Marketers Opting for Homebuilt Tech Despite Strain on Team

Marketers reported that, on average, they lose 13.8 hours per week on their homemade technology.

  • 51% reported that working with a third-party provider was less time consuming
  • Data security was reported as the main concern with a homebuilt marketing solution
  • 54% reported the cost of switching to a third-party was the main barrier

New research at Mailjet, surveying 600 marketing and IT professionals in the US, UK, and France, found that marketers are opting for homebuilt tech, despite losing a third of the week to usage.

According to the research, 77% of decision-making level marketers in the UK, and 75% in the US, have developed or are currently developing homemade technology in their current role. However, the study has also identified concerns with the cost, time spent, and expertise required to build and maintain these tools.

Cost weighed against productivity

When considering whether to use a homebuilt or a third-party solution, over a quarter of marketers (27% in UK and 30% in the US) said cost was perceived to be the biggest risk to using third-party technology, closely followed by data security (21% in the UK, and 20% in the US) and reliability (10% in the UK and 9% in the US).

Despite this, over half of the respondents using a homebuilt solution reported that they found it to be more time consuming than using third-party technology. So while a homebuilt solution might be seen as cheaper, it could also potentially be the more unproductive solution.

In addition, 39% of respondents said they were still looking for talent that possessed the right skills to manage their internal infrastructure. This is due to the gaps identified in their own team to keep up with new processes, best practices, and tools.

Deciding whether or not to trust your homebuilt solution to manage your marketing capabilities, or procure a third-party provider to reduce the workload on the team, are key considerations. Finding the right technology partner with the necessary expertise and on-going consulting capabilities can often reduce the financial and resource cost of an already stretched team.

Judy Boniface

Chief Customer & Marketing Officer at Mailjet

The importance of data privacy and security

Data security was quite a divisive subject between the UK and the US.

While 51% of UK marketers reported that data security was a main barrier to outsourcing to a third-party, it was also selected as the second biggest concern with a homebuilt solution, beat only by cost. UK marketers are wary of a third-party’s ability to prevent data issues or breaches, but they are also resistant to placing trust in their own homebuilt technology. Meanwhile, only 34% of US marketers cite data security as a main barrier to outsourcing, but are equally concerned about their own internal security capabilities.

Maintaining an infrastructure that protects businesses’ data properly can be a full-time job. Not to mention keeping up with the ever-evolving laws and practices that have to be monitored and followed diligently. Data privacy and security has to be a top priority for businesses in a post GDPR world, but also the safe storage of confidential customer information.

Choosing the right external provider that can maintain state of the art security and privacy practices will also add an additional level of data protection and reassurance for companies that may not have the right skills and resources to provide the highest standards in-house.

Judy Boniface

Chief Customer & Marketing Officer at Mailjet

Email Infrastructure

In the UK, email marketing is among the most commonly used homebuilt solutions at 73%, surpassed only by advertising tools at 77% and project management tools at 76%. With the prevalence of homebuilt email marketing, it is important to assess its performance routinely and potentially consider alternate options. Notably, internal transactional email solutions is close behind at 71%.

In contrast, it is far more common to outsource email infrastructure in the US, with only 65% of respondents using their own internal email marketing services, and even less (58%) using an internal transactional email solution.

There are a couple key considerations that may indicate that it’s time to switch from a homebuilt solution to a third-party infrastructure. These considerations could also help validate that your homebuilt solution is capable of handling your email needs. So let’s take a quick look at some of these considerations:

    • Deliverability: Arguably, the most important feature of your email infrastructure is its ability to land your emails in the inbox. Maintaining deliverability through the collection and analysis of statistics, as well as building and correctly setting up an internal infrastructure can be difficult.
    • Cost: Building and maintaining an infrastructure capable of handling your sending can be costly, but it does have to be weighed against the cost of outsourcing.
    • Data Privacy & Security: A large concern for all companies, keeping your data under your own roof may be the safest choice for you. On the other hand, ESPs may have certifications that better fortify them to protect your data, as well as free up space for you by providing all the storage you need to private information stored.
    • Scalability: As your business grows, it’s important to consider if your homebuilt infrastructure will be able to grow with it and what the costs involved will be, both monetarily and for growing your workforce.
    • Maintenance & Support:Email infrastructure needs constant care because if there is an issue in your sending, it can interrupt the entire marketing machine. You’ll have to make sure you have the right team in place, whether it’s one you built in-house, or the support team offered by your ESP.
    • Stats & Analytics: The bread and butter of your emailing, making sure you have a robust stats & analytics system in place can make all the difference in your sending. Both the collection and storage of statistics can take up a lot of room, but they’re necessary to track and improve your sending.
    • Template Builder: Templates may seem like a small thing, but they begin to take up more and more of your developer resources as your business grows. Additionally, ensuring that all templates are responsive is necessary to maintain engagement.

If you are interested in learning more about the key considerations and what options you have to choose from, you can download The Email Infrastructure Handbook: Homebuilt vs Outsourced below.

The Email Infrastructure Handbook: Homebuilt vs Outsourced

 

***

Want to read the full research report?

Download the media kit here.

Use Mailjet’s Webhook Notifications with Segment

What better way to understand your customers but a really powerful Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software? We’ll tell you what – a Customer Data Infrastructure (CDI) software called Segment.

Nowadays, your customers are expecting highly personalized emails and experiences, so a simple CRM might not be enough. Keep reading and find out how you can make life easier with the help of Mailjet and Segment.

