What Is A Good Open Rate And How To Improve It

We’ve all been there. Standing in a cocktail bar with some great friends, talking about email strategy. When the topic of open rates comes up, you excuse yourself because you just know that your sad average of 8% simply won’t stack up. Jerry always comes in over 20% after all. We may not be able to help with your social anxiety but we may be able to help (even just a little bit) with your open rates.

via GIPHY

Let’s start with the basics: an open rate is the proportion of emails that have actually been opened by your recipients after sending out a campaign. This percentage is calculated simply as the number of emails opened divided by the number of emails delivered.

The number of emails delivered is the number of emails that have reached your recipients’ inboxes, out of all the emails that you actually sent.

Once you know your open rate though…what do you do with it? Well, first off, understand how your stack up against competitors and against your own past open rates. Next, start to implement new tactics and strategies to start to move the needle. Let’s dig in.

What is a good open rate?

It’s important to differentiate between open rates for your transactional emails (purchase confirmation, password resets, etc.) and marketing emails (newsletters, promotional campaigns, etc.).

As consumers, we place greater importance on transactional emails because they will, for example, allow us to immediately reset passwords and access the content we want. This explains why transactional emails generally have higher open rates. It is important to note that not everyone necessarily opens these transactional emails (e.g. “Order confirmation” messages) since the message may not be crucial to them every time. While monitoring transactional email open rates is important to ensure nothing out of the ordinary is happening, it’s more important to pay attention to marketing emails since this is where you can have a much bigger impact.

The honest but unsatisfactory answer is that open rates for marketing emails depends on several factors: the size of your contact list, how often you send messages, the industry you work in, and so forth. On average, a good open rate is between 20% and 25%. Sectors known to have great open rates (over 25%) include religious organizations, government, artists, and sports teams while those that come in is lower (less than 20%) include consulting, gambling, personal care, and e-commerce. You can find 2018 industry benchmarks for open rates here.

These are just general guidelines, what’s important is to not only understand where you rank amongst your competitors but more important how you rank against your own campaigns last week, or last month. This not only shows positive growth for you and your team but Internet Service Providers will also recognize this growth and reward your domain reputation.

What you can do to increase your open rates?

 

The only elements visible in the inbox before you open a message are always the same: the sender’s name, the subject of the email, and the pre-header. Below is an example of Mailjet’s customer Product Hunt’s daily digest, an email sent to millions of users every day.

Email Header

So, to boost your open rates, look at these elements carefully to encourage your readers to take action: devise an intriguing subject line, add an engaging hook in your pre-header, choose a clearly identified sender who will instil confidence in recipient. Too many brands will put generic sender names such as “Marketing Team” that doesn’t stand out, or they will create subject lines that give too much away. Remember, the first goal is to get them to open your email, not to sell anything. Once they open your email, then you have a new goal…but there are many other articles to help with that.

Whatever happens, we cannot reiterate enough: test different approaches to see what works for your audience.

Increase Open Rates with A/B Tests

You can use A/B tests to identify which version performs best. This involves sending several versions of the same email to a sample of your contacts list. There are two approaches you can take with A/B Test, depending on whether you are looking to send the best email to the most people right now, or if you continuously trying to learn how to improve your results.

The first method is to send an A/B test initially to a subset of your contacts (for example 30% as shown below), and the version that generates the best statistics is then automatically sent to the rest of the list a few hours later. At Mailjet we recommend setting the delay time to a minimum of 5 hours before the remainder of emails are sent to ensure you have received all the necessary stats.

 

A/B Tests

 

However, if you need to get all your emails out immediately but still want to test different subject lines of pre-headers, there is another approach. When you conduct an A/B test, this time instead of sending to a subset of the recipients, you can send to 100% so that your entire list will receive your message when it’s sent. While you may not be optimizing that exact email, you will be able to review the stats afterwards and make improvements on how you approach subject lines, pre-headers, and sender name in the future. You could, for example, experiment with emojis in the subject line, personalization in the pre-header, and creative names for your sender.

A/B Test Stats

Whichever variable you are testing, always make sure you keep the other variables constant if you want to be able to compare the statistics. If, for example, you want to test the subject, the sender and pre-header must be exactly the same in the two versions of your campaign.

Increase Open Rates with Clean Contact Lists

The contacts list is also a key factor in determining your open rate. You might think that the more contacts you have on your list, the greater the chance that a high number of people open your emails. But no, unfortunately it doesn’t work that way – in fact, quite the opposite.

More important than growing your contact list, is ensuring your current contacts are engaged. How does this work? First, it is vital that you gather the express consent of your contacts (especially now that the GDPR is in effect). Your recipients must have given informed consent at the outset to receiving your communications. Then, make sure you clean up your lists depending on your contacts’ engagement by identifying customers who have not opened your emails recently and remove them from your lists. That may be scary but let’s be honest: if they have not opened your messages in over 6 months, you’ve already lost them.

In Mailjet, you can create a segment that automatically filters out those users who meet a specific criteria, such as not opening your email in a few months. Simply select the contact list, and the filter, to carve out those users who you no longer want to contact.

 

Segmentation

 

When many of Mailjet’s enterprise customers first join, the first thing our Customer Success team does is clean up their lists and we’ve seen contact lists drop from 1M contacts to 100K while total opens actually increased. Not only did open rates increase 10x but again, total opens actually increased. This primarily because when you are sending to a highly engaged list, your deliverability rates increase.

Key Takeaways

Here is a summary of the main points to bear in mind about the open rates of your email campaigns:

  • Always monitor your open rates because this is a good proxy for the overall effectiveness of your email strategy.
  • Compare your open rates with those of companies working in the same industry as you, but try to aim for 20-25%.
  • Even more important than comparing to your competitors is comparing to your past results. Always look for positive growth.
  • Take pride in the sender address, the subject line, and pre-header, and above all, test these different elements with A/B Tests.
  • Ensure that the contacts you add to your lists have given their express consent to receiving your communications and if you are not getting positive engagement, never hesitate to clean your lists and delete unengaged contacts.

We’re off to work on our personalization strategy – what are you going to do to increase your open rates?

Do you have any particular marketing techniques to increase your open rate? Tweet us your creative ideas and opinions!

How To Boost Your Email List Using SEO

Content + SEO + lead magnets = more emails
This equation outlines for you one of the best ways to get more emails to generate leads and new business.

If you combine brilliant content with SEO and sprinkle on top amazing lead magnets, you will be able to automatically grow your email list.

So, in this article we will show you how to do exactly that. We’ll cover how to:

  1. Find optimal topics to write about.
  2. Create awesome content optimized for search engines.
  3. Ensure your post brings traffic month over month.
  4. Convert this traffic into emails.

Using this exact strategy we optimized all our top-performing blog posts, added lead magnets and then left to go on vacation.

When we came back, we had a lot of new contacts in our email list:

Contact Lists

The best part is that thanks to proper topic research all the people in our email lists are highly interested in our services. This absolutely fundamental to create a loyal, long lasting relationship with your subscribers.

 

Topic Research

To start growing your email list, topic research is the first and most crucial step.
Why, you ask?
Because everyone’s Ultimate Goal is to get content ranked on top of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), right?

To do that, we need to find a topic that can give us a good starting point. And spark interest in the reader.

Here are the steps you should undertake to be successful at this:

#1 Head over to the Topic Research platform of your choice

We use KWfinder because it’s user friendly and accurate.

This tool can help you find topics that haven’t been covered in-depth — but might have a huge potential.

KWFinder Search
  1. First you need to search for something simple like “marketing” – one-word keywords are perfect.
  2. Pick the location and language.
  3. Select Find Keywords.

And here’s where you will see GOLD!

Keyword Search Results

You’ll find all kinds of topics related to marketing:

  1. Obviously ranking content on the keyword “marketing” will be tough – Keyword Difficulty is very high.
  2. However, by clicking on KD – you can sort all the queries from the easiest to rank on Google.
  3. This will highlight some very interesting keywords for you to use, like:
    • Online marketing service
    • Internet marketing secrets
  4. The next step is to click on “Search Related Keyword” – and you’ll see the magic. 😲

Keep going through all related keywords until you see the one that makes most sense for your business. Remember, every topic you write about must help you sell your product.

#2 Find Topics

The Goal is to find the keyword with a Keyword Difficulty score of 40 or less.

If your site already has a high Domain Authority (more than 40), you will easily be able to rank articles with a Keyword Difficulty of 0-50.

In our example , writing an article about “internet marketing secrets” might be a superb idea.

Once you start clicking on “Search Related Keyword” you should be able to find queries that could get you plenty of organic traffic and at the same time has a low difficulty ranking on Google.

So to recap, after only five minutes of researching on KWfinder we found a topic that no one has covered in great depth and also has a huge potential to sell our services.

Once you’ve found a keyword that suits the requirements, you can feel confident that to reach the first page on Google will be possible with 1-5 backlinks!

Now let’s look at how you can transform this knowledge into action.

Creating the Best Content

After we have identified what we will write about, we need an in-depth understanding of the topic.

#1 Research the Competition

Find out who has already written something on the topic. You’ll want to collect the current top five articles about it. Be sure to read the posts carefully:

  1. What do they all have in common?
  2. How are they different?
  3. How can we combine the best parts of each into one article?

#2 Create the Article

No grand advice here. Just sit down and write the content.

You may prefer to outsource it to a freelancer who writes well if you don’t have time to do it or if writing is not your forte.

To make sure the article ranks well on Google it must be optimized according to SEO guidelines.

One rule is to place your focus keyword (and repeat it) where necessary in your post. Otherwise, you’ve thrown your work out the window.

Here’s the 10-step procedure we use to rank any content on Google:

  1. The H1 headline must start with and/or include the focus keyword (headline also has to be less than 70 characters).
  2. Create your SEO title. It can be either the same or similar to your H1 headline. It must also include the focus keyword.
  3. Use a clickbait keyword in the Headline – best, epic, awesome, deal of the year/month, etc.
  4. Include an image in your post with the focus keyword as the alt-tag.
  5. Drop your focus keyword in the first paragraph of the post.
  6. Add 3-4 related keywords in the content. Try to find synonyms and terms related to the main keyword.
  7. Make sure your focus keyword appears from 0.5% to 1% from the total content.
  8. Make sure your focus keyword appears from 0.5% to 1% from the total content.
  9. Also add a meta-description that includes your focus keyword.
  10. Finally, use sub-headings that include your focus keyword.

