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EMAIL MARKETING TIPS, TRICKS, AND TRENDS

FROM BRANDS WINNING THE INBOX

 

Overview

Transcript

Join Content Marketing Strategist Jamie Bradley as she takes a look at our favorite top-performing email campaigns from brands like Tito’s Vodka, Dogfish Head, Mario Batali, and ReturnPath. You’ll walk away with all the tips, tricks and stats you need to drive excellent results for the rest of the year (and beyond)!

Hello, everybody. Welcome to today’s presentation, “Email Marketing Tips, Tricks, and Trends from Brands Winning in the Inbox.” Thank you so much for joining us, we’re super excited to have you all here on the line today. First, a bit of housekeeping. We are gonna send the slides and the recording, so be aware of that. That’s gonna be hitting your inboxes, not all at once, you’ll get the slides first, and the recording. When we have that, I’ll package it up and ready for you, but we will get it. So, if you need to hop off or you wanna just share this with a friend, we got it.

Also, you will be muted throughout, but feel free to ask questions, we are gonna be taking those and having a Q&A at the end of today’s presentation, so don’t be shy. And if you think of something, type it directly into that little chat modal in GoToWebinar and we got you covered. You can also follow along on Twitter. Our handle is @emmaemail, and the hashtag for today is #WinInTheInbox, and that information should also be in GoToWebinar there for you if you forget throughout. So, who am I? I’m Jamie Bradley, I’m a Content Marketing Strategist at Emma. And we’re an email marketing service provider based in Nashville, Tennessee, for those of you that may be new, and we’re excited if you’re here.

But in my role, I get to come in every single day and basically help people send better emails with the content we produce, including us, hopefully, we’re all in this together. And that is exactly what we’re here to chat about today. So, for the next 45 or so minutes, it’s gonna be jam-packed with the latest stats, some of my favorite examples from brands that are truly nailing this email marketing thing. But, first and foremost, why do we even need to be talking about email? Well, it is because email is a big deal. And it’s not just because I work for a company that does email marketing, I actually get to work here because email is the number one activity on the entire internet, and I did not stutter.

The second most popular thing to do on the internet is use the search engine, so think about how often you google, and you are probably actually on average in your inbox a little bit more. And that’s pretty crazy. So, to put it another way, that’s 2.4 billion people that are accessing email, and we are spending a ton of time in this space. The average office worker, that’s you guys, checks their email 30 times an hour, and I feel it, on a daily basis. But that’s because we’re getting a lot of email, we have to. People receive around 125 emails per day, and for some of you, you’re probably thinking, “Is that it? Is that all?” You know, I feel sometimes, like, I get 125 before lunch, so needless to say, our inboxes are crowded.

Luckily though, if you, you know, can have your voice heard in this space, there’s actually a lot of winning to be had. Almost 70% of U.S. internet users report that email is their preferred method of communicating with businesses. And that’s probably why email actually gets results. In fact, email’s ROI is more than double that of every other digital channel. And that is, again, more than social, more than ads, all that kind of stuff. Specifically with social media though, email marketing converts three times higher. And it’s not just the frequency with which it converts, the actual value of the impressions that you’re making is actually higher, 17% higher on average.

So, a solid email marketing program is really, I like to say, kind of the hub in the wheel of all your other efforts, you know, that’s gonna be in the spokes. So, however, email cannot live in a vacuum, but it can do some really powerful things if you let it sit at the center of a really healthy marketing mix. And that’s because email helps you get the right message to the right people at the right time if you’re doing it effectively.

So, what does that look like? You know, email in and of itself is not magic, simply being present in the inbox, hitting the send button, that ain’t gonna cut it. To really win with email, you have to be strategic about how you’re communicating with different segments of your audience, and that starts well before I ever show up in your inbox. And so, what you’re looking at here before you ever send an email, you’ve got to have my email address, right? So, what you’re looking at here is what we like to call a lightbox or a pop-up form, also, yes, I have many internet tabs open at any given time, it’s a crazy world we live in.

So, these lightbox forms like you see here, these pop-up forms where something pops up, there’s a text box and a button, these actually perform much better than a static signup form. So, you’re seeing these everywhere, they’re not just trendy, you’re seeing them everywhere because they actually are working to the tune of a round of 46% uptick in new signups when they are implemented. And there are lots of different ways to do that. We actually are doing a webinar next week with a partner called Privy, who does really important and amazing stuff with all different types, shapes, forms of these pop-up forms, you should join us for that one, too.

What I like about this form, though, is it’s targeting an audience that is…this is from InVision, they’re a B2B application that we actually were customers of theirs, and they know that designers are using their product. So, in this pop up, what they are serving, they’re not saying, “Please take a tour of InVision,” they are saying, “Hey, do you want a free t-shirt?” They’re using the same tactics as retailers. You don’t necessarily have to be selling something to, you know, market this tactic. And, again, this call-to-action is really strong and they are selling a software.

So, I did it, I want that t-shirt, it looks very soft. So what now? I’m on the list, I want that shirt, you’ve reeled me in, then what do you have to do? In any healthy program, you have to say hello. Once I give you my email address, you better end up in my inbox as soon as humanly possible. So, if you leave today with anything, it’s that if you do not have an automated, and I mean totally automated welcome note when I sign up for your email list, then you have got to get on board with that ASAP. That is a table stake. Seventy four point four percent of people expect a welcome email when they subscribe. When I give you my email address, send me something ASAP.

But it’s not just because I expect it as a consumer or as a person in your audience, is because it actually helps you as a brand, too. You’re not doing this for your health. Welcome notes can actually increase long-term brand engagement by as much as 33%. So, just saying hello, again, it’s friendly, it feels good. And this email that InVision sends when you fill out that lightbox, it’s not your standard welcome note, but the content is relevant and on message with the form that we just filled out. So, make sure that this is a coherent, cohesive experience. Also, though, that call-to-action, it ain’t about a t-shirt, it says thanks for entering, but this email is all about actually getting stickier, trying the application, learning a little bit more about the product, which is what they’re there to do in the first place, which is great.

