How To Prepare Your Infrastructure For Black Friday

More and more customers prefer online shopping to grab the best deal on Black Friday. It is so much easier to get your Christmas shopping over and done with without even leaving your home. But what does this mean for eCommerce websites? It’s simple – you need to prepare for a huge amount of traffic on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. To be ready for it, you will need a stable infrastructure. We’ll show you why.

Why preparing your infrastructure for Black Friday is important?

Holidays are approaching and this is the most wonderful time of the year, right? This means that you need to start thinking about all the presents you need to get for all your loved ones. And what better time to get them but Black Friday? For all sellers, this is one of the busiest times of the year, too.

More and more shoppers are eager to participate in Black Friday shopping. The traffic you might experience can be bigger than the traffic you experience day to day, so you need to be ready. We don’t want you to lose customers simply because your site is not ready for them. No business – big or small – should forget to prepare for those big sale days.

Over the last few years, a lot of big brands, including Walmart, J. Crew, Lowe’s and GAME, lost a lot of money and damaged their customers’ trust because they weren’t completely ready for Black Friday. It is not only important to focus on stock and offers, but also how you can support all the shoppers that are going to come to you.

Your platform needs to be suitably powerful. It needs to be able to process extreme peak loads and avoid costly and embarrassing website crashes throughout the lead up to Christmas. In some cases, this can mean quickly expanding your infrastructure or just preparing all your resources for use on this day.

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Getting ready for Black Friday: Operating with a stable infrastructure

Having a stable infrastructure means that you have the capability to rebound from catastrophic failure as quickly as possible, that there is no automatic restart planned for this day, and making sure there are enough resources available. If you focus on these three things, you should be in a pretty good place in terms of your uptime.

To be prepared means that your infrastructure will be ready to handle a lot of traffic, without you having to worry about it during Black Friday. Depending on whether you use your own homebuilt solution or procured infrastructure, you’ll need to consider some of the risks and actions to ensure optimal functioning throught the day.

Homebuilt infrastructure

If you are using a homebuilt infrastructure, it means that you will have to prepare well in advance for Black Friday. It is true that sometimes having your own infra is cheaper, but it can be more time consuming because you are the one having to take care of every aspect of that infrastructure.

As any solution does, this one has its own pros and cons. Let’s start with the pros:

  • Everything is in your hands – you can decide what should be done and how.
  • You can make as many tests as you want and analyze the results by yourself so you can implement the best solution.
  • You have access to the servers and all data that is stored on them. You can also be sure that the data is safe and no one can access it.

And now for the cons:

  • That everything is in your hands is as much a positive attribute as a negative one because, if anything happens, you need to be the one to react and save the day (literally).
  • As we mentioned, you need to think about everything well in advance because most of the time you will have to add more hardware to expand your infra.
  • You need constant monitoring so you don’t miss anything, particularly on high peak days.
  • You will need a real superhero to take care of your infrastructure, and even if you find them, you need to be sure that you can trust them to be there 100% of the time to intervene, maintain, repair, and manage your servers.
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  • In most cases, your infrastructure is built to handle your usual daily needs, possibly a bit more than that. which means you might need to get additional resources to handle the increased traffic just for Black Friday. To have an agile infrastructure on-premises is not always cheaper than having your infrastructure outsourced to a third-party.

Cloud-based infrastructure

It is true that one of the quickest ways for retailers to deal with any amount of high traffic is to use on-demand cloud-based infrastructure. But what exactly are the pros and cons of choosing a cloud solution?

Let’s look at the pros:

  • Cloud providers are responsible for all aspects of cloud server management and they are guaranteeing you an uptime, that they need to maintain.
  • You don’t need to think about anything hardware related – your provider will take care of it. This is just the first thing that the cloud infra is taking off of your plate.
  • Flexibility and scalability are entirely customizable. They are also the two things that will be most beneficial for you on Black Friday. You can request more resources or even use auto-scalability features if your provider offers those for peak moments like Black Friday. Pay a bit more for that period only and then just give it up and go back to your regular capacity.
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  • You have far more than one person constantly monitoring the infra performance to intervene in case of an email emergency.

But what about the cons?

  • Cloud infrastructure includes all the essential components such as virtual servers, PCs, and storage clusters, but you don’t have any access or control over it.
  • You won’t have direct access to the physical location in which your data is stored, so you will have to trust your provider is doing everything they can to keep your data secured.
  • There is always a risk of occasional downtime while you wait for a problem to be resolved, but you will know that there is a strong team of IT specialist working to fix everything for you in a matter of minutes.

Tips to prepare for Black Friday spikes

Every seller’s situation is unique, therefore there is no one solution that will work perfectly for everybody. We are going to mention only a few tips that we think should be taken into consideration while you are planning for Black Friday.

Remember: it’s always good to plan in advance so you can make any adjustments well before the big day.

Plan enough elasticity for your site

A lot of customers are making their purchases online because it is easier for them. This way they can avoid the big lines in the store.

lines-black-friday

That means that, as a seller, you should expect more web traffic during key shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. To make sure you won’t lose customers and lose money in any unplanned downtime or lag, you need to stress-test your infrastructure well in advance. This way you will know the limit of your system and know that you can handle the amount of traffic you expect.

