Join The Party: MJML Just Turned One

Back in the day, email coding was such a nightmare… And then, one year ago, MJML happened. What was simply a very cool tool designed for our own product became a huge success when we decided to offer it to the open-source community. We’re very proud of what MJML has achieved in only one year, so we decided to throw a month-long online party. We’ve been celebrating with the community throughout February, but for those who missed it, here is a recap of what happened.

MJML turned one and we can’t stop celebrating


birthday mad girl

A 2016 retrospective (or what an awesome year we all had)

When we released MJML, we knew our product was addressing a real pain point., but nothing could have prepared us for this amazing growth. Adopted by the community at an incredible speed, MJML has been featured as a top trend on platforms such as Product Hunt and Github.


MJML numbers
 

To give you some numbers, MJML has been forked 329 times and is heading over 5000 stars on Github. NPM downloads are also impressive, exceeding 80,000 as of today. And these figures are still growing.

The hype is real. MJML now even has its dedicated tutorial on Smashing Magazine, the reference website for web developers and designers, and some would say it’s in its way to become the new standard for email coding. ;)

This success is really due to the amazing people around here who have supported MJML since the beginning. To thank the MJML community, we created a dedicated retrospective page featuring all the major events that took place last year, giving top billing to each of the MJML contributors. And this is just our first present.

Want to learn more about it? Check out our MJML birthday post on Medium.


lord of the ring

An API to rule them all

MJML itself is coded in JavaScript and relies on the power of React and Node.js. Until today, if you wanted to integrate MJML directly into your app, you had to run it on your own NodeJS server, and wrap your application logic around it. This wasn’t an overly complicated process, but, as usual, it’s always a matter of time and resources. The community was longing for something more straightforward, so we decided to create the MJML API. Our objective: to make the MJML engine free from any language or dependency. And what’s more agnostic than HTTP?

Let’s say you want to create your own drag and drop responsive email builder. You want to leverage the power of MJML (and we do encourage you to do so). All it takes to get responsive HTML is now a simple HTTP POST request to the MJML API. The data is shaped in a JSON representation, ready to be used by your application. Imagine the possibilities!

It’s not too late to test the MJML API, which is currently in public beta. Head over to https://mjml.io/api and click on the big orange button “Join the beta”. The MJML API’s documentation could come in handy as you’re uncovering all of the new possibilities the MJML API can open up for you.

Want to get even more from MJML? Time to look at our third present. Learn more about integrating MJML in your app in this Medium post.

 

Bow ties Accordions are cool

2017 is clearly the year of interactivity in emails, and MJML is on its way to become the standard in what is already much more than a trend.


doctor who
Accordions, Doctor, accordions. There’s no mj-bowtie yet.
 

Indeed, even though email has been around for a while, it can still be very hard to get interaction tricks right, mostly because of the lack of standardization among email clients. Don’t fall into despair, though: MJML is here to fight by your side.

Last November, we released the very cool mj-carousel. You read it. A true interactive carousel. In an email. Yep.

Now, it’s a child’s play to display several images without lengthening your template, a feature that comes in handy when you have to present a product for instance. And because there’s never enough interactive components, allow us to introduce you to the mj-accordion.


mjml grandpa
Maybe not this one…
 

Because emails with a lot of content are generally a nightmare on mobile, mj-accordion comes in useful when you want to deliver a lot of information in a concise way. Content is stacked into tabs and users can expand them at will. If responsive styles are not supported (mostly on desktop clients), tabs are then unwrapped and your content is readable at once. Yep, you’re reading it right: adding a mj-accordion to your template is just a win-win situation.

Curious? Just try the mj-accordion live now.


star wars

On the road again

Last but not least, our fourth MJML present is, once again, more than a simple gift. Because online celebrating is cool, but nothing will replace human contact, the MJML team has decided to travel all around the world to meet the MJML community in the flesh.

Four events are planned in four different cities, Paris, New York, London and Berlin. The MJML team will organize meetups and conferences, with key speakers from within the email community. A lot of surprises await, so, if you don’t want to miss a thing, stay tuned by joining the MJML slack and following MJML twitter account.

