The 8 Steps in Your Email Team’s Campaign Workflow

As email marketing campaigns become more complex, with the addition of things like dynamic personalization, interactive content, and responsive design, email marketing teams are becoming more complex too.

Which means your email team’s workflow is also evolving.

It’s no longer as easy as choosing a template, selecting your recipients, writing a message, and clicking send. Today, you need to also capture and integrate your data, identify segmentation and personalization opportunities, craft an eye-catching design, code custom HTML (or MJML), test and retest your variables, ensure the email adapts to all inboxes and mobile devices, and on and on it goes.

A quality email is a complex email, and a complex email requires an effective team workflow.

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At Mailjet, we’ve been working on this problem since the start – helping email teams work together more efficiently and more effectively. From the role out of our team features like live collaboration to the creation of MJML, which has made it easier than ever to code a responsive email, while also allowing your marketing team to easily edit with no coding knowledge.

This article will outline what we’ve learned along the way about how teams can effectively work together, and the email workflow required. Whether you’re sending a newsletter, creating transactional and automation email templates, or using an SMTP Relay or Email API to send custom HTML, every email team will go through most of these steps.

Who Do You Need On Your Email Team?

Within each phase of your email workflow, there are a few key archetypes that will need to be involved. While we covered the five key roles in you need in your email team in an earlier article, we will summarize it a bit more here first.

Each team is different, but at the end of the day, your email team requires these five roles. Sometimes one person plays more than one role, but if your team doesn’t have the skills necessary to fulfill each responsibility, you run the risk of mediocre results.

For example, a team with a really strong copywriter, but poor design, will underperform. As will a team with great copy, great design, but no data engineer to take advantage of personalization and segmentation opportunities.

 

 

The Email Strategist

To avoid being one of the many flailing brands that send out email campaigns without any kind of coherent strategy, or even a plan, you will need someone on your team devoted to thinking about the big picture. The Strategist is involved from A to Z, from how email will play a role in your business to the final word in campaigns.

The Email Designer

A designer, like always, is tasked with the look and feel of the email, but unlike standard web design, social media design, print, and so forth, designing for email requires knowledge of how the design will look on different devices. This will require close collaboration with the developers and the strategist to ensure the design is not only responsive across desktop and mobile, but also across different inboxes like Gmail, Outlook, and the many mobile inboxes that exist.

The Copywriter(s)

The designer will scoff, the strategist will say it’s the whole package that matters, and you know what – it’s kind of true. The whole team brings something to the table but at the end of the day a good message with well-written copy will cut through. Simply put, the copywriters are in charge of the words. This goes beyond just great sentences, the best copywriters know how to say more with less.

Email Developer

The Developer floats in and out of the planning and implementation phases of an email campaign.

They work closely with the strategist and designer off the top to ensure that the objective of an email campaign is accomplished with the variables we have in place. They also ensure that the design will, in fact, be responsive to different devices and inboxes. Finally, they take control of optimization practices to ensure things like segmentation are properly set up, and necessary integrations are enabled.

Data Engineer

Finally, the Data Engineer plays a crucial role in helping the developer make the most of the integrations, and the Strategist understands the performance of campaigns.

It’s one thing for a developer and a strategist to include a [First Name] variable, or a personalized image, or message based on a segment. However, it’s a whole other thing entirely to ensure that the right data is included within the right email, and most importantly that there is even some data that can be pulled.

To avoid blank fields in your email campaigns or, worse, a failed segmentation, be sure to have a data engineer on your team.

The Email Team Workflow

Ultimately, the Email Team Cycle is made up of three phases:

Strategize. Create. Optimize.

Email Team Workflow: Strategize

Simply put, if you don’t have a strategy behind your email campaigns, they will not be effective. The Strategize phase starts with “Assess & Adapt” before moving on to establishing a new strategy for your next campaign.

Assess & Adapt

Unless this is your very first campaign ever, you will likely have some past campaign data to work with to help determine what worked, what didn’t, and how to improve moving forward.

This first (and last step) of the cycle involves the entire team and is managed by the Email Strategist.

This includes asking the basic questions like: did my email campaign actually get delivered to the inbox? If there was a low delivery rate, it’s important to review your email list hygiene. What emails bounced, who marked you spam, what emails were blocked? With this information, you can easily clean your lists to ensure that they do not receive future messages. This will also ensure that those who do in fact want to receive your emails will more likely get it in their inbox (vs the spam folder).

You can also assess your content. Which subject line performed best? Which image? Did certain segments perform better? All of this data can and should be used to inform your future campaigns. In the Strategize phase – data is everything.

While it is difficult to do for every single email campaign, especially if your team is involved in many emails per week, it is important to establish a recurring time to assess your campaigns as a team. Perhaps this is a weekly standup meeting (10-15min) or a bi-weekly check-in.

Regardless, at this stage, you need to ask yourself and your team these key questions:

  • Did we achieve our engagement goals?
  • What were the results of A/B Tests
  • What segments resulted in higher engagement?
  • What demographics engaged most?
  • Do we need to clean our contact lists based on bounces, blocks, unsubscribes, etc?

Develop Campaign Strategy

As with any project, up front, it’s essential to establish your objectives, SMART goals, and a plan of action. Of course, a strategy evolves and adapts as you implement, but you need to start somewhere.

At this stage, the Email Strategist is crucial. They are the ones responsible for developing the overall email strategy, using data from past email campaigns and other knowledge about your target audience.

The questions you are trying to solve at this stage include:

  • What is the primary goal for this campaign?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • What internal/external team members do you need involved?
  • How will you measure success?
  • Which elements will be tested (e.g. A/B Tests)

The Email Strategist will pull in expert advice from across the organization, including members of their email team and the larger marketing team to better understand how email fits into the bigger picture.

Email Team Workflow: Creation

The second stage is all about creation, and on top of the Email Strategist, it’s time to pull in your Copywriters, Designers, and Developers.

Establish the Design

The first step of the Creation Phase is to Establish the Design. Whether this is simply selecting a template, designing a new template, or creating a one-off email layout. The purpose here is to identify which layout will drive the most engagements based on your defined goals.

For example – if the goal of the campaign is to increase purchases (e.g. new sunglasses), then the design will need to include images of the sunglasses, some pricing information, and maybe a single CTA to ensure all traffic is funneled to the purchase page.

On the other hand, if the goal is to simply educate, then the layout could be more text-based and longer. Rather than trying to get the user out of the email as fast as possible, in this case, you’re trying to keep them in it.

It’s also important at this stage to identify what human resources will be required to fulfill the design you are building. Will all of this be possible through a click-and-drag interface, or will you need some custom code?

Write the Copy & Design Images

Once a design layout is selected, it’s time to unleash copywriters on the email. With a clear objective for what the email is attempting to accomplish, alongside the wireframe and boundaries to work within, the copywriters can focus on ensuring that the message delights, and inspires enough to lead to engagement.

The most effective email copywriters use this stage of the email creation process to do two things:

  1. Work with the strategist and data engineer to understand what message is most likely to convert, what calls-to-action lead to the most clicks, and where you can take advantage of personalization & segmentation opportunities.
  2. Identify what the core message you want to communicate, and understanding that the average person only looks at a promotional email subject line for 3 seconds…what message do you want to send in such a short time.

Alongside the copywriter, the designer can start working on the imagery that will be included in a campaign. What images support the message, what images are most likely to convert (based on past data), and what brand guidelines need to be followed.

It’s important to also work with the Email Developer in this phase to understand what unique design elements can be included to create an even more engaging email. For example, rather than a static image, maybe you’d like to include GIF, interactive imagery, or something like a countdown timer that would require custom code.

Either way, collaboration is key here – so be sure you understand the implications of your design

Custom Code


The last step of the creation process is coding the email, or better yet, simply adding in small custom code elements. Depending on whether the email could be created entirely using a drag-and-drop editor like Mailjet’s Passport, your email developer will need to put in some work.

At this stage the Email Developer will be looking at the following tasks and questions:

  • Convert wireframe design and content into code
  • What custom code is required to address the campaign goals?
  • Test and optimize for all devices and inboxes

Email Marketing Workflow: Optimize

The third and final stage is about the optimization of your email campaign and contact lists. While the Email Strategist will, of course, play a huge role here, you will also need to reserve time from your Data Engineer and Email Developer.

Integrate CRM

At this stage, when you have established the design and created custom content, images, and code, it’s now time to integrate your CRM or another database to ensure your campaign is optimized. This is when you will pull in your CRM Specialist (or Data Engineer) as well as your Email Developer.

Working together, they will identify opportunities to include personalization or segmentation, and make recommendations to the copywriters and designers.

If it’s a transactional email, how are you are integrating data from your website (such as purchase orders) into the email?

