ending. Don’t worry, I’m not dragging Toyota through the mud. No pun intended. So this example that you see here, I got this about a year ago. And actually, if you’ve watched previous webinars, I talk about this example at length. And I own a Toyota, my name is Jamie. I get an email, “Jamie, experience the world of Yaris ownership.” This email has absolutely nothing to do with it. This email has nothing to do with it. In fact, they’re trying to sell me a different car. They’re actually shaming me. And so, you know, when I received this, I may have just overlooked it. Of course, because I’m me, I took a screenshot and blew up part of it and put it in a webinar. But what’s important to point out here is that personalization for personalization’s sake does nothing for you. Shoehorning my name into an email if the actual content is not applicable or relevant to me can actually have the opposite intended effect.

So I’m happy to report this is the experience that I get now. So what you see on the left is an excellent reengagement email. They’re saying, “We miss you. We hope you’re enjoying the car you drive. Here’s a picture of it.” They’re giving me a code, they’re giving me coupons. They’re doing everything in their power to say, “Hey, you need to bring your car in. It’s going to explode. And we’ve noticed, based on the last time you came in…” On the right, appropriate message trying to sell me a new car. And not only that, they’re actually saying, “You’re actually eligible for an upgrade.” Like, “You are entitled to get a new car from us.” So this is a much better experience, and it’s just that before and after. Bad experience, shoehorning my name in, sending me irrelevant content that has nothing to do with me. Great experience, super relevant, and actually, it’s worked. I’ve taken them up on at least the service offerings from these mailings, and I’m much more likely to trust their expertise.

So, you know, to sum up this section, date-based triggers are an easy way to connect with customers, often overlooked. Product recommendations or even just content recommendations are also often overlooked and often incredibly lucrative. Reminding me that it’s time for me to renew or buy more or donate or show me why those kind of reminders can greatly increase trust and especially reduce churn and increase customer attention. And if you’re going to re-engage with customers, do it thoughtfully and make sure that you’re actually connecting and using what you know about me to reconnect.

So in closing, you know, for the whole presentation, you don’t need to ask for too much up in front. Get me in the right doors first and then you can learn more about me later. Use data that you’ve gathered via email to send more targeted campaigns from the get-go, and then send me an awesome, warm welcome during that first impression. Continue to use data that’s gathered from your website from the other platforms that you have integrated with your email platform, and make sure they are integrated. And if you don’t know how to do that, it’s often less complicated than you think, and that’s something that we help people every day do here at Emma. We have a services team, and that is all they do. And once someone converts, keep them coming back. You have more work to do, you have more trust to build, and inserting my first name into it is not personalization.

So gonna take a look here, see if we’ve gotten… You guys have been awesome. Oh, my gosh, we’ve gotten some really good questions here. Oh, let’s look. Okay, starting out with one. Oh, okay. Let’s go back to the GIF one because that was one we got in the middle of the presentation, and I love talking about it. So Gretchen, I do wanna talk about GIFs. How can we use them? Oh, bonus. “Also, do you say ‘GIF’ or ‘JIF’?” Right out of the gate, it’s Graphics Interchange Format, so I say “GIF,” not “JIF.” And actually, it’s really funny, we recently did a webinar with our friends at Litmus, who our friend Kevin at Litmus disagrees with us…and actually, we’ll post a link here, see if you wanna check out that webinar. It goes into lots more “giffy” stuff.

But animated GIFs in email, one reason that they’re incredibly powerful is that they actually render properly in almost every single email environment. What I mean by that is that if I’m on Gmail or if I’m in, you know, Outlook or Lotus Notes or what have you, an animated GIF is gonna do some important things versus, let’s say, if you tried to do maybe some dynamic live video in your emails, which that’s a whole other beast. Animated GIFs are a great way to sort of signal that there might be a little bit more going on, especially if you do want somebody to go watch a video, which we mentioned is really powerful. An animated GIF can be a really great way to catch someone’s attention, if it shows up for them, and get them to click through to do something like watch a video or do something like just click through to a page. Like, that Jack Daniels example actually is really clever. They’re giving you a piece of paper that you can origami fold into a little shot glass as your GIF, which is just brilliant and super interactive. And the GIF caught my attention. I probably wouldn’t have even noticed that.

Most importantly, though, again, like I said, they render properly and they show up for almost everyone, except certain people using certain versions of Outlook. And even then, you know, it’s important that…Outlook will show the first frame of your GIF. So if for some reason you put, let’s say, a discount at the end. You’ve got a 50-frame animated GIF, and at the end, you have a discount. You’re gonna wanna put that right at the front so if it does freeze-frame and I don’t watch it animate, I still at least know, you know, what you want me to do. And oftentimes, too, a new really great way that I see people using animated GIFs is to show maybe sort of how-tos. This is especially in the B2B space. If let’s say, you do have a product like Emma, animated GIFs are a really cool way to show updates and sort of screenshots and animated sort of how-to of how to use it. And people are much more likely to retain that information, or at least go onto your website because GIFs have a crazy high clickthrough rate. If you think about it, we’re lizards. If something’s moving, our eyes dart to look at it, so they’re pretty exciting.

