If you are working in a large company or work with a team on your email campaigns, you sometimes might feel like there are too many cooks in the kitchen. Involving many people on the same project is often necessary, but not so easy to manage.
But, don’t worry, we’ve thought of this, and we’re here to help with our new launch of Activity Logs!
What Are Activity Logs?
You no longer need to worry about asking every single person on your team to find out who was responsible for a modification you want to change before sending your email. To save you time and effort, Activity Logs allows you to track all these changes in our app!
Activity logs help you uncover who was involved in every modification done on your templates and campaigns.
Where you can find Activity Logs?
Step 1: simply click on the “Manage” button on the right side of your campaign or template list.
Step 2: in the drop-down menu, select “View activity log”, which will take you to the history page.
Monitor changes made as far back as 3 months!
We sort this activity data from most recent to oldest, for you to easily browse the actions taken on your campaign or template.
What you can see with Activity Logs
This new feature will help you quickly identify your collaborators changes to the campaigns and templates you are collaboratively creating.
You will be able to view the status of the campaign or template (i.e. Sent, Draft, Published) and metadata about changes made like date, time, and user. Finally, you will be able to view the specific actions taken, such as changes to the title, subject, “from” name and address, any changes to the content, contact list, and the users who scheduled or sent the campaign.
In short – the full details of who, what, when, and how changes were made.
Activity Logs are Now Available
Actions done in your campaigns and templates will be tracked from now on, even on existing campaigns or templates that you have in your Mailjet account. This means that it is enabled on all your campaigns and templates that you already created. Changes made prior to the launch of Activity Logs will not be tracked, but all changes moving forward will
Please note that events done via API are not registered.
We hope the launch of Activity Logs will help you and your team keep track of what is changed and when, in order to ensure your team continues to create and send the most optimal campaigns. This feature is only available for our Enterprise clients.
Despite what you might expect from students, especially teenagers, email remains the primary channel for students researching and communicating with universities and colleges.
While students probably spend more time on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, email continues to be a preferred channel (even among students) for more professional, official, communications.
In a recent study, nearly 68 percent of teens and 73 percent of Millennials said they prefer to receive communication from a business via email. So keep the snaps and the grams for promoting your culture, building your brand, and building a community, but keep the email for the important pieces of content, and direct promotions.
Email is the preferred channel for university marketing
76% of high school students ranked email as the preferred medium for researching colleges in the United States. This far outranked direct mail, in-person seminars, phone, and messaging apps. While social media certainly plays a role in advertising and capturing the attention of students, it is not a channel used for communication.
After speaking with universities about their challenges, we wanted to go beyond some of the basics of email marketing and have compiled three unique tips to help you and your institution think through your email marketing strategy.
Use sub-accounts to manage campaigns for different departments
Maintain brand consistency across all departments
Ensure responsive design on all devices and inboxes
Higher education institutions like universities and colleges have a unique challenge on their hands when it comes to email marketing. Among other things, they are concerned with recruiting students, raising money, communicating events to existing students, engaging alumni, and, of course, educating their students.
They also operate as one brand with dozens (maybe hundreds) of separate brands, whether that is different academic departments, associations, publications, athletic teams, or housing and hospitality. Sending the right message, to the right audience, with consistent branding, and a shared voice is no easy feat.
Simplify account management by using sub-accounts
Our first tip is to implement sub-accounts on your email platform to easily separate and manage email programs across department.
Sub-accounts allow you to separate your email campaigns across different API Keys. By default, all accounts come with one active (Master) API Key where all mailings are sent through. You also have the possibility to create a second (Sub-Account) API Key for other departments, types of emails, or other unique use cases.
A university’s marketing or communications department can own the master account, and using sub-accounts and API keys, they can create separate accounts for different departments, sending needs, purposes, and users. You could have the Science department on one sub-account, the alumni relations team on another, student recruitment on another, and so forth.
When setting up your sub-accounts, here are some recommended best practices:
Use a separate API Key for Marketing & Transactional Emails
If you are sending both marketing and transactional emails on your account, you should use one API Key to send your transactional emails and another API Key for your newsletters.