Once you follow these rules and create a quality article (at least 1,500-2,000 words), your content will be ready to be published and to get backlinks.

You need to secure backlinks to boost the rank of your content.

Essentially, Google views backlinks as votes. The more “votes” your content receives, the more important it is and thus it will rank higher on SERPs.

To make this happen, there are two killer link-building strategies that works 100% of the time.

Yes, these strategies are really that good.

Your goal will be to find pages that already link to posts that are not as good as yours. Then you need to email the site’s owner and ask if he or she would consider adding your content as an additional resource.

#4 Spy on Competitors and get their Backlinks

If your competition is a spot higher on the SERPs than you, they are probably doing something right with their link-building strategy (or something sketchy🤔).

You can use Linkody to find all your competitor’s backlinks. All you need to know is their website’s URL and Linkody will do the rest. This is how to proceed:

  1. Find the URLs on Google.
  2. Add them to Linkody.
    Linkody
  3. Linkody will find all your competitor’s backlinks.
  4. Reach out to the site saying that your tool would be a great addition to their resources.

Make sure you filter out the links that are from blogs (1), that your page doesn’t have (2), and are do-follow backlinks (3).

Then you can go through all the remaining websites (4) and reach out to them.

Backlinks Search

If you have managed to write an awesome post on the topic with keyword difficulty under 40 – all you need is 3-5 backlinks with Domain Authority above 30.

And your content will be on Google’s first page.
Simple, huh?
Next, you’re ready to work on using your content to produce leads you can use for email marketing, re-targeting or re-marketing. You choose. 😉

Leads & More Leads

Getting contact information from people who are interested in your service is costly and time-consuming.
But it doesn’t have to be like this anymore.
This process is now automated.

Lead Magnet

Once you have published an article and secured a couple backlinks, your post will be climbing the SERPs.

To launch your lead capturing machine, you’ll need to add a Lead Magnet. Most often this is a freebie in the form of eBook, consultation, etc.

This works by requiring people to provide their email to receive something valuable in return.

Lead Magnet

Before you design the the lead magnet, put yourself in the customer’s shoes:

  • The person has a problem or a need –Of course, they will use Google to seek out a solution.
  • They should then come across your article, which provides a solution to their problem/need.
  • For example, if your article is a list of “99 internet marketing secrets” – how do you create enough interest for the lead to leave you their contact information?
    • Offer an eBook with 150 internet marketing secrets
    • Or offer the chance for people to schedule a call with a professional to discuss these marketing secrets.

Find out what people experience at different stages according to the marketing funnel so that you know what could come next.

If you build your process around this and offer the site’s visitor a Lead Magnet they can’t refuse – they won’t hesitate to give you their email address.

Call to Action

A call to action is a small banner that appears in the selected location and handles this “email-for-a-freebie” transaction automatically.

You can choose many types of CTAs to generate leads. Here are few options you can incorporate depending on your specific business niche:

Abandoning Traffic CTA

This CTA comes in handy when you want to isolate a user’s attention on one site’s section. If you have something valuable to offer, it can be effective.

Once the site’s visitor has decided to leave the page, there is almost nothing that could keep the person from leaving. However, if you have a high bounce rate on your lead capture page – consider an exit intent CTA to try one last time.

Abandonment Whitepaper

If your page is incredibly engaging and readers spend lots of time scrolling through the post, embedding the CTA is a natural option.

On the other hand, if you know that your readers usually get distracted quickly and spend little time on what they should be doing, you can consider a welcome mat CTA.

Welcome Mat CTA

Note: There’s no silver-bullet CTA, so you should test them all, and hopefully, you will find one that works the best for your audience. Also, the top performers will change over time – so the secret here is to keep testing.

But don’t overthink it. 😉

Newsletter SignUp

In most cases, less is more, and 3 different CTAs is not a good idea, unless you want to annoy your site’s visitors…

How to Add Call to Action

There are ready-made services with easy integration, amazing tracking, and several segmenting features.

On WordPress and the biggest e-commerce platforms, you can use Mailmunch.

No matter which plugin you use, the integration usually is pretty fast and intuitive.

And when it’s done, you will have the ability to collect potential customers’ contact information without spending a penny.

Moreover, once you implement the CTA, you will have the final piece in place to ensure a steady flow of new leads month over month.

Pretty neat, huh?

One important thing to add, is that GDPR requires you to clearly explain how you’ll use the person’s email and to obtain explicit consent to add them to your contact list.

Since you won’t be able to edit the call to action in some cases, a double opt-in is a recommended alternative. This way, you can confirm the person’s email and explain the type of communication for which their email will be used.

Dog A Day Double OptIn

Now It’s Your Turn

Now you know the basics. Use this new knowledge wisely and offer something valuable to your potential customers.

Quickly, let’s recap:

  • Topic research is step number one – find a focus keyword with keyword difficulty score from 0 to 40.
  • Next, distribute the focus keyword and related keywords according to the 10-step guide mentioned in this post.
  • Then, seek out a few backlinks by reaching out to websites that mentioned inferior posts.
  • Finally, add a lead-magnet with a clear consent message and a CTA with an opt-in checkbox to collect addresses and grow your email list.

It is a never-ending game, but you are now ready to start playing. Go forth and conquer!

The Impact Of New Emojis In Email Subject Lines

First things first… Happy World Emoji Day! 🎉

You’ve probably already noticed it if you receive our newsletters or have been reading our content for a while, but here at Mailjet we’re addicted to emojis. Seriously, we love them. Which is why we’re so excited about being able to celebrate them today.

Fun fact: Did you know that the date for World Emoji Day (July 17th) was chosen because it is the date shown on the famous calendar emoji? There, something super hip for you to share with your friends during your next dinner.

calendar emoji

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at whether emojis work in email subject lines or not. To find out, we tested different options in four countries. The results are summarized in an infographic below.

 

What are emojis?

Emojis (Japanese for ‘figurative characters‘) are Unicode pictograms used on digital communications.

They were developed in 1999 by Japanese interface designer Shigetaka Kurita, as part of NTT DoCoMo‘s i-mode mobile Internet platform. The ideograms became an instant hit, first in Japan and then all over the world.

Even though the names sound quite similar, emojis are different from emoticons. Emoticons were developed in 1982, are purely text-based and reproduce typographic facial expressions. Unlike emojis, emoticons have the advantage that all browsers and devices can easily display them (but… they’re not as pretty 😉).

One of the main issues when it comes to using emojis is in fact that not all browsers support them in the same way. Actually, they can vary considerably from one device, browser or email client to another.

Emojis on a Windows laptop (left) and on an Apple MacBook Air (right).

 

Emojis in Email Subject Lines

When it comes to our newsletters, here at Mailjet we love testing different ideas (and sharing the results with all of you). Over the years, we’ve tested swear words in our subject lines (albeit British slang – we’re not that rude), Schadenfreudeemail fails and, of course, emojis.

Yeah, emojis are our favorite. Every July we get creative with our subject lines to find out whether emojis are still as impactful, and if they really work when it comes to driving email engagement and increasing open rates.

2016

In 2016, we tested four different emojis, across four geographies (US, UK, France and Spain). Globally, the best performing emoji, was the ‘joy’ emoji 😂.

You can check the results for our Emojis in Email Subject Line Survey 2016 here.

2017

In 2017, we decided to step it up and test eight emojis. We used the four emojis we tested in 2016, versus four other emojis, across five geographies (US, UK, France, Spain and Germany).

You can check the results for our Emojis in Email Subject Line Survey 2017 here.

2018

This year for World Emoji Day, we’ve decided to test seven of the new emojis in our weekly newsletters.

🤩 🤨 🤯 🤬 🤮 🤭 🧐

 

Results: Emojis in Email Subject Lines

This time, we wanted to conduct a survey to identify which one of the new emojis worked best to generate engagement. So we tested them by adding seven of these new emojis to our subject lines. The results were, as always, interesting and quite insightful. In some cases, even a bit surprising.

Curious? See for yourself:

 

Now it’s your turn to test emojis

Curious to know which emojis work best for you? Do some A/B Testing on your own newsletters!

If you haven’t heard about A/B Testing or if you just vaguely remember the concept, here’s a quick recap: A/B testing is essentially an experiment where two or more variants of an email are shown to users at random, and statistical analysis is used to determine which variation performs better.

A/B tests allow you to find the best option for elements such as the sender name, subject, content, and design of your email. You can test several and then the most powerful version of the email will be sent to the rest of the list. The advantage is that it maximizes your chances of reaching your target and optimizes the results of your emailing campaign.

 

Have you performed a similar test? Are you celebrating #WorldEmojiDay? Or, perhaps you’re a superfan of using emojis, just like us. Share your experiences with us on Twitter.

 

How To Build And Grow Your Email Marketing List

How to grow your email list?

OK, so… If you are here, it means that you have made the wise decision to use email as part of your marketing strategy. Very well. But how do you start?

There is a fundamental thing that you are missing, which is an email list to send your communications to.

In this blog post, we provide a practical guide to help you understand how to build an email list and how to grow your email marketing list.

Are you ready to master the art of email list building? Here we go!

 

What is an email list?

An email list is a list of names, details and personal information of people who have given you consent to receive updates and offers from your business via email on a regular basis.

Why building and growing your email list

When built properly, email lists contain details about people who specifically gave you permission to send them updates and promotions from your business. This, therefore, means that they will be interested in receiving regular updates from you and in what you offer. They are a highly engaged audience.

Building an email list is not an easy task. However, it is an extremely effective marketing strategy. In fact, email marketing is 40 times more effective at converting prospects into customers than social media or any other online medium. The reason why you should do it, then, is to create engaged contacts who will turn into loyal (paying) customers.

What are the advantages of having a large email list

In general, people think that the more contacts in your list, the better it is for your business, as this will mean that you have a wider target reach.

So many fall into the trap of buying or acquiring contact lists.

This is not only an easy fix that is detrimental for your business, but it is also, since May 25th, against the new European Data Protection Regulation – GDPR, for friends. By building your contact lists in this way, you risk incurring into severe financial penalties.

Instead, you need to build your contact lists using the right strategy, which is by earning rather than buying permission to get in touch with people.