Moving on. Oh, Alyssa [SP] has a great question. “What would be the appropriate amount of time to wait to send an email after a ‘trigger activity’?” That is an awesome question, and the answer is it varies wildly depending on what triggered that action. So if we go back to those welcome notes, I think that’s probably step one, your most common, easiest trigger. It’s just based on form activity. Any ESP…I mean, we do it…will allow you to sort of have those forms that it will deploy a welcome. Like, that’s very basic automation. That welcome note, I expect that, and there’s data out there that suggests consumers expect that immediately. So they want that to hit their inbox as soon as possible, especially if they did it to get the discount, if you think about that. It’s happened to me recently where I signed up, you know, to get something, and I didn’t get it for hours. And that was a really bad experience. And it was annoying, and then I forgot about it. And then once I did get it, I didn’t really care. So if it’s a welcome or something like that, go ahead and make sure that that’s instantaneous.

If the activity, let’s say, is something more like that Starbucks example that is based on maybe more subtle browser tracking sort of behavior that if not done properly, you feel like you could run the risk of feeling intrusive or creepy. You know, you may wanna make sure that that doesn’t hit their inbox immediately. If you think about it, too, put yourself in my shoes. What am I doing at the time? So if I’m on your website playing around and sort of clicking on things that are gonna trigger an email, I’m also not simultaneously maybe in my inbox at the same time. So if I’m just casually browsing and you wanna follow up with information, it’s safe to say that perhaps I’ll be looking at my email later. I’m actively on your site now playing around. Maybe let that deploy a few hours later when I’m, you know, have some more downtime, or a few days. It really just depends.

And that’s really a great thing to test too, the kind of timing of when those go out. But if it’s something subtle, you may not want it to hit immediately. If it’s a more direct action, if I clicked on something to get something immediately, if that’s a really clear expectation, then obviously, you wanna make sure that I get that ASAP. Otherwise, I think it’s just sort of use your best judgment and put yourself in the shoes. What does that experience feel like? Walk that out and think about where you are, because your goal is to be on their timeline more than your own. That’s a great question.

Let’s see, let’s look here. Got some good ones, guys. Samantha has a great question. This is a really common one, and we actually recently just did a webinar…I do a lot of webinars. We recently did a webinar last week all about holiday emails, so we can make sure you get that link to check that one out. But Samantha asks, “How do you avoid email oversaturation, especially during the holidays?” So that’s a fantastic question, and we actually have several customers that do some very, very neat things with data and email, specifically. I actually almost put one of them in this presentation, but it was getting too long.

One of the best ways to avoid that oversaturation is to set the expectation near the beginning of the holiday season or before you plan on wrapping up your sending that you’re gonna be doing that. So we actually have a customer that, at the beginning of the holiday season, sent an email out. And they did this last year, they did it this year. They sent an email out to their entire audience saying, “Hey, we are about to send a lot of email to you. It’s the holidays, everyone’s sending a lot of email, so at the bottom of every email that we send you from now until the end of the holidays, there’s gonna be a little button down at the bottom. And at any point, you can click that button, and we are going to make sure that you don’t continue to get these emails.” And just like I said at the beginning of the presentation, at any point in the year, not just during the holidays, people are saying, “Stop emailing me every five minutes. Stop inundating me with messages that aren’t relevant to me.” So if you are gonna ramp it up, be transparent about that. Give people the option.

I’ve also seen it where people have that same method. They have a little button at the bottom of their email that just says, “Hey, opt-in to our kinda constant, everyday holiday emails.” What you don’t wanna do during the holidays, or what you wanna avoid, and why I even love that you’re asking this question, is you wanna avoid alienating your audience at large just to satisfy a small amount of people that are maybe way more engaged and shopping in their inboxes. However, I will say, too, that especially if you’re in that B2C realm, people are going to be expecting more from you during this time period. If you’re in the B2B realm, I think it’s the time to really look at what are your goals during the holidays? What are your goals to sort of avoid getting lost in the mix? You know, this might be a really great time for you to test, you know, when you’re sending. Are people engaged? Has your engagement changed? And really be mindful on the back end of people and how they’re interacting with your mailings that may not be as enticing as, you know, 25 days of deals or whatever it is that I’m getting. So awesome question, but yeah, you can definitely give people the option to raise their hand and be a part of that.