In the event that one API Key has an issue (for example, a sending rate limit on your marketing campaigns), it will not interrupt the sending of your transactional emails, and vice versa.
Use separate API Keys for each Department
If you do create a master account and manage email accounts for different departments, you can assign a different API Key to each department (or even 2 API Keys to each department if they send both marketing & transactional emails).
Should an issue arise with one department’s mailings (a rate limit or sending is temporarily blocked due to abuse complaints), it will only impact their one API Key, and not your entire school’s emailing.
Separate Your Templates & Contact Lists
You can also separate templates and recipient lists into separate API Keys, and give another department access to that specific sub-account with Account Sharing. The Math department will ever have to sort through templates from Biology department. And the Fine Arts department won’t have to ever deal with the those rowdy Athletic Center emails.
Maintain brand consistency across all departments
Brand consistency is important for any organization, but perhaps is most difficult in institutions like universities, where there is no central marketing department that every department works with, or reports to. As a result, a change to a university’s brand, whether it’s large changes like logo, tagline and color scheme, or day-to-day changes like seasonal campaigns and messages, can be a difficult task to coordinate across campus.
So if your college is trying to build the brand loyalty and recognition of, say, a Harvard University, but your Sociology department sends emails with your college’s horizontal logo, and your recruitment team uses primarily green colors instead of the your core brand of red, then how do you expect to build that consistent brand recognition?
Protect your brand with locked sections and bulk template editing
All of this is to say our second tip is ensure brand consistency across all emails by using locked sections and bulk template editing.
With one master account in Mailjet and many sub-accounts for your different departments, clubs, and sports teams, you can control where and how your brand is used.
First, by using locked sections in selected templates, you can ensure that no user (without proper permissions) can edit certain blocks within an email template. For example, you could create a footer with your logo, social media links, and a recent headline and lock this section so that no other user can come in and edit the logo, the colors, or the content. You can do the same for the header section, or even content blocks throughout the email.
This ensures that no matter what department your email comes from, the end user will have a consistent experience with your brand.
Similarly, you can control your brand consistency using bulk template editing. The larger your organization, the larger your template gallery likely is. Can you imagine changing the logo, or the footer of hundreds of templates?
Do you… do you really want to imagine that?
Bulk template editing allows you to edit that section once and apply the changes to all the templates that has the same section. That way, you can easily update the consistent footer, logo, or tagline across all your emails in just one click.
Design your emails with a mobile-first approach
If there’s one thing you’ve been told too many times as a marketer for a higher educational institution, it’s that students are on mobile devices more than desktops (or laptops, or really anything else in this world).
Alignment is Key: Opting for a single column layout will prevent you from having to re-arrange the design as the screen gets smaller. Simple is your friend.
Image Size: Images are a great way to break up text, but it can cause some problems as well. Pictures that don’t render properly can appear too big or too small on some devices, ruining your killer background or making your banner unreadable.
Clearly identifiable Calls-to-Action: Make primary calls to action as buttons (instead of hyperlinks) so it can be easily found and clicked with a finger on phones and tablets.
Too much text: Don’t make your recipients scroll more than 2 or 3 swipes on their device. If you have a lot of text to share, simply share a snippet in the email and add a link to read more.
Hierarchies of importance: Most emails are read for less than 3 seconds on a mobile device, so make sure you are putting your most captivating, engaging, and attention-grabbing headlines, CTAs, annd images above the fold. Don’t give your reader a reason to swipe left.
But even with all of this, you can still make some mistakes that affect responsiveness. So make sure you use an email builder or a coding framework that can do all the heavy lifting for you.
Responsive drag-and-drop email editors
Many email builders (Mailjet’s Passport included 🤠) allow you to create a well-designed email using a drag-and-drop interface. These editors (the best ones at least) will automatically ensure the sent emails are optimized for any device and inbox.
