Crafting Irresistible Email Content This Holiday Season

We know the Holiday Season can be a busy period, so we’ve decided to help you prepare for it. Our Crafting Irresistible Email Content guide will help your team craft fresh, compelling content for your holiday email campaigns.

 
Our Content Marketing team has put together some tips and tricks to help you with your own content planning process. This guide will get your creative juices flowing and help you prevent burnout in this year’s content creation marathon. Start early and plan ahead to ensure you come up with subject lines and calls to action that will make you stand out in the holiday inbox.

 
‘Crafting Irresistible Email Content’ is an extract of Mailjet’s Ultimate Guide To Holiday Emailing. Download the full guide now and win the battle of the inbox this holiday season!

Rock The Holiday Season: Mailjet’s Holiday Toolkit Is Back

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… ? Well, maybe not just yet, but for the email marketer, the holiday season is here and it’s time for all of us to get ready to make the most of it. And no, it’s not just about dusting off our Christmas jumpers and lighting up the whole neighborhood with our festive decorations. It’s also about putting together amazing campaigns that will help us to embrace the holiday feeling to build our brand and drive sales.

We know you loved our holiday gift last year, so we’ve decided we couldn’t leave you hanging much longer. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Mailjet’s Email Marketing Holiday Toolkit. ???

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If you thought mulled wine and mince pies were a match made in heaven, just wait and see how amazing the “email” and “holiday season” combination is.

 

Hold on, what’s Mailjet’s Email Marketing Holiday Toolkit?

Glad you asked. Mailjet’s Email Marketing Holiday Toolkit is your one-stop shop for all of our holiday content, with the best advice on how to win the battle of the inbox this holiday season. You’ll learn all about the journey of your emails, how to get your contact lists ready for the coming months, you’ll master the art of designing the best campaigns and producing killer content, all while you enjoy Mailjet’s top Christmas tunes.

This year’s Holiday Toolkit welcomes back some of our fan favorites, including the three guides that will help you master the secrets of email marketing: our updated Email Design Toolkit, the 5 Brands Who Rocked The Holiday Season guide and Mailjet’s very own Content Brainstorm Worksheet. Download them all and prepare to learn from great email examples, discover amazing design tips by some of our friends in the industry and get your team together to craft engaging content.

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All of our festive content in one place

We know the holiday season is crazy for all marketers and you might be having a hard time keeping up with all of our amazing content (we’ll let you go just this once, since it’s nearly Christmas…). So we’ve decided to make it even easier for you to find our posts by featuring them alongside our Holiday guides. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

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And in December… it gets even better!

We’re all about the festive spirit here at Mailjet, so as well as our incredible playlist, we want to share the love with you this December by offering you a tip a day throughout the festive month, Advent Calendar style. Follow us on Twitter to learn some best practices and join the conversation with the hashtag #MailjetAdventCalendar, to let the world know about your own emailing top tips.

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Can’t wait to find out more? Head over to Mailjet’s Email Marketing Holiday Toolkit and explore everything we have in store for you to rock this holiday season. We’re sure you’ll love it, so make sure you’re spreading the word and letting people in on our little secret by sharing on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn!

 

Are you already trying out some of our festive advice? Tweet us your thoughts, ideas and experiences using the hashtag #MailjetsHolidayToolkit.

Infographic: The Journey Of Your Emails This Christmas

There are many mysteries out there around Christmas. How does Santa Claus know where every child lives without using Google Maps? How is he able to get down every chimney without being on a full-time diet? And, most importantly, why does he insist on wearing the same old red coat every single year? We’d love to be able to really know what Santa’s up to right now, but not even NORAD and Google can help with this just yet.

So we’ve given up on traditional Christmas mysteries for now and we’ve decided to focus on what we’re best at: email. Ever wondered how your Christmas campaigns make it to the inbox? We have, and to fully understand the journey of your emails through the Internet is one of those mysteries we really want to uncover.

We’ve already talked about this before, but we know the power of an image. So, get a glass of mulled wine, grab your favourite Christmas cookies and enjoy what is probably our merriest infographic ever.

 

infografic the journey of your email

 

Did you know all about the journey of your emails through the Internet already? Have you got any other questions? Tweet us your thoughts using the hashtag #MailjetDelivers.

Edit Images For Your Emails Without Leaving The Editor

If you are not a trained graphic designer or passionate about retouching images, then you are probably not going to be worried about the dimensions or size of images in your newsletters. Making even a small change to an image can become time consuming as you can’t be sure if Paint is going to live up to your budding creative ambitions.

