How To Code A Welcome Email With MJML

You already know we’re working on a series of tutorials to show you how to create and send awesome transactional emails step by step, using MJML, our open-source email framework, and Mailjet’s templating language. Each tutorial covers a very common use-case, providing a large set of examples, code snippets, and nice visuals.

Today, we’re going to see how to implement an efficient welcome email. Here’s what you’ll find in this post.

 

A templating language for your transactional emails

You already know that flexibility and personalization are a must-have in the email industry. Transactional emails imply more and more complex business logic, and one can often struggle to try to juggle a lot of different templates, when they could just have one personalized email that adapts to several use cases.

Having a separate template for men and another one for women, or creating specific campaigns to recommend different things based on your customer’s previous purchases is not viable. It is in this kind of situations that a templating language comes in handy.

Even if you could potentially write your own, to be able to implement a tokenizer and a grammar, you’d need to have a good knowledge in the field and might end up reinventing the wheel when you could have been focusing on your core business instead…

You could instead use nice libraries such as Handlebars, Jinja or Twig, but then you’ll still need to write or host a dedicated service to handle the templating processing.

Mailjet’s Templating Language

At Mailjet, we know the value of a fully integrated templating language, which is why we created our own templating language with our Transactional Send API in mind. Our idea: one template to rule them all, just with a single API call.

So, let’s recap: MJML for producing responsive HTML emails without effort, plus a templating language to bring them to life with conditional blocks and variables.

This combo can change your life as a developer. But, enough words, you’ll definitely want some action. That’s why we’ve decided to show you how to create and send awesome transactional emails, step by step.

 

The “How to code” tutorial: what you need to know

We’re rolling out a series of tutorials, all of which will explore a very common use-case, providing numerous examples, code snippets and nice visuals. We’ve even created an easy-to-execute tool, written with NodeJS, to test emails under actual conditions. To use it, you’ll just need valid credentials for both MJML API and Mailjet Transactional Send API, but don’t worry if you’re a newcomer: applying for the MJML API beta and creating a Mailjet account are totally free.

Our “How To Code” series has four parts. Check them out now:

 

How to code a welcome email: Quick Introduction

We know you are an email veteran, and the double opt-in has no more secrets for you. So, during the signup process, you asked your user to confirm their email address. This verification step is now over. You can open yet another bottle of champagne, you have one true new user interested in your product. Congratulations.

But then you start to wonder. It could be that users browse your website right now, or come back later. And you know people. Chances are, they’ll have other things to do, they’ll forget and never come back. So you need to grab their attention again. Why not use the valid email address they offered you willingly?

Welcome emails are indeed a powerful way to communicate because users are expecting them. When you enter a store as a consumer, you expect friendly greetings, useful information or good advice. While this behavior is common for most customers, that doesn’t imply they’re all the same. It is important to take your user’s tastes or habits into account, in order to create relevant messages. We can see you starting to panic: how many templates would you have to write?

Don’t freak out! Leveraging the power of our templating language, we will show you how to create a customized welcome series, using only a single template. In this tutorial, we will show you how to:

  1. Create blocks that display different elements according to your user data (location, gender… think segmentation!).
  2. Set a templating language variable and leverage it to display personalized data.
  3. Use templating language functions to transform text.

Example: welcome email

 

How to code a welcome email template: Over to Github!

Looking for some extra help in coding your welcome emails? You’re in the right place. We’ll tackle all the points above, and more, in our dedicated Github tutorial for coding welcome email templates with MJML.

Our Github tutorial includes:

  • Clear explanations.
  • Code samples you can use while working on your welcome emails.
  • Examples of a welcome emails and its different parts.

Ready to start writing an awesome welcome email template?

Time to jump over to Github.

Jump over to our Github tutorial for welcome emails!


We’ve also created an easy-to-execute tool written with NodeJS to test emails under real conditions. To use it, you’ll just need valid credentials for both MJML API and Mailjet Transactional Send API, but don’t worry if you’re a newcomer – applying to join the MJML API beta and creating a Mailjet account are totally free.

Want to say “hi” to the team? Come and chat with us on Twitter.

Lessons From Nonprofits: How To Use Email To Drive Revenue

Everyone these days needs to be able to leverage email as an easy, low-cost way to market to the largest possible audience.

Email is advantageous because it allows businesses to distribute their content anywhere, regardless of location, and especially for organizations that reply on print materials can erases printing and mailing costs. The only limit to email marketing is your imagination.

One industry that relies heavily on a clear communication strategy is nonprofits and charities who rely on engagement and donations for their survival? We thought it would be helpful to learn from nonprofits to help improve your own campaigns engagement.

The four most important emails in the nonprofit sector are event invitations, newsletters, donation campaigns, and thank-you emails.

We at Donately, a platform for online donations, collected some of our favorite nonprofit marketing techniques and looked at how they applied to other industries and organizations. Here are our top 5:

  1. Remember the end goal of your email marketing campaign.
  2. Build your readership effectively.
  3. Optimize your subject lines.
  4. Convince people to read your emails.
  5. Keep your ask until the end.

You can make the most of your email campaign by borrowing some tactics from how nonprofits. Let’s dive into it.