You could also code your emails if you want to go above and beyond, or create some custom designs. This is great, but coding for responsive design can be tedious because there is not a global standard amongst inboxes and devices on how to render emails. For example, an email will look one way in Gmail, and another way in Outlook; one way on Gmail’s Android app, and another on a Macbook.
This tedious process led our Product Team at Mailjet to look for ways to make coding responsive emails easier. This is how and why MJML was born, the leading responsive email markup language.
Using everything you know about HTML, MJML simplifies the code for you so you don’t have to worry about writing lines beyond lines of code to accommodate different devices and inboxes. An email that could be hundreds of lines of code, can be written in less than 50. Speed matters.
It’s no secret how important email marketing is to universities, from recruitment and fundraising to simply communicating campus activities. As a marketer in higher education you already understand this, however hopefully this article outlined some of the often overlooked aspects of email marketing in higher education institutions.
Namely – how to optimize your email platform, create efficiencies by managing all email under one platform, maintain control of your brand across departments, ,and of course how to design and code responsive emails.
This semester’s exam is a practical exam. You can choose your own assignment, either:
The Gmail Promotions tab’s hot debut in 2013 caused mixed reactions. Some marketing pundits predicted that it marked the end of email marketing as we know it. Others were less dramatic, and stated that it would have a negative impact on the opens and clicks of bad marketing campaigns.
Today, email campaigns need to be more inventive than ever in order to stand out, and this new update from Google allows email marketing to be more visual than ever right in the inbox itself.
So in this article, we’ll walk you through a history of the Promotions Tab and how the new Annotations feature will allow email marketers to find new creative ways to market their emails.
History of Google Promotions Tab
2013: Google Promotions Tab’s hot debut
In 2013, Google rolled out one of its biggest updates on Gmail by adding the Social and Promotions Tabs.
This update was intended to offer Gmail users a better emailing experience by automatically segmenting emails based on their content and sender address.
But email practitioners everywhere were worried that this would negatively affect their opens and clicks.
2014: Inbox by Gmail
In 2014, Google launched a new email tool: Inbox by Gmail – an email service aimed to help users become more productive.
Inbox by Gmail sandboxed many ideas generated by its users that then was slowly incorporated into Gmail.
Marketers were given access to additional features to give more value to their email campaigns through Email Schema Markup. These code snippets can be added in the <head> or <body> tags of an email campaign to allow Gmail to identify what kind of email it is and take advantage of some advanced features.
Here’s an example of how Email Schema Markup works:
Answers in Google Search lets Google show some relevant emails based on search query, for example, showing you information on flights and events.
Highlights in Inbox displays enhancements like flight details or receipts.
Adding Actions to Emails allows email campaigns to become more interactive by adding a CTA directly in the email subject, such as “Add to Queue” or “Accept Invite”.
Adding Actions to Emails
2018: A New Look & AI for Gmail
2018 was a big year for Gmail. Its interface got an update and new AI-powered features were introduced:
Nudges let users come back to an abandoned email thread.
Smart Replies allow users to reply based on pre-rendered templates.
Snooze allows users to set a snooze alert on their emails.
High Priority notifications let users get notifications only for important emails.
In 2017, there was also Gmail’s Smart and Easy unsubscribe – a popup that asked users if they wanted to unsubscribe to email newsletters they have not opened in the last 30 days or so.
Gmail is still rolling out new updates. Their latest one, Annotations feature in the Promotions tab, allows marketing specialists through schema markup to include additional details like promotional codes, images and additional offers right in the inbox interface.
How do the Promotion Annotations work?
Gmail’s new feature allows email campaigns to offer even more value to their subscribers, including a much more visual interface to bring your emails to life with images, deals, expiration dates, and more.
Thanks to machine learning, Gmail identifies the most important messages (optimized by the Schema Markup script) that could interest subscribers and classifies them by topic or theme.
Below is an example on Top Deals.
Simply put, emails can be classified together into groups but only those optimized through Schema Markup can be shown with images and special offers.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to know how to get to the top of the Promotions Tab and the system for getting Annotations, even with the right script implementation. Though overtime, these tricks will be uncovered – so be sure to stay on top of these opportunities.
