Gmail Introduces Smart And Easy Unsubscribe

Email. We all need it, right? But sometimes, the sight of that little red badge reminding you that you have 3172 unread messages can get a little daunting.

As part of their never ending quest to make email more manageable and, hopefully, a little less stress-inducing, at the end of April 2018 Google launched several new features for its webmail service, Gmail.

With productivity at the core of these changes, Gmail now offers more confidentiality and an increased security, as well as a range of functions that will help users manage their inboxes in a more effective way. Features such as Smart Reply, nudges or the snoozing options will allow us to navigate our crazy inboxes and make our email experience a bit nicer.

But while we all tend to get quite excited and a bit carried away by all the cool stuff Google usually introduces on its products, there’s one particular update that might make marketers start to sweat and panic.

‘Oh, no! What is it?’ I hear you ask. We’re talking about their new and improved “Easy Unsubscribe” feature, of course.

What is the smart unsubscribe feature on Gmail?

Two years ago, we talked to you about List-Unsubscribe and how Gmail was already adding some sophistication to this header option that allows users to easily cancel their subscription to marketing emailing lists. While the ability to unsubscribe from a contact list on Gmail has been available for some time, it had always been up to the users to determine which ones they wanted to be removed from.

Now, Google is going a step further by automating that process, actively asking the users whether they’d like to unsubscribe from certain promotional emails they haven’t opened in the last 30 days or more.

Only very few email clients have a smart unsubscribe function, but Google is known for setting trends. The suggestions are based on how many emails users receive and open from a specific sender, and it means that, with just one click, the newsletter subscriptions is will be terminated, making it even easier for recipients to stop receiving all of those unwanted emails.

It seems that, for now, this option is only be available in the Inbox by Gmail app on Android or via Inbox by Gmail webmail, although it will be available on iOS at a later date, which has not been disclosed.

What does this mean for email marketers?

Quite frankly, it means that your recipients will have an easier way to cancel their email subscription. So if your newsletters are boring or irrelevant, and the reader has not opened it in a while, they’ll be prompted to unsubscribe.

Don’t panic, though. The the automatic unsubscribe function doesn’t have to be seen as an enemy. In fact, it can be seen as a way to help you clean your contact lists, which in turn improves your deliverability rate.

On top of that, if you ran a requalification campaign in preparation for GDPR to re-obtain consent from your newsletter subscribers, you have up-to-date confirmation that your contacts are interested in receiving your communications and your content. And we are sure you did, didn’t you? 😉

All in all, what’s important to remember is that this is yet another way to keep your email list clean. At Mailjet, we always recommend that you remove inactive contacts every three to six months, to ensure your open and click-through rates remain at a healthy level, to ensure the best deliverability.

So if you have strategically planned and professionally implemented your newsletter campaigns, you don’t have to worry about this new feature.

How can Mailjet help?

At Mailjet, we think the strongest email campaign is the one your contacts really want to receive. The best solution to avoid unsubscribes is to create targeted and relevant emails, and to only send them to those that actually interact with your communications.

To help you maintain an engaged subscription base, here are some top tips:

  1. Segment your contact lists: Don’t send the same email to all your contacts. Use segmentation to send content that is tailored to your contacts based on different data, such us behaviour, location, age, gender… Combine it with personalization to make it even more human. The more relevant your email is, the more engagement it will generate among your subscribers.
  2. Send reactivation campaigns to inactive contacts: every three or six months, identify subscribers that haven’t interacted with your emails and send them a special campaign in which you remind them of the value they offer, and in which you ask them to confirm their subscription. You can include a survey to understand what content they’d like to receive, or highlight what they have missed in those past months.
  3. Use our Exclusion List to avoid sending emails to inactive contacts: If you don’t want to remove your zombie contacts from your list forever, you can add them to your Exclusion List. This way, contacts will stay in your database, but won’t receive your emails.

At Mailjet, we want you to get the most value out of your email strategy. That’s why we constantly share our tips and best practices on our blog and through our newsletter, to ensure our readers are the first to implement and adapt to the constantly-evolving email world.

Keep up to date with the latest email trends and never miss important news by joining our newsletter list in the sign-up form below!

How To Create An Email Newsletter

So you’ve decided to create an email newsletter. Hooray for you! Or maybe someone’s suggested you launch one and you really have no idea what they’re talking about? Whether you’re an email newbie or you just want to make sure you’re doing things correctly, we’ve got you covered. 😏

Right on cue, here’s “The best email newsletter post ever”.

 

What is an email newsletter?

Basically, an email newsletter is a type of email sent out by companies or individuals to a subscriber list (existing or potential customers that have signed up to receive marketing communications) that’s contains valuable content (guides, blog posts, news, products reviews, personal recommendations, tips, announcements and other resources).

Newsletters are an essential part of the email marketing strategy, as they allow businesses to nurture their contacts, by establishing themselves as key players in their industry, sharing insights and highlighting new products that will drive traffic to the website.

Example of newsletter

 

What are the advantages and the drawbacks of sending an email newsletter?

The immense popularity of email newsletters isn’t a coincidence. Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels. The average ROI is £38 for each pound invested and 72% of customers prefer to be approached via email. Well-designed marketing emails sent regularly, like email newsletters, guarantee constant website traffic, webinars and other event registrations and product sales. As newsletters statistically form the largest part of all marketing emails sent, they hold a great deal of marketing potential.

Wondering whether setting up an email newsletter is the right step for your business? Let’s have a look at the advantages and drawbacks of sending one!

 

Strengths of sending an email newsletters

Creating a newsletter is not just a way to keep your customers informed about your new product or features, but has many other advantages.

A newsletter is a constant source of traffic

One of the main reasons for creating a newsletter is that it generates regular website traffic. Organic engagement on social media platforms like Facebook is declining dramatically. Banner advertising is rarely noticed in the era of ad blockers. Written press releases sent by email will often be ignored by journalists and online editors.