Yes, okay, the money is in the email list, we all know that. But do you think it would be more valuable for you to have a list of 100,000 contacts who don’t even open your emails of one of 2,000 subscribers who actually engage with your content? You already know the answer.

Desigual highlights its privacy policy to those subscribing to the brand’s newsletter
Desigual highlights its privacy policy to those subscribing to the brand’s newsletter

Now that we’ve established that purchasing contact lists is a big no-no, we can focus on why you should put effort into building, growing and nurturing your email list.

Email List: how to build it effectively

Building your email list effectively, means that you allow people to decide that they want you to be in touch with them.

Forcing them to receive your communications is not good for either of you. For them, because they never opted-in to receive your communication and they don’t want them in your inbox.

Come on, think about it, don’t you get annoyed when you find yourself flooded with emails you don’t want to receive? Well, the same goes for them – yours is just another business.

Newsletter Inbox
Yours is just another brand in a full inbox

For you, this means two things: bad stats and low deliverability.
People won’t open or click your emails.
You will start getting hard bounces, and people will want to unsubscribe. You won’t allow them to unsubscribe not to lose contacts? BAD!
That’s just bad emailing practice, and again, not GDPR compliant (Fines, fines, fines, coming your way…). (Unwilling) subscribers will start reporting spam, and your deliverability and sender reputation will be impacted.

Purchasing contact lists is just a big, bad idea. But how do I do this, then – you may be wondering – if I ask my friends, relatives and other people I know for their email address, I won’t get nearly enough people to use to build a contact list.

Purchasing Lists Forbidden
Purchasing or acquiring contact lists is bad practice

Don’t fret, we are here to explain to you how to do this in the best possible way. And without having to ask your grandma and aunt for their email addresses.

Grow your email list with the right strategy

The first step in building your email list properly is to create opt-in offers that people won’t think twice about. This is a critical step as not crafting the right offer means that you won’t obtain the desired outcome, and critically, it will not convert, regardless of the amount of traffic it gets.

Create irresistible opt-in offers
Create irresistible opt-in offers

Finding the right messaging and offer will take time and probably a few attempts. Once you find the best opt-in offers, you need to place them in front of people who could be interested in them.

Build and Grow your email list organically

Following email list building and growing best practices upholds your brand and sender reputation, ensures higher engagement and ultimately improves deliverability. To get people to sign up to your email and to give permission to be added to your contact list you can use a variety of channels.

Here are some examples for you:

  • Adding widgets to your website: You can place sign-up widgets in many places on your website, like on the homepage, on blog posts, on resource pages… And you can even decide to implement a pop-up page that comes up in front of visitors. They won’t be able to ignore it. 😏
    Time Out Subscription Pop Up
    Timeout implements a tiny pop up in the shape of an envelope on the right bottom corner

     

  • Get social: Your business social media accounts are another great way of promoting your sign up offer. You can use CTAs on your profile page or use Ads for promotion.
    Adidas Sign Up Social
    You can Tweet about a new upcoming product and incentivise people to sign up to get updates

     

    Epoch Times Sign Up Twitter Bio
    Or you can include a link to it in your bio

     

  • Email signature: Maybe you hadn’t thought about this one, but your email signature is a great place where you can place a newsletter opt-in or where you can promote your most recent content. People with whom you have established a personal relationship through email exchange may be more interested in hearing from you regularly.
    Email Signature Sign Up
    Include a newsletter opt-in in your email signature

     

Other places that you can get people to opt in is through live events, partnerships and guest blogging opportunities, or even through existing relationships.

Email List Building: Optimize Your Conversion Rate

One way to organically grow and build a healthy, permission based email list is on-site retargeting. It works by monitoring the behavior of your visitors in real-time on your site. When a visitor’s behavior indicates they might be looking towards the exit, an additional message can be displayed to them – usually in a pop-up overlay.

FOMO Newsletter
Leverage on FOMO to drive sign ups to your newsletter

 

This exit-intent technology works by monitoring the movement of the mouse. When the system detects that a visitor is about to leave your site (by the movement of their mouse towards exiting the page or clicking bookmark links) a secondary message pops up to appeal to your visitors and engage with them further. Let’s see specifically how you can use this to maximise the number of visitors signing up for your newsletter.

    1. Create an email list: Include a sign up offer in an exit-intent pop-up
      There are several types of pop-ups that can be used to keep otherwise departing visitors engaged. But when it comes to list building, the most effective ones collect contact details. A well-timed and controlled sign up pop-up is a strong way to keep your prospects engaged at the right time and get them to opt-in to your email list.

      Leafing So Soon Privy
      Cleverly play with words in your pop up to attract people’s attention, like Privy does

       

    2. Build your email list: Use YES-NO pop-ups in multi-page campaigns
      The average website visitor prefers to click first and then fill in a form. You can take advantage of this and create multi-step on-site retargeting campaigns to increase your subscriptions. One approach is a simple YES-NO pop-up which appears before the subscription form.

      Yes/No Pop Up
      Implement a Yes/No pop-up before your subscription form

       

    3. How to build an email list: Personalize your message
      Visitors are more likely to stay engaged with your business if the pop-up is relevant to their specific needs and interests. This means you’ll be able to organically increase your subscription rate by communicating the right message at the right time to each segment of your audience. For example, if a visitor shows a specific interest, the most relevant pop-up will appear.

      Pull&Bear Sign Up Form
      Pull&Bear asks subscribers about gender to provide a personalised experience

      For more advanced personalization, use Dynamic Text Replacement in your pop-ups to alter the text based on any variable you wish. This way, you can display highly targeted messages to individual visitors using only one pop-up.

    4. Use nanobars to grow your email listJust like a less flashy on-site retargeting pop-up that appears on exit intent, a nanobar or notification bar, can be used to gather subscribers. Nanobars are also called “sticky bars” because they “stick” to the top or bottom of a website.
      Design My Night Newsletter Top Bar
      Design My Nights Implements a opt in offer on the top bar

       

      Nanobars are typically triggered based on engagement. If you feel your visitors find exit-intent pop-ups too intrusive, nanobars are a great alternative that can be adapted to fit your site’s user experience.

    5. A/B test your messages to optimize your list building
      A/B testing gives you the power to test which on-site retargeting campaign generates more subscribers. You can learn what design and content elements should be changed, what should be removed and what should stay.
      You can improve your subscription rate by eliminating your under performing pop-ups. This can boost your opt-in subscriptions by as much as 40%.

 

  1. Build an email list: Promote a free giveaway
    Your visitors are more likely to provide their email address if they receive something useful in return.

Your giveaway should be easily consumable content and helpful for your prospects. We’ve found the following giveaways usually work well: e-books, cheat sheets, checklists, case studies, webinars or video series.

Pinch Of Yum offers subscribers a free eCookbook
Pinch Of Yum offers subscribers a free eCookbook

As you can see, there are a variety of great on-site retargeting methods and tools available to engage your visitors and get them excited to opt in to your emailing list.

That being said, make sure to only email consumers about the information they signed up to receive. For example, if they sign-up to receive a freebie, it’s not cool to automatically add them to your newsletter list without asking them first.

A suggestion? Include a newsletter opt-in check box directly on your retargeting message or if you are capturing sales leads, be sure to remind your sales team to ask the prospect if they wish to sign up to the company newsletter before adding them to your organisation’s marketing list. Last but not least, always remember to have your data privacy link readily available on your main website.

Email Communication Policy
Data privacy policy available for subscribers when signing up

 

How to build an email list: Best practices

An email contact list is a huge asset for Marketers in terms of lead generation and customer retention. It is especially useful in gaining insight into how a customer base consumes and reacts to your brand over time.

However, despite its many benefits, list growth often gets a bad rap. Not only does it takes time to organically acquire new contacts, customers are opting out on a daily or weekly basis.

First of all, to build an engaged and profitable contact list, here are three rules of permission you should never forget:

Email List best practice #1 – Permission is earned, not bought

Promises are the currency of permission. You’ll only get people onto your email list by making a promise. And they’ll only stick around if you fulfill that promise. Here’s what does work:

  • Acquire contacts organically. Commit to never buying a list or tricking people into getting on your list. When contacts engage with you on their own terms, they’re far more likely to stay engaged and become customers.
  • Make a compelling promise. A great promise is what will get people on your list and position your new relationship with them. The more relevant and personal the promise is to your prospect’s life, the stronger the relationship and the better your chances of converting them into customers.
  • Put your promise in the right place. Go where your prospects are. If you have an active blog, place opt-in offers there. If there are popular websites in your niche, guest blog on those sites and point readers back to an opt-in offer. Advertising on social media is another excellent way to get your offers in front of people.
No Spam. Except in the kitchen.
The promise: no spam, except in the kitchen.

 

Email List best practice #2 – Permission is a journey, not an event

Get the news you choose
Allow subscribers to decide for themselves

When a contact opts in, you’ve earned the lowest level of permission. The goal is to continue escalating the relationship to higher and higher levels of permission until, eventually, customers decide to buy whatever you want them to buy. Here’s are a few tips to help get started:

  • Build your permission ladder. What are the levels of permission on your list? How can you escalate relationships from opt-in to sale? Most email marketers haven’t clearly defined the steps they want subscribers to take between opt-in and conversion. This is an important place to start.
  • Segment your list by journey. Your subscribers are not all identical. Different customers are on different journeys and their motivations for engagement will vary. Define the different pathways to becoming a customer and segment your list accordingly to make sure your content is always anticipated, personal, and relevant.
  • Automate permission-building. The real power of email marketing lies in automation. Once you’ve built your permission ladder and segmented your list, make good use of autoresponders and other automation tools to put the process of escalating permission on auto pilot.