Nonprofit Email

1. Remember the end goal of your email marketing campaign

A nonprofit’s end goal for almost any email campaign is to convince a supporter to give a contribution, attend an event, or support a cause. To accomplish this end goal, just like any for-profit business, first requires getting your audience to click through to your website.

The click-through rate is the percentage of readers who click a link included in the email out of all the readers who open the email. A business wants their emails to increase the click-through rate to their website, to drive traffic and potential customers.

So how do nonprofits increase the click-through rates to their donation pages? Here are some strategies for maximizing your CTR:

  • Mobile-optimize everything
  • Decrease the length of your copy: there’s a correlation between copy length and CTR
  • Add a sense of urgency to your links

Mobile-optimizing everything is a best practice for any business that has an online presence: if your website is illegible or dysfunctional on a mobile device or tablet, you stand to lose a lot of traffic.

Decreasing the length of your copy makes your emails more attractive: no one wants to slog through an endless scroll of plain text to get to the point.

Adding a sense of urgency to your links, like adding a countdown or deadline-related words to your call-to-action buttons can also increase click-through rates.

2. Build your readership effectively

Something that nonprofits excel at that other businesses could definitely learn from is their ability to build an email list. Nonprofits have to be capable network-growers, because they rely so heavily on their social networks for building awareness and ongoing financial support.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that your emails will be most effective when they are targeted at people who actually want to be receiving them. Nothing will send your email to the trash bin (or worse, the spam folder) quicker than sending someone a newsletter without their consent.

So how do nonprofits grow their lists?

  • They add ways to opt in all over their website.
  • They include opportunities to sign up on their social media.
  • They pass around sign-up sheets at events.

Then, once you’ve successfully added a fair number of people to your email list, segment those emails in order to target your marketing campaigns more effectively.

If you’ve never segmented an email list, never fear: it just means splitting up your larger list of subscribers into smaller lists based on commonalities. These splits could be based on their preferred method of communication, their age range, or their marital status.

Anything that allows you to better tailor your marketing strategies to your audience is a good strategy. Nonprofits use donor database software to measure how their donors engage with their nonprofit, but your business probably uses a different CRM.

See what data that software contains! You never know what information you might find.

Donately - Optimize Your Subject Lines

3. Optimize your subject lines

Everyone is familiar with the importance of making good first impressions, but this is especially important with your email marketing campaign.

Your subject line is the only chance you get to pique someone’s interest. If they’re not engaged by your subject line, they won’t open your email and it won’t matter how well-designed your email was.

No matter if you’re a nonprofit or a for-profit business, you need to keep a few things in mind while you’re crafting the perfect subject line:

  • Avoid words that trigger a spam alarm (“free”, “opportunity”, “you’re a winner”).
  • Engage your readers FOMO – ‘fear of missing out’.
  • Write the subject so that the entire line is readable in an any inbox (mobile, desktop, Gmail, Outlook, etc.)
  • Don’t make your reader commit to doing anything in the subject.

The last one, about making your readers do things for you, may seem strange at first. If you want your readers to do something for you, shouldn’t you be upfront about it?

You should, but only in the body of your email. If your email’s subject line declares that, “YOU (READER) MUST STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING”, your reader is going to be put off by the demand. In fact, write your subjects like you would write to friends. Conversation, lower cased, subject lines have increased open rates by up to 5x.

Instead, think of ways to intrigue your readers. What about your business will interest them? What can your business do for them that they want to know about?

Don’t forget to make your email start with a bang as well — some email providers like Mailjet offer pre-header text, which is the first line or two of an email. If your reader is already bored after the pre-header text, they’re not going to read the email.

Donately - Convince People to read your email

4. Convince people to read your emails

So your subject line and preheader text has convinced your readership to open your email. But now what?

You need to make them want to read what your email has to say. So how can you make your email attractive enough at first glance to engage your readers?

First, your email should tell a cohesive story. Instead of just providing a broad overview of whatever your business does, tell a specific story to engage your readers.

Humans are hardwired to be drawn in by storytelling, so use that to your advantage while writing your copy.

Nonprofits are the undefeated heavyweight champions of using stories and personal testimonies for advertising. Just think of the St. Jude’s marketing campaigns.

Nonprofits use personal testimonies for every type of marketing from email to peer-to-peer fundraising pages, so take a page from their book and provide some personal stories to add a human interest element to your emails.

To make your emails more visually attractive, after you’ve decided on what story you want to tell, include some of the following:

  • Short paragraphs
  • Bulleted lists
  • High-quality images of people involved with your business
  • Embedded videos of your business at work

Using rich media in your email marketing is a foolproof way to make your copy more engaging.

Donately - keep your ask until the end

5. Keep your ask until the end

Nonprofits, due to the nature of their business model, are the best at making asks, no matter what the ask is.

While your for-profit business wouldn’t be asking for donations, you do still want your email marketing campaign to inspire your readers to complete an action.

So how do nonprofits do it?

  • They only ask once
  • They ask for more than money
  • They use an attractive Call-to-Action

First, no one wants to be repeatedly badgered for something, especially not in the same email. Save your big ask for the end, after your reader has been thoroughly entranced by your gorgeous photos and cohesive storytelling.

