The NoReply Dilemma: Best Practices For Your Email Strategy

Let me tell you a short, sad story. This is my inbox:

NoReply Inbox

For months, I have tried to stop a brand from sending me these emails (we don’t do naming or shaming here). But every time I try to contact them, I get back an automated reply which says that my email failed to be delivered. You can imagine my frustration here… Now I understand how my mom would feel when she asked me to tidy up my room. It was like talking to a brick wall.

Post GDPR, it is more important than ever to take the time to evaluate whether you should use a no-reply address for your marketing campaigns. How can you expect your subscribers to contact you to claim their rights if you don’t allow them to do so?

Our friend Chris Arrendale, CEO and founder of Inbox Pros, explains why sending your marketing emails using a reply-to address is always the best idea.

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There is a misconception that sending from a noreply email address is the best way to go to avoid being flooded with email replies. If you’re not familiar, you’ve likely seen this type of sender address before – most of the time it looks like this: noreply@domain.com.

What is a noreply email address?

A noreply email is an email address that is not monitored and blocks customers from replying. However, it can confuse and frustrate customers if their replies go unanswered or worse – bounce.  Let’s explore why it’s never a good idea to use this type of account for email marketing and what you should use instead.

 

 

Why you shouldn’t use “noreply” and what to do instead

A noreply email address decreases deliverability and increases spam

Certain ISPs,network spam filters, and customers’ personal email security settings are set up to send noreply email to the junk folder. This will decrease overall deliverability rates and being inboxed less leads to lower possible conversions.

Also looking at email trends from a broader sense, 53% of email is opened on mobile devices.  To accommodate for the smaller screen, inboxes on mobile devices show a preview of the sender and your email address as well.  As a consumer, would you open an email with a noreply email address? You’re more likely to feel like a company is unapproachable.

Swap out the noreply for a reply-to address

Most ISPs do not allow email recipients to add  noreply emails to their address books. If a recipient can’t add you to their address book, you’re more likely to be flagged as spam and sent to the junk folder.  It is also much more likely for subscribers to hit the spam button if they can’t reply back requesting removal of their email address.  I’ve seen cases where customers unsubscribed from some of their favorite brands because noreply emails addresses were not being monitored.

Another interesting point to remember is that it shows credibility to ISPs when recipients engage with your email, replying to your email being one of those cases. Safe sender privileges include bypassing some of an ISPs mail filters and delivering straight to the inbox.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 9.48.55 AM

Best practices to remember when sending email replies

As mentioned before, some people skip over the unsubscribe link and reply directly to your email asking to be removed.  These customers bypass the unsubscribe link because they’re afraid it will only flood their mailbox with more emails.  Make sure you honor these requests promptly and suppress the email addresses from your list.  The last thing you want is for these recipients to feel like they are being unheard and in frustration, mark your email as spam.

Also, monitor your reply email address is if you’re sending to a domain where the recipient never opted into your email program. The mail administrator (at the recipient’s domain) may try to contact you at your reply email address.  This is a crucial moment because if you don’t respond back, the email recipient may report you to a blacklist and/or try to contact the Email Service Provider or Data Center to complain about your email.

Building the best conversation

A reply-to email address is essential to any email marketing program.  It nurtures the conversation between you and your customers.

Many B2B senders will use a sales person’s email address as the reply-to to keep the conversation personal and on a more one-to-one level.  Where B2C senders may use a general reply-to address that may be monitored by multiple email marketing professionals.  Both scenarios build the confidence that when the recipient replies to the marketing email, the email will be received and followed up on.

To sum it up, the noreply email address should never be used to send from..  It tells your customers that you don’t really care what they have to say.  You’re also missing out on an important opportunity to collect feedback and learn how to improve your product.

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Have you had a bad experience with stubborn no-reply email addresses? Share it with us on Twitter. :)

How Email Can Make Up For Declining Organic Facebook Reach

If you’re like 55% of marketers, you have seen a significant decrease in your Facebook page’s engagement since they changed the algorithm to encourage “more meaningful social interactions with family and friends.” While social media platforms are, of course, an important way to connect with your audience, it’s increasingly become clear that doing so means you are communicating on someone else’s property – not your own. You do not own the relationship, the channel, or the data, and therefore are at the mercy of how other platforms decide to distribute your content.

100K followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn is not nearly the same as 100K subscribers on your newsletter. Assuming you land in 99% of inboxes, and get a respectable open rate of 20%, you are already well above the rate of Facebook followers that will even have a chance of seeing your post. Way back in 2012, organic reach on Facebook was at an all time high of 16%, this was down to 6.5% in 2014, and since changes to Facebook’s algorithm this year brands are seeing organic reach around 2%.

While social media offers the benefit of personalization and targeting in a way we didn’t know possible only a few years ago, email marketing is right there with them and in fact is doing so in a way that is based on the explicit permission of the audience. Something that is, of course, becoming increasingly important in a new age of Data Privacy and GDPR.

