What is the Return-Path and why you need to customize it?

Have you ever heard of a return-path? If you haven’t, maybe you are missing one thing that you can do to help your deliverability. The return-path is the one that will help you manage your bounces and clean your list. Let’s check it out in details.

What is a return-path

Let’s start with the purely technical explanation that is given in the RFCs standard documentation what a return-path is and then break it down and translate all this in more understandable language.

The return-path header represents the SMTP MAIL FROM address, where bounces would be sent. From section 4.4. “Trace Information” of RFC 5321:

“When the delivery SMTP server makes the “final delivery” of a message, it inserts a return-path line at the beginning of the mail data. This use of a return-path is required; mail systems MUST support it. The return-path line preserves the information in the from the MAIL command. Here, final delivery means the message has left the SMTP environment. Normally, this would mean it had been delivered to the destination user or an associated mail drop, but in some cases, it may be further processed and transmitted by another mail system.”

So this means that once the email is sent, the return-path is added to preserve the value of the SMTP MAIL FROM command. Thus it is the mailbox provider (for example Mailjet, Google, Hotmail, Yahoo) that adds the return-path header.

When you look at the full header of your message (we know that you don’t usually do that, but you can try now just to see what we are talking about), you will see the return-path header somewhere at the top – in most of the cases is just above the Received header, which shows the public IP where the mail was sent from (in our case this would some of Mailjet’s IPs). It is good to know that the return-path header must be only one. In case there are more this would mean that something is wrong with the SMTP configuration and you need to dig deeper to check it.

Till now everything sounds so strange, right? Maybe knowing the main purpose of the return-path will enlighten you a bit.

Return-path is used to process bounces. As an email service provider, it is good to have a generic address that is handling those bounces. And this should be an email that you will have access to – therefore an email with your domain. See where we are going now? We need to add a return-path header in all emails that is pointing to an address in the Mailjet SMTP environment to track bounces, but this address will be with the Mailjet domain. And everybody that is receiving your emails can see the return-path you are using and see that you are Mailjet’s client.

For some people, this is not an issue but still, if you want we are offering the possibility to personalize your Return-Path with a CNAME record. We will leave the details of why it is better to customize your return-path for now and just explain what return-path is more human words.

The return-path is an address. It can be also called reverse path, envelope from, envelope sender, MAIL FROM, 5321-FROM, return address, From_, and Errors-to. This address is receiving the information for all bounces. As much as we hate them, bounces still happen and we need to be aware. This can help you a lot with your deliverability. If the “return-path” header isn’t present, and a bounce happens, the mail servers will be confused and won’t know where to send the bounce notification. This means you won’t know about the bounce, won’t be able to remove that address from your list, and will continue sending to it, which can negatively impact your Sender Score.

Now you know how important the return-path is, but let’s see why is better to customize it.

Why you need to customize it

The reason for customizing your return-path has to do with email authentication processes – or how the recipient’s server determines which emails to let through and which ones to refuse. DMARC is an email validation system created to detect and prevent spoofing (which is when the bad guys pretending to be the good guys so their spam emails get through). One of the many things the DMARC system does is to check for alignment between your sender name and your return-path name. More information for DMARC you can find in our article.

As phishing attacks increase daily, ISPs work to protect their own reputations, even the trusted ESPs are being subjected to thorough checks. There are a lot of things that can be causing issues with deliverability, but one of the things that is easy to fix is – cleaning up your email header and customizing your return path.

Every server has a different way of interpreting the mail headers to establish authenticity, but the more consistent the signals contained in your messages are, the better. It makes sense that the FROM address and the return-path address should with the same domain, right? Many servers will reject mail claiming to be from a certain address if the message isn’t sent by a server that usually handles that address. With Mailjet you can custom return path so you can be sure that no one else is affecting your reputation.

At Mailjet you can customize your return path using a CNAME record. To understand how this works, we need to see first what CNAME is.

What is CNAME

CNAME stands for Canonical Name. CNAME records can be used to alias one name to another. Any system hosting a site must have an IP address in order to be connected to the World Wide Web. The DNS resolves the name of your site to its IP address, but sometimes is more than one name that resolves to the same IP address, and this is where the CNAME is useful.

For example, if you own mydomain.com and www.mydomain.com pointing to the same site or application and they are hosted by the same server, to avoid maintaining two different records, it’s useful to create:

  • An A record for mydomain.com pointing to the server IP address;
  • A CNAME record for www.mydomain.com pointing to mydomain.com;

 

Then you will have mydomain.com pointing to the server IP address, and www.mydomain.com points to the same server IP address because it points to mydomain.com. So if there are any changes to be done with the IP address, you only need to update it in one place because it will replicate on the other.

The CNAME has some restrictions, however.

  • A CNAME record must always point to another domain name and never directly to an IP address.
  • A CNAME record cannot co-exist with another record for the same name. It’s not possible to have both a CNAME and TXT record for www.mydomain.com.
  • A CNAME can point to another CNAME, although this configuration is generally not recommended for performance reasons. When applicable, the CNAME should point as closely as possible to the target name in order to avoid unnecessary performance overheads.
  • A CNAME cannot be placed at the root domain level, because the root domain is the DNS Start of Authority (SOA) which must point to an IP address.
  • MX and NS records must never point to a CNAME alias.

 

One amazing news it that with next-generation DNS technology, the same CNAME record will be able to redirect to one of several names based on dynamic parameters. And this will make the management of CNAMEs even easier.

The A and CNAME records are sometimes confused, but they are two different but common ways to map a hostname to one or more IP addresses. There are important differences between these two records that we need to keep in mind. The A record points a name to a specific IP (you want mydomain.com to point to the server 189.1.147.13) and the CNAME record points a name to another name instead of to an IP (www.mydomain.com pointing to mydomain.com).

Think for the CNAME like an alias for the target name that inherits its entire resolution chain.

A few common uses of CNAME records are:

  • Providing a separate hostname for specific network services. Common examples are email or FTP that are pointing that hostname to the root domain;
  • Many people are using subdomains to manage their different services or customer that are linked to the main domain (e.g. company.hostname.com), and use CNAME to point to the customer’s domain (www.company.com);
  • Registering the same domain in several countries and pointing the country versions to the main “.com” domain;
  • Pointing from several websites owned by the same organization to the main website;

 

Now when we know more for the CNAME record, let’s see how you need to set it up so you can customize your return-path with Mailjet. We are using the first of the common examples – you are using CNAME to point your own domain to our domain in the return-path address.

How you can customize a return-path with Mailjet

The default return-path that Mailjet uses is “bnc3.mailjet.com”. As we for sure need to receive the bounce events you can not change it completely, because we won’t be able to receive the events.

Setting up the CNAME

To customize your return-path you will have to do three simple steps – create a subdomain, create the CNAME record in your DNS zone and contact us to activate the redirection.

Step 1

Create a subdomain to your main domain using the prefix “bnc3”. Let’s take the example with a main domain mydomain.com, you will have to create a subdomain bnc3.mydomain.com.

Step 2

You need to access your DNS zone and create a CNAME that looks in the following way:

bnc3.mydomain.com. IN CNAME bnc3.mailjet.com.

This will mean that your domain bnc3.mydomain.com will now point to bnc3.mailjet.com. So, everyone will see bnc3.mydomain.com in your email header, but behind the scenes this will point to our bnc3.mailjet.com and we are going to still receive the bounce events and update your statistics.

Step 3

The final step would be to open a ticket with our support team and give us those details so we can activate your customized return-path:

  1. The API key one which you want to activate the return-path
  2. The CNAME you set up – screenshot or the text version of the record will do great

Something that you need to keep in mind is that you can have only one return-path active per API key.

Once we have this information, we will do the necessary and our agents will get back to you with the good news that everything is ready. And there you go – you have your customized return-path.

Conclusion

Deliverability is so important for every sender and in this article, we learned one more thing that can help us with it and make it easier. The return-path is important for the ISPs so they know that there is where to send the bounces and somewhere to take care of them and why is better to customize it. You know now more about the CNAME record and how is works. And most importantly – you know how to customize your return-path with Mailjet.

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

Using the Scrum Framework in your Email Marketing Teams

Let’s be honest with ourselves a little bit here. Sending email campaigns can sometimes feel like one of two fun, but strangely aggressive, children’s games.

Whack-a-mole, and pin the tail on the donkey.

Whack-A-Mole Gif

Sometimes it can feel like we are just trying to keep up. We know we need to send a daily newsletter, or a new campaign promoting a sale, or tweak an old transactional email template.

We also need to keep up with the times, incorporating personalization, segmentation, and maybe even the odd piece of interactive content into our emails. Those moles keep popping up, and we simply try our best to whack them down.