Ultimately, the purpose at this stage is to:

    • Identify and implement segmentation opportunities
    • Ensure CRM is integrated with your email platform
    • Validate data integrity and personalization

Be sure to look into our integrations to identify how to best optimize this stage.

Test & Validate

At this stage, you’ll pull in more of your team including copywriters, designers, and strategist to review the final copy and design, test the variables, confirm that the correct A/B tests are being used, and so forth.

It’s important to work closely together in real-time to reduce the amount of time spent going back and forth on things like subject lines, headings, CTAs, and so forth. Consider this a “sprint” phase where you and your team drop everything and focus on bringing the campaign to its conclusion.

Approve & Send

Finally, after all the t’s are crossed, i’s dotted, and code tested, it’s time for one person…ONE person to approve and send the email or publish the template. As much as email is a team sport, like any effective project, ultimate control and approval needs to fall on one person. This person is often the Email Strategist.

This helps avoid typos, errors, or any other number of #EmailFails that often result from rushed decision making or the wrong person reviewing the email. You wouldn’t want a designer or developer to accidentally send an email with typos. Or a copywriter to send it without considering responsive design.

Once approved – it’s time to send.

From here – you cycle back to the Strategize phase, taking a look at your performance and considering where and how to adapt for future campaigns.

Final Thoughts

While this workflow may seem like a lot of work and a lot of details for a single email, the fact is that each team goes through this entire workflow on every single email. The variance between a good email and a bad email (or a good email program and a bad one) is how details approached at each stage.

You can certainly skip over the “Develop a Strategy” or the “Approve & Send” step for instance, but there will be some long-term complications as a result.

Your individual campaigns may suffer, but your team’s habits will suffer as well. To achieve the best results, you need to build good habits. We hope you’ll use this workflow as a foundation to build good habits into your own team’s workflow.

Does this workflow align well with your own team’s workflow? How would you look at adapting it? Let us know on Twitter & Linkedin now!

Activity Logs: Track all Changes Made to Your Campaigns in Mailjet

If you are working in a large company or work with a team on your email campaigns, you sometimes might feel like there are too many cooks in the kitchen. Involving many people on the same project is often necessary, but not so easy to manage.

But, don’t worry, we’ve thought of this, and we’re here to help with our new launch of Activity Logs!

What Are Activity Logs?

You no longer need to worry about asking every single person on your team to find out who was responsible for a modification you want to change before sending your email. To save you time and effort, Activity Logs allows you to track all these changes in our app!

Activity logs help you uncover who was involved in every modification done on your templates and campaigns.

Where you can find Activity Logs?

Step 1: simply click on the “Manage” button on the right side of your campaign or template list.

Campaign view activity logs
– Campaign view –
Template view activity logs
– Template view –

Step 2: in the drop-down menu, select “View activity log”, which will take you to the history page.

Activity Logs
– Campaign view –
Activity Logs
– Template view –

Monitor changes made as far back as 3 months!

We sort this activity data from most recent to oldest, for you to easily browse the actions taken on your campaign or template.

Activity Logs

What you can see with Activity Logs

This new feature will help you quickly identify your collaborators changes to the campaigns and templates you are collaboratively creating.
You will be able to view the status of the campaign or template (i.e. Sent, Draft, Published) and metadata about changes made like date, time, and user. Finally, you will be able to view the specific actions taken, such as changes to the title, subject, “from” name and address, any changes to the content, contact list, and the users who scheduled or sent the campaign.

In short – the full details of who, what, when, and how changes were made.
Activity Logs Mailjet

Activity Logs are Now Available

Actions done in your campaigns and templates will be tracked from now on, even on existing campaigns or templates that you have in your Mailjet account. This means that it is enabled on all your campaigns and templates that you already created. Changes made prior to the launch of Activity Logs will not be tracked, but all changes moving forward will

Please note that events done via API are not registered.
API no logs

We hope the launch of Activity Logs will help you and your team keep track of what is changed and when, in order to ensure your team continues to create and send the most optimal campaigns.
This feature is only available for our Enterprise clients.

Email Marketing Tips for Universities

Despite what you might expect from students, especially teenagers, email remains the primary channel for students researching and communicating with universities and colleges.

While students probably spend more time on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, email continues to be a preferred channel (even among students) for more professional, official, communications.

In a recent study, nearly 68 percent of teens and 73 percent of Millennials said they prefer to receive communication from a business via email. So keep the snaps and the grams for promoting your culture, building your brand, and building a community, but keep the email for the important pieces of content, and direct promotions.

 

Email is the preferred channel for university marketing

76% of high school students ranked email as the preferred medium for researching colleges in the United States. This far outranked direct mail, in-person seminars, phone, and messaging apps. While social media certainly plays a role in advertising and capturing the attention of students, it is not a channel used for communication.

Preferred Channel for University Recruitments by Students

Source: Statistica, 2016

The fact is email still drives conversions, across all sectors, and is the preferred form of communication for both university and college students.

We’ll let some of the best in their field handle other questions like social media marketing for universities, and focus this article on what we do best – email.

After speaking with universities about their challenges, we wanted to go beyond some of the basics of email marketing and have compiled three unique tips to help you and your institution think through your email marketing strategy.

  • Use sub-accounts to manage campaigns for different departments
  • Maintain brand consistency across all departments
  • Ensure responsive design on all devices and inboxes

There are also a lot of great tips on our own blog that can help you think through broader email questions like how to send email marketing newsletters, conduct A/B tests, template design, and more.

Manage all departments’ email campaigns

Higher education institutions like universities and colleges have a unique challenge on their hands when it comes to email marketing. Among other things, they are concerned with recruiting students, raising money, communicating events to existing students, engaging alumni, and, of course, educating their students.

They also operate as one brand with dozens (maybe hundreds) of separate brands, whether that is different academic departments, associations, publications, athletic teams, or housing and hospitality. Sending the right message, to the right audience, with consistent branding, and a shared voice is no easy feat.

Simplify account management by using sub-accounts

Our first tip is to implement sub-accounts on your email platform to easily separate and manage email programs across department.

Sub-accounts allow you to separate your email campaigns across different API Keys. By default, all accounts come with one active (Master) API Key where all mailings are sent through. You also have the possibility to create a second (Sub-Account) API Key for other departments, types of emails, or other unique use cases.

A university’s marketing or communications department can own the master account, and using sub-accounts and API keys, they can create separate accounts for different departments, sending needs, purposes, and users. You could have the Science department on one sub-account, the alumni relations team on another, student recruitment on another, and so forth.

When setting up your sub-accounts, here are some recommended best practices:

Use a separate API Key for Marketing & Transactional Emails

If you are sending both marketing and transactional emails on your account, you should use one API Key to send your transactional emails and another API Key for your newsletters.

In the event that one API Key has an issue (for example, a sending rate limit on your marketing campaigns), it will not interrupt the sending of your transactional emails, and vice versa.

Use separate API Keys for each Department

If you do create a master account and manage email accounts for different departments, you can assign a different API Key to each department (or even 2 API Keys to each department if they send both marketing & transactional emails).

Should an issue arise with one department’s mailings (a rate limit or sending is temporarily blocked due to abuse complaints), it will only impact their one API Key, and not your entire school’s emailing.

Separate Your Templates & Contact Lists

You can also separate templates and recipient lists into separate API Keys, and give another department access to that specific sub-account with Account Sharing. The Math department will ever have to sort through templates from Biology department. And the Fine Arts department won’t have to ever deal with the those rowdy Athletic Center emails.

Maintain brand consistency across all departments

Brand consistency is important for any organization, but perhaps is most difficult in institutions like universities, where there is no central marketing department that every department works with, or reports to. As a result, a change to a university’s brand, whether it’s large changes like logo, tagline and color scheme, or day-to-day changes like seasonal campaigns and messages, can be a difficult task to coordinate across campus.

Brands that are presented with consistency are 3-4x more likely to experience brand recognition. In fact, something as simple as color consistency can increase brand recognition by 80%.

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So if your college is trying to build the brand loyalty and recognition of, say, a Harvard University, but your Sociology department sends emails with your college’s horizontal logo, and your recruitment team uses primarily green colors instead of the your core brand of red, then how do you expect to build that consistent brand recognition?

 

How Consistent Brand Colors Drive Engagement

Source: Lucid Press

And this is a challenge amongst well-established departments in the university, but what about ad-hoc clubs and groups, or course emails from professors?

Without consistency, your brand is everything and nothing at the same time. With consistency you are one brand, one identity. Which brand do you think wins out in the end?

Quote This👆

Protect your brand with locked sections and bulk template editing

All of this is to say our second tip is ensure brand consistency across all emails by using locked sections and bulk template editing.

With one master account in Mailjet and many sub-accounts for your different departments, clubs, and sports teams, you can control where and how your brand is used.

First, by using locked sections in selected templates, you can ensure that no user (without proper permissions) can edit certain blocks within an email template. For example, you could create a footer with your logo, social media links, and a recent headline and lock this section so that no other user can come in and edit the logo, the colors, or the content. You can do the same for the header section, or even content blocks throughout the email.