The question then is when do you want to use paid and organic content on social media platforms? Do you want to be paying for one click to your website, or do you want to be paying for the beginning of a warm and recurring relationship with your audience? By growing your email list, and from there building a quality, permission-based, relationship, you are building value in your own property.

To make up for this diminishing impact of organic reach on social media platforms, it’s important to apply what you’ve learned from social media’s personalization and data analysis to your email marketing.

 

Email Marketing & Personalization

Email offers the unique ability to personalize content to your audience – who they are and what they like. Personalization extends beyond just calling out their [First_Name], allowing marketers to curate content, links, images, and even videos based on any data and metrics you have received from the user. This is especially true for online retailers who benefit more than many other brands with advanced data including buying history, location, and more. Today, however, only 39% of online retailers send personalized product recommendations.

At first, personalization can seem daunting when you think about customizing a message to every single individual in your list, a list that may reach into the millions. Personalization, however, doesn’t need to be about one-to-one relationships, instead it is about personalizing your content to broad categories like interests, behaviours, or any attribute that can be shared by many. If you know from previous email engagement, through your website, or any other data collection method, that an email address is associated with a certain attribute – you can use this to personalize future emails.

For example, did they open a previous email about a shoe sale? Did they click a link about women’s jeans? Did they select a specific dropdown item from a menu?

The Miami Heat captures your favorite player when you sign up for their email list. How do they use this information? In any an infinite amount of ways – they could segment their list so only people who select that player receive the content (more on that below) or they could feature a rotating case of players in their bulk email and personalize who will appear in the email based on the user. If you’re favorite player is Dwayne Wade – guess who’s video interview the Miami Heat include in their email?

 

Email List Segmentation

As alluded to above, personalization and segmentation are in the same family but are different for a few important reasons. Whereas personalization is about substituting content, images, text, etc. based on data within a mass email, segmentation is about chopping up your contact lists and sending only to certain people…based on data. This could be based on their location, whether they’ve recently opened an email, their level of engagement in your products, who their favourite player is (again), their favorite color, whether they identify as a dolphin or a poodle, whatever you can have fun with and use to serve up content they’d enjoy.

Segmentation is a great way to not only personalize content, but to save money and dramatically increase your ROI. For instance, Mailjet is a volume-based email model meaning our plans are priced on the number of emails you send. If you send an email to every single one of the 100K subscribers of your newsletter, you will be paying for 100K emails.

However, if you segment your list so that only active users receive the email about new product updates, or only US-based subscribers receive your email about an upcoming event in San Francisco, then you not only increase the likelihood of engagement, of return of investment, of the reputation of your domain to inboxes like Gmail – but you also save money. In fact, according to research from Liveclicker, a company that provides personalization services, behavioral targeting delivers an 8 percent increase in email revenue.

Our friends over at Google Cloud Platform know this well. Do you think everyone on their newsletter list received this email? Or only those in the Bay Area?

 

Email Automation & Integrations

Almost as important as sending the right content to your audience, is sending at the right time. Marketing automation tools, paired with the personalization tips above, allow for you to communicate with your customers at the optimal time based on any number of triggered events or actions such as newsletter signup or purchases. For example, when users make their first purchase on your website, or sign up for your newsletter, you can increase engagement and personalization through a drip campaign customized to their interests and behaviours.

 

 

When you first sign up for a weekly newsletter, it may take up to 7 days to actually receive that first newsletter in your inbox, depending on when you signed up. You devoted all of your energy and money in order to (1) identify your target audience, (2) find out how to get their attention, (3) provide value or serve up an ad to get them to sign up for their newsletter, and then after all that you just add them to a long list of other users. They are as hungry for your content as anyone on that list, but you don’t serve them what they want, when they want it.

Automation allows you to send the content they are craving right away so that the weekly bulk newsletter isn’t the first email they receive from you. Perhaps the first one is a welcome email featuring a blog or video you think they will enjoy (ideally based on the data they’ve given you already). Perhaps the second email is something of even more value, like a discount code or a one-time sale. By building trust and offering value right off the bat, you can count on this user continuing to open your emails moving forward.

You can take your automation even further by integrating apps like Shopify, Wufoo, and yes even Facebook.

Many brands use integrations like Shopify to leverage the data they receive from triggers like purchases and abandoned carts to better personalize their campaigns and segment their lists. Doggyloot for instance keeps their customers coming back with e-commerce integrations into their email marketing to not only personalize the content but also target their sending to those they know are already interested in purchasing a product.

Doggyloot

Permission-Based Targeting

As organic reach on social media declines, and we move increasingly towards a permission-based marketing world, it doesn’t mean we need to move away from tailored content informed by data. In fact, as opposed to relying on a mysterious algorithm on property you do not own, learn more heavily into your own permission-based data collection tools on property you do own: your email lists.

Are Startups Ready for GDPR? We Look To The Numbers

It’s finally here! After several months of preparation, this week the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) finally comes into effect. This new European regulation will affect all companies, wherever their country of origin, and regulate the collection and processing of private data from European citizens.

