Can Email Marketing Still Drive High Engagement?

Lately, some businesses have been navigating the same questions when it comes to their marketing mix: is email still an effective marketing tactic in the age of social media, video, and digital advertising.

Mailjet recently teamed up with The Clutch.co and The Manifest to bring some new research on how businesses (continue) to rely on email to drive engagement.

To cut to the chase – Email marketing is very much thriving, and according to the recent survey by The Manifest, a business news and how-to website, 69 percent of businesses invest in email marketing, with nearly 75% of all businesses sending emails on at least a weekly basis.

69% Of Businesses Spend Money on Email Marketing

In addition, 43 percent of businesses plan to invest more in email marketing in the next year – the third-highest digital marketing channel.

Investment in Digital Marketing Channels

In the face of all these other channels, why does email continue to grow? Put simply – it works. In fact, email has a median ROI of 122% which is 4x the ROI of any other channel listed above.

Email marketing is effective and helps businesses directly reach their customers. Increasingly, it is important for businesses to use email marketing because it is the most direct way to get your content in front of prospective consumers, keep existing consumers engaged, and grow an engaged consumer base.

Social Media Versus Email Marketing

Email is one of the best ways to get your content in front of your intended audience.

Ninety percent of emails end up in the correct inbox. Consumers who receive emails from brands and companies have already given their consent to receive these messages, making the most engaged segment of your target audience accessible with the click of a button.

“Email marketing works,” said David Mihm, founder of newsletter generator Tidings. “You own your email list, you own your subscribers. You’re not renting them from Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other platform.”

Because consumers have to subscribe to an email list, email marketing is a rare opportunity to only reach people who are genuinely interested in your product or service.

It’s difficult to reach customers on social media. The audience is so broad, and it is very easy for posts to get lost on a newsfeed. Only 2 percent of people see a post on their Facebook News Feeds. Once again – compared this to the 90% of email subscribers who receive your emails, the 25% (on average) who open your email, and the 20% (on average) who click links.

As outlined more here, 100K Facebook followers means the content will be served to 2000 people. At best 5% click through to your website for a total of 100 people who will engage with your content.

100K email subscribers means the content will be served to 90K people, with 4500 clicks back to your site. This is where the 4x ROI comes from.

Consumers are more engaged with your brand on email marketing than on social media.

Frequency Matters

How often you send emails impacts the effectiveness of your email marketing. Thirty two percent of businesses send emails daily, and 41 percent send them weekly.

How often do businesses send marketing emails

The frequency of your emails should depend on your target audience.

“If you have something important to say, then send an email,” said Ben Bradley, managing partner and creative director of digital marketing agency Macon Raine. “But sending too many emails is annoying. Your important news gets lost. If you believe that it’s going to be useful to your customers, then by all means, send it. If you suspect at all that they may not like it, it’s better to err on the side of caution.”

Send emails at a frequency that makes sense for your business and industry.

Larger businesses have larger customer bases. Because of this, larger companies tend to send emails more frequently. Fifty-two percent of businesses with 500 employees or more send emails daily compared to 21 percent of smaller businesses with 101 to 500 employees.

How Often Do Businesses Send Marketing Emails

There is a fine line companies can cross by sending too many emails, it becomes annoying, and the important information gets lost. Sending emails just to send emails will only frustrate customers, which could lead them to unsubscribe.

Only send an email that has real value to your audience and pay close attention to engagement rates to identify when, how, and how frequently your audience wants to receive your emails.

What Emails to Send

Companies send a variety of emails to their customers, such as promotional emails, newsletters, event invitations, exclusive content and more.

Graph-3-What-types-of-email-does-your-company-send

A variety of emails can keep customers engaged, but businesses should inform their audience what types of emails they will be sending. It is important to disclose the types of emails customers will receive so the company maintains transparency.