Also, side note, this email is just gorgeous, and, you know, so it’s pretty cool. But welcome notes, one is super nice, four, or three or four is even better. With automation, with this basic sorta touch point, I just have to do one action, and you can actually get out in front of me in a, you know, strategic way with only one sort of point of entry. You don’t have to know much about me, but you can learn a ton about me just simply by doing a welcome series like you’re looking at here. And this is why, you know, retailers who you saw InVision were copying, retailers specifically that send a welcome email series saw a 13% drive in revenue compared to those that sent just one, and that comes from Internet Retailer 500.

B2B brands can copy it, and you’re gonna see that actually sneak…you know, spoiler alert, in this a lot, there might be a lot of retail examples. Everything that we’re showing today should really be just the best of the best, it can translate to any industry. And why this can translate is that you’re able to, A, say hello immediately, then you can deliver snippets of value. You can pay attention to where I’m clicking, what I’m interacting with, you can get me deeper and deeper into your sort of email ecosystem, and use this welcome series as one little entry point to find out a lot about me, or at least show me, you know, what you’re all about as a brand, which is pretty great.

So, another table stake kinda in that personalized automated email game is a birthday greeting. And it’s often overlooked because they kinda seem cute, again, they seem very retail-ly. I know, for my birthday, I got tons of them, but birthday emails can lift conversion rates by 60% over non-birthday emails with the same offer. And, again, that’s not just if you’re selling t-shirts. And I love this example because it is from an unexpected brand, this is not from Sephora, this isn’t about lipstick, it’s from something called Credit Karma that my colleague received. Not the sexiest industry, but still really leveraging the power of that birthday email.

And, again, Christina’s much more likely to go, “You know what? That’s adorable, I do wanna check my score,” 60% more likely in fact, so something to think about. And as, you know, we talked about saying hello earlier, we talked about some key data points like a birthday or a date related trigger, another type of email that should be on your radar that contributes directly to list health, first and foremost, is this sorta clean up email like you see here. The choices that you make with your audience don’t always have to be dedicated to, you know, the entry point, you can actually check in with me if I haven’t been interacting with your mailings and really should. Emails like this give me as your audience member the opportunity to sorta self-select, “Do I wanna be a part of this?”

Email is, again, really personal, you’re sharing the space with people that I know, and so, this is a really great way to get out in front of me, remind me that I’m on this list. And make a really nice brand impression. Return Path, again, is actually a B2B brand, we work with them a lot. What they do is technical and, you know, is involved with the email industry, but they still took the opportunity to put an adult adorable koala and a clever subject line with the music notes in it, you know? You can make a brand impression here no matter what you do, and absolutely should, especially if I’m trying to leave.

And a study by Return Path actually found that 45% of recipients who receive emails like this, these win back emails, reads subsequent messages even if they didn’t interact with this one. So, even if I don’t open this, if I don’t interact with it, I’m actually more likely to stay on your list and be engaged because you just bubbled your brand back up in my mind, so a really, really good example. And I love this messaging. Again, you know, we talked about adding a lightbox on the front-end when I’m on your website, you know, when I first hit the page. What I really love about this example, it’s a lightbox popping up when I’ve either been on a page too long, or spent a significant amount of time, or when I’m about to exit.

Again, that’s what our partner, Privy, who we’re doing a webinar with next week is all about. So, this got my attention, I actually was hovering over the X to leave this website, and they said, “Wait, don’t go, don’t miss out on this opportunity.” So, playing with forms, playing with the beginning, and the middle, and the end of my interactions with your site and with your brand are all sort of table stakes in the game of making sure that you are getting me into the appropriate, you know, area of your email program. And we’ve established also that inboxes, again, are really crowded, and just getting my attention and serving me the right sort of email in this category, none of this matters though.

Again, if I’m not actually opening the emails that I’m receiving from you, I am…you know, just like I said with Return Path a second ago, they’re using these great tactics of personalized, sort of, branding that might seem hyper-personal. They’re using humor, they’re using gifts, they’re using all kinds of things, and that’s because they’re sharing the inbox with people that actually know me, that actually know how to talk to me, and honestly that I find much more important than your brand. Like Cynthia Price who is our VP of Marketing, who is my boss, I’m going to open Cynthia’s email way before I open cracked.com, or Bell & Clive, these brands that I’m subscribed to. And you can’t help that basically.

But the two biggest factors that influence any open rate, regardless of what the email is, are who it’s from, and then, second, the subject line. So, just being aware of those and knowing the environment that you’re playing in and the levers that you have to pull can help you be a little bit more strategic. Specific subject line tactics that are helpful, subject lines that create a sense of urgency, and exclusivity like Cynthia’s email, can give you a 22% higher open rate. Also taking it back, you know, to her being the sender, again, that from name is important, and the two biggest factors influencing that, again, are who it’s from, what’s happening.

So, testing that from name, you’re not gonna beat Cynthia, but maybe it’s okay sometimes to send certain emails that maybe are a little bit more personal, maybe a little bit deeper down into the relationship, maybe send them from jamie@emma and not just Emma email marketing, you know? Playing around with that and being sure that you’re testing and being aware of what it says when you show up in my inbox is vitally important.

