Ta-da! WE’VE DONE IT. What are we talking about? A solution that will make life easier and allow you to collaborate on beautiful emails with ease.
So, what is it? Teamwork in real time!
Now you can work on your email designs with others, at the same time, from anywhere. Finally, the same collaboration tools you expect in all your documents, you can now have in your email campaigns.
Real-time teamwork to create your emails
Are you designing a campaign where you have to write the content? Does your designer have to update the images and ensure that the brand guidelines are adhered to? Working with others on emails often turns out to be complicated and all the extra back-and-forth can waste a lot of time.
Well, here’s something new from Mailjet (and new to email campaigns anywhere): we are developing solutions that will make designing, writing, and sending emails as a team much faster, and easier. You can now work with anyone, anywhere, to build emails at the same time. No more waiting for your colleague to finish editing an email so you can begin to make your changes, join them in our new collaborative editing tool.
How exactly does this work?
It couldn’t be easier
If you open an email campaign or template and someone is already making changes to it, just join the session. The initial of your first name is displayed as soon as you join:
The best advantage is that you can’t overwrite the changes your colleague is making when you join the template, and vice versa!
You can see, in real time, what your colleague is doing. You can then make your own changes and they will also be visible in real time:
View person 1:
View person 2:
To make teamwork easier, Mailjet blocks the section (text, image, etc.) you are working on so that nobody can make changes while you are working on it:
Extra secure, for everyone!
This feature is available as part of Mailjet’s Premium and Enterprise subscriptions.
The Teamwork feature is not activated for customers using our Basic plan. However, in Basic and Free accounts, you will be alerted if someone is already working on a campaign or template that you want to edit. You can choose to not edit that email, or else you can retake control.
If marketers had a dime for every time we’ve heard that suggestion at a meeting.
Newsletters are a great way to engage with your audience and to keep them informed about your business on a regular basis – they’re personal, targeted and consistent.
According to Mailjet, good marketing newsletters can “guarantee constant website traffic, [signups to] webinars, other event registrations, and product sales.” However, newsletters are only effective if they are well designed and perfectly executed – which is easier said than done.
Some marketers think creating newsletters is an easy way to kill many birds with one stone, but we’ve all seen examples of ones that try to do too much. When product updates are sandwiched between blog posts and random promotional offers, your newsletter loses its focus. “They’re supporting every aspect of your business… Email — whether it’s a newsletter or not — needs one common thread to hold it together.” (Hubspot)
Audiences need to get what your newsletter is about as soon as they read the subject line. Once they open it, they also need to understand quickly what they should focus on and which call to actions to take. Otherwise, you won’t see good open and engagement rates. If this is the case for your newsletter, you may want to step back and take a look at why it isn’t engaging to your readers.
3 key elements of every engaging newsletter
Think about a recent email newsletter you actually read all the way through. What made you read it?
Here at Mention, we actually decided to completely revamp how we did our marketing newsletter this year. Why? Because it was something we wouldn’t want to read ourselves.
More importantly, it wasn’t helping our company get closer to our objectives, which were to generate new leads and to grow a large and engaged email list. In order to improve this, we took a good hard look at our previous newsletter and realized there were three things that it needed to be:
Relevant – it relates directly to the reader’s industry, interest and topics they care about.
Interesting – it entertains, educates or delights the reader.
Valuable – it teaches the reader or provides them with something they find useful.
Without these characteristics, your newsletter won’t be able to draw a consistent and engaged readership. In this blog post, we’ll share 7 tips on how to create newsletters that focus on these elements.
Of course, before you do anything else, you’ll first need to define your newsletter strategy. This includes setting your objectives, identifying your target audience, and decide on the visual style of your newsletter. We won’t be getting into these basic steps in this post, but you can check out Mailjet’s guide for a step-by-step tutorial.
1. Choose your focus
The focus of your newsletter will be crucial to how engaging it will be. But figuring out what type you should create and what content should go in it, is also the hardest part.
It’s important to know who your readers are so you know who you’re writing for. Try and get a good idea of what your audiences are interested in, what industries they work in, and what topics they care about so you can write content that’s relevant to them.
One way to figure out what to focus on in your newsletter is by testing different versions of them. An easier way to find out? Ask! Conduct a survey to ask your existing subscribers what they would like to see in your newsletters.
As we mentioned earlier, most newsletters try to do too many things at once. Does it make sense to have your product updates in the same newsletter as your top tweets of the week? Once you decide on your focus, stick to it so your readers know what to expect every time.