 

Methodology

In order to make startups aware of their obligations under GDPR, Mailjet created a quiz in 2017 to assess their level of compliance with the main requirements of this regulation. While nearly 12,000 start-ups have responded to the quiz since its launch, we analyzed a sample of about 2,000 respondents from France, UK, Spain, Germany and the US who completed the survey within one month of GDPR. The goal? To understand which startups around the world are ready and which still have a bit more work to do!

 

Key Takeaways

In Europe, France is trailing the pack on data encryption (with only 21% of respondents encrypting their data) and only 40% having proper proof of consent). The United Kingdom is at the top of the list, with 33% of start-ups properly encrypting their data and nearly half have verified their supplier’s compliance with the GDPR. On the other side of the Atlantic, American startups seem to be much more prepared on several key areas… Dig into the full results below!

 

 

Now it is your turn!

How well are you prepared for the GDPR? Try the quiz yourself, and get started on the right foot with a GDPR compliant email service provider. Create a Free Mailjet Account Now!

GDPR: How To Requalify Your Lists And Prove Contacts’ Consent?

At the time this article is being written, we are less than 10 days from the entry into force of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and you are certainly overwhelmed with information on this subject. For example, you may have already noticed that some measures need to be put in place, such as evaluating your suppliers processing your data to ensure that they are compliant with GDPR. There is also another major question: your contacts’ consent.

Under GDPR, you will need to be able to prove that you have obtained consent from your contacts to continue sending them communications. And please be aware, GDPR will not only apply to new contacts acquired after 25 May 2018, it will also apply to all your existing contacts.

You must now ask yourself this question: What should I do to continue sending marketing emails to my contacts? Don’t worry, we’ll explain everything.

 

In which case should I conduct a requalification campaign?

A requalification campaign is a method used to update a contact list. In concrete terms, it allows you to re-obtain consent from your recipients. This method is already used by some marketers to maintain a sound base of contacts and continue to send successful email campaigns. In fact, by having less disinterested people in your contact lists and by targeting only people who have explicitly consented to receiving your communication campaigns, marketing emails are sent only to the people most interested in your content.

First of all, you need to determine the contact lists for which a new consent request is necessary. To do this, identify in which of the 3 situations listed below you are:

  1. Your contacts’ consent has been collected in a clear and transparent manner (via a website, an application, a paper form, etc.) and you have proof of that consent. In this case, there is no need to conduct a requalification campaign with these contacts, you can continue to send them marketing emails, as long as you keep the proof of this consent.
  2. Your contacts’ consent has not been collected in a clear and transparent manner… or not collected at all! ⛔ Please note, in this case, it is not possible to perform a requalification campaign because these contacts have never explicitly agreed to receive your information.
  3. Your contacts’ consent has been collected in a clear and transparent manner (via a website, an application, a paper form, etc.) but you do not have proof of that consent. ✅ If you are in this situation, you must conduct a requalification campaign to obtain their consent and prove it, in order to continue sending emails to these contacts after the entry into force of GDPR.

It is very important to emphasize that a requalification campaign should only aim to requalify contacts who have already given you explicit permission to contact them at some point in the past. Such a campaign should not be considered as a last-minute means of obtaining initial consent from your contacts just before the entry into force of the GDPR.

 

How to conduct a requalification campaign?

1. Use a tool to clean up your lists

The first step is to reduce the risk of a hard bounce (error or final failure message sent by the server of the recipient domain) that would be due to the presence of invalid addresses in your database. For this, we advise you to go through Briteverify. This tool will allow you to carry out an initial cleaning up of your list. Note, however, the following:

  • This method does not guarantee that you will not have any hard bounce in your list, but it can reduce the number of invalid addresses.
  • This clean-up is not a miracle cure against bad list creation practices. You must perform this clean-up on an already solid base, otherwise your contacts could report your emails as spam and cause your deliverability to plummet.
  • The use of this tool does not mean that you have magically obtained the consent of your contacts. In other words, if you were in situation 2 above, you still cannot send them emails!

2. Segment your contact bases

Once this initial “hard bounce” clean-up has been performed, we recommend to segment your list according to the level of engagement of your contacts. To do this, identify customers who have not opened your emails in the last 12 months or more and remove them from your list. Let’s be honest: if they did not open your messages after a year, the game is lost in advance.

3. Look after the frequency and content of your campaigns

In order to create effective requalification campaigns, here are some good practices that we recommend you follow:

    • Don’t just send an email that asks for consent. Instead, send an email reminding readers of the benefits of your newsletter and ask them to confirm that they want to continue to receive your valuable information. It is crucial to convince your readers. For example, if you have an e-commerce solution, explain that if they no longer receive your emails they will no longer benefit from your news about your latest products or your exclusive promotional offers.
    • Do not send only one requalification email because not everyone will open this email. The frequency of sending is always a delicate subject in the world of email marketing. The idea is not to overwhelm contacts by sending too many communications. However, in order for your requalification message to be taken into account by your recipients, schedule a requalification campaign that contains a series of emails, over a defined period, with different content.
    • Do not include just a “Yes, I want to continue to receive your information” button in your email. Allow customers to choose the opposite option, for example, “No, I do not want your information anymore.” This way, you can exclude people who said “No” from your future requalification emails.
 We recommend that you use clear and detailed statements on these buttons.
    • Do not use a single communication channel to obtain new consent, but also target your contacts using other channels. For example, you can start a Facebook campaign to obtain their consent. Whatever the communication channel chosen, however, be sure to keep it once acquired.