We talked about personalization. You know, you don’t even have to put my name on it to actually make it personal, just talking directly to me isn’t actually gonna go a long way. And personalized subject lines, just like urgent ones, actually are also 22% more likely to be opened, and that comes to us from Adestra. So, address me, be concise, be direct. The biggest trick to sort of winning is to use tactics in your copy that mimic the types of conversations, again, that I’m already having with real people. Oh, the places you’ve been, I know this is coming from me, and then I open this email and I actually see information that is about me. So, this entire experience is tailored, and that subject line is incredibly strong and supports that.

So, all really good tactics because not only are inboxes crowded, but we are on the go, 54% or over half of all email is opened first on a mobile device these days, and those numbers are only trending up. And, in fact, in Emma, you’re actually able to see the percentage, so you will know exactly how many of your subscribers are opening individual mailings on a mobile versus their desktop, and it can tell you a lot. So, you’re walking around with a mobile inbox basically, with a phone app on it, so the consumer’s shifted, we’ve shifted, the times have changed. I now, as a recipient of your emails, have a lot more control over this experience. And it’s your job as a brand to be aware of that, and then pivot, and keep my attention. Because if you can hold my attention, crazy conversions are happening as a result.

Email is super powerful and it influences decisions, it’s not just popular. Even more interestingly, the conversions from mobile, you know, they’re aren’t just impressive, the influence mobile experiences have on consumers is powerful even before I turn into a prospect or a paying customer. Because 90% of smartphone users are using their phones in person in the building, in the middle of conversations, probably right now, some of you are looking at Emma on your cell phone. They’re helping us make decisions about brands long before I’m ever interacting directly. And I’m doing it on the go, they were distracted. So, if your brand impression in the mobile inbox is strong, your mobile landing page is strong, the experience I’m having there is strong, then you’ve got a leg up on your competition.

And having a leg up on your competition in this space means designing first for mobile inboxes. So, kinda gone are the days of making sure it looks totally perfect on your desktop and mobile being an afterthought, actually testing and making sure that emails look good on our phones should be priority number one because the desktop is gonna take care of itself. And so, what does that look like? So, one thing to notice is that the trend of long email or emails that actually look kind of like a mobile site are really, really popular.

And why that is would be that, think of what you’d like to do most on your smartphone, you like to scroll. Our friends at Litmus actually say, “Embrace the scroll,” that’s like one of their big taglines. And this email is doing just that. Also what it’s doing really well is there is a really nice, beautiful, clear anchoring image at the top. So, the first thing I see when I open this email in a mobile inbox is this beautiful image, there’s very sparse text, it’s very image heavy, and I’m able to quickly deduce what they’re trying to do. They’re just trying to sell me a variety of manly awesome products that go with this brand experience that I expect from them.

And according to Google, and another thing to point out too, according to Google, 40% of people who are having a bad mobile site experience will actually visit a competitor’s site instead. So, if you can use the mobile inbox experience to control that, then you can make sure that I’m having at least a great experience on my phone. And then, if I follow you to your website, making sure that that’s really solid is super important because you don’t want people to go to your competitor. And to that end, Patagonia knocks it out of the park always, they’re not a customer, but this mailing, it looks great in all forms.

When I mentioned the big image above the fold, they’re doing it too, 80% of people are only scanning emails when they open them. They’re scanning your name in the inbox, they’re scanning everything, they’re not reading your emails word for word. And another reason why mobile experiences are so important as well is that 90% of our brains, human brains as a matter of consumer baby dog, 90% of our brains are dedicated, a dog does matter, to processing visual content. So, our brains love images, so images, leading with that, you know, we’ve just learned that it’s gonna get my attention and it’s a good combo with that.

But specifically, what’s Patagonia here? It’s not just that our brains love images, our brains love moving images. Videos are a big deal in email, they significantly can up a subscriber’s engagement with your mobile content. About 50 million people in the U.S. now watch video on their mobile phones, 15% of all online video hours globally are viewed on tablets and smartphones, so that’s where we know people are. So, if you can incorporate video into your email, you can actually see click-through rates that are two to three times higher. Mobile did not, in any way, hinder our ability to engage with video. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, we love viewing video there. And email’s popular on mobile, video is popular, boom, Miriam, you can’t lose.

It’s not just that it’s popular though, it’s actually shareable, it’s a very, very shareable format, 92% of people who have viewed a video on the internet have also shared a video. That doesn’t mean they share every video, but it means…think of how many times that you do it, I do it all the time, I share video with my friends, I tag them in things, and I want people to be a part of that experience, and video is a very good way to do that. So, if you use it effectively, you can get buy-in from consumers and have them to do some of the work for you, which is kinda nice.

And it’s simply just the promise of a video in the email, too, that gets people excited and clicking, none of the examples that we’ve looked at or that we’re about to look at actually have automated playing video in the email itself, and we’ll talk through why that is. Also, 72% of email marketers polled in a study by Experian who have used animated gifs have recorded higher transaction to click rates compared with bulk emails to the same customers without the gifs.

So, you’re not just seeing animated gifs because they’re trendy, you’re seeing them because they’re actually working. And an animated gif in an email is the easiest way to convey that there’s a video to click through, too, to watch and share. And aside from just catching our eye, anime gifs tend to actually function for the majority of people. So, you see that woman there at the bottom, all they’ve done is they’ve overlaid a little play button. The video is not actually there, and you see this email is great because it actually has play buttons all over it. If I click the banner at the top, if I click the ad at the bottom, if I click that, all of these are gonna lead me to playable video that’s on their website or somewhere.

Animated gifs, again, actually are supported by almost every email client, which is pretty important, live playable video, HTML5 video, is not. So, it’s not only risky, it’s actually something that most likely is gonna be really hard for you to control that experience. And, again, the common theme today is the more you can control the experience, the better it’s gonna be, and just paying attention to what I’m having and being aware of it is that first step. One note though about animated gifs, if the bulk of your subscribers, let’s say, if you can tell that they’re using, let’s say, Outlook, an older version of Outlook, or Windows Mobile 7, and most ESPs, Emma will tell you if that’s the case when you look at your response data, then make sure that if there is, let’s say, maybe some words in the gif or call-to-action in the gif itself, make sure that that’s the first frame of the gif. So, if in it, you know, off-chance, it doesn’t animate for me, the meaning of that image is not lost completely, so just putting that out there for you.