What is a CDI?

Our life is becoming more and more dynamic everyday. Brands interact with their customers in almost every channel available, and this creates a lot of challenges, particularly how to keep track of all this data. And customers are expecting more and more from each brand to personalize their whole experience.

At this point, you’re probably thinking your company would benefit from a single tool that can track all interactions from every touchpoint with the clients, ensure that data is accurate, and then automatically pass the data to all other tools where it’s needed to provide seamless customer experiences.

This is where a good CDI comes in handy. With the right CDI, companies can automate the whole process from collecting the data to personalizing the customer experience. Segment is a CDI solution that can simplify your workload and make the customer experience flawless.

What is Segment?

Segment is a customer data hub that helps you connect your apps and integrate them with almost any third-party analytics tools. With all the customer data that you’ve already collected, Segment opens a powerful distribution channel for you.

Segment collects, manages, and sends customer data to analytical and marketing tools. It can combine website and mobile data with data from cloud services like Stripe, Mailjet and Zendesk. Let’s take a closer look at what Segment does as a CDI.

CDIs collect data from every channel where customers engage with your brand or product. It then makes this data available to every tool in an organization where it’s used. This process saves so much time for every developer that has to build integrations to enable different tools to work together.

Segment also takes care of the data governance. This means that it helps companies to protect the integrity of their data, and makes sure that the data is both correct and compliant. This way, you’ll know that everything you need is collected and the information that’s not useful or not compliant with your internal standards will be dropped.

The third role of any CDI is audience management. Essentially, this means that the CDI makes the raw data usable by analyzing and combining all data points and interactions into customer profiles. You will then be able to create all the segments you need using your customer profiles and identify what matters most to each user. From there, you can apply this knowledge to deliver consistent, personalized experiences across all channels.

All features that Segment offers are enormously valuable for high-growth industries like e-commerce and enterprise software that expend a lot of effort on implementing trackers. Segment’s biggest impact is unprecedented distribution for new analytical tools and trackers.

Every developer knows that creating integrations is a pain, and it’s a huge problem for new SaaS products trying to gain traction. Segment is well-positioned to solve this problem and make it extremely easy for businesses (from startups to large enterprises) to mix and match their ideal customer data setup.

For a lot more useful information on how and what else you can use Segment for, check out their blog. In the rest of this article, we will focus on how to use Segment to handle all the notifications you receive from Mailjet’s Webhook Notifications or synchronize your contact list through Segment with Mailjet.

How to use Mailjet’s Webhook Notifications with Segment

Integrating Mailjet with Segment can be done in less than five minutes, and taking those five minutes to set it up will save you so much time in the future. The connection will help you enrich your Mailjet contact lists from Segment sources with new contacts and contact properties, and also receive all events from Mailjet’s Webhook Notifications to data warehouses through Segment.

You will be able to feed all of your transactional and marketing email stats to the 200+ Segment Integration or data warehouses. Then, you can analyze your email growth and engagement metrics alongside your website and landing page visits, or make sure the information about your newsletter unsubscriptions are recorded in your CRM.

We will talk more about the numerous advantages later, but let’s start with how to connect your Mailjet with your Segment.

Set up

To start using Mailjet with Segment, there are five steps you’ll need to follow. Once you have everything covered, we will feed all events to your Segment account and you can link them with other all the other applications that you want. Now that that’s covered, are you ready for Step 1?

Step 1

To start the set up, you’ll need to make sure that you have paid accounts in both Segment and Mailjet. This is mandatory in order for the connection between the two accounts to be established.

Step 2

The next step is to enable the Segment app connection from within your Mailjet account. To do so, you will need to access your account settings page and go to the “Other connectors” page in the “App Connections” tab.

mailjet-account-page

A new page will open, and you’ll have to select “Configure” under the Segment option.

segment-integration-mailjet

Once you do, a drop-down menu will appear and you will see your “Segment Authentication Key” for connecting your Mailjet account to Segment. The other options shown allow you to receive data from Segment and/or send data to Segment. Copy the Segment Authentication Key provided because you will need it for the next step.

Step 3

Now you need to add the Mailjet integration and source within your Segment account. To do this,go to your Segment account, access the Sources page and click on ‘Add Source’.

mailjet-segment-setup

You need to find and select Mailjet’s. Once you open it, you have to click on the “Connect” button.

mailjet-segment-connection

You can name your Source and will be automatically redirected to your newly created Mailjet source.

Step 4

Now you will need to enable the integration by using the Mailjet Segment key (remember the one you copied to your clipboard?). Click on ‘Add Destination’.

mailjet-segment-app

Navigate to the Destination catalogue, and once there, find and select Mailjet. On the new page you need to click on “Configure Mailjet”.

mailjet-segment-configuration

Then, you’re going to click on “Confirm Source” and activate it with your Authentication Key. Click on the Authentication Key block and enter the value that you already copied from your Mailjet account.

mailjet-segment-authentification

The last part of this step is to click on “Activate Destination” and voila! You have established the connection between Mailjet and Segment.

Step 5

The last step is to configure the Segment scenarios that you would like to use: receive data from Segment, send data to Segment, or both.