And always ensure that your requalification campaign contains clear, transparent and concise information.

To help you, you will find below an example of a requalification email.

And now?

In the end, you really need to view the GDPR as an opportunity. This is in fact an opportunity to clean-up your lists by eliminating hard bounces and inactive contacts. This will increase the engagement of your best customers and strengthen the relationship you have with them. This new regulation is therefore a good thing for your marketing strategy!

Note, however, that subscribers may receive many renewal emails from brands and may feel overwhelmed, so the sooner you develop a requalification campaign, the more likely you are to get a response (a positive one for that matter!).

Once the explicit consent has been collected, be sure to keep it with all the necessary information in order to be able to prove it: the trace of the consent, the email address of the recipient as well as the date on which the consent was given.

That’s it, now that you have a sound base and engaged subscribers, you’re ready to send GDPR-compliant email campaigns!

GDPR: A Mailjet “How-To” Guide To Prove Your Contacts’ Consent

Mailjet was the first emailing solution to be GDPR-complaint… and the first one to warn you about how the new regulation was going to affect the way you communicate.

While it can sound terrifying to some, if your contacts have given you their explicit consent to receive emails from you, this shouldn’t be keeping you up at night. In fact, it can even be an opportunity to improve your deliverability, by doing a nice spring cleaning on your lists, and asking your active contacts (those that open and click on your emails) if they want to spend the summer (and maybe the rest of their lives… ❤) with you. 😉

We’re pretty sure you’ve already heard about GDPR quite a lot, given its importance and the heavy fines for non-compliance. GDPR will be applicable as of May 25, 2018, so if you’re not sure you’re quite there yet, the time to act is now. Don’t panic, though – we’re here to help you, step by step!

Do you have a Mailjet account and want to re-opt in your contacts, in order to have proof of consent? Read on and follow all the steps here to requalify your contact lists!

 

 

Requalify your lists and prove your users’ consent

Under GDPR, if the consent you’ve gathered from your contacts doesn’t match the regulation’s requirements, you will have to:

  • Obtain consent again, following all GDPR requirements (you’ll find all you need to know about it on this article).
  • Stop processing the concerned data and delete it.

N.B.: You can use our subscription widget to get consent from all your future contacts. This way, you’ll be sure that your contact details have been reliably collected.

If you need to request consent again, you’ll have to carry out a requalification campaign. In other words, you will need to ask your contacts to confirm they still want to receive your emails by registering this consent again.

Panicking already? Don’t! We’ll tell you how to get this right. 😉

 

 

1- Create and send a re-permission campaign.

Create a new campaign and draft your email. You will find several examples of requalification emails in our GDPR SOS Kit.

In your message, ask your contacts if they still want to receive marketing emails from you. Give them two options, YES or NO, to ensure they are aware of what to do if they want and if they don’t want to receive emails from you. That way, none of your contacts will be stuck in limbo: it’s either a YES, or a NO.

-Your YES CTA can be linked to a confirmation page, with a message that could say something like “Thank you for confirming your interest!“.

– Your NO button must be linked to the Mailjet unsubscribe link, [UNSUBLINK_EN].

You can also add a short explanation, such as: “If you do not reply within a week, you will be removed from all communications”. This will further clarify what will happen if your users don’t confirm their interest in your marketing emails and encourage them to act quickly.

To make your task easier, Mailjet has created a requalification email template, which you can either use as is or customize to match your brand’s image. You can download it in MJML or HTML format, and then import it into your Mailjet account.

Just follow these simple steps:

          1. Download the Mailjet template in MJML or HTML.
          2. Open your Mailjet account and create a new campaign.
          3. When choosing the email template, import the HTML or MJML template.

       

    1. Then, edit the template and send it to your entire contact database as soon as possible.

 

2- After sending the re-permission email, clean your database.

Let’s start with all the NOs: If you added the Mailjet unsubscribe link on your NO button, the contacts that clicked on it will have been automatically unsubscribed from your list. You won’t have to do anything else.

For those awesome contacts that clicked YES and confirmed that they want to receive emails from you: All you need to do is export the list of clicks one week after sending the email – this will be your new contact list, with all the users that gave your their explicit consent. After some time, you can re-export this list of clicks again, to make sure you’re not leaving any late-clickers behind.

To do so, just follow these steps:

  1. Open Campaign Statistics.
  2. Select the list of people who clicked on the YES button.
  3. Export this list and store it safely.

 

 

Do you have to unsubscribe any contacts that didn’t answer?

