How APIs are changing software as we know it

Remember when “the cloud”  simply referred to random external servers or even the internet as a whole? Over the past few years, the evolution of “the cloud” has lead to the birth of new business models such as  Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

SaaS is great for the end-user, making services which would otherwise be unaffordable, accessible to small companies and private individuals. But as a developer, I find SaaS especially interesting in the way it’s helped reinvent something that has been around for decades: APIs. Marc Andreessen, entrepreneur and co-founder of Netscape, said in his “Software is eating the World” speech from 2011, “With lower start-up costs and a vastly expanded market for online services, the result is a global economy that for the first time will be fully digitally wired. The “digitally wired” expression says it all, I love it. What’s the best way to wire the digital economy? It’s obviously APIs, which by definition express how two pieces of softwares are connected and interact.

“APIs are the building blocks of the digital economy”, Laura Merling, VP Ecosystems and Solutions, AT&T. (source)

 

The cool thing about being a developer – what drove me to learn coding on my own – is the ability to build & hack whatever you can. Today is really the best time to do so, because you’re not on your own anymore. You’ll find the support of online and offline communities everywhere you look, from program-and-answer forums like Stackoverflow (Worldwide Alexa ranking of 56) to offline events and hackathons, whether it’s your local hackathon or Techcrunch Disrupt. In addition to the support of these communities, we also now have plenty of tools and resources at hand. For developers, if you try to think of a tool – something you can use to easily achieve a goal – APIs quickly come to mind. The hottest APIs are always from services like Yo, Twilio or Venmo. Now why is that?

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 12.05.04 PM

Source: http://studenthackers.devpost.com/

APIs are awesome in the way they empower you to set up rich features you would have struggled developing on your own, either because of the complexity, the time needed, and often both. APIs enable you to delegate or outsource what’s not critical to your business while keeping control. Whether you want to integrate a transactional emailing feature to communicate with your users or a rich search experience, going the easy way with a SaaS like Mailjet for emails or Algolia for search will always be a smarter move than trying to reinvent the wheel. It’s very likely that there’s already a SaaS product out there that does exactly the feature you have in mind, with just a simple integration. That’s why some SaaS are becoming more like APIs-as-a-Service. They cut your time to market while offering you a rich, reliable, affordable and scalable service with a few lines of code.

APIs are the new libs. They definitely change the way we build software, shortening but at the same time enriching the code we write. We can often even reuse the wrappers provided by the service we want to integrate and tailor them to fit our needs.

And why not think outside the box to innovate here? What if we take things one step further and imagine APIs as drag-and-drop building blocks that don’t require writing code? This might seem unthinkable, but it’s actually already possible, with API connectors such as Zapier and IFTTT. Need to generate Todoists tasks from your Google Calendar? Easy! Need to automatically save your Gmail attachments to Drive? Just as easy!

Feel free to check out our new Send API 3.1.

Your reaction might be, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Cool. But this is limited to triggered actions so we’re missing a lot of what an API has to offer. And we’ve got plenty of time before services like Twilio become accessible to non-developers.” But actually not. With the help of a service such as Blockspring, any non-developer can use Twilio, extract data from the US government or build a dataviz. I agree with Blockspring’s point that APIs are for the end-user too, and the fact that they’ve just raised $3.4 million from Andreessen Horowitz and SV Angel (source) tend to prove this right.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not saying that developers will become obsolete, or that everyone will be able to easily pick up a developer job without training. At least not today. I’m saying that while the complexity of software is increasing, it’s more accessible thanks to APIs. And it’s a great thing. It also allows us, as developers, to spend our time focusing on what matters most to what we’re building and benefiting from APIs. From a business perspective, this means one thing: of course any SaaS company should seriously consider providing an API, but if it does, it should do it right with a great Developer Experience. Developers indeed expect a few things from an API: documentation, support, community, standards-compliance architecture style (REST). Those are not just important because they’ll make developers who use your API happy, they’re actually necessary for adoption and productivity.