Second, nonprofits excel at giving their supporters options, so take a page from their book.

One of these options is encouraging their supporters to leverage their employer’s corporate philanthropy policies to help the nonprofit, and then distributing a list of volunteer grant companies.

Offer your readers other ways to support your business, like distributing a coupon to their friends through shares on social media or by using your preferred hashtag.

Make sure your call-to-action links and buttons are attractive and branded to your business.

Finally, consider whether or not any of your other software products are able to be integrated into your emails, like your online storefront or a sign-up page.

Nonprofits are pros at using easily embeddable software, and some of it overlaps with for-profit software! Check out this list of third-party integrations from Donately to see if any of your software products are compatible with theirs.

Nonprofits and for-profit businesses aren’t so different, after all. Both business models can benefit from email marketing best practices to increase reader engagement.

Once you’ve integrated these tips and tricks into your email marketing strategy, don’t forget to track key metrics and adapt your techniques accordingly. With some tweaks and by listening to your readership, you’re sure to turn your email subscribers into paying customers.

How Email is Catching up with the Modern Workplace

Remember that weird feeling when Google Docs first launched, and you could see your colleague editing your words right in front of you? If you’re like me, your first reaction was “Seriously, you think YOUR phrase is better than mine? OK… yeah, it kinda is.”

Or the moment you realized you would never have to add a suffix like “v1_Final_ForRealThisTime_2” to any of your files again?

It was likely a mix of thrill and novelty. Maybe prior to this the only ‘live collaboration’ you ever experienced was your IT guy remotely taking control of your desktop and installing that malware you needed. But perhaps most exciting was knowing that it was a new era of work, one that transitioned from an era of iterations and isolation to an era of instant results and collaboration.

The Three Waves of Collaboration

There have been a few defining waves of collaboration in the workplace in recent memory that have led to today’s ubiquity of tools that make teams of all sizes work faster together.

  1. The first wave was the digitization of everything from documents to phone calls.
  2. Second, the accomodation of global workforces and work-from-anywhere cultures.
  3. Third, and most recently, the need for real-time results and instant gratification.

Not too long ago I was sending printed out paper documents to my colleagues, awaiting their notes and comments, incorporating them back into my first iteration, and repeating the process until both sides were satisfied. Today, I receive a link to a Google Doc in Slack and then jump right in with my team, hammer out the perfect message, and then move on in a matter of minutes.

Think about it. This is a radical change in how we work. But more importantly, it mirrors a radical change in our entire culture, from how we communicate with friends, how we consume entertainment, and how we travel. If it’s not instant and if it isn’t social, it won’t survive.

How Teams Collaborate Today

Today’s workplace tools bridge gaps (geographic or otherwise) to get projects done. It turns slow moving teams into efficient ones. Geographically dispersed teams into neighbors. Outsourced teams (like agencies and freelancers) into integrated ones.

These tools can be broken down into three distinct categories:

  • Communication: Instant messaging and group messaging has finally landed in the office, and even though the category leader Slack was founded less than a decade ago, it’s almost unheard of not to have some sort of IM capabilities in your company. The same is true of video chat tools like Zoom and Google Meet. Communication is instant and it’s team based.

Collaborate on Communication

  • Project Management: Some of us might still have a paper to-do list, or the endless post-it notes that seem to always spread over onto our neighbors desk (sorry Ayhan), but tools like Asana and Trello have forever changed how teams collaborate on projects. Instant updates, notifications, comments, and timelines have made the task of planning and monitoring projects a team-based activity.

Collaborate on Projects

  • Creation: Finally, all tools devoted to creation, whether that’s coding, writing, designing, or emailing, is shifting towards collaboration. Just as Google Docs and Dropbox has changed how teams work on documents, Github has changed how dev teams code and debug, and Figma has changed how teams design apps and websites. At Mailjet, we’re focused on changing how teams create and send emails.

Collaborate on Creation

Email Collaboration 

So, am I just a guy passionate about teamwork? OK, I’ll admit I’m a stickler for efficiency, but it’s more about the fact that I now work in email which seems to be the last industry to get the memo that times are changing.

The thing is (warning: rant about to start) that email is inherently a team-based activity. Even medium sized companies can have as many as eight different people involved in an email template from designers to copy writers to developers to CRM managers. Beyond that, companies often have different types of emails like transactional, automation, and marketing and different teams devoted to each.

And while these teams are communicating on Slack or Yammer, managing projects in Asana or Trello, and creating content in Google Docs or Dropbox – they are sending email in a static environment not build for collaboration. They build in isolation, not synchronization.

Mailjet is a Collaboration Tool

We’ve heard this story over and over again from customers – as workplaces come to expect real-time and instant results from communications, projects, and content creation, they are stuck dealing with iterations and slow feedback in email creation. We felt this pain ourselves sending our weekly newsletters with our Mailjet marketing team spread across five countries and 4 time zones.

That’s why we focused 2018 on making emails faster for teams.

Think of all the features you love about Google Docs, packed into email (plus way way more). To give you an idea of just a few of the features, we’ll show you how we put together this week’s newsletter to keep our audience informed on our latest blogs, videos, and product releases.