Meanwhile, be sure to have a look at MJML’s ambitious roadmap for 2017. And, with MJML 4 coming soon as a full rewrite to improve performances and ease of use, the story’s still to be written.

MJML is going on tour! If you want to learn more about our global events, check out our post on Medium.

 

Any wishes for the future of MJML? Let’s continue the party on Twitter using the hashtag #MJMLBirthday.

Empower The Secret Weapons Of Email With A/B Testing

In the crazy world of marketing, we are bombarded by buzzwords on a daily basis. Whether it be our long-term favorite personalization, or the new kid on the block, interactivity. These words come into our lives like a New Year’s gym subscription… and like that pass, hiding at the bottom of your rucksack – we never really know how long they’ll last.

Buzzword

When we looked into our crystal ball at the end of last year to uncover the trends in email for 2017, one thing was abundantly obvious. As a marketing profession, we are very good at jumping on the latest bandwagon, but we are not as good at staying on the ride for a long period of time. That is why we decided 2017 was the year to become a savvy emailer and start practicing what we preach. So, how do we do that?

By A/B testing your secret weapons of email, of course ?

It’s very easy to get caught up in the latest marketing hype. But there are five elements of pretty much every email that have the power to make or break your statistics. So it’s important to not overlook them, think through your choices carefully and test each of them, in every campaign. Mastering these secret weapons could make the difference between someone opening your email or moving it to their trash. After all, when you press the send button, you want your subscribers to go on a journey with you. Firstly, you want them to open your email; secondly, to read your message; thirdly, to consider your offering; and finally, to take action. So, what are these magical elements?

The first, your From Name
As a receiver of emails, you’ll probably get a fair few each day. The average person receives a whopping 124+ emails a day. So, if you want your subscribers to recognize it’s you that’s emailing them, make sure your from name is something they’ll identify in a split second. A good way of doing this is to use your brand name.

Here at Mailjet we like to be a bit more creative with our newsletter (don’t worry, we don’t normally go too mad), we opt to include our brand name, but we also let our readers know the team that’s emailing them. Another strategy could be to opt for a personalized from name (for example, add your email marketer’s name, Jeremy at Mailjet, or your recipient’s name to the field, Josie’s ACHICA). Just remember to help your contacts know it’s you by keeping these variations consistent.

From Name

The second, your Subject Line
Make your email stand out in the inbox. Entice your subscribers to open your email by hinting on an epic story that pulls on their heartstrings. Keep the tone of voice true to your brand, but don’t be afraid to try different approaches. Find out what works best for your brand and your customers by testing different approaches. Funny phrases, questions or even emojis can help spice up your subject lines and draw attention to your email.

Remember to proceed with caution, though. We’re sure you wouldn’t want to fall into a spam trap, so avoid using words like FREE or ORDER NOW.

Subject Line

The third, your Pre-Header
Sometimes called “the unsung hero of email” (we like to think we’ve created our very own buzzword with this one), the preheader text is the third element your readers see before opening the email, and, as such, should work alongside your subject line to summarize the content of your email, and entice your readers to dive into it.

At Mailjet, we start our pre-header text with our newsletter name, to give our subscribers a consistent experience. Although you could choose to add this in your subject line, adding it to your pre-header frees up valuable characters in the second secret weapon.

Pre-Header

The fourth, your Email Content
Fill your emails with content that both informs and empowers your customers. However, providing insightful content is not just a way of offering value to your contacts. At Mailjet, for example, we aim to send our subscribers useful content that will allow us to build credibility in the email stratosphere, and that will help our brand stand out in the crowded email space. Telling your company’s story, or what content marketers call storytelling, could be the right approach for your brand if you want to pull on your reader’s heartstrings to get them to perform an action.

Email Content

The key to finding out what works best for your brand and your audience is to test it. Chances are, if you offer value and incentives, like promotions or offers, your readers will reward you by clicking on your email and opening it in their inbox. But if you want to go one step further (yes, of course, you do…), provide valuable insights that will help your subscribers make the most of your product or service, to increase engagement and turn your emails into something your readers actually look forward to. Being personal can also improve the results of your campaign’s performance.