No, you don’t need to. Since you have the new list of contacts that have given you their explicit consent (those that clicked on the YES button), you can just upload it and start using it to send them your marketing emails. Just make sure you’re no longer using the old list with all the contacts that have not replied.  

Check out Mailjet’s Exclusion List:

If you have multiple email communications under one account and wish to exclude certain contacts from all future communications, you can add them to the Exclusion List so that they no longer receive any marketing communications from you. Note that they will still receive your transactional emails.
Learn more about Exclusion List Management.

 

What happens if I’m asked to prove consent?

Your proof of consent is the statistics of your requalification campaign. You have the list of contacts that clicked on your confirmation button here, so make sure you store this one safely!

 

 

Essential advice for the final run

We have gathered all the information you need and some ideas to help you in our GDPR SOS Kit (including what to do and what not to do in your requalification emails).

Download it now to get some extra help in your journey to have GDPR-compliant contact lists and happy subscribers!


7 Ideas To Win At Digital Marketing During The World Cup 2018

No matter how you feel about sports, no one can deny the pull they have to drive engagement and bring the best (and the worst) out of people.

The World Cup 2018 is under a month away, which means the world will be watching for a whole month. 32 countries and 64 matches. With so much soccer going on at the same time, why would you want to miss out?

Whether you know all about moment marketing or not, your instinct is probably telling you that this is massive opportunity to promote your brand. And you would be right.

You’ve still got some time to up your game and win at moment marketing during the World Cup 2018. Here’s how!

 

Win At Digital Marketing During The World Cup 2018

1. Know your audience

It seems pretty basic, but if you have customers in France, don’t send them a #GoEngland! email. Chances are, they won’t take it that well.

If you’re running an email campaign, personalize the content and segment your lists to send your subscribers tailored messages. Knowing your audience is not just about knowing where they live, their gender or age. It could also mean understanding how they’ve engaged with your brand, when they’re most likely to open an email or what their favourite products are by analyzing previous purchases.

Segmentation and personalization are great ways to make your emails relevant and potentially increase your ROI.

 

2. Get creative

OK, so you might not have the budget to produce a short-film with Cristiano Ronaldo, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be creative and come up with an exciting marketing campaign.

Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” ad was probably much more affordable than Nike’s previous example, yet equally effective. The company repurposed a simple concept (user-generated content, featuring photos taken by iPhone users) that had already proven successful and arguably won the marketing battle during the Euro 2016. This time, the pictures were soccer related and were just as powerful as the original campaign was.


At the end of the day, sport is all about emotions, and so is marketing. Being able to address those emotions can be what tips the balance in your brand’s favor.

 

3. Go multichannel

Why focus on one when you can deliver your message on a number of platforms? Using multiple channels to power your marketing efforts can increase your brand’s visibility and improve your results.

For example, use Twitter on match days and email in between matches to drive the momentum. Grow your contact or follower lists and give your content the boost it needs to go viral by integrating email and social.

Has your business got the potential to drive your marketing efforts offline? Then why not try special in-store offers or prize draws on match days?

 

4. Drive engagement

Nowadays marketing is increasingly becoming a two-way conversation, rather than a one-way sales pitch. Getting users to engage with your messages can make the difference between an ordinary campaign and an extraordinary user experience.

Fall in love with hashtags, encourage your followers to predict results, get them to share their match-day photos or run competitions on your website. It will have an impact on your brand image, increase your reach and help you target potential customers.

 

5. Plan ahead… but embrace the moment!

Just as with the news, you can usually divide marketing moments into two teams: predictable and unpredictable. The World Cup 2018 is predictable, we already know it’s coming, we know when matches are going to take place and we can even anticipate who the top teams are going to be. This gives us time to prepare for certain situations, create campaigns and even find the best gifs we want to use on our social media.

However, not everything can be prepared. Sometimes, unexpected things happen. Like a fan running onto the pitch to hug Messi during a Copa America 2016 match. Be quick, turn the moment into a gif, caption it with a funny quote and prepare yourself to rule the Internet.

giphy copy 2
 

Can you imagine what Degree deodorant could have done if they had come up with something like this?

6. Take risks

Moment marketing is all about risk-taking. Part of reacting to unexpected situations is embracing that risk, thinking on your feet and making the most of the moment. It’s soccer, so don’t be scared about picking sides, being witty and making controversial remarks throughout the matches.

 

Don’t take yourself too seriously, but make sure you’re not being disrespectful or trivializing sensitive topics.

 

7. Keep it relevant

OK, so soccer is fun. We all love soccer. We’re all over-excited and filled with crazy marketing ideas to run during the World Cup 2018 final. But is it really going to be effective?

Well, if you work for an online betting company, July 15th is probably going to be the busiest day in the year. But do you really need to do live tweeting if you own a “cane and crutches for the elderly” ecommerce site? Maybe not.

So make sure you set your marketing goals and find the most effective ways to achieve them. Ask yourself “what’s the point?” before setting up a campaign and “was it worth it?” after. You’ll be able to learn from the experience and get ready for the next big thing. 