And here’s another example. I love this because this is just an invitation to a B2B conference, it’s not a sexy retail, kind of, email, but they were able to make tickets now being on sale or something feel fun and exciting with just moving words, it’s that simple. And we found that when we use animated gifts to promote our own B2B marketing event, it was really effective. Also, this was a really good way for us to get a lot of information into an email without taking up a ton of space. So, our mobile consumers were having a good experience. Again, there’s playable video at the top, there’s a clear focus call-to-action, and then the gif allows us to highlight all of our sponsors in one sorta fell swoop without making the email, you know, too busy.

So, as we kinda move into the last stretch of today’s presentation, you know, we’ve covered some automation table stakes, we’ve also covered some basic sort of design mobile, you know, how-tos, the power of video, the power of gifs, all of these factors are really, you know, great guide stones and great things for you to be aware of as you put your email program together. But as strong as videos and images are, you know, as strong as a great designed email can be, it’s really the combination of personalization, marketing automation, and then, you know, serving the correct content that makes sure that you’re delivering, again, the right message to the right people at the right time.

So, it’s not just using the tactics, it’s actually marrying that with a personalized experience for me. And if, you know, don’t feel like you’re doing it well, it’s okay, because as you can see from this stat, you are not alone, nearly two-thirds of all companies feel like they could be doing this better. And so, again, we’re all in this together, we are always working to get better and iterate, and so, we’re gonna look at some ways that you can do that. And it’s important that we all try to get there because people expect this level of communication from your brand. A whopping 90% of people say it’s the more targeted and personal a brand can get with their content, the more it makes that brand feel useful, and that really translates to a useful brand as a valuable brand and a brand that I need, not just that I like.

Also, personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates than general emails, business as usual, emails. But, again, most people are not doing this, most brands are struggling on this front, 70% in fact. And so, you know, if we can sorta look together at ways to be more effective in this realm, and you’re, you know, getting your data in check, it can all seem pretty daunting, but we’re gonna look at some ways that you can do it in small kinda baby steps that’ll get you there.

So, here’s a great example. You know, when it comes to cool stuff that you can start to do with content that is subtle, with the right information, you know, with the right data, email marketing starts to get pretty cool and starts to get pretty interesting. So, I love this example from Pottery Barn Kids, I don’t even have kids, nor do I buy things for kids frequently, but I love their email program, and so, I subscribe because I’m a nerd and I think it’s really fascinating. But if you look at this, look at that pillow, the call-to-action here, what they’re trying to convey to me, A, they’re trying to get me to use this code, but what they’re saying is that I can customize my chair, my pillow, they put my initials on that pillow.

They did this with…you know, they don’t use them on full disclosure but, you know, there are ways to do this, but they dynamically put my initials on this pillow. And so, with no imagination, I am able, very subtly, to put myself into this story. And it is as really powerful way to kinda do that. And that is a little advanced, I know, but beyond just sort of name personalization, and, you know, obviously ways that you can do that in a more traditional sense would be putting my name in the email itself, putting my name in the subject line.

But beyond that, just, you know, sorta shoehorning my name into it, a deeper kind of content sort of tailoring that is happening here, which we would call dynamic content, is what Nike is doing. I love this example because it’s based on their perception of what I want, it’s probably data-wise based on what I’ve purchased from them in the past. So, they know either that I’ve purchased what would be considered men’s clothing or that I’ve purchased what would be considered women’s clothing. I may be shopping, though, for someone else, I may not always be shopping at the Nike store for myself or at nike.com, so this email handle is in a really great way. It’s not saying, “Hey,” gender of the person that we may not know, “Hey,” it’s saying, “We know what you’ve purchased,” and you only notice that they’re doing this if you see these side by side.

It’s no harm, no foul, but it could actually take me that extra step and push me over the edge. Again, if I can see myself in the story, I can see myself in the narrative and aspire to it, so really, really nice stuff. A different way to do this, though, like going back and saying shoehorning my name into it, you can also put the name of things, you know, or put words into the emails themselves or into the subject line that are hyper-relevant to my last interaction with your brand. So, I love this example, Airbnb does an amazing job of this. I actually booked an Airbnb this weekend and they’re sending me already really, you know, exciting content that is super personal to my trip with tips on what to do and all that good stuff.

But I loved this example specifically when it comes to personalization because I had looked at New Mexico on airbnb.com, I’d navigated away from the page, and about two or three days later, I received this email. They pulled a piece of data obviously from their website saying, “Hey, this girl is looking at Taos,” they have a template that plugs Taos in, pictures of Taos, sends them to me, and it’s a super relevant way for them to do this just by looking at, again, my last interaction with their brand and what I’m more likely to interact with.

Also design-wise, again, this looked great on mobile, those images stacked beautifully, there’s very sparse right size text that’s easy to understand, and that subject line really stood out, so really, really nice. However, maybe you’re not Airbnb, maybe you don’t have their budget, maybe you don’t have the manpower, the bandwidth, you can still do some really great things in really simple ways just by simply asking me what I want from your brand. It doesn’t have to be rocket science, and it doesn’t have to be tricky, you don’t have to trick me even though these are tips and tricks, this is just a tip, just ask me.