Other times, we’re blindly sending a campaign, choosing a subject line, embedding an image seemingly on a whim, hoping for the best, thinking ”maybe this time I actually pinned the tail on the donkey”.

I imagine you’ve felt this way once or twice in your email career. Even when we have a clear plan, strategy, and roadmap to get somewhere, we can still feel lost in the dark.

As you can imagine, these problems are not unique to email teams. They’re actually pretty standard across any project involving consistent shipping like factories, software releases, and advertising just to name a few.

There are a whole host of ways to approach a problem like this, some of which we’ve covered on other blogs about email teams and workflows. But one approach that has historically worked very well is the Scrum Framework for Email Teams.

What is Scrum?

Scrum is a framework for teams to work together on iterative projects in a more effective way.

Perfected over the last decade or so by software development, a Scrum team brings together a cross-functional group of people to abandon their job titles, and within short segments, release products (or campaigns) quickly.

These segments, referred to as sprints, can last anywhere between a couple of days to a month. The length really doesn’t matter so long as the end result is well defined, achievable, and can help inform future “sprints”.

Rather than approaching projects with a waterfall methodology where projects start with a clear plan that is stuck to from point A to Z, Scrum uses sprints to optimize for changes. Whether it’s a change in the scope of the project, a change in the data we’ve collected about our end-user or audience, or a change in our team.

A Scrum team, consisting of a project owner, developer team (or creator team), and Scrum Master, cycle through phases of sprint planning, daily stand-up meetings, development, and release.

If the larger project is to release an app, a sprint could be as simple as building the landing page. If the larger project is launching a new daily newsletter, a sprint could be as simple as building or refining the contact database.

If you want to dig more into what Scrum is and how it works, our friends at Atlassian do a great job for you here.

How does Scrum apply to email teams?

The nature of Scrum is bringing together cross-functional teams to release complex projects in an iterative way.

When you think about some of the modern email campaigns today that involve beautiful design, excellent copywriting, personalization, and interactive content, you begin to see not only all the work, but also all the people that go into email campaigns.

Nike Interactive gif

There’s copywriters, designers, motion graphics designers, CRM specialists, data engineers, developers, a deliverability team, lead/contact generation team, and sometimes even more. Let alone the teams that also rely on external agencies and third-party providers. A Litmus survey in 2018 found that on average there are 8 people that go into an email campaign.

The problem is especially compounded by the fact that these individuals often come from 3 or more different departments, and email is likely not their only task. Rather than operating in silos, one great benefit of Scrum is the ability to not only tear down silos, but by definition tear down job titles.

In Scrum, you check your job title at the door and simply become a part of the “Developer” or “Creator” team of a sprint.

Scum is particularly compelling for email teams because of the iterative and data-centric nature of email. Depending on your company, you could be sending out millions of emails every day, capturing data and reimplementing on an on-going basis.

Rather than breaking email down into large chunks that go through changes maybe once per quarter, email teams can be using the lessons they’ve learned in the creation process, and in the data from each campaign, to drive decisions on a daily or at least weekly basis. A Scum approach allows for this.

The People on a Scrum Email Team

There are three primary roles within a Scrum Team (at least as defined by the original Scrum approach…but this can be flexible):

  1. Project Owner
  2. Creator Team (or Developer Team)
  3. Scrum master

How can this apply to your email team?

Project Owner

A project owner’s main responsibility is to maximize the value of the Scrum team and oversee the project backlog of tasks, ideas, and campaigns. They clearly define and prioritize what the team can be working on during sprints, and has an eye on finding those sprints that can have the most impact on the business for the least cost.

This will likely vary across your teams, but an Email Marketing Manager or Email Loyalty Manager fits this role well. Sometimes it could be a Digital Marketing Manager or VP of Marketing who has their sights set, not only email, but also how email also fits into the larger scope. Regardless, this is one person. One very important person.

Creator Team

The Creator Team (or developer team in software development parlance) includes people who produce a “releasable increment of the product”. Or, in other words – a finished sprint. As you can imagine, this creator team can be quite fluid depending on the sprint. This team can consist of any configuration of email marketers, copywriters, designers, CRM specialists, data engineers, and on and on. If the sprint goal is to create a new template, it more likely involves designers and copywriters, compared to a sprint that is trying to create a new segment.

Scrum Master

A Scrum Master serves the role of advisor on the project. They help everyone understand and put into practice the Scrum framework through advice, coaching, and ensuring the process is being followed properly. When everyone’s head is down on their work, it’s easy to forget or deprioritize important elements like daily scrums, prioritizing sprint items, and ensuring a deliverable’s scope doesn’t evolve.

A Scrum Master often contributes to the Creator team as well, so this role can be filled by the Email Marketing Manager, a designer or someone else on the Creator team. Sometimes, however, a Scrum Master is outside the Creator team and serves this role for multiple different teams, such as VP Marketing or Digital Marketing Manager.

Creating an Email Campaign Using Scrum

To help illustrate, let’s look at an example of where you can apply Scrum to email. And where else could be better than the peak of email every year – Black Friday. In a traditional workflow, perhaps the waterfall methodology, you would:

  • Define the project: determine, perhaps 2-3 months in advance the campaign you want to send on Black Friday to drive the most clicks or traffic to your store.
  • Build: you would then follow your plan or Gantt chart to a T, ensuring that you first create a template, then add copy, then add segments, and so forth.
  • List: Now, with Black Friday just around the corner and your series of campaigns set up, you would then send a few tests to make sure they look good in all inboxes.
  • Send: Now, you trigger your campaigns and hope for the best.

This approach is solid, and probably the one you are pretty familiar with. Plan a campaign, build it, send it, move on.

A Scrum-based approach, however, breaks up this large plan (or this large gamble) into smaller component parts. It lets you test the components along the way contributing to a more validated, and more informed series of campaigns come Black Friday.

Sephora Black Friday scrum email

Let’s take a look.

Project Backlog

The project backlog is essentially your master to-do list. Within this list are the tasks, ideas, and enhancements for the larger project.

For Black Friday, this could include things like:

    • Create new templates for each email
    • Integrate your user data into your ESP
    • Create a dynamic recommendation section to ensure sale items are personalized
    • Write copy to promote each sale item
    • And so on.

 

Sprint Backlog

A sprint backlog is the subset of this list that the Project Owner (with input from all stakeholders) has decided should be the next priority. They decide on a short time-bound “sprint” to accomplish these tasks. Perhaps, for Black Friday, the first priority is to ensure that you have well-defined segments ready for the Black Friday campaign.

So, in this backlog, you could include tasks like creating segments based on past buyer behavior. Rather than waiting until Black Friday to refine and define these segments, Scrum allows you to create your segment months ahead of time, test it, and using the data you get back you can also improve the granularity of these segments.

Daily Scrums

Daily scrums, or stand-up-meetings, are an important part of Scrum. They are the daily meetings that your team has to go over: (1) what have you since the last stand up, (2) what you are working on today, and (3) what are you facing to get your task done. This breeds accountability, collaboration, and consistent progress throughout the sprint.

Increments

Increments are essentially the “releases” of each sprint. The delivery you send out to the world. When developing an app, this could be a new feature release. In email, this could be sending a new campaign or publishing a new template.

Our sprint above could result in building new segments and sending a new promotion. We can now use that data to continually improve our segmentation strategy leading up to Black Friday.

Sprint Review

After the release of your increment, or campaign, a sprint review (or sprint retrospect) reviews how the previous sprint has gone. What did you accomplish, what problems did you encounter, and what new information did you gain that you can then use for future sprints?

Our segmentation sprint ahead of Black Friday could have revealed new interesting user data such as designs and templates that could work for one segment over to another. Perhaps you learned that certain segments respond to “sale” messaging differently. You can use this information for future sprints and for the ultimate Black Friday campaign.

So Scrum is for anyone and everyone?

No, of course not. Scrum is a set of guiding principles that can help you define and deliver your projects in a more consistent, evolving nature. Is that for everyone? No.

Is it for every email team? No, not necessarily. Some teams may have less of a need to create, test, and adapt. Some teams may be small enough that they don’t need to consider how to bring cross-functional teams together.

But, as email teams grow and become more cross-functional (especially in enterprise organizations), then we need to reconsider the linear approach to how your team builds and sends emails. Perhaps an iterative approach is best for you.

So what’s next? We have three recommendations for you:

    1. Identify who’s on your team, including those who don’t contribute daily
    2. Find projects that have a big goal and a long time frame. Make small bets, not big gambles
    3. Turn one email project into a scrum email project (new template, new campaign, etc.)