On any other ESP (or on Mailjet a couple of months ago) to build this newsletter we would have had to take turns going into the email builder to do our separate parts, close the app, and inform our colleagues that the email is ready for editing. It was tedious, redundant, and not at all how a modern businesses should work. Today – the entire edit occured in one place.

  1. First, we all put together a draft of this email at the same time with real-time collaboration.
  2. Bea (in London, UK) added some comments in the app so that I could jump right into an edit when he got back from my amazing lunch in Toronto, Canada.
  3. Aline, the designer, locked different sections so that no one messed with her beautiful images.
  4. Michyl, our Head of Marketing Communication, was assigned the final approval role so that no email could be sent without her permission.

We don’t want email teams to feel stuck in the pre-collaboration era ever again, and we expect this is just the beginning of how email will move towards team-based creation. On top of live collaboration, comments, and permissions, we have also released Role Management capabilities to assign the ideal roles to each team member, and the ability to track changes to templates.

As mentioned above, the third and most recent wave of collaboration has brought on the need for real-time results and instant gratification. It’s no longer about just working together, or even working together across borders and timezones, it’s about getting to the needed result immediately. As email continues to be a key channel for marketing teams to engage their audience, it’s more important than ever to help email marketers get their desired results immediately. To us, this means easier live collaboration, ability to comment and communicate right in the interface, to make templates as easily accessible and recoverable as possible.

As the workplace changes, so too does how we work. Mailjet is about to change how emailers work.

Let us know how your team emails, what pain points still persist for your team, in what way does email still feel trapped in 2010?

14 Ideas To Increase Your Email List

Have you ever experienced the bitter sensation of spending hours preparing an email campaign, only to see some ungrateful contact unsubscribe as soon as it arrives in their inbox? A disappointment like this can only be compared with doing the best exam of your life at school for the teacher then to lose the exam papers.

Yet, although the loss of a valued contact may be painful, you shouldn’t let this does affect your confidence. You will have heard people say a thousand times: “you can’t please everyone”, “it’s not you, it’s him”, “it’s best if you part ways”… And it’s true!

 

What are the key points for a healthy email list

Despite what you may think at first, the unsubscribe rate is actually quite reasonable (between 0.2% and 0.5%, depending on the industry) and it doesn’t mean that your last email was of poor quality. It’s just the traditional “life cycle” of an email list.

Far from being set in stone, an email list is continually evolving. This is to make sure that our contact list is healthy and, as well as unsubscribes, we need to attract new subscribers who enrich our contact list and, at least, make up for those leaving the list. It goes without saying, that the ideal scenario would be for our contact list to be growing.

Ways to increase your email list

If you see that your list is not growing or, even worse, that it’s decreasing, it’s probably time for you to review your contact acquisition strategy. This is vital for an effective email marketing strategy, and is a bit like a marathon, where it is not the fastest who wins but the one who shows most persistence.

How to transform your visitors into subscribers

Do all visitors to your website subscribe to your newsletter? Unfortunately, I’m quite sure this is not the case… The real question is: can your visitors subscribe to your marketing emails easily? If they visit your website, it means that they already have an interest in your company and in what it has to offer… although they might not be ready to buy yet.

Make the most of this interest and encourage them to join your mailing list, which will allow you to create a relationship with this “cold” prospect and will ensure that they remember you when they are ready to buy. Here are some ideas for you to try:

1. Include subscription forms on your main pages

I’m sure you have seen this on lots of websites. Adding subscription forms to strategic pages is an essential part of the contact acquisition strategy. Some email providers, like Mailjet, let you design subscription widgets to add to your websites and, thus, increase your email database.

Although every website has its own special features, the pages on which subscription forms traditionally work best are the homepage, the navigation bar and blog articles.

2. Use pop-ups to capture your users earlier

At the same time, you can also use tools dedicated to gathering email addresses. For example, SumoMe is a free tool that allows you to incorporate a pop-up window, which includes a subscription form to your newsletter, when the visitor is about to leave your site. Integrated into Mailjet, this type of tool could increase your daily subscriptions by 20%. Sounds good, heh?

Newsletter Pop Up

The key to get the best results is to try various locations, designs and text, to determine the best place to position it. Fundamentally, you want to find the place with best conversion potential, without compromising user experience.

3. Remind your readers about the value of your newsletter in the blog

If you use your newsletter to share content from your blog, don’t miss the chance to remind your users of the added value of your weekly bulletins. Take the opportunity to include banners within your content and explicit references to articles or advice shared via the newsletter.

4. Create and share specific subscription pages (landing pages)

As well as subscription forms on main pages, design specific landing pages to subscribe to the newsletter.

These can be optimized to attract more traffic and encourage conversion and may be linked from different parts of your website or on external pages. For example, you could include a link on one of your publications on social networks, or at the end of a guest post for an external blog, encouraging readers to subscribe to your newsletter.

Don’t forget to include the link to this form in your transactional emails and in the email signatures of your employees, so that every non-marketing email you send also becomes an opportunity to increase your contact list.

Newsletter Landing Page

How to maximize your use of social networks

“Making the most of your audience to enrich your contact list is good. Recruiting followers who aren’t yet familiar with you is better”.