How does this benefit email marketers?
With Annotations, Gmail selects the best email campaigns to show to users based on their own filters. Brands with an already large following have a better chance of their email campaigns being seen but the more engagement you get from your list, the more likely Gmail will promote your content as well.
What else you can display in the Promotions Tab
To start, here is a list of elements that you can include in your emails.
Yes, email previews can now include images. The images could be a product preview or something that really encapsulates what your newsletter is all about. Gifs are not supported, though.
This clearly displays your offer, which can include things like:
20% off Discount
Tip: Avoid writing long sentences, they will be cut off and therefore your message will render incomplete.
The grey badge shows a promotional code that the user can use to access their discount. If there is no code, including this is not necessary.
This part is very interesting for marketers. It lets marketers add an expiration date to a deal and create a sense of urgency.
This feature lets an email be visualized on top of a group twice: once when it gets sent the first time, and another in the final three days before expiration.
Brands can finally show their logos so that users will immediately be able to identify their email campaigns. Use a HTTPS URL and not a HTTP to avoid errors.
If the user clicks on any of these Annotations, this will open the email.
Gmail will also show a preview of the promotional tab in the main inbox. This is another great reason to enable Annotations in your email campaigns.
How to use the Gmail Promotional Tab to your advantage
Marketers can add all the relevant details (logo, image, subject, offer, etc.) in the required field to personalize the Annotation.
Once created, they can download the code either in Microdata and insert it in the body tag of their email campaigns, or in JSON in the body or head tags.
Still want to avoid the Gmail Promotions Tab?
Even if it is impossible to know exactly how Gmail’s algorithm works, there are some best practices to maximize your chances of landing into the Primary inbox.
But as a clear disclaimer, we do not encourage trying to cheat Gmail’s algorithms by trying to have your marketing emails land in the inbox. If you are sending marketing emails, we highly recommend you do not try to cheat Gmail’s filtering algorithms, or risk getting your future campaigns in the spam folder.
Before doing anything else, think about your brand mission and objectives first and foremost and consider if these campaigns really deserve to be in the Primary inbox.
After all, the Promotions Tab may not be a bad thing for your subscribers, who expect to see marketing emails in that tab. And let’s be honest if they have subscribed to your emails, chances are, they want to see them. If they don’t, you have a different problem on your hands.
Users just don’t subscribe to marketing emails and leave them to fester in the Promotions Tab.
The Primary inbox is for personal emails. Think of it as the figurative home of the user, where they meet family and friends. Imagine how creepy it would be for them to see a marketer just barged into their home for a cool discount.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if they decided to unsubscribe afterwards and block you. This of course is not good for your email reputation and deliverability. That said, some emails like transactional emails that have password resets, important receipts, and more perhaps belong in the personal feed.
If you are looking to send to the personal tab, here are some tips on how to avoid the Promotions Tab:
Don’t use commercial or marketing phrases: Forget CTA’s like Buy Now and other words like discount, promotion, offer, and so on. These will activate the filters.
Keep images to a minimum: Email marketing campaigns tend to have more images than personal ones, so it’s an easy flag.
Use text-based email campaigns, most marketing emails are HTML-based, so try to avoid this.
Keep the links to a minimum: It doesn’t seem personal to have so many links.
Personalize your email: Referring to the subscriber by their first name would be a way to show Gmail that you know them personally.
Send short emails, hopefully resembling the ones you send to your colleagues.
Configure your SPF and DKIM records to avoid getting seen as a spammer: to learn more, here is our guide on authenticating domains with SPF & DKIM.
These are just tips to avoid the Promotions Tab, and there’s no guarantee that your campaigns would be classified as such.
How can Mailjet help you use Annotations?
Our visual email campaign editor, Passport, lets you include the Microdata from Litmus’ builder into your email code. You would only need to then test if this is showing up in your inbox correctly.
Conclusion: Gmail’s Promotions Tab is an opportunity for marketers
Gmail is constantly changing the world of email by giving more control to its users. Gmail places marketing emails directly into the Promotions Tab.