Email Marketing Goals

Companies don’t just send emails for fun. There is ultimately a goal for email marketing. Twenty-nine percent of companies’ main email marketing goal is growing and retaining their customers, while 22 percent of companies are trying to increase engagement.

Investment in Digital Marketing Channels

 

Email can successfully grow and keep current and potential customers’ interest and also keep them engaged.

Email marketing goals also vary by company size; larger companies are more likely to use email marketing to increase engagement, while smaller companies use it to grow/retain their customer base and build brand awareness.

Graph-5-BusinessesMain-Email-Marketing-Goals-By-Business-Size

Larger, more established companies already have a solid customer base, so they should work on engaging and maintaining the customers they have.

Smaller companies, who don’t yet have a loyal following, should focus on building their customer base and increasing brand awareness alongside building lasting engagement. In the early days, it’s more important to get quality people who like what you’re doing than a large list of people who could take it or leave it.

Smaller companies mostly use email marketing to establish their spot in the industry.

Don’t Count Out Email Marketing

Email marketing benefits companies by growing and maintaining their customers while also increasing engagement with their site and brand.

Businesses use email marketing because it’s proven to work and is an effective digital marketing strategy. Email marketing certainly is not dead and is not going anywhere anytime soon.

6 Great Newsletter Examples with Actionable Insights

At Mailjet, we see a lot of great email newsletter examples. Some of them are funny, some exciting, others engaging. But one thing is for sure – creating email newsletters is never straightforward. Each one requires creativity, contribution from your team members, an analysis of how past campaigns have performed and what you can learn from them moving forward.

So, to give you some inspiration, we have compiled six excellent email newsletter examples that we really liked at Mailjet, and actionable insights that you can apply.

Newsletter example #1: The haunting creativity of AdWeek’s Webinar newsletter

email newsletter example 1
AdWeek’s Haunting Webinar Newsletter

Why it works: Sometimes, creativity doesn’t need to involve flashy design or rich media. Sometimes, it doesn’t even need to involve a lot of content. This AdWeek email takes simplicity to a new level by letting anonymous speak. Anonymous is a woman; she has a pixelated stare, and she doesn’t want to get personal with you. It’s haunting, and it doesn’t need to do a lot to show a lot.

Actionable insights: A striking above-the-fold image like this one works like an effective subject line; it incites users to become receptive with the email content.

Optimize CTAs by placing them after specific engagement points. AdWeek places them (1) after the striking image and (2) the description. Including a CTA above-the-fold will ensure that users don’t miss it.

Newsletter sample #2: The pop-culture savviness of this Google Home Mini product marketing email

newsletter sample 2
Google Home Mini’s Marketing Newsletter

Why it works: Google’s product marketing newsletter sample is pretty rad and well-designed. Featuring a slick, white canvas, the one-column layout directs attention to its references – a Weekend playlist, KEXP radio, House of Cards, and the Mad Libs game. Let’s be honest, this email would not have the same impact if music they referenced was, say, Satie’s Gymnopedie.

While these may seem random, they provide an implicit statement – that they are current and aware of modern cultural references, and that Google Home can play them if you simply say so. It’s ingenious. And of course the plethora of streaming services listed just increases Home Mini’s appeal as a personal voice-recognition device. With effective marketing newsletters like this and a banging Cloud Platform, Google is unstoppable!

Actionable insights: Cultural references drive up engagement, even in email marketing. Use them to your advantage. Your references don’t need to be industry-related (although that may help if you’re marketing towards specific niches).

Including the logos of top brands will increase the hype surrounding your product by emphasising its credibility. Google Home Mini is compatible with a lot of streaming channels people use on a daily basis. At Mailjet, we have a Success Stories page for big companies that are very happy using us as their ESP.

Newsletter example #3: Really Good Emails’ personalized weekly newsletters

newsletter example 3
Really Good Emails’ Weekly Newsletter

Why it works: When you do personalization in a not-creepy and non-invasive way, it could be fun. This newsletter example from Really Good Emails shows just that. It’s a neat party trick that really goes a long way in making your contacts feel valued. What do you know, Really Good Emails sends out…really good emails – certainly good in the business of email curation.