I’m sure that you won’t be surprised if we confess that when we are not in the office, we Mailjetters spend a lot of time on social networks. And I’m sure that your potential clients do the same. Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn are without doubt a goldmine ready to be exploited when it comes to recruiting potential contacts. But how do we do this?

5. Make the most of adverts on social networks to find the right audience

When configuring your adverts on social networks, segmentation tools are so advanced that you won’t have any difficulties selecting the ideal profiles for your desired audience, we promise!

You could promote your blog publications, your commercial promotions, guides… as well as launching specific campaigns to encourage users to join your mailing list. Still not clear? Loïc Le Meur, a client and partner of Mailjet, was able to attract over 1500 new subscribers in a single year.

6. Add subscription links on your pages

Make sure that you include direct links to your newsletter on your social network pages, either with CTAs like those offered by Facebook (Sign up), or through pinned posts or links in the About section. You can also schedule posts every so often, including an example of your newsletter to get people to subscribe, or relaunch particularly successful publications, adding an invitation to join the newsletter not to miss out on the “latest post like this”.

Social Media Sign Up

7. Launch a competition among your followers

You could also encourage your social media followers to join your email list by launching a competition.

For example, you could announce that you will be holding a draw for a special gift among all of your email subscribers at the end of each month or between subscribers who have signed up within a certain period.

Capitalize on your valuable content

Another effective way to convert your visitors into subscribers is to offer high quality content via email or on your website. These resources should provide sufficient added value for users to encourage them to sign up for your newsletter, to complete a form to access your content or to share it with their contacts. We will now take a look at the different ways to capitalize on your content to make more contacts.

8. Offer promotions and exclusive discounts

This seems the most obvious option, especially for ecommerce businesses. Highlight the added value that those who subscribe to your email list will get and try to make sure that this is something exclusive that attracts the attention of your potential clients. Take advantage of every possible opportunity to highlight this added value offered by your mailing list and ensure that it never stops growing.

Offering discounts and unique offers by email will encourage lots of people to join your list. Some companies choose to launch this type of campaign on a seasonal basis, during the Christmas period or during sales, while others spread them out over the year. Overall, a more scattered strategy would be preferable to avoid users leaving your list once the season in question has come to an end.

9. Make the most of your Premium resources

These Premium resources may take many forms: an official document, a webinar, a case study.

This focus, which is used more and more frequently, is relevant if, and only if, your Premium resources are easy to find for your potential audience. At the end of the day, what’s the point of creating content if no one is going to see it? To do this, you could create a “Resources” section on your website’s navigation menu;, a sort of online library that refers to all of your Premium resources on a single page.

Another good idea could be to include banners and “calls to action” in content related to your Premium resource, whether it is a blog article or a strategic page of your website. As you will see, we lead by example and we have included a banner for our Building Contact Lists That Convert Customers For Life at the end of this post.

You could also use these Premium resources to reach an audience that is as yet unfamiliar with you, promoting them on social networks, in guest articles, adverts… The more you invest in your promotion, the better the quality if the contacts you will obtain.

So, remember, focus and don’t rush. The fact that someone has downloaded your Premium resource does not give you the right to include them in your newsletter or email campaign list, unless they have given their express consent to register ticking the opt-in box in your download form.

As you can see from this image, at Mailjet we ask users if they want to join our newsletter in the download forms for our guides.

Guide Download Form

10. Try email blogging or exclusive content

Offering exclusive content only via email, is a way of giving your emails unique value and ensuring greater visibility on your contact list. This practice is known as email blogging and consists of sending publications, articles or advice via email only.

Essentially, it involves creating an exclusive club of readers and encouraging people to join by taking advantage of this feeling of exclusivity.

Daniel Bonilla, one of the leading exponents of email blogging in Spanish, gave us some advice in our post 5 Tips To Reinvent Your Content Marketing Strategy For Email:

“If there are two things that I recommend for email blogging, they are consistency and persistence.

Always write with the same frequency and, if possible, always send on the same day and at the same time. If your subscribers know that, whether it rains or shines, your email will arrive at the same time on the same day of the week… they will go and look for it in the spam folder if it hasn’t arrived.

Don’t expect overwhelming success overnight. We’re not talking about visits, but about subscribers and ensuring that 200 or 300 people receive your emails and, above all, read them – it’s a major achievement. Reaching 2000 or 3000 people is something that is only achieved with time, patience and effort to generate quality content. But the payoff is huge.”

David Bonilla, founder of Manfred, organizer of the Tarugoconf and founder of Bonillaware.

11. Create newsletters with the potential to go viral

Another way to put your contact list in front of a new audience is to make use of content with the potential to go viral. Yes, we know, finding the key to viral content isn’t that simple… but, at least, make sure that your email is easy to share!

If you manage to find the key to content that really does have the potential to go viral, or if you normally include little unique details in your email campaigns, you could encourage your users to share, either by forwarding the email or by adding buttons on the email itself to share on social networks (either at the end or between the different sections).

Buzzfeed goes a step further in its super cute A-Dog-A-Day and This Week In Cats newsletters, where it includes an invitation to share the subscription link at the end of the email.

