Let’s do a quick activity. Try to remember all the times you’ve used the internet today. Every Google search, every email you’ve sent and received, every time you pulled up Instagram or scrolled your Facebook or Twitter feed. I’m guessing it’s a lot? And most of your customers are just like you. In every search, email or social media scroll lies an opportunity to grab your audience’s attention. Omnichannel marketing is what’s going to put your brand in front of your customers on all the platforms that matter to them.
What is Omnichannel Marketing?
Omnichannel marketing is all about providing your audience with a seamless, smooth, and hassle-free experience across all relevant channels.
In the modern digital age, the audience accesses the internet with multiple devices – and this allows for better connections and more control over the buying experience. All successful organizations of today are employing omnichannel marketing strategies to make these interactions a consistent, integrated, and effective experience for their customers.
Your customers are ready to interact with your business on different channels anywhere, anytime. The question is, are you ready to accommodate them?
How Does Omnichannel Marketing Work?
Omnichannel marketing methods involve meeting and interacting with your audience where they are. With millennials and generation Z making up a large portion of your audience base, you need to make your communication efforts more personalized across all channels.
In essence, omnichannel marketing is a customer-centric approach, rather than a company-centric approach. It requires you to see through your audience’s eyes and stand in their shoes. The basic assumption of this marketing approach is that customers tend to shift from one channel to another as they try to find the perfect solution for their needs.
Our 4 Tips for a Successful Omnichannel Marketing Strategy
We understand that it may be confusing to devise a kick-ass omnichannel marketing strategy from scratch. However, to make things easier for you, we’ve listed a few tips that will help you get started.
1. Get to know your audience
First and foremost, you must be aware of your audience’s needs and interests. Understanding what exactly makes your customers click is a prerequisite to creating a successful omnichannel marketing strategy. Find out which channels your audience is the most active on and then equip yourself with the right tools to help you convert your prospects into customers.
Ideally, you should tap into all the channels to determine the specific behavior patterns relative to each of them. The best way to boost conversions is by correctly identifying and efficiently filling the gaps in the buying process.
You should focus on interacting with your audience not only after they’ve made a purchase, but also before it. Proactive companies stay on their prospects’ mind by sending them personalized emails to highlight positive reviews of their products from other customers.
2. Pick the best channel for your products
For a successful, targeted campaign, you should be able to determine which channel is best suited for your product or service.
You should think outside the box when trying to engage your audience because, as the digital space grows, so do your customers’ needs. You should always be ready, both mentally and resources-wise, to adapt to the shifts. That’s the only way to continue to deliver quality relevant content that’s unique, fresh, and engaging.
3. Don’t overlook performance insights
All your omnichannel marketing efforts will go down the drain if you don’t find a way to keep track of your performance.
Using some form of analytics is a key step without which you may not be able to get insights into your audience’s digital habits, purchasing patterns, and transaction tendencies. Your business’ performance insights will help you modify your omnichannel marketing strategy to find more targeted solutions.
4. Focus on email marketing
Smart businesses always focus on their email marketing strategy, aiming to reach their audience in the quickest and most direct way possible – their email inbox. Email is a reliable form of communication that allows you to build a meaningful connection with your existing and prospective customers.
The best thing about an email marketing strategy is that it offers an opportunity to connect with your audience on a personal level, rather than addressing them as a whole – and customers love the individualized treatment!
When it comes to attracting and acquiring new customers, you may be surprised to hear that email is approximately 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined.
So, if you think email marketing is an outdated strategy, think again!
The Role of Email Marketing in Omnichannel Marketing Campaigns
You may be wondering why our focus is on email marketing and not on social media marketing. After all, social media is ruling the internet and providing brands and companies with a great platform for marketing their business and generating sales.
The reason is simple: when it comes to conversions, social media isn’t as effective in influencing and directing buyer decisions. Email lends itself to the audience making those decisions.
Email marketing is capable of driving the highest ROI as compared to other digital marketing channels. Unraveling the audience’s internet-based life is the most crucial element in any omnichannel marketing approach.
The 6 Benefits of Email Marketing Strategy
Here’s how your email marketing strategy fortifies and enhances your omnichannel marketing program.
1. Promotes targeted and personalized communication
Email marketingallows you to divide your audience base into segments based on their specific needs and preferences, enabling you to curate highly personalized content for them. From coming up with a catchy subject line and choosing images that align with your customer’s needs to producing content that resonates with them, email marketing is the ideal channel to drive engagement.
2. Reaches a wider target group
With emails, you don’t have to worry about where your audience is located. All you need is an internet connection and a compatible device to let them know that you care about them and their needs. This ease of use gives email marketing a greater reach than other channels.
3. Allows you to send behavior-based emails
Email automation allows you to act on the audience’s behavior, setting yourself up for improved conversion rates, maximum profits, and improved customer retention.
According to a study, 39% of marketers found that the use of automated emails based on customer behavior were the most effective marketing strategy.
You may use behavior-based email strategies when a customer views a product on your web page or spends time on the FAQ section, or perhaps adds a few products to their online cart but doesn’t check out.