Have any scrum projects you’re dying to tell us about? You can find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Email Marketing Best Practices to Improve Your Performance

No matter what you’re doing, you want to give it your best, right? With email marketing, giving it your all will result in higher customer engagement, which means more opens, clicks, and maybe even more conversions. We made a list of email marketing best practices to help you focus your efforts to where it counts.

Top 12 email marketing best practices

Following guidelines might not be the most fun thing in the world. You might think it puts a bit of a limit on your creativity. But these guidelines are going to let you be as creative as you want, and see the results you want as well. So let’s get into it!

Best Practice #1: Double Opt In

So someone has just signed up for your emailing list…why would you want to send an email to make sure they want to be on that list? Because double-opt in can reduce your spam complaints right down to well within acceptable levels.

A double-opt-in is an email that is sent out to your new subscriber asking them to confirm their subscription by clicking a button within the email. Mailjet lets you build your double-opt in email and helps you send them out as soon as you have a new subscriber.

You’ll want to keep these emails on the shorter side. Make sure you put your CTA, in this case the “Confirm Subscription” button, at the top of the fold. It’s the main purpose of this email, so make it stand out! But we’ll cover this in more detail later. As for the rest of the email? Let your customer know what to expect, and why subscribing was the best decision they made all day.

Pottermore Opt-In Email

Best Practice #2: Test it out

Do you taste a little bit of the food you’re cooking before you serve it to your guests, making sure it’s as delicious as you want it to be? Email marketing functions on the same principal: test before serving!

Testing out your emails before you press send will give you the chance to make sure everything is in working order. We all know the feeling of pressing send, and right as starts its journey to your contacts’ in boxes, you spot a typo. And your stomach drops 😧 Testing is going to help you avoid this feeling.

But don’t just check for typos, also give the links a click to make sure they go where you want, check to see that the photos are rendering correctly, and ensure that you’re not missing any data. The list goes on and on.

Here’s a quick checklist of things to test before sending your email marketing campaign:

  • Spelling and typos
  • Links and CTAs
  • Images show up correctly
  • Looks great on both mobile and desktop
  • You chose the right contact list
  • Sending from the correct address

It’s also a good idea to send it to at least one other member of your team. A fresh pair of eyes that haven’t been staring at the same email all day will be able to catch details that might have slipped past you.

At Mailjet, you can preview how your emails will appear on mobile and computers, as well as send out a test email to anyone you want before you send it out to your entire contact list.

Best Practice #3: Keep the spam in the can

Yeah, we know… this one may seem self-explanatory, but you may be doing some spammy things without realizing it. We’ve got a full blog post on how to avoid email spam filters you should definitely it check out, but we’ve summarized some of the big ‘no-goes’ below.

The biggest and most obvious one is purchasing lists – just don’t do it. It is better to build up a contact list that opted-in to receiving your emails so that you have engaged customers that won’t mark your emails as spam.

Next up, make sure the content of your email is relevant. This may seem obvious, but your customers signed up for your emails for a reason and you want to make sure you’re delivering.

Your subject line is also something to keep in mind; practices, like writing it in ALL CAPS or throwing in far too many emojis🤣🍔🎧💖🔥, can make you look spammy in the inbox. There are also some words that you really don’t want to use if you don’t want to sound the spam alarm.

Gif of Spam in a can

Best Practice #4: Clean your list

It may seem tedious, but routinely cleaning your contact list is another important key to achieving great deliverability.

Cleaning your list means removing bounces, blocks, unsubscribes and inactive contacts from your list so you can avoid being marked as spam by frustrated customers that do not want to receive your awesome emails anymore (they must be crazy 😑).

Beta List Unsubscribe email

Speaking of unsubscribes, it’s important that you add an unsubscribe link in every one of your emails, and make sure it is visible! We know that you put in a lot of work to add them to your contact list, and this may seem contradictory to your goal, but we promise it’s for your own good.

Customers that can’t find your unsubscribe link may resort to marking you as spam if they can’t find any other way, and rack up enough of those and you won’t be able to reach any of your contacts, including the ones that love your emails. Additionally, an unsubscribe link is mandatory to remain GDPR compliant, which is something we take very seriously here at Mailjet.

Best Practice #5: On the subject of subject lines

As mentioned before, you don’t want your subject line to look spammy – but there is a lot more to them than that. Ideally, your subject line will be short and sweet, but engaging and enticing.

You’ll want to keep it somewhere between 30-50 characters, keep it consistent with your brand image, describe what your email is about, and make it all but impossible not to click on. Tall order, huh?

There are many different ways to make your subject line stand out in the inbox. Just to give you a few ideas, you can add a couple emojis (being careful not to overdo it 👀), add the recipient’s name to give it a personal touch, or include action verbs that call on them to interact. If it matches your brand image, you can even keep part or all of your subject line the same every time so your subscribers recognize your email when they get it.

Regardless of which tactic you choose, it’s a good idea to test it out to find out what works best. A/B Testing can help you out with this. You can test multiple different subject lines by sending each one to a small group of contacts, and then the best performing one will be sent out to the remainder of your contacts.

Regularly testing your subject lines will help you find what works with your contact lists and improve your open rates.

Best Practice #6: Simplicity is key

You love your brand, and you want to share as much of it as you can with your subscribers, but you might want to hold back just a little bit. Cluttering your emails with as much content as you can actually be counterproductive to your goal of engaging your customer.

Think of it this way: have you ever clicked into a website and just suddenly been bombarded with images, text, and interactives? You had no idea where to start, so you just didn’t start at all, opting instead to click out and find a new website that didn’t assault your eyeballs. Your email should have enough content to be worthwhile interacting with, but not so much that there is no focus to it.

Uber Simple Email

Best Practice #7: CTAs

CTAs, or call-to-actions, are most likely going to be the focus of your email. It is what you hope your subscriber clicks on when they’re scrolling through. Because of its importance, you’ll want it to stand out from the rest of the content.

“How do I do that?” you may be asking. Color, copy, design and placement all play a role in this.

The color should fit your brand image, and make it stand out from the background of the email. The copy is both what is written on the button, as well as the text of the email that surrounds it. Again, it should match your brand image, but it’s also a good idea to get a little creative about it. Average, run-of-the-mill buttons like “click here” and “read more” aren’t exactly eye-catching.

When paired with the design of the button, like shape and size, you could really boost your clicks.

When you’re placing your CTAs, there are some things you’ll want to keep in mind. First off, you’ll want one right when the email is opened, with no scrolling required. With this in mind, you’ll also want one at the bottom, particularly if your email is a little on the long side. When your reader gets to the bottom, you won’t want to have to make them scroll back up to click on your button.

Lastly, don’t go overboard! You’ll have to find a good balance between content, images, and CTAs. Too many might muddle the goal of your email, whether it’s to sell products, get people back on your website, or something else.

Best Practice #8: Adding ‘alt text’

‘Alt text’ is like Casper the Friendly Ghost. Invisible to most, but helpful when you need it! Ok, so the comparison might be a little off, but alt text does function just like that.

Casper the friendly ghost gif

You’ve taken lots of time and effort to design an email you know your subscriber is going to love, images and all. But then, when your customer opens the email in their inbox, the images don’t load and there’s just a big empty spot. Some reasons why your images might not be loading are the email client might automatically block images, or problems converting between email formats. This is where ‘alt text’ comes in to save the day.

When the image doesn’t load, your ‘alt text’ will appear in the empty spot, giving your readers an idea of where they’re supposed to click, instead of leaving them in the dark.

Alt-text in an email

Best Practice #9: Keep your branding consistent

Your brand’s image is important, and you want your email marketing to keep that image consistent. The colors, copy, design and tone should all be kept in mind because you want your customers to recognize your emails week after week.

If you’re working as part of a team, it can be hard to keep branding consistent with so many cooks in the kitchen, so to speak. That’s why at Mailjet, we made it possible to lock sections so that those will remain consistent from one email to the next. You can lock the header and footer, and let your team take creative liberty over all the rest!

Mailjet's locked sections

Best Practice #10: Make your emails more relevant

We all know humans are better than robots (at least you do if you’ve seen Blade Runner, The Terminator, Ex Machina, Resident Evil…I could go on). Emails with a bit of personalization in the subject line, like adding their name, for example, have a higher rate of being opened.

The subject line isn’t the only place where you can add a personal touch. Beyond even just adding it in the text of the email, you can also personalize by your customer’s behavior. This is where segmentation comes in.

Segment your customers by age, location, or even favorite products, and then build emails that are specifically made with these groups in mind. Of course, be careful not to get too creepy with it (maybe stay away from subject lines like “Talia, we know what you want and here it is” or something like that…creepy ☹️).