So, this email is super simple, I would like to point out as well because I know there’s very little context here. Nasty Gal is actually a very popular women’s, sort of, youth clothing brand. Their founder and CEO is, sort of, thought of as like the millennial Sheryl Sandberg, so I promise this is all aboveboard. But what I love about this email is that Nasty Gal is just asking me for this data point. Like they wanna see how engaged I am, they wanna see how much of a fan I am. All they’ve done is they’ve made each one of those numbers a little clickable image, a little button if you will, super easy to do. And depending on what I clicked, they’re able to serve me content or they’re just able to go in and pull that data and maybe put me in a group.

If I say 10, hey, I’m probably, you can abet, gonna get something automated that rewards me for that, or at least, you know, now I’m in a VIP group or something of that nature. So, again, you can just ask, I expect the right kinda content from you. So, if you don’t have the information that you need to do that, this is a great way to start.

And I am gonna kinda round out this section. I love a cautionary tale as much as I love a success story and a great example. And I wanna also point out I’m not hating on Toyota here, I drive a Toyota myself as you can see. So, I drive a Yaris, in fact. So, I open this email and it says, “Jamie, experience the world of Yaris ownership.” And I’m like, “Wow, doesn’t that sound aspirational?” The problem here isn’t that they used my name or isn’t that I don’t drive a Yaris, all that’s true, the problem is that they don’t do anything else in the content that helps me experience Yaris ownership, they should have just left that out entirely.

So, if you were just using personalization to use it and you’re not thinking through how it can be a benefit, don’t do it and/or make sure that you have your program set up so that maybe you can pull a picture of something related to the Yaris in there or an article about how to, you know, get a little bit more engaged with Toyota as a brand. Instead, what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to sell me a Camry. They’re basically telling me you have the cheap hatchback, you don’t have the new nice car. So, I’m experiencing Yaris ownership and I don’t know how I feel about it. So, just be aware of this and know that if you are gonna personalize the emails, make sure that it’s cohesive and actually sort of backs it up and makes this experience, overall, better for me and doesn’t point out flaws in your, you know, sort of data capture and storage.

So, to round out today’s presentation, I do wanna walk through a brand that we work with that does a lot of these things really well, and, again, they’re an Emma customer. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Dogfish Head Brewery out of Delaware, but they’re a craft brewery, a super fun brand, a big fan of theirs. And so, what you’re looking at here on your screen is, the moment you go to their site, depending on, you know, what page you’re on, once you say, “Yes, I’m 21,” that whole legal loophole, then you get this signup form saying, “Hey, sign up for our email list,” which is awesome.

So, I sign up for their list, and what do they do? They’re just exhibiting best practices and taking our advice. So, here’s just some images from their welcome series. And from left to right, immediately, I get a thanks for joining email. And I’d love to sorta point this out, to sorta walk us through maybe like the cadence and the timing, there’s no silver bullet answer, this is different for everyone. The only, sort of, consistent piece of a welcome series that I think is pretty failsafe and applicable to everyone is making sure email number one is immediate, which email automation helps you do, we have that. We have automation at that level in our most basic account types, so we want everyone to do this.

So, what they do first is they say thank you, they’re not asking for too much. And actually, the email on the far right, the one that says, “Show me the beer,” that’s just showing me a product, it’s telling me a little bit more about the brand. This could be a place where maybe you plug in a case study, or you plug in features from your page, you know, something of that nature that will allow me to learn a little bit more about what I can expect from you. And then, this final email in their series, theirs is only three, that I receive says, “Take my money.” So, then, the CTA gets a little bit stronger here at the end.

And, you know, they don’t right out of the gate say, “Take my money and get that bold,” but by the third or fourth touch, they’re assuming that I know why I’m getting this, I know a little bit more about what they have to offer, and then, they’re enticing me to try to buy some merchandise. So, it’s just like a nice model to follow, don’t necessarily ask for too much up front if all you know about me is my email address. So, good one. I also love to just highlight for people, because I think people are always curious, what segments look like in other people’s accounts. And so, you see here, you know, they’ve got everything from a general newsletter to…they have some properties, they also have different newsletters for their distributors versus their consumers. They also have sort of a VIP program called their Mug Plug…I mean, Mug Club. And then, they also obviously segment their audience out by who’s new and who’s recently opened or clicked a mailing.

And so, I like to just sorta peel back the curtain, and they’re nice enough to let us talk about that beer. It’s just a nice way to start thinking of your audiences both proactively, like you know who those people are better than anyone else, so who are the different audiences, who are your different segments, start there, and then, data from the emails is actually gonna help you pick up the rest of it.

So, this email kinda helps us look…we’re gonna look at how these are performing for them. So, one thing that Dogfish Head does is they always leverage the power of video. They also are super lucky because their CEO is just a cool charismatic guy that went to college with the guys from Wet Hop American Summer, which is awesome, and he’s friends with Mario Batali, and, you know, we should all be so lucky, it’s pretty cool material for videos.

But what I like to point out here is just that they’re doing it, and they’re using it, and they follow our best practices of anchoring the top part of their mailings with that. And what I like to point out about this mailing is that specifically, this went out to that highly engaged sorta VIP segment. And the subject line was, “New beer show debuts now.” And that’s our strategy, it’s simple, it’s straight to the point, it’s not, you know, kinda overly clever, it’s very, very indicative of what’s gonna happen when I open this email, and I love that approach, you know? You can be super simple with that and it can be clever.

And as you can see here, because they were focused with who got it, because they were short and direct and sorta led it with video, they had an almost 50% open rate, and they averaged kind of a 20% to 30% click-through rate on these mailings, which is really, really good. That’s a really good average, and 50% is excellent. But they didn’t send this to 20,000 people, they send it to a highly engaged segment. So, let’s look at other aspects of this email that work. This is a different email but same exact format, it’s another episode of this beer show with Mario Batali. And so, what they’re doing is they’re teasing again that multimedia content at the top. The copy is clear and direct. And then, they have an attention-grabbing call-to-action.