Receiving data from Segment

To activate this option, you need to choose the second option from the first drop down menu.

mailjet-segment-list

Select a target contact list from the drop down menu that you want Segment to send contact property data into. You can also create a new contact list at this point by selecting “Create and Use a Segment Master List”. Once you have selected a list, click on the ‘Enable’ button. You are ready to go and your Segment data will be updated in your Mailjet lists so you can create segments at Mailjet or personalize your messages!

There are some details that you need to keep in mind if you will be receiving an array data from Segment. If you have this use case, please visit our documentation.

Activate sending data to Segment

By integrating Mailjet and Segment you can also send your email event data (opens, clicks, bounces, etc.) through Segment to all third-party applications you have connected. This is helpful if you want to put your Mailjet event data alongside other engagement or traction data (for example: Mixpanel, Google Analytics, your CRM, etc.).

To activate “Send data to Segment”, you will need to enter your Segment “Write Key” into the third option of the drop down menu.

mailjet-segment-key

Your “Write Key” is provided by Segment and is used to identify Segment’s client account so that the Mailjet system knows where to send data to and where to receive data from.

You can quickly find your Segment Write Key by using this link:

https://app.segment.com/[WORKSPACE]/sources/[SOURCE_NAME]/settings/keys

(Where you need to replace [WORKSPACE] and [SOURCE_NAME] with the names of your Segment workspace and source, respectively).

Alternately, you can log into your Segment account, select your workspace and source, then click on ‘Overview’. Copy the key and paste it in the field in your Mailjet account.

mailjet-segment-connecting

Mailjet will then generate an EndPoint URL and populate it on the Triggers page of your account. By default all the events will be activated automatically, but you can always switch off some of them if there is no need for you to receive them. Our recommendation is to turn off the “Send” event unless you really need it because in the case of big volume sending, this could easily overload your system.

If you already have some webhooks set up, you will see the following pop-up when you try to enable the tracking with Segment.

mailjet-segment-error

You will have to choose the best option for you, but if you are reading this article, it probably means that you will want to use Segment since it is an awesome tool.

You can see below how each event supported by Mailjet will appear at Segment:

  • Open events – sent as “Email Opened” to Segment
  • Click events – sent as “Email Link Clicked” to Segment
  • Bounce events – sent as “Email Bounced” to Segment
  • Spam events – sent as “Email Marked as Spam” to Segment
  • Blocked events – sent as “Blocked” to Segment
  • Unsubscribe events – sent as “Unsubscribed” to Segment
  • Sent events – sent as “Delivered” to Segment

If you want to keep learning about more advanced tracking you can see how you can group your emails or tagged them here. If you are still wondering why it is a good idea to connect your Mailjet account and your Segment account, keep reading to see some of the advantages we’ve highlighted for you.

Advantages

The first advantage we will mention is if you are feeding your segment data to Mailjet, you can synchronize and update your contacts automatically, without the need to import everything on your own. This way you will know that you list is always up to date with the latest contacts and properties and any segmentation or personalization will work seamlessly.

But let’s focus more on one of the main superpowers of Segment – creating a personalized customer journey. If you are storing all of the information for your recipients including their behaviour like opening and clicking on emails, you can easily know which news is relevant to them. This will help you create the perfect emails for them using advanced personalization and segmentation, or even use this data to personalize their journeys and what they see on your site.

For example, for Jane you can create the perfect email featuring shoes and bags (we all need some good accessories) and show her a landing page with the latest models in her favorite colors. At the same time, you can send Jaime emails for the newest hockey equipment you received, because they’re playing hockey almost every day and always needs new equipment.

Personalization is so easy and the opportunities are endless when you know a lot about your customers. Knowing everything you need for your customers is made possible by using Segment options.

Integrating Mailjet with other tools that you have connected with Segment is another valuable advantage. This way you can send and receive data to and from Mailjet. The best part is you can do this without the need to code everything manually.

Summing it up

The importance of a powerful CDI is undeniable and Segment is the perfect example. Creating optimized emails and journeys for every customer can boost the engagement with your brand and your profits. Everything that is custom made is drawing more attention and appears more credible, so don’t wait to take advantage of this. Integrating Mailjet with Segment will help you automate your process of uploading contacts and keeping track of the email activity of every recipient. This way you can create segments that will send the perfect content to the right people.

For more useful articles don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Tips & Ideas For Your Halloween Emails

Getting ready for Halloween is fun but it can be hard work too. Hollowing out a pumpkin. Carefully applying fake blood. Trying to put together a costume to rival Chica the spider-dog’s. Like most prep, crafting a Halloween email campaign that gives your subscriber goosebumps (in a good way), takes preparation and creativity.

To help you out, we’ve handpicked some scarily good ideas to help you spice up your Halloween emails. Check out these tips and start brainstorming how to turn your campaigns from good to… devilishly good. 😏

Include a trick and a treat in your Halloween emails

Take a look at how Postable incorporates a fun GIF in their email to catch your attention, and a little incentive of 15% off with a themed code. Not only is this a good way to give the customer a good laugh, but also cleverly encourages free brand marketing. Take this as an example and start thinking about how you can leverage the power of word-of-mouth marketing (WOM).

Postable Halloween Email

Check out Postable’s Halloween email!

Ensure your Halloween email marketing looks devilishly good

Halloween is the perfect opportunity to dress up your emails to give them an edge. Mango stays true to its personality with this elegant, yet rather cheeky, message. The title is eye-catching, set in sharp contrast against the white background, and the paragraph adds a twist, combining its spooky theme with some intrigue.

