So you write a fantastic email about a company sale you’re having and then send it out to your list. You’re certain this is the email that will rake in those sales this week and have all your customers love you.
But 24 hours after sending the email… nothing happens. Your conversions are at all-time low – almost no one took action – and you wonder where you could have gone wrong.
That’s what we’re here for. In this post, we’ll walk you through seven small tweaks you can do on your email campaigns to see big improvements in your conversions. But first, here are a couple reasons why your emails might not be getting you the results you want.
Why is your email marketing campaign not bringing results?
There could be a number of reasons your email marketing campaign isn’t bringing you the conversions you thought.
For one thing, you might not be giving your subscribers a compelling reason to open your emails.
Let’s face it, the average person probably gets about a hundred emails a day if not more – and if you’re not standing out from their crowded inboxes, you can bet they’ll be skimming over your name and email without question.
Secondly, it’s possible you’re sending your emails to the wrong people.
And lastly, another reason your email marketing campaign is performing poorly: your email’s copy is all about you.
Jason Chow, Head of Marketing and Outreach at HostScore, says that this is a common mistake that even seasoned marketers make.
One of the jobs of a marketer is to convince potential customers that their product or service is the best one available in the market, so the tendency is to put the spotlight on the product or service. But what many marketers don’t realize is that their customers don’t care about all of that. They want to know what’s in it for them and how will they benefit from your product. If you don’t address this in your emails, they won’t convert.
Head of Marketing and Outreach at HostScore
People open emails and click through to links and promotions from brands and businesses because they see some kind of value in doing so. So if you aren’t making your benefits for your customer clear, then you won’t be seeing any conversions.
How to improve your email marketing’s conversion rates
Now that you’ve seen some ways you might be able to diagnose problems in your email marketing, let’s take a look at these seven quick tips that can help you remedy them and get you on the road to better-performing email.
Use your name in the From Name field
One easy thing you can implement right away is adding a human touch to those email campaigns.
By just using your real name instead of business name in the From Name field, you can stand to increase email open rates by 35%.
Take advantage of the Preview text
The preview text are the handful of words that people see from their inboxes without having to open your email.
If supported by your email service provider, you can edit this preview text right as you build your campaign. If not, you can simply make the first line of your whole email more exciting and compelling.
Here are a few Preview text ideas you can use to entice readers to open your emails:
Ask a question
Hint at an exciting announcement
Use curiosity-inducing words
Include urgent callouts
Regularly clean your list
One key strategy for keeping a healthy email list is regularly pruning cold subscribers. These subscribers are people who haven’t engaged with your emails or brands for at least three3 months.
These cold subscribers can seriously hurt your overall conversion rates in the long-run, and imagine all the money you’d save if you cleaned out cold subscribers who are only taking up space in your mailing list.
You can segment subscribers based on which lead generation form they might have signed up for – say, a business might segment people who signed up for a free email marketing paper, they’d be added to a segment called Email Marketing, while those who opted in for a social media statistics report might be in a segment for Social Media.
This way, you can send more relevant emails to subscribers per segment and enjoy better open rates and click-throughs.
Subject lines are the thing you’ll most often be testing, but you can also experiment with these things:
Campaign send times. You can experiment with different days and times for your emails to see which ones get the highest opens and click-throughs.
In-email links. Seeing which links your audience is clicking on in your emails, such as social media links or different CTAs, can give you a lot of insight for future campaigns.
Images. Sometimes one kind of design will encourage better conversions. Experiment with different images and video stills on your campaigns to start getting insights about what people are clicking on.
Include a clear and compelling CTA
One thing that will always be email marketing best practice is to include clear and persuasive CTAs. To optimize conversions and click-throughs, use action words such as “Buy now,” “Click to read,” or “Watch now.”
Opt to sprinkle in your CTA in different parts of your email and not just once, and make sure there’s contrast – such as a bright button or bold link – that signals some kind of action your audience can take.
Brush up on your copywriting skills
Copywriting is a huge contributor to your conversion rates. If you’ve already got your audience opening your emails, you should be able to persuade them by the end.
Whether you want to persuade them into changing their mind about a topic or into taking action, practice better copywriting in each campaign to consistently get better results.
Value first, sales second
Last but not least, you will always need to provide value before you can ever make the sale.
Convince your audience that you’re the expert in a given topic, give them helpful free resources or tips, and always think about how your email – even if sales-related in nature – can provide value in their lives.
To do this, think of your product’s benefits instead of features. Tell audiences transformations they can expect when they buy from you or click this link or work with you.
Always put the focus on helping your audience, and the sales and conversions will come.
If you aren’t seeing the results you want from your email marketing campaigns, be sure to take a good look at your current strategy and see where to make improvements. Review the tips listed in this article as a start. Then over time, as you implement better strategies and techniques, you’ll being seeing those conversion rates skyrocketing in no time.
It always seems like, as soon as Christmas decorations come down in the stores, the aisles are magically flooded with red and pink hearts. Yep, it’s that time of year already: Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and your email marketing campaigns better be ready!
While you’re trying to decide if you really need that adorable giant teddy bear (it might be a bit too much?), your customers are figuring out what gifts to buy and what places to go to celebrate this love-filled holiday. Valentine’s Day is a perfect occasion to use email to strengthen your relationship with your contacts and let them know you have what they’re looking for. So roll up your sleeves and start building your Valentine’s Day email campaigns now with these tips and examples!
Send a first email campaign before Valentine’s Day
Don’t be afraid to send your subscribers a sneak peek of your upcoming Valentine’s Day sale. While they may groan at the realization that the holiday is right around the corner, they’ll appreciate the reminder that they need to start shopping. Keep your first campaign simple and play with the expectation and excitement that comes with Valentine’s Day. If you start by creating a tempting first email in your festive campaign, your customers might remember your email and show more interest as the day approaches.
Example #1: The Valentine’s Day alert
This email is a great example of an initial campaign that reminds subscribers that Valentine’s Day is around the corner and that they need to start shopping.
Segment your email marketing for Valentine’s Day based on activity
By now, you’ve heard us say it a million times. Segmentation is a great way to reach your audience on a more personal level. For example, you can start your Valentine’s Day campaign with a more general email about your upcoming sale to your main list, then send a campaign to the ones that converted, with some upselling or cross-selling opportunities.
Of course, segmentation is not the only way of adapting your message to your audience. You can also send personalized content by using Mailjet’s dynamic content blocks to create sections within your email campaigns that are specifically tailored to each user. For example, a travel site could suggest subscribers’ favorite destinations as inspiration for a Valentine’s Day getaway. Don’t get too personal, though! Your users appreciate smart use of data, but showing them examples that are a little *too* close to home can come across as creepy and might make your customers uncomfortable.
Example #2: The sneak peek
This American Apparel email gives customers an overview of products both for her and for him, thus showing the brand caters for all tastes. This is the perfect way to encourage a Valentine’s Day splurge.
Leverage your order confirmations
Valentine’s Day is a great time to go for the upsell. It’s a time where people go all out for their significant others, so use email to make sure they are aware of all their options, even after they’ve placed an order. For example, if one of your subscribers orders a necklace, follow up with an email to let them know they can purchase matching earrings or a jewelry box to go with it. Since transactional emails have consistently higher open rates than marketing emails, you can use them to ensure your message gets to the customer.
Give your procrastinators an extra nudge on Valentine’s Day
Has someone clicked your emails several times leading up to the holiday without making a purchase? You might be dealing with a classic holiday procrastinator. These shoppers are professionals at waiting until the last minute to order gifts, then trying to order something in a panic, on super short notice (and they will still expect to get them on time for Valentine’s!). So, to avoid panic and stress for everyone, let them know that all is not lost through your emails and remind them of the items that they viewed on your website.
Try retargeting the group of people on your list that have opened and clicked without making a purchase to remind them when the last day to order for Valentine’s Day delivery will be. If they miss it, follow up with an email about same-day or next-day delivery (if you can offer it) or simply give them the opportunity to purchase a digital gift card. Your customers will appreciate the last-minute options, so that they’re not caught empty-handed when the big day arrives.
Example #3: The reminder email
This email from Birchbox reminds customers that there is limited time left to buy a gift, and provides two last-minute gift option to encourage potential customers to make an immediate purchase.
Show your love with a Valentine’s Day email, too
Valentine’s Day isn’t just for the couples, it’s also a great chance for you to show your subscribers how much you love them! Send them a personalized deal that will make them feel valued and special. If they’re a frequent customer, sending them a coupon for your product or service is a friendly way to remind them that you appreciate their business. For example, if you’re in the restaurant industry, try sending your most loyal customers a small discount that can be used on Valentine’s Day.
Example #4: The Valentine’s Day gift
This example shows how you can make your customers feel unique and special and to encourage them to click to find out about a special something that you have in store for them.
Don’t forget those who are not in a relationship
Sure, Valentine’s is supposed to be the occasion for people to celebrate with their significant other. But what about those who are not in a relationship? We don’t want them to feel excluded, do we? Send out an email campaign encouraging your subscribers to indulge and get something for themselves.
Example #5: The treat for singles
Max&Co include in their Valentine’s email campaign a special message dedicated to singles, inviting them to treat themselves.
We hope you’re not feeling too sappy after our love-filled email examples. Don’t miss your chance to form a love connection with your contacts this Valentine’s Day – you might even enjoy a boost in your sales!
Remember the tips:
Send a first email campaign before Valentine’s Day.
Segment your email marketing for Valentine’s Day based on activity.
Leverage your order confirmations.
Give your procrastinators an extra nudge on Valentine’s Day
Show your love with a Valentine’s Day email, too.
Don’t forget those who are not in a relationship
Send stunning Valentine’s Day email campaigns with Mailjet
Collaborate with your team to design and send beautiful email campaigns that they truly speak to your audience.
Since 2020 is already in full swing, and we’re totally confident that you haven’t dropped any of your New Year’s resolutions yet, why not add one more into the mix? We’ve already told you about the exciting trends we expect to see in an email this year, but what about some cool email campaign ideas to make 2020 your Year of Email?
No need to panic, we’ve got you covered. While you were signing up for spin class, our minds were spinning with fun email campaign ideas that you can test in the new year. Give these a try, and you’ll feel great about your email strategy for 2020 (even if those other resolutions don’t last).
Email Campaign Ideas for 2020
Idea #1: Re-engage your customers after the holiday season
Once all the excitement dies down, it’s time to take a rest from sending email campaigns, right? Wrong. Surprisingly, the post-holiday season is a great time for sales, and a reactivation campaign is the perfect way to get in on the action. Try sending out a campaign to encourage your subscribers to visit your store or website again.
At the beginning of the year, the sales that started after Christmas are likely to still be on. Leverage on this to attract customers to your products and remind them why they subscribed to your brand in the first place. This is a great way to reduce post-holiday unsubscribes.
You can also segment your list to promote to each customers items that they may be more interested in, based on previous purchasing behavior. Continue to engage your subscribers to avoid being ignored after the holiday hype calms down.
Example: Nasty Gal
This Nasty Gal campaign plays with the new resolutions that usually emerge at the beginning of the year, implying that buying from their sale is a good decision. This is a great way to encourage post-holiday shopping and make customers feel good about it.