And I love to point this out because another thing that works really well on mobile devices, not only is this format incredibly mobile-friendly, but that button, it is much easier to tap a button than it is to click on a text link, and we’re gonna look at what that looks like. So, it’s really easy to tap on a big play button on a video, so they sent this email out, by and large, with this click map, biggest bulk happen there also. They actually have about a 50/50 mobile desktop split, so a good thing that they designed for mobile. But when we talk about buttons, look at the button clicks versus that text link right above it. So, the button got less clicks than the picture of their, you know, charismatic CEO and Mario Batali, sure, but it definitely also trumped the text link.

And a theory is that buttons stand out. Cognitively, you can look at that big yellow button a lot easier, people wanna click them, people wanna push buttons, I know I do, and it’s just, again, easier to interact with than a text link. So, think of how many times you’ve tried in vain to click a text link that’s tiny on your phone and you end up on the wrong page and you get frustrated. In email, you don’t have that time to waste, so just a really, really good example here. And the most important thing, and where I like to sorta land, is that of the utmost importance is when I click either the button, or the link, or, you know, the picture, I land on a place where I can easily interact with and watch the video.

So, this comes up a lot and I’ll just go ahead and head it off at the pass because someone probably asked it already during the webinar, but you may not have total control over the mobile experience on your website, but you do have control over most likely where I’m landing. So, this video is housed on YouTube, it’s also housed on their site as well. If you don’t have it on your site, if you don’t have a good mobile-optimized experience there, by all means, it’s gonna do you better to send me to YouTube where it’s already a great mobile experience because YouTube’s got a lot of stuff figured out than it is to send me back to your website where I’m gonna have a bad experience. So, bear that in mind.

The other thing and kind of a takeaway before we do head into the Q&A, if your marketing website, if your website is not mobile friendly, or you don’t have pages where you can send me that are from an email lobby for that super hard where you are to make that happen, because, again, we are only trending in a direction… And you’d be surprised huge brands that I run into all the time and probably you guys, where the website is not a mobile-friendly website, so just, you know, bear that in mind. And, you know, kind of enclosing to any email that leaves Emma, honestly, any email that leaves any good ESP, if yours is not doing this, think it through, any email that leaves Emma, whether you design it or we design it, is automatically mobile optimized.

So, any of our templates, anyone that, you know, we make for you, and any that you make using our tools, are automatically going to, you know, stretch and at least do the bare minimum, and then, it’s on you to actually make sure that looks good. So, as we head into our question-and-answer segments, I’m very excited, I hope that was helpful. Again, please type any questions that you have, we’re gonna be pulling those out, we already got a few as we were going, so let’s look here.

We got one from…oh, we got one from Meg that just says, “What’s the easiest way to boost success rates?” Which is really broad, but I have a lot of things to say because we talked about all of that, I mean, we touched on all of them throughout. I definitely think if you are, you know, not using automation, if you’re not doing things that are in that table stakes section like the welcome note, at least maybe one date-based trigger that’s relevant. And maybe it’s not a birthday, maybe for you guys it’s a subscription date when I signed up for your list, or it’s a renewal date if you have data on, how long they’ve been a customer, something like that, you can actually, you know, set a date-based trigger that is relevant. Because most likely, those are sometimes the easiest points of data that you have or the dates that people did something in your audience, so that’s what we say.

So, you know, boosting success rates, too, that also is, you know… If you aren’t using video, and again, it doesn’t even have to be a video that you guys are producing in-house, though there are lots of tools out there now to, you know… You don’t have to have a whole production company, you can do it. A great resource is actually a partner and friend of ours called Wistia, wistia.com. They do B2B sort of video hosting, but they also have just a wealth of really smart resources that help you, you know, as a marketer, at any sorta step of the way, do video in-house that doesn’t have to cost, you know, an arm and a leg or have a big team.

So, I would definitely say that looking at the inventory of what you have to share, looking at your content, first and foremost, looking at your data, what do you know about me, what are you trying to…you know, what do you need to know about me? Do you need to send out a survey asking a really specific question? What do you need to hit your goal? And then sorta back filled out with email and start putting me into the right segments in your audience to serve me content that’s relevant to me hitting that goal. So, that’s really, really broad, but it’s all about using the data you have, trying to identify which data you need, and then segmenting and serving, you know, content based on that.

So, a general one, so now we’re gonna move on. Let’s look here. We’ve got… Yes. So, Alisa, a great question. So, going back to the welcome email series, Alisa asked, “Do you think the welcome email series is applicable in the B2B market?” Absolutely. So, you know, just like we were saying before, a welcome series is less about, you know, kind of getting flashy product pictures or a beer in front of someone, it’s more a device to really stretch out the one opportunity that you have to learn about me and get in front of me. So, a lot of times, that welcome series, I mean, that might be…if I’m just some, you know, person that sort of organically landed on your homepage and then signed up for your email list, it’s very likely that you know very little about me, you may not know anything.

It’s also less likely that I’m gonna fill out a super long complicated form on your homepage, you know? You’re gonna fill out a longer registration form for, let’s say, a webinar as you did today, or a piece of content, or thought leadership content that’s a little bit more, you know, sort of… You might be a little bit deeper into the process, you might already be a customer, we can be bold and ask for a little bit more information when that’s happening. But with a welcome series, you know, this might be very well my very first interaction with your brand ever, and you may only have my email address.

So, for a B2B brand, again, first and foremost, that first touch is just saying thank you, thank you for signing up. You can do that whether you’re B2B or B2C. And I know I showed InVision earlier, and they are, you know, mainly a B2B sort of brand. You know, InVision, yes, they had a sweepstakes and a giveaway, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be, you know, a thing of monetary value, it could have been, you know, register for our email list and we’ll give you an exclusive piece of content. First email is just saying, “Thank you. Here’s that piece of content.”