We know all about that. So we decided to make your life even easier by enabling you to modify your images directly in Passport, our responsive email editor. Sometimes just a small modification can make a huge difference… Discover a whole new range of possibilities thanks to the new Passport features.

 

Size matters

The dimensions or size of images in an email can have a negative impact on user experience for your recipients. If your graphics are too large, they will take too long to load and your message either runs the risk of not displaying correctly or not being read at all. This is often the case for a smartphone or when the recipient does not have a large bandwidth (we‘ve all experienced this, especially if you’ve been stuck underground on the New York City subway).

So that large images are displayed correctly, we have improved our tool for loading images so that it informs you if you do not respect the best practices regarding images.

 

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Concentrate on the essential aspects

Once you have designed your email in Passport, you can edit your photos directly using the same tool. Draw attention to the part of the image that you find interesting by cropping the image without compromising the quality. Choose the format that works the best for your email and showcase the most interesting part of the image for your recipients.

How does this work?

  • Click on the image and then on the icon to edit it

 

 

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  • Select ‘Crop’

 

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  • Choose the format that you would like by clicking on ‘Apply’:

 

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  • And here’s what you get:

 

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Turn your images around in the blink of an eye

If you follow our blog then you probably already know that we love turning ideas on their head. And we thought that you would probably like to do the same with your images.

If you’re not happy with the rendering of the image of if you forgot to put it the right way around, you can now make the necessary adjustments.

 

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Go to ‘Orientation’ to use the Mirror tool and play around with the vertical or horizontal symmetry. You can also rotate your images 90°, 180° or even a full 360° for those of you who change your mind when you’re already in full flow.

 

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And you can do all this without leaving your favorite email editor!

So why not…

…make it seem like you had already thought about capturing your best side

 

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…make ordinary photos more interesting

 

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Or take a risk and flip the image around so that your products are shown in their best light:

 

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Passport makes your work with images easier

Integrating images into emails is essential but not always simple. To help you with this as much as possible, Passport helps you apply best practices to your emails.

You can modify your images directly in our email editor by dragging and dropping them. Moving between design tutorials, your emails and the image editing tool is now a thing of the past!

You’re the office’s image expert now.

One final word about images: use them to make your content more attractive, but don’t abuse them. Incorporating text in your email is hugely important for improving deliverability. Spammers often send emails with images and no text. If you do the same, then you risk sending out the wrong signals.

Your email text also helps you to make your messages more accessible to people who suffer from vision problems and will help ensure that your ideas are still transmitted to your target audience, even if the images are slow to load.

What do you think of this new feature? How will you use it? See you on Twitter to talk more about it!

Scarily Bad Email Design Examples This Halloween

These days, it feels like we’ve seen it all. We survived not forwarding those endless chain emails, the world “ending” in 2012 and all six seasons of Jersey Shore, so it’s hard to be scared of anything. This Halloween, it’s time to get spooked by something even worse than the Boogeyman, Loch Ness Monster and the Jersey Devil combined. This is not for the faint of heart…this is what happens when email design goes wrong.

A Nightmare on Design Street

It happens to all of us. We open an innocent looking email, stare at it in horror, and run screaming into the night. Okay, maybe it’s not that dramatic, but opening a poorly designed email is definitely not a fun experience. With different font sizes, a range of a hundred colors and tons of buttons saying “click here,” you’re sure to get sent straight to the trash. Keep your designs clean and user-friendly to increase your reader’s engagement.

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In this grocery store ad, there’s simply too much happening for the reader to benefit from the email. Instead, highlight a few key items in an easy-to-read format to entice your reader to click through to read more.

Invasion of the Unresponsive Email

You might want to think twice about sending that Halloween email campaign if you haven’t tested it on a mobile screen. If an email looks jumbled when your reader opens it, you just might scare them into deleting it. Mobile devices, tablets and wearables have taken over as the leading platforms for reading emails, so make sure you’re not just designing for the desktop.

Yikes! How do I make sure my email is responsive?

Using a responsive email editor, like Mailjet’s Passport, to create your emails is the easiest way to make sure your reader can view your content on any device. The template will automatically adapt to the screen size of the device on which the email is opened. Responsiveness can also be a pain for developers, so at Mailjet we’ve set out to make their work easier with MJML, our open source email coding framework, which generates high-quality responsive HTML that renders beautifully in the most popular email clients.  