This ensures that no matter what department your email comes from, the end user will have a consistent experience with your brand.

Mailjet’s Locked Sections

Similarly, you can control your brand consistency using bulk template editing. The larger your organization, the larger your template gallery likely is. Can you imagine changing the logo, or the footer of hundreds of templates?

Do you… do you really want to imagine that?

Bulk template editing allows you to edit that section once and apply the changes to all the templates that has the same section. That way, you can easily update the consistent footer, logo, or tagline across all your emails in just one click.

Mailjet’s Linked Sections for Bulk Template Editing

 

Design your emails with a mobile-first approach

If there’s one thing you’ve been told too many times as a marketer for a universitty, it’s that students are on mobile devices more than desktops (or laptops, or really anything else in this world).

Today, more than 70% of readers will delete an email that is not optimized for mobile, meanwhile over 25% of emails are first read on a mobile device. This number jumps to 40% for people aged 14-18… in other words your prospective students.

You’ve done so well to capture a user’s email, design a campaign, optimize your deliverability to land in the inbox… don’t lose them because you didn’t optimize for mobile.

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Ensure responsive design on all devices and inboxes

Our third tip then: optimize your emails for mobile devices and all inboxes.

Here are five things to look out for when designing your emails for all contexts:

  1. Alignment is Key: Opting for a single column layout will prevent you from having to re-arrange the design as the screen gets smaller. Simple is your friend.
  2. Image Size: Images are a great way to break up text, but it can cause some problems as well. Pictures that don’t render properly can appear too big or too small on some devices, ruining your killer background or making your banner unreadable.
  3. Clearly identifiable Calls-to-Action: Make primary calls to action as buttons (instead of hyperlinks) so it can be easily found and clicked with a finger on phones and tablets.
  4. Too much text: Don’t make your recipients scroll more than 2 or 3 swipes on their device. If you have a lot of text to share, simply share a snippet in the email and add a link to read more.
  5. Hierarchies of importance: Most emails are read for less than 3 seconds on a mobile device, so make sure you are putting your most captivating, engaging, and attention-grabbing headlines, CTAs, annd images above the fold. Don’t give your reader a reason to swipe left.

But even with all of this, you can still make some mistakes that affect responsiveness. So make sure you use an email builder or a coding framework that can do all the heavy lifting for you.

Responsive drag-and-drop email editors

Many email builders (Mailjet’s Passport included 🤠) allow you to create a well-designed email using a drag-and-drop interface. These editors (the best ones at least) will automatically ensure the sent emails are optimized for any device and inbox.

Responsive Drag-and-Drop Email Builder

 

MJML

You could also code your emails if you want to go above and beyond, or create some custom designs. This is great, but coding for responsive design can be tedious because there is not a global standard amongst inboxes and devices on how to render emails. For example, an email will look one way in Gmail, and another way in Outlook; one way on Gmail’s Android app, and another on a Macbook.

This tedious process led our Product Team at Mailjet to look for ways to make coding responsive emails easier. This is how and why MJML was born, the leading responsive email markup language.

Using everything you know about HTML, MJML simplifies the code for you so you don’t have to worry about writing lines beyond lines of code to accommodate different devices and inboxes. An email that could be hundreds of lines of code, can be written in less than 50. Speed matters.

 

MJML for Responsive Emails

 

If you’re interested in learning more about MJML and how to use it too send responsive emails, you can try it live here, or download here, and be sure to say hi to Nico and the team in our dedicated MJML Slack Group.

Final Exam

It’s no secret how important email marketing is to universities, from recruitment and fundraising to simply communicating campus activities. As a marketer in universities, you already understand this, however hopefully this article outlined some of the often overlooked aspects of email marketing in universities.

Namely – how to optimize your email platform, create efficiencies by managing all email under one platform, maintain control of your brand across departments, and of course how to design and code responsive emails.

This semester’s exam is a practical exam. You can choose your own assignment, either:

  1. Create a Mailjet account and try out sub-accounts to separate sending practices for your department.
  2. Try Mailjet’s collaboration suite to explore locked sections and bulk template editing
  3. Code your next email in MJML

 

No pressure. 🎓

5 Ways Retail Brands Can Amp Up Their Marketing in 2019

The internet has been transforming the retail world by continuously coming up with new ways to shop.

From mobile apps, micro-moments, the Amazon phenomenon, to social shopping, and so on. The retail industry has gone through a lot of changes over the past two decades.

And it’s showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, here are some key facts and figures:

  • Walmart crossed the “500 billion dollars milestone” in revenue
  • Amazon announced it broke new sales records in 2018
  • In 2018, e-commerce now accounts for 11.5 % of total worldwide retail sales (KPMG, Online consumer Report, 2017)
  • 72% of UK shoppers currently use Click and Collect – Cybertill & Forbes, 2016
  • Mobile devices accounted for 35.9% of the revenue generated online in the U.S. during the Black Friday Week

The market is evolving fast and retailers need to adapt to new trends and consumer preferences if they want to keep up with their competitors.

That being said, the amount of information shared online can be overwhelming – making it nearly impossible for marketers and PR professionals in the retail industry to:

  1. identify key strategies for them, and
  2. focus on what really matters for them and their audience.

For this reason, we’ve identified 5 main strategies that we believe would really help retailers kickstart their marketing in 2019. These are based on a report we at Mention recently conducted about digital trends in the retail industry by analyzing 50 of the top retail brands.

Let’s kick it off with one of the biggest trends of 2018: influencer marketing.

Try out influencer marketing by working with micro-influencers

Influencer marketing has been all the rage in 2018. According to Forbes, it has proven to be the “most effective form of advertising.

But as influencer marketing becomes more popular, top influencers become less accessible and more expensive.

Enter micro-influencers.

What are micro-influencers?

Micro-influencers are “regular people with an average of 10,000 followers or less. They are the preferred choice for brands in niche markets, where influence often depends on quality rather than quantity”.

Why should retail brands work with micro-influencers?

Unlike most mega-influencers many brands work with today, micro-influencers’ fame comes from a very focused expertise. They know what they are talking about and this is why people like and trust them.

In 2019, consumers expect transparency and genuine content from brands. By working with dedicated and recognized experts, retail brands can strengthen their credibility and extend their audience reach.

Besides, unless you’re representing a large, notable retail brand, micro-influencers are a lot more accessible than top tier ones, financially speaking.

At the end of the day, working with micro-influencers is a lot less risky since:

  1. They’re a much smaller financial investment compared to macro-influencers, and
  2. They would have less of an impact on your brand image if things go wrong.

Where can you find micro-influencers?

You can find micro-influencers on platforms like Instagram or YouTube. They grow their communities by sharing giving their opinions on the latest industry trends and sharing valuable expertise.

To give an example, many gaming companies work with micro-influencers for them to review their games and present them to their communities. Here’s an example of it with the latest Smash Bros. on the Nintendo Switch:


When done right, influencer marketing can help brands see a 7x increase in their ROI (Influencer Marketing Hub). And it would potentially be at a fraction of the cost they’d be spending on other forms of marketing.

However, to get good results, retail companies need to make sure to only work with influencers that match their brand image and values.

YOUR IMAGE ALT-TEXT

Personalize the customer journey

According to Janrain, 75% of consumers demand a personalized experience when interacting online with brands.

It is therefore very important for retailers to take this into account. Fortunately, most brands are well aware of it as Gartner reveals that “90% of brands say they will practice at least one form of marketing personalization by 2020.”

With that said, there are two types of personalization retailers should take into account:

Website personalization

Personalize your visitors’ and customers’ experience depending on who they are, what they want and what they do in real-time. As an example, this is a type of personalization Amazon masters.

I recently researched video games related items on Amazon.com, and the website auto-suggested me to give it another thought:

Each visitor will go through a completely different experience depending on their previous interactions with the brand.

Amazon recommendations
Amazon recommendations

Email personalization

If your customer didn’t purchase right away, the emails you follow up with will be a very important part of nurturing them. The personalization of each email you send to your customers should depend on their on-site behavior (categories and product pages visited, Items added to the cart, etc.).

In 2019, retailers can use email personalization to push dedicated offers or send discount coupons based on each visitor’s interests, location, or behavior (i.e. send a discount coupon on various gardening tools to someone who bought gardening tools in the last 6 months).

When thinking about segmentation, or how to divide your potential customers in order to personalize your emails to them, here are a couple of ideas:

Existing customer vs. new visitors

While the average conversion rate for a new visitor is around 3%, a returning customer has a 60% chance to buy again. What’s more, they spend on average 67% more than new visitors.

This means most of your existing customers will buy whether you’re pushing discounts, or not. By only sending discount coupons to new customers and not your entire database, you could be saving yourself a pretty penny.