2. Keep it simple, keep it catchy.
We’re all busy people and we find ourselves spending less and less time going through our inboxes. “Our inbox was supposed to be a place we turn to for quick, digestible communication from companies. Instead, we are now constantly flooded with marketing newsletters that provide very little value to us.” (Mention)
Because your audience will spend less time reading an email than a blog post or a white paper, they need to understand the point of your newsletter as soon as they open it – keep the content simple and straightforward.
The simplicity of a newsletter is key to its readability. But you can also grab your readers’ attention by making the writing brief and punchy. The Skimm and the Hustle are two great examples of newsletters that are all about presenting interesting trending topics in a casual, catchy, and digestible way.
Your newsletter doesn’t always have to be only about your company. Incorporating content from thought leaders or influencers in your industry is a great way to align your brand with experts. Try including quotes, tweets, or links to content from your partners or favorite brands.
Collaborating with others is also an effective way to grow your newsletter subscriber list, “Look for other people or businesses that run newsletters with a similar target audience and reach out to them to promote your newsletter. If your audience is large enough, you can reciprocate by promoting their business in your own newsletter.” (Fast Company)
Community.is’ newsletter is created for people who “put people at the center of their work.” They often include quotes and content from influencers, industry experts, and other sources which make their content feel authentic and credible.
4. Include User-Generated Content
Another way to make your newsletter more engaging is to switch the focus from your company to your users, audience and even employees. Think about incorporating content from your community, such as comments, highlights of interesting examples of product use, or answer questions that are frequently asked on social media.
Intercom’s newsletter often includes quotes and commentary from their staff and community about trending topics. It’s a great way to add some humaness to your newsletter and to involve the rest of your team.
5. Connect to trending topics or events
Depending on the nature of your newsletter, you may want to connect your content to popular topics or events. Marketers often want to be in the know about the latest trends, so to provide your own commentary around them can be an effective way to include your brand into the conversation.
You’ll learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Instagram – the latest trends, how to drive traffic from Instagram Stories, and how to work with influencers. To connect their product and content to relevant topics, they also often write about how Instagram is used at trending global events like the Olympics or Black Friday.
6. Use social media as a teaser
Social media is an amazingly effective channel to get people excited. Have some big news or exclusive content to share in your upcoming newsletter? Reveal a little snippet on social media to build some buzz around it.
Take advantage of the different formats that are available to you to use. For example, you may want to use Twitter and Facebook for photos and gifs, and Instagram Stories to include some live action and speaking into your teaser. Talk about what your readers can expect in the upcoming newsletter and why they should sign up. Don’t forget to include the call to action!
7. Be consistent but provide something unique
Does your current newsletter just regurgitate everything that your company is doing on your blog, social media or website? Your newsletter should provide your audience with something they can’t get from your other channels.
When we decided to revamp our own newsletter, we knew we wanted to create something that was unique, that stood out from the rest of our content, as well as from other marketing newsletters. So we spent a lot of time perfecting the tone, the look, and making it unique.
The Mention Memo
The result was a fun, friendly, curated digest about the latest happenings in social media.
What did our readers think about it? We saw open and click-through rates double in the first two months! What’s more, we’ve had readers email us to tell us how much they enjoy reading it – making it all worth the effort.
Over to you
Creating good email newsletters is a fundamental part of your email and overall marketing strategy. Check out some examples of awesome newsletters we’ve mentioned, get inspired, and think about how you can improve yours.
In the mind of many marketers, emailing is mostly about having a contact list, coming up with engaging content ideas (from the subject line to CTAs), and pressing send, with the satisfaction of a job well done. Yet, funny enough, this is just half of the job. There is more to emailing than just sending campaigns or setting up transactional emails. It’s also about tracking your campaigns’ performance, analyzing the results and drawing conclusions to improve your future sending. “But how do I do this?“, we hear you ask.
Fear not, dear reader! Email statistics (and your marketing experts friends from Mailjet) are here for you. In this post we’ll walk you through the stats you should keep an eye on, why they are important, what the results can say about your emailing practices and overall marketing strategy, and how you can improve them.
Email statistics you should keep an eye on
Obviously, all email statistics provided by the different email service providers are relevant. They’re actually so relevant that, whatever platform you’re using to send your emails, the different email status’ available in your statistics dashboard will be labeled the same way. Yeah, email stats are that important.
The Good… And The Bad
Email statistics can roughly be classified in two categories: positive and negative. It’s not an official classification, but it can help you understand what is good, what is not so good, and what you definitely need to improve.
Sent and Delivered
These are the most obvious and easy to understand stats: the Sent and Delivered rate. Their names are pretty straightforward. The Sent rate is the proportion of emails which have actually left the sender server to reach your recipients. If large numbers of messages stay as “sent” for a long period of time (usual sending time may vary between a couple of seconds to a few hours), you are probably experiencing a deliverability issue.