Best Practice #11: Make use of those statistics

So you sent off your email, and now you’re done, right? Nope. This is where email statistics come in, and they’re what’s going to help you make the next email you send out even better.

After you send out your email, review the stats you have at the end of the day, the next day, the following week, even over the course of the next few weeks! A lot can be learned from your email statistics about what your customers like, and maybe even more importantly, what they don’t like.

Mailjet statistics

Stats like open rates, click rates and A/B test results are just the tip of the iceberg. Reviewing your statistics routinely, and then creating and narrowing down email hypothesis that you’ve come up with is a sure way to improve your engagement rate.

And besides, look at it this way: coming up with all those hypotheses and giving them a test will make you feel a little bit like a scientist. An email marketing scientist. 🤓

Best Practice #12: Request feedback

As much as we love statistics here at Mailjet, we also know they can only tell you so much. So how can you dig a little deeper? Why not go ahead and ask your subscribers?

It’s a bit like a quality control test. There are a ton of questions you can ask your subscribers that could give you valuable insight into your sending, and help you understand what you should be placing more focus on. Questions about the kind of content to include, promotions they want to see, products they love and the frequency of the sending are just a couple suggestions.

Headspace asking for feedback

Summing up

Email marketing can be a daunting task. From the subject line, to the subject of your email, all the way to how to gage how interested your customers are in your campaigns, there is a lot to consider. If you keep in mind these 12 best practices, it will make it easier to know what to focus on, and what to prioritize. From the planning of your email, all the way down to the tracking of the stats, Mailjet can help you make the most of these email marketing best practices.

Do you have any email marketing best practices that you want to share? Let us know on Twitter!

Use Mailjet’s API with Postman

Developers are always searching for new and better applications, libraries, integrations, and ways to work. This is why each developer has a wide range of tools at their disposal. It’s the same for you, isn’t it?

Now you can send your emails better and easier with Mailjet and Postman – which we know will be your new favorite application (if this isn’t the case already). Let’s dive in.

What is Postman

When you are setting up your transactional emails flow, a lot of checks and test API calls are needed to see if everything is working. Having an intuitive tool with easy to use libraries of API calls can be your salvation in a situation like this. This tool will be your best friend. Why? Because it’s going to make your life a whole lot easier. So, drumroll, please… 🥁 Say ‘hello’ to Postman.

Postman is a widely used API tool that helps 7 million developers and more than 300,000 companies access millions of APIs every month. It provides features for designing, testing, mocking, and debugging API requests to make API development easier for everyone.

Postman offers a development environment that you can use to build, publish, document, design, monitor, test, and debug APIs. It allows users to set up all the API expects and checks the response of your request. It’s really easy to use it, you will just need to log in to your own account to access files anytime, anywhere. But let’s have a closer look at what Postman offers and how it works.

How to use Postman

If you still haven’t downloaded Postman, you can get it here for Mac, Windows, or Linux.

Once you’ve installed Postman, you will have to create an account, select the workspace tools you need and click Save My Preferences. Now you’re ready to use Postman! The Postman application will open and this is what you’ll see:

postman-interface-mailjet

Let’s have a look at a few of the most important buttons:

  • New – This is where you will create a new request, collection or environment.
  • Import – This is used to import a collection or environment. There are options such as import from file, folder, link or paste the raw text.
  • My Workspace – You can create a new workspace individually or as a team.
  • Invite – Collaborate on a workspace by inviting team members.
  • History – Past requests that you have sent will be displayed in History. This makes it easy to track the actions that you have done.
  • Request tab – This displays the title of the request you are working on. By default, “Untitled Request” will be displayed for requests without titles.
  • HTTP Request – Clicking this will display a dropdown list of different requests such as GET, POST, COPY, DELETE, etc.
  • Request URL – Also known as an endpoint, here you’ll identify the link with which they API will communicate.
  • Params – This is where you will write parameters needed for a request such as key values.
  • Authorization – In order to access APIs, proper authorization is needed. It may be in the form of a username and password, bearer token, etc.
  • Headers – You can set headers, such as content type JSON, depending on the needs of the organization.
  • Body – This is where one can customize details in a request commonly used in POST request.

Using Postman with Mailjet’s API

Let’s try an easy request with Mailjet’s API and see how it works. We will take a simple API call for sending an email with API 3.1:

# This call sends a message to one recipient.
curl -s \
    -X POST \
    --user "$MJ_APIKEY_PUBLIC:$MJ_APIKEY_PRIVATE" \
    https://api.mailjet.com/v3.1/send \
    -H 'Content-Type: application/json' \
    -d '{
       "Messages":[
            {
                  "From": {
                           "Email": "pilot@mailjet.com",
                           "Name": "Mailjet Pilot"
                  },
                  "To": [
                        {
                         "Email": "passenger1@mailjet.com",
                         "Name": "passenger 1"
                        }
                  ],
                  "Subject": "Your email flight plan!",
                  "TextPart": "Dear passenger 1, welcome to Mailjet! May the delivery force be with you!",
                   "HTMLPart": ">Dear passenger 1, welcome to Mailjet! May the delivery force be with you!" 
              } 
         ] 
     }'

We will start with the authentication part. You’ll have to select Basic Authentication and enter your API key and secret key that you can find here.

postman-authentication-mailjet

Now we will copy the endpoint to the Enter request URL and choose the method we need. In our case, the method is POST and the endpoint is https://api.mailjet.com/v3.1/send. We will go to the Body and select the “raw” view and JSON(application/JSON) as a framework.

postman-mailjet-example-start

Now we will copy the body of the API call we have as an example above and replace part of the information. I mean, we do need a real email address for the sending, right? 😉 But here’s how it will look like before replacing the data:

postman-mailjet-example

Once you have replaced the information with your own data, you will have to click on the Send button that is to the right of the field where we put the endpoint. If everything was correctly set up, you will see the response in the payload, in the field below the one with API call.

postman-mailjet-example-result

We can see that the status is 200 OK (so, everything is fine with our API call) and the time that it took to execute the call and the size of the call. The payload contains all the information from Mailjet to check what happened to your message. And that’s it! Now you know how Postman works.

Something that is worth mentioning too is that Postman stores all of the calls that you’ve ever made in their History tab. This way, you can go back to a previous configuration and reuse it, without the need to code everything again. This is useful if you want to compare two API calls or their response, or if there is a configuration that you need to call often to check its response.

Postman also offers a useful feature called “Collections” that allows you to organize and group the API calls, or import already existing ones. Each collection is actually like a folder that contains multiple API calls, and allows you to add sub-collections (or additional folders) as well. Collections are as useful as the History tab when you have to test the same endpoints multiple times. You can group your API calls in different folders so you can easily find them.

Personally, we love Postman because it is easy to use and it offers a lot of collaboration features that let us work together a lot more efficiently. Want to know more about that? Stay tuned and we’ll be publishing a post about it soon.

But, as we mentioned, the collections in Postman make your work easier, do you think that we’re going to make you copy all of your API calls by hand? Of course not.

How to add Mailjet’s API collection on Postman

If you already love Postman, you can download Mailjet’s API Postman Collection using the button below.

This button is also available in our API documentation if you want to check it first.

Once you have imported the collection in your Postman application, you can easily access all of our endpoints and do your tests. This will save you a lot of time. Postman will provide you with the detailed payloads for each API call and do the troubleshooting (if needed, because we know you are gods of coding) easier.

postman-mailjet-collection
How Mailjet’s API collection will look like in Postman

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more helpful articles and tips.

Email Marketing to Millennials and Gen Z – What’s the Difference?

Millennials are growing up.

The generation born between 1981 and 1996 are now aged between 23 and 38. They’re starting families and moving forward in their careers.

The next generation along is Gen Z. Born from 1997 onward, they range from kids still in elementary school up to college students and young adults starting careers.

Millennials vs. Gen Z: How are they different?

Millennials also came of age during the rapid rise of the internet. Older millennials will still remember dial up and ethernet cables; younger ones will remember the launch of the iPhone in 2007.

On the other hand, Gen Z have a very different context. They grew up with the internet from their earliest years: they’re true digital natives, taking smartphones, WiFi, and constant connectivity for granted.

What does all of this mean for you, as an email marketer?

Gen Z are mostly in their teens. They’re hugely tech savvy, and they’re used to filtering lots of information and narrowing it down. They’re more likely than Millennials to buy from their mobiles, and they’re also even more interested than Millennials in entrepreneurship (where they’re inspired both by extrinsic and intrinsic motivation).