By focusing your personalization efforts on new visitors, you could quickly see bumps in revenue.

Customer preferences

You could actually call this a personal customization.

Customization requires an action from the visitor. Customers could tell you what they would like their experience to look like and you build it according to their preferences, or you could customize the experience based on attributes like city or gender. All this can be done using Email Segmentation tools.

Here’s an example from Hubspot.

Hubspot subscription
Hubspot subscription

When subscribing to their newsletter, you get to decide what kind of content you would like to receive in the future.

Here’s another example from Peel, a phone case retailer.

When logged in, visitors can add items to their cart and leave before buying, Peel will automatically send them a reminder email called an abandoned cart email.

Peel abandoned cart
Peel abandoned cart

Our tip here is to combine these two types of email optimization. 1) Your customers will receive relevant content, and 2) You’ll offer them a shopping experience that’s personalized in real-time depending on their online behavior.

Geolocalization

Retail brands often deal with customers in different locations and languages. To better communicate with them, there are multiple factors they should take into account:

  1. Time zones: Sending an email in the morning to someone based in California means someone in Germany will receive it late in the afternoon.
  2. Languages: this is quite obvious. Depending on who you are sending emails to, you may have to communicate in various languages.
  3. Culture: depending on where your consumers live, they will have different interests, habits, or even ways to consume your content.

The following short story is a simple way to put it.

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Go for a run and die (of exhaustion)

Now, in some regions of the world, you’d read this from right to left. The story’s outcome is then very, very different.

  • Go for a run.
  • Drink Coke.
  • … die.

In short, segment your audience based on key differentiating factors and send personalized emails to your audience to turn more visits into sales.

Leverage mobile and augmented-reality capabilities

In 2018, it’s estimated that 40% of people own a smartphone (and the percentage is obviously expected to grow in the coming years). As smartphone technology is continuously improved, this presents new opportunities for brands to differentiate themselves with new ways to engage with their customers.

By leveraging mobile and augmented reality (AR) features, retail brands can significantly transform the shopping experience they offer.

What is augmented reality?

Augmented reality, is the integration of digital content within the user’s environment (not to confuse with virtual reality (VR), which create a new environment for the user).

Why is AR important?

AR can simulate a real shopping experience wherever your potential clients are. Even better, it simulates a real shopping experience within an environment that is familiar to the shopper.

Here are some examples of AR many retailers are already using to convert more visitors into clients:

Optical retailers: if you wear glasses, you know for a fact that choosing the pair you’ll be wearing everyday for the next couple of years is no easy job.

Today, many retailers offer the possibility to try different models at home, using AR capabilities. It’s not perfect yet, but it will give you a great idea of what specific frames would look like on you.

Here’s an example with Zenni Optical.

Zenni Optical

Furniture: buying furniture is always exciting. That being said, it’s very hard to visualize the result before you buy.

To help their customers to visualize their potential purchases a bit better, Ikea and Apple worked together to create Ikea Place, an AR app that helps you visualize how various pieces of furniture would look in your home or office space.

Ikea Place
Ikea Place

AR is no longer unaffordable

A couple of years ago, developing an AR app involved putting over $30K on the table. Today, it’s estimated that $5K should be enough to develop a functional AR mobile application.

What’s stopping you from trying it out?

Monitor what is being said online

There is a lot being said online about retail brands. From product feedback to customer service complaints, knowing who is talking to your brand and why in real-time is essential.

But first, let’s take a step back.

A large part of marketers’ and PR professionals’ role in the retail industry is to control their brand’s online reputation.

That said, the constant noise generated by the millions of conversations happening every day makes it impossible for them to focus their time on what really matters.

Media monitoring
Media monitoring

Using media monitoring, marketing and PR professionals can keep an eye on everything relevant that is said about them, their competitors and their market in real-time.

What’s more, they are able to identify trends before they go mainstream, giving them two significant advantages.

  • Identify potential threats to your business: while it takes a lot of time to build one’s reputation, it only takes seconds to destroy it. An advanced monitoring tool will help marketers to identify all types of online threats heading their way, whether their brand is in @mention, or not.

Here’s an example with the negative trends gravitating around the Amazon brand: there are 30K mentions about Alexa, 8K about employees. It’s probably something Amazon’s social media team would want to be aware of.

Media monitoring
Media monitoring
  • Identify business opportunities before your competitors: Trends are, by definition, temporary. As soon as the internet picks a trend up, the window to get on the trend train is very, very short. Monitoring-savvy retail brands can identify these trends before they go mainstream and change their product or marketing strategy on the fly.

Last but not least, we think you really need to focus on delivering an excellent customer service to succeed in 2019.

Offer excellent customer service, online and offline

Do you know why Amazon accounts for 33% of online retail conversations? They offer excellent customer service.

Amazon is laser-focused on their customers.

To give you a better idea, I took a look at the activity of their @AmazonHelp twitter account.

At the time of writing this blog post, @AmazonHelp tweeted 3.02M times in 9 years and 2 months.

This means they send an average of 903 tweets per day to deal with customer complaints, questions and remarks, in English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Chinese and Turkish.

And that’s just Twitter. We’re not taking into account the call center and their website’s customer service platform.

If you want loyal customers in 2019, everything from your website, customer journey, and service needs to be seamless.

Be available when and where your customers need you

Today, customers demand service on their terms.

This means you have to be available when they need you, via the platforms they use.

While you obviously need a dedicated call center to ensure a proper customer service, you need to have round-the-clock presence on social media.

This focus on customer service is based on two key statistics revealed by KPMG International’s Global Online Consumer Report (2017):

  • 51% of brands consumers trust the most make it easy to contact them.
  • 66% of consumers say excellent customer service is a must for them to be loyal to a brand.

Your customers expect the best, or nothing.

It’s essential for retailers to understand in 2019, customers are no longer blindly loyal to brands. They are loyal to a level of customer service and customer experience.

In short, retailers’ ability to gain market shares depend almost entirely on their ability to keep their customers happy. And to do that well? Definitely consider the 5 tips we just shared with you.

What about you? What are your marketing New Year’s resolutions? Reach out to me at clement@mention.com to let me know!

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Getting Your Super Bowl Email Strategy Right

We’re less than a month away from one of the biggest marketing moments of the year (oh, and I guess one of the biggest days in American sports too).

The Super Bowl, set for February 3rd this year, is one of those few days in the year where nearly everyone’s attention will be on one event. Reaching over 100M viewers every year, the Super Bowl brings in nearly 3x the traffic you can expect from other major events like the Oscars, NBA Finals, or a regular season football game. The best performing TV show might reach 15-16M, but nothing ever comes close to the Super Bowl on an annual basis. Ok yes, the FIFA World Cup Final certainly outperforms the Super Bowl with a global audience of 163M in 2018, but this is not only a global event but an event that only takes place once every four years.

Super Bowl Viewership vs Other Major Television Events.

The point is, the Super Bowl presents a rare opportunity for you as a marketer, and given email marketing continues to drive the highest ROI compared to other marketing channels (yes, including social media, digital advertising, and, of course, Super Bowl commercials), it’s a rare opportunity to leverage this event to drive more conversions from email.

In this post, we’ll help get you ready for this event with some tips on how to optimize the impact you can get from your email campaigns before, during, and after the Super Bowl. We’ll also take a look at some tips for your Superbowl email subject lines.

Preparing Your Email Strategy for the Super Bowl

In the lead up to the Super Bowl there is a lot you can do to ensure that both you, and your customers are ready for the big game.

Roughly half of the Americans that watch the Super Bowl plan to do so at a party, that means over 50M people will be out of their house, bringing food, drinks, and gifts. In fact, 79% of people plan to spend money on food, beverages, or other merchandise. As you can imagine, spending on Super Bowl Sunday has gone up every year and is up over 60% in the last decade. In 2018 spending reached $15.3B with 25-34 year olds spending the most, with an average of $118.43 each.

To capture your share of this pie, you need to anticipate your customers needs and wants for the day, and help them spend their money the best way. This could include sending relevant and personalized sales a couple days or weeks ahead of time, like deals on dip bowls, food, big screen TVs, or streaming packages.

 

West Elm Super Bowl Sale
West Elm Super Bowl Sale

 

Or you could help your customers have a stress-free day by letting them pre-order certain items ahead of time, like pizza or wings.

 

Shaws Super Bowl Pre-Order
Make Pre-Orders Easy with Email

 

Almost as important as getting your customers ready for the Super Bowl is getting you and your marketing team ready as well. As you’ll see in the next section, there are many marketing opportunities during the game that you’ll want to be ready for, and as our VP of Sales always likes to say: “In anything, Preparation is 90% of your Success!”