Your email content is not limited to just the text, images and layout play a big part too. The amazing thing about your emails is that you can test anything and everything to find what works best for your business.

The fifth (and final one), your Calls-To-Action (CTAs)
You know, the buttons or links you want your subscribers to click on. If your content is something that interests your subscriber, they’ll want to find out more, so use your CTAs to encourage your readers to convert and take the chosen action. Make sure your CTAs are clear and easy to navigate, to effectively drive traffic to your website or social channels.

CTA

Remember, the secret to killer emails is to test different approaches to find out what performs best for you brand (don’t test, and you could end up killing this cute cat). We’ve shown you what works for us, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the best journey to take your emails on – get creative and embrace email testing!

Killer Emails

Are you already testing different approaches with your email campaigns? We’d love to hear about it on Twitter, use the #EmailTesting to get involved in the conversation. Happy Testing!

Simplified Style And Personalisation Management In Passport, A New Template And Much More

 

Since we launched Passport in June 2015, our email editor has gone through many changes (*sniff* they grow up so fast). By combining our ideas with your feedback (that’s right, we’re listening), we hope to make email creation as simple and fast as possible.

Today, we hope you’ll be delighted to learn about some new improvements and features we’ve implemented. We think you’ll like them so much that you’ll wonder how you ever survived without them.  

Go ahead and block off your calendar, so you can read what’s to come. We’re all but certain you’ll rush to test out the new features.

New tools and improvements to make editing emails even more intuitive

Manage your default e-mail styles

To make editing emails easier, you can now define styles which will apply to paragraphs, titles, links or all elements. Once you’ve defined these in the left-hand menu, styles will be applied to all the elements already added to your emails and will continue to apply for future emails.

Moving forward, if you’d like to change just one element in your email, doing so won’t have an effect on overall styles you’ve created.

To try out this new tool, simply head over to the “formatting” section of Passport.

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Include social network icons to engage readers

To increase traffic to your social networking pages and let readers share your newsletters, we’ve improved the features letting you insert social network icons.

From the menu, simply drag and drop the “Social Networks” icon, then click the section and the bolt icon. A “Configuration of social networks” icon will appear.

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Pro tip: at the top of your email, insert icons for the social networks you are most active on to encourage readers to follow you. At the bottom of your email, offer a share option, and don’t forget to include every social network. Emphasize the share links using a call to action, such as: “Did you enjoy our newsletter? Spread the word”.

4-gif-social-media

Customizing emails has never been so fast

Whether you’re editing marketing, transactional or automated emails in Passport, it’s possible to insert variables directly in your content to customize your emails.

To make this customization even easier, a pop-up now shows up when you wish to insert variables. It allows you to visualize properties you’ve associated with your contacts.

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Select the variable that interests you and fill in a default value. When you’re ready to send your emails, this variable will be automatically replaced by the corresponding contact’s value.

A transactional email template including templating language in your gallery

Templating languages are perfect for making user experience even more relevant. Using just one dynamic template, you can create an email that adapts to each transaction and each recipient.

To make things easier, we just added a template to the transactional email gallery that lets you do this. You can use it to find inspiration for future emails.

To let you see all the options available to you, let’s take the example of an apartment rental company that offers its most faithful clients loyalty points every time they make a reservation.

With this template, the templating language allows both subscribers and those not yet subscribed to receive bespoke messages, all from just one e-mail. The message is tailored according to their profile and clients are encouraged to reserve again without any alteration to their user experience.

6-img-2 6-img-1

Neat, huh? We are positive this example will awaken a sudden urge to make some changes to your marketing strategy so that it includes templating language. Head over to your account to test out this template and let your imagination run wild as you modify it to suit your needs.

We promised you’d be thrilled! Now go try out these new features on Passport. There are so many … Where to start? What other features are you hoping to see implemented soon? Tell us on Twitter.