Mango Halloween Email

Mango’s Halloween email design is elegant and clean.

Create Halloween emails that build up the suspense

A mystery deal can be a great way to keep your subscriber hooked and get them to visit your website. Pull & Bear’s ‘Trick or Treat’ Halloween email campaign invites customers to play a virtual scratch game to win a discount.

Spicing up your emails with a sense of mystery will help your click-through rate, as your contacts are likely to be tempted to try their luck, which will translate into visits to your website.

Halloween Email Pull&Bear

Try including a game, like Pull & Bear does in its Halloween email campaign.

Mailjet Account Banner

Customize your Halloween email marketing

Subscribers are mostly engaged by helpful, relevant email. This can be anything from including on-trend topics, customizing email to their preferences, or catering for their Halloween needs.

This Crate & Barrel campaign includes useful content for the time-strapped shopper, with links to everything one might need for the perfect Halloween party to transform your home into a haunted house.

Let the reader know that you have a cure for all their pain points, that you have what they are looking for, and that they won’t need to look anywhere else. They won’t need to do any tiring Halloween decoration shopping after work or trying to craft their own. Their Halloween party can be sorted in just a few magical clicks!

Crate & Barrel Halloween Email

Crate & Barrel’s email includes everything you need to throw the perfect Halloween party.

Free all kinds of creative monsters in your Halloween emails

Make your Halloween email stand out by being bold and using fresh, innovative content. Lands End does this cleverly, by bringing its products to life with the use of an animation, an element that will most definitely attract the reader’s attention. They also give their email a different twist, opting for ‘Black Magic’ as their title, rather than the usual ‘Trick or Treat’ They even top it off with a short Halloween themed poem.

Be creative, innovative and original and you’ll see how your effort pays off.

Halloween Email Land's End

Want to see the animation in Lands End’s Halloween email? Check it out here

Bonus: Adapt your Halloween email marketing to your industry

While for some industries Halloween-ifying their email content can be quite straight-forward , others might have a bit of brainstorming to do. If you’re not feeling your most creative self today, here are a few ideas on how to give your holiday metrics some oomph:

E-commerce Halloween emails

Bring your products to life in Halloween style. List the essential ingredients for the perfect party, and let the reader know that you have everything they need for it.

Software Halloween emails

Add a spooky twist to your product, perhaps include an invite to an exclusive Halloween event, or unlock some scarily remarkable feature or content.

Travel & Experiences Halloween emails

Draw together some Halloween events or experience days local to your subscriber, or use this opportunity to promote some inspiring destinations. Many places have their own local traditions around Halloween (like Día de los Muertos), it could be a great opportunity to promote them!

Food & Spirits Halloween emails

Give your contacts Halloween recipes so good your readers will want to stay up cooking all night. Focus on classic ingredients (pumpkin!) and on spooky-looking dishes. Want to make it even better? Run a contest and ask your subscribers to share photos of their creations with you. User generated content will be your new best friend!

Betty's Halloween Email

Beauty & Well-being email Halloween emails

Let your subscribers know that whether they want the perfect make-up for their costume or they actually want to look a bit less like a monster, your products can do the magic.

Halloween email subject lines

The other factor you’re going to have to keep in mind is the email subject line. Just like your halloween costume, these should be creative and eye catching. Remember to keep it short, make sure it’s relevant to the contents of your email, consider adding some spooky emojis (but not too many), and have fun with it! We have a couple great examples for you below:

  1. Blue Apron: Forget the candy, this deal is the sweetest one yet!
  2. Land O’Lakes: 👻 Ghoul, treat yourself with these recipes
  3. WeTransfer: Pumpkin spice and all things (not) nice
  4. Fortnum & Mason: So delicious it’s scary…
  5. Email Monks: Witching You Happy Halloween
  6. Modcloth: Don’t let Halloween sneak up on you!
  7. Taylor Stitch: A little treat to go with all the tricks this weekend!
  8. Crate & Barrel: All treats, no tricks.
  9. Betty’s: Double, double toil and trouble.
  10. Paper Source: Get These Spooky Best Sellers Before They Ghost!



These marketers know that it takes work to turn a great idea into great copy and design. Draw inspiration from these campaigns and make sure your email wins best-dressed in the Halloween inbox. As for your own winning costume, you might need to look elsewhere. Happy Halloween!

Do you have any great ideas or advice for a Halloween campaign? Feel free to share them with us on Twitter!
***

This blog post is an updated version of the post “Fright School Friday: Email That Wins The Holiday Inbox“, published on the Mailjet blog on October 30th, 2015 by Sasha Seddon.

How To Write The Perfect Email Subject Line

Learn how to write the perfect email subject line.

As in real life, first impressions matter in email marketing. Do you want to be the cool guy walking down the road everyone turns around to look at, or just that creep in slippers and a leopard-print bathrobe most move away from when they cross paths in the street?

The inbox is a noisy and crowded place, and the fight for your contacts’ engagement is on. You have around 60 characters to capture your consumer’s attention in the subject line. How will you do it?

There have been a ton of studies and debates posted on the web, arguing what phrases and power words produce higher open rates. Here, we’ll cherry-pick the words, combinations, and formatting of different subject lines, to help you write the best one to match your company’s brand voice and goals.

Email subject lines that don’t suck

Sounds like a good starting point, right? We’ll give you the key points on how to achieve this, but to see how these techniques look like in action, here are a few subject lines we’ve come across that have stood out in our inboxes.