But how will you know how much traffic to expect? You can use machine learning to forecast demands – when you see that your volume is gradually increasing on this day, you can use the machine learning algorithms to calculate what resources you might need and request them from your cloud provider.

You need to check with your network provider that you can have a bigger amount of bandwidth for when a large number of customers attempt to enter and use your site at the same time. Most of the customers spend no more than 15 seconds evaluating your site and deciding if they want to stay or leave. So you need to make sure that they can open everything fast and without any issues.

A lot of brands are relying more and more on cloud solutions like Google Cloud. For example, Lush decided that Google Cloud can help them better manage any site traffic climbs, storage solutions and preventing any outages. And even more – they saved 40% of the price of their hosting solution after the migration. It might be worth it for you to take some time to learn more about the cloud infrastructure option and see if this is a good solution for you.

Don’t forget about security

As much as we hate them, hackers are always present and most of the times, no matter how much we hate to admit it, they are really smart people.

infrastructure-black-friday-security

Hackers know that you will experience a large influx of traffic and that these days are critical for your financial welfare. So what if a hacker doesn’t like you or your brand? He can try to ruin your best sale days. To avoid this, you need to have an infrastructure that it is not only stable, but also secure.

Let’s look at the different threats you could face during this period:

  • Orchestrated Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks is a high risk during peak traffic periods because the work of the hacker is made easier with the already increased traffic you are expecting.
  • Since you are going to receive a lot of online payments during days like Black Friday, you need to make sure that the data of your clients is secured and no one can get to it without you knowing. GDPR and your customers will hunt you down if you ever allow this. Here as well, stress tests would be a perfect way to test your infrastructure for different types of attacks and see if everything will go smoothly.
  • Phishing scams during holidays like Black Friday is another type of attack that shouldn’t be neglected. Hackers send messages relating to payment, order confirmations, and coupons that contain malicious links. Will this is something that can’t be prevented, it’s important to educate your employees and, if possible, your customers that they should not trust those emails and how to recognize them.

 

Improve the use of your site on mobile

A lot of consumers are only using their phones to make purchases. We get it: it’s easy! You can be anywhere, pick up your phone, and get presents for the whole family.

You need to be sure that your site loads on mobile as fast as it does on a computer, or that your app for mobile is up-to-date and can handle all the visits. So you need to be sure that you are using a solution (either cloud-based or in-house) that can deliver content across globally distributed points of presence.

Make payment and return options easier

Both the payment process and the payment success rates are crucial to your profit on Black Friday.

Don’t forget to include popular payment methods like PayPal and ease the procedure for all of your customers. Don’t forget that you will have to probably take care of thousands of payments on such peak days, so you need to be sure that your infrastructure can handle it and you have enough bandwidth to execute all those payments without a delay.

payment-black-friday

Another pain point is the return options – yes, this is not something that will happen immediately on Black Friday, but it is still worth mentioning it. It is good to have an easy return policy for customers that bought items online and give them the chance to return the items in person in the nearest store.

Also, having data analytics combined with machine learning enables you to understand why returns happen and learn to make better product recommendations in the first place.

Ensure all your emails are sent

Can we make this one BIG and FLASHY? Emails are a key element in your sales activity around Black Friday, and you’ll need to pay special attention to what happens both on the days before, and during the actual day.

Of course, you’ll already have sent the biggest part of your marketing campaigns to tell your customers about all the discounts that you are going to offer, but it is never a bad thing to remind them again. But sending a newsletter on Black Friday is not an easy thing because your customers’ mailboxes will be overflowing with emails.

There are two things you’ll need to plan for and pay special attention to:

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Black Friday marketing campaigns

On the marketing side, something that you need to consider is that there should be constant monitoring of your deliverability. There are a lot of emails to be sent and the ISPs can react badly.

Most of the ISPs adapt their policies during such high peak seasons too, and they know that the volumes will be higher (yes, they are preparing their infras as well). However, they are heightening their anti-spam and security policies. Because of that, if you don’t have your own compliance or deliverability team to monitor your reputation as a sender, it might be better to consider outsourcing your emailing infrastructure.

Transactional emails on Black Friday

Now your customers know that you are offering amazing discounts for Black Friday and they’ve decided to stop by your site to buy something. They see a nice K-Pop Funko they like (no judging!), press ‘Buy’ and it’s done. It is time for the transactional email to shine.

Of course, you can create a beautiful one, but what if it never arrives to your customer’s mailbox? This is something you never want to even hear about, and specially not on a day like Black Friday.

The most important thing is to be ready to handle a lot of transactional emails on that day. Transactional emails include new accounts to password resets too, and if those emails are not delivered on time, it will mean that you are losing a customer. No one will want to wait for hours for an email to arrive so they can give you their money.

Then we’ve got order confirmations and delivery notices, and there’s hopefully going to be a lot of those during Black Friday, more than on any regular day! On Black Friday, every buyer will be eager to receive this confirmation in minutes, or sooner, to be sure that everything went well and their purchase will be delivered. If those emails are not delivered you may see a lot of customers asking you on Twitter, chats or even by phone.