More Contact Actions, More Endpoints

Following our API team’s hard work on the ‘Newsletter’ action endpoints, we are excited to announce that we’ve released more API endpoints that will make managing individual contacts and listing subscriptions faster.

We’ve extended the Contact and the Contactslist resources to include five new actions:

/contact/:id/managecontactslists

/contact/managemanycontacts

/contact/:id/getcontactslists

/contactslist/:id/managecontact

/contactslist/:id/managemanycontacts

Check out also our guides about contact subscription and bulk contact management.

Let’s look at some of this in action (excuse the pun):

CONTACT

Manage contact subscription in lists

The /managecontactslists action makes it easier to manage (add, remove or unsubscribe) a contact from one or multiple lists in one call:

Here, we can select the contact by $ID (this can be numerical ID of the contact from the API or email address) and then use the “managecontactlists” action to actually manage the contact list. Let’s have a quick look at the properties in that array:  

  •  ListID : the numerical ID of the contact list that you want to manage
  •  Action : What you want to do with the contact and the list:
    • addforce: add the contact to the list and subscribe them if not already
    • addnoforce: add the contact to the list, but do not change the status of subscribe / unsubscribe from it’s current value
    • remove: remove the contact from the lis
    •  unsub: leave the contact on the list, but unsubscribe them from future campaigns

Managing and uploading multiple contacts (asynchronous action)

Applying the /managemanycontacts action to contact allows us to upload a nice big lump of JSON with our contacts and subscribe them to lists. It looks like a big call, so let’s split it up.   

  • ContactsList – This is entirely optional (but useful!), allowing you to add contacts en masse to lists and follows the structure above
  • Contacts – Mandatory, the actual contacts only need an email for the call to be valid. ‘Name’ a global property and the ‘Properties’ object can contain any custom properties set by /contactmetadata 

This call to the API is asynchronous to efficiently deal with this large volume of email. It will provide you a response immediately and continue the job in the background. The returned data will look like this:

The JobID helps track the progress and result of an upload with the following call:

Sometimes things might not go as expected and that’s okay. Possible error messages include:

  • Error: If there are any errors (for instance incorrectly formatted JSON), it will be noted here. (More comprehensive details about the error can be found in the URL given in the ‘Errorfile’ property)
  • Status: The background job’s current status. Possible values are: Prepare, Importing, Completed or Error.

Getting contact subscriptions

Now you that know how to manage individual contact subscriptions within lists and how to bulk upload contacts, you might also want to know how to identify which lists an individual contact is subscribed to. You can do this with the /getcontactslists action:

CONTACTSLIST

On the other hand, you might want to add a new contact to an existing contact list (i.e. from a form capture):

After identifying the list to be added to with $ID being the ID of the list, it’s a case of specifying the Contact email. As with the example above, Name and Properties are optional, only ‘Email’ and ‘Action’ are mandatory.

Lets look at managing multiple contacts (in one call):

Just like /managemanycontacts for the /contact endpoint, we specify the action to be taken (in this case ‘addnoforce’) and array of contacts. As before, ’email’ is mandatory, with the option to add ‘Name’ and custom properties. As with /managemanycontacts for the /contact endpoint, the result is a job ID to track the progress of the underlying background job.

Need to check which contacts are on a list?

Here, we can add ‘contactslist’ as a param with it’s ID – setting the limit to -1 just displays all contacts on the list, if you want a specific sample (say 100), then you can use that value instead.

Wrapping things up:

That’s a quick run down of the extra functionality and the improved methods for working with multiple contacts lists using the API. For a deeper dive, check out our developer documentation at dev.mailjet.com. In particular, check out our guides about contact subscription and bulk contact management to start. We’ve also updated our PHP and Ruby wrappers to include the added functionality.

Happy Coding!

Flight School Friday: 10 Email Campaigns Every Company Should Start With

Building an email marketing program from scratch can feel like one of the most daunting online conversations to begin. The inbox is a crowded place – every day companies are competing for opens and clicks, testing out new subject lines, more GIFs, bigger call-to-actions (CTA). The key is to build a wide reach and a large following while still remaining personable.  As with all good marketing you listen first, then provide value. But where and how do you begin?