 

Morning Brew subject lines are consistent

Here we see the correct use of consistency. Morning Brew has found a relevant emoji and has stuck with it to make their emails recognizable in the inbox. They keep their subject lines short to just pique our interest without giving much away.

A FOMO subject line

This subject line tapped into our curiosity and FOMO (Fear of missing out) at the same. It made us think: “Who did? What does the album sound like? Why is it special? I need to know!”. The email included a description of the ablum, with CTAs to learn more, as well as explore more on the Pitchfork website. The catchy subject line was not click-bait at all, it delivered on the little promise in the intriguing subject line.

product hunt

We’ve been going on and on about emojis for quite some time now. Do they work? Which one’s best? We’d done a ton of research on the matter and have shared our findings with you. Maybe you’re not as excited to see them spread through the cyberspace as we are, but come on, they’re pretty cool. Here we see how Product Hunt uses them in a relevant context, creating a nostalgic feeling of mid-1990’s computer games.

Pun in the email subject line

Vidyard opens up with a play on words with a little bit of tongue and cheek as well. When it came to this email, you can see that they’re promoting their product to imporve your video strategy. They know you want to imporve your metrics, and opening this email is going to give you the information you need to do so.

Four top tips for killer email subject lines

When it comes to constructing your subject line, there are three things you should always consider and follow like a ritual.

Length matters in email subject lines

The verdict is still out on whether shorter subject lines drive more opens. A shorter subject line may be more likely to catch the reader’s attention, but it still has to be reflective of the content inside. As the subject line contains less detail on the content, the user might not find what’s inside the email interesting after having curiosity drive them to open it.

Additionally, you should be aware of each email client’s subject line preview length. For example, Gmail only shows the first 70 characters, where Hotmail / Live and Yahoo Mail show 60 and 46 characters respectively. Do some research on different mobile clients to find out the current limits too.

Tone and voice

Positive or negative, questions or exclamations, vague sentences or more direct ones, FOMO, urgency… There are many ways in which we can communicate one same idea and playing around with different options might keep your emails fresh and enticing. However, your subject line (and your content) should always be aligned with your brand voice and tone. Having a recognizable style will go a long way.

Beta-i‘s newsletter does a great job at creating attractive subject lines that are unique to them, and is perfectly consistent with their brand voice. Have a look a some of their recent newsletters below.

Screenshot_03_08_2017__11_22

P.S. Noticed how they use someone’s name as their From Name? This also contributed to their overall brand voice. Find more on From Names here.

Symbols and emojis in email subject lines

Marketers have been using hexadecimal symbols for a while now, but they are not as widely used as you would expect because they are not compatible with all email clients. Same happens with emojis: not all email clients and devices work with these either. Whether you decide to opt for one or the other, they should always be used in context, otherwise it can have a bad effect on your brand and be seen as childish.

Testing

Lastly, always A/B test. You can’t 100% know which subject line will work best, so set up an ‘A/X test’ to try out up to 10 different subject lines. For example, you might want to send your campaigns on Tuesday at noon with an A/B test in place and let it run for 20 hours, and then have the winning subject line and email be sent early on Wednesday morning so it’ll be one of the first in your recipients’ inbox when they get to work.

After A/B testing and sending a couple of campaigns, be sure you use ‘Campaign Comparison’ to see which campaigns worked best for your data-set and look to improve future ones! By comparing your results with your industry benchmarks you can always have specific goals to aim at and improve your email campaigns over time.

Seven things to test on your email subject line

Speaking of testing, how many different things do you usually test in your email subject lines? Do you focus on your wording, your tone or the message itself? If you’ve answered one of the three, you’ll only be “partially correct”. The truth is you definitely need a combination of the three to ensure you find the perfect one for each campaign.

Length:

This is one of the most basic tests in some people’s eyes, but really something to look into. The subject line length allowed by different email clients and devices varies from around 70 characters on Gmail’s desktop version to just 30 characters on some of the smaller Android phones, so understanding this will help you pinpoint how long is too long.

But there’s another element to the length that a test will allow you to understand better. Do your readers feel intrigued by subject lines they can’t fully read? Or do they find this irritating and prefer shorter, more precise subject lines? Try a range and analyze the performance, both for each individual campaign, but also across different email clients and devices over a period of time.

Personalization:

Another basic one, but yet another one that can be easily overlooked. Does your audience react better when they see their name used in the subject line? We keep on talking about the importance of personalizing contentto make it more relevant, but at the end of the day, your contact list is formed by a unique set of people with their own particularities. It could be that someone sends them a daily influx of messages with personalized subject lines, and they just instantly associate it with some unwanted marketing campaign that they automatically ignore.

personalized email subject line

Emojis:

To emoji or not to emoji? For today’s email marketer, that might actually be the question. The suitability of emojis will depend on your database’s age and location, their use of social media and even the device they read their emails on.

emojis email subject line

But it’s not just about whether to use emojis or not, but also which ones to use. Different cultures might react to the same picture in different ways and, no matter how many times they try to convince us, a peach is not always a peach.

Negative Statements, Questions & Exclamations:

The tone, the wording and how you phrase your subject lines will definitely have an impact on how your readers’ willingness to open your emails. You could be stating facts, sharing excitement or asking them a question to make them reflect on something. Maybe highlighting great things works best, or maybe your readers are more inclined to open emails that stress negative elements.