Having a tool that helps you monitor your transactional emails and alerts you if something goes wrong can be great for days like Black Friday (or any day, really). At Mailjet, we wrote about how our tool Real-Time Monitoring can help you do just that during Black Friday.

infrastructure-black-friday-transactional-email

Your email infrastructure will need to be ready for the increased email volume too, and to do so, you’ll need to look at the sending speed and scalability. On days that you are expecting to send high volumes – no matter if they are the last marketing reminders for the sales or transactional emails that need to be sent on time – your email infrastructure should be ready too. Again, things can be a little different if you have a homebuilt email infrastructure or work with a third party solution.

Having your email infrastructure in-house is not so different than having any kind of homebuilt infra – you need hardware, configuration, monitoring and maintenance ready. When you need to send more emails you will have to adapt to all this and invest more money to meet higher email demands. So this can be more expensive than just outsourcing your email solution to an ESP.

By having your email infrastructure outsourced you can just get a bit higher subscription for such high sending peaks, but still be sure that someone is taking care of your deliverability and will be there to help you in case of need.

At Mailjet, we work hard to ensure email is not one thing you have to worry about during Black Friday. Your emailing is something that we can help you with by delivering your email on time and to the customer’s inbox.

If you’re not sure whether you should choose a homebuilt or outsourced email infrastructure, check our Email Infrastructure Guide and find what is best for you and your business.

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Monitor your infrastructure’s performance during the day

You can plan for almost anything, but customers can always surprise you. Imagine that your biggest competitor didn’t plan for Black Friday and experiences some issues – then all of their customers will come directly to you. This means that the traffic you are going to experience will be even bigger than what you expected.

This is why you need to keep an eye on your infrastructure during the Black Friday and Cyber Week sales. You will know if there is something you need to improve immediately or implement a hotfix. You need to be prepared to react fast to keep things going smoothly and not allow any downtimes or crashes.

The best advice we can give you is to stay agile and resilient at the same time, don’t make your system so tight that it breaks easily. Allow yourself some flexibility – plan for even more than what you expect and remain diligent.

The work is not over after Black Friday

Let’s say that all the extravaganza of Black Friday and Cyber Monday is over. Now it is important to check all the information you have gathered and analyze it. This will not only help you make improvements for next year, but will also be key to ensure the Christmas season just around the corner runs smoothly.

A great tip? Check the news for any known crashes or issues with famous brands. Most of the time there is information on why this happened and you can learn a lesson without experiencing it on your own back.

There are many more scenarios we could talk about but, we’ve covered the most important to help you get ready. Think about your business and what makes the most sense for you to focus on to achieve the maximum results.

Trust us when we say that it all comes down to having a stable infrastructure and planning ahead. If you are sure you’ve got that covered and you are ready to provide the best customer experience possible across all customer touchpoints, all that remains for you is to be jolly.

jolly-after-black-friday

Data Privacy and Security at Mailjet

You’ve probably already heard, but just in case you haven’t, let us share the news with you: Mailjet has been acquired by Mailgun!

While we’re all very excited here, we understand that some of you might have questions about what this means for Mailjet clients, especially in regards to data privacy and security.

The short answer is that nothing will change and Mailjet will remain a separate entity that will continue to offer the highest standards of data privacy and security.

Want to know more about how Mailjet protects your data? Read on!

Data privacy and security: Mailjet’s core values

If you are a Mailjet user, you probably know that we’ve been putting data privacy and security first for a long time, working hard to guarantee the highest standards for all our users.

As a European entity, we abide by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. In fact, we were the first company to obtain the AFAQ certification from AFNOR, which guarantees compliance with the principles of GDPR. This hasn’t changed and Mailjet will continue to offer a GDPR-compliant email solution for all of our clients around the world.

Mailjet also makes data security a priority, which is why we went through the rigorous process to obtain the ISO 27001 certification, the international standard for best practices of information security process. This certification requires companies to not only implement company-wide processes pertaining to security policies, data handling and access, but also infrastructure controls.

Our security processes begin with our product development, and the scope, lifecycle and fundamental principles of Mailjet’s security policy are to the highest standard, ensuring all information hosted on the Google Cloud platform is secure.

These accomplishments in data privacy and security propel Mailjet to another level of service excellence in the competitive email industry. We’re proud of these achievements and what it means not just for our clients, but for the individuals whose data we protect on behalf of our clients.

Alexis Renard

CEO at Mailjet

How does Mailjet ensure the privacy of your personal data?

Mailjet’s ‘privacy by design’ approach ensures that personal data processing is compliant from the very beginning.

We ensure the protection of our customers’ data from end to end through the implementation of strong technical and organizational measures including, our data retention periods, data storage and transfers, and encryption protocols – are publicly available under the principles of accountability and transparency we prioritise at Mailjet.

GDPR Compliance

The most important regulation businesses with European contacts need to comply with is the EU General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR).

GDPR came into force on May 25, 2018. Any company, organization, association and administration, both European or non-European with EU customers, has to comply with GDPR. And this doesn’t just affect your own business, it also means that any third-party solutions you work with has to be GDPR-compliant as well.