Gen Z is also the most diverse generation ever. Socially, there are some striking differences: Gen Z are more risk-averse than Millennials: less likely to try alcohol and more likely to wear a seatbelt.

Gen Z are online a lot. 45% say they’re online “almost constantly”, with 44% saying they’re online multiple times per day. The majority check their email multiple times per day, too.

In terms of purchasing:

    • Millennials tend to value experiences over material things – with brands increasingly turning to special events like meetups or Amazon’s treasure truck.
    • Millennials aren’t particularly brand-loyal. They’ll happily try new, innovative brands.
    • Millennials trust endorsements from their peers.
    • Gen Z are more engaged with mobile devices and social media than millennials, and even less likely to see online advertising.
    • Gen Z are increasingly using Tumblr, Snapchat and Twitter, with Facebook and Reddit in decline with this generation.
    • Gen Z are more likely to make impulse purchases – and in-store experiences are still important to them.
    • Gen Z aren’t so concerned about healthy eating, or organic produce, as Millennials: they’re more likely to focus on value.
    • Both generations use email more than you might expect: in fact, many members of Gen Z predict that their use of email will increase in the future.
    • Both generations love to share content online.
    • Many of Gen Z aren’t yet in the workforce – so it’s likely to be their parents making the purchasing decisions. Keep that in mind with your communications.

     

    Challenges marketers face with both generations

    Of course, Millennials and Gen Z are hardly different species. Whichever of these generations you’re marketing to, you’re likely to face some common challenges:

    They use Adblocker. Your customers may never see your online ads because they’re blocking them. This is even more common with millennials than Gen Z … though Gen Z are more aware of ad blocking options on mobile.

    They hate clickbait. Millennials and Gen Z are quick to catch on to spammy techniques, and neither generation will be impressed by clickbaity headlines.

    They know their Inbox space is theirs and theirs alone. Both Gen Z and Millennials will be quick to hit “unsubscribe” if they’re feeling spammed. Give them the option to select how often they want to hear from you.

    They’re focused on mobile-friendly and convenient options. If your site doesn’t load well on mobile, you won’t make many sales.

    They value their privacy. Both millennials and Gen Z will be put off if you ask for unnecessary personal information (e.g. to sign up for your email newsletter). Gen Z members are particularly cagey about giving out personal information.

    Apple Music email

    Will they still use email?

    In a word … yes. Email is still hugely popular, and it’s not showing any signs of going away just yet. In fact, for both millennials and Gen Z, it remains the preferred channel for marketing communications.

    Despite a lot of scare stories about “the end of email”, 85% of Gen Z prefer using email over other communication channels – and this is only likely to increase as more of them enter the workforce. Many check their email multiple times a day.

    Social media is hugely important, of course, with both millennials and Gen Z, but email isn’t going away anytime soon.

    This is great news, because email has significant advantages over other channels for marketing communications. It allows the easy personalization of messages at a mass scale, plus it gives you the ability to reach the right person at the right time with the right message (with the option to segment email lists based on customer behavior).

    Emails are also more lasting than other marketing communications: you can go back to an email time and time again, but push notifications and social ads vanish quickly, or at the very least, are tricky to find again.

    Emails can be any length you want, and you can include as many (or as few!) images as you want: your marketing messages aren’t limited by the format in the way that they are on social networks.

    Email marketing best practices for Millenials and Gen Z

    Whether you’re marketing to millennials or Gen Z, aim to:

    Emphasize your company’s environmental or ethical credentials. Both generations place huge importance on the environment – with Gen Z being, if anything, even more engaged than millennials about climate change.

    Don’t ask them to share a lot of personal information. While millennials are generally relaxed about this, Gen Z is likely to be more reserved and cautious.

    Be sincere and direct. Gen Z, in particular, will appreciate this. They don’t like being talked down to and they don’t like to feel sold to in a pushy way.

    Don’t push a loyalty program. While this could work well with Generation X, Millennials and Gen Z don’t tend to be particularly brand loyal … and they may be put off by the implication that you’re taking their loyalty for granted.

    Offer social proof. This is great for millennials, but even more important for Gen Z, who are most likely to trust reviews from peers. You could include screenshots of Facebook reviews in your emails, for instance.

    A few final words

    While there are some differences between millennials and Gen Z, the key to marketing to both generations is to be open, honest, and ethical.

    Don’t talk down to them or patronize them … and make sure it’s as easy and convenient for them to buy as possible.

3 Ways to Make Email Easier for WordPress Users

WordPress is an online, open source tool written in PHP, designed for the creation of websites. It’s probably the easiest and most powerful blogging and website content management system (or CMS) in existence today.

Combining the power of Mailjet with WordPress will make your life easier and your emails better. Once you have Mailjet’s plugin installed on your WordPress, you can manage your subscribers, send beautiful emails, and even track your statistics.

You want to know more? Keep reading. 😉

Why we love WordPress

WordPress is a software you can use to create your own website, blog, or even an application. It was released in 2003 and quickly became one of the best CMS (content management system) on the web. Currently, WordPress is used for more than 33.6% of all websites on the Internet. In fact, some of the most famous sites are created on WordPress – blogs like Mashable and TechCrunch. News outlets like The New York Times’ blogs and CNN’s on-air personality blogs all use WordPress, too.

WordPress can be downloaded for self-hosted installations from WordPress.org or it can also be used as a hosted service via WordPress.com. There are some slight differences between both options.

WordPress.org, often called self-hosted WordPress, is the free, open-source WordPress software that you can install on your own web host to create a website that’s 100% your own.

  • Self-hosted WordPress is available at WordPress.org. If you want to truly own your website, self-hosted WordPress.org is almost always the best option. WordPress.org is the free tool that you can use for no cost if you don’t need any paid themes or plugins.
  • WordPress.com is a for-profit, paid service that is powered by WordPress.org software. It’s simple to use, but you lose a lot of the flexibility of the self-hosted WordPress.

In the infographics below you can see the main differences and decide what option is the best for you:

wordpress.com-vs-wordpress.org

Why choose WordPress.org

At Mailjet, we think WordPress.org is the best option. If you’re not sure yet, let us tell you why we think it’s best to choose WordPress.org to create your site:

  • WordPress is free: You are free to download, install, use and modify WordPress.org however you want to match your needs.
  • WordPress is open source: This means that you can also modify it according to your needs. Another amazing thing is that hundreds of users all around the world are constantly creating and improving the WordPress software.
  • WordPress is easy to use and flexible: WordPress enables you to build and manage your own full-featured website using just your web browser – without having to learn how to code.
  • WordPress offers a lot of themes: There are customizable WordPress themes for just about every kind of website (whether it’s a blog, business site, or an online store).
  • WordPress offers a lot of additional plugins: You can use them to add advanced features like sending emails (go Mailjet!), analytics, contact forms, managing online shop, and much, much more.
  • WordPress is secured: WordPress has safety measures to protect your data from any accident or hacking.
  • WordPress has a great community: WordPress has an official forum that is a great place to get answers to your questions, and organizes events around the world throughout the year.
  • WordPress makes it easy to import and export data: You can import your data from other platforms like Blogger or Tumblr to WordPress, and you can easily export it to move away from WordPress, whenever you want.
wordpress-mailjet-free

So, what are you waiting for? Go get WordPress today to start creating your awesome website.

Mailjet’s email plugin for WordPress

If you’re looking to make your life easier when it comes to WordPress and email, Mailjet is the answer for you. Mailjet is an email solution that easily integrates with WordPress, allowing you to create and send both marketing and transactional emails. Mailjet also enables WordPress users to access very detailed stats.

What’s best, you won’t need to leave your WordPress site to create, send and track you emails. The only thing you’ll need to do is to install Mailjet’s free email plugin for WordPress.

The free Mailjet for WordPress plugin will help you create, send and track beautiful newsletters in minutes. Here are a few of the things you can do with the Mailjet x WordPress plugin:

  • Create amazing emails using our drag & drop email editor, Passport, directly from WordPress.
  • Send your emails to your contact list without leaving WordPress.
  • Sync your contacts and contact properties with your Mailjet account, so you can personalize the content of your emails.
  • Check your statistics from your WordPress.

Let’s dig deeper into three of the most useful things you can do with Mailjet and WordPress.

3 Ways Mailjet x WordPress make email easier

There are so many things you can do with Mailjet and WordPress once you have the plugin. But, right now we are going to talk to you about three in particular. Let’s start with one which is Mailjet’s superpower – sending beautiful emails.

Send beautiful emails

Mailjet is the best solution to send beautiful marketing and transactional emails. Our amazing online editor Passport will help you create your emails and send them to your customers. Let’s start with the marketing emails.