 

The Almighty A/B Testing Beginner’s Guide For Email Marketing

We talk a lot about how you can optimize your email campaigns for your audience. We hardly do anything else. But without all of this talk, you probably would end up completely clueless…OK, maybe not completely, but you wouldn’t be an email master either.  

If you’re smart, you followed our Mailjet Advent Calendar and read every single email tip. In Tip # 8, we said you should A/B test your campaign to maximize results. Maybe you were asking “How in the world I can do that?” Well, we hear you and help is on the way. We proudly present to you our almighty A/B testing beginner’s guide. Put your last New Year rockets in your closet and get ready for the magic of A/B testing.

 

A/B testing – the hidden champion you should not ignore

Let’s start with the definition of what A/B testing is. Ok, even we agree that definition is boring but let’s face it: it’s necessary.

A/B testing means the comparison of two or more versions of one piece of content to similar persons at the same time. You can use it to test everything from website copy, to paid search ads and sales and marketing emails. In the context of email, A/B testing means that you create one variation of your campaign to test which version performs best for your audience in terms of open rate and click rate.

Split testing vary from simple to complex testing. Simple A/B testing includes one or two elements which are easy to customize like subject line, button color and size. More advanced testing includes the customization of multiple elements in your email campaign like picture placements, general wording or different email templates against each other.

 

The benefits of split testing your email campaigns

To get the best results possible, you need to test and analyze all your important email campaigns (marketing email, transactional emails and email automation workflows). While the cost of acquiring new customers and newsletter subscribers can be huge, the cost of increasing your email conversion is minimal.

A well-planned split test increases the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts. By using controlled tests, you will figure out which content and visual arrangements work best for your target groups. If you know what works best, then it is easier to make decisions and creating more effective email campaigns for your audience. Even with small testing and optimization afterwards, the Return On Investment in doing A/B testing can be massive. Split testing allows you to significantly increase the open rate and click rate. The result is a significant increase of leads, sales and revenue.

 

What you can test

You can test almost everything, isn’t that great? ;) You can test design and text related elements. In fact, to define the best campaign designed for your audience, you need to test both.

Make sure that your audience falls in love at first sight. You can reach this with a killer designed email. However, the design may be the reason they do not delete your email right away, but what really thrives the conversions is the content you provide. In the following section we give you a step-by-step guide showing you on which elements you should focus when you’re starting your A/B testing carrier.

The very first thing you should test is your subject line. The long hard working hours may be for nothing if your audience does not even open your email. So, make sure they do. Besides the fact that the mailing needs to get into the inbox, its headline needs to win them over. You can try out clear messages (“Our special Christmas offer for you”) or subject lines which are more mysterious (“You really do not want to miss this offer”). You can even play around with Emojis.

A/B testing Emoji in subject line
 

Congratulations, thanks to your fantastic subject line, your audience opened the email. Pictures and other visuals will be the first things that catch the their attention. Images have a great effect when used appropriately. Try different banner, product pictures etc. (even GIFs may work) in different sizes and see what visual style performs best, but make sure the items is aligned with your brand identity.

A/B testing picture sizes
 

The internet is in love with video, and we assume your audience is too. So, do you include videos in your marketing campaigns? If not, then you really should. It can really make the difference. And if you do so, then try some A/X testing. You can start testing the size and placement.

Sometimes, fancy visuals and funky subject lines aren’t enough to convince your audience and your paragraph texts need to win them over. Try different wording, text length and placement. Focus on the key messages and wrap the other elements around it.

A/B testing paragraph texts
If you are a online shop, then why not test your prices? Try different sizes, colors, placement and even the price itself.

A/B testing prices
When your headlines, sublines and paragraph text are optimized, then your audience is willing to click on your Calls-to-Action (CTA). CTAs buttons are one of the most important elements in a marketing email. This is what it all comes down to. Your mailing is meant to get their attention, but above all, it has to generate leads to your website. So, do not miss this in your testing. Play around with colors, sizes, text, placement etc. Keep in mind that the CTA text also needs to be on point.