Preparation at Mailjet

There are a lot of knowns and predictable moments in lead up to the Super Bowl, and you should use this to your advantage. We’ll start off easy:

  • We know the kick off time is 6:30pm EST on February 3rd.
  • We know it’s taking place in Atlanta GA and will be broadcast on CBS.
  • We know football games are usually three hours long, so a good guess is that the halftime will take place at 8pm EST and will feature Maroon 5 and Travis Scott.
  • We know that 1 in 3 people over the age of 35 will be checking their email during the game, and that over 80% of people will be on their phone multiple times throughout the game.

But let’s go beyond this.

  • We also know who will be advertising during the Super Bowl, as AdWeek is tracking everything they know about upcoming commercials.
  • Because of this we know, for example, that Toyota will have a commercial talking about their RAV4, and if this spot is relevant to your brand in any way you can adjust your messaging to stay relevant. The same is true for Colgate’s ad or Budweiser’s.

We’ll have a few more tips for you later on, to show how you can leverage the obscene ad dollars from major brands ($5M for a 30-sec ad) to help your own campaigns. Can’t Wait? Jump over to our tips for after the Super Bowl.

Ultimately, with all of this information up front you can begin to plan your email campaigns accordingly. If you want engagement on your site, you can schedule a campaign to go out three hours before the game to advertise last minute deals. If you want to take advantage of moment marketing, you could get your design team ready with images, related to football or the halftime show so you’re ready to quickly send a relevant email campaign at a moment’s notice.

Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.

Taking Advantage of Email During the Super Bowl

There is a lot happening when the game is on, and of course people are distracted. While, as we already mentioned, many people are actually checking their email and social media during the game and the commercials, you are going to see a noticeable drop in engagement during the game.

Make Sure Your Emails Are Mobile Friendly

Moveable Ink put together a really interesting study to look at if and how people are engaging with email during Super Bowl Sunday. They found that email open rates on Super Bowl Sunday were on par with open rates you can expect any other Sunday throughout the year. However, they did find that emails were opened much more frequently on smartphones and tablets than on desktop devices during this time.

 

Superbowl Open Rates
Email Open Rates During Super Bowl Week

This is understandable given people are away from their desks on most weekends, but it’s a good reminder that it’s important to ensure your emails are responsive on all devices, and also that your campaigns, CTAs, landing pages, and promotions are also optimized for mobile conversions.

Make it easy for people to go to your website or buy your product on a mobile device if you’re planning on sending on Super Bowl Sunday.

Take Advantage of Retargeting with Email

While of course social media, like Twitter, has quickly become the digital channel people are engaging with during the Super Bowl to discuss the game and the commercials, they are often engaging with brands, websites, and search.

Patrick Tripp, senior product marketing manager at Adobe Campaign explains why: “They’re using their mobile device to enhance their viewing experience by researching the celebrities and brands, new products/services making their big debut and more. Most importantly — in addition to all of this second-screen activity — they’re checking their email during the Super Bowl.”

While you can certainly take advantage of the fact that your customers are potentially reading your emails during the game, it’s more important that you are leveraging re-marketing and contact capture opportunities that occur during the game.

For example, if someone is reading an article you wrote about the Super Bowl on your site during the game, or are researching your products, make sure you set up transactional emails or automation workflows with promotions or calls to action to keep them engaged.

Kraft’s Family Greatly Twitter campaign last year directed people to a landing page where they were promoting an email newsletter with easy and delicious recipes.

Patrick Tripp from Adobe explains further. “With the right tools, marketers can create more than a spike in social mentions, but actually boost the bottom line by remarketing in email to create more meaningful, relevant engagements, leveraging insights they already have about the consumers’ interest in the game — from the team they’re rooting for to the brands they’re researching and possible online shopping carts they’ve abandoned.”

Moment Marketing at the Super Bowl

Finally, there is of course moment marketing, making sure you are ready to jump on relevant moments from the game. Oreo won this game in 2013 with their “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark” Twitter post during 2013’s Super Bowl power outage, but many brands can take advantage of these moments on both social media and email to leverage a shared experience for brand awareness and engagement.

To do this right, you’ll need to have your email marketing team ready, maybe launch a “war room” at the office to watch the game, have some pizza (maybe even some beer) and be on the ready to quickly design a new campaign and write some new copy to capitalize on the shared conversation happening online.

Maximize Impact After The Super Bowl is Done

Once the game is done, your work is not.

It’s only starting, actually. One way to understand this is to look at how people interact with advertisers before and after the game. During the game, Millennials are the most likely to visit an advertisers website, whereas Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers are far more likely to engage with your brand right after, or even up to one week after.

Website Visits Super Bowl Ads
How Different Generations Engage with Super Bowl Advertisers

Be Apart of the On-Going Conversion

While we can’t all be advertisers at the Super Bowl, there are opportunities to take advantage of the discussion happening online about the game, the commercials, the players, and the brands. You can send campaigns that reference those moments from the game, that follow up on your social media posts, or maybe even email out your own (much cheaper) Super Bowl commercial with a YouTube link.

Either way, over 100M Americans are riding high from an event – take this opportunity to start and/or continue a conversation with them.

Piggy Back Off of Major Brand Awareness

Another massive opportunity, depending on your industry is to leverage the good will of the advertisers for your own products and services.

Super Bowl commercials are often more about pushing a new idea or concept, as much as they are about pushing a specific brand or product. For example, Amazon’s fantastic 2018 Super Bowl commercial for Alexa was as much about the future of the connected home and voice control as it was about a specific Amazon product. In fact they never actually name the product in the ad (the Amazon Echo).

“The commercial built awareness of Alexa and Echo devices, says Deb Gabor, CEO of brand strategy consultancy Sol Marketing. “While it didn’t offer much in name of showcasing the value proposition of Alexa, it seemed aimed at driving the adoption of smart speakers into mass use.”

Brands who don’t have $5M to spare on a Super Bowl ad, but with an interest in the connected home industry, can piggyback off of the attention smart speakers and connected devices will now have in the zeitgeist. It often doesn’t need to be a competing company, it’s almost more impactful if you are a completely different product entirely.

For example, if you sell smart thermostats, maybe send an campaign after with the subject line “Our smart thermostats never lose their voice”.

We know which brands will be advertising during the Super Bowl, and in fact we will likely already be able to see the actual commercial since they are commonly leaked ahead of time (whether intentionally or not). Major brands will be pushing new ideas and new industries. Identify where your brand can jump into this new window to capitalize on this new concept awareness.

Subject Line Tips for Your Email Campaigns

Finally, one of the most frequently asked questions about email marketing is how to write the perfect subject line. On a crowded marketing day like Super Bowl Sunday, standing out with good copy is even more important.

According to CoSchedule, 35% of recipients open emails based on subject lines alone. So what can you do to try to capture attention and inspire action? Here are a couple of tips that you can incorporate into your campaigns. We’ll apply each of these tips to the same Super Bowl themed email campaign.

Our case study will be a Home & Decor shop advertising their sale on beer mugs for your Super Bowl party.

Here are the beautiful mugs, and below are ways you can use subject lines to maximize sales. We’ve created a few examples under each tip.

Super Bowl Beer Mugs

Generate Curiosity

This is obviously easier said than done, but there is always a way to generate curiosity with your subject lines, and it’s often a matter of reconceptualizing the same question in a slightly different way.

❌ Beer mugs on Sale This Week

✅ Here is one item you’ll need for your Super Bowl party

Create Urgency & Scarcity

By creating urgency or scarcity, you are creating a small window for your customers to click. Anything that makes them think they can deal with this later reduces your chances of them coming back to your email. This is especially true for emails on a mobile device – act or lose them forever. In fact, subject lines with words that imply time sensitivity (e.g. “urgent”, “breaking”, “important” or “alert”) are proven to increase email open rates….but careful not to sound spammy. If they expect to hear from you, then this won’t be a problem.

email urgency

❌ We have all the beer mugs you need for the big game

✅ Today Only! One item you’ll need for your Super Bowl party

Personalize

We’ve said it a thousand times by now, but you should always be personal with your customers. Personalized email messages can improve your click-through-rates by 15% and your conversion rates by 10%. Often you will have the person’s name, so use this in the subject. Many brands also have much more information they can use such as transaction history, and city.

❌ Beer mugs on sale for the big game!

✅ Mike – we have Boston’s best selling mugs on sale today only

Kick Off Your Team’s Super Bowl Campaigns

Mailjet is devoted to helping teams send their emails faster, together. As you prepare for the Super Bowl, and all of 2019’s upcoming marketing moments, it will be more important than ever to have your entire email team on the same page. Be sure to check out our Collaboration Toolkit to help build your campaigns in real time and get ready for the biggest marketing moment of the year.

What email strategies will you employ for the Super Bowl? Tell us all about your own #SuperBowlEmails on Twitter!

How Email Segmentation Can Increase Your Conversion Rate

“Email marketing segmentation is the art of thinking in groups.”