Marketing emails

As we mentioned, our Passport editor is available for all WordPress users that installed our plugin. We have a large template gallery with loads of options for you to choose from and customize, or you can create your own template from scratch. It will take you only a few minutes to create your newsletter and then the only thing left to do is send it to your list of customers.

wordpress-mailjet-template-creating

Designing your template with our email editor is also really simple, as our drag & drop builder is both easy to use and really flexible, and our detailed documentation goes over everything you need to build your email. For those that prefer coding their emails, this can be done by using HTML or our open-source markup language, MJML.

It will take you only a few minutes to create your newsletter and then the only thing left to do is send it to your list of customers.

The best thing about it is that once you have the plugin installed, WordPress syncs your contacts automatically with Mailjet. The only thing you should have in advance is the contact properties you need already in your Mailjet account, which you’ll need to then be able to personalize your emails.

properties-mailjet-wordpress

We’ve covered the marketing emails, but they’re not the only type of emails your brand sends. Your transactional emails shouldn’t be neglected. The times when a plain text email was enough are long gone. Let’s see how you can send beautiful transactional emails, too.

Transactional emails

Transactional emails are something that your customer is always impatiently waiting for, no matter if it is account confirmation email or tracking information. Mailjet gives you the possibility to create beautiful and personalized transactional emails. You can propose similar products or ones that are on sale in a purchase confirmation based on the interest and the behaviour of each recipient.

You can see how to create this type of email on our blog post ‘How to Use Templating Language to Send Truly Personalized Emails’.

You can now send these beautiful emails from your online store on WordPress using Mailjet’s SMTP relay. You should only add a bit of code to your template functions.php file. You can see the code and all the details of how to do the configuration, you can see here.

Now you know how to create amazing and responsive emails, but even better would be to automate them with few clicks, right? Now you can connect two of the most used plugins in WordPress with Mailjet in minutes.

Contact Form 7 and WooCommerce integrations

Our integration with Mailjet includes a direct connection with Contact Form 7 and you can also easily connect WooCommerce with Mailjet via Zapier, so you can route your emails sent from these two plugins to go through Mailjet. We are going to check the details of each now.

Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 is a plugin that allows you to create, customize and integrate any kind of contact form on your WordPress site. Almost any business needs a contact form, whether it’s for asking questions, contacting support or requesting quotes.

Contact Form 7 is the most used plugin of WordPress with over 5 million downloads. Can you imagine how many contact forms are created with it? This is why we decided that we want to make your life easier and automate the emails you are sending through these forms. That’s why we included a connection with Contact Form 7 in our native integration with WordPress.

Activating the Contact Form 7 feature on the Mailjet’s WordPress plugin is pretty easy. Check out how to do it on our recent post about Contact Form 7.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is perfect for you if you have an online store. You can sell digital and physical products, manage inventory and shipping, take secure payments, and sort taxes effortlessly. You keep 100% control over all your data, there’s support for mobile devices, and the potential to scale your sites is limitless. Isn’t it great just imagining it?

WooCommerce is by far the best designed and most popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress. Routing your marketing and transactional emails from Woocommerce through Mailjet is really easy to do via our integration with Zapier.

And once your emails are sent, how are you going to be able to see what is happening with them? Mailjet offers detailed statistics available directly in your WordPress. Let’s take a closer look at that.

Track statistics

There is more to emailing than just sending campaigns or setting up transactional emails. It’s also about tracking your emails’ performance, analyzing the results, and drawing conclusions to improve your future sending. With Mailjet’s integration with WordPress you have access to detailed statistics directly in your WordPress.

wordpress-statistics-mailjet

You can filter for a specific date or email status of your choosing, update your list directly, remove blocks or spams from this page, or even create a new one with only click and open rates. You can always download these statistics as a CSV file and use them in another application if you need to, or just store them somewhere safe. Mailjet gives you all the tools that you need to maintain your lists and adapt your sending.

Installing the Mailjet email plugin for WordPress

So now you know what cool things you can do with Mailjet and WordPress. Can’t wait to try it? The latest Mailjet for WordPress v5.1 can be downloaded from the WordPress plugins directory.

wordpress-mailjet-plugin

Setting it up is also really easy.

To configure the Mailjet plugin, first click on ‘Setup account’ from the Installed Plugins page.

wordpress-plugin-installation

You will then be asked to enter your Mailjet API and Secret key here.

wordpress-mailjet-setup

Once that’s done, your Mailjet account will be connected to your WordPress and ready to use. See? We told you it was easy!

Let’s wrap it up

We saw that you can connect Mailjet with WordPress and other WordPress plugins with ease. WordPress gives you the power to create and maintain your site, and you can combine it with the amazing possibilities of Mailjet without the need to even leave WordPress – from creating and setting up your emails, to checking your statistics after sending them. What else could you need?

nothing-more-than-mailjet-and-wordpress

For more useful tips and articles follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Best Email Marketing Campaigns to Get Inspiration

So you’ve decided to get started on an email marketing campaign. Your computer is booted up, you’ve got your notebook opened beside you and you’re already to go… but where should you start? It’s a daunting task, but we have a couple great email examples for you to get you started.

What is an email marketing campaign?

An email marketing campaign is simple in explanation, but can be difficult in execution. Essentially, an email marketing campaign is an email or series of emails that a business uses to communicate with their customers, trying to persuade them to interact with them and/or their product.

Both simple and hard all at the same time, right? Our top picks are going to help you out, so deep breath, get ready to take some notes, and let’s get into it.
Cat typing on keyboard

What makes a good email marketing campaign?

There are a couple things to keep in mind when planning your email marketing campaign. Every campaign you send out should include these key elements.

Subject Line

Subject lines are only a few characters, even less text than a Tweet, but they have the power to make or break your email marketing campaign. So how does something that small have so much power? Because it is the first thing your subscriber is going to see in their inbox, before they even open your email.

This is your chance to stand out in the inbox. Your subject line should be related to what your email is about, catchy and something your recipient can’t miss, but also true to your brand image. Oh, and do not fear the emoji! Adding emojis in the subject line can be that pop of color that draws your subscribers attention to your email first (and they’re super cute 😸).

Content

Your customers signed up to receive your email marketing campaigns for a reason, and this is your time to deliver on it. The content of your emails should be relevant, and there should be plenty of value in them as well.

Sending offers like promo codes, exclusive content or suggestions for your subscribers are all great way to add value to your emails. Be careful not to make it too cluttered, though. Your message should remain skimmable and your customer should be able to get the big picture right after they open your email.

Timeliness

Picking the right time to send your email is a hard decision to make. Tuesdays and Thursdays are generally the best days to send out your campaigns, but choosing a day and time could depend on if your a B2B or a B2C brand, and what industry you are in.

Regardless of what your answer to that is, we know you want to land in the inbox at the time that’s going to get you the most exposure possible. Picking a date and time, and then being consistent with it, is just as important at the content itself.

Responsive Design

With 59% of emails now being opened on mobile, you’ll want to pay attention to responsive design. What this means is making sure that your email looks just as good on your customer’s mobile device as it does on their laptop.

Our Passport email builder will ensure that the emails you create appear how they should in your customer’s inbox, no matter the device. There are also a couple best practices for responsive emails that you might want to check out before you get down to it.

While designing your email, keep in mind that content is king. This means that adding interactive and eye catching features like GIFs and photos, and paying attention to building a memorable design are important, but make sure it doesn’t outshine the content of your email. When it comes down to it, your content is what your subscribers signed up for in the first place, and you want to make sure your delivering on those expectations. No pressure, though. 😅

CTAs

A CTA, or a call-to-action, just might be the most important part of your email. This is the reason behind your email; it’s what you want your customer to do once they open it up in their inbox.

Whether it’s a button to complete their purchase, follow you on social media, or head back to your website to continue exploring, your CTA should grab their attention. There are a lot of ways to make your CTA stand out from the rest of the email, color and size just being two of them.

You’ll also want to keep the placement in mind, putting at least one CTA above the fold. You want your customers to see it as soon as possible so they know what action they should take within your email.

Don’t forget about the copy that you write to accompany it. The words you choose can make or break a CTA. It has to be hard NOT to click on, and match your brand voice. Sound like a lot? We have some great examples coming up to get you started.

9 of the best email marketing campaign examples

Nike: Clean minimalism

Nike's color and design
The first thing that catches our eye is the beautiful minimalism of Nike’s marketing campaign. Minimal clutter, minimal text, but just enough to pull you in. A big logo at the top so you know it’s Nike, followed by a bold title that immediately informs you that Nike is about to show you exactly what you need to make this summer a good one. Finally, one simple line of copy that fits perfectly with Nike’s brand voice.