Followed by fellow #emailgeeks, Really Good Emails knows how to engage with its community and this newsletter, with its relevant content, is no exception.

Actionable insights: Really Good Emails uses NiftyImages to optimize their personalization. Scene7 is also another alternative.

Point is, you should use tools to optimize your email personalization, which should be data-centric but person-led. You should see recurring data trends, but create best practices within the context of your own company. At Mailjet, we have a whole list of integrations you can use to ensure that your emails are as personalized as possible.

Newsletter example #4: The simple elegance of Taylor Stitch’s menswear email

newsletter example 4
Taylor Stitch Menswear Email

Why it works: As you’ve already seen in AdWeek’s newsletter example, a minimalist design can go a long way. Taylor Stitch’s  before-the-fold image is an impactful way to market their product, emphasizing versatility through different backdrops. Not only do they have clothing attire for the metropolitan, concrete jungle, they also have good jackets you can wear for an actual jungle expedition. This image also sets the content narrative as you scroll down the newsletter – their clothes are great for the city, forest and mountains. By presenting a solid aesthetic for their menswear campaign, their email branding plays around the notion of simple sophistication.

The headings translate this feeling into design, with the use of a serif font indicating maturity and elegance, and their overlaid placement over the empty, white space and images accentuate this duality as presented in the above-the-fold image. They’re traditional but not rigidly conventional. This is a well-conceived, strongly-branded newsletter.

Actionable insights: This is a great blend of content and design, and the content doesn’t even have to be creative, but effective. By creating an overall engaging layout, the products themselves pop-out; the white space allows customers to see the products clearly, and on mobile, an area to click on.

Finally, be aware of the colour palette you’re using. Here, the analogous colours make everything cohesive – and it’s done very carefully. For example the font headings are overlaid on the lighter parts of the image to ensure legibility, and each photo’s hue has been modified to fit with the overall aesthetic. Consider these minute details in designing your emails.

Newsletter sample #5: Station F’s exuberant originality

newsletter sample 5
Station F Anniversary Newsletter

Why it works: As Station F, the (in)famous French startup incubator, states: “What the F*ck?!” Celebrating their first year, Station F has created a very… explosive email: bright colours, fabulous visuals (pink flamingo!), some gifs here and some emojis there to spice up this eleganza… this newsletter grabs your attention, doesn’t let it go, and incites curiosity. What kind of hijinks are they up to for their one-year anniversary? After making such a loud newsletter, they better deliver. These are techniques that you can use to shine the brightest in that inbox filled with other emails.

Actionable insights:Use .GIFS. Be interactive with your design, and be creative with your CTAs. Use colours to incite interest whether consciously or…subconsciously.

Newsletter example #6: The rich media of this DMA Awards-shortlisted Blue Planet II email newsletter

Why it works: This Blue Planet II rich media newsletter by Action Rocket, a UK-based email marketing creative agency, has been recently shortlisted for the DMA Awards 2018, and it’s clear why: it contains dynamic design elements that interact really well with each other. For one, it does not shy away from scrollability and even includes it as an integral element. Above-the-fold, a lone walrus greets you above a sheet of ice, barely surviving from the dangers lurking down below.

Then, the arrows pointing downwards encourage you to dive deeper into the email. What you find as you go down is a series of interesting animal facts, with some nice moving background to boot, until you finally reach the Challenger deep – the deepest place on Earth. It is an incredible journey as they state in the copy. Most importantly, the small facts create buzz around the show by inducing a sense of wonder – much like in a picture encyclopaedia.

