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WiNNING THE INBOX

3 things savvy email marketers must know

 

Overview

Transcript

Join Jamie Bradley (Content Marketing Strategist at Emma) as she walks you through the three top areas marketers should focus on to get real results in the inbox. You’ll learn:

• Simple design and content tweaks you can make today to maximize subscriber engagement
• The latest tips for automating your messages so they get noticed by the right people at the right time
• The key data to analyze so that you can edit, iterate, and keep getting better with every send

Hashtag: #WinTheInbox

Hello, everybody. Welcome to today’s presentation, winning the Inbox, three things savvy email marketers must know. I am super excited as always to be here in front of you guys and thank you so much for spending an hour or so with us. And yeah, you’re great. I can’t wait to sling some email knowledge. So a little housekeeping before we get started. We always get this question. It’s a good sign, but yes, we will send the recording via email. So if you registered and you need to hop off, don’t worry. If your buddy signed up and couldn’t be here, they’re gonna get that in an email as well. Or if you just wanna share it with all your friends which we would love, you will get that recording. So don’t sweat it.

Also, we’re gonna do the presentation today and then we are gonna have a Q&A at the end. You’re muted but you can type your questions directly in there into the GoToWebinar chat module, and we’ll be scooping those up as we go through. So you will be heard. And also, you can follow us on Twitter @emmaemail and use the #wintheinbox to quote, ask questions, whatever you wanna do. We’ll be looking there, and we love to see you guys being active in that channel and chatting about the webinar and telling us what you like about it. So who I’m I? Well, there’s a blue and purple photo of me.

I look different in real life, but I’m Jamie Bradley. I’ve been at Emma for about eight or so years, and I am a Content Marketing Strategist here. And really, in short, what that means is I get to come in every day and create content that helps marketers send better email and hopefully, helps us send better email too at Emma because we’re all learning and in this together. We’ve got a head start on some of our email knowledge, but we’d love to hear what works for you too. And again, we’re all in this together after all. So everything you’re gonna hear in the next 45 minutes-hour comes directly from what we’ve learned over the past years really working day in and day out with clients just like you guys from a wide variety of industries, shape, sizes, you name it. We’ve probably talked about it and sent an email about it.

And when it comes to our customer success with email and our own approach to email marketing, there are really a few places that we always start when we sit down to determine really the best course of action with their email program. We always say, “What are your business goals? What are you guys currently doing with the email marketing to hit those goals? And is it working? What areas would you like to improve, or do you think you need to improve?” And then we sort of work together on some quick iterations or improvements that they can make to immediately move the needle based on their challenges and their goals.

And no matter what, it always leads back to the question of what would it take for this customer’s emails to really stand out in crowded inboxes because the volume of email that we all receive day in and day out, again, regardless of shape, size, industry is staggering. I mean my inbox, I’m terrified to look at it after a webinar being away for an hour. And we just really, we go from there. How do you stand out? And we do all of this operating under the assumption the majority of our customers have other things to do besides think about email marketing.

While our customers are working with us to improve their email results, they are worried about their organic reach and their social media strategy and are they getting enough reviews on Yelp or wherever it might be? Are their target customers chiming in and having a better conversation with them and on and on and on or is their website optimized, every single page? We have a lot on our plates and simply put, we at Emma, we think about email marketing every day. That’s kind of my job. But you probably don’t, and that’s okay. You have different priorities as a marketer not just day to day, but if you’re anything like me, sometimes that happens hour to hour.

You are reacting to shifts in your brand’s plans with different needs and goals. Sometimes those work together, and sometimes they conflict. And that is probably why 62% of marketers when pulled by insight and say they often feel overwhelmed just by the sheer volume of information that’s coming at them from all directions. And really, what that means for us is that we know you wanna be thoughtful but you can’t. You can’t always be as thoughtful as you’d like to be, and as intentional with all of your efforts. And so oftentimes in email world, that really translates into marketers defaulting to kind of that same old same old, sending out that monthly “newsletter” that they’ve always sent, that has three columns and really hasn’t changed design-wise in some years.

They’re using maybe a template that’s kind of that one-size-fits-all. They aren’t segmenting their list smartly or at all. They aren’t really stopping to analyze and pivot based on their email response data. And as a result, they aren’t fully in control of getting better results. And this isn’t happening again because marketers don’t wanna do the best email marketing. They’re doing it because they’re busy and email is a little workhorse that often falls lower on the priority list because even uninspired email is still a worker bee really. And as a channel, it’s really stable and nice, and so it gets forgotten sometimes. It’s that forgotten middle child which is unfortunate because there are consistent, powerful results that marketers see with email.

The DMA puts these ROI email stats out every year and really, this is kind of the latest. This is where we are. And this percentage looks crazy impressive which is why we blow it up all big on a slide, but really what that translates to is around $40 for every $1 that you spend on email marketing. That’s awesome, right? More awesome is that that actually is more than double that of every other digital channel on a consistent basis. It’s more than social. It’s more than paid search. And this has been true for as long as I’ve been working in email, as long as we’ve been working with clients. So do you want more from your email marketing?

I’ll wait. Of course, you do. Literally, nobody on the line today is gonna raise their hand and say, “Hey, I wish I spent more money and got the same results over and over again.” So how on earth do we get there together? So how do you get the highest returns possible from your email program? Well, I’m gonna give you a fluffy answer and then we’re gonna dig in. You absolutely have to consistently deliver an exceptional inbox experience. And you’re sitting there thinking, “Oh, cool. No pressure.” But email, as with any other marketing channel, follows a pretty clear path to success luckily. The ROI will always follow an exceptional experience. And luckily with email programs, there is a template for that.