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While this email may be fine for a user on a laptop or larger-screened tablet, it would be very frustrating to choose one of the categories on a mobile device. Make sure your email adapts to a variety of screen sizes to make sure that your user can always engage with it.

The Silence of the Images

Of course, email design responsiveness also means that your content adapts to your user’s bandwidth. For example, large photos may not load over a subscriber’s cellular connection. If the majority of your email is images, your subscribers might experience the horror of a big blank email when they open it. Add alt text to make sure your reader understands what your email is about, even if the images don’t download.

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The email on the left has no alt text within the images, so when it’s opened without a strong cell phone signal, the user has no idea what the images are. The email on the right provides readers with a description of the image so that they can know what the message is about.

The Evil Text

We get it. You want your readers to have all the information they need, simply from opening your email. While it’s important that your emails provide value to your reader, adding too much text makes it difficult to keep them engaged. When your subscribers open a text heavy email on their mobile devices, chances are they’ll lose interest quickly if they have to scroll several times just to reach the call-to-action. Instead, give your readers a snippet of the information, then direct them to a landing page to read more.

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Receiving an email like this can make the reader feel overwhelmed with information, even if they are interested in the topic. Instead, try breaking up text with images and redirecting your reader to learn more on your website.

The Blair Witch Palette

For those of us who are fashion conscious, we know which color combos to avoid. The same applies to email templates – you don’t want to have too broad a range of tones or clashing, distracting colors in the design. For example, if you place light text on a light background, your subscribers may have trouble reading your email. Also, using too many colors can frustrate your subscribers and cause them to move on to the next email. The colors used in your email design will also affect your reader’s view of your brand, so choose your palette wisely.

Of course, you’ll want to make sure you keep your email colors consistent with your overall brand. If your brand identity consists of mostly dark tones, a neon email may confuse your recipients and cause them not to recognize you. Your emails represent your brand as much as your website or print materials, so be sure to put your best foot forward!

halloween email design

The wide range of colors in this email make it difficult for the reader to know where to focus. The bright red background is distracting from the main content of the email, which can cause the reader to lose interest quickly. Instead, try to stick to a limited number of colors and use different tones to direct the reader’s eye.

We hope we haven’t scared you too much with our spooky email examples. Your subscribers want to receive email treats, not tricks in their inboxes, so make them happy with your Halloween email campaigns!

 

Have any scary emails spooked your inbox this Halloween? Share them with us on Twitter using the hashtag #MailjetHalloween.

 

Want to define your email strategy to win customers over this holiday season? Check out Mailjet’s Ultimate Guide To Holiday Emailing.

Holiday Emailing Guide

 

The Journey Of Your Emails This Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner – at least for the email marketer – and the time to think about your Christmas campaigns is now. Sending the perfect email to the right contacts at the right time is hard, and even harder if you don’t understand how all of your fantastic Christmas campaigns make their way into your recipients’ inboxes. So, how does the email journey work from a technical perspective? How exactly does a message get from the sender to the receiver? Well, let’s find out.

 

The journey to the inbox

OK, so let’s start with something obvious. Before you can send your beautiful Christmas campaigns to your subscribers, you need to create them. Groundbreaking, huh? Lucky for you, many email service providers (ESP), like Mailjet, offer editors to make designing an email easier.

So after spending some time looking up the funniest gifs and festive images, playing around with the colors and drafting the best content, your campaign is ready, its design is optimized for deliverability and it really looks beautiful. Great job! Now is the time to press the “Send” button. Scary, right? Well, wait till you see all that’s happening behind the scenes.

 

Step 1: Getting ready for departure

You just pressed “Send” – your work is done. Now it’s the ESP’s turn to get to work. During this first step, the ESP (Mailjet, that is) prepares your Christmas campaign for sending by completing a series of steps. First, if you have used any personalization in your email, like using dynamic subject lines that include your contact’s first name or other demographical data, this information is applied. The email is also provided with a digital signature so the receiving server can verify the domain (DKIM). Then, the ESP converts your email into two sections: the header and the body.

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Before your email can leave Mailjet, it has to go through various processes where it will be formatted, checked and passed. But what is checked, specifically? Well, pretty much everything. Mailjet’s MTA (Mail Transfer Agent, the software that transfers emails from one computer to another) looks out for potential spam or malware, and assesses everything from the length of your message to the words and characters used.

Finally, the ESP adjusts the delivery speed to fit each ISP’s own speed. The ISP is the Internet Service Provider you’re trying to send your emails to. For example, Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo! Some ISPs accept larger volumes of emails in a short time span than others, so the ESPs send your campaigns at different speeds, breaking the total emails you want to send into different chunks to optimize your sending.