 

Recap: World Cup 2018 winning ideas

This World Cup, get ready to make the most of the World Cup and add a bit of football-hype following these seven tips:

  1. Know your audience, personalize your content and segment your lists.
  2. Get creative – think outside the box and speak to your clients’ emotions.
  3. Go multichannel to increase your brand’s visibility and improve your results.
  4. Drive engagement by turning your marketing communications into a two-way conversation.
  5. Plan ahead… but always be ready to embrace the moment!
  6. Take risks, and don’t take yourself too seriously!
  7. Keep it relevant – always ask yourself: will this really be effective?

 

Are you planning to launch any World Cup 2018 campaigns? Tweet us your creative ideas and thoughts!

Infographic: The Psychology Of Color In Email Marketing

We all realize that colors can have different effects on our mood, and marketers have been using this in branding and advertising since the profession began. Just think about how we describe emotions using colors: feeling blue, seeing red, green with envy etc.

Leveraging how colors can affect emotions is vital for the success of your marketing strategy and efforts. Considering that, on average, a reader spends about 8 seconds on an email once opened, you will definitely want to find a way to attract their attention and interest.

In this post, we will be exploring the psychology of colors in email marketing and what affect these can have on the end-user and even deliverability.

 

Applying Color To Email

What captures the reader’s attention once they open an email is not the text, but the visual elements, such as color, design and images… However, it is color in particular that can awaken interest, or, conversely, cut it at the root, if the combination of colors does not work well.

To help you with your email marketing strategy and to ensure you use the ideal color combination to achieve your goals, we have prepared this infographic with examples of real emails and the messages that each color transmits to the user.

Psychology Of Colors For Email Marketing

In a Huffington Post article, Leslie Harrington, Executive Director of The Color Association of The United States suggests that: “we react on multiple levels of association with colors. There are social or culture levels as well as personal relationships with particular colors”. You also have an innate reaction to color. For example, when you look at red, it does increase your heart rate. It is a stimulating color. This goes back to caveman days of fire and danger and alarm.”

From white to black and in between, here are 7 main colors and the different feelings they evoke:

Color Feeling Comment
Red Energy Boosts your energy levels and increases adrenaline. Considered a high energy color, to be used in rooms and areas where we need to be more productive, such as home offices. We also associate this color with passion and romance. This is proven to derive from our ape ancestors – male chimpanzees and baboons are attracted to the reddened females during ovulation, considered sexual signals.
Orange Fun Represents warmth and happiness, providing optimism and trust. With associations to sunny days and bright light, orange is known to bring a positive outlook on life and portray good health by being stimulating.
Yellow Optimism Yellow is known to be uplifting, happy and cheerful. It is also the most illuminating color, so used in a physical context (rather than psychological), it can be straining on the eye, thus providing a feeling of anger and frustration. No wonder all the cars try to run me over when I wear my high visibility jacket while cycling!
Blue Trust Blue is considered the color of honesty, loyalty and trust. Even though it is the most favoured color by men,  Blue is known to be a calm color with soothing effects. This could be one of the reasons that doctors and nurses wear blue and green, especially when we consider they are opposite red on the color wheel.
Green Growth Due to its extensive association with nature, green is the color for growth and peacefulness. Also considering that it’s in the middle of the color spectrum, it’s considered the color of balance. Green tends to be reassuring however with our modern conceptions of ‘$’, we can also see green as money.
White Neutral White is known to resemble sterility and cleanliness. Due to artistic depictions of religious figures as white and pure, this shade has also come to represent holiness and goodness. As white provides little stimulation for the senses, over use of it can come across as cold and boring.
Black Hidden Apart from its negative connotations such as “evil” (being the opposite of white), death and darkness, black can be seen as mysterious and hidden from the world. This is one of the reasons why when I was 18, I didn’t wear anything but black. In color psychology black means power and control. “People who like black may be conventional, conservative and serious, or they may think of themselves as being sophisticated or very dignified.” Judy Scott-Kemmis argues. Taking all these points into consideration, black can be an empowering shade to use, if used in the right amount, for the right audience.

Keep your product in mind when picking colors

When considering the use of certain colors in email campaigns, the first thing we need to consider is its association to our brand. Maintaining the integrity of the brand is our number one goal, and after that we can start to think about the messaging and the moods that the colors will portray to the audience.

In a research report entitled ‘Impact of Color in Marketing’, it was uncovered that 90% of decisions made about certain products can be based on their color alone.

gender-colour

via KISSmetrics

Gender plays a role when picking colors

Another angle on choosing the right color for your email campaigns is gender. Psychology of colors can be gender specific and certain colors are favoured more than others by males and females, as KISSmetrics uncovered.

kiss-colours

via KISSmetrics

After considering your target audience, you’ll want to think about conversion. What colors will invite your prospects to take action? We recommend A/B testing (or A/X testing!) as well as Segmentation as different approaches work differently for each campaign and segment.