There are some areas of email marketing, of the channel itself, and of your strategy that if you can nail, you’re gonna see it. You have to focus on the right things. And again, your recipient doesn’t live in the inbox. They spend a ton of time there, but there’s a whole lot going on outside of the inbox that affects the subscribers’ overall experience with your brand. So when it comes to email, there are a few things that you can nail that are going to yield real results and the areas that often we see the most sort of improvement immediately in results, in focus if our clients can kind of figure those out. So what are they?

First and foremost, great email design. Before you can even think about all those data points outside of the inbox, you have to have a plan to wow them the moment that they enter your digital world. And honestly, that happens even before they land in the inbox. We’re gonna look at some design tweaks that successful email marketers are already doing that you can just kind of borrow if you will. Then we’re gonna look at the timing. Are you meeting consumers where they are? You have to automate whenever possible in order to better follow your subscribers’ lifecycle and capture their attention. So if you think you’re busy, guess what? They’re busy too. We’re all busy. That’s not gonna stop anytime soon.

Your audience doesn’t have the same goals as you as well. So you’re on their timeline now, and one of the most powerful ways to connect with a subscriber is to get in front of them in all the right ways when they’re most likely to be responsive, and automation is helpful for that. And of course, you can do everything that we’ll talk about today, and I’m gonna spoil it for you now. You’re never going to be done. Delivering a great experience with email is an ongoing and ultimately rewarding adventure, but it doesn’t stop. Just because you are winning in the inbox one week, you gotta just start fresh and take a nice fresh approach with each new campaign, with each new sort of goal or lever that you wanna pull.

So we’ll round things out today by looking at a customer of ours that did sort of all of these things really well and hopefully, you’re gonna walk away with a handful of really actionable ideas that will help you send your best emails ever. So let’s get to it. So first, design. People spend a ton of money on every facet of their brand when it comes to design. So why would your email program be any different? Why would you not be as strategic as you possibly could be with the design of your emails as you are with your website, your logo design, all that good stuff? When it comes to email, again, that is a place that we often see as overlooked.

We wouldn’t harp on it and provide so many resources about it if it wasn’t really the just forgotten aspect that most people sort of overlook. So in this section, we’re going to look at why design is so much more than just your “template” and how you…before you can put data to work and start kind of building the house, you gotta have a firm foundation. Design often is that foundational element of your email program that can make or break a single mailing success or an entire campaign. And we believe good email design starts here. So this is an email capture pop-up, and it’s got a nice compelling call-to-action, get an instant 15% off. Simple as that.

So I’m getting something if I give them my information. What I love about this is that they’ve basically highlighted what they want you to do. So there’s actually two paths. There’s, “Yes, I want 15% off,” “No, I’d rather pay more,” which is a little cheeky. But I like it because it’s, you know, the yes is highlighted. However, the biggest thing that I like about the design of this form, essentially this email capture form, is that it’s unobtrusive. It’s what we would call a banner style pop-up.

And this is pretty helpful for a number of ways. But what we’re seeing by and large and our friends at Privy, which are a partner of ours that actually build custom forms like this or provide resources to build some sort of innovative sign up forms, have actually found time and again that these sort of nice banner-styled pop-ups are outperforming those big pop-ups that block everything out.

And if you think about it, it’s just a better experience. I’m still able to see and scroll and experience the product page behind it but this banner kind of takes up a lot of real estates and it is still kind of in my face. And I can still get out of it, but often times, it just sort of sticks around until I’m ready to make a move. And this particular banner, I loved because this brand, Frank and Oak, had never offered women’s clothing before and I signed up on this page and now I’m in a segment of their audience that is all about that experience that I have. So not only did they serve me a great pop-up to sort of get onto their list that is designed in a really thoughtful way and in a valuable way, they now took that information and made some assumptions based on where I entered their world which is pretty awesome.

Because as you’ll see, the more data you have, the better you can target. But we’re going to keep talking about strategic design here. So more than half of all email is opened first on a mobile device. And this next example is from one of my favorite brands, Patagonia, one of my favorite brands in the inbox. I am actually not outdoorsy myself, but they just nail it with email here. This one mailing, this is one email, and this looks great in all forms. It looks great on the desktop. It looks great on mobile, and it also looks great in sort of this little preview pane here if I only just open and start scanning which is kind of what we’re looking at represented on the screen in front of us.

And that’s important because about 80% of your audience is just scanning really all the time but especially in the inbox. If they like your subject line, if they open the email, chances are they are not reading this word-for-word, and as someone that writes copy, well, that is sad. That is just the nature of the beast. And it also turns out that it’s just the way human brains are wired. So your brain processes images around 60,000 times faster than text. And again, that’s not just consumers. That’s not shoppers. That’s not outdoorsmen. It’s just human beings opening their eyes and using their eyes to look at stuff. So you’re more likely to capture my attention if you’re using strong visual data if you’re putting that in front of me.

And again, over half of all the email is opened on a mobile device first. So by putting that nice visual sort of real estate up at the top, a strong logo, this video here that you see or this picture that represents a video, it’s pretty powerful, and it’s also a pretty long email. And so they actually are just sort of repeating the same items over and over again but in different ways that are all really easy to engage with on a mobile device. But really, they’re just selling one experience in one outfit which I like, that you just sort of laid it out in different ways to entice really and catch all, anyone that might be looking at it.