The Delivered rate is the proportion of sent emails which have landed in the recipient’s server. However, being “delivered” does not necessarily mean the email ended up in the recipient’s inbox. It’s impossible for anyone other than the recipient to know if the message was delivered to their inbox or the junk folder.
The Open rate is the percentage of delivered emails that have been opened at least once. It’s a good way to know if people want to read your messages or if they bin your emails them straight away without even opening them. You clearly want this stat to be as high as possible.
The Click rate is the percentage of opened emails that have been clicked on at least one time, excluding clicks on the unsubscribe link. This statistic is very important as it shows how subscribers interact with your content, and if it is interesting enough to drive readers to your website. High click rates are a sign of interest and can help shape your future campaigns.
Negative stats are the ones which can hurt your sender reputation. Very badly, if they’re too high. So, you’ll want them to be as low as possible. At Mailjet, we set a threshold for you to not pass, otherwise, you run the risk of having your account put in quarantine or even blocked.
The Bounce rate is calculated on the total amount of emails sent. A bounce means that the email didn’t reach its intended destination – your contact’s inbox – for different reasons, and it was returned with an error message. At Mailjet, we make a distinction between Soft Bounces and Hard Bounces.
Soft Bounces are temporary issues such as the recipient’s inbox is too full, or there is a connection timeout. In these cases, redelivery will be attempted automatically. If the email is not delivered within 5 days, it’s marked as bounced.
Hard Bounces are permanent delivery errors caused by an invalid email address (e.g. a mistyped email, a non-existent destination server, etc.). These types of bounces negatively impact your sender reputation. To avoid deliverability issues, it’s very important to regularly remove bounced email addresses from your contact lists.
The Unsubscribe rate is linked to the open rate. It indicates the percentage of recipients who clicked on the unsubscribe link – or the unsubscribe button provided by some webmail clients and ISPs – in the open email. Think of it as a healthy way to keep your contact lists up-to-date. Note that, if you’re using Mailjet, unsubscribed email addresses are automatically removed from your lists.
The Block rate is calculated on the total amount of emails sent. Blocked is a status Mailjet sets for its users. Emails which have previously hard bounced, have been marked as spam, or that have potential spammy content, are pre-blocked by our system. This way, your sender’s reputation is less impacted.
Set as spam
This stat is also calculated on the total number of emails delivered. Spam complaints are made when the recipient believes an email is unsolicited. Spam is typically aimed at marketing emails. Transactional emails usually don’t get marked as spam. Many ISPs provide a ‘spam’ button or link in each email delivered. When a recipient clicks on this button, the email is reported as Spam and this is displayed on your Stats page.
Spam complaints are taken very seriously and can be detrimental for your sender’s reputation. You will want keep your spam rate lower than any other email stat. Some tips in our sending policy to keep your spam rates down are:
Only send your emails to recipients who have given explicit consent. The use of Third Party contact lists is prohibited.
Always include a clearly visible and easy to use unsubscribe link in all your emails. You don’t want subscribers to mark your email as spam to stop receiving it.
Your sender name and domain must be communicated in all your messages. Content should be relevant and reflect your subscribers’ expectations. Cleaning your lists regularly ensures that your emails are sent to engaged readers.
What do these stats mean for you?
These stats don’t exist for the sake of our love for numbers (not sure we even love them that much…). They mean something. And following the results, you should take different actions, depending on the KPIs you have set, obviously. Let’s go through a few common scenarios…
1. I don’t have any significant negative stats, but my open rate is low.
Why not use emojis in your subject lines to capture recipients’ attention? Just like we do.
2. I have a good open rate, but my click rate is not taking off.
Great! Your recipients open (and hopefully read) your emails. Though, for some reasons, they don’t seem to click. This could be down to either a CTA or content issue. If there are not enough things to click on in your email, your readers might not click; or if your content isn’t appealing enough to them, your readers won’t click.
So be sure to test (yep, once again) the positions of your CTAs and the length of your content. Make your CTAs more clickable, with clear buttons and/or images instead of simple hyperlinks in your wording. This is also practical: if your emails are opened and read on a mobile device, it will be easier for readers to click on a button using their thumbs rather than having to zoom in to enlarge the text.
3. My negative stats are going crazy, help!
The issue here it’s clear: the quality of the contact list you are using is bad.
This could be due to a number of things:
You haven’t sent an email for a looooooong time, and your recipients don’t know who you are anymore;
You recently purchased or borrowed a third-party list (HUGE NO-NO!) and are currently experiencing the consequences;
Since you started sending emails regularly, you haven’t cleaned your contact list, resulting in a clog of bad stats.