Luckily, this is not true for newsletters. Emails that reach someone’s inbox are usually seen, and the likelihood that they will be opened is high, provided that the subject line is appealing and the sender is recognized (so make sure your readers know who you are!). If your newsletter is well designed and it contains relevant content, this will enhance your chances of the reader clicking on the calls-to-action for more information.

 

Email Newsletter generates considerable savings

Money is important for marketers. So anything that saves you money should be a top priority. And newsletters do.

Don’t underestimate how much money email marketing saves you, compared to other using other marketing tools. Paid advertisements like banner advertising, Google AdWords, Facebook Ads and influencer marketing are considerably more expensive than email newsletter marketing. The cost of a newsletter software is usually low and labor costs are also lower, as the newsletter is created and optimized faster than other media.

Easy performance measurement

The success of a marketing tool is based on whether it reaches the required relevance or not. And in order to find out, performance must be measurable.

Measuring the performance of an email newsletter is simple. Your email statistics provide you with all the information you need to do this: open rates, click rates, unsubscribe rates, bounces, which user terminals were used to open the newsletter and when, which links are clicked on, etc. These KPIs will help you accurately calculate your ROI and produce target-audience relevant newsletter content.

email opens per device
Email newsletter stats

 

Independence from third parties

When you create a newsletter, you are independent from other service providers and softwares. Publishers and influencers, as well as social media platforms and Google, are much more likely to increase ads cost than an email service provider is to increase the cost of its product. And even if they do, prices usually only increase by a small amount. With other marketing tools, increases are usually in the three, if not four, digit range.

Easily linked to other online marketing channels

Newsletters and other marketing tools such as social media can be easily and effectively combined. And they can reach recipients anywhere, regardless of whether they are in the office on their work computer, on the sofa at home on a tablet, or on the go on their smartphone, emails can be opened and read anywhere.

Targeted customer care

And if all of the above reasons are not enough on their own, the combination of all of them proves that emails are a great medium for targeting audiences and customer care. 😉

 

Weaknesses of sending an email newsletters

Where there’s yin, there is yan. Or in other words, where there is light, there is also darkness. Even if email newsletters provide many benefits, they also have a few shortcomings.

Absence of physical haptics when sending an email newsletter

Unlike with analog advertising media like brochures, flyers, magazines, etc. there is no haptic experience with email newsletters. For instance, a desk calendar is visibly looked at all year round. Emails, on the other hand, do not have a physical presence. This makes them less durable, but also less annoying to sort and organize. 😉

Ease of newsletter deletion

The fact that emails tend to be deleted more quickly and less intensively read than other media cannot be denied. There are many reasons for this: a full inbox, unappealing subject lines, content that is not relevant, etc.

Although these inhibiting elements can be minimized, except for the first one, a 100% interaction rate can never be guaranteed. This is true not only for newsletters. but for all marketing tools.

However, if we weigh up the benefits and drawbacks of newsletters, it quickly becomes clear that the benefits by far outweigh the drawbacks.

Advantages and Drawbacks of Newsletter Marketing
Strength Weakness
Constant source of traffic Absence of physical haptics
Considerable savings Ease of deletion
Easy performance measurement
Independence from third parties
Easily linked to other marketing channels
Targeted customer care

Strengths and weaknesses of newsletters: looks like you should start a newsletter, right?

Don’t take our word for it, though. Create an account and try it yourself! We’re sure you’ll also become a newsletter supporter in no time.

 

How to create an effective email newsletter

OK, so we have convinced you to give newsletters a go. Hooray! To help you make the most of your new favorite marketing channel, we’ve detailed below all you need to know to plan an effective newsletter strategy that’ll make your contacts wish all their emails were like yours. 😏

 

Defining an email newsletter strategy: Set your goals and objectives

First things first, before you even start designing your newsletter template, you’ll need to think about why you want to implement one. Consider the following elements to ensure you’re crafting the right messages.

Identify a target audience for your email newsletter strategy

A key starting point in building your newsletter strategy is to consider who you want to reach with your message.

Defining your audience is essential to the success of your campaign because you need to understand what needs and wants your potential readers have in order to meet these with a fitting offer in your emails. You need to provide value in your newsletters that appeals to your audience.

So think about who you want to reach with your emails and try to be as specific as possible. Consider things like demographics, location, and interests. If you’re aiming at reaching a global audience it can be hard to get precise in your definition, but in that case you need to craft a message that appeals to a broad audience.

Determine basic objectives for your email newsletter

The next step is focused on goals. Think, what do you want to achieve with your email newsletter campaign? Some companies launch newsletters to drive traffic to their website, others want to increase sales on their online shop, or to invite people to upcoming events.

Setting goals gives your newsletter campaign a purpose and helps you measure the performance of your efforts. These specific objectives depend on your individual company’s goals, your vision, and values.

When setting these objectives, it can be useful to follow the SMART principle, an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time bound. Essentially though, you need to set goals that make sense to your business, so spend as much time as you need on this step. It’ll be worth it!

Once you have defined your objectives, you need to determine the corresponding KPIs. If you’re not sure where to start, you might want to consider some of the most typical metrics measured for newsletters: newsletter subscriptions, open rates, click rates, spam and block rates, as well as newsletter unsubscribe rates 💔.

KPI Framework
Corresponding KPIs Newsletter

 

Define rough content

Planning the topic of your newsletter is closely connected to the objectives you have defined, but coming up with content can be hard at first.

To find inspiration, analyze your competitors’ newsletters (of course, avoid copying it and concentrate on what else you can offer to make yours better 💪) and newsletters of companies that you think are successful at email marketing. This is likely to give you inspiration about new potential topics, products, events etc.

Another recommended method is to carry out a survey in advance, and to continue asking your contacts to share their thoughts as you grow your newsletter list. At Mailjet, we do this to ensure we are always providing the kind of content our subscribers want to read, and we love reading their feedback.

If you’re just starting one, ask your target audience and customers what content they want to see and what are their expectations for a potential newsletter. If you want to incentivize customers to complete it, consider giving away freebies or discounts.