So, second email, again, that’s a great place for you to show off a customer story. I mean, whether you are B2B or B2C, surely, you have case studies or customer stories, and if not, then that’s something to focus on in your content marketing. But, you know, that second touch can just say, “Hey, here’s a little bit more about what we’re doing, here’s someone that really is loving us and they have a great experience with our products and our services and, you know, they got great results.” That third or fourth touch, again, can be a way to maybe ask them, get some more information from the person that you’re selling to no matter what you’re selling and say, you know, “What do you want to hear from us? What content would be helpful for you? What aspects of this industry are most interesting to you?” Like self-identify, you could actually maybe ask some questions and get some data that you need in that welcome series at that point.

And then, that last email like I said is when you can get a little bit more bold and serve a call-to-action. So, whether you’re B2B or B2C, you’re asking someone, you’re in a fiduciary relationship with someone, whether it’s, you know, trying to sell software, or services, or expertise, or consulting, you know? So, even if you’re B2B, that same model can still apply, it’s just obviously the types of content are gonna be different. But it’s say hello, introduce your brand, tell me…you know, give me some social proof, tell me why that brand is valuable, maybe give me more social proofs, maybe throw out, you know, an offer or another piece of content, ask me for something. And then, finally, you know, be a little bit bold about that call-to-action of me becoming a customer, or taking a tour, or asking for a quote, or whatever it might be. So, same model applies no matter what you’re selling, but that’s a great question.

Emily just really quickly asked, “What can you define CTA?” I kept saying CTA, and then, saying calls-to-action, they’re synonymous. So, I mean, the call-to-action is simply, in your email, physically, it’s a button or a link. But really, I mean, in its most simple form, the call-to-action is why you sent the email. So, even that welcome email from Dogfish Head which I’ll go back to it. Let me see if I’m going back here. Even the very, you know, first email if you look all the way to the left, I know the button is obscured a little bit, but it has a call-to-action in it.

The last email they send, of course, the call-to-action would be “take my money,” which is funny, and, you know, the other one is “show me the beer.” So, it’s what you want me to do, it’s the reason you’re sending the email. Obviously, they are a, you know, business to consumer brand, but when they email their distributors, they use the same model. Their distributors are a different type of relationship than their customers, but the basic structure of this mailing and we show this content, this model works whether you are trying to get me to watch a fun video or you’re trying to get me to, you know, go into your portal and update my settings or whatever it might be, you know? The actual structure of this, this is based on user experience that I’m having on a mobile device, and just as, you know, with data that we know because we’re big nerds about brains and how we process information, you know, this could be the same setup or idea no matter what you’re trying to get someone to do in an email.

An email is just the vehicle to get me to where you need me to be, and the more focused and direct you can be with that and provide that, the better. Even with the, you know… And then there are some of you who are gonna say, “Gotcha. That one email way back there in the presentation was super-long.” That actually only still had one goal. The one goal is for me to click some picture that entices me, and then, buy that thing.” So, I mean, the goal is still focused, it’s just a variety of images that are trying to get me to do something instead of just one. So, yeah, so great question, I hope that was informative.

Hector actually asked, “When using automation, is there a rule of thumb for the delay between emails?” And that’s a really great question. I would say it’s really different depending on what you’re automating. So, like with a welcome series, that is typically based, again, on you having very little information, maybe just an email address. So, with welcome emails, we typically do throw out a cadence of when they should hit, at first, maybe two to three days. You don’t wanna send me something every single day unless when I signed up for your list, you said sign up for the daily digest or the, you know…

There’s actually a brand that I ran into that was a B2B brand that they had a welcome series, essentially, that was sign up…I mean, it was there welcome series but they did it in sort of a tricky way. There was like sign up for the, you know, 10-day course to learn…you know, to become a XYZ champion or whatever it might be, to learn more about this, this 10-day boot camp. And so, for them, that welcome series was one email every single day at the same time each day, and the emails were like day one is this, day two is that. So, if you frame your automation experience with a really certain sort of, you know, time, day, that sort of thing, then obviously, the answer is make sure your workflow, no matter what it’s doing, whether it’s a welcome one or based on some other thing, is hitting on those dates that you specified.

We’ve also seen people…you know, we have workflows, it’s really specific to what the goal is. And when I say a workflow, that’s just what we internally or inside the Emma application call them. So, you could have a welcome workflow, you can have a, “They clicked this button and now they’re in, you know, this workflow.” So, when I say workflow, that’s just all it means, it just means an automated series of emails that are going out. But yeah, for sorta the timing and the cadence, I think it’s just what expectation you set on the front end when I clicked it.

Also, often, you know, really smart automation, you know, that welcome series is pretty obvious that I’m gonna be receiving probably some automated emails, and, again, I expect it. But really great automation like that Airbnb example or…you know, that email from Nike probably wasn’t automated, but the Airbnb one certainly was. And that was a really smart delayed automation. The moment that they gathered data that I wanted to go to New Mexico, I actually did not get that email the same day, I got that email two to three days later, so they set it up on a delay. Because they knew, you know, if she’s not ready to buy right now, that’s why we’re sending this email, she wasn’t into it. So, if we inundate her with an email, she could get annoyed at worse, and at best, like just ignore it because she’s not ready.

Two to three days later, it’s really well-timed for me to get an email from Airbnb because it’s like, you know, what if that’s… You know, when I was thinking about going to New Mexico and then I got busy and navigated away and I forgot, this email actually helped me. So, when we talk about sort of the frequency and the cadence of them, it’s, you know, thinking of the timing that supports where I am in the buyer journey or in relation to what the email was trying to do. So, I hope that was helpful. Let’s look here at…we’ve got time for a couple more.