Mailjet was the first company to obtain the AFAQ certification from AFNOR, which guarantees compliance with the principles of GDPR, and our clients can continue to expect the highest level of data protection.

Third-party providers are often the weakest link in a company’s ability to be GDPR-compliant. Email service providers pose an especially high risk as they regularly process and store a large scale of personal data (example: first name, email address, IP addresses) on behalf of enterprises. That is why compliance from the entire processing chain is so important today.

Darine Fayed

Head of Legal and Data Protection Officer at Mailjet.

Data Servers in the EU

At Mailjet, all our data is and will continue to be stored in EU servers.

While GDPR doesn’t strictly demand that EU citizen’s data remains in the EU, it does require that the physical servers where the data is stored are safe and under protection, and that any data transfer out of the EU has to be done under strict rules.

By keeping our data servers in the EU, we offer our clients additional reassurance over the privacy and security of their data, as we can ensure that their protection is ruled by the stricter European laws.

CLOUD Act

Over the last few months, the United States’ CLOUD Act (or Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act) has become an important issue in the data privacy landscape. The CLOUD Act came into effect on March 23, 2018 and allows federal law enforcement to request the data stored on US-based technology companies servers, regardless of where those servers are based. This includes companies most of us use on a daily basis, like Apple, Google, Facebook or Microsoft, as well as most companies hosted on a cloud infrastructure (GCP, AWS, Azure, etc.).

However, there are many misconceptions surrounding the CLOUD Act. US authorities can only request disclosures to personal data directly related to the investigation of serious criminal activities and/or national security concerns, and will have to do it through a warrant or subpoena.

Like many of our European competitors, our data is stored on Google Cloud servers in Europe, meaning we were already under CLOUD Act requirement and our recent acquisition doesn’t affect this. Mailjet will continue to adhere to the strictest security standards under its ISO 27001 certification. All our data will continue to be secured and encrypted at rest, and can only be requested for the investigation of serious criminal activities.

How does Mailjet keep your data safe?

Data security is key for email sending. When you partner with Mailjet, all your data is stored on servers within Europe (Google Cloud Platform). Your data is copied and placed in separate locations in real-time, and all communications sent through our application are encrypted.

Encryption

One of the ways in which we protect the information contained in emails is through encryption. Contrary to popular belief, DKIM does not provide encryption of the messages, however, it does add a layer of authentication that helps you protect your emails.

Mailjet encrypts the channel that sends your email from server A (your sending server) to server B (your recipient’s server). This is the role of the Transport Layer Security, or TLS. The only issue here is that TLS is still not used by all the ISPs. Meaning that if you send a TLS encrypted message and your recipient’s server doesn’t follow this protocol, the encryption won’t be effective.

Security of the data storage servers

We’ve already mentioned how important it is to ensure that the servers where the data is stored are safe.

If you rely on a third party to store the data, look for solutions that offer the best guarantee for concerns like redundancies, fire risk prevention, high security levels, energy self-sufficiency, and so on. Since you’re not the one directly managing the server, you have to be sure that all of these necessary precautions are followed, to ensure the maximum level of security. If you have European customers, having your servers located in Europe can also be a good idea, since the stricter European laws will apply. Both Mailjet and Mailgun have servers in the EU to help ensure optimal security and privacy.

To ensure our servers are secure, Mailjet keeps its data in the European Union, where the privacy and security requirements of GDPR guarantee the highest level of protection, including limited access to the servers and 24/7 surveillance. On top of that, our data centers are controlled against power failure, with redundant power systems.

Organizations collect, process and hold ever-increasing volumes of personal data to enable relevant and timely email communication with their customers. Data security continues to be a huge responsibility and challenge, and they need assurance that their email service provider can deliver this.

Pierre Puchois

CTO at Mailjet.

Learn more about data security at Mailjet on our blog post ‘What Makes Mailjet a Secure Email Solution?

More questions? Ask Mailjet!

Do you have any more questions about Privacy and Security at Mailjet? Check out our FAQs to learn more about how we use and store your data, or send your questions directly to our team by filling in a Support ticket.

Welcome Aboard Mailjet’s Next Journey with Mailgun

I am pleased to announce that we have been acquired by Mailgun. Together with Mailgun, we strengthen Thoma Bravo’s email offering with better experiences for marketers and developers on a global scale.

From the beginning, we set out to build a powerful email solution for marketers and developers alike. Since then, our team has worked hard to build a product experience that empowers teams of all sizes to work together to create, send and optimize beautifully responsive marketing and transactional emails.

Mailgun is known for its reliable, scalable infrastructure and robust email APIs. It caters primarily to developers and technically progressive teams who need the ability to send, receive, and track email easily from within their applications. Through this acquisition, Mailgun brings additional expertise and resources that will not only help us expand and grow our footprint, but also accelerate our roadmap and bring additional deliverability tools to our customers.

As part of Mailgun, Mailjet will continue to maintain a separate brand, develop new products and enhance our existing offerings. Our customers will likely notice a much stronger infrastructure and additional products and features for better deliverability to be released in the next year.