This Flight School Friday, we’re here to help you kickstart your email marketing program. Here are 10 tried and tested email campaigns that are bound to initiate a long-term conversation between you and your customers.

1) Double Opt-in

First things first – before you try any of the other campaigns out, we highly recommend you to use a double opt-in, an automated transactional email which verifies that customers are happy to be contacted by you. This ensures that your recipients are interested in what you have to say right from the beginning, helping you maintain a good sender reputation further down the line.

 

 Macy's double opt-in email

This double opt-in email from Macy’s includes a clear unsubscribe link just in case, but convinces the reader not to opt out with a promotion and an affirmative, colorful CTA.

 

2) Complete an action

Sometimes, users forget to complete their profile or lose interest before they finish signing up for your product. Whatever the reason, don’t let it get you down. Use this as an opportunity to re-engage them! A reminder email is another type of transactional email that can keep customers excited about your product. Landing in their inbox will at the very least jog their memory, and could potentially catch them at a time when they’re more primed to complete the process or purchase.

 

Twitter Complete Your Profile email

This ‘Complete your profile’ email from Twitter provides a clear CTA prefaced with the 3 simple steps to follow and a rhetorical question convincing the reader to act.

 

3) Drip welcome campaign

The key to a winning drip campaign is to engage customers, drive value or enhance their experience at each onboarding step. For example, the first campaign sent to new subscribers can include an enticing, personalized subject line with their first name in it. The second action you might want to communicate on is completing an account or making a purchase. It’s also great practice to mention the original point of contact, reminding the customer where and why they first signed up to receive your email (i.e. entering their email address to RSVP to one of your webinars).

 

XXXX-Welcome-campaign-with-survey

This email from XXXX Gold is a great example of an enticing welcome email. They use a simple but striking design, friendly language and include a brief survey to better customize future email sends.

 

4) Newsletter

This is a powerful tool for building a lasting connection with a customer. Using integrated analytics, you can understand how your reader interacts with your email and adapt your content accordingly. The key ingredient for success here is to supply your customer with content that is engaging, useful and relevant.

 

Use newsletters as a medium to tell your customers about company news, product updates, promotions and leverage your thought leadership content (eBooks, whitepapers, blog articles).

 

 Icebreaker newsletter email

Have a look at this Icebreaker email. There’s an attention-grabbing header in the top left corner, clickable CTA buttons visible throughout and they include social media buttons as an additional platform to connect with customers.

 

5) Educational content

Email is also a great opportunity to shine as a thought leader. Build your brand reputation as an authority on the service or product you sell.  Stand out from the competition by sharing unique, innovative perspectives about your industry. This shows that your company is not only passionate about what you do, but also the best at what you do.

 

 SurveyMonkey educational email

SurveyMonkey does a great job of this, providing access to interesting and useful articles, with clear CTAs displayed next to each piece of content.

 

6) Reactive

This makes your company seem culturally relevant and on-trend. During the Superbowl power outage fiasco, lots of brands capitalized on this opportunity on social media, e.g. Tide – ‘We can’t get your #blackout, but we can get your stains out’, and Oreo – ‘You can still dunk in the dark’. They saw this as a chance to show a more playful side and strengthen the existing rapport with their customers.

 

Email does take a little more time to craft than a tweet would, but if you make it a practice to be flexible, your customer relationships and ROI will thank you. Krispy Kreme featured the Royal Wedding in its email marketing during the lead-up to the big event, using this as an opportunity to position itself within the climate of public excitement. Playing on this shared interest was a great way for the brand to relate to their customers and drive engagement.  

 

 Krispy Kreme Royal Wedding email

 

7) ‘Tell us when your birthday is’

 Because what customer doesn’t want an extra promotion or special offer? Sending an individual a customized email on their birthday shows them you care, as well as giving you an excuse to reach out on a day where they’re most likely to be happy and receptive. This email from Mudpie ticks all the boxes, using a woman’s face to humanize the brand, along with a simple and engaging design, and a highly visible CTA placed above the fold.