Would a salary comparison page get better results with the negative statement “You’re not being paid what you deserve”, the question “Are you being paid what you deserve?”, or an exclamation such as “We know how much you should be making!”? The only way to know is by testing.

FOMO / Clickbait:

Fear Of Missing Out is a thing. It is the psychological principle that rules Facebook: people want to know what other people know, what other people are talking about. Curiosity meets insanity, basically. So, are you leveraging your contacts’ FOMO with subject lines they just can’t resist?

To an extent, the basis of clickbait subject lines is precisely this overwhelming curiosity that pushes us to open a message to find out if, in fact, “there’s no way I can imagine what this person said”. Clickbait headings are all across the Internet nowadays and people are slowly catching on, but you’ll never know if they work with your audience unless you try them.

Vague / Straightforward:

You’ve probably heard about Obama’s email marketing success during his 2012 presidential campaign. Well, a big part of this was down to the interesting range of email subject lines his team picked, which caused impressive open rates and an all-time fundraising record. The team tested a huge number of subject lines, varying from straightforward messages such as “Thankful every day” or “Some scary numbers” to more vague ones, like “ Change”, “I will be overspent” and even a friendly “Hey”.

vague email subject line

Discounts & Urgency:

Another interesting idea worth investigating if your company sends product emails is to see whether outlining discounts and promotions, or creating a sense of urgency on your subject line will generate higher open rates. Overusing time-limited campaigns and headings might become a bit like the tale of Peter and the Wolf, where your contacts stop trusting you and end up not reacting as you’d wish, because they know another offer will be coming their way soon. Be sure to test this frequently to find the right balance.

discount email subject line

There’s no limit to the things you can test. We’ve covered just a few of the possibilities here, but there are many more you can try. Want to find out if including the name of your brand in the subject line makes people recognize you more and be more willing to open your email? Try it. Think that including a profanity might generate some interest and spice up your contact’s dull inbox? Try that too! At the end of the day, finding the perfect subject line requires a bit of both art and science.

With all that said, now it’s time to get to work! Share your best performing headings and your most interesting examples with us on Twitter.


***

This blog post is an updated version of the post “How To Write The Perfect Subject Line“, published on the Mailjet blog on March 23rd, 2015 by Amir Jirbandey.

The Email Infrastructure Handbook: Homebuilt vs Outsourced

Choosing whether to trust your homebuilt email program to handle all of your marketing and transactional email needs, or to outsource to a third-party service is a hard decision to make. Topics like cost, data & security, and scalability are just a few of the considerations that have to be taken into account when making your choice.

To help you out, Mailjet has put together a handbook that digs deeper into every consideration you’ll have to take into account. Once you know what you’re up against, we then lay out your three options: homebuilt, outsourced, or a hybrid of the two.

Download the full guide The Email Infrastructure Handbook: Homebuilt vs Outsourced to get a deeper understanding of the different options that are out there for your email infrastructure, and the key considerations you have to keep in mind when making your choice.

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Key Considerations
  3. Assessing Your Options
  4. Conclusion

7 Newsletter Ideas to Help you Create Engaging Emails

If you pulled up your personal inbox in another tab right now, how many newsletters do you have in there? One? Four? Over ten? When you love a brand and what they can offer you, it’s second nature to sign up for their newsletter to make sure you’re one of the first to know about new products, sales or updates. Maybe you have some newsletters that you look forward to seeing in your inbox. We’re going to take some time to look at what makes them so hard to resist and hopefully give you a couple newsletter ideas of your own.

What is a newsletter?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines newsletter as “a bulletin issued periodically to the members of a society or other organization.” Pretty vague, but you get the jist. Newsletters are correspondence that businesses send to their subscribers to let them know what’s going on in their company, whether it’s about their product or information about the business itself.

Unfortunately, creating a newsletter probably won’t be as short, sweet and straightforward as the definition is. It will take some time to write, to carefully plan, and will likely evolve over time. But great things take time, right?

However, we’re going to try to make it a little bit easier by giving you some pointers about what makes a good newsletter, and then take a look at some great examples to maybe spark some ideas for your own newsletters. Without further ado, let’s get into it.

What makes a good newsletter?

If you opened up one of the newsletters in your inbox, you could probably pick out a few things that you really liked about them. Maybe the images they use are always unique and eye-catching, or maybe you see your name in there and it makes you want to read more. With all of the possible directions you can take your newsletters, there are a couple practices you’ll want to keep in mind.

Brand your emails

Ok, ok, we know. Right out of the gates, this one seems pretty obvious. But before you skip this section, there is a lot that goes into this concept. Of course, you’ll want to include recognizable branding like your logo, and maybe some images you use for your social media avatars if it applies.

You want your subscribers to recognize your emails because, well, they signed up for them so they clearly want to get them! Side note: don’t go overboard with the branding. Not every inch of the email needs to be branded, just enough to make it recognizable.

Your branding extends beyond the physical appearance of your emails to the address you’re actually sending from. Sending from an address like “no-reply@” or “do-not-respond@” might come off as a little cold to your subscribers.

Instead, sending from an address that has, for example, the name of someone on the email team in your company is a lot friendlier. If receiving your emails are the main point of contact your customers have with you, having a friendly sending address is a great way to set a good first impression as they learn more about your brand.