Email Content Calendar
Agency calendar example

 

Use the right platform for your newsletter

Before you start creating newsletters, you need to have the means to do it. This means that you need a newsletter solution that allows you to create, send and analyze email campaigns.

Of course, there are a number of other ways to create and send newsletters for free (among others, WordPress’ PHP), which allow you to send emails directly from the backend. Some of these solutions also provide SMTP relay. However, it’s is not your best option, as they can’t provide the same standards when it comes to deliverability (that is, the ability to send emails to a user’s inbox).

For security reasons, numerous solutions only allow for limited sending. Normally, under 100 recipients. A larger number of emails creates queues, which lead to delays or errors. In the worst cases, emails don’t get sent. On top of this, these softwares also lack some of the most basic.

This means you should definitely look for an email service provider that can help you achieve your email goals. The problem is that there are many professional newsletter solutions on the market, which can be both a curse and a blessing for senders. On the one hand, you have a wide variety of suitable email providers to choose from. On the other hand, vetting them may feel a bit overwhelming.

But as usual, at Mailjet, we’ve got you covered and have some useful tips to help you. When you’re looking for your ESP, make sure it includes the following functions, among others:

Email platform functionalities you need for a sucessful newsletter campaign

  • Drag-and-drop email editor to create newsletters easily in a few minutes.
  • A variety of predefined and responsive customizable newsletter templates.
  • Email personalization, for creating content specific to the individual.
  • Email segmentation, to divide contact lists arbitrarily.
  • Integrated image processing to easily adapt images.
  • Responsive subscription widgets to set up contact lists obtaining full consent.
  • Structured and clear contact management options that allows you to manage with your contact lists easily.
  • Optimal deliverability to ensure your newsletters reach the inbox.
  • A/B testing to test your campaigns.
  • Detailed statistics that allow you to optimally analyze the success of the newsletters you sent out.
  • A free trial period to test whether the email solution fulfills all the necessary requirements.
  • Possibilities for integrations with other systems and services like WordPress, e-commerce systems, etc.
  • GDPR compliant and other certifications that ensure the highest levels of data security.

 

Passport Drag & Drop
Mailjet’s newsletter drag and drop tool

How to Build your newsletter subscriber lists before creating an email newsletter

In order to be able to create and send a newsletter, you obviously need recipients (duh!). Setting up an email contact list with high interaction rates is relatively simple if you take certain factors into consideration.

How to add subscription widgets to your site

To gain new newsletter subscribers, the first thing you’ll need is a responsive subscription widget with a double opt-in process. Add the subscription widget to all the relevant pages of your website. Some of the most effective places to include your widget in are the homepage, the blog, the footer and pages with gated content, such as guides, white papers, and others.

Subscription Widget Setup
Mailjet’s Newsletter Widget Creation

Double opt-in ensures that no fake email address creeps into your database and damages your reputation and deliverability. If you’re not doing this, you risk being classified as a spammer both by recipients and the ISPs themselves. The result will be that not only your newsletter but all the campaigns you have sent will be blocked.

Don’t buy email lists

Giving in to the temptation of buying email addresses will result in the same scenario. Buying email contacts from third parties is one of the most widely used methods to generate a contact list. Many companies still believe that an email contact list must be as large as possible in order to have relevant success. This is by no means true, trust us. Buying contact lists is essentially a waste of money.

People included in such lists usually don’t want to hear from you at all and don’t know that you have obtained their email address until they receive the first newsletter. The result is annoyed recipients and blocked emails.

Create newsletter landing pages

Besides implementing a responsive subscription widget, special newsletter landing pages are a great way to grow contact lists. These pages enable you to use all optimization opportunities that apply to landing pages. The potential newsletter subscriber is not distracted from other elements on the website and they concentrate on all the great reasons you’ll give them to convince them your newsletter is the best thing that has been written after Harry Potter.

NY_Times Email Subscription Form
New York Times email subscriptions

 

Explore other channels to develop your newsletter contacts list

Aside from adding a widget on your site or a dedicated landing page, there are other ways of growing your email list, such us promoting it on your social media platforms, incentivising existing subscribers to share or encouraging people to join at events or at your physical store.

Consider what benefits prospective recipients may have if they subscribe to your newsletter. Ideally, you have already clarified these reasons in your strategy. Bear in mind that arguments like ‘100% free’, ‘no spam messaging’ or ’subscription can be canceled at any time with a single click’ are not actual benefits.

Real added value, for example, is provided by things like special offers, advanced information and booking facilities, invitations to exclusive events, regular industry information, access to exclusive content like e-books, email mini-courses, etc.

Build your email contacts list properly: Get consent from your contacts

But remember, regardless of how you’re getting your subscribers, you should always ask for consent before adding anyone to your email database. Remember what data protection and spam laws (like GDPR) say about consent, and ensure you’re complying with the applicable regulations.

Consent-Form
Consent Form EA

 

Segment your contacts for better targeting

Instead of sending the same message to all of your customers, leverage segmentation to make the most of your emails. Think about how you can use the information you have about your customers to create segments, to be able to narrow down your target audience and send more tailored email campaigns that really speak to a specific group within your database.

Build your segments for your email newsletter

The main question you will want to answer is what kind of data you want to use for segmentation. The answer to that isn’t really clear-cut, since it depends on your business and how you’re planning to group your contacts for your email campaigns. So, to determine the kind of data to use, think about what would make sense for your business. Consider if there are some obvious ways to group your customers based on different characteristics.

To give you some inspiration, here are a few examples of the kind of data you can use:

Examples of data segmentation you can use for your newsletter subscriber list
Demographic data Psychographic data Behavioral data
Gender Product Preferences Past Purchases
Location Interests Average spending
Age Lifestyle Purchase Frequency

With information like this, you’re able to pinpoint the kind of segment you want to create. If you want to get even more specific about your segments, you can combine different types of data and create even more precise groups. For example, you could focus on only women that prefer shopping for shoes and that have made at least five purchases over the past six months.

Once you have different groups of customers with similar characteristics, interests or habits, it will be easier to understand the each segment and thereby craft messages that resonate well with each one.