Idea #2: Make the most of a not-as-popular holiday
Think about it: your customers’ inboxes are flooded during popular sales periods like Black Friday and Christmas, but what about holidays that aren’t traditional shopping days? Take advantage of the email lull and send your subscribers a special sale when they’re not expecting it. This will capture your subscribers’ attention and incite their curiosity, as they may not be aware of that festivity.
Using a campaign comparison tool, like the one Mailjet offers, will allow you to test various holiday campaigns throughout the year. That way, you’ll know which holidays cut through the inbox clutter and bring you the most engagement from your customers.
Example: Mardi Gras
This Mardi Gras email takes advantage of the excitement surrounding a holiday that’s not typically known for shopping, and encourages customers to indulge in shopping and savings (in addition to eating in abundance, as the festivity requires).
Idea #3: Own up to your mistakes
It’s every marketer’s worst nightmare, and it probably happens to you once or twice a year. You see your beautiful new campaign land in your inbox, only to realize that your call to action links to the completely wrong page, or worse, it has no link at all!
But wait, don’t faint just yet. Use it as an excuse to send a quick follow-up campaign apologizing for the goof (and including whatever you missed in your previous email).
Even if it was a technical problem with your website, don’t be afraid to apologize. Your customers will likely open the email just to see what went wrong, and they may even click through for the deal that you were promoting in the first place. Use powerful subject lines that will play with your customer’s FOMO, to ensure that they will be opened.
Be sure to take a look at your campaign statistics after you’ve sent your “Oops!” email, to see if it increases engagement. Now, we know this little trick is amazing, but don’t go finding excuses to use it, ok? We wouldn’t want you to get carried away. 😉
Example: Forever 21
In this email, Forever 21 takes advantage of their ‘Oops’ moment to offer customers free shipping. Best excuse ever to activate your winter sales.
Idea #4: Play to your customer’s competitive side
Use your slower seasons to give your customers fun incentives. Try creating a game that invites your subscribers to interact with your brand for a prize. This is a fun idea that you can test using multiple platforms. For example, if you’re looking to increase your social following, try running a contest on one of your social platforms, then send an email campaign to let your subscribers know that they’re missing out!
You can also run a campaign encouraging your customers to make purchases over a period of time for a chance to win a prize (think McDonald’s Monopoly game). Giving your customers a little extra push to make a purchase during a traditionally slow season is a great way to re-engage your contact list.
A fun competition is also a great chance to run an A/B (or even better, A/X) test on the various elements of your email. Figuring out which style of subject lines or email imagery excites your subscribers will give you great insight for designing your future holiday campaigns. You can also segment your email list to offer your most loyal customers special deals or opportunities for extra points.
This Starbucks for Life summer game is a great example of creating new excitement through competition. Customers compete to win bonus stars or a lifetime supply of Starbucks by making purchases and hitting specific targets.
Testing new campaign ideas is a great way to capitalize on slower seasons. With whatever you decide to try in the new year, make sure to follow your statistics to track the effects of your campaigns. Once you’ve tested your new creations, you’ll be ready to implement the best ideas into your emails for the busier seasons.
So, are you feeling totally pumped to make 2020 the best email year yet? Don’t let us stop you – start building those new campaigns with Mailjet now!
Do you want to try Mailjet?
Create your free account in seconds and start building and sending responsive email campaigns directly to the inbox.
We’re less than a month away from one of the biggest marketing moments of the year (oh, and I guess one of the biggest days in American sports too).
The Super Bowl, set for February 2nd this year, is one of those few days in the year where nearly everyone’s attention will be on one event. Reaching over 100M viewers every year, the Super Bowl brings in nearly 3x the traffic you can expect from other major events like the Oscars, NBA Finals, or a regular season football game. The best performing TV show might reach 15-16M, but nothing ever comes close to the Super Bowl on an annual basis. Ok yes, the FIFA World Cup Final certainly outperforms the Super Bowl with a global audience of 163M in 2018, but this is not only a global event but an event that only takes place once every four years.
The point is, the Super Bowl presents a rare opportunity for you as a marketer, and given email marketing continues to drive the highest ROI compared to other marketing channels (yes, including social media, digital advertising, and, of course, Super Bowl commercials), it’s a rare opportunity to leverage this event to drive more conversions from email.
In this post, we’ll help get you ready for this event with some tips on how to optimize the impact you can get from your email campaigns before, during, and after the Super Bowl. We’ll also take a look at some tips for your Superbowl email subject lines.
Preparing Your Email Strategy for the Super Bowl
In the lead up to the Super Bowl there is a lot you can do to ensure that both you, and your customers are ready for the big game.
Roughly half of the Americans that watch the Super Bowl plan to do so at a party, that means over 50M people will be out of their house, bringing food, drinks, and gifts. In fact, 79% of people planned to spend money on food, beverages, or other merchandise in 2018. As you can imagine, spending on Super Bowl Sunday has gone up every year and is up over 60% in the last decade. In 2018 spending reached $15.3B with 25-34 year olds spending the most, with an average of $118.43 each.
To capture your share of this pie, you need to anticipate your customers needs and wants for the day, and help them spend their money the best way. This could include sending relevant and personalized sales a couple days or weeks ahead of time, like deals on dip bowls, food, big screen TVs, or streaming packages.
Or you could help your customers have a stress-free day by letting them pre-order certain items ahead of time, like pizza or wings.
Almost as important as getting your customers ready for the Super Bowl is getting you and your marketing team ready as well. As you’ll see in the next section, there are many marketing opportunities during the game that you’ll want to be ready for, and as our VP of Sales always liked to say: “In anything, Preparation is 90% of your Success!”
There are a lot of knowns and predictable moments in lead up to the Super Bowl, and you should use this to your advantage. We’ll start off easy:
We know the kick off time is 6:30pm EST on February 2nd.
We know it’s taking place in Miami and will be broadcast on Fox.
We know football games are usually three hours long, so a good guess is that the halftime will take place at 8pm EST and will feature Shakira and Jennifer López.
We know that 1 in 3 people over the age of 35 will be checking their email during the game, and that over 80% of people will be on their phone multiple times throughout the game.
But let’s go beyond this.
We also know who will be advertising during the Super Bowl, as AdWeek is tracking everything they know about upcoming commercials.
Because of this we know, for example, that Kellogs will have a commercial about Pop-Tarts, and if this spot is relevant to your brand in any way you can adjust your messaging to stay relevant.
Ultimately, with all of this information up front you canbegin to plan your email campaigns accordingly. If you want engagement on your site, you can schedule a campaign to go out three hours before the game to advertise last minute deals. If you want to take advantage of moment marketing, you could get your design team ready with images, related to football or the halftime show so you’re ready to quickly send a relevant email campaign at a moment’s notice.
Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.
Taking Advantage of Email During the Super Bowl
There is a lot happening when the game is on, and of course people are distracted. While, as we already mentioned, many people are actually checking their email and social media during the game and the commercials, you are going to see a noticeable drop in engagement during the game.
Make Sure Your Emails Are Mobile Friendly
Moveable Ink put together a really interesting study to look at if and how people are engaging with email during Super Bowl Sunday. They found that email open rates on Super Bowl Sunday were on par with open rates you can expect any other Sunday throughout the year. However, they did find that emails were opened much more frequently on smartphones and tablets than on desktop devices during this time.
Make it easy for people to go to your website or buy your product on a mobile device if you’re planning on sending on Super Bowl Sunday.
Take Advantage of Retargeting with Email
While of course social media, like Twitter, has quickly become the digital channel people are engaging with during the Super Bowl to discuss the game and the commercials, they are often engaging with brands, websites, and search.
Patrick Tripp, senior product marketing manager at Adobe Campaign explains why: “They’re using their mobile device to enhance their viewing experience by researching the celebrities and brands, new products/services making their big debut and more. Most importantly — in addition to all of this second-screen activity — they’re checking their email during the Super Bowl.”
While you can certainly take advantage of the fact that your customers are potentially reading your emails during the game, it’s more important that you are leveraging re-marketing and contact capture opportunities that occur during the game.
For example, if someone is reading an article you wrote about the Super Bowl on your site during the game, or are researching your products, make sure you set up transactional emails or automation workflows with promotions or calls to action to keep them engaged.
Kraft’s Family Greatly Twitter campaign in 2018 directed people to a landing page where they were promoting an email newsletter with easy and delicious recipes.
Patrick Tripp from Adobe explains further. “With the right tools, marketers can create more than a spike in social mentions, but actually boost the bottom line by remarketing in email to create more meaningful, relevant engagements, leveraging insights they already have about the consumers’ interest in the game — from the team they’re rooting for to the brands they’re researching and possible online shopping carts they’ve abandoned.”
Moment Marketing at the Super Bowl
Finally, there is of course moment marketing, making sure you are ready to jump on relevant moments from the game. Oreo won this game in 2013 with their “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark” Twitter post during 2013’s Super Bowl power outage, but many brands can take advantage of these moments on both social media and email to leverage a shared experience for brand awareness and engagement.
To do this right, you’ll need to have your email marketing team ready, maybe launch a “war room” at the office to watch the game, have some pizza (maybe even some beer) and be on the ready to quickly design a new campaign and write some new copy to capitalize on the shared conversation happening online.
Maximize Impact After The Super Bowl is Done
Once the game is done, your work is not.
It’s only starting, actually. One way to understand this is to look at how people interact with advertisers before and after the game. During the game, Millennials are the most likely to visit an advertisers website, whereas Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers are far more likely to engage with your brand right after, or even up to one week after.
Be Apart of the On-Going Conversion
While we can’t all be advertisers at the Super Bowl, there are opportunities to take advantage of the discussion happening online about the game, the commercials, the players, and the brands. You can send campaigns that reference those moments from the game, that follow up on your social media posts, or maybe even email out your own (much cheaper) Super Bowl commercial with a YouTube link.
Either way, over 100M Americans are riding high from an event – take this opportunity to start and/or continue a conversation with them.
Piggy Back Off of Major Brand Awareness
Another massive opportunity, depending on your industry is to leverage the good will of the advertisers for your own products and services.
Super Bowl commercials are often more about pushing a new idea or concept, as much as they are about pushing a specific brand or product. For example, Amazon’s fantastic 2018 Super Bowl commercial for Alexa was as much about the future of the connected home and voice control, as it was about a specific Amazon product. In fact, they never actually name the product in the ad (the Amazon Echo).
Brands who don’t have $5M to spare on a Super Bowl ad, but with an interest in the connected home industry, can piggyback off of the attention smart speakers and connected devices will now have in the zeitgeist. It often doesn’t need to be a competing company, it’s almost more impactful if you are a completely different product entirely.
For example, if you sell smart thermostats, maybe send an campaign after with the subject line “Our smart thermostats never lose their voice”.
We know which brands will be advertising during the Super Bowl, and in fact we will likely already be able to see the actual commercial since they are commonly leaked ahead of time (whether intentionally or not). Major brands will be pushing new ideas and new industries. Identify where your brand can jump into this new window to capitalize on this new concept awareness.
Subject Line Tips for Your Email Campaigns
Finally, one of the most frequently asked questions about email marketing is how to write the perfect subject line. On a crowded marketing day like Super Bowl Sunday, standing out with good copy is even more important.
According to CoSchedule, 35% of recipients open emails based on subject lines alone. So what can you do to try to capture attention and inspire action? Here are a couple of tips that you can incorporate into your campaigns. We’ll apply each of these tips to the same Super Bowl themed email campaign.