Meanwhile, our customers can continue to expect the highest level of security and data protection as we remain ISO27001 certified and GDPR compliant as certified by AFNOR. We’re thrilled about what this means for our customers in SMBs and enterprises alike, as well as the platform in general, as we will offer better inbox placement, more insights into your emails, and other positive outcomes.

By building on both of our companies’ strong commitment to serving our customers, we see an incredible opportunity to not only be the best solutions that enable smarter email creation and better deliverability, but also the trusted partners to advise our customers on complex email challenges around the world.

Whether you are one of our valued customers, or are in the process of considering us for your email needs, our team of passionate email experts look forward to serving you in the next chapter of our journey together.

Onwards and upwards!

Sincere gratitude,

Alexis Renard (CEO)

To read the full press release please click here. If you have any questions, please contact us at contact@mailjet.com

Thanksgiving Email: Make Your Clients Feel Appreciated

If you’re like us, you probably started fantasizing about that delicious Thanksgiving spread, as soon as you started working on your holiday email campaigns. Knowing how soon Thanksgiving will be here makes it easy to forget about emailing, when you lose yourself in a daydream about the feast in your future (turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce 😍). But before you get to the food, you need to plan out your Thanksgiving email campaign.

Thanksgiving gif

He’s got the right idea 

The truth is, your subscribers are likely being bombarded with emails, all telling them to buy what they’re being offered. Instead of only capitalizing on the holiday season to boost your sales, why not use this time of year to show your customers how much you appreciate them? Give our tips a try, and you and your customers will be feeling warm and fuzzy feeling that only a Thanksgiving meal (and email) can bring.

Keep your Thanksgiving email template simple

Be the calm in your subscriber’s holiday inbox storm. Try sending an email just to say “Thank You,” and hold off on the salesy talk for just a little while. Your friendly Thanksgiving email will remind your customers why they subscribed to you in the first place, and as a result, you may actually influence them to make a purchase further down the road.

Don’t go overboard on the design, either. A simple email with personalization can go a long way to make your subscribers feel appreciated. Of course, with the holidays comes the opportunity for fun imagery, so we won’t judge if you want to crank up the cheese factor a bit.
Sakara Thanksgiving Email GIF

 The links in Sakara’s email makes it easier for your customer to shop without being too pushy, and the copy is sincere and personalized.

Reward your most loyal customers

Where would you be without those wonderful repeat clients? Take the time to create a Thanksgiving email with your best customers in mind. You can throw in an exclusive offer to show them how special they are to your business, or just a chance to double their rewards on holiday purchases.

Since your customers will probably be more interested in stuffing their tummies full of stuffing on Thanksgiving day, try to give them a little extra time to redeem the special promotion. You might even want to give your subscribers early access to your sale to show them just how thankful you are to them.

Nordstrom Discount

Nordstrom’s Thanksgiving email is stunning, and lets the customer know about their sale.

Remember to give back

If your brand supports a particular cause, Thanksgiving is a great time to show your customers what their purchases or donations have accomplished. Since the holidays often inspire people to give back, telling your customers about your cause can also increase support. Of course, showing that your brand is also making a difference is a great way to inspire loyalty with your consumers.

B2B Give back

Thanksgiving is all about giving back, which is what B2B Marketing Exchange showcases in their email.

Send Thanksgiving emails that capitalize on the holiday spirit

Why not use your Thanksgiving email as a chance to send a special welcome to your newest subscribers? Let them know that even though you haven’t known each other for long, you’re happy they’ve decided to join your list. You could send them a personalized message from a leader in your company or just a friendly picture of your team with a nice note. This is a great way to start building your relationship with your new customers and to give them more insight into your brand’s personality.

You can also use the holiday to send a reactivation email to your old contacts that haven’t been active for a while. You can always remind them that despite drifting apart, you’re thankful for them. Since consumers expect to receive more emails around the holidays, you might just reignite that old flame with the ones that got away.

Artifact gratitude email

Artifact Uprising reminds their subscribers what the holiday is all about.

Add a Black Friday mention to your Thanksgiving email

Like we said, it’s great to let your customers know you appreciate them without asking them to make a purchase. You may also want to throw in a quick reminder about your Black Friday sale, since your customers will be ready to do some serious shopping after recovering from that food coma.

Ann Taylor Black Friday

A little mention of Black Friday in your Thanksgiving email, like in Ann Taylor’s, can remind your customers of what’s coming up.

Now it’s your turn: Create the best Thanksgiving email template

And there you have it: the simplest way to let your contacts know you care. Taking time to remind your subscribers that you appreciate them is sure to put a smile on their faces (in between plates, of course). Your customers will feel fuzzy, full and ready to shop ‘til they drop after receiving your Thanksgiving email.

If you’re starting to plan for the rest of the holiday season, check out our Holiday Email Guide. If you’re wiped out after the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving, we have some ready-made holiday email templates that you can download and edit right in Passport. It just might be the best gift you receive all year 😉🎁

Are you sending a special “Thank You” email to your subscribers this holiday? Share your ideas with us on Twitter!

Holiday Emailing Guide

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This blog post is an updated version of the post “Make Your Customers Feel Appreciated This Thanksgiving“, published on the Mailjet blog on November 18th, 2016 by Patrika Cheston.