Craft your newsletter message

Now that you have your segments, it’s time to put them to use. As you start planning your campaign, consider how you can create a message based on these segments. Essentially, you want your campaign to match the segment you’re sending it to, so always keep your audience in mind.

To follow the different data types suggested above, here are some ideas of how you could match your message with each segment:

Ideas to craft your newsletter message according to different segments
Demographic Segments Psychographic Segments Behavioral Segments
Send information about gender-specific products Highlight a certain product category to each segment Send product recommendations or special sales similar to previous purchases
Share special events or deals in the city or area of each segment Focus on products that go with each interest group Offer a discount to customers that spend above a certain amount
Share different products or offers specific to each age group Offer products that match a certain lifestyle Encourage customers that haven’t made a purchase in a longer period of time to come back with a special offer

By matching up the segment with a fitting message, your campaigns will be much more targeted and take into account the different characteristics, preferences and needs of your customers.

Segmentation is a powerful tool because it lets you slice a big contact list up into small, precise chunks. Also, you will be able to respond to the behavior and preferences of your customers and thereby create a much more customized and personalized experience for them.

 

How to design a beautiful newsletter

The first step to creating a newsletter is setting up an email template. You can use a newsletter template provided by your email service provider (ours are pretty cool! 😎) and adapt it as necessary to match your brand image and your needs.

Alternatively, you can upload a newsletter template you have already created or that you have bought from a third party. In this case, make sure that the selected layout is responsive so that your email campaigns will be perfectly displayed on every end device.

Ready to dive in? There are five main things to consider when designing an email:

Think about content in your email newsletter before anything else

The first and main thing to consider when putting a newsletter template together is content. Is it relevant to your audience? Is it engaging enough? Does it follow your brand guidelines? Keep your content brief and to the point as you only have the reader’s attention for a small amount of time.

How: Use images on top of your email to capture the reader’s attention, followed by brief text and a clear call to action.

 

firezza email
Here’s an example of great content in practice by ‘Firezza’, an amazing pizza delivery company.

 

Email Newsletter: First impressions matter

We’ve talked a lot about how, just as the saying goes, first impressions really do matter when it comes to the subject line. 35% of recipients open emails based on subject line alone. So, firstly start thinking about your ‘From Name’. Don’t necessarily just use your company name or your department name. If your email is the vault and the content inside is the treasure, your subject line is the key to that vault.

How: Know your audience, personalize and A/B test to find the best subject lines for your users.

Keep your email newsletter simple

Give your newsletters a set structure, for example one feature area and two smaller columns below. Don’t cram your email with too much information as it won’t be appealing to the reader. Provide plenty of white space and keep your newsletter simple and neat. Try and keep a similar format your newsletters as users come to expect the same look and feel over time. If you work with different types of newsletters, you will need to use different newsletter designs, but remember to provide consistency with the same use of colors, font and hierarchy. This ensures clarity and professionalism.

A clear structure ensures that subscribers grasp the content and core message(s) immediately. Insert your company logo in the upper section so that the readers immediately associate the newsletter to you. Add images in order to attract the readers’ attention, followed by a brief text and a clear calls-to-action.

Newsletter structure template

Clearly separate the upper section, main body and the footer of your newsletter from each other. Where appropriate, use images or color contrasts to carry out visual separation. Ensure that the embedded links have sufficient space between them in order to avoid erroneous clicks.

How: To have your email render on various devices, be mindful of your email size. Ideal width is between 500 – 680 px. Smart Insight’s handy infographic sums up a range of email design best practices to follow.

Think about your email newsletter colors

As we discovered in a previous post, each gender responds uniquely to different colors. Be mindful of which hues you choose for your images, background color, font and call to action buttons. After making sure that you’re keeping true to your brand identity, think about your audience. Using specific colors based on your demographic, you can improve your results and ultimately ROI.

How: The more you know your customers, the better you can tailor your emails. To gather information from your existing customers, try running surveys as part of a raffle or competition. You’ll find most users are willing to spend two minutes to tell you about themselves for a chance to win something they want.

Don’t be pushy in your newsletter

If you want your users to take action through your emails, don’t be too pushy with your call-to-action buttons. Imagine your calls-to-action is a sales assistant in a shop. Are you likely to trust one that’s being pushy, trying to get you to try on a pair shoes or buy a specific blouse? Or do you trust the one where they’re informational, subtle, yet suggestive? Same applies here.

First start with a main call-to-action and modestly place it after the main content of your email or as a link within your textual content. If you have to add more than one call to action button, place this to the right or lower than the main call to action and make it slightly less obvious.

How: Think about the placement of your CTAs (calls-to-action). Through studies we can see that CTAs placed at the bottom of the email ramp up higher click rates than on the right or left of the email. Also make sure it has relevant text. For example, you may find emails sent to a certain demographic may prefer ‘Purchase Now’ to ‘Buy Now’. Research, test and compare your campaigns to improve your call-to-actions.

Netflix is one of our all-time favorites.

Netflix’s email design ticks all the boxes. It uses personalization in the subject line to get me to open it and uses a catchy image on top of the email to get me hooked. The content is based on Netflix knowing I’m interested in anything ‘Breaking Bad’ related and follows the same color scheme as the Netflix dashboard. Finally has effective and not too pushy call-to-action buttons.

Want to learn even more? Check out Stocky United’s tips to designing outstanding marketing emails.

 

Tailor your email newsletter message

An essential part in email design is the content featured in the newsletter. Yes, this might sound obvious, but it’s still forgotten by many, that think that a flashy design is enough to wow their contacts.

Before jumping into writing amazing copy, though, you’ll need to think about those unsung heroes that can make the difference between an email being opened or ignored. We’re talking about the secret weapons of email: the From Name, the Subject Line and the Preheader.

Newsletter Content
Newsletter content

 

Choose a From Name to send your email newsletter

We already mentioned before how important From Names are. The average email user receives almost 125 emails every day. If you want your newsletter to be noticed by your subscribers, you’ll need to devote most attention to your From Name.