Bonus points are awarded if the email address accepts replies. It’s a good boost to your sender reputation, as well as fostering goodwill with your subscribers and giving some brownie points to your brand reputation.

Keep it consistent

This applies to…well, pretty much every aspect of your email newsletters. But let’s start with the best time to send your newsletters.

While there are different things to consider when trying to decide when to send, whatever day and time you pick, it’s best to keep it on a schedule. It helps you plan out your marketing efforts, and you can test out the best time to send them to get the most opens and clicks. Once you find that sweet spot, why send at any other time?

While we’re on the subject of timing, keep in mind the frequency of your emails as well. I’m sure you don’t like opening up your inbox and seeing five emails from the same company, so you might not want to do that to your own subscribers. Depending on your business, it’s probably best to stick to one or two emails a week, nicely spaced out.

GIF of Spongebob receiving emails

Keeping on with consistency, the layout of your email should get the same treatment. It may be hard to settle on a design, and the occasional shake-up may be called for, but for the most part, it should be recognizable to your subscribers. Changing it up often might cause confusion, and it’s a lot of additional work on your part.

Within the layout of your email design is also all the small details that make it yours. Fonts, images and colors should all carry a level of consistency with them. Looked at individually, they may seem like such small details, but they all come together to create your newsletter (and we know you want to see your creativity and hard work succeed 😉).

Simplicity is the golden rule

No one likes to get a cluttered email. Too much text, out of place images and a layout that doesn’t guide you through the information is just not something that your customers are going to spend time on their lunch break reading. And on your side, an email with no clear direction will result in fewer clicks, and fewer conversions.

Opting for a simpler design, one that contains the necessary amount of text and images, is the better way to go. Creating an email where the reader has to scroll for ages to get to the bottom might make important content go unnoticed, especially if it’s tucked at the end.

A big tip for keeping an email simple is to make it skimmable. With your newsletters, it would be great if your subscribers read every word, but if we’re being honest, they probably aren’t. To help them out, we have a few tips to make your emails skimmable:

  • Have important text stand out by making it bigger and brighter
  • Place images strategically because our eyes are naturally drawn to them
  • Subheads and bullet points are a great way to highlight important points in your text
  • You can section off content in the design of your email to lead people to your call-to-actions



A simple email with less to distract your readers will make your CTAs stand out so much more. You can lead your readers to better interact with your emails, and hopefully boost your clicks and conversions. We know you have a lot of great and important information to tell your subscribers, but being selective about what you share can help focus your emails.

Now, without further ado, let’s get into some different examples for different industries!

Newsletter ideas for the retail industry

It can be tough to stand out in the retail industry. There are a lot of competing voices out there, and it can feel impossible to get the customer’s attention. One of the ways to do that is to stand out in their inbox! These examples will give you enticing ideas to start catching some people’s attention.

Aldo

Newsletter idea Aldo

Why it works: The simplicity of Aldo’s newsletter is something to aspire to. Right off the bat, you open up the email, and you don’t even need words to know what it’s about. That picture, front and centre, makes you want a new pair of shoes right away. And why not make them “Cassedy”? They definitely have a color you’ll love, just look at that photo 👠.

Because the image already lets us know what this installment of the newsletter is all about, the copy can be short and sweet. And clever, too. Lastly, check out the 40 per cent off offer they give us near the bottom, with their own CTAs to take advantage of it.

Take action: We mentioned it above, and we’ll mention it again. While there are definitely exceptions to the rule, simplicity is one of the best ways to lead your subscribers to get what you want them to out of your newsletter. Keeping text to a minimum, but still managing to convey your message is a skill that can take a while to master, but it is so effective.

When it comes to retail newsletters, your subscribers might not have the time to read an essay about how great your product is, even though we know it is good enough to fill the pages of a book 😉. But, unfortunately, your subscribers will most likely not have the time to read all of that. In that case, keep it short and sweet.

Gamestop

Newsletter ideas Gamestop

Why it works: There is a perfect balance between image and text. The images are large, and the text is just as big to match. It takes maybe 20 seconds to get all the way through this newsletter, and even less time to understand what it’s all about. The CTAs throughout makes it easy for you to follow through, and the offers make it even easier too. I mean, who doesn’t want more video games?

Take action: What’s the best thing you can do to make an email skimmable? Make the text big and make it stand out from the rest of the email! Think to yourself “what do I want the main takeaway from my newsletter to be?” and then make it rise above the noise.

The structure of your newsletter plays a large role in how skimmable and scannable it will be. Sectioning off the email into smaller, digestible chunks can make it visually clear where the most important information is, and where their eyes should go. For GameStop, they section it off with simple but complementary images, and each section has CTAs that relate with the sections.

MeUndies

GIF of newsletter ideas MeUndies

Why it works: I’m going to admit something here, and I really hope it doesn’t get me into any trouble: I am not a Star Wars fan (pause for gasps of outrage). With that out of the way, this email by MeUndies makes even me want these Star Wars themed underwear. Right after you open the email, you know what they’re offering you, and at the same time, you definitely want it. I mean, come on, look how cool that GIF is!

Take action: I think you know the first thing I’m going to mention here: the GIF. I’ve grown up on the internet, and GIFs are still so cool to me. That’s how I know they are for your customers as well. In particular, a GIF is a great newsletter idea because it is a really cool way to highlight a visual feature of your product.