Our case study will be a Home & Decor shop advertising their sale on beer mugs for your Super Bowl party.
Here are the beautiful mugs, and below are ways you can use subject lines to maximize sales. We’ve created a few examples under each tip.
This is obviously easier said than done, but there is always a way to generate curiosity with your subject lines, and it’s often a matter of reconceptualizing the same question in a slightly different way.
❌ Beer mugs on Sale This Week
✅ Here is one item you’ll need for your Super Bowl party
Create Urgency & Scarcity
By creating urgency or scarcity, you are creating a small window for your customers to click. Anything that makes them think they can deal with this later reduces your chances of them coming back to your email. This is especially true for emails on a mobile device – act or lose them forever. In fact, subject lines with words that imply time sensitivity (e.g. “urgent”, “breaking”, “important” or “alert”) are proven to increase email open rates….but careful not to sound spammy. If they expect to hear from you, then this won’t be a problem.
❌ We have all the beer mugs you need for the big game
✅ Today Only! One item you’ll need for your Super Bowl party
✅ Mike – we have Boston’s best selling mugs on sale today only
Kick Off Your Team’s Super Bowl Campaigns
Mailjet is devoted to helping teams send their emails faster, together. As you prepare for the Super Bowl, and all of 2020’s upcoming marketing moments, it will be more important than ever to have your entire email team on the same page. Be sure to check out our Collaboration Toolkit to help build your campaigns in real time and get ready for the biggest marketing moment of the year.
What email strategies will you employ for the Super Bowl? Tell us all about your own #SuperBowlEmails on Twitter!
Somehow, you survived 2019 and now we’re back in Q1! 2020 is here and it’s time for you to start scribbling down your New Year’s Resolutions. If you’ve found your way here, we’re guessing that’s because “Crush Marketing in 2020” is probably one of your resolutions.
To help with that, we decided to recap all relevant dates for 2020 in one blog post to help you strategize for the year ahead. Read on and find out which dates you should include into your marketing strategy and get our free 2020 Marketing Calendar.
Why is it important to have a Marketing Calendar for 2020?
Most people think that the implementation of a marketing strategy is the longest part of the process, when it is actually one of the easier steps at the end of the process. The real work comes before, when you’re setting goals and establishing priorities.The earlier you start planning through every step of the strategy, the less problems you’ll run into down the line.
Before you start, ask yourself these questions:
What do you want to achieve and how can you get there?
What are your USPs? Why should people buy your products or services?
What sales promotions can you offer (special deals, freebies, discounts…)?
What distribution channels are best to achieve your goals?
Keep in mind that a year has so many special dates, holidays, and marketing moments – planning is a must in business and in life!
It is important to decide which promotions (special deals or key product sales) you want to focus on, and this decision should be based on the goals you established for yourself when you planned your marketing strategy. Focusing on the wrong promotional strategy can easily ruin your KPIs, and nobody wants that!
When thinking about your holiday or special day marketing campaigns, remember to plan out your promotion in different stages:
Before the actual date: Let your customers know about what’s coming ahead of time and how they can benefit.
During the day itself: Make your big sales push via email and leverage any social media buzz.
After the main event: Don’t forget to follow up with those that converted to obtain their feedback on the process or offer additional products or services.
Finding the right marketing channels
Once you have decided what the right marketing strategy is and what kind of sales promotions you’re going to offer, you’ll need to focus on the distribution of these marketing messages.
For marketing promotions around special dates, like the ones we’ve added on our Marketing Calendar, the best strategy is to go omnichannel. Marketing campaigns around these dates that combine different channels (for example, in-store, online, social media or email marketing) allow you to engage with your audience in a different way and also provide many upselling and cross-selling opportunities.
There is a range of channels for you to leverage, but that doesn’t mean you should try to use them all just to tick those boxes. While something like TikTok might be a bit of a stretch if you’re trying to sell dental implants, there are a few must-haves that will apply to most businesses.
One of those channels is email (yeah, you probably guessed that…). Email continues to be the best marketing channel for ROI, as it allows you to personalize, segment, and optimize your email campaigns with detailed stats. Another big plus is that your marketing messages will stay in your contacts’ inbox for them to use that promo code or find your store’s address when the time comes.
Marketing Calendar for 2020
You already know January is all about New Year’s resolutions, goal setting, and also maybe feeling a little bit blue now that the Holiday Season is over.
Start off by wishing your users a Happy New Year and use this month to offer special deals on products or services that might come in handy when they start working on those New Year’s resolutions.
Other special dates in January include the Chinese New Year and Blue Monday, so think about what you can do to make your users days a bit warmer!
Dates you shouldn’t miss in January:
January 1st: New Year’s Day
January 8th: Winter Sales (European countries)
January 20th: Blue Monday
January 25th: Chinese New Year
January 28th: Data Protection Day
Resources to plan your January marketing campaigns:
We’re moving away from all the muscle power of the Super Bowl and onto a different kind of power this month: the power of women. March is all about the movement of women’s rights, with International Women’s Day being celebrated on March 8th.
So use this opportunity to show a bit of your corporate side and share stories from the women in your company and how you support equality in the workplace.
Other special dates in March in our Marketing Calendar 2020 include World Wildlife Day, National Pi Day, Mother’s Day in the UK and a fan-favorite… St. Patrick’s Day!
With Easter starting in April this year, you can look forward to longer and warmer days for your easter egg hunts! Plus, people are starting to travel during these dates as the weather warms up.
For some, Easter is all about tradition, be it religious or not. For others, it’s more about the chocolate rabbits and egg hunts. So why not hide an Easter Egg in your marketing campaigns to increase engagement this April?
Other special dates in April include Earth Day and April Fools, so maybe a great excuse to have some fun with your email marketing campaigns?
There are a few important dates in May, but is there any more important than Star Wars Day? Whether you’re a fan or not, there’s no denying this is a BIG date on social media, so make sure you leverage it!
Many countries also celebrate Mother’s Day in May as well. This is a time for many to show appreciation towards their mother(s) and mother figures.
This day (and of course the other 364 days in the year) is perfect to lavish mothers with lots of love, flowers and chocolate. So remember to think about moms everywhere when you plan your special offers and promotions.
Other special dates in May in our Marketing Calendar for 2020 include May Day or Labour Day in many countries and the start of Roland-Garros for tennis lovers.
For many companies, the summer means a slump in sales. Instead of (online-) shopping, events like vacations and other outdoor activities are in people’s minds.
So don’t be surprised if your marketing performance starts to decline rather than grow during the next few weeks.
Does this mean you should interrupt your email marketing campaigns? Absolutely not!
In fact, the summer might be the best time of year to stand out from your competitors and get in touch with your contacts, so make sure you start working on adjusting your email marketing strategy for the next couple of months.
June is also Pride Month and Father’s Day in many countries. This year, it will also be big on the sporting side, with the Euros 2020 adding on to the usual Tour de France.
Dates you shouldn’t miss in June:
June 1st: LGTB Pride Month
June 12th: Euro 2020 Starts
June 21st: Father’s Day
June 21st: World Music Day
June 27th: Tour de France
Resources to plan your June moment marketing campaigns:
The holiday season is finally here! And even though we warned you to plan ahead in June, you might be finding it quite challenging to keep your users engaged during the summer.
The good news is that this year, we’ll have the Euros 2020 final and the Olympics! From July 24th till August 9th, people from across the globe will come together in Tokyo and everyone will be watching.
Other special dates in July our marketing calendar 2020 include the Summer sales period in some European countries and Emoji Day!
Dates you shouldn’t miss in July:
July 1st: Canada Day
July 4th: US Independence
July 14: Bastille Day – French National Holiday
July 17th: Emoji Day
July 24th: Olympics Opening Ceremony
Resources to plan your July moment marketing campaigns:
With email segmentation, you can filter contacts based on their past behavior (for example, anyone that hasn’t opened an email since xx/xx/2020) and resend them any special summer offers they might have missed.
Dates you shouldn’t miss in August:
August 7th: International Beer Day
August 9th: Olympics Closing Ceremony
August 19th: World Photography Day
Resources to plan your July moment marketing campaigns:
How Email Segmentation Can Increase Your Conversion Rate
September is here and it’s Back-to-school season… and not just for kids!
In fact, September sometimes feels like a second January. Some might hate it, some might love it, but we all feel it. New goals, new projects, and new marketing opportunities. Children (and adults!) can’t wait to buy new school bags, pens, pencils and planners for the new school year.
Keep that in mind and plan some marketing campaigns to re-engage your customers after the summer with incentives like special promotions, sweepstakes, and exclusive offers.
Dates you shouldn’t miss in September:
September 1st: Back to School
September 7th: Labor Day (US)
September 19th: Oktoberfest
September 21st: International Day of Peace
Resources to plan your September marketing campaigns:
The scariest month of the year has finally arrived!
Autumn is officially here, and so is Halloween! This means that, offline as well as online, monsters and other creatures could be just around the corner, waiting to scare people off.
For marketers, October marks the start of Q4 and the Holiday Season, a huge period for brands everywhere. With big dates coming up, it is the time to start planning what the Holiday Strategy will look like, and also the moment to let our creative juices flow and start getting festive.
Dates you shouldn’t miss in October:
October 12th: Columbus Day
October 20th: World Mental Health Day
October 31st: Halloween
Resources to plan your October marketing campaigns:
November is the strongest time of the year for B2C sales and the official month for buying our Holiday gifts. Immediately after Thanksgiving comes Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, so it’s time to kick it into high gear.
In other words: You should definitely have these dates marked in red on your marketing calendar 2020 as this is the best time for special promotions and offers.
We know you won’t forget, but just in case, we’ve already marked them for you on our downloadable Marketing Calendar for 2020.
Dates you shouldn’t miss in November:
November 14th: Diwali
November 26th: Thanksgiving
November 27th: Black Friday
November 28th: Small Business Saturday
November 30th: Cyber Monday
Resources to plan your November marketing campaigns:
PS: Have you checked out our Black Friday email template yet? ;)
The best comes last: It’s finally Christmas!
It’s cold outside, the streets are covered with snow, and there’s festive decorations and lights everywhere! While some prefer to go outside, those that stay in might do a lot of online shopping for those last-minute Christmas presents.
This is your chance to give Q4 a final push with special holiday campaigns and offers!
But December is not just about selling, it’s also about joining in on the festive atmosphere and thanking your contacts for spending the year with you.
You can get creative and run a little Christmas competition on social media (Best Christmas Tree or Craziest Holiday Decorations) where your customers can win coupons or goodies, or film your team singing Christmas Carols for an original Merry Christmas campaign.
As you can see, it doesn’t get more creative than December to end the year successfully.
Dates you shouldn’t miss in December:
December 10th: Hannukah
December 24th: Christmas Eve
December 25th: Christmas Day
December 26th: Boxing Day (UK)
December 31st: New Year’s Eve
Resources to plan your December marketing campaigns:
We’ve saved the dates you can’t forget and given you all the resources you need to make 2020 your best marketing year yet. Now it’s up to you to work on your campaigns and increase engagement with your offers, promotions or competitions.
Want to take this Marketing Calendar for 2020 with you?
Here we go again: It’s the end of the year, and it’s time to look at Email Marketing Trends for 2020.
This time, we’re about to close off a decade, and we’ve probably all been looking back at what the 2010s brought us, personally, professionally, or even musically (although some of us might want to keep that last one for our eyes only).