Black Friday: Tips for the Perfect Email Marketing Campaign

Some things keep coming back faster than you expected them to. As soon as the summer heat starts to fade, stores magically become filled with holiday decorations… and suddenly, you’re thinking to yourself “oh, right, it’s that time of the year again…”. Yep, now’s the time to take your brushes and your tools out to craft your Black Friday and your Cyber Monday email marketing campaigns.

But hey, we know it’s hard to be outstanding every single time you prepare an email campaign -and we know the pressure’s high for this specific date, when consumers receive a mountain of emails each day with discounts and promotions from each and every brand they’ve ever subscribed to.

Raise up, email marketers: it’s time to design the perfect Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails. Just follow our steps and you’ll create a masterpiece.

Choose a good, responsive Black Friday email template

Yes, we’re being Captain Obvious here. But no matter how attractive the prices you offer are, you can’t afford to send out an average looking sale campaign with multiple CTAs, a festival of different fonts and kaleidoscopical colors. Last Black Friday, we still saw A LOT of these.

A few rules to follow to avoid a design disaster:

  1. Stick to a simple structure with columns (easier to get your email responsive).
  2. Keep a fair mix of images and text (about 60/40).
  3. Align fonts and size of your messages.
  4. Decide which CTA buttons to use and make sure they are clearly displayed in a contrasting color.
  5. Have a look at our Ultimate Guide to Holiday Emailing to dig further.

 

Download our beautiful Black Friday email template

Does all of this sound like Mission Impossible to you? Don’t panic: you don’t need to hire the latest fancy designer in town for that.

Download our free Black Friday email template here and adapt it now using Mailjet’s email editor, Passport.

Use email content to your advantage

Don’t get us wrong – we just told you to make sure your emails look pretty, but going ahead, you also need to make sure design and content go hand in hand. In the past few years, we’ve seen a minimalist trend out there with a lot of beautiful Black Friday emails that just don’t tell you much about the sale because…they’re just pretty.

Be careful with being too mysterious

Unless you’re sure everyone knows perfectly well who you are and what you offer, be careful with sending emails that only focus on the actual discount.

Black Friday Email - Content DON'Ts

Don’t only highlight your discounts on your Black Friday emails – show your products too!

Sure, a sleek design and a good CTA can go a long way, and some Black Friday emails are real works of art. But think again -this could work fine when you launch a brand new mysterious collection, to tease your loyal customers. But here, we’re talking about THE most competitive time of the year in the inbox; plus there’s little surprise/suspense effect on what a Black Friday offer can be made of.

Showcase your products to attract attention

If your contacts don’t immediately get what’s on sale, it’s double or nothing: either they’ll be intrigued and click to see more, or they’ll be slightly annoyed that you’re asking them to search for themselves what you’re offering and move on to another email. Yes, your contacts can be lazy: never underestimate that.

So, be sure to include a few product examples that entice people to use these amazing discounts right away.

Black Friday Email - Content DOs

Urban Outfitters’ Black Friday emails shows products and offers together to entice the reader.

Respect your brand identity in your Black Friday email

We’ve said it before: having a dedicated email voice helps you stand out and be more easily identified in the inbox. It’s even more crucial during a noisy period like Black Friday and Cyber Monday when all the brands are going to use the same wording and content with percentages of discounts, as well as potentially similar designs. By the way, don’t feel like you have to go black: you can also make color the new black and use a dark touch only here and there.

There’s no one recipe to create the perfect Black Friday email. The main idea is to make sure that your customers recognize you when they receive your email and read it in the crowd of other Black Friday emails. So we recommend that your emails clearly display your brand identity (logo, style, voice, type of subject lines, images…) in order to improve your chances of capturing your reader’s attention.

Black Friday Email - Design DOs

SEPHORA’s Black Friday email design perfectly shows what SEPHORA is all about.

Make sure your Black Friday email stands out in the inbox

We’ve already said this: your contacts’ inboxes will be completely full on Black Friday, and most likely the majority of your subscribers will only dedicate a few seconds to each email they’ve received. But… you don’t want this to happen to your campaign and you’re prepared to do whatever it takes to prevent it. Great.

To stand out in the inbox and ensure that your contacts pay attention to (and appreciate) your offers, sometimes you have to go all in and give your campaign an innovative touch. Want some design ideas that can capture your reader’s attention? You can play with these elements to create an unforgettable email:



Create email campaigns for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

Another thing you can do to make sure that your contacts recognize you is to pair your Black Friday and your Cyber Monday emails: similar designs, slightly different messages, like Jonathan Adler.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Emails - Brand Identity DOs

Aren’t these email twins just perfect for Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

It’s your turn to create a stunning Black Friday email

And voilà: now that you’ve got all our master tricks, you’re all set to be the next Picasso of email marketing this season.

Remember the tips:

  1. Choose a responsive email template and throw in the right number of CTAs (that is, not many).
  2. Add a few carefully-selected images from your brand library that highlight your top products.
  3. Respect your brand image so your clients know it’s you.
  4. Add interactive content and GIFs to stand out in the inbox.