Email List best practice #3 – Permission is temporary, not permanent

The idea of losing permission is a scary thought. It’s the marketing equivalent of a breakup.
But the great thing about email marketing, as opposed to relationships, is that you’re able to see the warning signs long before you lose permission for good. To do this, you must pay attention to these three numbers:

  1. Open rates measure how much subscribers anticipate receiving your emails. If your open rates start to drop, it’s a good sign that you’re not consistently delivering on your promise or the topic itself isn’t as interesting to your subscriber as it used to be.
  2. Click rates measure how effective your content is at inspiring action. It’s nice when people read your email, but if they’re not taking the intended action, that’s a sign that you’re losing permission.
  3. Unsubscribe rates track when you’ve finally lost permission for good. When someone unsubscribes from your list, it means they’ve gotten to the point where they’d like to formally revoke permission and never hear from you again. Marketers tend to focus on unsubscribe rates as the ultimate measure of when permission is lost. But the truth is, you probably lost permission far before your subscriber reached for that unsubscribe button.
Stats
Numbers you should pay attention to

Email List best practice #4 Always ask customers to opt-in. Double opt-in, if possible

The purpose of asking customers to opt-in to your email marketing is two-fold; to protect your sender reputation and to ensure customers are engaged and receptive to your brand and content.

Some may argue that asking for opt-in results in a smaller contact list since customers have to perform this extra step. However, not asking for permission before sending puts you at risk of being marked as spam or worse, being blacklisted by an ISP – and obviously at risk of fines, since May 25th. Just one abuse complaint can lead to having both your Domain name and IP addresses blacklisted.
We, at Mailjet recommend using a double-opt in process. As an added layer to the standard opt-in, customers receive a triggered confirmation email that they have to click on to reconfirm their email address and subscription preference.

Fearless Sign Up

First you sign up

 

Then you confirm your email address

This ensures that the customer provides an active, accurate email address which helps avoiding spam traps and bounces – both of which ISPs look at very closely to judge the quality of your emails and decide whether or not you are allowed to enter through their pearly inbox gates.

Email List best practice #5 Never buy email lists, no matter how tempting it may be

Yeah, we’ve said this already more than once, but… It may seem like a quick and easy way to a high ROI, but buying email lists is forbidden by ISPs.
Not only is there is no way for you to determine the quality of the customers on your purchased or rented list but, more importantly, these customers are unfamiliar with your brand and will be quick to penalize you for sending them an unsolicited message. You run the big risk of being blacklisted and/or marked as spam in a matter of seconds.

Email List best practice #6 Start with good content

Engage customers by first presenting them with rich, relevant content through your blog, ebook or white papers. Provide these users with an option to subscribe to this content via email.

Include rich, relevant content
Include rich, relevant content

This indirect approach will ensure a higher list quality and sender reputation because customers who opt-in to receive your messages are already familiar with your brand and will be receptive to your contact and stay engaged.

Email List best practice #7 Leverage other social channels to grow your list

Beyond awesome brand recognition and content, online sweepstakes may be an additional way to to grow your brand recognition and contact list but be careful, it has to be done correctly.

They need to absolutely know that the counterpart of submitting their email address for a prize or giveaway is that you are also asking them for their permission to add their email address to your contact list. This needs to be done with full transparency and an opt-in mechanism.

Spin the wheel and win NL pop-up
Grow brand recognition with online sweepstake

 

Email List best practice #8 Create a landing page that highlight benefits of joining your contact list

It may seem a bit repetitive to you, but including a dedicated landing page on your website for those who subscribe to your emails can be beneficial.

This is because subscribers may want to learn more about how frequently they can expect to receive communications from you and what sort of content you will be sending out.

Highlight the benefits of signing up
Highlight the benefits of signing up

 

Email List best Practice #9 Use creative CTAs that draw attention to your gated content

Using creative CTAs is a great way to direct people (AKA possible leads) towards your gated content, and obtain their email address.

Asking people only for an email address does not qualify them as good leads, but if your goal is to build a contact list, this is the simplest possible way to slowly introduce people to your brand. You can then later on accumulate more information about the subscriber, as more interest is manifested on their side.

Just bear in mind, that you state clearly that by giving out their email address to receive that piece of content, subjects are also giving consent for you to send out to them your email marketing communications.

Extra Tip: Use Side Project Marketing To Your Advantage

According to Brian Clark, the golden rule of online marketing is this:“Give something valuable away in order to sell something related.”

If you feel like your content production, advertising and other practices are not really working enough to get you where you want to be, a side project may be the answer. It is a great way not only to grow your email subscriber base but also to grow brand awareness.

No, don’t worry, we haven’t gone completely nuts. Side projects are a product or service that is clearly not your business’ main offering, but is a related and free offer provided to your audience in exchange of their email address.

Still sounds scary to you, right? It may seem like a lot of work at first, but the reality is that it doesn’t have to be. It could be just a free version or free trial of your product. Or it could be something completely different.

For example, Crew, a company who matches companies with hand-picked freelancers, offers a number of different side projects to their customers, including things like a calculator to help people figure out the cost of an app they want develop, a collection of free stock photos, and a list of what they call ‘unicorn’ coffee shops to work from that have the ultimate combination of working perfection: good coffee, good wifi, and plenty of outlet plugs.

HowMuchToMakeAnApp

Yeah okay, now you’re panicking cause you don’t have the money, nor the time, nor the resources to do this. But bear in mind: your side marketing project doesn’t have to be something huge and great, it can be something easy and simple that people can benefit from, like a simple spreadsheet.

Build your email list with the right tool

Several things have to fall in line before a consumer is willing to share their email address. There has to be trust, a good incentive and it has to be easy to opt-in – each additional click means a drop off in sign ups.

As far as trust and good incentives go, consumers are looking for content that is specifically valuable and relevant to them. Personalized content drives a 20% increase in sales. You therefore need to pick the right email partner, which will allow you to create and customize subscription widgets according to your (and your audience’s) needs.

The subscription widget is a no-brainer when it comes to maximizing your website for lead generation. Visitors are already interested or engaging with your brand, and email is a great next touchpoint for sharing non-promotional, value-adding content. It’s a free resource and a low commitment way for your prospective clients to get to know your brand.

Mailjet Blog Widget
Widget on the Mailjet blog

Mailjet’s subscription widget allows you to easily create opt-in forms, integrate them into your site(s) and automatically see your opt-ins added to your contact lists within your Mailjet account. All with little or no design and coding experience.

As consumers tend to prefer a personalised experience, the subscription widget also allow you to collect a variety of customer information up front (first name, last name, birthday, mailing address etc.). Fields can be marked as mandatory – to strike the right balance between requesting information and making it easy for your users to sign up.

All of the data is then automatically sorted and synced with your Mailjet contact list. Collecting this data at the beginning of your touch point with customers allows you to build deeper demographic testing over time.

Create as many subscription widgets as needed and test their performance across your sites. The subscription widget’s intuitive drag-and-drop editor allows customize your forms with a few clicks of the mouse. Edit the layout, text, image, and color scheme order to fit your brand’s visual aesthetic. When you’ve landed on a design you’d like to use, the tool will generate an HTML code to be copy and pasted into your website’s source code.

Create widgets easily with Mailjet
Create widgets easily with Mailjet

At Mailjet, we know how much hard work it takes to build, grow and nurture your contact list. And that’s why, we try to make your life easier by providing you with the most intuitive and handy tools to help you at every stage of your email marketing strategy, as well as with guidance on the best practice when it comes to emailing.

And now go, make us proud, and build contact lists that will last you a lifetime!

Gmail Introduces Smart And Easy Unsubscribe

Email. We all need it, right? But sometimes, the sight of that little red badge reminding you that you have 3172 unread messages can get a little daunting.

As part of their never ending quest to make email more manageable and, hopefully, a little less stress-inducing, at the end of April 2018 Google launched several new features for its webmail service, Gmail.

With productivity at the core of these changes, Gmail now offers more confidentiality and an increased security, as well as a range of functions that will help users manage their inboxes in a more effective way. Features such as Smart Reply, nudges or the snoozing options will allow us to navigate our crazy inboxes and make our email experience a bit nicer.

But while we all tend to get quite excited and a bit carried away by all the cool stuff Google usually introduces on its products, there’s one particular update that might make marketers start to sweat and panic.

‘Oh, no! What is it?’ I hear you ask. We’re talking about their new and improved “Easy Unsubscribe” feature, of course.

What is the smart unsubscribe feature on Gmail?

Two years ago, we talked to you about List-Unsubscribe and how Gmail was already adding some sophistication to this header option that allows users to easily cancel their subscription to marketing emailing lists. While the ability to unsubscribe from a contact list on Gmail has been available for some time, it had always been up to the users to determine which ones they wanted to be removed from.

Now, Google is going a step further by automating that process, actively asking the users whether they’d like to unsubscribe from certain promotional emails they haven’t opened in the last 30 days or more.

Only very few email clients have a smart unsubscribe function, but Google is known for setting trends. The suggestions are based on how many emails users receive and open from a specific sender, and it means that, with just one click, the newsletter subscriptions is will be terminated, making it even easier for recipients to stop receiving all of those unwanted emails.

It seems that, for now, this option is only be available in the Inbox by Gmail app on Android or via Inbox by Gmail webmail, although it will be available on iOS at a later date, which has not been disclosed.

What does this mean for email marketers?

Quite frankly, it means that your recipients will have an easier way to cancel their email subscription. So if your newsletters are boring or irrelevant, and the reader has not opened it in a while, they’ll be prompted to unsubscribe.

Don’t panic, though. The the automatic unsubscribe function doesn’t have to be seen as an enemy. In fact, it can be seen as a way to help you clean your contact lists, which in turn improves your deliverability rate.

On top of that, if you ran a requalification campaign in preparation for GDPR to re-obtain consent from your newsletter subscribers, you have up-to-date confirmation that your contacts are interested in receiving your communications and your content. And we are sure you did, didn’t you? 😉

All in all, what’s important to remember is that this is yet another way to keep your email list clean. At Mailjet, we always recommend that you remove inactive contacts every three to six months, to ensure your open and click-through rates remain at a healthy level, to ensure the best deliverability.

So if you have strategically planned and professionally implemented your newsletter campaigns, you don’t have to worry about this new feature.

How can Mailjet help?

At Mailjet, we think the strongest email campaign is the one your contacts really want to receive. The best solution to avoid unsubscribes is to create targeted and relevant emails, and to only send them to those that actually interact with your communications.