Jordie Van Rijn, Email Monday

Each person is unique. What could be the first line of a self-help book works just as well as the first-line of a guide to email segmentation. Get ahead of the curve and don’t just segment your email lists, but segment them well.

So below we put together a guide on email list segmentation and some important actionable ideas marketers can use to jumpstart their email segmentation efforts.

What is email segmentation

Email segmentation is the tactic of dividing your email subscription lists into smaller groups called segments based on a set of traits or variables. Some email segmentation ideas could include geography, purchase history, interests, and so forth. Through email segmentation, marketers can tailor emails specifically for each segment.

What are the benefits of email segmentation

According to the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), marketers have found a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns. This makes perfect sense; the more relevant the message, the more likely your subscriber is to act on it.

Adding to this, an Emarketer study found that “39% of email marketers who segment their email lists see better open rates and 28% saw better email deliverability and earned more revenue.”

Finally, Optimove compared average segment sizes (i.e. average number of customer contacts per segment) to average uplift – an increase in value per customer – and found that the smaller the size, the higher the uplift.

Segmentation uplift
Average uplift in terms of campaign size

Source: Optimove

So, of course, email segmentation works. But to reap its full benefits, marketers need to segment more intelligently and realize that not all segments offer the same opportunity and potential revenue.

ROI of segmented vs unsegmented lists
Segmentation ROI

Source: Optimove

Here, Optimove analyzes customer value through the RFM method, which stands for:

  • Recency: when did the customer purchase this item?
  • Frequency: how often do they make a purchase?
  • Monetary value: how much did they spend?

Segmentation allows for a larger average revenue per customer. In the top right of the above image, the VIPs segment has the highest ROI (an average of $150 per user) and the segment of customers about to churn is a measly $8.

Note briefly: an $8 ROI still ranks well above many other digital channels. Email’s just that good ;).

Here, identifying different segments and how much value they provide will allow brands to really see who their key targets should be and how they should create their email marketing strategy.

Customer value and email engagement
Customer value and email engagement

Source: Sage CRM

As this graph shows, data capture is only one part of the puzzle. Ultimately, data should inform segmentation and customer analysis to discover key spending trends and identify potential segments that could give more profit.

Great engagement based on correctly-identified segments and content and design influenced by marketing intuition and data lead to better retention. Retention is very important. Businesses survive on loyal customers, after all. When email engagement and customer value intersect at very high values, this leads to customer retention; customers stay with the company because they value the company’s products.

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How to segment your email list

There are so many ways to segment your lists, so we’ve put together three tips for you below.

Identify relevant KPIs and business interests for proper email segmentation

Email segmentation relies heavily on marketing intuition in order to work well. Before segmenting email lists, make sure that the segment criteria are themselves already relevant. For example, creating a segment based on past purchases might be relevant for eCommerce businesses, but not for blog newsletters. For newsletters,  you can segment based on their location, language, or topic of interest. While this can be quite obvious, articulating this reveals insights on whether some segments are really relevant based on the business, or not.

Jordie Van Rijn, email marketing consultant at EmailMonday.com, has a simple, yet effective, formula for email segmentation:

Segmentation Model * Execution = Combined impact

(Where Execution = Relevance + Content + Design + Time)

Email segmentation is not an end in itself. Marketers need to realize that some segments might not be relevant to their businesses. Moreover, marketers might also be distributing the wrong type of content to their segments. This is why execution is important. It allows marketers to build upon their segmentation model for optimized conversion results.

Here, the segmentation model comprises the ways marketers choose various criteria used to define various segments. These criteria can be base on geography (e.g. country, city, zip code, etc.), demography (age, race, gender, etc.), industry (e.g. education, eCommerce, etc.) and so forth.

In each segment involved, the execution needs to be strong in order to fully maximize what email segmentation can do. Execution can include:

  • the relevance of the segmentation criteria to the email marketing strategy and business involved;
  • the content and design, which should be relevant to the segments, of the emails sent; and
  • the timeline and scheduling of these segmented marketing campaigns.

Effective execution optimizes the segmentation model for a combined impact in the form of increased email key performance indicators (KPIs). Ultimately, each segment needs to have great execution in order to work.

After all, hastily creating email segments is like fitting square pegs into round holes.

Create Unique Content and Messaging for each Segment

Marketers need to make sure in sending the right content. This can include marketing promotional offers on vegan food to vegetarians and vegans, or announcing a special event to a segment of locals in that city.

Monitor results, A/B test, and adapt to continue to improve the impact of each segment

Mailjet analytics
Mailjet analytics

Of course, creating unique content for your segments is not only based on marketing intuition, but also on data. Data can reveal which type segments work, and which don’t. Data tracking also allows marketers to develop best practices for the next emails they send to these segments

Mailjet offers advanced email analytics from which you can easily get actionable insights. These can include:

  • the email providers marketers have sent their email campaigns to;
  • the open rate, or the percentage of emails opened by those in the segmented list;
  • the rate of users who have unsubscribed from the mailing list after receiving this; segmented email campaign;
  • the bounce rate, or the number of emails that failed to get delivered to the recipients; and
  • the spam rate, or the rate of emails that go to recipients’ spam folders.

These metrics and visual graph allow you to track your segmented email campaigns in real time. Tracking the spikes and stagnations in line graphs allows marketers to identify when the email campaigns are being opened.

Additionally, marketers can even compare which version of a segmented email campaign is being opened through Mailjet’s A/B testing tool.

Mailjet’s A/B Testing
A/B testing

These three tests experiment with the content and design of the same email campaign through its CTA and text. While these changes may seem trivial, psychology tells us that they can impact the way recipients engage with emails.

A step-by-step guide to Mailjet’s email segmentation feature

Email segmentation using Mailjet is as easy as pie and allows users to effectively create specific segments. Now that you’ve come up with a strategy for segmenting your campaigns create relevant segments in Mailjet and send emails that matter to your contacts.

Here’s how we can help:

  1. From your Contacts page, click “Segmentation”.

Click the ‘Create a segment’ button.

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Mailjet segmentation

2) Enter a segment name and create your filters.

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Mailjet segmentation

When you have completed your segment, click ‘Save’. Now you can apply your segment to a campaign: Create your campaign and once you select your contact list, you will have the option to apply a segment.

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Mailjet segmentation

You can also click the ‘Calculate number of contacts’ button to apply the segment to your selected contact list to see how many contacts will be matched.

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Mailjet segmentation

Continue with your campaign design and send your campaign as usual!

After your email segmentation

While segmentation can become a massive part of your email marketing success, it’s important to take it one step at a time. If you don’t have any segmentation strategy now, don’t try to create a robust strategy from scratch, simply identify one segment you can create and begin testing.

Perhaps this could be segmented based on language, or country, or whether or not they are engaging with previous emails.

Test out different messages and see what works.

From there, then focus on what new data could inform more segments going forward. Do you have data assigned to their purchase history, or user history. Do you have data on the size of their business? Can you connect this to their email address? If so, maybe you can identify new segmentation opportunities and create a second segment.

And on and on.

The point is to chip away and unlock revenue opportunities, but this takes time.

Let us know on Twitter what segments you’re experimenting with. Happy sending!

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The 5 People You’ll Need on Your Email Team

Email marketing is increasingly becoming a team sport as email has shifted from plain text memos to HTML layouts, and now to dynamic content. There is more people involved in any single campaign than ever before, so it’s time to take stock of who’s on your team and what role they play.

Take a look at your inbox right now. For every email you see, there were (on average) 11 people who contributed to ensuring that email is well designed, communicates the right messages, adapts perfectly to your inbox, is personalized to you, and is sent to you at just the right time. Sounds like a lot, right?

When sending your own campaigns, it’s important to know who each of these people are, what skills are required in each role, and when to best engage them in the process.

We’ve outlined a (non-exhaustive) list of the different roles you need on your team. Ultimately though, your team is unique so take a look at the skills each person can bring to the table.

  1. The Email Strategist
  2. The Email Designer
  3. The Copywriter
  4. The Email Developer
  5. The Data Engineer
  6. But…Your Email Team is Unique

1. The Email Strategist

Just as most of our blogs on email marketing tips start with the recommendation to have a strategy, we’ll start with the most important tip of all for coming up with the ideal email team: have a strategist!

To avoid being one of the many flailing brands that send out email without any kind of coherent strategy or even a plan, you will need someone on your team devoted to thinking about the big picture. The Strategist is involved from A to Z, from how email will play a role in your business to the final word in campaigns.

At Mailjet, we work closely with our customers’ email strategists to help them think through the fundamentals of email strategy. Depending on your business, this includes when email is used in your product, service, marketing, and sales, how frequently emails should be sent, how segmentation and personalization can be used, how to maximize deliverability, and much, much more.

For example, at Product Hunt, their email strategist is responsible for thinking through how email fits into their marketing, it’s product, and its value to partners.