You should definitely include your brand name, either by choosing a non-personal name like ‘Mailjet Marketing Team’ or the combination of your own and your company’s name. If you’re a personal brand, only using your own name is conceivable.

SenderNameExample

Formulate a Subject Line to optimize your newsletter open rate

After the From Name has been chosen (and it should stay the same for all future newsletters, unless you’re testing out different ones), you’ll need to concentrate on the subject line. Along with the sender’s name, the subject line determines whether or not your newsletter will be opened.

Remember that the tone and language should match the style of your brand. Be bold and try out something new. Being cheeky, using questions, citing the recipient’s name, or even adding emojis, all jazz up the subject line and draw attention to your newsletter. As you’re are probably very reluctant to be labeled as a spammer, avoid using words that can trigger the spam alarm. 😉

Write the Preheader

The Preheader is the third text element that you’ll need to customize. Together with the Subject Line, it summarizes the email content and motivates the recipient to pay attention to your newsletter.

Make sure the Preheader doesn’t just repeat the message on the Subject Line, but that they work together to incite the readers and encourage them to open your email

Create your email newsletter content

It is now time for the core text: the heart of the newsletter content. Remember that the content you share in your emails should be directly linked to your goals and objectives.

Whether you got inspiration from other newsletters or by conducting a survey, carefully map out the messages you want to share and consider you’ll communicate these to your audience. Define your email voice and the stories you want to tell, paying special attention to your copy.

Need some content ideas for your newsletter? Here are a few:

  • Promoting the latest blog articles.
  • New freebies like guides, white papers, studies, etc.
  • Invitations to seminars, webinars, and other events.
  • Special marketing campaigns like advent calendars, yearly calendars etc.

 

Newsletter Promoting Webinar

Email Newsletter: Define your key messages

The newsletter is one of the few types of email that can draw attention to multiple pieces of content. However, make sure not to promote too much at the same time. Several researches have shown that the majority of recipients click on the first call-to-action.

Therefore, you must always have your primary objective in mind when creating your newsletter. Place the most important information first, and organizing the rest following a clear hierarchy. The more subscribers have to scroll down, the higher the likelihood that content further down will not receive any attention.

Use images wisely in your newsletter

Images and other visual elements optically enhance the newsletter. But beware! Too many graphical elements can impact negatively on your deliverability, as this is a favored tactic of spammers. ISPs know this well, and often block emails containing large images. So always aim for a healthy 60:40 balance between text and graphics.

Another important advice to keep in mind is to remember to add Alt tags to the images and scale them down to the size you want. Bear in mind that some email clients block images, so that subscribers just see a large white area. By adding Alt tags, they’ll at least get an idea of what they should be looking at.

Likewise, some newsletter software packages distort large images. This means that these images have to be modified afterwards with an image editing program, which is really time-consuming. If you use a newsletter solution with integrated image editing programs, though, you won’t need to do any external processing of these images.

We know a great one you should try, by the way! 😉

Image Cropping
Image Cropping with Passport

 

Don’t forget legal bits in your email newsletter

If you conduct email marketing activities, you must adhere to certain legal guidelines. This means that your newsletter must contain an unsubscribe link.

Mailjet’s unsubscribe link

As we have already explained, it’s also a legal requirement that the recipient has given consent to receiving the newsletter. So stay away from sending unsolicited marketing emails as these are legally regarded as spamming. The practice of double opt-in, mentioned above, avoids legal disputes, warnings, and expensive financial penalties.

Both also provide a threat if you use a newsletter software that is not compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

 

Email newsletter campaigns: Optimization

With your content ready to go, it’s time to start sending your newsletters. As we mentioned before, the easiest way to go is by using an email service that lets you integrate your contact list, create your newsletter layout, and send your emails in one platform – like for example Mailjet. 😉

Make sure to choose a service that offers tools for tracking and analyzing the newsletters you send, since it’s important to see how your audience responds to the emails you’re sending them. Most newsletter services offer tracking of delivery, opens, clicks, and unsubscribes, which are the essential figures in measuring your efforts.

Here are the main metrics explained:

  • Open rate: The percentage of subscribers who have opened the newsletter.
  • Click rate: The percentage of recipients who have clicked on at least one link or call-to-action.
  • Conversions and/or revenue per click: The percentage of readers who have executed the desired action after left clicking on the target page (purchase, download, read complete blog article, etc.).
  • Unsubscribe rate: The percentage of users that have cancelled their newsletter subscription.

 

Newsletter Stat Overview

Once you’ve sent your first few newsletters, the opens and clicks should give you an initial idea about how your audience is reacting to your emails. This data is a great source for deciding how to optimize your future newsletters, since it tells you which elements of your newsletter can be tweaked.

Make sure you know how to read email stats properly and how to identify what needs to be improved. If your open-rate is low, perhaps your subject line isn’t clear enough. If only few people click on the links in your newsletter, try to make your call-to-action (CTA) stand out more. If a lot of users are unsubscribing, take another look at your contact list or try grouping your contact list into more specific segments to get a more narrowing targeting.

email stats

Use this data to determine the exact performance of your newsletter and make any adjustments to individual elements. We recommend always implementing these adjustments using A/B testing.

Tracking results and optimizing your newsletters should be an ongoing process that you keep doing to continually improve your results. Even when you reach positive results, try aiming even higher and find things that can be improved even further. For example, try experimenting with different fonts, colors, or number of images.

 

Best time to send a newsletter campaign

The time at which your newsletter is sent is a crucial factor for success. Think about the best potential time for your email to be sent out. A well-designed newsletter with interesting content will have little chance of success if sent at the wrong time. It’s important that it reaches the recipient when they are most likely to be sitting in front of their computer.

If you are new to newsletter marketing and lack the experience of having your own audience, try different times. Testing and comparing the results of newsletters sent at different times is the best way to know what works for your business.

In most cases, there are some basic rules that you can follow for best results. If you work in the B2B sector, you should send your newsletter during regular working hours. Peak times are usually between 10 and 11 AM, and between 3 and 4 PM. If your business model is B2C, then you should send during the week between 6 and 9 PM, and on weekends.