 

 Mudpie Birthday email

 

8) ‘Leave a review’

 

 Yapta Leave a Review email

This email from Yapta leverages social proof (customer reviews) to generate engagement with the brand and encourage customers to leave feedback. It’s a smart combination of making your customers feel their voices are being heard while learning how to better serve them.

 

9) Showcase your success

Another way of making social proof go the extra mile is by featuring an individual user’s testimonial – this is a good strategy to build organic WOM online and offline.

 

Yapta Customer Testimonial email

This MarketingProfsPRO email is a great example of how to incorporate a success story. It generates engagement by putting a friendly face to the name and using language suggesting that the user will improve their social status – ‘exclusive’, ‘advantage’, ‘ranks’. Also note the placement of the CTA – the natural course of a reader’s gaze ( left to right)  draws your attention to the vivid “GoPRO” button.

 

10) Referral

Organically build your customers into brand ambassadors. Companies such as Uber and Graze have demonstrated just how powerful a referral program can be as a marketing tool. Having your customers invite their friends to join is a testament to a good product and also powerful, free marketing!

 

Dropbox Referral email

This email from Dropbox not only gives the customer an incentive to refer a friend (extra space) but also creates a sense of urgency, implying that the customer will run out of space if they don’t act immediately.

So there you have it – 10 great ideas to get your email marketing program off the runway.  

Do you have any tips for optimizing these campaigns? Which of these campaigns will you try first? Let us know in the comments below!

The Buzzfeed Guide to Sending Irresistible Email

Has this ever happened to you?

You sit down to write an email campaign that’s supposed to go out by the end of the day. But before you fire up your email software, you take a quick peek to see if you’re missing anything interesting on Facebook — you know, just in case.

Just as you’re about to give up and get back to that email, you see something that stops you dead in your tracks.

It’s a Buzzfeed article — with a headline and an image so captivating you just can’t resist.

Here’s the dilemma.

If you click, you’ll get sucked into a binge-reading marathon and before you know it — the day will be half over.

But if you don’t click, you won’t get any work done anyways because you’ll be too distracted wondering what Donald Trump looked like dressed like a farmer singing “Green Acres”.

You wouldn’t be the first person who’s fallen victim to Buzzfeed irresistible propositions. Millions of people have had countless stolen from them much the same way.

Makes you wonder, how do they do it?

What Buzzfeed Can Teach You About Email Marketing

Email is probably the last thing that comes to mind when you think about Buzzfeed.

After all, their rise from ‘that site with the cat memes’ to one of the internet’s most powerful media publications was built largely on the back of the social share — not the inbox.

But Buzzfeed has doubled down on its email marketing strategy in the last few years. While they don’t publish their subscriber numbers — we do know that email is one of Buzzfeed’s top sources of traffic right alongside Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Pinterest.

As an email marketer, there’s a lot you can learn from the success of Buzzfeed’s newsletters. Here are 3 simple lessons you can put to work immediately:

#1 – Be Focused

screenshot-docs.google.com 2015-08-19 10-57-29
 

Buzzfeed’s readers are a diverse bunch. Cat lovers, food lovers, celebrity gossip lovers — you name it.

When they initially launched their email newsletter, it was just a general purpose list that showcased the site’s most popular content — now known as Buzzfeed Today.

But since then, they’ve added a growing list of niche newsletters that target the ultra-specific interests of their readers.

“As we’ve launched these niche newsletters, their growth has been really strong. The open and click rates are outstanding because it’s for audiences that really specifically care about that vertical.” — Dan Oshinsky, Buzzfeed Newsletter Editor

As of today, Buzzfeed’s opt in page features 13 email newsletters that tackle everything from celebrity gossip to recipes — and even a ‘dog-a-day’ newsletter which sends a picture of an adorable dog to your inbox every morning (thereby challenging the very definition of a newsletter).

By drilling down to the specific interests of their readers, Buzzfeed is able to set crystal clear expectations on what subscribers will receive and then deliver on those expectations every single time.