 

Step 2: Knocking on the ISP’s door

Once your email campaign is approved by your ESP (Mailjet, of course), your email is ready to step outside, walk into the wild, unknown territory that is the digital spectrum and make its way to the receiver. Your ESPs MTA (reminder: that is, the software Mailjet uses to transfer your email to another computer) now checks if the destination you’re trying to send to exists, by looking at the Domain Name System (DNS). If everything is correct, your ESPs MTA sends your email campaign to the MTA of your contact’s email server.

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The email has been sent to the recipient’s mail server, your subscriber’s ISP. But before it is even accepted, the ISP’s MTA checks some of the information coming from the ESP. One of the main things ISPs investigate is your sender reputation. As with everything in life, reputation determines how successful you’ll be with your email strategy. Think of it as going to a club: if you’ve caused trouble there before, got into a fight or not paid your bill, you’re not going to get in. Same will happen if you’re not following the dress code, for example.

It’s the same with emails. A bad sender reputation will negatively affect your deliverability (that is, your ability to successfully deliver emails to the recipient’s inbox). The ISPs you’re trying to send to may block your email, so having a positive reputation is key to mastering email deliverability. You might even get blacklisted, which means you’ve been labelled as a spammer and your campaigns might have a harder time reaching the inbox.

Aside from your reputation, ISPs check a number of other elements to establish whether they should let your emails in or not. They try to figure out if the ESP is known and if the sender authentication (SPF and DKIM) is in order. ISPs also look into the metadata, format and structure of the email to ensure they are correct (the HTML code) and check whether the recipient inbox exists and isn’t full.

If your email doesn’t pass these checks, or if the email address you’re trying to reach simply doesn’t exist, it gets bounced. A hard bounce would occur if the ISP has determined the email address you’re trying to reach does not exist or is no longer active. If it fails any other checks, then it results in a soft bounce. And that’s not it. Depending on what checks your email has actually failed, the kind of soft bounce you get could be different. It might get a temporary bounce telling you to re-attempt the message because they might be willing to deliver it later. Or your Christmas campaign might get rejected (and your future sendings too), which would mean the ISP is not willing to let your emails through until you improve your practices and your reputation.

 

Step 3: Landing safely

But your campaign is awesome and it has passed all the checks and convinced the ISP to finally open its doors. Yay!

Now it’s the ISPs turn to look into the actual email. Basically, the ISP will make the content go through some internal spam filters and assess your sender reputation against its own reputation list.

When an email fails these requirements, it will be sent straight to the Mordor of the emailing world, the junk folder. If you’re lucky, your campaign will be spotted there, but we wouldn’t put our money on this. And even if it does get noticed, having your emails land in the spam folder doesn’t give the best first impression.

If your email manages to pass this very last obstacle, then it will be allowed to land safely in the inbox, along with many other emails fighting for your contact’s attention. Some ISPs, like Gmail, even have different folders within their inbox. Now it is up to the title, design and content of your email to shine and really grab the reader’s attention.

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The inbox folders in Gmail

At last, the journey of your email is finally over. Yeah, we know, looking back, Santa’s journey around the globe to deliver the Christmas presents pales in comparison. But all of these intermediate steps and security measures are necessary to ensure that no harmful messages reach the inbox. And actually, what looks like a long and eventful journey could really just be a matter of seconds.

How much did you know about the journey of your emails through the Internet? Tell us all about it or tweet us your questions using the hashtag #MailjetDelivers.

Opt In Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas

The Holiday season is just around the corner, yay! Black Friday and Christmas are coming to town and the winter sales season will kick in right after… It’s peak time for shopping, therefore peak time for your marketing strategy.

You want to make the most of the festive season, so you’re ready to use email marketing to the fullest and ensure you’re reaching everyone… That’s when you hear a little voice inside your head, reminding you about this list you purchased in a previous life (back when you were an accidental spammer – it’s happened to the best of us). So you start thinking about recycling it…. Sure, your list is going to grow by 10 times overnight… but will that really grow your revenues?

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The answer is no. And we really don’t want to be a Grinch here, but the Holiday Season is a very special time, when email lists tend to go slightly crazy… Not to mention what happens afterwards, when the risks of observing a peak in bounces and unsubscribe rates are high.

But if you get opt in right, you’ll ensure you get new customers that want to stay with you, both during the festive season and for the rest of your life. Don’t worry, it’s not thaaat difficult.