Moving further down, the copy is short and sweet, making use of not one, but two of the most famous movie lines in history to carry on the theme. The CTAs are large, and will take you exactly where you want to go after being mesmerized by that GIF for at least half a minute. When taken all together, there is very little to distract from the goal of this newsletter: MeUndies has some awesome new merchandise for you and you’re going to want it.

Star Wars GIF

Newsletter ideas for the tech industry

If you think the retail industry is competitive, get ready for the tech industry. We all have such great ideas, but that might not be enough in today’s world. You need a way to let people know about your great idea, and a newsletter letting people know about promos, updates and guides is an awesome way to do it (and there’s so much more you can do with them, too!)

Airbnb

Newsletter ideas Airbnb

Why it works: So you downloaded Airbnb a while ago, it’s sitting on your phone in some folder on the third page of your apps, and you have a trip planned back home for a month. Suddenly, you get this email in your inbox and it reminds you of the opportunity in front of you to rent out your place while you take your vacation! Airbnb’s newsletter is subtle, it doesn’t beg you to open up the app and post your property for rent. Instead, it offers you helpful tips and tricks to guide you through the process.

The CTAs are very different in this one because this newsletter is angling to be something that adds value to their email, rather than just make it another one cluttering up the inbox: they’re informing rather than just selling.

Take action: The goal of your newsletters is to get conversions, whatever that may mean for your company. Maybe you want purchases, or downloads, or subscriptions, or simply to spend time on your site. But the best way to do that might not be to bombard them with offers and CTAs, but rather making your newsletter informative and chock-full of useful information that will keep them opening your emails week after week.

CleanMyMac X

Newsletter ideas CleanMyMac X

Why it works: Take a second to really look at this newsletter. What is there to dislike? The coloring of the email is intriguing, with the icons bright against the dark background. It brings about vibes of developing, or coding and advanced technology, which fits right in with the branding of CleanMyMac. Unlike many other newsletters that clutter your inbox, this one gets right to the point, and gives you the information you need, and the option to have more.

Take action: This newsletter is more than just pretty; it’s also informative. The whole purpose of this email is to inform subscribers of some new updates to the program, but in doing so, it could pull them back to the website. Using your newsletter to update your customers can create renewed interest in your product.

The second thing to check out is the placement of CleanMyMac’s CTAs. One right before the list of updates, and one right after. Ingenious. You might be wondering why, and the answer is because the CTAs have the same goal, but they are placed in different parts of the email journey. Some subscribers might read the whole email, top to bottom, and for those subscribers, there’s a CTA at the bottom for them to learn more. For the slightly busier (or maybe lazier 😴) subscriber, there’s a CTA for them right at the top so they don’t have to waste any time.

Newsletter ideas for the publication industry

Online publications, like blogs, are a big trend that have stood the test of time, even in internet years where there is a new trend every day. For some newsletter ideas for your online writing, take a look at the examples below!

NextDraft

Newsletter ideas NextDraft

Why it works: I know what I said previously: keep it simple. And in its own way, Dave Pell’s newsletter NextDraft does keep to that rule. There is not much to clutter the email other than a ton of text. But, the text also has a ton of purpose. The point of the newsletter is to highlight the most interesting news of the week, and condense it into a newsletter that’s easy for you to read. I don’t know about you, but for me, it does just that.

There is one really good newsletter idea that might not immediately jump out at you. Can you spot it? They’re tiny, numerous, and imperatively important. They’re the social media sharing buttons. However, in this newsletter, it’s not just that they exist, but that they are placed after each article. It makes it easy for you to single out your favorite breakdown and share it with the world. You get to start a conversation online, and NextDraft gets more exposure with very little effort on both sides.

Take action: I’m sure at this point, you’re tired of hearing about social media. It’s everywhere, and everyone and their mother tells you that you need to have a social media presence. One way to make it a little easier for you is to let your subscribers do some of the work for you.

Adding social sharing buttons in each of your newsletters can get you some great exposure. Whether it’s sharing your latest post, product, or image, make sure to tuck in some social buttons. You don’t just have to stop at sharing on social media, either. Adding an option to share the whole email, send it to another, is also a great way to get your newsletter in front of more eyes.

Quartz

Newsletter ideas Quartz

Why it works: If a picture is worth a thousand words, then how many words is a video worth? Quartz does a great job of including images and interactives within their newsletters, making it hard to even want to leave the email itself with all of the cool things to look at.

The reason it doesn’t feel overwhelming is because of the layout. Quartz doesn’t shove it at you all at once, but rather lets you scroll through with sectioned off pieces of content that lets you pick and choose what you want to spend your time on.

Take action: Get interactive! If you have the resources to supplement your information with great graphics and videos, go for it. But take a page out of Quartz’s page, and make sure you don’t overwhelm your readers.

You might also want to keep in mind the responsiveness of your email. This means how well it appears on each screen the email might be viewed on, and which inbox it’s opened in. With 51% of consumers unsubscribing from a company’s promotional emails when they don’t look good on their mobile device, the responsiveness of not only the text and layout of your email, but any interactives you add should be at the top of your mind.

Summing it up

As important as newsletters are to your marketing efforts, they’re equally as hard to create. No matter what industry you are in, using one of those tips is going to help you create engaging emails that will improve clicks and open rates, as well as build your growing fan base for your brand. Using a combination of these tips is going to make it even better. So what are you waiting for, get emailing!

Give us a shout on Twitter or Facebook (or both) if you’ve got some examples that you love!