In the world of email, the 2010s have been a decade of great growth, with tons of innovation making email the coolest kid on the block, year after year. You might think we’re biased, but email has continued to be the best marketing channel for ROI, and is there anything cooler than that? 💁
But enough looking back. Star Wars might be over (or is it?), but there’s still a lot for us to look forward to in 2020. Come join us as we play email gurus again, and try to decipher what the email world will have in store for us this 2020.
What are the email trends for 2020?
Better personalization for truly relevant emails
Surprised? We didn’t think so. 😏
Personalization and targeted messages seem to be a constant year after year, and yet as marketing techniques develop and messages multiply, the need to send more relevant messages to grab our audience’s attention increases. At Mailjet, we still believe relevancy is one of the most powerful attributes in a marketing message, but for it to be effective it should go beyond the simple “Hey, (first name)!”
Advanced segmentation and personalization
The key to effective segmentation and personalization is data, but our inability to collect it, store it and integrate it across different marketing channels is making marketers a little skeptical about one of the biggest buzzwords in the marketing world.
While in the past effective segmentation was just a nice-to-have, nowadays sending differentiated campaigns to our customer-base based on their age, gender, location or past behavior has become a must.
The same goes for personalization. For a while, personalization felt like a box that was easy to tick. Just add a first name here and there, and that was it. Now, though, personalization is so much more, with features that allow us to use contact properties and purchase data to customize big blocks within our emails, like Mailjet’s Dynamic Content blocks. Think Netflix and its personalized film recommendations, or Amazon and its cleverly-picked upselling opportunities.
Data to anticipate email deliverability
But what is a great, personalized email, if it doesn’t even reach the inbox?
As email marketers, we’re used to looking at metrics such as opens, blocks or bounces to monitor our deliverability, trying to assess how healthy our email lists are or how well we’re applying email best practices based on past performance. We decide to segment out inactive users when we see our open rates fall or change our templates when we see big images have made our amazing email land in the spam folder.
But what if instead of reacting we could start anticipating?
Email innovations to prevent deliverability issues
Email marketers are increasingly citing deliverability as one of their main barriers to effective marketing, with 37% of marketers citing it as a top concern in 2019. And while some email players already offer tools that provide data and advice on the performance of an email campaign, their use to prevent deliverability issues is still not fully adopted.
In 2020, the wider adoption of these features will allow marketers to change the way they think about email and email deliverability. Tools like email validations will enable senders to clean their contact lists before sending and to better protect their sender reputation, and inbox placement will allow users to diagnose deliverability issues and optimize their emails before pressing Send.
Machine learning to uncover the best email sending time
A big part of an email’s success depends on when it’s read by its recipient. We all know this already, which is why we all keep trying to figure out what the best time to send a newsletter is. Send me an email about Starbucks Christmas’ treats while I’m at the gym, and I’ll just ignore it. Tempt me while I’m out in the cold, and I’ll probably want to buy the whole store.
While we’ve been talking about automation for quite some time, 2020 will bring a whole new way of thinking about timeliness. ESPs and email innovations will continue to look for ways in which AI can help marketers crack that code.
But is there really a universal best time to send an email campaign, or does it vary from recipient to recipient? What about getting emails into a contact’s inbox precisely when they are most likely to read it?
Machine learning will help ESPs offer new tools that will automatically optimize sending time to make sure your emails reach all the different inboxes at exactly the right time. No more guessing.
Design innovations for better shopability
Once you’ve cracked the right time to get those amazing emails into the inbox, the fight will move onto a different, more complex battlefield. Shining through in your contacts’ inbox is hard, and going from an open to a conversion requires a lot more creativity now than it did before.
So how do you go from someone reading your campaign to actually clicking-through? Increasing email shopability will be key to push conversion even further. The use of smart design and interactive features that guide readers to your CTAs and allow them to interact with the content will be essential.
Sending interactive emails that enable the user to convert without leaving the inbox has been a possibility for quite some time, but it’s far from being the norm. Interactivity allows users to start their purchase directly in the inbox, eliminating the friction between email and onsite conversion. To make this easier, email developers can leverage tools like Email Markup or AMP4Email.
Shopability on the move
According to Litmus, email attention span surged by 21% in 2019, with mobile access playing a big role in that increase. Nowadays, more than 50% of emails are read on mobile, so sending responsive emails is a must to be able to provide a seamless experience and maximize your ROI.
Templates need to be designed with a mobile-first approach, regardless of whether you code them or build them using an email editor – something that is increasingly challenging with the range of devices and screen sizes available today. Luckily, using a responsive drag & drop responsive email builder like Mailjet’s Passport can help.
For email developers, it doesn’t get easier than MJML, our open source markup language. MJML is responsive by default and allows you to seamlessly import your templates into Mailjet or download them in HTML, knowing that your design will look great on any device.
Collaboration for better brand marketing
In 2019, we’ve seen companies look for better ways to control their brand messages. In-housing has risen as a trend, with companies moving marketing functions in-house to ensure better brand alignment and consistency. However, this has also highlighted a need for improved processes and correct tools to enable these teams to work together more effectively.
As brands continue to develop their omnichannel marketing strategies, marketers will need to look for better ways to collaborate and ensure consistency in their messages across different channels.
Better tools for internal collaboration
For email, this will mean enabling everyone in the team to be involved in the creation of different campaigns in a way that allows brands to reduce iterations and control the final product. Fine-tuning how teams collaborate internally to avoid miscommunication or mistakes and finding the right collaborative tools to make this easier will continue to be crucial for companies.
To help expanding marketing departments, Mailjet has created an Email Collaboration Toolkit, a set of features that enable multiple users to manage users’ roles and permissions, to work together on their templates in real time and to easily track changes to protect their brand.
Even more data protection
While in Europe we seem to have put the hecticness of GDPR behind us, data protection is far from being a thing of the past. In fact, in January 2020 the California Consumer Privacy Act will come into effect, forcing those in the US to embrace similar data privacy standards as those that already apply in the EU.
During the past few years, we’ve seen an increase in user interest regarding the way companies use and protect their personal data, and brands will have to continue working towards becoming more savvy and vigilant to maintain their customers’ trust.
In fact, with digital brands operating everywhere, complying with the strictest data privacy regulations has become a must if companies still want to be able to maintain a distributed customer-base.
This is something we know well at Mailjet. While this has been a year of many changes, our commitment to data privacy and security hasn’t changed. In fact, we’ve worked to ensure compliance with the California Consumer Privacy Act, in addition to our existing compliance with GDPR, and will continue to offer the highest security standards for our clients’ personal data.
Wrapping Up (TL;DR)
All in all, during 2020 companies will work on becoming smarter and more effective in their email communications.
Marketers will need to work on sending truly relevant emails that offer personalized content and land in the users’ inbox at the right time. Developing ways in which users can start the conversion process without leaving their emails will help brands to maximize email ROI.
Internally, companies will need to find process and tools to enable them to collaborate with their growing teams and external agencies. Brands will also need to be vigilant, to ensure they adapt quickly to any changes in data privacy regulations or data security threats.
At Mailjet, we’re excited to be able to offer our customers some of these new features during the new year, including Inbox Placement, Email Validations and some advanced solutions to optimize sending time.
Want to join us for this exciting year ahead?
Want to join us for this exciting year ahead?
Sign up to Mailjet and start using our great set of email marketing tools to send amazing responsive campaigns.
Newsletters are one of the most important parts of email marketing. Not only do they offer ample space for advertising, but they also help to maintain the relationships between customers and companies.
At first glance, the topic of creating a newsletter may seem to be one of the easiest elements of marketing: you open an email platform, write up your text, choose your contact list and send. Unfortunately though (or maybe fortunately – because you can get creative with it), it’s not so easy. At least not if you want it to be successful. If you want your newsletter to have the desired outcome, you need to nail its creation.
In this article, you will learn all the basics on how to create and send newsletters. You will learn how to develop a well thought out newsletter strategy, which criteria an email software must meet and how to choose the best design. We will also show you how to target audience groups with different content and how to find the best time to send your newsletters out.
The Strengths and Weaknesses of Newsletters
The immense popularity of newsletters isn’t a coincidence. Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels. The average ROI is $38 for each $1 invested and 72% of customers prefer to be approached via email. Well-designed marketing emails sent regularly, like newsletters, guarantee constant website traffic, webinars and other event registrations and product sales. As newsletters statistically form the largest part of all marketing emails sent, they hold a great deal of marketing potential.
Creating a newsletter has a number of advantages, from the driving traffic, to saving cost, and integration with other platforms. Here are just a few:
Constant source of traffic
One of the main reasons for creating a newsletter is the regular website traffic that it generates. Organic engagement on social media platforms like Facebook is declining dramatically. Banner advertising is rarely noticed in the era of ad blockers. Written press releases sent by email will often be ignored by journalists and online editors.
Luckily, this is not true for newsletters. Emails that reach someone’s inbox are usually seen, and the likelihood that they will be opened is high, provided that the subject line is appealing and the sender is recognized (as you will learn more about below). Well designed newsletters containing relevant content will enhance your chances of the reader clicking on the call-to-actions for more information.
Another factor that is not to be underestimated is how much money you save compared to other using other marketing tools. Paid advertisements like banner advertising, Google AdWords, Facebook Ads and influencer marketing are considerably more expensive than newsletter marketing. The cost of a newsletter software is usually low. Labor costs are also lower as the newsletter is created and optimized faster than other media. Depending on the chosen provider, newsletter creation may even be free. This way, costs are minimized.
Easy performance measurement
The success of a marketing tool is based on whether it reaches the required relevance or not. In order to find out, performance must be measurable. Measuring the performance of a newsletter is simple. The statistics section of your email software provides you with all the information about open rates, click rates, unsubscribe rates, bounces, which user terminals were used to open the newsletter and when, which links are clicked on, etc. These KPIs will help you accurately calculate the Return On Investment (ROI) and produce target-audience relevant newsletter content.
Independence from third parties
When you create a newsletter, you are independent from other service providers and softwares. Publishers and influencers, as well as social media platforms and Google, are much more likely to increase ads cost than an email service provider is to increase the cost of its product. And even if they do, prices usually only increase by a small amount. With other marketing tools, increases are usually in the three, if not four, digit range.
Easily linked to other online marketing channels
Newsletters and other marketing tools such as social media can be combined very well. And last, but not least, newsletters can reach recipients anywhere. Whether they are in the office on their work computer, on the sofa at home on a tablet, or on the go on their smartphone, emails can be opened and read anywhere.
Targeted customer care
All the above reasons prove that emails are a great medium for targeting audiences and customer care.
Where there is light, there is also darkness. Even if newsletters provide many benefits, they also have a few shortcomings.
Absence of physical haptics
Unlike with analog advertising media like brochures, flyers, magazines, etc. there is no haptic experience with email newsletters. For instance, a desk calendar is visibly looked at all year round. Emails, on the other hand, do not have such a physical presence.
Ease of deletion
The fact that emails tend to be deleted more quickly and less intensively read than other media cannot be denied. There are many reasons for this: a full inbox, unappealing subject lines, content that is not relevant, etc. Although these inhibiting elements can be minimized, except for the first one, a 100% interaction rate can never be guaranteed. This is true not only for newsletters. but for all marketing tools.