A/ testing Call to Action buttons
 

Besides CTAs, there are other links you can include and test. An example of these links is Social Media buttons. Getting in touch on multiple channels is necessary, even for companies nowadays. We bet that you are on Social Media. Why not include Social Media buttons linked to all your channels and test these if they are attractive enough to click on them? You can test various sizes, pictures and arrangement.

A/B testing Social Media Buttons
 

Last but not least test the sending time. Does your audience prefer to open their emails in the morning, in the evening, during the week or at the weekend? Use your testing to find out.

 

Follow the path – don’t worry, you won’t end up in Mordor

The best way to run a successful A/B test is to follow a strict process. It will help you to get profound insights from your testing. A proper process need to include the following steps:

1. Problem identification:

Study your email campaign statistics. Define the user’s behaviour and find the problem areas in your conversion funnel. Include the landing pages your audience reaches after clicking a link in your email.

 

2. Defining a Hypothesis:

Based on your analysis, build a hypothesis. Define which result you expect from which changes. For example, “My customers do not like to scroll down. Putting the Call-to-Action button at the top will increase their attention and results conversion.”; “Most of my readers open my newsletter on their smartphone. Increasing the size of the CTA button will make it easier to them to click on it which results in more conversions.”


3. Testing the Hypothesis:

Based on your hypothesis, set up the split testing. Create a variation and A/B test it against your current email template.


4. Analysing the test date and draw conclusions:

You successfully sent out your split email campaign to the defined target groups. Now it is time to monitor the results. Which variation performs best? If there is a clear winner, then go ahead with its implementation. If the test remains inconclusive, go back to step number two and rework your hypothesis.

 

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7 magical A/B testing rules you need to follow

To do a proper split test, you need to follow these 7 rules.

 

Rule 1: Know what and why you want testing your email campaigns

Testing without a specific goal is just wasting time. Don’t run around testing like a headless chicken. Know the reason why you want to use split testing (increase open rates, increase click rates) and think about what changes may get you the desired results.

 

Rule 2: Focus on frequently sent emails

The moment you start doing A/B testing, you will be on fire and want to test every single email campaign you are sending. But stay calm, take a deep breath and rap on your knuckles. At the beginning only focus on the emails you are sending most frequently.

 

Rule 3: Split your list randomly

Choose a smaller, randomized portion of your contact list to test for the most optimized email version before sending the campaign to the rest of your contact list. To get conclusive results make sure you choose the same sample sizes.

 

Rule 4: Test one element at a time

With our fantastic A/X testing tool you can easily split test multiple elements. We know that you are on the starting line – ready to go. But once again stay calm, take a deep breath and rap on your knuckles. Focus on just one element at a time and leave all other variables the same.

 

Rule 5: Wait the optimum amount of time

The optimum time depends on your email campaign and target group. After sending out your A/B testing mail lean back and wait until you have at least 100 total conversions.

 

Rule 6: Check if results are statistically significant

The struggle with doing A/B testing is having a large enough sample size. Use a A/B Sample Size Calculator to find the right sample size.

 

Rule 7: Test again

After the testing comes more testing. Now you know the best subject line, Call-to-Action etc. for your audience. Move over to another element and start testing again. Then repeat the testing until you have tested all relevant elements.  

7 magical A/B testing rules
 

Now you know everything you need to start A/B testing your marketing campaign: the elements you should focus on, the best practice process and the 7 rules you need to follow. Log in into your Mailjet account and let’s get the split testing party started.

 

What is your experience with A/B testing? Which elements do you want to test? What improvements do you see? Tell us all about it on Twitter with the Hashtag #emailmarketing.

 

Tackling ‘The Coding Gap’, One Integration At A Time…

In December, we gave you the Christmas present you were all dying to receive… we integrated MJML, our responsive email framework, with Passport. In the age where being as agile as possible is a must, we’re giving the marketer the keys for success.  Marketers designing their email campaigns will have the ability to switch between an easy markup language and drag and drop interface – technology not available in any other ESP.

It’s a huge step forward in one of the most important business partnerships today between marketer and developer. Our hope is both to guide marketers and developers towards greater integration, but also to support those facing a longer journey to marketer/developer collaboration.