Oh, my gosh, we only have time for a few more. You guys are great. Okay. Let’s see, that one’s a little similar. Okay, yeah, this is similar. Or no, no, no. You know what? I’m gonna shift gears, because we talked a lot about time of day, and I can go back to that. But first, I wanna talk about subject lines. So Gary said, “Can we talk about subject lines? What’s working these days?” Gary, we can. I would love to.

So I think this kinda, you know, piggybacks on what I was just saying for Samantha. So subject lines, you are competing in the inbox for…you know, you’re trying to cut through the noise. You’re not just competing with your competitors, you’re competing with every single person that knows me, that’s emailing me, my boss, my friends, brands that I love, brands that are emailing me way too much. And so when it comes to subject lines, I think something to be mindful of and something that we hammer home in other presentations more but that I think is vitally important is that over half of all email is opened first on a mobile device. It’s almost become so part of the conversation that it’s something that we don’t even necessarily point out in every interaction. Assume that every email that you saw today is possibly being looked at on a mobile device. Every email that we send out of Emma is mobile-optimized from the jump. If you don’t have a mobile-optimized website and you don’t have a mobile-optimized email template and you are not a customer, please raise your hand. We would love to chat with you and help you navigate that because it is vital.

But going back to subject lines, knowing that, knowing where we are, the length of your subject line. If it’s, you know, less than 32 characters, that’s about where, you know, most mobile phones are gonna cut it off. It’s now subject lines that are between four and seven words perform better than longer subject lines, so that’s a great place to start. And people…here’s a fun one, and actually, I looked this up earlier because I wanted to have these in my back pocket in case this was asked, almost 19% decrease…Adestra did this study. There was a 19% decrease in open rates when the word “newsletter” was used in subject lines, in a study they did. So I think that that just speaks to everything I’ve said today. People are tired of these one-size-fits-all emails. They want personalized subject lines. Those are gonna definitely bump up engagement. So instead of putting my first name in the first piece of copy, maybe put it in my subject line. You’re gonna increase my engagement there.

And I think, first and foremost, though, it’s a short, concise. Be clear, and test. That’s your best place. If your open rates are low, your subject line is the first place that you need to look at optimizing. Are they too long? Is it unclear? Are you testing? Are you split testing? All of those things are possible, and that’s something we’d be happy to walk you through if you’re not sure.

All right, I think I have time for one more. Okay. Ashley’s asking, “These are great examples for B2C. Email tips for B2B.” So we did look at some B2B examples today. I think the way I like to end…it’s actually a great one. The way I like to end this presentation is that all of the methods that we went over today. So, and I’ll go back…let me go back to this chart. So getting people into the right pathways or those right doors, and what I mean, you know…if you remember, what we mean by that is making sure that it’s clear, when I part with my email address, why I’m getting communications from you. If you’re going B2B, example would be, you know, “Sign up here to learn more or to get a demo today.” If it’s that clear, immediately serve me, then a hello or a message that has a way for me to immediately engage with that. If you’re a B2B brand and let’s say I was just surfing around on a bunch of different articles about subject lines, maybe give me, you know, a relevant piece of content in that pathway, or an offer there, and then immediately serve me that piece of content.

When we say, “Put your data to work,” in the B2B realm, that often takes the form of, you know, if I’m sort of a newer, let’s say, lead for you, I’m higher up in your funnel and you only have my email address, then you need to start serving me content. You need to start serving me ways to interact with your brand. And when I say, “Content,” you know, that does come in the form of blogs or white papers. Send me what you got, nurture me. I hate to, you know, use that word. Lead, nurture me and then find out what I like.

If I start clicking lots of different stuff, then I suddenly become someone that isn’t just in your email list, I’m not just an email person. Then I’m someone that, let’s say, signs up for a webinar and gives you lots more information. I tell you what ESP I’m using, I tell you how many people are in my list. We have a closer relationship with you now. If you sat here for an hour with me and you’re not a customer, that’s crazy. You wanna be here, we wanna talk to you. You’re interested. And even if you’re not gonna become a customer, you might become an advocate for our brand and you might be someone that’s a little bit closer now than you were before.

And then again, for B2B examples, it’s your job to just keep serving me relevant content. Keep serving me things that I…for future white papers, events where you’re going to be, things like that. I think that that’s really important. And then all of those reengagement examples, you know, cart abandonment. Obviously, that’s a pretty specific, you know, thing that is pretty B2C. But those replenishment emails that reorder, that subscription-based model, all of those things are easily translatable to a B2B space.

And, all right. So I think we’re definitely done. I’m getting run out of my room, and I’ve babbled long enough. But thank you guys so much. I see questions still coming in. And Ted, I see your hand raised. We will follow up with you directly, I will. But thank you guys so much. You’ve been absolutely fantastic. Again, we’ll send a recording. And if you have any questions, let us know. Whether you’re a customer or not, we wanna make sure that, you know, what we’re doing, what we’re all about, and that you’re just sending great email that connects with people. So, thank you so much.

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