For example, what is the strategy behind the Daily Newsletter? When should they be sent to optimize open rates? What types of subject lines work best? Should we personalize the subject line or the content? If so, where and how do we personalize?

Similarly, the Email Strategist at Product Hunt needs to consider when to send email notifications to their users. Should an email be sent every time their product is liked or reviewed? Maybe there should be a daily digest of new followers and upvotes, or maybe users themselves should decide what notifications they would like to receive.

These questions are seemingly endless, especially for a brand like Product Hunt that has baked email into both their marketing and product strategy. The same questions likely apply to your brand as well, whether you’re deciding when to send abandoned cart emails, or what data you can use to segment users.

At the end of the day, you need a Strategist to take control of your email campaigns, and ensure it continually drives forward your goals.

Special Tips for Email Strategists

Take control of your email campaigns through role management to customize the permissions of each member of your team and never send a campaign without final approval from the Strategist.

Email-Publication-Request
Email Mailjet Role Management & Publication Requests

2. The Email Designer

A designer, like always, is tasked with the look and feel of the email, but unlike standard web design, social media design, print, and so forth, designing for email requires knowledge of how the design will look on different devices. This will require close collaboration with the developers and the strategist to ensure the design is not only responsive across desktop and mobile, but also across different inboxes like Gmail, Outlook, and the many mobile inboxes that exist.

The designer is then responsible for taking the vision outlined by the Strategist and designing a series of templates that best communicate the message, are brand aligned, and flexible to a variety of content, including long-form writing, GIFs, videos, and variables for segmentation and personalization.

The responsibilities of the designer include:

  • Working with the strategist to identify the core objectives of each campaign.
  • Designing the initial template and layout for each campaign and workflows (e.g. a template for a newsletter, subscription confirmation, password resets, receipts, notifications, reminders, sales and special offers, and more).
  • Overseeing consistency in brand and message across all campaigns, and ensuring changes made to the brand (e.g. logo, color, tagline, etc.) are updated across all platforms in a timely fashion.

Special Tip for Email Designers

Be sure to use Mailjet’s Bulk Template Editor to apply changes from one template to all of your templates. For example, if you are updating your logo or a banner image in your password resets, with one click you can apply this to all other relevant templates.

3. The Copywriter(s)

While each of the below roles and certainly the above roles are incredibly important to your email team, perhaps in the modern days of marketing there is no one more important than the copywriter(s).

The designer will scoff, the strategist will say it’s the whole package that matters, and you know what – it’s kind of true. The whole team brings something to the table but at the end of the day a good message with well-written copy will cut through.

The email could be plain text and not at all personalized, but if the copy is strong you could see the highest engagement of any campaign.

Good design with bad copy? Personal message but bad copy? Unfortunately, this formula leads to crickets.

A little hat tip to Neil Patel for the video below about what makes good copywriting and how it can better drive conversions in not only your emails, but also your landing pages, social media posts, and more.

Within the email team, you can expect much more than one person is responsible for the copy, especially on emails like newsletters, which can be aggregating content from across the company.

While more hands on deck can mean more productivity and more creative ideas, it can also lead to a disjointed message, so we’d recommend you assign one copywriting lead to be responsible for coordinating the content, assigning responsibilities, strategizing on the consistency of tone, and proofreading the final product.

Special Tip for Email Copywriters

Copywriting is a team sport, so be sure to use tools designed to make it easier, faster, and more collaborative. Mailjet’s real-time collaboration and in-app commenting will allow all of your copywriters to quickly hustle on the copy in your upcoming campaign all at the same time.

4. The Email Developer

The Developer floats in and out of the planning and implementation phases of an email campaign.

They work closely with the strategist and designer off the top to ensure that the objective of an email campaign be accomplished with the variables we have in place. They also ensure that the design will in fact be responsive to different devices and inboxes. Finally, they take control of optimization practices to ensure things like segmentation are properly set up, and necessary integrations are enabled.

With so many potential integrations into your email service provider, whether it’s your CRM, ecommerce platform, or data aggregators, it’s more important (and more difficult) than ever to ensure that your email stack is perfectly functioning, and all necessary tools are optimized for upcoming campaigns.

If good copywriting is the core of a good campaign, good integrations is the fairy dust that makes an email campaign truly magical. It allows for personalization, detailed analytics, and nurturing which can turn a good campaign into a great campaign.

The Developer also works closely with the designer to ensure the email template looks good, is brand aligned, and responsive across all platforms. This has historically been pretty difficult to do given the limitations of inboxes. For example, the vast majority of inboxes do not allow for video, images adapt in ways you might not expect, and fonts might not work everytime.

Responsive email languages like MJML have emerged to help make this process much easier, ensuring that one line of code will result in good design and responsiveness across any platform. While HTML emails require seemingly endless lines of code to accommodate all platforms, simple languages like MJML accomplish the same thing with a fraction of the code.

Together with Mailjet, MJML also makes collaboration between developers, designers, and strategist that much easier, since MJML can be adapted into a drag-and-drop format once the developer is done with the code, and the marketers needs to jump in to create the content.

MJML
MJML & Drag-and-Drop Editor

Special Tips for Email Developers

No surprise here, but be sure to check out MJML if you haven’t already. MJML is responsive by design on most popular email clients and lets you write less code, save time, and code more efficiently. To make the most out of MJML, be sure to also join our MJML Slack Channel.

5. The Data Engineer

Finally, the Data Engineer plays a crucial role in helping the developer make the most of the integrations, and the Strategist understand performance of campaigns.

It’s one thing for a developer and a strategist to include a [First Name] variable, or a personalized image, or message based on a segment. However it’s a whole other thing entirely to ensure that the right data is included within the right email, and most importantly that there is even some data that can be pulled.

To avoid blank fields in your email campaigns or, worse, a failed segmentation, be sure to have a data engineer on your team.

This role will likely expand well beyond just email and include all of your communication channels. But when it comes to email, there is so much opportunity in using data to ensure these are sent to the right people, at the right time, with the right message.

The Data Engineer also needs to look at performance data to improve future campaigns, and also to see opportunities to further use data to personalize and optimize campaigns. For example, having someone review stats for each campaign, you can identify what times and days of the week work best, what type of subject lines performs best, where personalization works, etc.

Special Tip for Data Engineers

Be sure to check out Mailjet’s long list of integrations to see how you can use data to drive magical campaigns.

Your Team Is Unique

At the end of the day, your email team is likely unique, and is not represented perfectly in these five roles.

Perhaps you have a project manager who oversees the entire campaign and has ultimate authority over when a template is complete and ready to publish. Or you have an agency who manages your messaging and branding and so needs special access to your email campaigns and templates.

Maybe you have a Customer Success Manager (like Kyle at Mailjet. Hi Kyle!) that frequently checks in to ensure you campaigns are sending properly, you are reaching the inbox, and maintaining proper sending and list collection practices.

Whatever your team looks like, the point is it’s a team of people that will make sure you email campaigns continue to drive revenue and engagement. Too many businesses either rely on one person to manage the entire process or, more realistically, they seem to think only one person is involved.

We recently commissioned a study on how marketing teams create and send email, and we found that on average a campaign involves 11 people and goes through five revisions. The question then becomes: if so many people are involved in a campaign, how are you ensuring your team is working as productively, efficiently, and creatively as possible?

Our advice: work together.

Be sure to take a look at our new Collaboration Toolkit to discover how teams can email better together, as well as our post on the collaboration tools our team at Mailjet uses. Perhaps you’ll come up with some ideas of your own on how to make your email team stronger than ever.

Now it’s your turn – how many people work in email in your company? How do you collaborate? Let us know on Twitter, we’d love to hear from you and your team!

Top 5 Online Collaboration Tools For Teams

One of the exciting parts about Mailjet is the fact that everyday we get to work with colleagues all around the world, from Ho Chi Minh, to Paris, to Barcelona, to Toronto (I didn’t forget you Dusseldorf, New York, Amsterdam, and London – it’s just more poetic to list 4, than all 8).

The challenge with working with teams literally all around the world, though, is ensuring we keep up to date on projects, effectively communicate, and keep our culture alive. Thankfully, we live in an age where team collaboration is baked into almost all workplace apps, and you can find some pretty incredible tools to bring the team closer together, and in the process increase your productivity.

Let’s be honest, there are countless lists out there of the best collaboration tools, often written by someone sitting behind a computer and regurgitating someone else’s ideas.

To dig a bit deeper and make it a bit more real, we thought we would survey our entire team to get an honest look at those online collaboration tools our own company uses and loves to bring their team together. This post is about the CollaborationStack™ that Mailjet uses – and would we love to hear about your own #CollaborationStack on Twitter.

Collaboration Tools at Mailjet

At Mailjet we have seven distinct teams and after surveying each team about their favorite collaboration tools, and how they use it within their team, it became very clear that each team collaborates very differently.