With Mailjet’s drag-and-drop email editor, Passport, you can easily build a stunning email from an existing gallery of templates, so you didn’t need to stress about getting it right. We’ve got a great template gallery for you to choose from.

And if you’re not sure where to start or don’t have time to adapt one of our traditional templates, download our free Black Friday email template here. Designing a great Black Friday email this year couldn’t be easier.

Ready to create a masterpiece? On your marks, set, design: share your tips and templates with us on Twitter

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This blog post is an updated version of the post “Crafting the Perfect Black Friday Email Campaign“, published on the Mailjet blog on November 3rd, 2016 by Mylène Blin.

Free HTML Templates: Generator of Emails for Your Business

Creating email templates for different occasions can be a challenge, especially for non-designers. Have you ever wanted to download free HTML templates, then use them for your business?

Actually, finding email templates is not so difficult, but then you need to spend some time adapting them to your own corporate design, with your logo and your brand colors.

How can this process be simplified to make it faster and more effective? We have the solution: the Mailjet email template generator.

How the HTML and MJML template generator works

Creating and downloading free HTML and MJML templates to use later with your business couldn’t be easier. Really.

Just follow the steps below and you’ll have 14 transactional email templates for your business. You can use them to welcome your users, remind them of a forgotten password, give them a summary of their week, or even contact them if they haven’t interacted with you for a long time.

Step 1: Visit the Mailjet Template Generator

All you have to do to start is navigate to the Mailjet Template Generator. If you click on the following picture, you will be directed to our Email Templates Generator:

Mailjet Template Generator

You can also access it by clicking on this link: Mailjet Email Template Generator.

Step 2: Enter your domain name

Enter your web domain in the second step and then click on ‘Generate Emails’. We are going to use Mailjet’s domain name as an example.

Step 3: Confirm and customize your brand elements

Once you have clicked on ‘Generate Emails’, a screen with the following data will appear:

  • Logo URL (automatically filled): the URL of the logo that will be included.
  • Company name (automatically filled): the name of the domain.
  • Color (automatically filled): the hexadecimal color code of the logo.
  • Facebook URL (empty): link to your Facebook page
  • Twitter URL (empty): Link to your Twitter page
  • Linkedin URL (empty): Link to your Linkedin page



The fields Logo URL, company name and color are automatically filled in with the values. Your corporate color is automatically added to the following elements:

  • Color bar in header
  • Button
  • Social media icons
  • All links



If it’s required, you can adjust the company name and color in this step, and add the links to your social media profiles.

Step 4: Download the HTML and MJML templates for free

Once you have finished customizing the values of your templates, all you have to do is download them.

When you click on the CTA ‘Download templates’, you will receive a ZIP file with the templates in HTML and MJML.

Step 5: Edit the templates as you wish

Now all you have to do is load your templates into the Mailjet editor, assign them a name, and customize the text of each email. You can also directly edit your templates in HTML or MJML, our open source markup language that makes email design easy.

Want a summary? Take a look at this video and find out how to create custom emails and download free HTML and MJML templates for your business.

free html email template

Free HTML and MJML template models for your business

The Mailjet Template Generator comes with 14 free ready-to-use email templates. Take a look at the templates we’ve created, with the Mailjet brand image.

Double confirmation

We have talked a lot about the importance of double opt-in or account activation emails. Make sure that your users’ email address is correct by sending them a confirmation email after creating an account or subscribing to a newsletter.

Activation

Welcome email

Welcome your users with this customizable welcome email template. Simply edit the text, include your links and it’s ready to use.

Welcome

Password Reset

Have your users forgotten their password and need to request a new one? Stop sending text-only emails and opt for this design with your brand colors.

Password reset

Password Reset Confirmation

Once the password has been reset, inform your users that the process has been successfully completed. In addition to confirming that everything went well, it will also serve to alert them if someone is trying to change their passwords.

Confirmation

Email news or launch

Surely from time to time you have great news to share with your users or new products to advertise. Use this pre-designed email template to share with your community those new features you’ve been working on for so long.

Launch

Start of the trial period

With this email template, you can inform your users of the start of their trial period, and give them the information they need to get the most out of your platform or product.

Started

Notice of the end of a promotion or trial period

Do your users have a trial period or a temporary offer at their disposal when they join your community? Let them know that they are running out of time and give a boost to your conversion with this email.

Expiring

Trial period is over

The end of a product’s trial period is a great time to remind users of all the benefits they will no longer be able to enjoy, and to encourage them to switch to a payment plan. You can even offer them a discount code to give them that last push they need it.

Expired

Support Request Confirmation

If you have a Contact form or a Ticket Support system on your website, confirm to your users that their request has been received with this email.

Ticket

Thank you email

Do you want to thank your customers for their purchase or send them a satisfaction survey? With this ready-to-use email template, you can do it and improve your relationship with your contacts.

Feedback

New project or newly assigned task

Many SaaS businesses include the option of collaborating on projects or sharing the use of the platform. If that is your case, you can use this template when the user is added to a new project or assigned a new task.

Assigned

New user added

Does your platform allow collaboration by creating sub-accounts or roles? Send your new users this email when others invite them to join your tool or a team.