But going back to that image at the top, it’s actually representing a video as I mentioned. And video plus email is a really magical combo. Adding video to email campaigns can actually boost click rates by around 300%, and people are more likely to view video content on their mobile devices. So what you see here is an email that we sent about our Marketing United conference which is April 19 to 20, 21st here in Nashville. Get your tickets, will you? But when we sent this email out, we knew people loved the video. What better way to try to capture the audience who just attended the event’s attention. They’re going to see themselves in this video and be drawn into the content hopefully. Also, we know that this type of content just gets great clicks.

Also though, if you look down at the bottom, you see an animated GIF sort of reel of logos. And for us, we wanted to make sure that each of our sponsors were represented, but we wanted to do it in a way that sort of consolidated space and sort of made it really, really simple and eye-catching to pay attention to what we’re sending out there. The other thing that’s important is that animated GIFs tend to function for the majority of recipients regardless of where they’re using or where they’re experiencing your email first. So we knew that by using this GIF, most likely people are going to be able to see it animate.

And really only about 15% of browsers…sorry, email clients support just video playing. So we always recommend if you have a video, use an image to represent that video with a play button but link to a website that is hosting that video. It’s gonna be a better experience for your recipients. But just by mere fact of putting that little square with the triangle in it, you’re gonna get a little bit more action on your mailing. And we average one of our highest click-through rates of the year and guess what? The biggest things clicked were really all three elements. That button as well was pretty powerful. But the video and the GIF reel certainly got people engaged which was really nice.

But before I rattle off about buttons, we’re gonna get back to that because I’ve got a lot to say about them and that “yep, count me in” is indeed a button. Let’s tackle a very common problem first with calls to action in email design and that is a lack of focus. If you’ve attended webinars in the past even the one we did last week about email design, this might be a repeat for you but it is one of my favorite examples, and it’s actually a nice cautionary tale and a victorious example as well. So I received this email, and it says, “Jamie, experience the world of Yaris Ownership.” But if you look down at the bottom of the email, aside from putting my name in it and putting the name of the car that I happen to drive, nothing else about this email is about that.

This is the opposite of experiencing the world of Yaris ownership. If anything, it’s trying to tell me that owning a Yaris is not good. I need to buy a Camry. I need an SUV. I just need to any…it’s like basically like buy any other car but the one that you have. And also, you lose your keys all the time. I don’t know what this is saying about me, but it says something. But the basic gist of it and why I hold this example up is that there is actually a human cognitive phenomenon called choice paradox, and this example is a stunning sort of illustration of that. And basically what that means is if you have too many choices, it’s not clear where you want me to go or what you want me to do.

When presented with too many things, I get stressed out, and I pick nothing. I honestly I’m going to click away from this immediately because it is not clear what you want me to do. Furthermore, with those buttons, while they do have them, technically they are kind of buried and layered over those images, and it’s not apparent how to even interact with this mailing, and it doesn’t feel personal, and it doesn’t feel focused. And that is probably why emails with a single call-to-action can increase sales by 1,617% according to WordStream, and they would know. So if you want a higher ROI, if you want to give me a good experience, start by not freaking me out with 18 different confusing calls-to-action.

I’m going to do something if I know what you want me to do. So including too many calls-to-action in your email is a mistake that far too many of us continue to make and we get it. It’s super tempting and it, unfortunately, is often the product of being busy and trying to just consolidate information into one mailing. But it is better typically to sort of simplify and go with something that looks a little like this which is why Toyota wins most improved award in my own inbox in 2016 because they are now sending emails that look more like this. So email on the left is basically saying, “You haven’t brought your car in to be serviced in a while. We’re using that data. We care.” And then those buttons are really, really clear.

They’re actually red. They’re conveying some urgency. It’s really, really clear what they want me to do here. They want me to schedule a service, and they want to offer me some coupons. So it’s a really nice targeted mailing. Technically, there are two different calls-to-actions. So scheduled service and see the service coupons, but both of those things have a similar goal. So when we say have a focused call-to-action, it doesn’t mean necessarily that you can’t have two different buttons that kind of do two different things. The marketing goal is the same. The marketing goal is to get me somewhere on this website so that I take action and buy service from them.

The email on the right then is different. The buttons are down at the bottom. They’re darker. They’re a little bit less of a commitment, and it’s because they’re asking me to do something that requires a lot more research and a lot more commitment. If you’re just scheduling an oil change, is a lot different of a call-to-action than “Jamie, buy a new car.” But each have their place in the inbox. And so these are two great examples of sort of a little bit more of an urgent call-to-action versus a mailing that is focused on possibly just peeking my interest and getting me to go to their website and surf around knowing that I’m probably never going to upgrade my car via an email.

So these are great, and we’ll talk about those buttons as well. The reason I came to harping on them is that buttons are so much easier to interact with on a mobile device. So if you are going to optimize for a mobile experience in your main call-to-action, you can have some text links in there. You see they do both. But your main call-to-action needs to be something that I can easily click or tap rather with my finger. And buttons really allow just the actual physical real estate and the mailing for me to do that on a phone and it’s great.