It’s a seasonal email that’s just in time for the summer. It invokes beachy vibes with the towels laid out on an almost sand-colored background. While the main CTA is geared towards men, they also give you the option to check out the kids’ stuff too, in case the whole family needs to get ready for the summer!

PayPal: Enticing copy

Paypal's relatable copy
If you’re looking for an example of good copy, look no further than PayPal’s email marketing campaign. Quick and witty, it goes right into the purpose of the email flawlessly. We all know what it’s like when you’re out with friends, and you’re trying to figure out the best way to split the bill. The relatability of PayPal’s copy makes it feel friendlier and warmer.

It’s the perfect set up for their CTA. You’ll want to click on it to find out how you’ll never have to engage in that awkward “who’s going to cover the bill” conversation. Further down in the email, in case the copy didn’t quite snag you, they have a graphic to show you just how easy it is to use.

Starbucks: Welcome them to the list

Starbuck's welcome email
Welcome emails are a great way to say thank you to your subscribers for signing up to your email marketing campaigns. You got them, so now it’s time to wow them. And that’s exactly what Starbucks does with their welcome email by keeping it minimal, but still informative.

In the body of the email, the short and sweet text lets you know exactly what to expect from their future emails. If every email is as simple and digestible (no pun intended) as this one, you’ll be looking forward to their next email in your inbox.

Sending out a welcome email like this is super easy with our Automation feature. Once someone signs up for your newsletter, Automation will make sure the welcome email is sent off to them right away.

The Skimm: Milestone celebration

The Skimm's welcome email
Milestones are an important part of life, just as they are an important part of brand and customer relations. Well… maybe not as much, but bear with me. Milestone emails are emails that are sent out when the subscriber has reached a certain goal or, in Skimm’s case, been a subscriber for two years.

This kind of email can make a customer feel appreciated. We all love to celebrate a special occasion, right? The best thing about this kind of anniversary email doesn’t require a subscriber to input any new information. With that milestone email, you can also include CTAs to get them back more involved with your brand, like social media.

Tory Burch: The magic of GIFs


GIFs are the closest we can come to the moving pictures in Harry Potter. But beyond that, they’re also a cool little addition to your email campaigns to really catch the eye of your customer. When opened, it’ll set your email apart from all the other text-based ones cluttering up the inbox.

Additionally, the implied exclusivity of the Tory Burch sale can make customers feel special and singled out. The “Private Sale” encourages the customer to take advantage of this opportunity.

Trello: Clever CTAs

Trello's catchy CTAs
Because CTAs are so important to your email marketing campaign, it’s a good idea to make them hard to ignore. There are different ways to go about doing this, but the way Trello does is by writing witty copy for the CTAs. We all know the run-of-the-mill CTAs. The “click here” and the “learn more here” buttons that are the CTA equivalent of oatmeal for breakfast (no offense if you like oatmeal).

Accompanying Trello’s engaging copy are CTAs that are unique and fit with the little descriptions. It may be difficult and take quite a bit more brainpower, but avoiding the temptation to write boring copy of every aspect of your email, not just the CTAs, can really make your campaign stand out.

Microsoft: Interacting with your customers

Microsoft's email quiz
In this email campaign, Microsoft offered reward points if you answered the trivia question correctly. It’s like being on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, but inside an email! And without the million dollar prize… but still exciting.

While it’s a fun way to engage the customer, offering points that they can then redeem for things like prizes and coupons will keep the customer involved. To get the points, the customer also has to sign into their account, pulling them back to the web page. It’s a quiz that their subscriber will actually want to take.

Typeform: Re-engage

Typeform's re-engagement campaign
Email marketing campaigns can have many different uses, and one of those can be re-engagement. Maybe your subscriber was originally interested in your product, but life got in the way and they lost a bit of interest. Typeform’s re-engagement email shows you how to try to pull that subscriber back in.

At the beginning, they use a bit of humor to make the tone more conversational. Then, they give you a reason to come back to the site. In this case, it’s a link to the template gallery. A re-engagement email should both give the subscriber a reason to come back, as well as show them what they never knew they were missing.

Cook Smarts: Classic Weekly Marketing Campaign

Cook Smarts well sectioned email
Let’s just take a second to dissect this weekly newsletter.

Cook Smarts breaks down their email into three main sections to make the weekly reading a little bit easier to digest (get it? 😂). Starting with the menu, Cook Smarts shows you the best of the week so you don’t have to do the digging yourself. They segway into kitchen how-tos, and then into the Tip of the Week. Easy to follow, and easy to see the value in remaining a subscriber of the weekly newsletter.

It’s also a great idea to have a CTA like “Forward to a Friend”, as this one does in the top corner. Emails are super easy to share by (you guessed it) email, so adding this sort ofCTA could boost exposure for your marketing campaign.

How to send great email marketing campaigns with Mailjet

Feeling a little overwhelmed with all of the possibilities? Your email marketing campaigns can take any shape or form you like, and your creativity and vision are your greatest asset. At Mailjet, we can give you the tools so you can flex your creativity:

  • Drag & Drop Email Editor: After seeing all the examples above, you have a vision for your email marketing campaign. It’s our intuitive email editor, Passport, that is going to help you bring it to life with drag-and-drop sections that lets you bring that vision to life. The best part: you don’t need to know how to code.
  • Segmentation: Every person is different, so marketing to them like they are all the same might not be the best way to go. This feature allows you to group your contacts into similar interests, demographics, or other criteria. More targeted sending = more engagement. 😎
  • A/B Testing: Have an email hypothesis? Maybe you think a subject line with emojis will get more opens than one that doesn’t, but you want to test out your idea first. This is where A/B Testing comes in. It lets you test your hypothesis, and send only the best performing email to the majority of your contacts.
  • Personalization: Robots aren’t nearly as nice to talk to as humans. Personalization can catch your contacts attention, and make them feel like their valued by adding human touch to your email marketing.
  • Deliverability: If you’re sending emails, we’re guessing you want them to land in the inbox. Our great deliverability will help you get into your contacts inboxes, and your creative email marketing campaign will take it from there.

So you’ve designed your email, you’ve checked it for grammar and spelling errors (don’t forget to do this!), and you’re ready to send. We make sure your emails are responsive no matter what inbox they land in, or what device they’re viewed on.

When you’re building your campaigns, just keep in mind what your goal is. Do you want them to make purchases? Log back in? Give you more user information? Whatever the goal may be, build your CTAs, copy, and overall design to achieve it. Now take a deep breath… and get designing!

Is there an email campaign that stands out in your mind? If there is, let us know on Twitter.

Dynamic Content for Marketing Campaigns to Level-up Your Email Personalization

How cool is it to receive an email that you feel is tailored just for you? It’s really important to help businesses stand out. In fact, 65% of email marketers deem dynamic content as the most effective personalisation tactic in their arsenal (One Spot). Also, companies who are personalising experiences are seeing, on average, a 19% uplift in sales (Monetate).

Segment’s research found that 44% of consumers say that they will likely become repeat buyers after a personalised shopping experience with a particular company.


Mailjet already allows you to personalize your emails by adding contact properties such as the first name or the company of your recipient in the email content.

Now, you can go even further into personalization by dynamically displaying content based on the segments your contacts belong to. No need to create a campaign per segment anymore!

 

How to Create Dynamic Sections?

When you’re in Mailjet’s email builder and you hover on each section of your template, you now have the option to easily personalize your campaigns.

Click on “add condition” to be able to choose the segment of contacts you want to display your content to:



By default, each section will be displayed to all recipients.

In order to make the most of this feature, make sure your segments are well defined so that you can create as many options and sections as you want.


Preview All the Different Displays of Your Campaign Before Sending

Before sending your email, you’ll want to make sure you selected the right segments for each dynamic section. On the top right of the builder, click on “Preview & Test”. You can select “Display entire email” or “Display by segment” to preview your campaign as recipients will see it, depending on which segment they belong to.


You are just one click away from sending!

Two Examples to Show You What You Can Do With Dynamic Sections

You can personalize content and sections for unlimited segments. Here are some use cases to help you better visualize what you can do with this new feature.

Example 1: You can create a section with a promo code, and decide to display it only to contacts on your loyalty program. Other regular customers won’t see it.


Example 2: You are preparing your weekly newsletter and you have an event coming up in NYC. To spread the word to your audience living in NYC, you can use dynamic sections to promote your event and display the section only to the segment of your contacts living in NYC.

A Premium Feature

This feature is available for our users on Premium plans.
Have you tried Conditional Display yet? What do you think? Let us know on Twitter :)

What Is DMARC and How Does It Work

You are the owner of your own domain. It represents your brand in the best way possible: it is already known by your customers and they are expecting your emails.