Of course, there are many different tools that can be helpful. Use a web analysis software like Google Analytics and analyze the exact time when customers visit your website. Send your newsletter at the same time or shortly before, as potential recipients are engaged with your topic and/or they are on their computer at that time.

Best-Newsletter-Sending-Times
Google Analytics view on the best time to send your newsletter

 

How to run successful email newsletter campaign on mobile?

In an increasingly mobile world, people are relying more and more on this third screen to access their inbox and send email. While the overall look and feel of email hasn’t evolved much over the years, the way users access and read their email has certainly changed. Not too long ago, our inboxes were only accessible via dial-up modem from a stationary computer, whereas users today receive and read emails from their smart devices on the fly.

This change in how and where users read their emails presents marketers with different challenges in how their newsletters are crafted and designed to make sure that messages get across to the desired audience. And it’s not just a matter of adapting your layout to the large number of different screen sizes.

Your content and entire funnel must be optimized for mobile devices as well, in order to get the most out of your mobile audience. Studies have found that 65% of emails are opened first on mobile devices and three out of four users are “highly likely“ to delete an email if it isn’t optimized for viewing on a mobile device. In other words, if you haven’t already optimized your newsletters to mobile devices, now is a good time to do it.

Mailjet Responsive
Responsive email with Mailjet’s newsletter solution

To get you started, we have gathered a few of the most important steps to take in optimizing your campaign for a mobile audience:

Your newsletter subject line is key

The first thing users see when a new email pops into their inbox is the subject line. Even before opening the email, a user might choose to delete it based on the subject line alone. As such, it is crucial to create headlines that catches the attention of your audience and appeals to them.

While this applies to every kind of email you send, it is even more important when addressing mobile users. Reading emails off a physically smaller screen gives you less space for your headline. Additionally, readers will be spending less time on each subject line since they will be scanning their inbox on the go.

Tip: Keep your subject line short and precise. Use words that appeal to your readers and encourages them to open the email.

Newsletter Template: Kee your email layout simple

Once a user has opened your email, you want to make sure that the content of your newsletter is optimized for a variety of screen sizes. The reason for this is quite evident: your message needs to get across to your readers, even on mobile screens.

A solution for this is to keep your layout clear and simple. Stick with one column so your emails don’t get too wide for mobile devices. Divide your text into smaller sections and make it easy for readers to get an overview of the contents of the email.

This also applies to your call-to-action (CTA) elements, such as buttons and links, that you want readers to click on. Make sure that these are easily clickable and placed intuitively in the email, to increase the chance of users following them.

Finally, avoid using images that are too large, as they can slow down the loading time of the email for users that are making use of their mobile data to fetch your newsletter.

Tip: Go for a simple layout to make it easy for your recipients to read your email. Make sure your CTA (call-to-action) is easy to find and click on.

Check out the simple layout on this great Starbucks email.

Email Newsletter for mobile: Don’t forget your links

Now that you have made sure to make your CTA easy to find, it’s time to look at your outgoing links. One thing is getting readers to click on your links, another thing is making sure the page they land on works on their mobile device as well.

Ideally, the landing pages of your outgoing links are already mobile friendly, so the landing page automatically adapts its layout to match the device of the visitor. If you’re not using mobile landing pages, make sure you’re using code that can be displayed on all types of devices such as HTML5 as opposed to Flash.

Tip: Optimize all outgoing links for mobile to get the most out of clicks-through.

Email Newsletter on mobile: Bring out your devices

After you have the fundamentals of your layout down, it’s important to test the execution. This is especially important when you’re looking to optimize for mobile devices that come in many different sizes and screen resolutions. To gain an understanding of how your design works it’s a great idea to actually view your newsletter on several platforms.

By doing so, you’ll quickly see how your layout elements are displayed on the different screens and how clear your call-to-action is shown in the email body. Again, these are important to the performance and overall success of your newsletter campaign.

Tip: Test and preview your layout on a variety of devices and platforms.

Email newsletter templates examples

Want to see some of these tips in action? We have selected four of our favorite newsletter examples for you to get inspiration and learn the basics.

Check them out below!

Product Hunt

What’s great about Product Hunt is how they use their brand identity to their benefit, using their signature red to make their CTA stand out on the white background.

Product Hunt features one key element, which is placed first, and add some more in-depth value for those avid readers that are always keen to scroll down. Their text-image ratio is also on point, using their visual elements that are perfectly aligned with the brand identity.

Product Hunt email newsletter example

Check out this Product Hunt newsletter here.

 

Netflix

Ah, yeah, have we mentioned we love Netflix already? Netflix uses personalized content to make sure their readers keep coming back to their newsletter and find true value in it.

Also, check out their clever use of CTAs! Not everyone will be ready to indulge when Netflix’s email arrives, so by adding a combination of ‘Play’ and ‘My list’, they maximize their click rates and potential conversion.

Netflix email newsletter example

Skyscanner

When one signs up to the Skyscanner newsletter, they know what they’re looking for. Wanderlust-provoking articles with travel tips and suggestions that will help us daydream about being somewhere that’s not the office… And, oh man, do they deliver.

There’s no question about the value added that their content offers, which makes their newsletter a great way to nurture contacts until they are ready to convert. And when they are, they’ll find personalized deals to inspire them and encourage them to click-through.

Skyscanner email newsletter example

Fitbit

At Fitbit, they have a clear goal in mind with their newsletter: to drive traffic to their blog, which is meant to inspire readers to become more active and make the most of their device. So they highlight their content value at the top (‘Top articles picked for you’) and smartly present their articles in a responsive design that is easy to read (and click!) on mobile.

Fitbit email newsletter example

Check out this Fitbit newsletter here.

 

Get started now with Mailjet

Ah, yeah. This is where we try to convince you about how much you need Mailjet… Well, you do!

As we’ve said before, sending a newsletter requires the right email partner that’ll make it easy to create, send and track your email performance, and that’s what we’re great (like, really great) at.