Do you need to create 13 email newsletters to achieve the same results? Not at all.

The lesson here is to stay laser focused on what subscribers want to hear from you. The moment you veer away from your focus is when subscribers start asking themselves, “why am I on this list again?”

#2 – Be Engaging

screenshot-docs.google.com 2015-08-19 10-57-52
 

Buzzfeed has one simple goal: to publish stories you’ll love enough to share. Everything else is secondary.

You’ll notice a bias towards engagement in almost everything Buzzfeed does — the way they select their stories, the way they write their headlines, and even the way their emails are formatted.

But Buzzfeed has a massive editorial team dedicated to sourcing and writing engaging stories. How can you possibly achieve the same levels of engagement with your subscribers?

Give them what they want.

Why do people join your list? What are they looking for? How does it fit into their day?

Most importantly, what emotional benefits are they seeking through your email?

 “When you’re having a rough day at work and see ’13 Simple Steps To Get You Through A Rough Day’, that’s servicing an emotional need: look at this hedgehog wearing a tiny hat — you feel better, you share it with your friends.” — Jonah Peretti, Buzzfeed Founder

With every piece, Buzzfeed is deliberately targeting an emotional need that not only gets your attention, but also satisfies that need enough to get you to share the feeling with others.

Put yourself in your reader’s shoes. What do they really want to see? What would make them look forward to opening your email? Once you know that, you’ll have all you need to achieve Buzzfeed levels of engagement.

#3 – Be Curious

screenshot-docs.google.com 2015-08-19 10-58-08
 

What’s the secret behind those irresistible headlines?

It’s almost frustrating how Buzzfeed manages to get you to click on their articles. You can’t help but feel like you’re being manipulated by some evil headline writing genius.

Evil or not, Buzzfeed headlines work because they evoke an overwhelming sense of curiosity.

The fear of missing out (FoMO) is a real psychological phenomenon. It’s most commonly understood as the apprehension or angst you feel when you see pictures of your friends having fun on Facebook or Instagram — which can even lead to depression.

But FoMO also rears its ugly head when you’re confronted with an irresistibly curious headline that gets the better of you. In this case, it’s not the fear of your friends having fun without you, it’s the fear of not knowing how to get an 86% bigger burrito at Chipotle without paying an extra dime.

The headlines are only half the story though.

A FoMO inducing headline that doesn’t follow through on the information it promises to deliver is the definition of clickbait — and Buzzfeed doesn’t do clickbait.

 “Most clickbait is disappointing because it’s a promise of value that isn’t met — the payoff isn’t nearly as good as what the reader imagines, […] BuzzFeed headlines pay off particularly well because they actually make fairly small promises and then over deliver, […] It’s validating, which is maybe the most valuable payoff of them all.” — Nilay Patel, The Verge

When Buzzfeed promises the 21 Best Moments from the Golden Globe Awards — you’re getting the best moments. And every time they come through on their promise, you’re more to open their next email.

Just for fun, here’s a handy Buzzfeed-style headline generator for when you just can’t come up with a subject line: http://www.ravi.io/buzzfeed-title-generator

Is your email as irresistible as Buzzfeed’s?

 

 “What’s exciting about email is, people invite you into this space and you get an opportunity to make a good first impression, […] The downside is, if your emails are not good, you’re in a pretty important space and people kick you out.” — Dan Oshinsky

Tomorrow morning, when your subscribers open up their inbox to find an email from Buzzfeed and another from you, which one will get their attention?

You might not see yourself as Buzzfeed’s competitor. But in the battle for the inbox — one of the fiercest battles of all — you’re competing with Buzzfeed.

5 Email KPI Hacks With Campaign Comparison

Analytics are key to understanding the performance of your email marketing program. Even with the best instinct and competitive research, without proper analysis of ROI (return on investment), it’s tough to argue the true success of a campaign. Many marketers track the common email metrics such as opens and clicks, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to putting things in perspective. If you want actionable insights, you’ll need to dig into historical campaign activity to draw together the full story.