To help you maintain an engaged subscription base, here are some top tips:

  1. Segment your contact lists: Don’t send the same email to all your contacts. Use segmentation to send content that is tailored to your contacts based on different data, such us behaviour, location, age, gender… Combine it with personalization to make it even more human. The more relevant your email is, the more engagement it will generate among your subscribers.
  2. Send reactivation campaigns to inactive contacts: every three or six months, identify subscribers that haven’t interacted with your emails and send them a special campaign in which you remind them of the value they offer, and in which you ask them to confirm their subscription. You can include a survey to understand what content they’d like to receive, or highlight what they have missed in those past months.
  3. Use our Exclusion List to avoid sending emails to inactive contacts: If you don’t want to remove your zombie contacts from your list forever, you can add them to your Exclusion List. This way, contacts will stay in your database, but won’t receive your emails.

At Mailjet, we want you to get the most value out of your email strategy. That’s why we constantly share our tips and best practices on our blog and through our newsletter, to ensure our readers are the first to implement and adapt to the constantly-evolving email world.

Keep up to date with the latest email trends and never miss important news by joining our newsletter list in the sign-up form below!

How To Create An Email Newsletter

So you’ve decided to create an email newsletter. Hooray for you! Or maybe someone’s suggested you launch one and you really have no idea what they’re talking about? Whether you’re an email newbie or you just want to make sure you’re doing things correctly, we’ve got you covered. 😏

Right on cue, here’s “The best email newsletter post ever”.

 

What is an email newsletter?

Basically, an email newsletter is a type of email sent out by companies or individuals to a subscriber list (existing or potential customers that have signed up to receive marketing communications) that’s contains valuable content (guides, blog posts, news, products reviews, personal recommendations, tips, announcements and other resources).

Newsletters are an essential part of the email marketing strategy, as they allow businesses to nurture their contacts, by establishing themselves as key players in their industry, sharing insights and highlighting new products that will drive traffic to the website.

Example of newsletter

 

What are the advantages and the drawbacks of sending an email newsletter?

The immense popularity of email newsletters isn’t a coincidence. Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels. The average ROI is £38 for each pound invested and 72% of customers prefer to be approached via email. Well-designed marketing emails sent regularly, like email newsletters, guarantee constant website traffic, webinars and other event registrations and product sales. As newsletters statistically form the largest part of all marketing emails sent, they hold a great deal of marketing potential.

Wondering whether setting up an email newsletter is the right step for your business? Let’s have a look at the advantages and drawbacks of sending one!

 

Strengths of sending an email newsletters

Creating a newsletter is not just a way to keep your customers informed about your new product or features, but has many other advantages.

A newsletter is a constant source of traffic

One of the main reasons for creating a newsletter is that it generates regular website traffic. Organic engagement on social media platforms like Facebook is declining dramatically. Banner advertising is rarely noticed in the era of ad blockers. Written press releases sent by email will often be ignored by journalists and online editors.

Luckily, this is not true for newsletters. Emails that reach someone’s inbox are usually seen, and the likelihood that they will be opened is high, provided that the subject line is appealing and the sender is recognized (so make sure your readers know who you are!). If your newsletter is well designed and it contains relevant content, this will enhance your chances of the reader clicking on the calls-to-action for more information.

 

Email Newsletter generates considerable savings

Money is important for marketers. So anything that saves you money should be a top priority. And newsletters do.

Don’t underestimate how much money email marketing saves you, compared to other using other marketing tools. Paid advertisements like banner advertising, Google AdWords, Facebook Ads and influencer marketing are considerably more expensive than email newsletter marketing. The cost of a newsletter software is usually low and labor costs are also lower, as the newsletter is created and optimized faster than other media.

Easy performance measurement

The success of a marketing tool is based on whether it reaches the required relevance or not. And in order to find out, performance must be measurable.

Measuring the performance of an email newsletter is simple. Your email statistics provide you with all the information you need to do this: open rates, click rates, unsubscribe rates, bounces, which user terminals were used to open the newsletter and when, which links are clicked on, etc. These KPIs will help you accurately calculate your ROI and produce target-audience relevant newsletter content.

email opens per device
Email newsletter stats

 

Independence from third parties

When you create a newsletter, you are independent from other service providers and softwares. Publishers and influencers, as well as social media platforms and Google, are much more likely to increase ads cost than an email service provider is to increase the cost of its product. And even if they do, prices usually only increase by a small amount. With other marketing tools, increases are usually in the three, if not four, digit range.

Easily linked to other online marketing channels

Newsletters and other marketing tools such as social media can be easily and effectively combined. And they can reach recipients anywhere, regardless of whether they are in the office on their work computer, on the sofa at home on a tablet, or on the go on their smartphone, emails can be opened and read anywhere.

Targeted customer care

And if all of the above reasons are not enough on their own, the combination of all of them proves that emails are a great medium for targeting audiences and customer care. 😉

 

Weaknesses of sending an email newsletters

Where there’s yin, there is yan. Or in other words, where there is light, there is also darkness. Even if email newsletters provide many benefits, they also have a few shortcomings.

Absence of physical haptics when sending an email newsletter

Unlike with analog advertising media like brochures, flyers, magazines, etc. there is no haptic experience with email newsletters. For instance, a desk calendar is visibly looked at all year round. Emails, on the other hand, do not have a physical presence. This makes them less durable, but also less annoying to sort and organize. 😉

Ease of newsletter deletion

The fact that emails tend to be deleted more quickly and less intensively read than other media cannot be denied. There are many reasons for this: a full inbox, unappealing subject lines, content that is not relevant, etc.

Although these inhibiting elements can be minimized, except for the first one, a 100% interaction rate can never be guaranteed. This is true not only for newsletters. but for all marketing tools.

However, if we weigh up the benefits and drawbacks of newsletters, it quickly becomes clear that the benefits by far outweigh the drawbacks.

Advantages and Drawbacks of Newsletter Marketing
Strength Weakness
Constant source of traffic Absence of physical haptics
Considerable savings Ease of deletion
Easy performance measurement
Independence from third parties
Easily linked to other marketing channels
Targeted customer care

Strengths and weaknesses of newsletters: looks like you should start a newsletter, right?

Don’t take our word for it, though. Create an account and try it yourself! We’re sure you’ll also become a newsletter supporter in no time.

 

How to create an effective email newsletter

OK, so we have convinced you to give newsletters a go. Hooray! To help you make the most of your new favorite marketing channel, we’ve detailed below all you need to know to plan an effective newsletter strategy that’ll make your contacts wish all their emails were like yours. 😏

 

Defining an email newsletter strategy: Set your goals and objectives

First things first, before you even start designing your newsletter template, you’ll need to think about why you want to implement one. Consider the following elements to ensure you’re crafting the right messages.

Identify a target audience for your email newsletter strategy

A key starting point in building your newsletter strategy is to consider who you want to reach with your message.

Defining your audience is essential to the success of your campaign because you need to understand what needs and wants your potential readers have in order to meet these with a fitting offer in your emails. You need to provide value in your newsletters that appeals to your audience.

So think about who you want to reach with your emails and try to be as specific as possible. Consider things like demographics, location, and interests. If you’re aiming at reaching a global audience it can be hard to get precise in your definition, but in that case you need to craft a message that appeals to a broad audience.

Determine basic objectives for your email newsletter

The next step is focused on goals. Think, what do you want to achieve with your email newsletter campaign? Some companies launch newsletters to drive traffic to their website, others want to increase sales on their online shop, or to invite people to upcoming events.

Setting goals gives your newsletter campaign a purpose and helps you measure the performance of your efforts. These specific objectives depend on your individual company’s goals, your vision, and values.

When setting these objectives, it can be useful to follow the SMART principle, an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time bound. Essentially though, you need to set goals that make sense to your business, so spend as much time as you need on this step. It’ll be worth it!

Once you have defined your objectives, you need to determine the corresponding KPIs. If you’re not sure where to start, you might want to consider some of the most typical metrics measured for newsletters: newsletter subscriptions, open rates, click rates, spam and block rates, as well as newsletter unsubscribe rates 💔.

KPI Framework
Corresponding KPIs Newsletter

 

Define rough content

Planning the topic of your newsletter is closely connected to the objectives you have defined, but coming up with content can be hard at first.

To find inspiration, analyze your competitors’ newsletters (of course, avoid copying it and concentrate on what else you can offer to make yours better 💪) and newsletters of companies that you think are successful at email marketing. This is likely to give you inspiration about new potential topics, products, events etc.

Another recommended method is to carry out a survey in advance, and to continue asking your contacts to share their thoughts as you grow your newsletter list. At Mailjet, we do this to ensure we are always providing the kind of content our subscribers want to read, and we love reading their feedback.

If you’re just starting one, ask your target audience and customers what content they want to see and what are their expectations for a potential newsletter. If you want to incentivize customers to complete it, consider giving away freebies or discounts.

Email Content Calendar
Agency calendar example

 

Use the right platform for your newsletter

Before you start creating newsletters, you need to have the means to do it. This means that you need a newsletter solution that allows you to create, send and analyze email campaigns.

Of course, there are a number of other ways to create and send newsletters for free (among others, WordPress’ PHP), which allow you to send emails directly from the backend. Some of these solutions also provide SMTP relay. However, it’s is not your best option, as they can’t provide the same standards when it comes to deliverability (that is, the ability to send emails to a user’s inbox).

For security reasons, numerous solutions only allow for limited sending. Normally, under 100 recipients. A larger number of emails creates queues, which lead to delays or errors. In the worst cases, emails don’t get sent. On top of this, these softwares also lack some of the most basic.

This means you should definitely look for an email service provider that can help you achieve your email goals. The problem is that there are many professional newsletter solutions on the market, which can be both a curse and a blessing for senders. On the one hand, you have a wide variety of suitable email providers to choose from. On the other hand, vetting them may feel a bit overwhelming.

But as usual, at Mailjet, we’ve got you covered and have some useful tips to help you. When you’re looking for your ESP, make sure it includes the following functions, among others:

Email platform functionalities you need for a sucessful newsletter campaign

  • Drag-and-drop email editor to create newsletters easily in a few minutes.
  • A variety of predefined and responsive customizable newsletter templates.
  • Email personalization, for creating content specific to the individual.
  • Email segmentation, to divide contact lists arbitrarily.
  • Integrated image processing to easily adapt images.
  • Responsive subscription widgets to set up contact lists obtaining full consent.
  • Structured and clear contact management options that allows you to manage with your contact lists easily.
  • Optimal deliverability to ensure your newsletters reach the inbox.
  • A/B testing to test your campaigns.
  • Detailed statistics that allow you to optimally analyze the success of the newsletters you sent out.
  • A free trial period to test whether the email solution fulfills all the necessary requirements.
  • Possibilities for integrations with other systems and services like WordPress, e-commerce systems, etc.
  • GDPR compliant and other certifications that ensure the highest levels of data security.