So I could babble about buttons all day. I’ll take your questions if they’re button related. But another sort of super powerful tool that we’re seeing in inboxes and that use of data and that use of really great design is dynamic content. And so this is an example of, again, just using that sort of above the fold real estate to visually just give me some cues. And so this customer, Peter Nappi, they make beautiful boots, and they just send out an email. This is actually an event invitation. They’re not pushing specific products. They’re announcing their new partner, and they’re inviting me to an event.

But just to capture my attention, they take my purchase data, and they say, “Okay if you’ve purchased men’s boots, we’re gonna put a cool picture of new men’s boots. If you’ve purchase women’s boots, you’re gonna get a picture of women’s boots. If you’ve made no purchases, ‘Hey, look, here’s both. We have both types.’” And this is just important because again, I’m skimming and scanning and this is a great way also of taking purchase data and serving something. It’s not saying, “Hey, I think you’re a woman,” or, “Hey, I think you’re a man,” it’s saying, “We know that you’ve purchased this type of thing and we’re going to send you more of it.”

And this can be translated into lots of different places. We see this in the B2B space. If I constantly download content about email design, put me in a group where you target me with some visual information about email design. If I constantly look at best practices around subject lines, maybe you would change out some imagery to that. And so this tactic is not just specific to retail, but we do see retailers doing this even with more prevalence than we do other brands. But speaking of B2B, we’re gonna round out this section with a really great example from our friends at Wistia. And they sell video software where you can go and get analytics on all your great video stuff, and we use them here, and we love them.

And what I’m gonna point out first is that this email actually contradicts some stuff I just told you to do which that’s on purpose. Because if we can also hammer home anything with customers, it’s that your audience is your audience. Your audience is not my audience. There are some general rules of thumb, and there are some places to start, but testing is always gonna give you more cues. So great design isn’t about having an elaborate template. It’s not always about using a button, but it’s about relevancy, and sometimes, it’s about making a message feel familiar or similar to other messages I’m already receiving to get me to do something that maybe takes a little bit more of a commitment and stand out and credit inboxes.

So this email came directly from Ally. We work with her. So I saw that, and I was like, “What’s Ally gonna tell me?” This email is also saying, “Thank you,” which is very powerful and it’s for a specific thing that we did which was rank them highly in a customer satisfaction survey. And then they are providing a really funny and engaging video as award. So they’re saying thanks and then they’re kind of giving me something. And then at the bottom, they’re actually asking for something. It’s a secondary CTA. It’s not the main point of the email but hey, it doesn’t hurt to throw it in there, and we did it. We are satisfied customers. We are much more likely to go and give them a review and share our story, and they had this data on us, and they didn’t send this email out to everyone which I just think is a nice important message.

So this is great. And again, sparse branding but still visually appealing and feels really, really personal and got our attention. So we’ve imparted some design wisdom. Now we’re gonna talk about when to send these well-designed emails out, and we’re gonna dig into some of those data points that matter most. We kind of touched on it but I’m gonna get on in there. So that means really talking about smart uses for automation. When you take all that great design, and you apply it to key touch points that matter on your customers’ timeline, you’re gonna get closer to crafting an exceptional experience. It’s also not just that it feels good to the person on the other side, it works.

Triggered campaigns drive an insanely high conversion rate, and they’re kind of wiping the floor with those traditional batch and blast campaigns. And if you think about it, it just makes sense. Also, BlueShift who did that study and came up with this stat found that sort of triggered campaigns also see 381% higher click rates and 180% higher post-click conversion rate. And you can go check them out for more information about how they did that, but I included it just because those are staggering. It’s all well and good, trigger campaigns obviously work, and this is just one way to measure it. But which ones? What does that even mean?

Well, one of the most powerful ways to get started is that first impression. When we become friends when I fill out that great form, put me into a workflow that tells me who you are. And by far, the most commonly used trigger campaign type is this sort of welcome email. It’s implemented by somewhere around 7 in 10 brands have at least some sort of automated email. So thumbs up. But we always like to emphasize that a series could be even more powerful. In email world, really that’s sort of the extended hello. It means you really are maximizing your reach with just one interaction and one data point. You just need an email address to do this, but you can have a huge impact.

There’s also data that backs up that welcome emails can increase the subscribers’ long-term engagement with your brand over time by as much as 33%. So I’m much more likely to remember your brand because you’re giving me a good experience here. And so there isn’t an exact template. It can vary for everyone but a good rule of thumb, email one. I need that immediately. Say thank you. If you offered me something, give it to me. It doesn’t need to be more complicated than that. If you are gonna try a series for the first time, maybe a few days later, tell me why I should care. Tell me why I’m here. This is a nonprofit, and for them, they’re giving you an impact story about what their nonprofit does.

If you’re B2B, there’s some social proof. Use some customer sort of testimonials, something like that. Tell me why it matters that I’m a part of this experience. A few days later, give me options to sort of tell you what I want. For them, it’s lots of little things to click on, but for you, maybe it’s gonna be high-performing pieces of content so maybe your top three articles. Send that out and let me click on it and then you can look and see, hey, Jamie clicked on poetry. We’re a literary magazine, but she didn’t really click on anything about music. Let’s put her in the poetry group. And you can automate those processes on the backend too with most ESPs.

And then a little bit later on, so let’s say maybe email four, email five, a few days later, feel free to be a little bit bolder because at this point, over time, you’ve theoretically built a case. So this is where you could ask for someone to take a tour or get into a free trial or donate as they’re doing here on an ongoing basis. It’s just a nice sort of reminder that again, this is super powerful and we spend a lot of time here because it is overlooked and it is…Typically if someone new comes on to Emma, in their sort of onboarding process, this is walked out with them, and some sort of plan of attack is included for them to get this going. So we find it to be very important.