If one weighs up the benefits and drawbacks of newsletters, then it quickly becomes clear that the benefits by far outweigh the drawbacks.
Summary of the strengths and weaknesses of newsletters
What Makes a Newsletter Strategy Successful?
Planning is key to the success of any newsletter campaign and should not be overlooked under any circumstances. Take the time to define your strategy. When planning a newsletter, it is important to be systematic and go through different stages. This can be challenging, but a well-thought-out newsletter strategy will pay off in the long run.
Step 1: Set out your Goals
The first step in developing your newsletter strategy should always be defining your goals. It can be helpful to review your business goals, visions, and corporate values before you do this: it will give you a good overview of your company and its main aims, which your newsletter should also be working towards.
To identify the aims of your newsletter strategy, you should consider why it is that you want to create the campaign. The more clarity you have on the reasons behind it, the more successful you will be. Ask yourself the following questions:
What do you want to achieve? Do you want to make potential and existing customers aware of new blog posts, special events, or products? Or is it more about, winning new customers and strengthening bonds with existing customers?
The goals you should focus on will depend on your company, as objectives can vary greatly across different industries and organizations.
Note that KPIs will depend on the goals you have previously set. You should identify and evaluate KPIs that are crucial for achieving your goals. This allows you to analyze and evaluate your campaigns and objectively determine their success or failure, and to adapt your strategy at any time.
Step 3: Find the Optimal Sending Time
When planning, you should consider the best time to send out your marketing email. The time at which you send out your newsletter is critical for its success. It is vital that you reach your recipients when they are likely to be in front of their computer or have their phone or tablet in their hands. But how do you find out what the best times are?
This can be achieved by analyzing your target group and carrying out various tests. Try and send out your newsletter at different times to identify when your open rates are at their highest and, therefore, when the majority of recipients read your emails.
You can also use analysis tools that show you when your target group is active on your website. You can use this knowledge to send out your campaign at the time when they are active.
The best thing you can do is to concentrate on analyzing your target group and evaluating your A/B tests and tracking systems in order to find the best dispatch time for your campaigns.
Consider what type of content is most appropriate for your strategy and audience. If you’re struggling for inspiration on potential topics, then we recommend taking a closer look at the newsletters of your competitors and successful newsletters from other companies (it goes without saying, though, that you should not just copy exactly what they’re doing). This is a good opportunity to find inspiration and ideas for new, potential content areas, products, and events.
Another method that can work well is a preliminary survey. This lets you ask your target audience what content they want to be featured in your newsletter. A target group survey can give you new ideas and inspiration. You can incentivize people to take part by offering with a freebie giveaway, etc.
Step 5: Choose your Newsletter Software
Once your newsletter strategy is in place and you know exactly what your objectives are, and which resources you need to meet them, all you need to do is ensure that you have the technical infrastructure to meet your needs. Essentially, you need a professional newsletter software to create, send out, and evaluate your email campaigns.
There are plenty of free ways to create and send your newsletter. WordPress, for example, allows you to send emails directly from your website’s back end, and many hosts provide an SMTP relay which can be used to send your newsletter. That said, we would advise against using these services, as they come with a high risk of damaging your deliverability and reputation.
You need to choose a professional provider that can meet your requirements and can guarantee both high deliverability and the security of your data. Of course, there are many email service providers out there on the market and choosing the right one is not easy. The old saying remains true: We really are spoiled for choice!
First, think about what features you need to successfully implement your newsletter strategy and what services you value most. You can get a good feel for this by making a list and then comparing the various newsletter tools against one another.
To make your life a little easier, we’ve put together a list of items that any professional email service should offer:
Detailed statistics, so you can optimally analyze your sent newsletters;
A free trial, so you can verify that the newsletter software meets all of your needs;
Compatibility with other systems and services, such as WordPress, shop systems, etc.;
GDPR compliance and other certifications.
Step 6: Build a Contact List
Before you can finally implement your newsletter strategy and create and send your campaigns, you need email recipients. Building a high quality contact list is often considered a challenge, but as long as you take a couple of factors into consideration, it’s not that difficult.
Stay away from Bought Lists
This is fundamental: resist the temptation of buying email lists. Purchased lists contain email recipients who have probably never been in contact with you, don’t know your company at all and don’t want to receive your emails. This makes the risk of your being blocked and ending up in the spam folder very high. The damage is significant, as your deliverability and reputation will suffer.
Win Subscribers with a Responsive Sign-Up Widget
When building your email list, use a responsive sign-up widget connected to a double opt-in form. Double opt-in ensures that no fake email address enter your database and damage your reputation and deliverability. This minimizes the risk of being classified as a spammer by your recipients or their ISPs.
Add the sign-up widget to your different pages on your website, like your home page, blog, resources pages, etc.
You should also be sure to request as little information as possible when users are registering, as giving up too much data can be seen as a deterrent. To make sure you secure your subscribers as soon as possible, just ask for their email address. You can ask for further information later on. Additionally, you should highlight the benefits of signing up and show your users what great added value your newsletter offers them.
Top tip: Divide your email recipients into specific segments and guarantee that you actually deliver the added value you have promised. This allows you to tailor content to each segment.
Use Landing Pages as Newsletter Lead Generation
As well as a responsive subscription widget, you can create special newsletter landing pages in order to grow your contact list. The advantage of a landing page is that you can align the entire page with the newsletter subscription and apply all of the optimization options that apply to landing pages.
Users visiting your newsletter landing page will not be distracted by any other elements on the website, as the entire focus of the page will only be on subscribing to your marketing communications.
This is the best opportunity to present all of the advantages your newsletter offers to your customers. Make it clear what your potential recipient will be missing out on if they do not subscribe. Ideally, you will already have defined this in your newsletter strategy.
The advantages of a newsletter could include:
Latest industry news;
Invitations to exclusive events;
Access to exclusive content such as e-books, courses, checklists, or guides.
Granting access to exclusive content upon registration – such as a step-by-step guide or a discount – will significantly increase your subscription rate.
And finally the time for planning has come to an end! Now you can create and send your newsletter.
Step 7: Creating a newsletter
A newsletter is formed by the following three components: design, content and legal information. We will discuss all three in detail below.
Newsletter Design – The First Impact
The first step to creating a newsletter is setting up a corresponding email template. You can use a template provided by your email service provider and amend it as necessary. Alternatively, you can upload a newsletter template you have already created or that you have bought from a third party. In this case, make sure that the selected layout is responsive so that your email campaigns will be perfectly displayed on every end device.
Our advice: don’t use several columns in your newsletter. As many recipients will initially see incoming emails in preview mode, the ideal width of a newsletter is between 500 and 680 px.
Follow the best practices of email design. A clear structure ensures that subscribers grasp the content and core message(s) immediately. The following layout is proven to work for classic newsletters, like the ones promoting new content. Insert your company logo in the upper section so that the readers immediately associate the newsletter to you. Add images in order to attract the readers’ attention, followed by a brief text and a clear CTA (Call to Action).
If you work with different types of newsletters, you will need to use different newsletter designs. Ensure you act sensibly here. The colors used should correspond to your CI. Combine these colors with large white areas. This ensures clarity and professionalism.
Clearly separate the upper section, main body and the footer of your newsletter from each other. Where appropriate, use images or color contrasts to carry out visual separation. Ensure that the embedded links have sufficient space between them in order to avoid erroneous clicks.
Newsletter content – the centerpiece
The sender’s name, subject line, and header are part of the content and are the first step in the creation of the newsletter content.
Choosing a sender’s name
The average email user receives almost 125 emails every day. In order for your newsletter to be noticed by your subscribers, devote most attention to your sender’s name.
We recommend using your brand name. Either choose a non-personal name like ‘Mailjet Marketing Team’ or if you are a sole proprietor, the combination of your own and your company’s name. In case you are a personal brand, only using your own name is conceivable.
Formulating a subject line
After the sender’s name has been chosen (and it should stay the same for all future newsletters), the subject line should be defined. Along with the sender’s name, the subject line determines whether or not your newsletter will be opened.
The tone and language should match the style of your brand. Be bold and try out something new. Amusing text, questions, citing the recipient’s name, or even emojis, all jazz up the subject line and draw attention to your newsletter. As you’re are probably very reluctant to be labeled as a spammer, avoid the use of “spam words” like free, only available today or only available now at all costs.
Writing the heading
The heading is the third text element that you customize. Together with the subject line, it summarizes the email content and motivates the recipient to pay attention to your newsletter.
Creating newsletter content
It is now time for the core text: the heart of the newsletter content. Possible content may include:
Promoting the latest blog articles
New freebies like guides, white papers, studies, etc
Invitations to seminars, webinars, and other events
Special marketing campaigns like advent calendars, yearly calendars etc
The following rule applies: an email usually has a key message. The newsletter is one of the few exceptions. You can draw attention to multiple contents here. However, make sure not to advertise too much content at the same time. Research has shown that the majority of recipients click the first call-to-action.
Therefore, you must always have your primary objective in mind when creating it. Place the most important information at the beginning or near the beginning. The more subscribers have to scroll down, the higher the likelihood that content further down will not receive any attention.
Images etc. optically enhance the newsletter. But beware! Too many graphical elements impact negatively on the deliverability rate as this is a favored tactic of spammers. ISPs know this well and often block emails containing large image components. So you should aim to have a balance between text and graphics. We recommend a ratio of text to image of 60:40 or 70:30 in favor of the text.
When you create your newsletter, don’t forget to add Alt tags to the images and scale them down to the size you want. Bear in mind, that some email clients block images so that subscribers just see a large white area.
Likewise, some newsletter software packages distort large images. In this case, it means that the images in question have to be modified afterwards with an image editing program. This costs valuable time. For newsletter solutions with integrated image editing programs, obviously, no external processing is necessary.
Those who conduct email marketing must adhere to certain legal guidelines. The newsletter must contain T&Cs and an unsubscribe link.
It’s also a legal requirement that the recipient has given consent to receiving the newsletter. So stay away from sending unsolicited marketing emails as these are legally regarded as advertising. The practice of double opt-in, mentioned above, avoids legal disputes, warnings, and expensive financial penalties.
Step 8: Sending your newsletter – now things get interesting
Once you have created your newsletter, test whether it’s displayed correctly on different screens. Use the preview version to check how the email is displayed on desktop, tablet, and smartphone. In addition, send a test email to yourself and view it on different end devices to be on the safe side. If everything is OK, then send or schedule your marketing email to be sent out later.
Step 9: Analyzing and optimizing newsletters
Simply creating and sending a newsletter is not enough. In order to be successful (in the long term), you need to analyze the performance of your newsletter thoroughly. This helps identify your strengths and potential weaknesses and optimize your emails.
Track the following metrics for newsletter analysis:
Open rate: The percentage of subscribers who have opened the newsletter.
Click rate: The percentage of recipients who have clicked on at least one link (Call-To-Action).
Conversions and/or revenue per click: The percentage of readers who have executed the desired action after left clicking on the target page (purchase, download, read complete blog article etc).
Use this data to determine the exact performance of your newsletter and make any adjustments to individual elements. We recommend always implementing these adjustments using A/B testing.
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More and more data is being created every day. We are storing more information for each person, and we are even starting to store more information from devices, too. Internet of Things is not something imaginary and really soon even your coffee machine will be tracking your coffee drinking habits and storing them on the cloud. The term Big Data first appeared in the 60’s, but it is taking on a new importance nowadays.