With Mailjet, you’ll be able to build and manage your email lists using our subscription widget contact management features, and you’ll get to carefully segment your database to send content that your readers really want to read.

If you haven’t already, check out our drag-and-drop email editor, Passport, which will help you leverage our amazing template library or create your designs from scratch on the interface to create stunning responsive emails that look good on all devices.

And once your email is sent out through our interface, via SMTP or with our flexible APIs, you’ll be able to effectively track and optimize performance with detailed metrics, testing and comparison tools that will help you take your email to the next level.

Want to learn all that Mailjet has to offer? Check out some of our features below:

  • Drag-and-drop email editor
  • Email personalization
  • Pre-made newsletter templates
  • Email statistics
  • Segmentation
  • Contact list management
  • Marketing automation
  • Subscription widget
  • A/B testing
  • Campaign comparison

…and many other!

Create an account now and try Mailjet for free to kick-start your newsletter strategy! 😎

How To Use Video In Your Email Marketing Campaigns

The world of email marketing is changing every day, and as more and more brands recognize the value of email marketing – the more difficult it is to stand out in your customers’ inboxes. One way brands can differentiate themselves in email is through video. In fact, including video in your email marketing campaigns and subject lines can increase open rates by 19% and click-through-rates of 200-300%.

While there’s a lot of talk about video in email, it can seem pretty daunting and expensive. Let’s explore how you can (and cannot) include video in your emails, and how to best increase engagement of your content

 

Can I embed video in the email?

The simple answer is yes. The complex is answer is…well, it depends. There are a couple of problems to consider. When you think about it, when was the last time you actually watched a video within an email? If you’re a Gmail user, the answer is “I think I’ve watched a YouTube video a few times”. If you’re a Microsoft Outlook user – the answer is “never”. The same goes for email on iOS or Android devices.

The problem is that a lot of these inbox providers are not compatible with embedded video, which means to get the benefits of video in email marketing, you need to find some tools and loopholes.

For example, Mailjet’s integration with Viwom allows you to embed videos in your email campaigns that will automatically detect the device, operating system, and email client where the email is opened from and deliver the best option to each one. On some clients, the video won’t load but at least you can ensure something is delivered in its place – like a GIF or an image.

When Litmus was putting together their Email Design Conference, they knew they had to do something creative with their emails, so they were one of the first to really try embedded video in email. The effect definitely caught the eye of those who saw it; however, only about 40% of users could actually viewed the video in their email client.

 

While this was four years ago, unfortunately email clients haven’t changed all that much, and video embedded within an email is still not the best practice. There are options, though.

 

An alternative to video in email: Animated GIFs & Thumbnails

The best way to leverage the power of video in your email campaigns is to use animated GIFs to drive attention to the most seductive of internet activity: moving images. Your audience has become accustomed to short snippets of video previewing the content they are about to watch, including previews on major streaming platforms like YouTube and Netflix.

 

A major goal of all email marketing is to, of course, have your audience engage further with your content, products, or services. So, having the ability to attract users to your landing page where you can incentivize further engagement is much more attractive to marketers than embedding the video in the email itself. The goal is that your readers click back to your website, not to stay within the email.

On Mailjet, this is as simple as adding an image and linking to your favorite landing page.

You can also simply use a static image coupled with a play button superimposed on the image to indicate to your audience that selecting the play button will send them directly to a video.

The million-dollar question though is this: do you autoplay the video or not? In most cases, autoplay video is frowned upon, it’s annoying when you land on a page and all of a sudden a video and its audio start playing when you weren’t expecting it. This is especially true if you’re on a phone and your precious data is being eaten up.

In this case however, autoplay videos works well, primarily because the user has already indicated interest in watching a video by clicking the play button, so you’re completely within your moral universal internet rights to autoplay your video.

 

Key steps to pairing video with email marketing

Once you’ve decided that yes – I am going to be a video marketing guru and start including video in my email campaigns, the work has just begun. There are three major steps you will need to take to make the most out of your campaigns: establish your campaign goals; film quality video content, and optimize for engagement.

 

Establish your email campaign’s goals

Just like any marketing tactic you explore, you need to identify the goal of your campaign before getting into the weeds. Even Tommy Wiseau had something resembling a plan.

First off, what are you hoping to accomplish with your video? Are you trying to get users to try a new feature? Are you promoting an upcoming event? Do you have a new product that you want to show the world? Or maybe you just want to drive as many views as possible to your video.

Create the right content for the goal you are trying to achieve. Sometimes, a 7-10 second video is all you need to show your great new product, and sometimes an in-depth tutorial or course is exactly what your audience is looking for. If you’re goal is to drive sales, what call to actions are you baking into the video to direct people to purchase pages? If you’re goal is to simply increase the number of views, what are you doing in the first 3 seconds to capture the attention of the user and incentivize them to stick around for the whole video?

 

Film quality video content for your email

Sometimes a webcam video is enough, and in fact it can be a great way to show a personal touch if you are looking to personalize video in your email marketing strategy. Other times, though, a touch of flare and production quality is important to inspire trust and encourage engagement throughout the video and into the next step in the journey you want to send your audience on.

To produce a video that falls somewhere between your grandparents trying to figure out video conferencing and Mad Max: Fury Road, you need to keep in mind four key things:

  1. Lighting,
  2. Dimensions and format,
  3. Cameras and lenses,
  4. Audio.

I’ll leave it to the team over at Vidyard who show us how you can easily shoot high quality B2B videos on your smartphone for under $250.

 

Optimize your video marketing for engagement

Finally, once you have established your goals and filmed that perfect video, you now need to optimize your audiences experience to ensure you are driving attention precisely where you want it.

Check the transition from email to video

First, make sure that the transition from email to the landing page is seamless by ensuring the video is set to auto-play, that the video is clearly visible above the fold on your landing page, and that the videos size isn’t too large that will cause slow load times. This last point is especially true for users navigating to your site on mobile devices, which will already take a bit longer to load and could destroy data usage for many users.