Using a tool like Mailjet’s Campaign Comparison, you can easily compile the data to analyze trends over time. Group past email campaigns together and average metrics to create benchmarks. Benchmarks act as a standard that lets you determine whether individual campaigns are successful.  

There are a variety of variables you can benchmark, but to start try looking at these five key metrics. Notice which customers engaged with which content and when they were most active to  help inform and optimize future email campaigns.

screenshot-app.mailjet.com 2015-08-16 23-03-00

Subject line

Open rate is one of the key email metrics to measure how engaging a subject line is. Looking at an individual campaign, you’ll have a general idea of its performance, but you lack perspective of how it compares to your other sends. Group together types of subject lines to identify average engagement with each. For example, create a benchmark with emoji subject lines and another with subject lines ending in a question mark. You can see which type of subject line customers respond most to by comparing the two average open rates, or use the benchmarks to compare future campaign performance against.

Sender name

Often neglected, sender name is the second piece of information a recipient sees, whether they open the email or not. Running tests on this parameter is a great way to see certain names – shorter or longer, for example – entices your audience to open. If you’re currently sending from multiple sender names, group together sends from each individual sender to create benchmarks. Then, compare average open rates between each sender to find which customers most engage with.

Send time

An email campaign receives its majority of opens within the first hour after delivery. To make sure your email gets the attention it deserves, you need to find the optimal time your audience will be tuned in. Benchmark email send times and see how open and clicks rates differ between morning and night.

Targeting

Are you currently using segmentation or sending from a master list? Segmentation helps you send tailored content to each customer, driving more value out of each email sent. Benchmark campaign performance across audience groups to learn more about how each segment reacts. You might find that frequent shoppers have higher open rates on weekends or that those on the West Coast have lower click-through rates. Or, benchmark unsubscribe rate across sendings, to use as a reference for future sends. You’ll know to re-evaluate email campaigns which drive a higher unsubscribe rate than the average.

Call-to-action

High click-through rates indicates a catchy, relevant call-to-action (CTA). Several factors can make up a good CTA: placement, color and design, size of the button and more. Pull together campaigns with similar call-to-actions, find the average click-through-rate for center aligned CTAs or for red CTAs. Use this as a benchmark when you’re designing your next email campaign. 

To monitor future email even more efficiently, the Campaign Comparison feature allows you to create benchmarks which are updated in real-time after each send. To learn more about Campaign Comparison, check out our tutorial and get started today.

 

Email’s Chicken-or-Egg Question

I’ve built email campaigns at a few companies in the past and everyone does it a little differently. Some teams give their copywriters a pre-designed template and word count to write around. Others prefer to create the copy first and fill out a design brief. Which leads me to this chicken-and-egg question: what’s the best way to approach an email campaign? Do you create content first or design first? I explored this question with the help of a few industry pros:

Everything revolves around the call-to-action

Digital marketing professional Lauren Jewell says that she starts the call-to-action when planning out her campaign structure, “Ultimately, it’s [the] communication of a message and/or an action I am trying to inspire which is why I think it should lead.“ she says.

Putting the key message first means putting your customers first. It ensures you’re always listening for feedback and adding value. Regularly asking about needs and preferences (and delivering them) is the foundation of any strong customer-brand relationship. After all, research shows that 70% of buying experiences are based on how a customer feels they are being treated.

Twist’s welcome email below is a great example of how design helps emphasize the key action point. The call-to-action, introduction to their product, is clearly highlighted with a larger image that takes up the above-the-fold space. The call to action button is also in a branded purple, drawing your eye to click and learn more.

Welcome-to-Twist-680x1770

Design supplements content

In fact, drafting content first helps you create more impactful designs. “Design for the sake of design is pointless, ” Mailjet Designer Yann Skargovskii explains, “Design is here to emphasize content, not to emphasize itself. Good design is invisible.” 

In the case of call-to-actions, an eye catching design for a 50% off flash sale would be very different from a product launch. Litmus Builder’s launch email is a great example of how design helps highlight the key message. The two dated red and white calendars bring your eye towards the virtual product tour sign up. The grid below also cleanly highlights customer testimonials, with a larger dark testimonial banner at the bottom that complements the header banner.