So moving on, this is a great B2B example of doing something that I mentioned a second ago. So Uberflip, like Wistia, is sending a really great email that is just tracking a subscriber’s behavior with their content. They’re able to do this by really just tracking clicks on their own sort of blog or hub which is that data is filtered into their email list and there’s lots of different ways to hook that up, and we’re happy to help. And they’re just deploying an automated message and saying, “Hey, we noticed that you did this. Thank you. And by the way, we recommend that you look at these other things that are relevant.”

Also love again. This is personal. It’s from Tara. This is something that a lot of B2B brands are doing because they are ultimately trying to build relationships with their email audiences. And I love what they’re doing here because this is a tactic that you actually see more often with B2C brands. Amazon does this all the time. Their business model is built on it. It’s actually how they make somewhere between 30% and 40% of their revenue, just automating recommendations. You bought Lacroix, here’s some San Pellegrino, so on and so forth. And that’s what this brand is doing.

So these tactics that we’re talking about can translate regardless of what you’re selling whether it’s software or services or what-have-you. Just by simply looking at my web behavior on your site, you can send me some suggestions of things that I might like. And I also like this because it’s really transparent. They’re talking to my colleague, McKenzie, and saying, “I noticed you recently checked out some of our content. Thanks.” Especially if you are a marketer marketing to other marketers as we are, hey, guess what? We all know that we’re being marketed to. We know we’re being segmented. We know that we’re being targeted. It’s okay to be transparent about that to a point with your audience.

Nobody thinks this is magic anymore and if they do, you could send them a link to this webinar. It’s not about trickery. It’s really just about relevancy at the end of the day. And here’s a really great example, a B2B example that I also love from a brand called Atomic Reach. This email is one of several that I received as a part of a trial account engagement series, and it was triggered based on me signing up to take a trial. And we’ve all gotten emails or been a part of those experiences. The point of this email overall is to get me engaged. I hadn’t logged in, and they outline that more clearly in the copy below but I love this example because above the fold, they’re doing something even more compelling.

Not only is this a great use of automation but it’s a fantastic use of animated GIFs that isn’t necessarily clever. It’s not a cat. When you think of animated GIFs, sometimes you can think that they’re all fun and games. This is a very powerful and functional way to show me their product and what it would look like if I were using it. And so I don’t even have to read it to engage. I can click that GIF and it takes me to a place to log in, and sort of it’s that nice little one-two punch. It’s very powerful. And here is a great example of personalization triggered by data a brand has about a customer.

So even once I’m a customer, you can still send really and should send really targeted emails to me that keep me engaged and let me know that you’re paying attention to how I’m using your products as well. It’s not just about getting people in the door. So ecobee makes sort of smart home thermostats, and in this email, they’re telling each subscriber exactly how much energy they’ve saved using just a dynamic content block which is that little green area. And they came to us, and they worked with our design team actually, and we helped come up with a way to tie the data they’re receiving to the template really seamlessly. And now it’s just an automated process that is relevant to each individual on their list and is something that hits their inbox at the right moment.

And a nice little fun stat from the custom content council is that people say that… 61% of consumers say that they actually feel better about companies that send custom content. So when we talk about kind of making that experience great, customization, and making sure that you’re adding in some relevancy that is to the person can go a really long way. And automating doesn’t always happen outside the inbox with your website or date-based information or what’s happening in your CRM. You can, of course, branch emails off of other emails. So this example is just…I received an email. I clicked on Hotel Havana. I went to their website and didn’t purchase a stay there.

But a few days later, I get an email and what initially drew me in was that beautiful photo. And so they’re just simply saying, “Hey, we know you clicked on this a few days ago. Here’s a follow-up email with that same picture.” It is super simple. This tactic can apply to any brand. You don’t have to be selling luxury hotel stays though it doesn’t hurt. And it’s just a really easy way to say, “We saw what you were doing a few days later based on your activity, here we go.” And this is the opposite. I receive an email that says, “Hey, here’s everything under $200 a night.” And when I click out from this email, I land on a similar experience and the page that I land on matches the email that I received.

So nothing on the page is over $200 a night. So this is really brilliant. At some point, I’m sure I’d set 200 as my cap, maybe not, or maybe they’re just assuming that’s all I can afford which is true for sure. And so they’re sending me this email on the left and then I’m not landing on a site that then has things that are out of my reach. So it’s just really important if you are going to send me somewhere, make sure that that experience carries through where I land and where you’re linking out to. I love this example by Dollar Shave Club. The probability of selling to a new prospect is somewhere around 5% to 20%. The probability of selling to an existing customer is as high as 60% to 70%.

So if you have additional things you can sell someone once they become a customer, email is a really good way to remind them of that. And so this email is great. They’re technically telling me that my next box of razors is gonna show up on 7/17, but the majority of the email is just them trying to upsell me lotions and body cleansers. The cool thing too is that this email is…they already have my credit card data, and I’ve complied with that. And basically, if I click on the moisturizer, I’ve essentially purchased it and I get boxes all the time that show up with, I’m like, “Oh yeah. I did buy these travel wipes.”