The Promotions Tab has exceeded the expectations of skeptics and email marketers everywhere by being more optimized for marketing emails and therefore conversions. After all, Gmail doesn’t want email marketing to die, they want it to thrive for both the user and brands.
If email marketers know how to take advantage of this Promotions Tab, then they can really do some new and innovative things to attract and retain customers.
In the Promotions Tab, Google Annotations allows for an even more visual email marketing experience right in the inbox interface. Annotations show images, discounts and codes to be shown in before getting the emails opened. It’s a real opportunity enabled by Google’s schema markup script.
Non-technical marketers can create these scripts using Litmus’ tool, made in collaboration with Google.
Google has since announced plans to improve their Annotations tool for events, eCommerce and tourism. Even more reason to start using it now!
If you want to know the latest updates on this, don’t hesitate to subscribe to our newsletters, we’ll have more updates down the line!
Are you going to use this annotations feature to really amp up your email marketing campaigns? Or have you already implemented it and noticed the steady conversions rolling in? Share with us on Twitter @mailjet.
Even if many email marketers are trying to avoid it, the Promotions Tab offers new visual opportunities for email marketing campaigns everywhere to add more value to Gmail users.
In our previous post in this series we explained what personalization is and provided some useful tips on how and when to best add personalization to your campaigns. We also showed you how to apply standard personalization either manually or using our awesome email builder – Passport. If you missed it be sure to check out our previous article here.
In this article, we are going to dive even deeper into the world of the personalization. Do you want to know how to get to the next level? ? Keep reading and you will see the magic of the advanced personalization, which will allow you to create the perfect email for everyone.
What is advanced email personalization?
Advanced personalization is the easiest way to customize your emails with data that it is collected by your CRM or any other tool you are using to collect your customer’s information. At the moment, this type of personalization e can only be used for transactional emails at Mailjet and by using our template language.
While advanced personalization allows you to do everything we covered in standard personalization, it goes well beyond that.. Not only can you customize [first name] and other basic variables, with advanced personalization,you can customize the content of your email as well, allowing you to send fully personalized emails.. We’ll show you a little later on how exactly you can do this but first to do any kind of personalization you will need personal data for your clients to use.
What data can you use to personalize your email?
The most basic method of collecting information is through a subscription widget You can ask your customers and prospect any number of qualifying questions as they are subscribing to your emails, or opening an account. Starting with their name and email of course, all the way to questions that are going to help you provide a truly personal experience in your campaigns.
For example, if you are selling tickets for events, you could ask “What type of music do you like?” or “What type of movies do you like to watch?” or maybe “Do you prefer live music or live theater?”. get a better idea what to propose to each customer.
But are there other ways to collect data from your customers without asking them additional questions all the time? Yes, you can collect the data for advanced personalization using behavioral website trackingor integrations.
Behavior website tracking
Using behavior website tracking you would have the ability to collect more data than you would ever need about your website visitors using conversion rate optimization (CRO) tools.
User behavior are the activities that your visitors are doing after they land on your site. It could be clicks, scrolling through pages, reading blog posts, taking quizzes, and anything else you think will be useful to you. This could be really helpful at any time of the year,or example if you are tracking that Mike is browsing for items for his wife Laura and his 5 year old boy Jake, you can send him an email with suggestions for the perfect presents for his family.
Another good option would be to use integrations. Get subscriber data such as past orders, total money spent, location, purchase data,and more, by integrating your email marketing tool with your CRM or e-commerce platform. There are a lot of integrations that could do all the work for you and you will just have to create the basic template, all the rest will be done automatically. So, at the end your recipient will get a perfect personalized email. For example if you are using our integration with Mautic, you could create a preference center using their how-to article.
Okay, now we have all the data that we need for our emails. Let’s see how to use it with our advanced personalization option.
How to use Advanced Personalization?