What is Big Data?
Do you know that a jet engine can generate more than 10 terabytes of data for only 30 mins of flying? And how many flights there are per day? That is petabytes of information daily. The New York Stock Exchange generates about one terabyte of new trade data per day. Photo and video uploads, messages and comments on Facebook create more than 500 terabytes of new data every day. That’s a lot of data, right? That’s what we call Big Data.
Big Data is becoming an increasingly inseparable part of our lives. Everyone is using some kind of technology or coming into contact with products and big companies. Those big companies are offering us their data while also using the data we offer to them. They are constantly analyzing that data to produce more efficiently and develop new products.
To really understand Big Data, it’s helpful to know something about its history. By definition, Big Data is data that contains greater variety, arriving in increasing volumes, and finally with ever-higher velocity. That is why when we are speaking about Big Data, we are always talking about the “Big Vs” of Big Data. And there are more than three now, because the concept Behind Big Data evolved.
Data storage nowadays is cheaper than what it used to be a few years ago, and this makes it easier and less expensive to store more data. But why do you need so much data? Well, data can help you with anything – present this data to your customers, use it to create new products and functionalities, make business decisions, and so many more opportunities.
The name Big Data is not that new, but the concept behind handling a lot of data is changing. What we were calling Big Data a few years ago was far less data than it is now. It actually started around the 1960s when the first part of data warehouses was opened.
Forty years later, companies saw how many datasets could be gathered through online services, sites, applications, and any product that customers interact with. This is when the first of the Big Data services started gaining popularity (Hadoop,NoSQL, etc.). Having such tools was mandatory because they are making storing and analyzing Big Data easier and cheaper.
The Internet of Things is no longer only a dream. More devices are connected to the internet, gathering data on customer usage patterns and product performance. And then someone said, “Why not use that to have machines learn by themselves?” – so, machine learning was created and this started generating data, too.
Can you imagine how much data this is? And on top of that, can you imagine how many uses you can find for all this data? Having this much data will help you make decisions because you have all the information you could ever need. You can resolve any problemor difficulty with ease.
Simply said, Big Data is larger and complex data sets, received especially from new data sources. Those sets are so large that the traditional software used for data processing were not able to manage them easily, so a new set of tools and software were created.
Big Data Tools
As Big Data is something that is always growing, the tools that are meant to be used with it are also always evolving and improving. Tools such as Hadoop, Pig, Hive, Cassandra, Spark, Kafka, etc. are used depending upon the requirement of the organisation. There are so many solutions, and a big part of them are open-source ones. There’s also a foundation – Apache Software Foundation (ASF), that is supporting many of these Big Data projects.
As those tools are really important for Big Data, we are going to say a few words for some of them. Maybe one of the most established ones for analyzing Big Data is Apache Hadoop, which is an open-source framework for storing and processing large sets of data.
Another one that is getting more and more attention is Apache Spark. One of Spark’s strengths is that it can store a big part of the processing data in the memory and on the disk, which can be much faster. Spark can work with Hadoop (Hadoop Distributed File System), Apache Cassandra, or OpenStack Swift and a lot of other data storing solutions. But one of its best features is that Spark can run on a single local machine and this makes working with it so much easier.
Another solution is Apache Kafka which allows users to publish and subscribe to real-time data feeds. The main task of Kafka is to bring the reliability of other messaging systems to streaming data.
Other big data tools are:
Apache Lucene can be used for any recommendation engines because it uses full-text indexing and search software libraries.
Apache Zeppelin is an incubating project that enables interactive data analytics with SQL and other programming languages.
Elasticsearch is more of an enterprise search engine. The best of this solution is that it can generate insights from structured and unstructured data.
TensorFlow is a software library that is gaining more and more attention because it is used for machine learning.
Big Data will continue to grow and change and this means that the tools are going to do the same. And maybe, in a few years, the constructions we are going to use will be completely different. But as we mentioned, some of the tools are working with structured or unstructured data. Let’s see what we mean by that.
Types of Big Data
Behind Big Data, there are three types of data – structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data. In each type there is a lot of useful information that you can mine to be used in different projects.
Structured data is fixed-format and frequently numeric in nature. So, in most cases it is something that is handled by machines and not humans. This type of data consists of information already managed by the organization in databases and spreadsheets stored in SQL databases, data lakes and data warehouses.
Unstructured data is information that is unorganized and does not fall into a predetermined format because it can be almost anything. For example, it includes data gathered from social media sources and it can be put into text document files held in Hadoop like clusters or NoSQL systems.
Semi-structured data can contain both the forms of data such as web server logs or data from sensors that you have set up. To be precise, it refers to the data that, although has not been classified under a particular repository (database), still contains vital information or tags that segregate individual elements within the data.
Big Data always includes multiple sources and most of the time is from different types, too. So knowing how to integrate all of the tools you need to work with different types is not always an easy task.
How does Big Data work?
The main idea behind Big Data is that the more you know about anything, the more you can gain insights and make a decision or find a solution. In most cases this process is completely automated – we have such advanced tools that run millions of simulations to give us the best possible outcome. But to achieve that with the help of analytics tools, machine learning or even artificial intelligence, you need to know how Big Data works and set up everything correctly.
The need to handle so much data requires a really stable and well-structured infrastructure. It will need to quickly process huge volumes and different types of data and this can overload a single server or cluster. This is why you need to have a well-thought out system behind Big Data.
All the processes should be considered according to the capacity of the system. And this can potentially demand hundreds or thousands of servers for larger companies. As you can imagine, this can start to get pricey. And when you add in all the tools that you will need… it starts to pile up. Therefore, you need to know how Big Data works and the three main actions behind it so you can plan your budget beforehand, and build the best system possible.
Big Data is always collected from many sources and as we are speaking for enormous loads of information, new strategies and technologies to handle it need to be discovered. In some cases, we are talking for petabytes of information flowing into your system, so it will be a challenge to integrate such volume of information in your system. You will have to receive the data, process it and format it in the right form that your business needs and that your customers can understand.
What else might you need for such a large volume of information? You will need a place to store it. Your storage solution can be in the cloud, on-premises, or both. You can also choose in what form your data will be stored, so you can have it available in real-time on-demand. This is why more and more people are choosing a cloud solution for storage because it supports your current compute requirements.
Okay, you have the data received and stored, but you need to analyze it so you can use it. Explore your data and use it to make any important decisions such as knowing what features are mostly researched from your customers or use it to share research. Do whatever you want and need with it – put it to work, because you did big investments to have this infrastructure set up, so you need to use it.
As we mentioned when we are talking for Big Data we are always talking about the big Vs behind it. When Big Data appeared there were only 3Vs, but now there are more. And there are always adding more and more depending on what you need the Big Data for. We are going to mention some of the Vs in the next part of the article.
The big Vs behind Big Data
As the name suggests, Big Data suggests we are talking about high volumes of data. So the amount of data that you receive matters. This can be data of unknown value, such as data on the number of clicks on a webpage or a mobile app. It might be tens of terabytes of data for some organizations, and for others, it may be hundreds of petabytes. Or you may know exactly the source and the value of the data you receive, but still we are talking for big volumes that you are going to receive on a daily basis.
Velocity is the big V that represents how fast is the rate at which data is received and treated. If the data is streamed directly into the memory and not written on a disk, it means that the velocity will be higher, and consequently you will operate way faster and provide near real-time data. But this will also require the means to evaluate the data in real-time. Velocity is also the big V that is the most important for fields like machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Variety refers to the types of data that are available. When you work with so much data, you need to know that a big part of it is unstructured and semistructured (text, audio, video, etc.). It will require some additional processing of the metadata to make it understandable for everybody.
Veracity refers to how accurate the data in the data sets is. You can collect a lot of data from social media or websites, but how can you be sure that the data is accurate and correct? Low-quality data without verification can cause issues. Uncertain data may lead to inaccurate analysis and cause you to make bad decisions. As a result, you need to always verify your data and be sure that you have enough accurate data available to have valid and meaningful results.
As we said, not all data collected has value and can be used to make business decisions. It is important to know the value of the data you have at your disposal. And you will have to set in place means to clean your data and confirm that the data is relevant for the current purpose you have in mind.
When you have a lot of data you can actually use it for multiple purposes and format it in different ways. It is not easy to collect so much data, analyze it and manage it in the right way, so it’s normal to use it multiple times. This is what the variability stands for: the option to use the data for multiple purposes.
We now know a lot about Big Data – what it is, the types of data and the big Vs. But this isn’t really all that useful if we don’t know what Big Data can do and why it’s becoming increasingly important.
Why is Big Data so important?
Big data has a lot of potential. You can use the valuable insights that this data provides for making marketing decisions about your product and brand. Brands that are utilizing Big Data have the ability to make faster and more informed business decisions. Using all the information you have for your customers, you can make your product more customer-centric and create the content that your customer wants or personalize their journeys. Making decisions when you have all the information you need is easier, right?
To give you an example, just think how useful Big Data is in medical research when used to identify how dangerous it could be to contract certain illnesses, depending on some personal medical information or knowing how some diseases should be treated.. This is only one example of the use of Big Data, but it is one of the most important ones.
Something like online dating could become more than 90% accurate once machines learn how to match couples perfectly based on all the information they have for those two people. Any machine failures or crashes can be minimized because you will be aware of under what conditions the failure happen. You can have a car that drives itself and it’s safer than any other car driven by a real person because it doesn’t make human mistakes. It analyzes Big Data information in real time and knows the best route to take to arrive at your destination on time.
Based on all the information they have for their clients, companies can now accurately predict what segments of their customers will want to buy their products and at what time, so they will know the best time to release it. And Big Data is also helping companies run their operations in a much more efficient way.
Big Data is important for the progress of our technology and it can make our lives easier if we use it wisely and for good. The potential of Big Data is endless, so let’s check out some of the use cases.
Big Data uses
Analyzing Big Data can be done by humans and by machines depending on your needs. Using different analytical means, you can combine different types of data and sources to make meaningful discoveries and decisions. Like that, you can release your products faster and target the right audience. Below you can see some of the most common uses of Big Data.
When your main business is your product Big Data is more than mandatory for you. Let’s take an example that almost everybody knows – Netflix. How do you think Netflix manages to send you an email with recommendations picked especially for you every week? With the help of Big Data analysis, of course. They use predictive models and inform you of new shows you may like by classifying the data of past and current shows that you watched or marked as a favourite. Other companies are using additional resources such as social media information, store selling information, focus groups, surveys, tests, and much more to know how to proceed when releasing a new product and focus on who to target.
When you know how your customers behave and can observe them in real-time, you can compare this to the journeys that other similar products have established and you will know on which points you appear stronger than your competitors.
The market is so big that it is hard for a product to stand out as unique. So what you can do to distinguish yourself is put effort into personalizing your customers’ experiences. Big data enables you to gather data from social media, web visits, call logs, and other sources to improve the experience of interacting and maximize the value delivered.
Machine learning is so trendy right now and everybody wants to know more. We are now able to create machines that are learning by themselves and the ability to do so is coming from Big Data and machine learning models that have been developed thanks to it.