And so if you’re selling something that’s a lower price point, this is a really fun way to get people engaged. We also have a lot of nonprofits using the same tactic. If you have people that are on a monthly renewal of any kind, sending an email like this and saying, “Hey, by the way, you can also get involved in these causes or do this out of the other.” Using sort of the reminder as an excuse to get important information out is a great way to use automation. And when in doubt, just ask. If you don’t have the data that you need or if you don’t think that people are actually in the right spots, again, we know that in this day and age, consumers are smart.

So don’t be afraid to send out a periodic sort of re-engagement email like this saying, “Hey, you haven’t opened anything in a while. In 30 days, if you haven’t engaged, you’re gonna get this email from our business, and all you have to do is click. Click the button that corresponds to you.” They happen to sell dresses, but you could do this literally with any industry. Are you buying manufacturing equipment or are you buying another product line or what have you? You can basically ask me. And even if I don’t interact with this mailing, there’s actually research that backs up that I’m more likely to engage later on with more of your content. So I think that’s pretty cool.

All right. So as we head into the final stretch before we hop into the Q&A, as I said at the top of the hour, you’re never done. You can have the coolest template. You can have the craziest automated workflows. You can have all the buttons. If you’re not actually looking at how these emails are performing and you’re not constantly sort of watching and tweaking, you’re missing the boat. You have to check in, and you have to be vigilant about how people are responding to the emails because what works in Q1 may not still be the case in Q4. So it’s okay to look at your data and make some decisions there.

So we’re gonna round out this section with really a success story, a case study from a customer of ours. And that customer is Visit Philadelphia. And for those of you that aren’t familiar, this is the Visitor’s Bureau for Philadelphia it turns out. And they’re a customer of Emma’s. And when they came to us, they were already sending email out to thousands of people, and they were doing a lot of things really well as a brand. They had great photos, great video. They have a beautiful historic city to talk about with no shortage of activities to highlight.

But it was really kind of your classic tale of people that are busy, not really having time, having great ideas but kind of coming up a little short sometimes on being more strategic. And so again, great brand and we just thought, “How can we help them take their email to the next level. What can we do to help? So what you’re looking at here, this is not bad per se, but it could be so much better, and they knew that. And we’re gonna just address and go from top to bottom on some of the issues. This is kind of your classic newsletter layout. There are way, way too many calls-to-action. There’s two different columns at the bottom.

There’s multiple blue text links which, as we’ve already established, are more difficult to interact with on a mobile device. They’re just harder to click. You have to kind of pinch and scroll. And this email turns out was actually very, very long. They were not afraid to embrace the scroll but all in, this mailing actually links out to like I think 150 different things. It was a lot. It was a lot to take in.

And as you can see too, it was not mobile-optimized meaning that this is an example. This is actually a screenshot from my phone of what this email looked like when I pulled it up. You have to sort of scroll. You have to bounce things around and hope so you can see it, and we thought, “You know what? We can do better.”

So we sat down with them and tada. This is where we landed. So this is the same mailing that goes out but now it’s a single-column layout which is much nicer on a mobile device, and there’s fewer articles. We pared down how many things are getting out in front of customers. So instead of 100 different things to link out, maybe there’s 10 or 15. There’s still a lot of content in these mailings, but it’s a little bit easier to take in. And again, we’re really just using big nice bold images, and sort of breaking out August into highlights instead of here’s every single thing that you can do. The goal of this mailing is less to tell us about everything and more to get us to go to the Visit Philadelphia website where we can then make all kinds of choices and things like that.

There’s also buttons. So you see instead of layering all that text on top of this beautiful cool image, we gave a main headline and then we just put a button in isolation there, this Read More button that links you back, again, to the website. So we actually made it really clear upon opening this mailing kind of what to do. And again, you see that they now have a mobile responsive design and it’s very similar to the experience that you have on a desktop. It’s consistent. It’s seamless, and better yet, especially for them, mobile optimization is really important because if I’m walking around Philadelphia and I get this email, I’ll probably gonna look in my inbox. I do it all the time.

I was just in DC. I searched my inbox to see if I’d received anything from partners or museums that I follow with some latest news. It’s like I actually just did this in a different city, so it works. So when we switched from email A to email B, if this is email B, how’d it do? These changes when immediately implemented resulted in a 20% lift in clicks. Their clicks were low, and those numbers are still crawling up, and that’s really, really exciting, and that obviously means that we’re moving them in the right direction. We mentioned earlier that banners are powerful. Classic pop-ups like this aren’t obsolete though. And it’s funny that they’re classic.

I feel like we’ve been talking about them for a year but having them attack people the moment that they land on your page might be too much especially if I came to your page via let’s say an email. I’m clearly already on the list. This form looks really simple but really what it is is it’s what’s called an exit intent form. So these forms again aren’t bad. It’s just maybe get a little creative with when they actually pop up for people. So this pops up when I go to actually close out of the website. It’s basically saying, “Hey, one last chance.” If I go to close out, I’m done. It doesn’t hurt me. I was already leaving anyway. But these types of exit intent forms can really, really help capture audiences that may be you might not have otherwise.

And in one year, just with implementing forms and helping them focus on list growth, they’ve gained about 62,000 new subscribers and that is going up. So that’s pretty good. They grow somewhere in the range of like 1000 new subscribers a week just by implementing a smart deployment of forms and not asking for too much upfront. They’re just asking for an email address. And they know with just an email address, they can do a welcome sort of triggered series, and they replicate the same sort of newsletter layout with their welcome because that works for them and it gets somewhere between a 40% open rate and a 40% click-through rate which is awesome because the average can be as high as 50%.