When it comes to personalized content, how you can decide which part of the content to be shown to specific targets? When the emails speak to what the subscriber wants to read about, your customers are much more likely to engage with them. Hence, you need to be sure that you offer email content that are targeted and relevant to the recipient. Now that you have all the data and segments set, create emails that are most suited and targeted for each individual subscriber.
Dynamic content is something that you can easily do with the our advanced personalization or the so called template language via our API. You can easily mix up the simple and the advanced personalization in one template, so you would have one beautiful email at the end.
What is the difference between both types? As we saw, standard personalization is taking the information from the data you provided while uploading your list at Mailjet, so we already have this information on our side.
But advanced personalization is actually asking your systems about the information that we should display in the email. In the API call you are going to set up the properties and configure the path to the destination from where the API call should take them.
There is a slight difference also in the way the both type of personalizations are being set up. If you are creating your template in Passport to use the standard personalization, you can use the way described in our previous article, or manually by typing:
The advanced personalization could be set up by manually typing the following syntax:
As you can see the only difference is in the type of variable – one is dataand the other is var. You can add it in this way in Passport or in any MJML/HTML template you are creating.
The way you should define those properties in your API calls, depends on the API version you are using.
In Send API v3.1 you should do it with the following piece of code:
In Send API v3 the code is:
In the API call you can set up the path to the destination from which the variable should be taken. Our system will call this destination and replace the property with the value your system sends us.
Using Dynamic Content to Personalize Emails
One of the useful features of the template language is the dynamic content. Using conditions and loops, you can show part of your content only to the recipients you want.
You won’t recommend Mike buy his wife Laura men’s shoes right? Or his son a kitchen dining set?
We know that you can create such dynamic content using HTML without any issue, but now this is possible with Passport as well. Simply drag and drop the template language section wherever you want within the template, like shown below:
You can create any condition, or loop where the content can be shown to each of your segments. You can also use any information that you have saved in your CRM or database. For example age, gender, city, or interests. If you are using behavioral website tracking, this could also be used as source of information.
Another option would be to segment a whole section using Passport. To do this, you will need to select the section you want, and in the upper left corner you will have the option to add a property and segment based on it.
Click on “Add condition” and configure the right option for your specific use case. You can choose whether the property should be equal to a specific term, or greater than a value, or less than any value you choose.
You can find everything you need on how to use the dynamic content with our template language in this article.
Personalizing the content and copy of the email boosts engagement and loyalty. Sending tailor-made and relevant content increases the click-through rates of your emails. By dynamically changing content, you will be able to send the most relevant emails to every subscriber. They will see offers and products that they are more likely to be interested in, thereby increasing the likelihood of a purchase.
What can you add as dynamic content? Almost anything! Here are some ideas to get you started:
VIP Loyalty section – categorize your subscribers based on their purchases and send specially tailored offers and discounts to them. This will help your brand engage customers stronger and drive revenue.
Recommendations – when you send recommendations based on a recent purchase, there is an increased chance of them purchasing the recommended products.
Wish Lists – you have an item that a customer added in their wish list? Add this as a reminder in the next email you are sending them. They might still want it.
Abandoned Carts – someone left behind an item in their cart? Remind them about how awesome that product is, hey they may still want it. You can see how to code abandoned cart emails using MJML in our tutorial.
Birthday/Anniversary discounts – what better way to celebrate a birthday than by providing them a discount? You can do the same when someone has been with you for a month, a year, or any anniversary worth celebrating.
The best part is that all of this can easily be done with our email builder Passport! And you will only need to define the variables you used for the advanced personalization in your API call.
You can create one template that full of variables, but everyone of your subscribers will receive an email that is perfectly customized for them. Don’t waste your time with different templates for all your customers You can easily have one template that will adapt to the customer.
With the strategies listed above, you can set up a winning personalized email strategy for your business. Your customers receive dozens of emails everyday, so your email needs to stand out. Personalization can do this for you! Try it out and see how your emails can build stronger relationships between your brand and your customers.
If you want to be the first to know everything new about how to create great emails or use Mailjet in the best way, just follow us on Twitter and Facebook!