Actionable insights: All the previous letters and this have in common – an overarching narrative effectively conveyed by content and design. Notice that this time around there are no clear CTAs above-the-fold. The CTAs in the end create more interest around this show and its content. In your emails, you should also focus on the hierarchy of importance as done here. A marketing copy with links and CTAs arranged haphazardly can be confusing, after all.

newsletter sample 6
Blue Planet II Announcement Email

I’m sure we missed many awesome emails, and with each passing day brands are continuing to innovate on their email design, copy, and optimization. What are you going to do innovate your emails this year?

How to Set Up a Double Opt-In Subscription Form via Mailjet’s API

Deliverability is a pain. We know it.

That’s why, here at Mailjet, we are doing our best to get your emails straight into the inbox, but we need your help as well. We know that you want this too, in order to consistently generate more visits to your site.

While Mailjet can provide a solid infrastructure, industry leading deliverability tools, and a team devoted to you deliverability, your role in this partnership is to ensure 100% of your list has opted-in to receive communications. Because they have, haven’t they? 😉

Opt in for best deliverability

Opt-in subscription forms can be used to capture contact information from customers and visitors in a variety of ways: pop-up forms on the homepage or product pages, dedicated landing pages, and embedded widgets across your website.

A customer subscribing on your platform is like a verbal confirmation of interest in receiving your communications, however a double opt-in subscriber is like getting their signature. Not only does it really prove their consent, but it also is indicative that they really want to engage with your content, products, or services. These are the most valuable contacts.

single opt-in vs double opt-in

Single opt-in vs Double opt-in

There are two types of opt-ins – single and double. While the single opt-in only requires users to provide their email address in one step, the double opt-in widget includes two steps to confirm the subscription. Single opt-in subscriptions skips a crucial second step – confirmation. Side note: Stay tuned for our next article where will explain more about the differences between single and double opt-in.

Why is double opt-in better?

This validation process consists of receiving an email with a custom confirmation link.This will guarantee that the address is in fact valid and it’s owner agrees to receive your marketing campaigns. It eliminates the chance of abuse where somebody submits somebody else’s email address without their knowledge and against their will. At the same time, typos in email addresses are also caught, as are the risk of bots mass subscribing to your content.

By using double opt-in you can reduce spam complaints down to well within acceptable levels (e.g. at Mailjet we make sure our users do not get more thank 0.08% spam complaints).. While double opt-in is not obligatory by law yet, the GDPR is still requesting valid and unambiguous consent for subscription.

GDPR double opt-in

Often quality is better than quantity, and this is certainly the case in emailing. You will have very strong deliverability rates and you will know your audience will be anticipating and willing to read your newsletters. This sure beats sending emails to addresses with typos, bots, or fake accounts.

How to set up a double opt-in through Mailjet’s API

By now hopefully we have convinced you that it is far better for you to use a double opt-in subscription widget, so now we are going to explain how to create one through our API. This is a good solution if you already have an existing opt-in and you just want to connect it to Mailjet, or if you think using our subscription widget is just… too easy for you. 😏

In the diagram below you can see a schema of the process and the steps to follow to make the connection between your system and ours through our API:

Now, let’s have a look at the different steps.

Blog-Double-Opt-In-Schema

Step 1 – Contact’s subscription

Lucky you! Your visitor has decided to subscribe to one or more newsletters via an opt-in on your site.

This form can also contain additional contact properties (like first name, last name, city, gender, etc.). Basically, anything you find useful later to segment your list or personalize your newsletter.

Step 2 – Creation of the customized confirmation link

When the user completes the subscription form, the email address and contact properties will be saved on your system. Then you will have to generate the custom confirmation link that should be send to the client by email. This custom URL should guarantee that the subscription cannot be faked and only the person you are addressing can click on it.