So I mean they’re definitely seeing the types of response that we know are possible when these sort of emails are deployed. And furthermore, what we love about them is that they’re always looking to improve and they’re always looking to get better. So something that they can do in their welcome series is sort of provide me different pathways. So if I constantly click on articles about restaurants, they can do something with that, and they can send me information about restaurants specifically. If I constantly click on the Philadelphia Eagles articles, then you could probably assume that I’m into information about sports and start to target me from there.

So you’re not only gonna gain more interactions just by doing this, by sending a welcome but you can basically learn a lot from subscribers. In this section, of course, that was called they’re never done. I was gonna call it why Philadelphia rules but it’s you’re never done, so they’re never done. Here’s an example of what we mean by that. So they are constantly testing. They’re excited about it. Their click-through rates increased from mailing to mailing, but they’d still like to get those opens a bit higher across the board. So a great way to do that is to not forget your very first call-to-action which is your subject line.

So before I even click on a button, I’ve gotta open your email, right? And so on our suggestion, which we do not propose to everyone, they wanted to try emoji. We were like, “Hey, why not?” Guess what? For them, for their audience which is playful fun, it’s travel, hospitality, industry people are on vacation, it works. If they were a law firm, maybe it wouldn’t. But subject lines with emoji for them far outperform those that don’t. This is also not always gonna be the case, but for now, they’re testing it. And so what I like is you actually see three different types of mailings.

The first one is 25 awesome things to do in Philly this December which is fun because it’s kind of a fun list. Variation B is using some very historical strong language. So Philadelphia’s most iconic traditions, holiday traditions. And then variation C is let’s be honest, just throw in the word free. And numbers and subject lines are also a really fun thing to test and also sort of packing value up front. Twenty-five awesome things is a really fun tactic. So we loved seeing that they were testing these three top sort of tips here that we often let people suggest and this was an actual test that they were running. So it’s important to note.

And all that to say be willing to take what you’re noticing and pivot and make changes and if you’d love a little extra help, partner with someone. Reach out to your ESP, reach out to the agency that’s helping you do your emails. And if you don’t have a partner, you should consider it. You’re not in this alone, and there are lots of us out there who wanna help you get better and get better together. So all right. Q&A. I think we’ve had maybe a lot of questions coming in. I’m not positive. Let’s look here. All right. So we’re gonna dig right in.

Marcia wants to know, “How much of your advice is centered on a U.S. audience? I have a very international audience and sometimes when I’ve implemented best practices, they don’t seem to work. I’m wondering if that’s why.” And I love this question because we have an office actually. It’s primarily a support office so that we could get closer to offering 24-hour support to our customers. We have an office in Melbourne, Australia. And when we send information that’s really important especially if it’s to our customers of which we have quite a few there, we do definitely make sure that we are targeting based on region and location. We make sure that our Asia-Pacific audience gets things at 2 p.m. their time, not a day behind our time, that sort of thing.

So definitely I think segmenting by location is a great best practice especially if you know going in that you have an audience that’s kind of spread across different places. Because oftentimes, if you’re seeing international audiences maybe not getting high opens, it could just be that they’re not getting that email at a time that’s actually relevant to them. So kind of putting yourself in their shoes and it’s an easy thing to know because you probably have that data on hand I would imagine. It’s also, you know, kind of going back to what we were just talking about, about testing, look at your data. What is it telling you? Are you able… I think if you can get them into segments and look at location, then you can easily go in typically in most ESPs and see oh, everyone in the UK has low opens.

It’s also really important to notice that email laws and rules are different in other regions. They just are. America has essentially an opt-in policy that isn’t…it’s not required that people double opt-in, it’s not required that people take extra steps to be on your list. It’s implied when they provide their email address in some way that emailing them is legally okay for the most part and, of course, there are some best practices that go beyond that. But for some other countries, they have much stricter rules on, you know, emailing and cookies and browsers and things like that. And I will raise my hand and say, “I’m not an expert on how other, you know, every email marketing law and rule and regulation in other regions,” so any specific questions, I’ll probably get you to someone who is.

But depending on where you operate, I think segmenting by location, I definitely think paying attention to that is something to be mindful of and really pay attention. And if you are seeing trends like things like especially a low open rate, it could be that you need to work with someone to gain compliance with some of the rules in the regions that maybe aren’t performing as well. So I think that’s a really good question. All right. So moving on, let’s look here. Okay. So Kyle has a question. We have a lot of questions about calls-to-action which I think is great. So Kyle says, “You mentioned that having a clear call-to-action is important. If the goal is to have the client click to our site, is it bad to link an image and a link back to the site? Is it too much? The thought is that the more accessible it is, the more likely it’ll be to be clicked. Thoughts.”

I agree with you, Kyle. I think you saw that in those Toyota, the good Toyota examples. Every single link or button, especially on the one about service, dropped me off on the Toyota service website which also contained a place to schedule a service and the coupons. So technically, they gave me three different paths to get there, but the goal was to get me to interact with their service page, their service portal. And, of course, it’s also…I think it’s definitely not overkill. I am of the mind even if you’re sending me…every call-to-action is the same. It’s a specific link like when we launch a certain feature. We want you to go to the page about that feature. Yes, your logo, your header, your button, any hyperlinks, it is a-okay.