Buzzfeed-newsletter-link

How to collect contacts offline

Although digital opportunities are abundant, don’t underestimate the options offered by the presence of your business offline, in other words, in the real world. You may have a shop, you may attend events or trade fairs, or you may have a customer service number on which your users can contact you… Any of these is a good opportunity to enrich your email contact database.

12. Promote your contact list in your physical shop

A physical shop is the perfect place to ask your clients to subscribe to your contact list, either through a traditional visitors’ book or having the landing page with your subscription form open on a smartphone, tablet or computer. Remember that it is important that your clients give their express consent and that you have a record to verify this consent.

For example, when a client buys a pair of jeans in a clothes shop, you could offer them the option of signing up to your mailing list to receive exclusive discounts and the latest catalogues.

13. Collect email addresses at events

You could do something similar if you have a stand at a trade fair or event. When someone shows an interest in your products or services, highlight the value offered by your email campaigns and encourage visitors to join to keep up-to-date.

You could also organize a competition to encourage people to join, although raffles and prizes always involve the risk that people may cancel their subscription shortly afterwards, if they have no real interest in receiving our emails.

14. Increase your list over the phone and via support channels

Another option that many companies forget to leverage on is promoting their email list via their Support channels. In other words, customer service telephone numbers, chats or designated emails.

Of course, you are not going to suggest to any angry user to sign up to your newsletter, but it could be useful to suggest this to clients who contact you to ask about services, the latest updates, etc.

For example, if someone phones or emails to ask if one of your products will be coming back into stock, you could reply and also encourage them to sign up to your email database to be the first one to see the new catalogue or learn about the next season’s products or services. You could also add a step at the end of contract renewal or sales calls where your agents tell the caller about the value of your email communications.

In any case, make sure that you have a system that lets you verify that your contacts have given their explicit consent, which is mandatory under GDPR.

To summarize: How to increase your email list

To sum up, to increase your email list, one-off actions are not enough, you need to develop a long-term strategy that responds to the different needs of your list.

These are the ideas that we have gone over:

    1. Include subscription forms on your key pages
    2. Use pop-ups to capture your users earlier
    3. Remind your readers of the value of your newsletter in the blog
    4. Create and share landing pages containing your subscription form
    5. Take advantage of adverts on social networks
    6. Add subscription links to your social platforms
    7. Launch a competition between your followers
    8. Offer promotions and exclusive discounts
    9. Take advantage of downloadable Premium resources
    10. Try email blogging or exclusive content
    11. Create newsletters with the potential to go viral
    12. Promote your list in your physical shop
  1. Collect addresses at events
  2. Increase your list via your support channels

If you would like to learn more, download our guide ‘Building Contact Lists That Convert Customers For Life ’, where you will find advice on building and growing your list, why you should never buy email lists and how to keep them healthy to give you the best ROI.

Guide-Contact-list-en

Have you already tried some of these strategies? Would you like to share other ideas with us to include in our posts? Tell us about them on Twitter. :-)

RSS Feed And Video Preview: Our Email Builder Just Got Better!

Right now, you’re probably enjoying the summer, spending a few days somewhere while you rest and hum to the tune of Summer Nights. Meanwhile, here at Mailjet, we’re hard at work, thinking about ways to get a smile out of you when you get back to work.

We know busting your bad mood after the summer is not easy, but we think our latest update will surely get you a bit more excited about coming back. OK, maybe not excited, but at least a bit less grumpy? 😥

We just unleashed two very cool components on our email builder, Passport. Here’s a quick read on what you’ll be able to do as soon as you’re ready to put down that mojito 🍹 and change out of your swimwear 👙!

Passport RSS Feed + Video

Import your content with the RSS feed

If you use RSS feeds on a daily basis, you probably already know how convenient it is, especially if you’re one of those that constantly deals with lots of content. And if you haven’t tried RSS feeds yet, we’re sure you’ll love them. 🔥

You are now able to add any post from your website or blog directly into Mailjet’s email builder, by pointing to an RSS feed. Cool, isn’t it? 😎

“But how can I integrate this into my emails?”, you might be wondering. Here’s a quick tutorial.

    1. When creating your email, just drag the “RSS” element you’ll find on the bottom left corner of our editor and drop it wherever you want, then add the link to the RSS feed.
    2. As the window opens, paste your RSS feed link into it, then select the content you want to import into your email.
Import RSS
  1. Your articles will be automatically retrieved with a title, photo and text. Your content will be displayed with a predefined layout, which you can of course customize.

Not a big fan of manually copy-pasting all the info into your email? Then the RSS feed is the perfect solution for you. Go to Mailjet’s email editor to test this new option, we promise it’ll simplify your workflow even more!
 

Video preview: enhance the look of your emails

Over the last few months, you’ve been telling us it can be time consuming to design a video section on your template, from scratch. Well, we heard you! Now you can have a quick and nice preview of your video, directly in your email.

  1. Drag-and-drop the Video element into your email, paste the link to your video and voilà!
  2. You will get a nice thumbnail picture (with a “Play” icon) which will be retrieved automatically if the video is hosted on Youtube, Vimeo or Dailymotion.
  3. Otherwise, you’ll be able to add the picture of your choice.

Easy, right?