 

Once Upon A Time, There Was… The Precious Contact List

Your contact list is the first thing that you need to set up in order to send emails. There are many ways to get contacts; some of them are perfectly legal ? (collecting addresses on your website) while others, not so much ? (purchasing lists from third parties).

People often fear that their lists are too small, so they look for ways to grow them exponentially: recruiting old customers who they haven’t interacted with for years, paying third parties for lead generation, using email IDs collected through social media without using an opt-in widget, etc. Most people think that the bigger the contact list, the more people they’ll drive to their website and the more customers will eventually buy their stuff.

The temptation of adding contacts at any costs is pretty big, we know. But we’re here to ask you something important…

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The first reason is that through a proper opt-in process, you are basically making sure that people wish to receive your emails. Which means that people are interested in your brand and what it has to offer. This is precisely the key to ensure that they don’t abandon you right after Christmas, once they’re over their CSD (compulsive shopping disorder, that is). You don’t want to be dumped just after Christmas Eve, right?

And that’s not it. Opt in is good, but what’s even better is to ask them twice through a double opt-in process. If you don’t use the double opt in, some fake email IDs might sneak into your contact base, damaging your email reputation and your overall deliverability. You can also add a CAPTCHA form in the signup process to keep those nasty spambots away.

It’s important to understand what’s at stake here: your credibility as an honest sender. Not using opt in makes you a spammer pretty much all over the world, and once you’re flagged as a bad sender, it’s hard to come back from the dark side. Besides, the overall health of your contact list also depends on how strong your relationship with your customers is: be sure to create a long-lasting bond with them if you really want to grow your revenues. Customers’ loyalty will pay off.  

We want you to stay on Santa’s Nice List even after Christmas, so let’s see how to get opt in right.

 

How To Properly Do Email Opt In

Consider that setting up a new contact is like adopting a puppy: sure, they’re cute when they’re young and fluffy, but you want to bond with them in the long run too..

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(OK, maybe not this puppy…)

To ensure that, follow these three simple steps:

  1. Add subscription widgets pretty much everywhere (but don’t pre-check them, that’s actually a forced opt in and can lead to poor deliverability)

If you’re looking for more ways to grow your contacts list, we have tons of resources ready for you, including a dedicated guide and an article with some top tips.

  1. Once your users subscribe, reach out and ask them to confirm they want to receive your news via email by clicking on your double opt-in link. Even if this is a transactional email, make sure it looks amazing so that people cant resist clicking the confirmation link, and that your brand identity is immediately recognizable.
  1. Send your new users a great welcome email (or even better: an automated welcome series), to let them know what they’re going to receive and allow them to set their email preferences.

 

Ta-da! Now you have a great new companion ready to follow you wherever you go. But just in case they get tired of you (we know you’re awesome and it won’t happen), don’t forget to leave the door open for a potential exit by adding an unsubscribe link at the end of your messages. Better alone than in bad company.

 

How To Deal With Christmas… And The Aftermath

You’re probably planning on increasing your sending frequency during the Holiday season. That’s fine, but in order to keep your new contacts for life and not just for Christmas, make sure you’re aligned with their expectations and you adjust your sending over time according to their preferences. Some of your contacts might have been very happy to receive your campaigns full of gift ideas and discounts everyday in December, but may not be as happy to see their inbox flooded in January.

Besides, if your contacts just joined your email list to make the most of your festive promotions, you don’t really know what they’ll be interested in once the holidays are over. So why not use a simple survey to ask them how often they want to hear from you, and what type of content they’d prefer to read? Use segmentation to create lists that will target different groups of recipients according to their preferences..

Don’t forget to work on your content in order to provide great added value to the readers and ensure that they’ll keep opening your emails even when your Christmas offers are over. This will keep your users engaged and stop them from clicking on that dreaded unsubscribe link.

Final tip for the road: sometimes, you try really hard to make someone like you, but they’re just not interested. Clean your contact list regularly to get rid of those inactive contacts who haven’t shown any interest in your brand for the last three to six months, to ensure they don’t have a negative impact on your deliverability.

And that’s pretty much it, you’re now ready to make the most of your contact list this holiday season. Remember, adopt your contacts for life, not just for Christmas.

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Let us know how you’re recruiting your contacts and how you’re planning to keep them engaged once Christmas is overTweet us using the #MailjetDelivers.

 

Want to define your email strategy to win customers over this holiday season? Check out Mailjet’s Ultimate Guide To Holiday Emailing.

Holiday Emailing Guide