Scalability and predicting failures
Knowing at any time how much of your infrastructure you need to mobilize or the possibility to predict mechanical failures is important. It will not be easy to analyze all the data at first because you will be overloaded with structured (time periods, equipment) as well as unstructured data (log entries, error messages, etc.). But by taking all those indications into consideration, you can spot potential issues before the problems happen or scale the use of your resources. With Big Data, you can analyze customer feedback and predict future demands, so you will know when you need to have more resources available.
Fraud and Compliance
Hacking… we all hate it, but it is becoming more and more frequent. Someone is trying to impersonate your brand, someone is trying to steal your data and the data of your clients… And hackers are becoming more creative every day. But the same applies to security and compliance requirements – they are constantly changing. Big Data can help you identify patterns in data that indicate fraud and you will know when and how to react.
Your data analysts can find multiple purposes for your data and find how to connect the different types of data you have. You can use this data for publishing official research and bring more attention to your brand.
Where is Big Data headed in the future?
Big Data is already changing the game in many fields and will undoubtedly continue to grow. Just imagine how much this can change our lives in the future! Once everything around us starts using the Internet (Internet of Things), the possibilities of using Big Data will be enormous. The amount of data available to us is only going to increase, and analytics technology will become more advanced. Big Data is one of the things that is going to shape the future of humanity.
All the tools used for Big Data are going to envolve as well. The infrastructure requirements are going to change. Maybe in the future we will be able to store all the data we need on only one machine and it will have more than enough space. This could potentially make everything cheaper and easier to work with. Big Data is one of the subjects that we at Mailjet are interested in and it is something that we will follow for sure.
If you want to know more on how we are using Big Data and what tools we are using, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to be the first ones to see our next article on the matter.
Even though technical security measures are improving constantly, phishing remains one of the cheapest and simplest ways for cybercriminals to get access to sensitive information. As easy as clicking a link, victims of phishing are susceptible to sharing private information and put themselves at risk of identity theft.
To know how to best protect yourself, you need to understand what a phishing attack is, what types there are, and how you can recognize it if and when it appears in your inbox. Keep reading and we’ll help you avoid any security issues from phishing.
What is a phishing attack?
Phishing is an online scam where criminals impersonate legitimate entities in order to trick victims into sharing sensitive information or installing malware.
The term ”phishing” is a play on the word “fishing” since in both cases someone throws out bait and waits for users or fish to “bite”. Most often hackers do this via malicious emails that appear to be from trusted senders by including a link that will seem to take you to the company’s website. Once you fill in your data, that sensitive information can be stolen.
That data can be any private information that could be valuable, such as login credentials (email and password), financial data (credit card details or online banking credentials) or even personal data (date of birth, address or social security number). Phishing is considered a type of social engineering attack because it relies on human failures instead of hardware or software ones.
A brief history of phishing
The first example of phishing is from the mid-1990s, when an attempt to steal AOL user names and passwords was made using tools like AOHell. Despite many warnings from AOL, the attacks were successful, since phishing was a brand new concept and not something user had ever seen before. Following the initial AOL attacks, many early phishing scams came with obvious signs that they were not legitimate – including strange spelling, weird formatting, pixelated images and messages that often didn’t make a lot of sense.
Some phishing campaigns remain really easy to recognize (we’ve all received the email from the down on his luck prince who wants to leave his fortune to you), but others have become so advanced that it’s nearly impossible to tell them apart from real emails. This is because phishers have evolved along with new technical capabilities. Scams have now spread to social media, messaging services and apps.
If you check email or social media sites from your phone, you may become an easy target. Since the email interface on mobile phones is a lot smaller than on a computer, it makes it more difficult to flag signs of phishing, such as seeing the full URL.
Ultimately, if you have an email address, it is all but guaranteed that you have received a phishing message in your inbox at least once.
How does a phishing attack work?
A basic phishing attack attempts to trick a user into entering personal details or other confidential information. Around 3.7 billion people send 269 billion emails every single day and that makes for an ideal channel for cybercriminals. Imagine if even 1% of those emails are a scam, and 1% of those work. That is 26.9M success attempts every day!
We can assure you that more than 1% of the emails sent are a scam, but we’d like to help you make sure that far less than 1%of those are successful.
A phishing attack can have a specific target, such as people using a specific product, or can be scattershot, going after the general public with fake contests and prizes. In both cases, the victims are asked to enter their names, email addresses and, in some cases, passwords and bank details.
Another option is that the email contains a malicious attachment that you will be requested to download. In many cases, the malicious payload will be hidden inside a Microsoft Office document which requires the user to enable macros to run. Once you try to open the document you may be asked to update your software or provide certain permissions to allow the document to be viewed properly. But if you agree with any of this, you are likely opening yourself up to a severe security breach.
How do phishers find the email addresses they want to target?
There are a lot of ways for phishers to retrieve your email address and link it to a service you are using, and this can happen without your knowledge or the knowledge of the service provider.
Here are a few:
Searching over the web for the @ sign. Spammers and cybercriminals use advanced tools to scan the web and harvest email addresses. If you ever posted your email address online, a spammer will easily find it.
Cybercriminals use tools to generate common usernames (using the first letter of a first name and a common last name) and combine them with common domains. These tools are like the ones that are used to crack passwords.
Phishers are also able to find what each service provider would ask you to do as a client and then find a vulnerability to figure out if you are a client. For example, in the case of ESPs, scammers can check your public DNS records (SPF, CNAME, TXT) and try to find information that can link it to the ESP you use.
Now we know the basics of what is phishing, its history, and how it works, we can explore some of the most common types of phishing.
What are the different types of phishing attacks?
We can easily assume that pretty much everybody has already received a phishing attack via email or landed on a suspicious website. There are many types of attacks and hackers are becoming more and more creative every day, so we need to stay on top of some of the new methods being used to easily flag it as risky before getting caught.
Below, we have listed some of the most popular types of attacks that are used today. The main difference between these attacks is the method being used and the target. Let’s first dig deeper into the different targets that phishers are going after.
Spray and pray
The ‘spray and pray’ approach is the least complex type of phishing attack, where one message is mass-mailed to millions of users. These messages claim urgency one way or another. Either by stating that there is an “important” message from your bank or a popular service, or that “you’ve won the latest iPhone and need to claim it now.”
Depending on the hacker’s technical abilities, spray & pray attacks may not even involve fake web pages – victims are often just told to respond to the attacker via email with sensitive information. These attacks are mostly ineffective but can be sent to a massive amount of email addresses. It doesn’t take many victims to be deemed a success for the phisher.
Spear phishing is more advanced. Unlike “spray and pray”, which sends to a mass list, ‘spear phishing’ targets specific groups with a more personalized message. Phishers will, for instance, target users of a specific brand and will design the email to replicate the brand. In fact, they can target anything from a specific organization to a department within that organization, or even an individual in order to ensure the greatest chance that the email is opened and more personal information is acquired. The highest profile cyber-attacks typically come from this type of approach.
The message will be designed to look as if someone wants you to change your password because of an issue on the service side. In this case, the message will appear to be a legit message – as close as possible to the original one and they will redirect you to a page that looks like a real one too. These attacks are way more effective because they are well planned.
Depending on the target, the methods may vary. Spray and pray targets require less effort than spear phishing for example. You do not need to invest so much in finding a targeted list of emails, creating custom landing pages, and so on. As phishing has evolved over time, more and more we’re seeing methods that are not limited to email, but also include websites or social media.
Within the content, the only difference between the cloned email and the original email is that the links and/or attachments have been changed, likely directing you to malicious sites or software. As the email looks really close to the original one the recipients are more likely to fall for this sort of attack.
This is an attack targeting a smaller group of people – high-profile individuals, such as board members or members of the finance or IT team of a company. The email can appear to be coming from a trusted source, such as the CEO of your company.
This attack is harder to create because hackers will firstly need to find the exact right targets, and then find the right way to impersonate their CEO. However, the rewards are potentially greater: CEOs and other C-level executives have more information and greater levels of access than junior employees. Inboxes like GSuite can help prevent this by assigning profile pictures to internal colleagues’ email addresses, but also through features like whitelisting.
Business Email Compromise (BEC)/Email spoofing
BEC attacks are mostly “urgent” requests from a brand or a brand’s senior staff member. These emails are social engineering tactics to fool other staff members or users into giving their bank account details or making a donation.
A lot of popular service providers in the software space become victims to such attacks. Here’s an example of a phishing email sent from someone trying to impersonate WordPress:
Once you have clicked on a link or any of the buttons you will be redirected to a fake page created to collect your information.
Fake websites pages are designed to look and sound authentic. In most cases you will land on a simple login page or payment page, as they are very easy to recreate for many use cases and can be effective at capturing personal information.
Pharming/DNS cache poisoning
This method of phishing would require the hacker to create a website that impersonates a real one and, by exploiting vulnerabilities in the domain name system, match the URL with the IP behind it. In fact, the phishers would be able to redirect the traffic from a real site to a fake one. This is maybe the most dangerous type of phishing, because DNS records are not controlled by the end-user and it is harder to defend yourself against this attack.
This type of phishing is easier to create than the pharming one, because you don’t have to completely impersonate exactly the domain you want to spoof. The URL will look genuine but with a slight difference from the real one. The goal is to take advantage of typos when users enter URLs. For instance, they might:
Misspell the legitimate URL by using letters that are next to each other on the keyboard;
Swap two letters around;
Add an extra letter;
Swap letters that sound the same in some cases – “n” and “m”, for example.
This type of attack means that hackers are placing clickable content over legitimate buttons. For example, an online shopper might think they are clicking a button to make a purchase, but will instead download malware.
Nowadays, everything happens on social media, including phishing attacks. Imagine receiving a Facebook message with a link asking “Vote for me” or “Do you remember your time in Paris?” that redirects you to the Facebook login page when you click on it. Strange, right? But some people are not paying close attention or think that it is just a glitch, and will enter their username and password. But this new page is not really Facebook, and scammers now have your account details…
Some attacks are easier to spot, such as Facebook or Twitter bot sending you a private message containing a shortened URL. This URL likely leads to an empty page or one with suspicious content.
New attacks using social media continues to emerge, and some of them are playing a longer game. For example, they may be pretending to be someone else on the internet, which is not that hard to do with so many public images. Over time, these fake profiles may send you legitimate messages along with phishing messages to capture more information about you.
SMS and mobile phishing
Now that nearly everyone has a smartphone in their pocket, most of the world is even more vulnerable to phishing attacks via SMSor any other messaging apps. An SMS phishing attack works mostly in the same way as an email attack, presenting the victim with content as an incentive to click through to a malicious URL. The SMS are short and likely somewhat relevant to your life in order to grab the attention of the recipient quite easily and make them act quickly without thinking. Because of the plain text nature of SMS, and the ease of phone number spoofing, it is more difficult to spot this. After the link in the SMS is clicked, the attack works in the same way as the one with email attacks do.
Another type of phishing on mobile devices is done through suspicious apps that are downloaded from unauthorized sites. The app may contain scripts that, once opened on your device, can access all of your data. All your passwords can be accessed and if you have saved your bank or credit card details, they will be exposed as well.
How to recognize a phishing attack
There are a few things you need to pay attention to whenever an email or a website seems suspicious. While some phishing campaigns are created to appear authentic, there are always some key clues to help spot them easily. Let’s have a look over some of the things that may show you if you are being a victim of a phishing attack.
The sender address
Check if you have ever received something from the same sender. If the phisher was smart enough, they will mask the sender address well, and the difference could be only one letter, so you may not even see it if you don’t take a closer look.