Video Preview

We’re sure nothing can beat a relaxing time under the warm summer sun, but we hope our new updates are enough to get your creative juice flowing once you’re back at the office.

Try out our new features and let us know what you think about them 🙂. Remember, your feedback is our inspiration for future updates!

We’ll be happy to chat to you at any time about our product and features (yes, summer included), so feel free to reach out to us on Facebook or by email.

How To Code An Email Receipt Template With MJML

We are developers, like you. And what we hate above all in coding is to repeat ourselves. So when it comes to writing email templates, we want to provide our users with the best tools to produce content in the most efficient way possible, whether you want to know how to code an e-receipt or just update your welcome emails.

To speed up the development of responsive emails, we’ve already told you about MJML, the open-source email framework we’ve created. If you’re not familiar with it, go check it out right away. You can thank us later.

But even if MJML can help you save quite a lot of time and ease the process, you’ll probably want more. We hear you.

 

A templating language for your transactional emails

Today, flexibility and personalization are a must-have in the email industry. Transactional emails imply more and more complex business logic, and one can often struggle to try to juggle a lot of different templates, when they could just have one personalized email that adapts to several use cases.

Having a separate template for men and another one for women, or creating specific campaigns to recommend different things based on your customer’s previous purchases is not viable. It is in this kind of situations that a templating language comes in handy.

OK, let’s be a bit naive and accept that you could write your own. But to be able to implement a tokenizer and a grammar, you need to have a good knowledge in the field and, at the end of the day, you might just be reinventing the wheel when you could have been focusing on your core business instead…

You could instead use nice libraries such as Handlebars, Jinja or Twig, but then you’ll still need to write or host a dedicated service to handle the templating processing.

Mailjet’s Templating Language

We have the solution. Because at Mailjet we know the value of a fully integrated templating language, we created our own templating language with our Transactional Send API in mind. Our idea: one template to rule them all, just with a single API call.

So, let’s recap: MJML for producing responsive HTML emails without effort, plus a templating language to bring them to life with conditional blocks and variables.

This combo can change your life as a developer. But, enough words, you’ll definitely want some action. So we’ve decided to show you how to create and send awesome transactional emails, step by step.

 

The “How to code” tutorial: what you need to know

We’re rolling out a series of tutorials, all of which will explore a very common use-case, providing numerous examples, code snippets and nice visuals. We’ve even created an easy-to-execute tool, written with NodeJS, to test emails under actual conditions. To use it, you’ll just need valid credentials for both MJML API and Mailjet Transactional Send API, but don’t worry if you’re a newcomer: applying for the MJML API beta and creating a Mailjet account are totally free.

Our “How To Code” series has four parts. Check them out now:

 

How to code a receipt email template: Quick Introduction

From online shoe stores to indie music platforms, any company selling a product online will have to send a receipt. You may think this is a simple task but, actually, there are several elements you’ll need to consider.

Let’s review them briefly, before jumping over to our tutorial, from the more obvious ones to the less:

  1. You will have to loop over the list of items (cart, abandoned cart, recommendations, etc.) and display them.
  2. You need to display the price and may have to do some calculus directly in the email logic (Total, VAT and other taxes). Be careful, as you may use different currencies!
  3. You need to include some basic billing information (billing address, order number, etc.), but you can also provide more personalized information (for instance, you could warn your users that their registered credit card is about to expire).
  4. If there’s shipping, you should display the delivery address.
  5. Your user may have to forward the e-receipt for accounting purposes, so you should ease this workflow.
  6. You can insert marketing content to your receipt, such as a history of previous items or new promotions based on what your user just bought.
  7. If your website supports multiple languages, your emails should too.

Preview of the receipt email template

 

How to code a receipt email template: Over to Github!

Sounds like something you’re already doing? Or are you not sure how to implement some of these elements?

Worry not, we’ll tackle all these needs, and more, in our dedicated Github tutorial for coding email receipt templates with MJML.

On our Github tutorial you’ll find:

  • Detailed explanations.
  • Code samples to implement and adapt.
  • Examples of a receipt email and its different parts.

Ready to see it in action?

Time to jump over to Github.

Github tutorial: How to code a receipt email

 

What Is A Good Open Rate And How To Improve It

We’ve all been there. Standing in a cocktail bar with some great friends, talking about email strategy. When the topic of open rates comes up, you excuse yourself because you just know that your sad average of 8% simply won’t stack up. Jerry always comes in over 20% after all. We may not be able to help with your social anxiety but we may be able to help (even just a little bit) with your open rates.

via GIPHY

Let’s start with the basics: an open rate is the proportion of emails that have actually been opened by your recipients after sending out a campaign. This percentage is calculated simply as the number of emails opened divided by the number of emails delivered.

The number of emails delivered is the number of emails that have reached your recipients’ inboxes, out of all the emails that you actually sent.

Once you know your open rate though…what do you do with it? Well, first off, understand how your stack up against competitors and against your own past open rates. Next, start to implement new tactics and strategies to start to move the needle. Let’s dig in.

What is a good open rate?

It’s important to differentiate between open rates for your transactional emails (purchase confirmation, password resets, etc.) and marketing emails (newsletters, promotional campaigns, etc.).