Especially on mobile devices too, I often see images that aren’t also hyperlinked, and images are super enticing to click on. So if you have images in your email, it’s a good practice to make sure that they link somewhere and typically, they should be linking where you want them to go from that mailing. So I hope that was helpful but yes, link everything. The more, the better. It’s not gonna hurt, and I mean obviously, make what they’re clicking on relevant to where they’re landing. And so to that point, Heather asks about focused calls-to-action. Is a newsletter where all the CTAs point people back to your website, AKA, the same goal but then includes articles of different topics considered focused? And I would say, yes.

So that’s a great point. When we mentioned sort of newsletter…sort of traditional “newsletters,” we are definitely not vilifying or saying you need to stop sending what’s known as kind of a newsletter, a monthly newsletter. It just means you probably need to segment and diversify your whole email program if that’s all that you’re doing. So those digests of cool information, as long as they’re focused around a common goal such as…even if it’s just, this is all the newest stuff that happened in the past two weeks, that’s okay. And that newest stuff can be, “We hired someone, we announced that we’re going to these three events, and we launched a new feature on our website,” or whatever it might be.

That, to me, would still be considered focused because the goal is, here’s the news from two weeks. If you’re jamming all the news for the past two weeks in an email where the real goal is to get them to buy tickets to your conference, for instance, that’s not focused, and that’s where things start to get really confusing. If there’s a high-value activity that you need me as a business to engage in especially if it’s like an exchange of goods and services, you want me to buy something. You wanna be mindful not to sort of muddy the message with some conflicting calls-to-action that are less intentional if you will. So I definitely think if driving traffic to the website is the goal which is what a newsletter often is doing and updating people on the latest news, that’s a-okay.

Just make sure that that’s a consistent sort of experience each month and that you’re setting clear expectations when I receive that newsletter if you wanna up that engagement. So I think it’s a great question. Eugenia has a question which I like. “We do B2B marketing and a high ratio of our targets and customers open emails on desktop versus mobile. Any tips for Outlook specifically as it can be limiting, e.g., animated GIFs don’t work in Outlook?” And actually, I did skim over that for time’s sake earlier, but I’m happy to go back to it. So GIFs do not work in Outlook everywhere or at all. And that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t employ those tactics to sort of err on the side of to GIF or not to GIF.

If there are people who could be engaging with that email and they’re not on Outlook, GIFs do get such a high click-through rate that it’s for the sort of lay user. It’s not a bad idea. However though, I would say for you, you guys have data that people are…the majority are on desktop and that they’re using Outlook. So for your brand specifically, maybe using video and GIFs isn’t the best tactic. And again, that’s just paying attention to your audience. Not everything that we say is going to apply to everyone. If you’re not sure how many people use Outlook, I would say don’t be scared of GIFs. But the rule of thumb is that if that GIF has let’s say a call-to-action on the last…your GIF has 10 frames and the last frame, last couple of frames have a number discount, make sure that that’s actually your first frame because Outlook will still display the still image of the first frame of your GIF.

So think of GIFs as like a little flip book. Just make sure the first page is the most important thing because they’ll still show up as a picture. The other good thing about Outlook also is that they have recently partnered with Litmus which is a fantastic service that we use at Emma to just maintain our…make sure that our emails are rendering in all environments. We integrate with them as well. And they’re really the thought leaders on things like deliverability and rendering and all the best practices on how to design email. And they actually recently partnered with Outlook. So the future is looking really bright for Outlook to kind of join the 21st century of email marketing best practices because they’ve raised their hand and they’re on the case.

But again, like you said, if you know that your audience is having a certain experience, I would say still design though with mobile in mind. So one column layout, that nice sort of clear calls-to-action buttons. Those are things that look great on desktop too, and you still never know who may open your email later on a mobile device. So I would definitely say still designing with mobile in mind is your best bet regardless of that data. I think we have time for probably one more question. Well, let’s look here. Christa, I still find myself wasting lots of time setting up the templates for my emails and never seem to get it right. What is the best way to do this when you are not tech savvy?

My answer is somewhat self-promotional but also I mean really truly, it doesn’t matter what you’re using. I would say though, finding a partner, finding an email partner whether that’s a graphic designer in your community that is an email graphic designer and knows how to design for email. It is actually different than designing for the web so make sure that they understand that and that they understand the importance of mobile and best practices or finding an ESP like Emma that is dedicated to making sure that design is great. Out-of-the-box templates are wonderful. Our sort of free templates in the Emma account are all optimized for mobile, so you don’t have to worry. Whatever you pop into our editor will look fine on a mobile device.

But if you are interested in creating sort of a flexible, editable mobile-optimized template, find someone that understands how to do that. And honestly, investing in that is very important. I would say that we have a lot of people who will come to us and like, “No. I’m not really interested. I think we can wing it. We’ll figure it out.” And it can be a time-consuming process. And, again, we really do believe it is so important that it really is worth that initial very, very small investment for a mobile-optimized template that works and/or ongoing assets or help with… We have people that sort of buy just the header and the footer and then come back to us months later and get a suite of specific templates that maybe match a specific campaign.

Email design is so important, and you can also code your own emails again if you have someone that you work with or have someone internally in your own business that can navigate that. We have the tools for you to do that as well and we encourage you to just send beautiful mobile-optimized emails that are focused and clear and look beautiful. So we’re out of time. Thank you so much for joining us today. I hope this was helpful and insightful, and please reach out to us if you have any questions. H-I @myemma.com, hi@myemma.com. We can get you to the right spot and again, we’ll send the recording out. So thanks so much.

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