Tackling ‘The Coding Gap’, one integration at a time…

To coincide with the integration, we launched our latest research report, Addressing The Coding Gap, conducted among senior marketers in both the UK and France. The findings identified that nearly nine in ten marketers believe their work would be improved if there was better integration with the developer team. This rises by 10% amongst marketers who work frequently alongside developers.

While there’s barely any instance of marketers describing a negative relationship with developers, nearly a third of marketers are not speaking with their own developer team more than once a month. With the vast majority describing a positive relationship, it’s a matter of poor integration rather than incompatibility.

The cost of miscommunication

More than half of the respondents believe that the gap in coding knowledge between the marketing and development team makes their company less agile. This is felt most keenly by those who work frequently with the developer team, the majority of whom express that this knowledge gap makes them ‘a lot less agile’.

Coding Gap & Agile

Another effect of this miscommunication may well be marketing’s view on internal hierarchy. Most marketers expressed a clear belief that one of the departments is valued more widely by the senior management team than the other. In the UK, less than a third saw them as having the same value for different reasons. This falls to a fifth in France.

Addressing the barrier

Marketers in France attribute the lack of communication to a siloed structure whereas marketers in the UK emphasise the teams communicate in different ways and find it hard to understand one another.

Common ground rests in the perception of developers’ schedules, with marketers in France and the UK arguing that developers are too strapped for time and marketing is the bottom of their priority list.

Wedding bells

Wedding Bells

Well, we’re not quite there yet, but there’s good news on the horizon. The majority of our survey respondents shared a strong belief their roles will merge with the developer team as marketers improve their technology skills. Tied to this, 87% of marketers think it will be important for marketers to gain developer’s skills over the next 5 years because technology is driving marketing intelligence and innovation.

Frequent interactions with the developer team have a transformative effect on coding confidence.

Marketers who rarely, or never, engage with their developers struggle to rate their coding ability for responsive email; something marketers in frequent communication found far more easy to do.

This all hints at a correlation between the frequency with which marketers are working with their developer teams and the potential for campaigns built on close integration to succeed. With an ability to work more closely with developers through access to new tools, marketers can deliver campaigns that are responsive, adaptable and measurable more easily.

 

Have you already tried using MJML in Passport? Are you working closely with your developer team? Tell us about it on Twitter using the #EmailMarketing.

 

Email Marketing For Charities & The Not-For-Profit Industry

Charities and not-for-profit organizations know what the secret to successfully tackling a mission is: building an army of fearless supporters to aid the cause they are fighting for. In order to build such a valiant army, you need emotive messaging and powerful storytelling that attracts the right breed of supporter: one who can convey your message.

Email marketing is a direct and truly personal way of grabbing your audience’s attention. It has the power to reach the right people, and pull on their heartstrings with engaging content, garnishing quick results and an impressive ROI. As we’re sure you already know, email is the best performing channel for ROI, ahead of SEO.

So, how do you build this army of supporters with email? In this guide, we will cover the fundamentals of email marketing for the not-for-profit and charity industries. We will go over the basics any email marketer should master, learn about some of the tools and features that can really turn a regular email into a powerful campaign, and review some of the more common scenarios and examples, as well as some more ambitious programs that can help you target the right recipient with the most appropriate message.

Download our guide “Email Marketing For Charities & The Not-For-Profit Industry” to know all the best practices and optimize your emailing.

Email Marketing For Charities

Addressing The Coding Gap: A Research Report

In January 2017, Mailjet commissioned a new piece of research to understand the ‘Coding Gap’ between marketers and developers. The survey was taken by over 200 marketers across the UK and France. These marketers are all members of teams who collaborate with developers.

The research looked at where there is tension in the marketer and developer relationship, and how these tensions could be improved through new working processes and technologies. The research looked at the relationship between the two teams, the importance of marketers having technical skills, the future skills needed in order to be a successful CMO and how marketing is valued in comparison to their developer counterparts.

Do you need help to bridge the Coding Gap? Download our latest research report to gain insights into how your company could become more agile.

The Coding Gap