For example you can use MD5 hash algorithm to convert the name of the recipient to 128-bit hash value. Then you could insert it as a variable at the end of the confirmation link. Your system will perform a MD5​ of the email address concatenated to a specific SecretKey​ which will be corresponding to the custom URL.

 http://mysystem.com?{{var:Email​OfTheUser}}&{{var:MD5hash}}

 

Step 3 – Sending of the confirmation email

After your system creates the customized confirmation link, it is time to leverage our Send API through a POST request. You should create a template for the confirmation email that will contain the custom URL. You can design the template with our intuitive email builder, Passport, or via our API using Mailjet’s templating language. You can insert the confirmation link behind a button or just as it is. Below you can see an example of an API call that you can use:

# This call sends a message to one recipient.
curl -s \
-X POST \
--user "$MJ_APIKEY_PUBLIC:$MJ_APIKEY_PRIVATE" \
https://api.mailjet.com/v3.1/send \
-H 'Content-Type: application/json’ \
-d ‘{
    "Messages":[
            {
                        "From": {
                                 "Email": "sender@email.com",
                                 "Name": "Sender Name"
                        },
                        "To": [
                                {
                                     "Email": "recipient@email.com, 
                                     "Name": "Recipient Name"
                                }
                        ],
                        "Variables": {
                                "MD5hash": "MD5hash",
                                 "EmailOfTheUser": "EmailOfTheUser"
                        },
                        "TemplateLanguage": true,
                        "Subject": "The subject you want", 
                        "TextPart": "Welcome to our mailing list! Please activate your subscription by clicking in this link: 
http://mysystem.com?{{var:EmailOfTheUser}}&{{var:MD5hash}}", 
                        "HTMLPart": "Welcome to our mailing list! Please activate your subscription by clicking in this link: 
http://mysystem.com?{{var:EmailOfTheUser}}&{{var:MD5hash}}" 
                       } 
           ]
   }’

 

Step 4 – Creation of template

If you want to use an awesome template you created with our email editor, Passport, or with MJML / HTML code, you can send it easily with the API, by following the steps here or using the example below:

curl -s \
    -X POST \
    --user "$MJ_APIKEY_PUBLIC:$MJ_APIKEY_PRIVATE" \
    https://api.mailjet.com/v3.1/send \
    -H 'Content-Type: application/json' \
    -d '{
        "Messages":[
                {
                        "From": {
                                "Email": "sender@email.com",
                                "Name": "Sender Name"
                        },
                        "To": [
                                {
                                        "Email": "recipient@email.com",
                                        "Name": "Recipient Name"
                                }
                        ],
                                "Variables": {
                                "MD5hash":“MD5hash",
                                       "EmailOfTheUser": "EmailOfTheUser"
},
                         "TemplateLanguage": true,
                         "TemplateID": 123,
                         "Subject": "The subject you want to use"
                          }
                 ]         
             }'

 

Step 5 – Customer’s confirmation

At this step, the action should be completed by your customer. They are going to receive your email and they will have to click on the confirmation link in it.

Step 6 – Adding and sync of the contact

The user has done their part and that means that they are ready to be added to your contact list. Now a confirmation page should be displayed to them thanking them for their subscription.

The opening of this page should refer back to your system with the appropriate parameters (email and MD5 hash). They will give you the MD5 checksum (Secret Key) corresponding to the confirmation link associated with this user. If the parameters are correct, the contact will be added in your system.

MD5 checksum == EmailOfTheUser + MD5 hash value

Example:
Recipient Name: John Smith and recipient email johnsmith@email.com

Secret key in your system == johnsmith@email.com + 6117323d2cabbc17d44c2b44587f682c

Step 7 – Adding customer’s properties

Only one thing left to do – add the client to the list and attribute the properties they provided. This can be done by your system which should call Manage Contacts endpoint of our API.

Here’s an example of the request:

 # Add a contact to the list
curl -s \
    -X POST \
    --user "$MJ_APIKEY_PUBLIC:$MJ_APIKEY_PRIVATE" \
    https://api.mailjet.com/v3/REST/contactslist/$LIST_ID/managecontact \
    -H 'Content-Type: application/json' \
    -d '{
        "Email":"recipeint@email.com",
        "Name":"Recipient Name",
        "Action":"addnoforce",
        "Properties":{
                "property1": "value",
                "propertyN": "valueN"
        }
    }'

 

Important: If your contact specified some properties, you should make sure you have defined those properties in advance in the Mailjet system with the user interface or with the API.