For this survey, our teams are Product, Customer Success, Marketing, Customer Support, Sales, Deliverability & Compliance, and Legal, HR, and Admin.

Across all teams, communication and project creation tools jumped to the top as the most loved collaboration tools. We asked teams to rate the tools they use many times each week and can say they truly love. While the Marketing team overwhelming marked Mailjet as their favorite collaboration tool (those sneaky marketers), we also wanted to dig into the rest of the #CollaborationStack.

We’ve then outlined some of the reasons behind why our team absolutely loves these tools, why they cannot live without them, and how we think teams of all sizes (whether remote or not) can take advantage of these powerful tools to bring in a deeper culture of collaboration.

Most used collaboration tools at Mailjet

Collaboration Tool Survey
Collaboration tool survey

Slack: Keeping Teams Together

How do I put this gently? Slack absolutely destroyed. Everyone at Mailjet loves Slack as not only a communications tool, but as a way to build culture across remote teams.

“Slack is great for international teams to communicate in real time. I don’t know if it’d be possible to do my job in an efficient manner without it.” – Product Team

At Mailjet, we use Slack across the entire company to keep a running conversation on projects, across teams, and between colleagues. By separating teams into channels and creating private channels for specific projects, teams can quickly jump in and out of conversations to ensure they have the latest information, and can keep informed of discussions without having to be in the room.

As teams grow in size, they inherently become less connected and projects become more fragmented. Slack has become Mailjet’s primary tool to help deal with this scaling as a team, whether it’s using the live video chat for team meetings and Sandwich Lunches, using the Twitter bot to make sure we never miss a comment from our customers and partners, or sharing random images in our #wrongroom channel.

GDPR Wrong Room-Slack
Room example in Slack

2. G Suite: Collaborate in Real Time

There really isn’t much more to say about G Suite and it’s tools Docs, Sheets, Slides and Drive, that hasn’t been said by many before. If your team isn’t using G Suite (or comparable tools like Dropbox Paper) then you’re definitely missing out on the benefits of real-time collaboration, version control, tracking changes, and more.

As with many growing companies, and especially SaaS companies like Mailjet, our team works in spurts to hammer out documents, presentations, and spreadsheets together in real-time. In fact, it is difficult to be productive in today’s working environment unless you’re working together in real time.

“I really appreciate G Suite because I can work in real-time with others from all over the world and directly see what has been added, changed or deleted.” – Customer Success Team

Gone are the days of ‘Writing a document. Saving. Closing. Attaching to an email. Then going about other business.’

Now are the days of ‘Pinging your colleagues. Jumping into a shared document. Edit together. Add comments. Resolve comments. Review. Finalize.’

According to Google, 74% of all time spent in Docs, Sheets and Slides is on collaborative work – that is, multiple people creating and editing content together.

This is certainly true for Mailjet’s documents and projects. In fact, this blog is being written in Google Docs and I can assure you that this sentence was hotly debated in the comments.

Google Docs Comments
Google Docs Comments

3. Trello: Manage All Projects

Third in our rankings was Trello, the project management tool built for teams to collaborate on projects, tasks, and ideas using boards.

Mailjet uses Trello across many departments, but it’s primarily loved in our Marketing, Product, and Customer Success teams. Ultimately, the reason boils down to how simple the tool is to use, how flexible and adaptable it is across any project, and how the visual medium makes it super easy to understand and contribute to.

“I love Trello because it’s at the same time really simple and really flexible to use. You can manage a team, a project, or your life!” – Marketing Team

Many people talked about how Trello can be used for not only work projects but home projects as well, whether it’s grocery lists, side projects, travel plans, or home improvement. This is increasingly true of many great collaboration tools like Slack, G Suite, and Trello, but also increasingly apps like AirBnB have launched a set of collaboration tools designed to help make travelling as a group easier.

One of our many use cases for Trello is within our Design team who use Trello to organize and prioritize design projects. Whenever we have a design need (such as a new social media image, website update, animation, or printouts) we immediately jump into Trello to lay out all the project in as much depth as possible.

As an example, if we need a new printout for an upcoming event, we can create a mockup of the design and attach it to the Trello Card, add a Google Doc with all the written content already complete, and assign a due date for the project. Our Design team then gets a notification that a new project has been added and they can ask any questions right within Trello.

Having spent the last year trying to plan design projects just within a Slack channel, our Design team was getting a little sick of the chaos. Slack is great for ongoing project conversations, but not so great for organizing single tasks – this is where Trello really fills the gap.

We’ve created a Public Trello Board for you and your Design team based on how Mailjet organizes design projects. You can access everything from the different boards we use (e.g. New Projects, In Process, and Complete),to our ReadMe card which lays out how your team can communicate projects succinctly and effectively to your Design team.

Feel free to add to it and let us know on Twitter how you think we can improve this process even more!

Trello Board
Trello Board Example

4. Github: Easy Version Control

Github was only used by 22% of the Mailjet team, but given Github is tailor made for developer teams, this makes sense.

Github is a cloud repository for developers to work together to host and review code, manage projects, and build software together. Similar to how G Suite solved the issue of version controls on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, Github manages versions (or forks) of code and software, allowing teams to create new versions of code, review, comment, and eventually implement into projects.

For Mailjet, what’s most interesting about Github is actually our ability to not only collaborate internally but to also collaborate with our customers and partners. Mailjet’s Github account features projects (or more accurately, “repositories”) for plugins and other projects that are of interest to our network and need to be constantly refined. For example, our WordPress Plugin is frequently updated due to the high interest from our network.

Users can contribute to the repository, add comments, recommend changes and so forth. This is certainly more efficient than emailing recommendations to a generic email address (e.g. contact@business.com), it brings teams together from all over to ensure our tools are beneficial and up to date for our users.

Mailjet’s MJML Github is also highly active, with 60 contributors helping build MJML as the world’s leading responsive email framework. Our Product team also keeps an active public product roadmap to keep users up to date on what is being built, when it may be released, and so forth – allowing our community to help prioritize and build the future of MJML.

Github MJML
Github repo

5. Mailjet: Collaborate on Email

Finally, our Marketing team has become avid users of our own collaboration toolkit at Mailjet. Our collaboration features bring everything that teams have come to love about tools like Google Docs and Trello, all within an email builder.

This includes real-time collaboration and in-app commenting, so teams can sprint on an email campaign together, all at once.

It also includes user roles and permissions so that certain members of your team can only access certain controls or sections to ensure that the best possible email is sent. For example, an intern may not have access to the design and layout, while only the Email Team Lead can ultimately push ‘Send’ on an email.

Similar to Google Docs you can also track changes and easily manage templates so that if a change was wrongfully made to a template you can easily revert back to old versions, or if you would like to apply a change to all templates (e.g. if you’ve updated your logo) you can do so with one easy click.

Ultimately, alongside each of the above tools, we use Mailjet’s collaboration features on a daily basis to create the perfect template for on-boarding new users or sending our weekly blog newsletter.

Specifically, if you subscribe to our newsletter, you will receive a rundown of important new blogs, events, webinars, and more. Each week, our team works together to ensure the copy is perfect, the design is on-brand, the A/B tests are optimized, and the links are correct. In a world where email campaigns can involve as much as 11 contributors and five iterations, we’re excited to have a tool that makes emailing as a team faster and easier (we just so happen to have been the ones to build it 😉).

Mailjet Comments
Mailjet Comments – Collaboration tool

Honorable Mentions

When we conducted our survey, the thing we noticed immediately was that collaboration was baked into almost all the tools our team uses. While Slack, G Suite, Trello, Github, and Mailjet were the most actively used and loved tools, there were a few others that our team simply couldn’t live without.

Asana

Asana was used by many across the company as another way of managing projects and tasks in a very similar way to Trello, however was particularly helpful for teams planning our projects across timelines and dates, such as a content calendar or social media schedule.

Invision

Invision is a fantastic app used by our Product and Design team to collaboratively design user experiences, apps, websites in real time.

Spendesk

Spendesk is an all-in-one business spending tool that helps finance teams collaborate better with the rest of their business. Designed to make managing expenses, reports, and tracking much easier, Spendesk is a great for large and growing teams.

Evernote

Evernote is a popular app for our team looking to keep shared notebooks and folders, particularly when planning out ideas and campaigns. For example, our Customer Success team can keep a shared notebook on stories from our customers segmented by industry, or country, or size, so there is a one-stop repository for quotes and requests from our customers.

We’ve told you what our favourite tools are and how our teams use them. The lesson here is that collaboration is increasingly at the heart of the tools we use in our modern workplace. This is true not only across remote teams, but even teams within an office. Whether it’s working on documents, presentations, projects, code, design files, or email – collaboration is what makes work better.

Now it’s your turn to share. What tools does your team use that we may have missed? Share your #CollaborationStack on Twitter to let us know how you and your team work faster, together.