 

Passport Drag & Drop
Mailjet’s newsletter drag and drop tool

How to Build your newsletter subscriber lists before creating an email newsletter

In order to be able to create and send a newsletter, you obviously need recipients (duh!). Setting up an email contact list with high interaction rates is relatively simple if you take certain factors into consideration.

How to add subscription widgets to your site

To gain new newsletter subscribers, the first thing you’ll need is a responsive subscription widget with a double opt-in process. Add the subscription widget to all the relevant pages of your website. Some of the most effective places to include your widget in are the homepage, the blog, the footer and pages with gated content, such as guides, white papers, and others.

Subscription Widget Setup
Mailjet’s Newsletter Widget Creation

Double opt-in ensures that no fake email address creeps into your database and damages your reputation and deliverability. If you’re not doing this, you risk being classified as a spammer both by recipients and the ISPs themselves. The result will be that not only your newsletter but all the campaigns you have sent will be blocked.

Don’t buy email lists

Giving in to the temptation of buying email addresses will result in the same scenario. Buying email contacts from third parties is one of the most widely used methods to generate a contact list. Many companies still believe that an email contact list must be as large as possible in order to have relevant success. This is by no means true, trust us. Buying contact lists is essentially a waste of money.

People included in such lists usually don’t want to hear from you at all and don’t know that you have obtained their email address until they receive the first newsletter. The result is annoyed recipients and blocked emails.

Create newsletter landing pages

Besides implementing a responsive subscription widget, special newsletter landing pages are a great way to grow contact lists. These pages enable you to use all optimization opportunities that apply to landing pages. The potential newsletter subscriber is not distracted from other elements on the website and they concentrate on all the great reasons you’ll give them to convince them your newsletter is the best thing that has been written after Harry Potter.

NY_Times Email Subscription Form
New York Times email subscriptions

 

Explore other channels to develop your newsletter contacts list

Aside from adding a widget on your site or a dedicated landing page, there are other ways of growing your email list, such us promoting it on your social media platforms, incentivising existing subscribers to share or encouraging people to join at events or at your physical store.

Consider what benefits prospective recipients may have if they subscribe to your newsletter. Ideally, you have already clarified these reasons in your strategy. Bear in mind that arguments like ‘100% free’, ‘no spam messaging’ or ’subscription can be canceled at any time with a single click’ are not actual benefits.

Real added value, for example, is provided by things like special offers, advanced information and booking facilities, invitations to exclusive events, regular industry information, access to exclusive content like e-books, email mini-courses, etc.

Build your email contacts list properly: Get consent from your contacts

But remember, regardless of how you’re getting your subscribers, you should always ask for consent before adding anyone to your email database. Remember what data protection and spam laws (like GDPR) say about consent, and ensure you’re complying with the applicable regulations.

Consent-Form
Consent Form EA

 

Segment your contacts for better targeting

Instead of sending the same message to all of your customers, leverage segmentation to make the most of your emails. Think about how you can use the information you have about your customers to create segments, to be able to narrow down your target audience and send more tailored email campaigns that really speak to a specific group within your database.

Build your segments for your email newsletter

The main question you will want to answer is what kind of data you want to use for segmentation. The answer to that isn’t really clear-cut, since it depends on your business and how you’re planning to group your contacts for your email campaigns. So, to determine the kind of data to use, think about what would make sense for your business. Consider if there are some obvious ways to group your customers based on different characteristics.

To give you some inspiration, here are a few examples of the kind of data you can use:

Examples of data segmentation you can use for your newsletter subscriber list
Demographic data Psychographic data Behavioral data
Gender Product Preferences Past Purchases
Location Interests Average spending
Age Lifestyle Purchase Frequency

With information like this, you’re able to pinpoint the kind of segment you want to create. If you want to get even more specific about your segments, you can combine different types of data and create even more precise groups. For example, you could focus on only women that prefer shopping for shoes and that have made at least five purchases over the past six months.

Once you have different groups of customers with similar characteristics, interests or habits, it will be easier to understand the each segment and thereby craft messages that resonate well with each one.

Craft your newsletter message

Now that you have your segments, it’s time to put them to use. As you start planning your campaign, consider how you can create a message based on these segments. Essentially, you want your campaign to match the segment you’re sending it to, so always keep your audience in mind.

To follow the different data types suggested above, here are some ideas of how you could match your message with each segment:

Ideas to craft your newsletter message according to different segments
Demographic Segments Psychographic Segments Behavioral Segments
Send information about gender-specific products Highlight a certain product category to each segment Send product recommendations or special sales similar to previous purchases
Share special events or deals in the city or area of each segment Focus on products that go with each interest group Offer a discount to customers that spend above a certain amount
Share different products or offers specific to each age group Offer products that match a certain lifestyle Encourage customers that haven’t made a purchase in a longer period of time to come back with a special offer

By matching up the segment with a fitting message, your campaigns will be much more targeted and take into account the different characteristics, preferences and needs of your customers.

Segmentation is a powerful tool because it lets you slice a big contact list up into small, precise chunks. Also, you will be able to respond to the behavior and preferences of your customers and thereby create a much more customized and personalized experience for them.

 

How to design a beautiful newsletter

The first step to creating a newsletter is setting up an email template. You can use a newsletter template provided by your email service provider (ours are pretty cool! 😎) and adapt it as necessary to match your brand image and your needs.

Alternatively, you can upload a newsletter template you have already created or that you have bought from a third party. In this case, make sure that the selected layout is responsive so that your email campaigns will be perfectly displayed on every end device.

Ready to dive in? There are five main things to consider when designing an email:

Think about content in your email newsletter before anything else

The first and main thing to consider when putting a newsletter template together is content. Is it relevant to your audience? Is it engaging enough? Does it follow your brand guidelines? Keep your content brief and to the point as you only have the reader’s attention for a small amount of time.

How: Use images on top of your email to capture the reader’s attention, followed by brief text and a clear call to action.

 

firezza email
Here’s an example of great content in practice by ‘Firezza’, an amazing pizza delivery company.

 

Email Newsletter: First impressions matter

We’ve talked a lot about how, just as the saying goes, first impressions really do matter when it comes to the subject line. 35% of recipients open emails based on subject line alone. So, firstly start thinking about your ‘From Name’. Don’t necessarily just use your company name or your department name. If your email is the vault and the content inside is the treasure, your subject line is the key to that vault.

How: Know your audience, personalize and A/B test to find the best subject lines for your users.

Keep your email newsletter simple

Give your newsletters a set structure, for example one feature area and two smaller columns below. Don’t cram your email with too much information as it won’t be appealing to the reader. Provide plenty of white space and keep your newsletter simple and neat. Try and keep a similar format your newsletters as users come to expect the same look and feel over time. If you work with different types of newsletters, you will need to use different newsletter designs, but remember to provide consistency with the same use of colors, font and hierarchy. This ensures clarity and professionalism.

A clear structure ensures that subscribers grasp the content and core message(s) immediately. Insert your company logo in the upper section so that the readers immediately associate the newsletter to you. Add images in order to attract the readers’ attention, followed by a brief text and a clear calls-to-action.

Newsletter structure template

Clearly separate the upper section, main body and the footer of your newsletter from each other. Where appropriate, use images or color contrasts to carry out visual separation. Ensure that the embedded links have sufficient space between them in order to avoid erroneous clicks.

How: To have your email render on various devices, be mindful of your email size. Ideal width is between 500 – 680 px. Smart Insight’s handy infographic sums up a range of email design best practices to follow.

Think about your email newsletter colors

As we discovered in a previous post, each gender responds uniquely to different colors. Be mindful of which hues you choose for your images, background color, font and call to action buttons. After making sure that you’re keeping true to your brand identity, think about your audience. Using specific colors based on your demographic, you can improve your results and ultimately ROI.

How: The more you know your customers, the better you can tailor your emails. To gather information from your existing customers, try running surveys as part of a raffle or competition. You’ll find most users are willing to spend two minutes to tell you about themselves for a chance to win something they want.

Don’t be pushy in your newsletter

If you want your users to take action through your emails, don’t be too pushy with your call-to-action buttons. Imagine your calls-to-action is a sales assistant in a shop. Are you likely to trust one that’s being pushy, trying to get you to try on a pair shoes or buy a specific blouse? Or do you trust the one where they’re informational, subtle, yet suggestive? Same applies here.

First start with a main call-to-action and modestly place it after the main content of your email or as a link within your textual content. If you have to add more than one call to action button, place this to the right or lower than the main call to action and make it slightly less obvious.

How: Think about the placement of your CTAs (calls-to-action). Through studies we can see that CTAs placed at the bottom of the email ramp up higher click rates than on the right or left of the email. Also make sure it has relevant text. For example, you may find emails sent to a certain demographic may prefer ‘Purchase Now’ to ‘Buy Now’. Research, test and compare your campaigns to improve your call-to-actions.

Netflix is one of our all-time favorites.

Netflix’s email design ticks all the boxes. It uses personalization in the subject line to get me to open it and uses a catchy image on top of the email to get me hooked. The content is based on Netflix knowing I’m interested in anything ‘Breaking Bad’ related and follows the same color scheme as the Netflix dashboard. Finally has effective and not too pushy call-to-action buttons.

Want to learn even more? Check out Stocky United’s tips to designing outstanding marketing emails.

 

Tailor your email newsletter message

An essential part in email design is the content featured in the newsletter. Yes, this might sound obvious, but it’s still forgotten by many, that think that a flashy design is enough to wow their contacts.

Before jumping into writing amazing copy, though, you’ll need to think about those unsung heroes that can make the difference between an email being opened or ignored. We’re talking about the secret weapons of email: the From Name, the Subject Line and the Preheader.

Newsletter Content
Newsletter content

 

Choose a From Name to send your email newsletter

We already mentioned before how important From Names are. The average email user receives almost 125 emails every day. If you want your newsletter to be noticed by your subscribers, you’ll need to devote most attention to your From Name.

You should definitely include your brand name, either by choosing a non-personal name like ‘Mailjet Marketing Team’ or the combination of your own and your company’s name. If you’re a personal brand, only using your own name is conceivable.