Here is an experiment done by Hubspot:

call-to-action-colours

Taking into consideration what we have learnt so far about these two colors, as well as putting them in a modern context such as driving, where green means “Go”, red means “Stop”; which of these two buttons do you think had the higher conversion

The red button outperformed green by 21%! Probably not what you had in mind, right? Knowing which colors to use for call-to-actions is an ancient old and biblical discussion that will never end (okay, not really).

The lesson we must learn here is that even if we do our due diligence and research, we should always be testing our campaigns. Every customer is different and their response to each color can vary depending on a variety of reasons such as mood, location, device used, choice of color combination and so much more.

Impact of the use of color on email deliverability

As you may already know, there are a host of key phrases which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) don’t like, which means if these words are used then the email is very likely to go straight to the spam folder. These are called SPAM triggering phrases.

Just like these phrases which may send your email into SPAM, you’ll need to consider your image to text ratio – as a rule of thumb use 25% image and 75% text.

Unfortunately, ISPs don’t reveal exactly what triggers spam filters, however through the same collaborative effort of finding out what words trigger them and what text to image ratio we should be using, we have come to understand that extensive use of red in texts is one of the main tip offs.

Red is known as a ‘loud color’, so extensive use of it within text or background usually means that we’re really trying to get the users attention. The same principle is used towards CAPITALS, large texts and symbols such as exclamation or the dollar sign.

Most SPAM filters work on a scoring system. Each of the mentioned attributes above carries a maximum score. The higher your total score, the more likely your emails will end up in SPAM.

Final thoughts

So what have we learnt so far? Psychology of colors in email marketing can be tackled from different angles. Next time you’re designing your email campaigns, keep these thoughts in mind:

  • Does my color combination of text, images and background complement my brand?
  • Have I overused ‘loud’ colors?
  • Have I considered what call to action colors are used to increase conversion?
  • What mood am I trying to create with this message and choice of colors?
  • “I must A/B test. I must A/B test. I must A/B test. I must A/B test.”

Has any of you email marketing campaigns benefited particularly from the use of color? Share your experience with us on Twitter.

***

This blog post is an updated version of the post “Psychology Of Colors For Advertising, Marketing And Email“, published on the Mailjet blog on February 16, 2015 by Amir Jirbandey.

How To Plan An Effective Newsletter Strategy

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.

With this in mind, we have put together a blog series for you: “Newsletter Creation: A Step-By-Step Guide.” In this second part, we will be learning about how you can develop a well-thought-out newsletter strategy.

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.

Step 2: Develop your KPIs

The definition of specific KPIs is super important when planning your newsletter. KPIs are key figures that help you to measure the success of your email marketing campaign and, in turn, of your overall strategy. They are a reflection of how well your email marketing is performing.

Some of the key figures include:

  • Open rate
  • Click rate
  • Deliverability rate
  • Sign-up rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Spam rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Rate of new subscriptions, etc.

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.

KPIs Table

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.

In our previous post of the series, we highlighted that there are rough guidelines for sending times in both the B2B and B2C sectors.

Bear in mind, though, that these guidelines are not effective for every company – especially because a lot of emails are sent during these periods. This makes it more difficult to attract attention in the inbox, and your newsletter may quickly get buried under other messages.

So, the best thing you can do is to concentrate on analysing your target group and evaluating your A/B tests and tracking systems in order to find the best dispatch time for your campaigns.

Best-Newsletter-Sending-Times

Step 4: Create Content Guidelines

The content of your newsletter is essential to achieving your goals. Setting up content guidelines ensures that your content sticks to your defined aims. So, your newsletter content should ensure that your goals are met, and they guide and motivate your target group to perform certain activities.

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:

    • A drag-and-drop email editor to create newsletters in minutes;
    • A selection of pre-made and customizable responsive newsletter templates;
    • Personalization, for the creation of individual email content;
    • Segmentation options to divide up contact lists and target different audiences;
    • Integrated image editing for easy image adjustment;
    • Responsive subscription widget to build legally compliant newsletter subscriber lists;
    • Intelligent contact management for efficiently dealing with contacts’ data;
    • Optimal deliverability to ensure emails reach inboxes;
    • A/B testing, to try out your campaigns;
    • 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.
Passport - Drag-&-Drop

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.

Subscription Widget Setup

 

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.

Segmented Newsletter Subscription

 

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.

Miss Selfridge Newsletter Subscription

 

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:

      • Special offers;
      • Updates;
      • Latest industry news;
      • Invitations to exclusive events;
      • Access to exclusive content such as e-books, courses, checklists, or guides.
Zalando Newsletter Subscription

 

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.

Have you already developed a successful newsletter strategy? What challenges did you have to overcome? Your opinion is important to us! Take a short survey about our blog and share your ideas, questions and experiences with us at contact@mailjet.com.

Like this article? Then share it on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. And don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter :).