To prevent this from happening, you have limited options. First, before sending: NEVER USE A PURCHASED LIST! Second: NEVER USE A PURCHASED LIST! And third: you get the message? It’s like Fight Club: you have to repeat the first rule to be sure it sticks.
Now that we’re sure you know and remember the golden rule, there are a few other things you can do. If it’s the first campaign you’re sending since… forever? Or at least for quite a long time, send smaller campaigns before you send to all your contacts, and ask them if they want to stay on your list or not. This way, you’ll limit the risks of your unsubscribe and spam rates skyrocketing.
Also, don’t forget to remove bounced, reported as spam and blocked emails from your contact lists. It’s like cleaning your teeth each night: it takes just 3 minutes of your time, it’s kind of annoying and looks useless. Yet, in the long run, the results are worth it: you still have all your – possibly white – teeth and you’ve preserved your sender reputation. Everybody (but your dentist), wins!
And here you are. We’ve walked through the main stats you should follow when looking to improve your email campaigns. As you’ve seen, it’s not rocket science, but simply testing, improving, and testing again. Oh and, of course, following best practice (You haven’t forgotten the golden rule yet, have you?). So go, make your positive stats increase and reduce the negative ones to a pulp!
You liked the post, or have something to add to it? Let us know on Twitter! We’d love to hear about your stats, let us know.
This blog post is an updated version of the post “What Do Your Stats Tell You? Emailing Doesn’t Stop When You Press Send!“, published on the Mailjet blog on March 23rd, 2017 by Thomas Hajdukowicz.
Two years ago, we open sourced MJML, a responsive email library that we created at Mailjet for Passport, our own drag and drop builder, as we needed to generate a clean HTML that would render well in all major inboxes.
Well-aware of the challenge that responsive email is, we quickly realized that MJML could benefit a lot of developers. That’s why we decided to open source it after using it internally for months. It’s been a crazy journey since then.
We’re proud to see that MJML is now the most-used responsive email library worldwide, trusted by major companies like The New York Times and Ryan Air. Each month, a new record is set in terms of downloads and February 2018 is no exception to the rule as MJML was downloaded 60,000 times this month.
Monthly downloads since the initial release
As MJML turns two this month, we’re proud to announce its biggest update since we launched it: MJML v4. MJML v4 is a complete rewrite of MJML and brings a whole set of new features.
MJML’S v4 New Features
Gutters for columns
As a common layout style, the option to add gutters between columns was a popular request. This is something you can now do by adding some padding on mj-column (documentation).
An example layout with gutters between columns
Desktop layouts on Outlook.com
As there is no way to make a difference between the mobile and desktop versions of Outlook.com, we initially made the choice to display the mobile version by default (it’s easier to read a mobile layout on a desktop screen than a desktop layout on a mobile screen).
With MJML 4, you can now override that behavior by adding an attribute on the mjml tag to force the desktop layout on Outlook.com: <mjml owa=”desktop”>.
Multi-column layout rendering as desktop on Outlook.com
You can now easily override the default breakpoint (480px) of MJML. To do so, you can simply use the new dedicated head component called mj-breakpoint and specify the desired breakpoint as a value of its width attribute (documentation).
<mj-breakpoint width=”540px” />
Validation of files included in files included in files incl… you got the point
The MJML engine now supports the mj-include component, and better yet, will validate all files included, including nested includes.
A better syntax
The syntax for various components was simplified and semantically improved:
mj-container was removed from the list of MJML components and all of its attributes now belong tomj-body (documentation)
mj-social syntax was improved and makes it easier to add custom networks. Each social network should now be added a child of the mj-social component (documentation)
mj-hero-content was removed from the list of components. The content of your hero component should go directly inside mj-hero (documentation)
mj-navbar is not a section component anymore and should now be placed inside a mj-column directly (documentation)
A new way of creating custom components
While the ability to create custom components has been a feature of MJML since the beginning, it just got way easier. First, there is no dependency to ReactJS anymore, but it’s also now possible to use MJML components straight into your own custom component.
We’ll publish a dedicated tutorial for creating your own components with MJML v4 in the coming weeks.
An enhanced command-line interface
As MJML 4, the command-line interface was totally rewritten. It now follows a more standard syntax and also brings new features, such as migrating a template from the v3 to the v4 syntax or watching multiples files or even a whole folder (documentation).
Using MJML locally via NPM
If you’re familiar with using MJML locally, you can install the v4 by running npm install mjml and start using it immediately. If you run MJML against your v3 templates, they will transparently be converted to the v4 syntax and rendered in HTML.
You can also migrate your templates written with the v3 syntax by using the -m option of the CLI, which will output your MJML template with the v4 syntax without rendering it in HTML.