SenderNameExample

Formulate a Subject Line to optimize your newsletter open rate

After the From Name has been chosen (and it should stay the same for all future newsletters, unless you’re testing out different ones), you’ll need to concentrate on the subject line. Along with the sender’s name, the subject line determines whether or not your newsletter will be opened.

Remember that the tone and language should match the style of your brand. Be bold and try out something new. Being cheeky, using questions, citing the recipient’s name, or even adding emojis, all jazz up the subject line and draw attention to your newsletter. As you’re are probably very reluctant to be labeled as a spammer, avoid using words that can trigger the spam alarm. 😉

 

Write the Preheader

The Preheader is the third text element that you’ll need to customize. Together with the Subject Line, it summarizes the email content and motivates the recipient to pay attention to your newsletter.

Make sure the Preheader doesn’t just repeat the message on the Subject Line, but that they work together to incite the readers and encourage them to open your email

Create your email newsletter content

It is now time for the core text: the heart of the newsletter content. Remember that the content you share in your emails should be directly linked to your goals and objectives.

Whether you got inspiration from other newsletters or by conducting a survey, carefully map out the messages you want to share and consider you’ll communicate these to your audience. Define your email voice and the stories you want to tell, paying special attention to your copy.

Need some content ideas for your newsletter? Here are a few:

  • Promoting the latest blog articles.
  • New freebies like guides, white papers, studies, etc.
  • Invitations to seminars, webinars, and other events.
  • Special marketing campaigns like advent calendars, yearly calendars etc.

 

Newsletter Promoting Webinar

Email Newsletter: Define your key messages

The newsletter is one of the few types of email that can draw attention to multiple pieces of content. However, make sure not to promote too much at the same time. Several researches have shown that the majority of recipients click on the first call-to-action.

Therefore, you must always have your primary objective in mind when creating your newsletter. Place the most important information first, and organizing the rest following a clear hierarchy. The more subscribers have to scroll down, the higher the likelihood that content further down will not receive any attention.

Use images wisely in your newsletter

Images and other visual elements optically enhance the newsletter. But beware! Too many graphical elements can impact negatively on your deliverability, as this is a favored tactic of spammers. ISPs know this well, and often block emails containing large images. So always aim for a healthy 60:40 balance between text and graphics.

Another important advice to keep in mind is to remember to add Alt tags to the images and scale them down to the size you want. Bear in mind that some email clients block images, so that subscribers just see a large white area. By adding Alt tags, they’ll at least get an idea of what they should be looking at.

Likewise, some newsletter software packages distort large images. This means that these images have to be modified afterwards with an image editing program, which is really time-consuming. If you use a newsletter solution with integrated image editing programs, though, you won’t need to do any external processing of these images.

We know a great one you should try, by the way! 😉

Image Cropping
Image Cropping with Passport

 

Don’t forget legal bits in your email newsletter

If you conduct email marketing activities, you must adhere to certain legal guidelines. This means that your newsletter must contain an unsubscribe link.

Mailjet’s unsubscribe link

As we have already explained, it’s also a legal requirement that the recipient has given consent to receiving the newsletter. So stay away from sending unsolicited marketing emails as these are legally regarded as spamming. The practice of double opt-in, mentioned above, avoids legal disputes, warnings, and expensive financial penalties.

Both also provide a threat if you use a newsletter software that is not compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

 

Email newsletter campaigns: Optimization

With your content ready to go, it’s time to start sending your newsletters. As we mentioned before, the easiest way to go is by using an email service that lets you integrate your contact list, create your newsletter layout, and send your emails in one platform – like for example Mailjet. 😉

Make sure to choose a service that offers tools for tracking and analyzing the newsletters you send, since it’s important to see how your audience responds to the emails you’re sending them. Most newsletter services offer tracking of delivery, opens, clicks, and unsubscribes, which are the essential figures in measuring your efforts.

Here are the main metrics explained:

  • Open rate: The percentage of subscribers who have opened the newsletter.
  • Click rate: The percentage of recipients who have clicked on at least one link or call-to-action.
  • Conversions and/or revenue per click: The percentage of readers who have executed the desired action after left clicking on the target page (purchase, download, read complete blog article, etc.).
  • Unsubscribe rate: The percentage of users that have cancelled their newsletter subscription.

 

Newsletter Stat Overview

Once you’ve sent your first few newsletters, the opens and clicks should give you an initial idea about how your audience is reacting to your emails. This data is a great source for deciding how to optimize your future newsletters, since it tells you which elements of your newsletter can be tweaked.

Make sure you know how to read email stats properly and how to identify what needs to be improved. If your open-rate is low, perhaps your subject line isn’t clear enough. If only few people click on the links in your newsletter, try to make your call-to-action (CTA) stand out more. If a lot of users are unsubscribing, take another look at your contact list or try grouping your contact list into more specific segments to get a more narrowing targeting.

email stats

Use this data to determine the exact performance of your newsletter and make any adjustments to individual elements. We recommend always implementing these adjustments using A/B testing.

Tracking results and optimizing your newsletters should be an ongoing process that you keep doing to continually improve your results. Even when you reach positive results, try aiming even higher and find things that can be improved even further. For example, try experimenting with different fonts, colors, or number of images.

 

Best time to send a newsletter campaign

The time at which your newsletter is sent is a crucial factor for success. Think about the best potential time for your email to be sent out. A well-designed newsletter with interesting content will have little chance of success if sent at the wrong time. It’s important that it reaches the recipient when they are most likely to be sitting in front of their computer.

If you are new to newsletter marketing and lack the experience of having your own audience, try different times. Testing and comparing the results of newsletters sent at different times is the best way to know what works for your business.

In most cases, there are some basic rules that you can follow for best results. If you work in the B2B sector, you should send your newsletter during regular working hours. Peak times are usually between 10 and 11 AM, and between 3 and 4 PM. If your business model is B2C, then you should send during the week between 6 and 9 PM, and on weekends.

Of course, there are many different tools that can be helpful. Use a web analysis software like Google Analytics and analyze the exact time when customers visit your website. Send your newsletter at the same time or shortly before, as potential recipients are engaged with your topic and/or they are on their computer at that time.

Best-Newsletter-Sending-Times
Google Analytics view on the best time to send your newsletter

 

How to run successful email newsletter campaign on mobile?

In an increasingly mobile world, people are relying more and more on this third screen to access their inbox and send email. While the overall look and feel of email hasn’t evolved much over the years, the way users access and read their email has certainly changed. Not too long ago, our inboxes were only accessible via dial-up modem from a stationary computer, whereas users today receive and read emails from their smart devices on the fly.

This change in how and where users read their emails presents marketers with different challenges in how their newsletters are crafted and designed to make sure that messages get across to the desired audience. And it’s not just a matter of adapting your layout to the large number of different screen sizes.

Your content and entire funnel must be optimized for mobile devices as well, in order to get the most out of your mobile audience. Studies have found that 65% of emails are opened first on mobile devices and three out of four users are “highly likely“ to delete an email if it isn’t optimized for viewing on a mobile device. In other words, if you haven’t already optimized your newsletters to mobile devices, now is a good time to do it.

Mailjet Responsive
Responsive email with Mailjet’s newsletter solution

To get you started, we have gathered a few of the most important steps to take in optimizing your campaign for a mobile audience:

Your newsletter subject line is key

The first thing users see when a new email pops into their inbox is the subject line. Even before opening the email, a user might choose to delete it based on the subject line alone. As such, it is crucial to create headlines that catches the attention of your audience and appeals to them.

While this applies to every kind of email you send, it is even more important when addressing mobile users. Reading emails off a physically smaller screen gives you less space for your headline. Additionally, readers will be spending less time on each subject line since they will be scanning their inbox on the go.

Tip: Keep your subject line short and precise. Use words that appeal to your readers and encourages them to open the email.

Newsletter Template: Kee your email layout simple

Once a user has opened your email, you want to make sure that the content of your newsletter is optimized for a variety of screen sizes. The reason for this is quite evident: your message needs to get across to your readers, even on mobile screens.

A solution for this is to keep your layout clear and simple. Stick with one column so your emails don’t get too wide for mobile devices. Divide your text into smaller sections and make it easy for readers to get an overview of the contents of the email.

This also applies to your call-to-action (CTA) elements, such as buttons and links, that you want readers to click on. Make sure that these are easily clickable and placed intuitively in the email, to increase the chance of users following them.

Finally, avoid using images that are too large, as they can slow down the loading time of the email for users that are making use of their mobile data to fetch your newsletter.

Tip: Go for a simple layout to make it easy for your recipients to read your email. Make sure your CTA (call-to-action) is easy to find and click on.

Check out the simple layout on this great Starbucks email.

Email Newsletter for mobile: Don’t forget your links

Now that you have made sure to make your CTA easy to find, it’s time to look at your outgoing links. One thing is getting readers to click on your links, another thing is making sure the page they land on works on their mobile device as well.

Ideally, the landing pages of your outgoing links are already mobile friendly, so the landing page automatically adapts its layout to match the device of the visitor. If you’re not using mobile landing pages, make sure you’re using code that can be displayed on all types of devices such as HTML5 as opposed to Flash.

Tip: Optimize all outgoing links for mobile to get the most out of clicks-through.

Email Newsletter on mobile: Bring out your devices

After you have the fundamentals of your layout down, it’s important to test the execution. This is especially important when you’re looking to optimize for mobile devices that come in many different sizes and screen resolutions. To gain an understanding of how your design works it’s a great idea to actually view your newsletter on several platforms.

By doing so, you’ll quickly see how your layout elements are displayed on the different screens and how clear your call-to-action is shown in the email body. Again, these are important to the performance and overall success of your newsletter campaign.

Tip: Test and preview your layout on a variety of devices and platforms.

Email newsletter templates examples

Want to see some of these tips in action? We have selected four of our favorite newsletter examples for you to get inspiration and learn the basics.

Check them out below!

Product Hunt

What’s great about Product Hunt is how they use their brand identity to their benefit, using their signature red to make their CTA stand out on the white background.

Product Hunt features one key element, which is placed first, and add some more in-depth value for those avid readers that are always keen to scroll down. Their text-image ratio is also on point, using their visual elements that are perfectly aligned with the brand identity.