# Create : Definition of available extra data items for contacts.
curl -s \
    -X POST \
    --user "$MJ_APIKEY_PUBLIC:$MJ_APIKEY_PRIVATE" \
    https://api.mailjet.com/v3/REST/contactmetadata \
    -H 'Content-Type: application/json' \
    -d '{
        "Datatype":"str",
        "Name":"Age",
        "NameSpace":"static"
    }'

 

And with that, it is all done!

Collaboration Toolkit

Summing up

We’re sure by now, you’re convinced double opt-in is the way to go to ensure you’re only sending emails to contacts that really want to receive them, and to ensure optimal deliverability.

Once you have created your widget and configured the scripts to sync your contacts with with Mailjet, you’re ready to start sending. From now on, any contact that enters your database and confirms their subscription will become part of your list at Mailjet, with all of the properties they declared.

Now you can continue with the creation of your awesome campaigns to send to all those new subscribers. You can see how to do so here.

Share your thoughts and ideas with us on Twitter and Facebook, and follow us to be the first to get the news!

Contact Management Under GDPR: The Ultimate Set Of Features You Need

Mailjet has been one of the first ESPs (ok THE first) to get onboard with all GDPR requirements.
We know you missed us talking about GDPR, right? 😂

On a more serious note, our customers were very curious about GDPR compliance and are pretty concerned about security and data protection. You know, we are constantly working to make things easier for you. We gathered below all features related to contacts and GDPR available for all Mailjet’s customers.

Refresh your subscription form to add the new GDPR-compliant consent box

For optimal transparency and safety, we advise our users to implement Mailjet’s double opt-in subscription widget to build their contact lists.
Now, in addition to making sure that you have the consent of your recipients, you’ll be able download the proof of consent from each of your contacts. ✍🏽

Widget Mailjet GDPR

How do we do this?

  1. In widget creation, a small checkbox has been added. Tick the box.
  2. Customize the text of the checkbox.
Widget Mailjet GDPR

When a user subscribes to your newsletter, the consent information, including the widget name and consent checkbox text, will be added to their contact profile.
Here is an example of a GDPR-compliant checkbox:

Widget Mailjet GDPR
  1. You are all set!

Please note that if you already have our subscription widget on your website, you will need to re-install it to activate the GDPR checkbox, which will enable the proofs of consent to be stored.
This also means that you won’t be able to download a proof of consent for your old contacts.

No worries, though! If you’re using our widget from the beginning, we are here to cover you in case you encounter any issue with a recipient claiming she/he never consented to receive you information. We’ll be able to provide this information as it is registered in our system 😉.

Have your consent proofs stored and available for download when needed

Another great news is that you can now access and download this proof of consent directly from your Mailjet account, whenever you need it, without contacting our Support team.
Wondering how to download the consent proof of your contacts?

  1. Search for a contact in your Contact lists.
  2. Click on it and you’ll access all the details related to it (we did some re-design here by the way 🎨).
  3. The proof of consent needed can then be downloaded right from here:
Contact Consent proof

Delete a contact in one click

As you know, under and since GDPR, contacts are more aware about what informations they share, and it’s really common that they ask about being deleted from any list and any communication.
So besides unsubscribing, checking statuses and statistics, editing contact properties, removing a contact from a list, it’s now possible to delete a contact…from all your lists, in just one click, straight from the contact overview page:

Delete contact

Important note: statistics generated for all the emails sent to the removed contact will not be altered because of the deletion of the contact. But the contact and its informations will no longer be seen in the database, or available for future sendings.

We hope we helped you become (even more) GDPR-compliant.
Let us know what do you think once you set up the new widget on your website, and your opinion about these news in general!