The Best Mother’s Day Email Campaigns

Mother’s Day is coming, and on top of Sunday brunches and maybe a couple mimosa’s, you can also expect an increase in soft pinks and flower GIFs in your inbox. By the way, this year it’s May 13th – here’s a Google Calendar link so you don’t forget. :)

We love these times of year, including Holiday Season, Valentines Day, and Summer Break, because it brings out the most creativity in marketing departments and brands trying to distinguish themselves from the crowd. This is especially true for ecommerce and retail sites who are emailing about upcoming Mother’s Day sales, but just as interestingly, brands of all stripes are celebrating mothers in their own unique way.

 

Applying Best Practices to Your Email Campaigns

In honor of our mothers, we wanted to showcase some of the more effective and beautifully designed emails and newsletters, and give you a little look into what we love about them. Each of these campaigns utilizes many of our recommended best practices, including using images and GIFs to increase engagement, clear calls-to-action, simple design, alignment to your overall brand, and more.

BUT, we also would love your input! As you take a look at these campaigns, be sure to vote on your favourite at the bottom of the page, and we’ll tally these up to present to the world what the Mailjet community considers the best Mother’s Day newsletter 🏆.

 

Anthropologie: Power of Simplicity in your Email Campaigns

 

Anthropologie Email

 

First up is Anthropologie’s To Mom With Love email. What we love about this campaign is its simplicity, focusing the email on one clear purpose: shop Mother’s Day Gifts.

The image is simple yet beautiful and brand-aligned, making it clear right off the top what this email is about. Their call-to-action, “Shop Mother’s Day Gift”, is more descriptive than many in this list, which simply state “Shop Now”. They also use colors really effectively, creating a clear emotional reaction of energy, love, and motherhood.

 

Jack Spade: Email Design to Increase Clicks

 

Jack Spade Email

 

We warned you about soft pinks. This email continues the trend started by Anthropologie with it’s simple yet impactful design. They also take advantage of the fact that many of their customers are used to shopping on their website, and so they maintain this brand consistency with the website heading at the top, which creates familiarity and allows readers to navigate to any page on the site they want.

But make no mistake, the page THEY want you to go to is the Mother’s Day “Shop Now” link. The witty (and all too relatable) headline “You Never Call Anymore” literally forms the top of a funnel that pulls your eyes downwards to the one CTA, “Shop Now”. Brilliant.

 

SeatGeek: Brand Alignment

SeatGeek Mothers Day

 

Next up is Seat Geek’s campaign, which is powerful for two reasons.

First, they know their audience, and as a result they are branding this email not like what we’ve seen above with Mother’s Day colors and flowers, but instead with their on-brand blue and yellow. Their audience, as a sports ticketing mobile app, is predominantly younger users who interact with their product on a mobile device.

Second, SeatGeek is the only example in this list that utilized a GIF in its email, and it does so in a creative way that (1) reveals more information the more you watch, and (2) draws your attention to the core message of the email: It’s Mother’s Day and she just wants to spend time with you.  

 

Dr. Martens: Email Personalization

Doc Martens

 

Our last contestant is Dr. (Doc) Martens. I’ll push past the obligatory beautiful flower arrangement, bold headlines, and website-navigation and instead focus on their email personalization. While this email is clearly a Mother’s Day email, trying to remind their audience that they have some gifts to buy, it’s also using past click behaviour and engagement data to curate a list of products that they think will be interesting to the user.

Plus, the way the flowers grow out of the text? Love it (Pro tip: just as with your mother, it’s always good to show respect to a designer).

 

Key Takeaways: Email Inspiration for Mothers Day

All together, these campaigns touch on some of the really important best practices you need to consider when putting together your emails campaigns, and especially your Mother’s Day campaigns.

  • Keep it Simple: Your campaign shouldn’t be asking your audience to do too much. One clear Call-to-Action and one core message is ideal to generate the most engagement.
  • Keep it Brand Aligned: While the soft pinks may feel like a necessity at Mother’s Day, don’t forget that you have a brand you need to maintain.
  • The Power of GIFs: A cat GIF is one thing, a custom GIF that can showcase your value, stay on brand, and also communicate your core message? That’s the tops.
  • Personalization: With your email platform, there is so much you can do to personalize content and segment audiences to increase engagement on your emails. Your Mom’s favourite Mother’s Day gift is a one-of-kind homemade card, why would your audience be any different.

 

We’ve love your thoughts – which email best captures the Mother’s Day spirit? Which email are you desperately trying to click on? Leave your vote here!

Happy (early) Mother’s Day to all the mothers!

Marketers Plan To Shift To New Marketing Channels Post EPrivacy

GDPR is not the only new regulation on the minds of Marketers.

In March 2018, Mailjet commissioned a new piece of research conducted by Morar Consulting to understand the effect that ePrivacy will have on marketing strategies and ROI following it’s implementation. The professional survey was taken by 400 marketers and marketing decision makers from both B2B and B2C companies across the UK and France.

The research looks at what channels marketers are currently using to reach their customers, how they feel ePrivacy will affect their business, what changes they will make following ePrivacy and more.

Download the full research report and start preparing for the effects ePrivacy will have on your business.