“There’s often a desire to say too much per piece; it’s a constant education with colleagues and clients to keep it digestible. Often, design ideas … will fall out of this process too,” Lauren says. There’s a give and take relationship between design and content. Where content can’t concisely convey, design steps in. Balancing content and design keeps your email short, actionable and engaging. And that is the formula to winning over your reader. 

Product-Launch-Email-from-Litmus-680x2722

Keep the communication flowing

Ultimately, our exploration of email creation best practices brings us back to the root of the question. “Content or design first?” hints at a larger dynamic that’s been in play for years now. Many design and content teams work on separate parts of a project and don’t communicate until it’s time to put two-and-two together. This disconnected workflow creates unaligned views on which comes first. It’s incredibly difficult to bring the two together if there isn’t clear communication from the beginning.

Content and design teams should connect at the beginning of each new email project to build a clear understanding of the audience and message.

From our discussions, we’ve come to the conclusion that there is no absolute formula to email creation. Both content and design should be considered from the beginning. A punny headline can be taken to a whole new level with a viral GIF. But in order to do so, both teams need to put their heads together.

So what do you think? Which comes first? Design or content? Let us know how you approach email creation by leaving a comment below!

How To Create Content When You’re Feeling Lazy

Spending glorious summer days indoors at work can be a drag. What’s even worse is seeing your friends’ vacation snaps while scrolling through social media to find inspiration for your next newsletter or content piece. So what do you do when you have to create content and continue your marketing drive throughout the 6 week long summer holiday period? (More like 2 weeks in April if you’re here in London as far as having Sun is a factor.)

Do more with less. Repurpose your email designs as well as content across channels to make them go the extra mile. I’ll show you some ways to get the most value out of your existing content (both using email to drive additional traffic and tweaking content for email) when you’re feeling the summer brain drain. I’m actually taking my own advice while writing this piece – trying to draw inspiration from previous content we’ve created – as I gaze out into our courtyard where some Google Campus people are having a little BBQ.

Work smarter, not harder (or just a bit lazier in this case)

I’m not telling you to literally copy and paste old content or even repeat the same idea. But when you’re looking to create content, draw inspiration from previous pieces and see if you can follow up any of the previous issues you’ve tackled in your blog posts.

You can take a point from an ebook or an interesting article and elaborate on it to create a piece or turn a presentation/infographic into a blog post; or vice versa. In terms of email content, maybe check your social media for certain phrases that worked really well and test it out as a subject line in your email. Have a look at your Twitter analytics and see what worked well for you last summer and follow up on those year-old pieces:

Twitter Analytics
 

Take time to revise your annual email goals

Back in December, we talked about redefining your email goals: “Put on your consumer hat and look through the holiday campaigns your competitors have sent through so far. Which customer demographic is underserved?”. If you’re sending time sensitive emails, specifically around the summer holidays, be sure to keep an eye on the competition and see how you can stand out.

Reevaluate your goals in terms of open and click rates as they can fluctuate in comparison to rest of the year. This depends on your target audience. For example if your target audience are teens from ages 16 to 21, you might see a rise in open rates as these young persons are on their school break. If you’re targeting B2B clients, then you might see a drop during August, as this is when they take their family vacation.

Replace your colleagues with free tools

Is your design team off on holiday right now? Try using some simple and free tools to reuse graphics you already have. One of our favorites is Canva, you can create brand new email headers and banners as well as social media images in a couple of minutes. Or, manipulate old images to create something fresh.

 

Canva
 

So you’ve created your “lazy” content, but is your email marketer, sipping pina coladas by a pool somewhere hot? No fear, replace them with Publicate. You can use Publicate to curate your newsletters through an easy-to-use dashboard by dragging and dropping different links to populate your new piece. Then, embed the HTML code into your email template and you’re good to go!

publicate
 

 

 

Are you feeling the summer laziness epidemic? How’ve you gotten through it so far? Do you have any tips for us?