4. Serve as mailable microsites
The world of email marketing is advancing –you can now send microsites and say goodbye to static messages. By allowing customers to watch videos, browse through product categories, and even make purchases while still being in their inbox, you can take your subscriber experience game to the next level.
5. Allows you to build a loyalty program
You know that most of your revenue comes from loyal repeat customers. And this is why you should focus a large part of your email marketing strategy on customer retention.
One of the best ways to do this is by creating a loyalty program. One great example is a referral program that’s a win-win solution for both you and your audience.. Referral emails are those that contain special offers for the customers to share with their friends and family. For each referral, they will get a reward.
You could incorporate loyalty a program into the very first email you send to your subscribers as a welcome gift.
6. Allows integration with other channels
You may integrate social media into your emails to increase the number of website visitors and social media followers. To ensure that potential customers don’t get detoured on their purchase journey, you should consider integrating your emails with other channels so that everything works together. By allowing you to target the audience multi-directionally, email marketing guarantees more leads.
Email marketing may only be one piece of omnichannel marketing, but it can be considered as the bridge that connects all the other channels you want to reach your customers on. It lets you personalize messages, reach a wider audience than a social media platform would, and can even direct traffic to your social media profiles.
If you think you don’t have enough time to spare on creating the best emails for your subscribers, you should consider getting help from professional email marketing services. From mapping out the ideal email marketing strategy to implementing it in the most creative ways, these expert services will handle everything in your best interest!
You wouldn’t release a new product without first testing if it works, so why waste time sending emails that don’t work.
In order to test what campaign works best, what message resonates with your audience, or what CTA generates the most clicks, you can use A/b testing in your email campaigns.
If you’re asking – “What is A/b testing” or “how in the world can I do that”… Well, we hear you and help is on the way. We’ve compiled the definitive guide to A/B tests in your email marketing.
A/B testing explained
A/B testing allows you to compare and contrast two versions of the same piece of content. You can use it to test everything from website copy, to paid search ads, and of course marketing and transactional emails.
In the context of email, A/B testing allows slightly tweak a part of your emails to test which version more often generates opens, clicks, and conversions. For example, does adding an emoji to a subject line increase opens? Does a bright red button (instead of a white button) increase clicks?
Split testing varies from simple to complex testing. Simple A/B testing includes one or two elements which are easy to customize like described above (e.g. subject line, button color and size).
More advanced testing includes the customization of multiple elements in your email campaign like picture placements, overall messaging, personalization, or comparing different email templates against each other.
The benefits of split testing your email campaigns
To get the best results possible, you need to test and analyze all of your email campaigns (marketing email, transactional emails, and email automation workflows). While the cost of acquiring new customers and newsletter subscribers can be high, the incremental cost of improving your email conversion through A/B testing is minimal.
A well-planned split test increases the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts. By using controlled tests, you will figure out which content and visual arrangements work best for your target groups. If you know what works best, then it is easier to send the most effective email for your audience. You can do this manually, by monitoring performance and sending future campaigns based on your analysis. Or, better yet, you can automate your A/B tests with tools like Mailjet to send your campaign to a small sample audience (e.g. 20% of your list) and once you collect enough data, Mailjet’s A/B test tool would send the best performing version to the remaining 80% of your list.
Even with small testing and optimization afterwards, the Return On Investment of A/B tests can be massive. Split testing allows you to significantly increase the open rate and click rate. The result is a significant increase of leads, sales and revenue.
Try Mailjet’s A/B Test Tool Now!
With its advanced A/B testing functionality, Mailjet lets you test not just two, but up to 10 different versions of your message. The best performing version is then sent to the rest of your list.
You can test nearly everything! You can test design and text related elements. In fact, to understand which campaign performs best, you need to test both.
Make sure that your audience falls in love at first sight. You can reach this with a killer designed email. However, the design may be the reason they do not delete your email right away, but what really drives the conversions is the content you provide. In the following section, we give you a step-by-step guide outlining which elements you should focus on when starting your A/B tests.
A/B Test Subject Lines
The very first thing you should test is your subject line. Your hard work may be for naught if your audience does not even open your email. So, make sure you create a subject that encourages them to open your email. You can try out clear messages (“Our special Christmas offer for you”) or subject lines which are more mysterious (“You really do not want to miss this offer”). You can even play around with emoji’s, pre-header texts, personalization to drive clicks.
A/B Test Images
Now that your killer subject line drove a ton of opens, you can now focus on optimizing the content of the email. Pictures and other visuals will be the first thing that catches the eye of your reader. Try different banners, product pictures, and other captivating images. etc. You could also experiment with GIFs, and video previews, and other visuals to drive
The internet is in love with video, and we assume your audience is too. So, do you include videos in your marketing campaigns? If not, then you really should. It can really make the difference. And if you do so, then try some A/B testing. You can start testing the size and placement.
Sometimes, fancy visuals and funky subject lines aren’t enough to convince your audience and your paragraph texts need to win them over. Try different wording, text length,, and placement. Focus on the key messages and wrap the other elements around it.