Okay. Anthony, this is a great question about re-engagement emails or those sorta win-back emails. Anthony says, “With re-engagement emails, if the goal is to get someone to just open the email,” if the list is just anyone who has not open-clicked in the last year, let’s say, “Is it a good idea to put them back into the ‘regular’ email group once this happens or do we need to actually have them click before doing that?” There’s lots of different ways that you can go about it. Short answer, Anthony, re-engagement emails, again, it depends on the expectation you set in the email. Just like with your welcome sort of pop-up form, we have some customers who do the path of, “I wanna shave off the people who absolutely don’t read these emails for various reasons. I want them off my email list. I don’t even wanna risk accidentally sending them something later,” that’s a bold move.

And when you send out a re-engagement email and say if you don’t click here, or if you don’t respond by Friday, or whatever it might be and whatever the languages you use, then yes, you need to remove those people that don’t respond, you need to stick to your guns, and you need to know that you’re also going to lose people. Same for if you put a button in the email that says click here to, you know, unsubscribe, or please unsubscribe, or whatever it might be. And we have people that do that. You know, they are cleaning their lists super actively. And, you know, for them, the reward of the quality of that list and the engagement of that list far outweighs the quantity of that list. And that’s just something that, you know, obviously, we would be happy to talk with anyone about one on one but it’s a little too big of a broad answer for this audience, I think, to tell you definitively to do one or the other.

However, like to your point, you know, you can also send a re-engagement email that doesn’t give anyone an ultimatum, and that’s where that stat comes into play, where if you’re just sending one where the hope is that I click something and tell you yes or no like with that Return Path email, then you don’t necessarily have to remove me from the list. I would say it’s probably wise to look at that data though, maybe give it some time, look at that data and maybe put me in a list that’s like, you know, everyone who received the re-engagement email that didn’t respond and sort of follow up with them accordingly. You know, there’s lots of different ways you could play it.

But what you are gonna learn from that is, if you put a button in there that says, you know…or you put any button in there and people interact with it, then you’re gonna be able to say, “Hey, those people, not only did they read the email, they clicked.” So, that person’s gonna go in a group where I know they’re a little bit more engaged than the ones that flat-out ignored me, and they’re definitely more engaged than the ones that said, “Take me off this list.”

So, you know, that Return Path example, and again, we’ll send the slides around, is a fantastic example, it actually kinda gives you all three paths, you know, and, again, that they actually are ironically the ones who did the study that serve as this data. You know, I definitely interacted with that email, I told them that, you know, please leave me on the list, so I’m positive that they put me into probably a separate group.

And sure enough, I feel as if I’m getting more emails from them now, which is not shocking. But most likely, they put the people who didn’t interact as much or didn’t interact at all in a separate segment to receive probably less frequent emails. And, you know, again, the sort of reward is that they know with data that they sourced that even if I didn’t interact and, you know, they probably didn’t delete anyone off the list unless they expressly raised their hands, that’s hard to say, to be removed from the list because they know that people are gonna read those subsequent emails.

So, yeah, I know it’s a lot of information, but basically with those win-back emails, you can be bold, know that you’re gonna lose a bunch of people, or kind of be respectful, put people into the right segments, but just know that that’s data that you’re getting on the back-end. Basically, that’s an email that helps you either do something really fast or it helps you learn a lot, so very good answer. And honestly, let’s see, I think we might have time for one more. Okay. Khalil, great question. “What day of the week has the highest opening rates for emails, weeks, days, or weekend?” This is always one of my favorites to talk about because, again, there is no definitive answer for every individual on the call today, it varies based on industry, what you want me to do.

I would say, general rule of thumb, if you’re completely unsure of when to start or what days, and let’s say for B2B, where are the people on your list when they’re gonna interact with the email or what do you want them to do? Do you want me to register for a webinar that helps me do my job better? Send me that email when I’m actually at my job. And probably send it not on a Monday morning where it’s buried in a thousand other emails, probably don’t send it to me Friday at 4:30 because I am not thinking about signing up for your webinar, but then, I’m thinking about my barbecue that I’m gonna have the next day.

So, you know, Tuesdays through Thursdays midday, especially if you’re B2B, that’s a good time to give it a shot. On the flip side of that, let’s say you work in the travel and leisure industry, let’s say that you were trying to get me to look at Taos, New Mexico, or look at a cruise or something of that nature, I am not likely to be doing that Tuesday at 10:30. I’m getting emails from Cynthia that are important, I’m getting emails from Toyota that don’t make any sense, like, I mean, my inbox is crowded, I’m not paying attention. But if you send that to me on a Saturday morning when I’m making plans, and booking trips, and paying bills, and doing all of that kinda stuff, then that’s probably a good time to send.

I would say also that I caution anyone to read, you know, blogs that tell you exactly when to do something for your industry because especially with time and day, think about it, “Everyone on the internet, send your email Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.,” everyone starts sending their email at Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., and then no one’s emails get read because we’re all sending them at the same time, so it changes. But I would definitely say think of where I am, think of where I’m most likely to be, and think of the goal. If it’s watching a funny video, send that to me at lunch, send it to me at night, send it to me on the weekend maybe.

If it’s, you know, me doing something for my job during the day, if it’s something I’m more likely to engage with on the weekend, I mean, let it follow your own sort of rhyme and reason with your own audience that you already know. And if you don’t know that, then that’s a great thing to test.

So, all right, guys, well, we are done for the day. Those are amazing questions. Again, we’re gonna send the slides out to you. We will also send the recording around, so stay tuned for that. And let us know if you have any questions. Again, you can tweet at us @emmaemail and we are happy to get those covered for you. But thanks so very much. And, yeah, have a lovely day.

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