But what if one day someone sends an email from your domain offering the same content that you offer to your customers and just pocket the money? Doesn’t sound good. To top it all off, it’s hard to convince people that it wasn’t you…

So keep reading about the amazing powers of DMARC and find out how to avoid such uncomfortable situations.

What is DMARC?

Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) is an email validation system created to protect your domain from being used for email spoofing, phishing scams and other cybercrimes.

Think of it like your own personal security guard for your domain. DMARC was created by PayPal with help from Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! as an email security protocol. These industry leaders came together to develop an operational specification, with the desire that it would be able to achieve formal standards status. At this point DMARC is a necessity for the online security of one domain.

dmarc-mailjet-policy

When you as a domain owner set up a DMARC record into your DNS record, you will gain insight into who is sending emails on behalf of your domain. DMARC uses the email authentication techniques SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) and adds an important function – reporting.

This means no one will be able to borrow your domain to send an email asking for a $100 donation for the Amazon rainforest and then use the money to buy a new yacht… to go see the Amazon rainforest.

How does DMARC work?

As we mentioned, DMARC relies on the established SPF and DKIM records for email authentication. But unlike SPF and DKIM, a DMARC record could tell the server if he should or shouldn’t accept a message. With DMARC, it becomes possible to gain insight into phishing attacks. This way, customers can be informed in advance and will be aware of attacks.

Every major ISP server performs a DMARC check nowadays and the implementation of DMARC happens more and more frequently. Now let’s take a look at how the record works and understand why we need it.

The process of DMARC validation works as follows:

  1. The domain owner sets the policy, choosing its email authentication practices and how the recipient servers should handle mail that violates this policy. This DMARC policy become part of the DNS records of this domain.
  2. In case that the inbound mail server receives an incoming email, it uses DNS to check the DMARC policy for the sender domain in the “From” (RFC 5322) header. The inbound server then evaluates the message based on three key factors:
    • Is the DKIM signature correct?
    • Is the sender IP included in the SPF record?
    • Do the headers in the message show proper “domain alignment”?
  3. When the information is collected, the server can decide what to do with the message according to the DMARC policy.
  4. The server will inform the domain owner for the outcome and what has happened with the message.
how-dmarc-works-mailjet

To put it another way, DMARC allows you to secure your domains and decide what should happen when recipient servers receive unauthenticated mail coming from your domain. DMARC is a very powerful solution to fully secure your email domain when configured correctly.

DMARC explained

To understand DMARC even better, we will explain what each part of it means. It might look like strange symbols that don’t have any meaning and the only thing you will understand is your domain, but that’s why we are here to help you.

Once you are done reading this article you will “speak” fluent DMARC language. Let’s start with how a DMARC looks, and then go through it piece by piece:

“v=DMARC1;p=none;pct=100;rua=mailto:postmaster@dmarcdomain.com;ruf=mailto:dmarc@dmarcdomain.com;rf=afrf”

“v=DMARC1”

v=DMARC1 is the identifier that the receiving server looks for when it is scanning the DNS record for the domain it received the message from. If the domain does not have a txt record that begins with v=DMARC1, the receiving server will not run a DMARC check.

Policies:

“p=none” tells the receiving server what to do with messages that fail DMARC. There are three policy options – none, quarantine and reject. What policy is best for you depends on your needs.

Let’s dig a bit deeper into them, because we dare to say that this is the most important part of the record.

Monitor policy: p=none

The DMARC policy “none” tells the email receivers to send DMARC reports to the address published in the “rua” or “ruf” tags of the record. It is known only as a monitoring policy because with it you gain insight in your email channel. But, it does not instruct email receivers how to handle emails that fail the DMARC checks. You can use the “none” policy to start with DMARC and gather all DMARC reports and start analyzing this data.

Quarantine policy: p=quarantine

Another type of policy is the “quarantine” one. This DMARC policy instructs email receivers to put emails that fail the DMARC checks in the spam folder and also sends the DMARC report. The quarantine policy already controls the impact of spoofing, but spoof emails will still be delivered to the receiver (but in the spam folder… and who is checking that, right?).

Reject policy: p=reject

The third policy is the “reject” one. Besides sending DMARC reports, the DMARC policy completely rejects the emails that fail the DMARC checks. All other emails that pass the DMARC checks will be delivered in the primary inbox of the receiver. This policy best mitigates the impact of spoofing.

dmarc-policy-mailjet

“rua=mailto:postmaster@dmarcdomain.com”

This tells the server where to send aggregate reports of DMARC failures. We’ll see more about the reports in the next section of the article. You can add any email address you choose or even add multiple ones.

“ruf=mailto:dmarc@dmarcdomain.com”

This is for the forensic reports of DMARC failures. With this, there is one requirement for the email address – it must be from the domain that the DMARC record is published for.

“rf=afrf”

Once we chose the email address where we want the reports sent, we should choose what kind of reporting we want. In this case rf=afrf means aggregate failure reporting format. This would be perfect for you, if you have a system already set in place that monitors those reports.

“pct=100”

This part of the record tells the server how much of their mail should be subjected to the DMARC policy’s specifications. In this case, if the p= (remember the three policies up above?) was set to reject, 100% of the mail that fails DMARC would be rejected.

Other key mechanisms:

There are a number of other mechanisms that can be included in a DMARC record. A few important ones are:

“sp”

This part would tell the receiving server whether or not to apply the DMARC policy to sub domains. The values are the same as “p=”.

“adkim”

This sets the DKIM alignment. It can either be set to “s” for strict or “r” for relaxed. Strict means the DKIM portion of DMARC authentication will only pass if the d= field in the DKIM signature exactly matches the from domain. If it is set to relaxed, messages will pass the DKIM portion of the DMARC authentication if the DKIM d= field matches the root domain of the from address.

“aspf”

Indicates strict or relaxed SPF identifier alignment. The default is relaxed.

“ri”

This sets the interval for how often you want to receive aggregate reports about DMARC failures. The default value is 86400 seconds which is equivalent to one day.

Let’s stop here before it gets too overwhelming and see know what a DMARC report shows and how it helps your brand to avoid any spoofing.

DMARC reports

As we saw in the previous section, the reports can be two different types: aggregated and forensics. Those reports help you ensure you that you are properly authenticating your outbound emails. You can check out the difference between both of them below.

Aggregate reports

They are XML documents showing data about the messages received that claimed to be from a particular domain. Those reports are meant to be machine-readable. Here’s one example:

Forensic reports

These are individual copies of messages which failed authentication, each enclosed in a full email message using a special format called AFRF. Those reports are easily read by a person, too. The information that those reports could contain is:

  • Subject line
  • Time when the message was received
  • IP information
  • Authentication results
    • SPF result
    • DKIM result
    • DMARC result
  • From domain information
    • From address
    • Mail from address
    • DKIM from address
  • Message ID
  • URLs
  • Delivery result
  • What was the applied policy, the message could be rejected if there’s a reject policy in place, or quarantined, or delivered because of a none policy
  • ISP information

Now we know how a DMARC works, how it looks, and what information it provides. We’re pretty certain you already know how useful this could be for you. But let’s see all advantages in the next section.

Do I need DMARC?

If you are a business sending any emails that include personal information (invoices, order confirmations, even account activation ones), or any emails with marketing purposes (commercial), you definitely need to implement one or more forms of email authentication to verify that an email is actually from you and your domain.
DMARC helps receiving servers determine how to evaluate messages that claim to be from your domain, and it is one of the most important steps you can take to improve your deliverability. Even if DMARC is not obligatory for sending with Mailjet, we recommend you set it up so you can avoid any spoofing alongside with the SPF and DKIM. Check the links to learn how to set up SPF and DKIM.

We know that this article is enough to understand how to set up DKIM, but you can always check the guide of our colleagues/partners from Google by clicking here. For any general questions about DMARC you can always contact our support.

what-is-dmarc-mailjet

Let’s wrap it up

With DMARC, an organization can block malware, phishing attacks, and improve its deliverability all at the same time. Once enabled, a DMARC record ensures that only authorized senders are able to use your domain to send messages. That means recipients can tell at a glance who the email really comes from, and they can be certain that it’s not coming from a spoofed domain.

DMARC will make sure that emails that use your domain but fail authentication won’t even appear in recipients’ inboxes. So no one will be able to collect money to go to the Amazon rainforest by using you brand.

Don’t wait! Set up your DMARC and be sure that no one is using your domain without you knowing.

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

This is an updated version of the blog post “Some words about DMARC” published on the Mailjet blog on April 25, 2014.