Strategically place your CTAs

As your audience is viewing the video, create clear calls-to-action throughout that are both valuable and unobtrusive. While VH1’s Pop-Up Video may have gotten away with annoying pop-ups all through the 90s, today you need to make pop-ups and call-outs within the video subtle, and clearly adding value to the user experience.

This is especially important during those moments when you expect users to drop off, including the first 10 seconds when you need to capture the viewer’s attention before they leave. On longer videos, those over 10-minutes, most of your viewers are gone by the 50% mark. Pay close attention to your audience retention stats to determine when most users leave and create CTAs just before these moments to drive further engagement.

Video Length Based on Time

Create dedicated landing pages

To encourage ongoing engagement, you’ll also need to send your audience to a landing page you own, that is designed to ensure continued engagement with your content, products, or services.

Far too many brands are still sending their audience to YouTube, or Vimeo, or some other third party page to watch their content. You can either own the entire multimedia experience that your audience is about to embark on, or you can send them to a page to watch your video and inevitably get distracted by the latest cat video recommended to them. Optimizing your videos is about more than just the video – it’s about the entire user experience.

Embrace personalization

Finally, the most exciting and high impact way of optimizing your video marketing is through personalization. Businesses can see a 500% increase in email engagement with video personalization. While this can be difficult for bulk mailing, there are a lot of tools coming out that can connect your CRM and databases to your video content that seamlessly embeds personal details like names, companies, cities, and more right into a video.

If we’ve learned anything over the past decade, it’s that personalization is the key to successful marketing and video is the next forefront of this trend. Get ready for your name and information all over billboards and street signs in the videos you watch.

 

To Recap: Done right, video can enhance your email campaigns

  1. Yes, it’s possible to embed video in your emails, but it’s not the best experience for your audience and it doesn’t bring them to an optimized landing page for further engagement.
  2. Animated GIFs and Video Thumbnails are the best way to add video to your email marketing, and in fact can increase CTRs by 200-300%
  3. Focus first on your goals, and then focus on producing the best video to achieve these goals.
  4. Producing good quality video doesn’t need to cost you your entire budget – in fact the whole solution is in your pocket.
  5. Optimize everything! Create the best user experience for your audience to watch and interactively engage with your content.

 

Get those cameras out and stand out from the crowd. What videos are you going to produce this summer? Tell us all about it on Twitter.

The NoReply Dilemma: Best Practices For Your Email Strategy

Let me tell you a short, sad story. This is my inbox:

NoReply Inbox

For months, I have tried to stop a brand from sending me these emails (we don’t do naming or shaming here). But every time I try to contact them, I get back an automated reply which says that my email failed to be delivered. You can imagine my frustration here… Now I understand how my mom would feel when she asked me to tidy up my room. It was like talking to a brick wall.

Post GDPR, it is more important than ever to take the time to evaluate whether you should use a no-reply address for your marketing campaigns. How can you expect your subscribers to contact you to claim their rights if you don’t allow them to do so?

Our friend Chris Arrendale, CEO and founder of Inbox Pros, explains why sending your marketing emails using a reply-to address is always the best idea.

***
There is a misconception that sending from a noreply email address is the best way to go to avoid being flooded with email replies. If you’re not familiar, you’ve likely seen this type of sender address before – most of the time it looks like this: noreply@domain.com.

What is a noreply email address?

A noreply email is an email address that is not monitored and blocks customers from replying. However, it can confuse and frustrate customers if their replies go unanswered or worse – bounce.  Let’s explore why it’s never a good idea to use this type of account for email marketing and what you should use instead.

Why you shouldn’t use “noreply” and what to do instead

A noreply email address decreases deliverability and increases spam

Certain ISPs,network spam filters, and customers’ personal email security settings are set up to send noreply email to the junk folder. This will decrease overall deliverability rates and being inboxed less leads to lower possible conversions.

Also looking at email trends from a broader sense, 53% of email is opened on mobile devices.  To accommodate for the smaller screen, inboxes on mobile devices show a preview of the sender and your email address as well.  As a consumer, would you open an email with a noreply email address? You’re more likely to feel like a company is unapproachable.

Swap out the noreply for a reply-to address

Most ISPs do not allow email recipients to add  noreply emails to their address books. If a recipient can’t add you to their address book, you’re more likely to be flagged as spam and sent to the junk folder.  It is also much more likely for subscribers to hit the spam button if they can’t reply back requesting removal of their email address.  I’ve seen cases where customers unsubscribed from some of their favorite brands because noreply emails addresses were not being monitored.

Another interesting point to remember is that it shows credibility to ISPs when recipients engage with your email, replying to your email being one of those cases. Safe sender privileges include bypassing some of an ISPs mail filters and delivering straight to the inbox.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 9.48.55 AM

Best practices to remember when sending email replies

As mentioned before, some people skip over the unsubscribe link and reply directly to your email asking to be removed.  These customers bypass the unsubscribe link because they’re afraid it will only flood their mailbox with more emails.  Make sure you honor these requests promptly and suppress the email addresses from your list.  The last thing you want is for these recipients to feel like they are being unheard and in frustration, mark your email as spam.

Also, monitor your reply email address is if you’re sending to a domain where the recipient never opted into your email program. The mail administrator (at the recipient’s domain) may try to contact you at your reply email address.  This is a crucial moment because if you don’t respond back, the email recipient may report you to a blacklist and/or try to contact the Email Service Provider or Data Center to complain about your email.

Building the best conversation

A reply-to email address is essential to any email marketing program.  It nurtures the conversation between you and your customers.

Many B2B senders will use a sales person’s email address as the reply-to to keep the conversation personal and on a more one-to-one level.  Where B2C senders may use a general reply-to address that may be monitored by multiple email marketing professionals.  Both scenarios build the confidence that when the recipient replies to the marketing email, the email will be received and followed up on.

To sum it up, the noreply email address should never be used to send from..  It tells your customers that you don’t really care what they have to say.  You’re also missing out on an important opportunity to collect feedback and learn how to improve your product.

***
Have you had a bad experience with stubborn no-reply email addresses? Share it with us on Twitter. :)