Product Hunt email newsletter example

Check out this Product Hunt newsletter here.

 

Netflix

Ah, yeah, have we mentioned we love Netflix already? Netflix uses personalized content to make sure their readers keep coming back to their newsletter and find true value in it.

Also, check out their clever use of CTAs! Not everyone will be ready to indulge when Netflix’s email arrives, so by adding a combination of ‘Play’ and ‘My list’, they maximize their click rates and potential conversion.

Netflix email newsletter example

Skyscanner

When one signs up to the Skyscanner newsletter, they know what they’re looking for. Wanderlust-provoking articles with travel tips and suggestions that will help us daydream about being somewhere that’s not the office… And, oh man, do they deliver.

There’s no question about the value added that their content offers, which makes their newsletter a great way to nurture contacts until they are ready to convert. And when they are, they’ll find personalized deals to inspire them and encourage them to click-through.

Skyscanner email newsletter example

Fitbit

At Fitbit, they have a clear goal in mind with their newsletter: to drive traffic to their blog, which is meant to inspire readers to become more active and make the most of their device. So they highlight their content value at the top (‘Top articles picked for you’) and smartly present their articles in a responsive design that is easy to read (and click!) on mobile.

Fitbit email newsletter example

Check out this Fitbit newsletter here.

 

Get started now with Mailjet

Ah, yeah. This is where we try to convince you about how much you need Mailjet… Well, you do!

As we’ve said before, sending a newsletter requires the right email partner that’ll make it easy to create, send and track your email performance, and that’s what we’re great (like, really great) at.

With Mailjet, you’ll be able to build and manage your email lists using our subscription widget contact management features, and you’ll get to carefully segment your database to send content that your readers really want to read.

If you haven’t already, check out our drag-and-drop email editor, Passport, which will help you leverage our amazing template library or create your designs from scratch on the interface to create stunning responsive emails that look good on all devices.

And once your email is sent out through our interface, via SMTP or with our flexible APIs, you’ll be able to effectively track and optimize performance with detailed metrics, testing and comparison tools that will help you take your email to the next level.

Want to learn all that Mailjet has to offer? Check out some of our features below:

  • Drag-and-drop email editor
  • Email personalization
  • Pre-made newsletter templates
  • Email statistics
  • Segmentation
  • Contact list management
  • Marketing automation
  • Subscription widget
  • A/B testing
  • Campaign comparison

…and many other!

Create an account now and try Mailjet for free to kick-start your newsletter strategy! 😎

How To Use Video In Your Email Marketing Campaigns

The world of email marketing is changing every day, and as more and more brands recognize the value of email marketing – the more difficult it is to stand out in your customers’ inboxes. One way brands can differentiate themselves in email is through video. In fact, including video in your email marketing campaigns and subject lines can increase open rates by 19% and click-through-rates of 200-300%.

While there’s a lot of talk about video in email, it can seem pretty daunting and expensive. Let’s explore how you can (and cannot) include video in your emails, and how to best increase engagement of your content

 

Can I embed video in the email?

The simple answer is yes. The complex is answer is…well, it depends. There are a couple of problems to consider. When you think about it, when was the last time you actually watched a video within an email? If you’re a Gmail user, the answer is “I think I’ve watched a YouTube video a few times”. If you’re a Microsoft Outlook user – the answer is “never”. The same goes for email on iOS or Android devices.

The problem is that a lot of these inbox providers are not compatible with embedded video, which means to get the benefits of video in email marketing, you need to find some tools and loopholes.

For example, Mailjet’s integration with Viwom allows you to embed videos in your email campaigns that will automatically detect the device, operating system, and email client where the email is opened from and deliver the best option to each one. On some clients, the video won’t load but at least you can ensure something is delivered in its place – like a GIF or an image.

When Litmus was putting together their Email Design Conference, they knew they had to do something creative with their emails, so they were one of the first to really try embedded video in email. The effect definitely caught the eye of those who saw it; however, only about 40% of users could actually viewed the video in their email client.

 

While this was four years ago, unfortunately email clients haven’t changed all that much, and video embedded within an email is still not the best practice. There are options, though.

 

An alternative to video in email: Animated GIFs & Thumbnails

The best way to leverage the power of video in your email campaigns is to use animated GIFs to drive attention to the most seductive of internet activity: moving images. Your audience has become accustomed to short snippets of video previewing the content they are about to watch, including previews on major streaming platforms like YouTube and Netflix.

 

A major goal of all email marketing is to, of course, have your audience engage further with your content, products, or services. So, having the ability to attract users to your landing page where you can incentivize further engagement is much more attractive to marketers than embedding the video in the email itself. The goal is that your readers click back to your website, not to stay within the email.

On Mailjet, this is as simple as adding an image and linking to your favorite landing page.

You can also simply use a static image coupled with a play button superimposed on the image to indicate to your audience that selecting the play button will send them directly to a video.

The million-dollar question though is this: do you autoplay the video or not? In most cases, autoplay video is frowned upon, it’s annoying when you land on a page and all of a sudden a video and its audio start playing when you weren’t expecting it. This is especially true if you’re on a phone and your precious data is being eaten up.

In this case however, autoplay videos works well, primarily because the user has already indicated interest in watching a video by clicking the play button, so you’re completely within your moral universal internet rights to autoplay your video.

 

Key steps to pairing video with email marketing

Once you’ve decided that yes – I am going to be a video marketing guru and start including video in my email campaigns, the work has just begun. There are three major steps you will need to take to make the most out of your campaigns: establish your campaign goals; film quality video content, and optimize for engagement.

 

Establish your email campaign’s goals

Just like any marketing tactic you explore, you need to identify the goal of your campaign before getting into the weeds. Even Tommy Wiseau had something resembling a plan.

First off, what are you hoping to accomplish with your video? Are you trying to get users to try a new feature? Are you promoting an upcoming event? Do you have a new product that you want to show the world? Or maybe you just want to drive as many views as possible to your video.

Create the right content for the goal you are trying to achieve. Sometimes, a 7-10 second video is all you need to show your great new product, and sometimes an in-depth tutorial or course is exactly what your audience is looking for. If you’re goal is to drive sales, what call to actions are you baking into the video to direct people to purchase pages? If you’re goal is to simply increase the number of views, what are you doing in the first 3 seconds to capture the attention of the user and incentivize them to stick around for the whole video?

 

Film quality video content for your email

Sometimes a webcam video is enough, and in fact it can be a great way to show a personal touch if you are looking to personalize video in your email marketing strategy. Other times, though, a touch of flare and production quality is important to inspire trust and encourage engagement throughout the video and into the next step in the journey you want to send your audience on.

To produce a video that falls somewhere between your grandparents trying to figure out video conferencing and Mad Max: Fury Road, you need to keep in mind four key things:

  1. Lighting,
  2. Dimensions and format,
  3. Cameras and lenses,
  4. Audio.

I’ll leave it to the team over at Vidyard who show us how you can easily shoot high quality B2B videos on your smartphone for under $250.

 

Optimize your video marketing for engagement

Finally, once you have established your goals and filmed that perfect video, you now need to optimize your audiences experience to ensure you are driving attention precisely where you want it.

Check the transition from email to video

First, make sure that the transition from email to the landing page is seamless by ensuring the video is set to auto-play, that the video is clearly visible above the fold on your landing page, and that the videos size isn’t too large that will cause slow load times. This last point is especially true for users navigating to your site on mobile devices, which will already take a bit longer to load and could destroy data usage for many users.

Strategically place your CTAs

As your audience is viewing the video, create clear calls-to-action throughout that are both valuable and unobtrusive. While VH1’s Pop-Up Video may have gotten away with annoying pop-ups all through the 90s, today you need to make pop-ups and call-outs within the video subtle, and clearly adding value to the user experience.

This is especially important during those moments when you expect users to drop off, including the first 10 seconds when you need to capture the viewer’s attention before they leave. On longer videos, those over 10-minutes, most of your viewers are gone by the 50% mark. Pay close attention to your audience retention stats to determine when most users leave and create CTAs just before these moments to drive further engagement.

Video Length Based on Time

Create dedicated landing pages

To encourage ongoing engagement, you’ll also need to send your audience to a landing page you own, that is designed to ensure continued engagement with your content, products, or services.

Far too many brands are still sending their audience to YouTube, or Vimeo, or some other third party page to watch their content. You can either own the entire multimedia experience that your audience is about to embark on, or you can send them to a page to watch your video and inevitably get distracted by the latest cat video recommended to them. Optimizing your videos is about more than just the video – it’s about the entire user experience.

Embrace personalization

Finally, the most exciting and high impact way of optimizing your video marketing is through personalization. Businesses can see a 500% increase in email engagement with video personalization. While this can be difficult for bulk mailing, there are a lot of tools coming out that can connect your CRM and databases to your video content that seamlessly embeds personal details like names, companies, cities, and more right into a video.

If we’ve learned anything over the past decade, it’s that personalization is the key to successful marketing and video is the next forefront of this trend. Get ready for your name and information all over billboards and street signs in the videos you watch.

 

To Recap: Done right, video can enhance your email campaigns

  1. Yes, it’s possible to embed video in your emails, but it’s not the best experience for your audience and it doesn’t bring them to an optimized landing page for further engagement.
  2. Animated GIFs and Video Thumbnails are the best way to add video to your email marketing, and in fact can increase CTRs by 200-300%
  3. Focus first on your goals, and then focus on producing the best video to achieve these goals.
  4. Producing good quality video doesn’t need to cost you your entire budget – in fact the whole solution is in your pocket.
  5. Optimize everything! Create the best user experience for your audience to watch and interactively engage with your content.

 

Get those cameras out and stand out from the crowd. What videos are you going to produce this summer? Tell us all about it on Twitter.

How Email Can Make Up For Declining Organic Facebook Reach

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

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

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

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

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

 

Email Marketing & Personalization

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

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

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

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

 

Email List Segmentation

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

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

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

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

 

Email Automation & Integrations

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

Doggyloot

Permission-Based Targeting

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

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

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

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

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

In which case should I conduct a requalification campaign?

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

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

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

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

 

How to conduct a requalification campaign?

1. Use a tool to clean up your lists

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

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

2. Segment your contact bases

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

3. Look after the frequency and content of your campaigns

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

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

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

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

And now?

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

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

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

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