Invitation

Weekly Summary

Send your clients a summary of their activity during the last week, extracting the data directly from your tool and using this template.

Weekly

Reactivation email

Have your customers not interacted with you for a long time or have your subscribers stopped opening your newsletters? Send them a reactivation email that will allow you to get their attention again, or determine which users you should remove from your email lists.

Reactivation

Download your free HTML and MJML templates

Go through Mailjet’s template generator and download your free HTML and MJML email templates, customized for your business so you can use them immediately.

To be able to edit and use the email templates seamlessly, you can create a Mailjet account. With our email editor, delivery platform, APIs and SMTP server, you can easily create, send and monitor your emails.

If you don’t have an account yet, create one now.

The Ultimate Guide To Holiday Emailing

The Ultimate Guide To Holiday Emailing

For the email marketer, the holiday season is here and we know you’ll want to make the most of it. And no, it’s not just about dusting off our Christmas jumpers and lighting up the whole neighborhood with our festive decorations. It’s also about putting together amazing campaigns that embrace the holiday feelin, building our brand and driving sales.

To get you started, we’ve combined all our Holiday resources in one to create your one-stop shop to win the battle of the inbox this season. In our Ultimate Guide To Holiday Emailing, you will learn how to create engaging content for your campaigns, you’ll find great design tips from some of our friends in the industry, and get inspiration from great email examples by top brands.

We’ll help you define a Holiday Email Strategy that will win your customers over, with all you need to know, from setting your goals to that last-minute checklist.

Contents:

  1. Setting goals for the holiday season
  2. Crafting irresistible email content
  3. Designing beautiful holiday emails
  4. Brands that rocked the holiday inbox
  5. Mailjet’s Holiday email checklist

Only want to have a look at one specific part? Click on the links to download our Content, Design, and Email Examples extracts.

Download Mailjet’s Ultimate Guide To Holiday Emailing and prepare to learn from great email examples, discover amazing design tips and get your team together to craft engaging content.

We’re sure you’ll love it, so make sure you’re spreading the word and letting people in on our little secret by sharing on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn!

 

Inbox Preview: Send Perfectly Displayed Emails for Better Results

Before hitting the “send” button, you usually check two things, many (many) times:

  • You verify if you selected the right contact list and segments.
  • You make sure your email looks good on all devices.



But devices are not the only thing to think about. The problem with email is that every inbox – Apple Mail, Outlook, Yahoo!, Gmail and all of the others – render the same email very differently. While we’re doing our best to offer the best result on all email clients, we have no control over the rules defined by those clients. For example, even Gmail will not render Google fonts and there’s nothing anyone can do about it (except Gmail, of course)!

Because of this, it’s very important to test your email across all of the email clients your audience is using to make sure they’re seeing your message the way you expect them to. To help you do this, we have just launched a new feature that will help you preview your email exactly as is it will be displayed when read by your contacts.

Why is this important?

Before sending a marketing campaign, or validating a transactional or automation template, you need to send yourself and your colleagues some tests to check if your email is flawless.
If you are not currently doing this, you are probably missing errors and design flaws that can be critical.

If you want to make things right, you’ll want to send a test to countless different inboxes to be sure it’s displayed correctly. It’s a very important step, but it can also be time-consuming.

Perhaps, play it safe, you check your statistics and decide to focus on the most used inboxes among your audience, create an account on each and send a manual test to each of these inboxes. This is a smart strategy, but tedious execution.

Today with Inbox Preview, avoid manual testing and save time by previewing the email you want, on the email client and device you want. A perfectly displayed email can mean much better engagement. And, with Mailjet’s new email preview feature, it’s just a few clicks away.

How to perform your tests

This feature is available for our Enterprise clients to monitor every detail of their emails before sending. If you are already a Mailjet customer, you can get in touch with your Customer Success Manager. If not, contact our Sales team and they will help set up a custom enterprise account.

Once you are all set up and your email is ready in your email editor, click on “Preview email”:

Preview Email

When this screen appears, press “Start testing”:

Start Testing

Select, test, send perfect emails

You are now able to select the email clients/inboxes you want to preview your email in. Once you select them, click on “Run test” and let it happen! In this example, we have selected the most popular email clients.

Run Test

If your email looks good on all the selected items, you are ready to send!

Yahoo

This is something you should perform before any email is sent as email clients have updates and a template that works fine today perhaps won’t be looking as good tomorrow.

Find your saved previews

Your email previews are saved in the gallery. You can check them later by clicking the “Preview” button.

Previews Available

Hover to preview:

hover to preview

All available preview inboxes so far

Right now, you are able to preview inboxes across multiple brands, versions, devices, and countries. You can select only the ones relevant to you and your audience.

Preview One
Preview Three

Tokens to use the way you want

Each preview you select costs 1 token. You can buy more tokens by simply asking your Customer Success Manager.
Note that you have the flexibility to use them the way you want. Let’s say you buy 1000 tokens.

  • If you have one account, you allocate all this amount to your one and only account.
  • If you own many sub-accounts (which is very common for Agencies, franchises, and different teams in the same company) you can distribute your 1000 tokens and provide a specific amount to each sub-account.



Let us know how this works for you or if you have any comments about this feature 😊