Misspelled domain names
If you have received a message that looks to be from an official company account (something like “email@example.com”) be sure to confirm that this is the proper email domain for this company. Even if the message looks legitimate, with proper spelling and grammar, the correct formatting and the right company logo, it could still be a fraudulent account.
One clue is to check if the domain is slightly different than usual (like adding a suffix to a domain name). More importantly though, most legitimate brands will never ask you to communicate personal information by email.
Bad grammar and spelling
Many phishing attacks are not very well planned, especially “spray and pray” attacks, and the messages may contain spelling and grammar mistakes. Official messages from any major organisation are unlikely to contain bad spelling or grammar, so badly written messages should act as an immediate indication that the message might not be legitimate.
It’s quite common for email phishing messages to ask the user to click on a link to a fake website designed for malicious purposes. The URL will look legitimate, but there will be small errors like missing or replaced letters.
If the message seems odd, it is always smart to take a second to examine the link more closely, by hovering the pointer over it to see if the web address is different than the real one. You can always contact the brand using their public email address or phone number to double check before clicking anything suspicious.
Sense of urgency
Many phishing attacks contain messages that warn of issues with your account, or problems with your payment. This is because the phisher are trying to make you act quickly without thinking too much. In these cases, it is even more important to double check the links in the message and the sender address.
The message is too good to be true
We’re sorry to break your bubble, but any message claiming that you have won a voucher or a prize is most likely a phishing attack. We’re sure it will require a bit more work than just putting in your personal information into a website, so you need to be super cautious and check all the key giveaways.
But hey, if you actually won a prize, congrats!
What to do if you become a victim of a phishing attack?
If you’ve been the victim of a phishing attack, the first thing to do is change all of your passwords immediately. It is a good idea to not only change the password for the service the phisher may be impersonating, but all passwords. It’s alarming what a phisher can do with just one login credential. Consider using a password manager in the future to lower the risk, and make sure you have an antivirus solution with secure web browsing features installed and up to date.
Also, it’s always good to reach out to the service provider that was mimicked in the phishing attack and follow any additional instructions from them.
How to mitigate phishing attacks
There are some preventative measures that you can take to avoid phishing attacks or at least mitigate them. Here are some ideas:
Use your own links: If you are accessing websites daily or even weekly, it is better to use bookmarks for those sites. This is the only way to guarantee you land on the legitimate site. So even if you receive a notification, from say your bank, it is much safer to access your account via a bookmark than following a link.
Use Browser Extensions: Install or activate a web tool that identifies malicious sites for you so you know the website you find is legitimate. Example: Signal Spam plugin.
Install antivirus systems: Antivirus systems allow you to check if there is malware in a file before you open it, and potentially corrupt your computer.
Be Suspicious! Build a positive security culture at your company: On the internet, it is not a bad thing to be suspicious. Of course, some things are harder to check and need more technical knowledge, but you can do at least the most common steps.
Train your staff: If you are a security specialist, it is a smart idea to conduct regular security training for your employees to best recognize a phishing attack and what to do in such case.
Test the effectiveness of the training: Simulated phishing attacks will help you determine the effectiveness of the staff awareness training, and which employees might need further education. Plus, a little non-malicious phishing among friends can be fun. 😉
Use 2-factor authentication whenever possible: If criminals steal your credentials, they will still not be able to use them without the second authentication means (SMS, authentication app, hardware token, etc.).
It might have been around for almost twenty years, but phishing continues to be a threat for two reasons – it’s simple to carry out and it works. So if you come across a pop-up message or suspicious emails from someone you don’t know (a desperate prince, maybe?) or a brand you don’t use… don’t click on it! You don’t want to leak your information to some hacker on the other side.
You can never be too cautious when it comes to using the internet. Take some preventive measures, and ensure you’re on the safe side when you are making online purchases or entering your usernames and passwords.
Once you learn how to identify phishing attempts, it can even be entertaining to track some of the best and worst examples. Some might be impressively realistic, while others are just…
Have any questions about phishing that we haven’t covered in this post? Share them with us on Twitter.
The holiday season is a key period for any marketer. It’s a great time to engage with users and customers and stand out in our recipients’ inboxes. However, holiday season or not, more than 50% of users will read our email on mobile devices. This means that, as beautiful as they are, our email campaigns still have to look perfect, whatever email clients and devices recipients use to read them.
A few months back, we told you about MJML, the framework for responsive email coding that we open-sourced. The MJML team, helped by the community, has been hard at work and has come a long way since then. In fact, MJML 4.0.0 has just been released. The MJML community keeps growing fast and we want to help you be a part of it.
And since we’re endlessly generous, we’ve put together this “How to” post, to guide you through the creation of your very first MJML email campaign.
Did anyone say beautiful and responsive? Oh, yeah. Take it as our holiday gift. ;)
Leveraging MJML to create your holiday campaign
To get started, we’ll put theory into practice by recreating this beautiful H&M holiday campaign:
By the way, if you’re looking for inspiration for your email campaigns, ReallyGoodEmails is the place to go!
Coding emails with MJML
Before we start, let’s get ready to use MJML. There are several ways to code in MJML, such as running it locally or using the online editor. By choosing the online editor, you’ll be able to start immediately, but running it locally enables you to use your favorite email editor (with plugins for Atom, Sublime Text, Vim) and always be up to date with the latest version.
Once you’ve decided which method suits you best, we’re ready to get started. Here is what a basic MJML layout looks like:
Getting started with some styles
In this email by H&M, we can see that there are some elements with similar styles which are used several times, such as the menu and description of the images or the “Shop Now” calls to action.
Creating CSS styles for the “Shop Now” calls to action
<mj-style> enables you to use CSS in MJML, leveraging CSS classes and styles. Those styles will be inlined to the HTML upon rendering.In the code snippet below we’ve created a CSS class that we will use to style the “Shop Now” CTAs, as well as redefined the default style for the link tag to prevent links from being blue and underlined.
Styling MJML components
Instead of manually adding styles to MJML components, <mj-attributes> enables us to inline MJML styles in various ways. First, it’s possible to apply a style to all components at once, using <mj-all />. In this stage, we’re setting the default padding for all components to 0. We’ll be able to override this default padding by manually setting a new one on the components directly.Then, we can create mj-classes using the <mj-class /> tag, which we will then apply on some MJML components, such as the “preheader” and “menu” mj-classes.Finally, we can set default styles for a component as described here.
Structuring the email
An MJML file is generally made of rows (<mj-section>), which are themselves made of columns (<mj-column>). The only components which are not laid out in columns are high-level components such as <mj-hero> and <mj-navbar>, or <mj-include>. Always remember to wrap content inside a column, even if you only have one column.
Creating the preheader
In this case, we have a simple layout with two columns. Therefore, we just have to create a section that will be composed of two columns, with one of them being wider than the other. To add text in each column, we’ll use <mj-text> components and apply the “preheader” mj-class on them.
Styling the header
To add the H&M logo, we’ll juste create the section and use the <mj-image> tag to add the image, using the “width” attribute to size it as we wish. Note that, even if there is only one column, the image is nested inside a <mj-column> tag.
Desktop view When viewed on desktop, the menu is formed of four columns, aligned side-by-side. This layout is again explicit with MJML, we just have to create a section and wrap the four columns inside. To add the menu items, we’ll use the <mj-text> component as we did before, although this time we’ll be applying the “menu” mj-class. The great thing about <mj-text> is that it can contain any HTML, so we’ll just add links to the menu items using the HTML <a> tag. Note that all the <a> tags will be styled according to the CSS styles we added in the <mj-style> definition, in the header of the MJML file. In this case, it means that the text-decoration will be set to none and the text color to black.
Mobile view We’re almost done, but not just yet! If you scale down the original email, you’ll notice that the layout changes on mobile. The menu keeps the first three items on the same line, while the fourth one (“Store locator”) is broken to the following line. If you try to scale down the MJML email, you’ll see that all columns stack one under the other. Don’t worry though, it’s really easy to prevent columns from stacking, leveraging the <mj-group> component.
To replicate the original email’s behavior, we’ll wrap the first three columns inside a group component and leave the fourth one out. We’ll make sure to add a width of 75% to the group component and a width of 25% to the item that is left out, so that columns are equally split.
To replicate this, we actually have two options. We could have used the <mj-divider> component above and below a text component, but we decided to use a section with a border-top and a border-bottom attribute. Aside from the border, there’s nothing really new as we’re once again using the <mj-text> component with HTML inside.
Structuring the body of the email
This one is really easy (get used to it, you’re doing MJML… we love easy!). All you have to do is use the <mj-image> tag. As the image takes the whole width of the container, you don’t even have to set the width attribute. We’ll use the same technique for the snowballs, bed, hooded blanket and Instagram images.
Holiday Classics section
As this is full text, we can just use <mj-text> and define HTML styles on <span> tags to match the original styles of the email (we could also have created CSS classes or MJML classes for those text elements). Note the use of our CSS class “shop-now”. We’ll use the same technique for the “Holiday Snugs” section.
Four-column images layout
Desktop viewQuite similarly to the menu, we have a section that is split into four columns. Inside each column, we’ll use the image and text components. Note that because each image fills the column they’re contained in (minus the padding), we don’t have to manually set the width.Mobile viewIn the original email, the mobile layout of this section displays two images, side-by-side. We’ll achieve this by using <mj-group>, just as we did with the menu. This time, we’ll wrap two groups of two columns in a group component so they scale two-by-two on mobile.
Note that we’re using align=”center” on mobile and desktop, while the original email aligns text to the left on desktop and centers text on mobile. It is not possible yet to add media queries in MJML but this is an improvement we’re working on! Obviously, you can also add the media queries to the HTML generated by MJML.
Two-column images layout
This should be easy by now. The only thing we’ll need to do to achieve this layout is to use a section formed of two columns. Once again, there’s no need to set the width and the images will stack automatically on mobile.
Guess what? There’s a component for that! <mj-divider> enables you to easily add a divider to your email. Cool, isn’t it?
This section is different from the rest, as the background color fills the whole width of the view port. To achieve this result, all you’ll have to do is use “full-width=’full-width’” on the section component.
Social networks icons
Similarly to what we’ve done before, we’ll wrap six columns in a group component to ensure they don’t stack on mobile. In this case, we’re using the width attribute, as we want the icons to be smaller than the width of the columns.
This part is very straightforward, we’ll just wrap the text in a text component and use HTML tags and style to achieve the original result.
Similarly to the H&M logo in the header, we only have to use the image component with a custom width.
Rendering MJML to HTML and testing
That’s it! We just recreated this beautiful campaign with approximately 430 lines of MJML, while the original file contained more than 1540 lines of HTML.
Before sending our campaign though, it’s good practice to test it on the major email clients we want to target, using a tool such as Litmus or Email on Acid. All we have to do is send or upload the HTML generated by MJML to one of these platforms, which will generate previews for us. Want a sneak peak? Check here what the email looks like in the major email clients, including Yahoo, Gmail Android and Outlook!
Join the community
Of course, we’re sure you don’t just want to be able to replicate H&M’s email, regardless of how cool we think it is. To create your awesome newsletters this Holiday Season, play around, mix and match different bits and pieces and explore the documentation to discover all the available components. You’ll be able to create show-stopping designs in no time.