As consumers, we place greater importance on transactional emails because they will, for example, allow us to immediately reset passwords and access the content we want. This explains why transactional emails generally have higher open rates. It is important to note that not everyone necessarily opens these transactional emails (e.g. “Order confirmation” messages) since the message may not be crucial to them every time. While monitoring transactional email open rates is important to ensure nothing out of the ordinary is happening, it’s more important to pay attention to marketing emails since this is where you can have a much bigger impact.

The honest but unsatisfactory answer is that open rates for marketing emails depends on several factors: the size of your contact list, how often you send messages, the industry you work in, and so forth. On average, a good open rate is between 20% and 25%. Sectors known to have great open rates (over 25%) include religious organizations, government, artists, and sports teams while those that come in is lower (less than 20%) include consulting, gambling, personal care, and e-commerce. You can find 2018 industry benchmarks for open rates here.

These are just general guidelines, what’s important is to not only understand where you rank amongst your competitors but more important how you rank against your own campaigns last week, or last month. This not only shows positive growth for you and your team but Internet Service Providers will also recognize this growth and reward your domain reputation.

What you can do to increase your open rates?

 

The only elements visible in the inbox before you open a message are always the same: the sender’s name, the subject of the email, and the pre-header. Below is an example of Mailjet’s customer Product Hunt’s daily digest, an email sent to millions of users every day.

Email Header

So, to boost your open rates, look at these elements carefully to encourage your readers to take action: devise an intriguing subject line, add an engaging hook in your pre-header, choose a clearly identified sender who will instil confidence in recipient. Too many brands will put generic sender names such as “Marketing Team” that doesn’t stand out, or they will create subject lines that give too much away. Remember, the first goal is to get them to open your email, not to sell anything. Once they open your email, then you have a new goal…but there are many other articles to help with that.

Whatever happens, we cannot reiterate enough: test different approaches to see what works for your audience.

Increase Open Rates with A/B Tests

You can use A/B tests to identify which version performs best. This involves sending several versions of the same email to a sample of your contacts list. There are two approaches you can take with A/B Test, depending on whether you are looking to send the best email to the most people right now, or if you continuously trying to learn how to improve your results.

The first method is to send an A/B test initially to a subset of your contacts (for example 30% as shown below), and the version that generates the best statistics is then automatically sent to the rest of the list a few hours later. At Mailjet we recommend setting the delay time to a minimum of 5 hours before the remainder of emails are sent to ensure you have received all the necessary stats.

 

A/B Tests

 

However, if you need to get all your emails out immediately but still want to test different subject lines of pre-headers, there is another approach. When you conduct an A/B test, this time instead of sending to a subset of the recipients, you can send to 100% so that your entire list will receive your message when it’s sent. While you may not be optimizing that exact email, you will be able to review the stats afterwards and make improvements on how you approach subject lines, pre-headers, and sender name in the future. You could, for example, experiment with emojis in the subject line, personalization in the pre-header, and creative names for your sender.

A/B Test Stats

Whichever variable you are testing, always make sure you keep the other variables constant if you want to be able to compare the statistics. If, for example, you want to test the subject, the sender and pre-header must be exactly the same in the two versions of your campaign.

Increase Open Rates with Clean Contact Lists

The contacts list is also a key factor in determining your open rate. You might think that the more contacts you have on your list, the greater the chance that a high number of people open your emails. But no, unfortunately it doesn’t work that way – in fact, quite the opposite.

More important than growing your contact list, is ensuring your current contacts are engaged. How does this work? First, it is vital that you gather the express consent of your contacts (especially now that the GDPR is in effect). Your recipients must have given informed consent at the outset to receiving your communications. Then, make sure you clean up your lists depending on your contacts’ engagement by identifying customers who have not opened your emails recently and remove them from your lists. That may be scary but let’s be honest: if they have not opened your messages in over 6 months, you’ve already lost them.

In Mailjet, you can create a segment that automatically filters out those users who meet a specific criteria, such as not opening your email in a few months. Simply select the contact list, and the filter, to carve out those users who you no longer want to contact.

 

Segmentation

 

When many of Mailjet’s enterprise customers first join, the first thing our Customer Success team does is clean up their lists and we’ve seen contact lists drop from 1M contacts to 100K while total opens actually increased. Not only did open rates increase 10x but again, total opens actually increased. This primarily because when you are sending to a highly engaged list, your deliverability rates increase.

Key Takeaways

Here is a summary of the main points to bear in mind about the open rates of your email campaigns:

  • Always monitor your open rates because this is a good proxy for the overall effectiveness of your email strategy.
  • Compare your open rates with those of companies working in the same industry as you, but try to aim for 20-25%.
  • Even more important than comparing to your competitors is comparing to your past results. Always look for positive growth.
  • Take pride in the sender address, the subject line, and pre-header, and above all, test these different elements with A/B Tests.
  • Ensure that the contacts you add to your lists have given their express consent to receiving your communications and if you are not getting positive engagement, never hesitate to clean your lists and delete unengaged contacts.

We’re off to work on our personalization strategy – what are you going to do to increase your open rates?

Do you have any particular marketing techniques to increase your open rate? Tweet us your creative ideas and opinions!