If you are an online shop, you could test price or different discounts, headings, text sizes, colors, placement.
A/B Test Calls-to-Action
When your headlines, subtitles, and paragraph text are optimized, then your audience is willing to click on your Calls-to-Action (CTA). CTAs buttons are one of the most important elements in a marketing email. This is what it all comes down to. Your mailing is meant to get their attention, but above all, it has to generate leads to your website.
So, do not forget this in your testing. Play around with colors, sizes, text, placement etc. Keep in mind that the CTA text also needs to be on point.
A/B Test Links
Besides CTAs, there are other links you can include and test. An example of these links is Social Media buttons. Getting in touch on multiple channels is necessary. Most brands now include Social Media buttons in their marketing emails, linking to other channels like Twitter and Facebook. To see how to get the best engagement, test different formats, colors, and sizes.
A/B Test Sending Time
Last but not least is the ability to test the date and time of your campaigns. Does your audience prefer to open their emails in the morning, in the evening, during the week or at the weekend? Use your testing to find out, and in fact, you can then create segments for each, to maximize engagement going forward.
The 4 Steps to your A/B Tests
The best way to run a successful A/B test is to follow a strict process. It will help you to get profound insights from your campaigns. A proper process need to include the following steps:
1. Problem identification:
Study your email campaign statistics. Define the user’s behavior and find the problem areas in your conversion funnel. Include the landing pages your audience reaches after clicking a link in your email.
2. Defining a Hypothesis:
Based on your analysis, build a hypothesis. Define which result you expect from which changes. For example, a hypothesis could be:
“My customers do not like to scroll down. Putting the Call-to-Action button at the top will increase their attention and results in conversion.”;
“Most of my readers open my newsletter on their smartphone. Increasing the size of the CTA button will make it easier for them to click on it which results in more conversions.”
3. Testing the Hypothesis:
Based on your hypothesis, set up the split testing. Create a variation and A/B test it against your current email template.
4. Analyzing the test date and draw conclusions:
Once you’ve successfully sent out your split email campaign to the defined target groups, now it’s time to monitor the results. Which variation performs best? If there is a clear winner, then go ahead with its implementation. If the test remains inconclusive, go back to step number two and rework your hypothesis.
The 7 Rules to A/B Testing
To do a proper split test, you need to follow these 7 rules.
Rule 1: Set Goals – Know what and why you want to test in your email campaigns
Testing without a specific goal is just wasting time. Don’t pull randomly select an A/B test for now reason. Know the reason why you want to use split testing (increase open rates, increase click rates, test new messaging, pricing models) and think about what changes may get you the desired results.
Rule 2: Focus on frequently sent emails
The moment you start conducting A/B tests, you will be on fire and want to test every single email campaign you are sending. But stay calm, take a deep breath. To start, only focus on the emails you are sending most frequently.
Rule 3: Split your list randomly
Choose a smaller, randomized portion of your contact list to test for the most optimized email version before sending the campaign to the rest of your contact list. To get conclusive results make sure you choose the same sample sizes.
Rule 4: Test one element at a time
To best be able to identify which variation works best, focus on just one element at a time and leave all other variables the same. For example, create a few different CTA colors, but do not change anything else. This way you can identify whether an increase in engagement is because of the CTA color. If the color and the text are both tested at the same time, then how can you tell which change drove the most clicks?
Rule 5: Wait the optimum amount of time
If you are automating your A/B tests, by sending to a small sample first and then the full list after the test is complete, then it’s important to wait long enough to gather enough data. Usually, we recommend waiting 3-5 hours after sending to your sample before sending to your full list.
Rule 6: Check if results are statistically significant
The struggle with doing A/B testing is having a large enough sample size. Use a A/B Sample Size Calculator to find the right sample size.
Rule 7: Test and test again
After the testing comes more testing. Now you know the best subject line, calls-to-action, and hopefully more. Now, you can try testing another element. Rise and repeat.
Now you know everything you need to start A/B testing your marketing campaign: the elements you should focus on, the best practice process and the 7 rules you need to follow. Sign up for a Mailjet account and let’s get the split testing party started.
What is your experience with A/B testing? Which elements do you want to test? What improvements do you see? Tell us all about it on Twitter with the Hashtag #emailmarketing.
As the central hub for your team’s messages, customers, and apps, Mailjet offers all the benefits of group email management and collaboration. But beyond the obvious functionality, the Mailjet platform is chock-full of data — and you can use that data to surface valuable insights for your team.
In many organizations, corporate data lives in silo’s that don’t talk to each other. In addition to Mailjet, perhaps you use a payment platform like Stripe or Square, advertising networks like Google Ads or Facebook Ads, an analytics platform like Google Analytics, customer service software like Intercom or Zendesk, and in-house databases. You track information for the same customers in all these platforms, but how can you get a full picture of every way your customers are interacting with your business?
The best way to correlate that information is to create a data warehouse that consolidates all of your data into a single location. Most businesses nowadays use cloud data warehouses to do this.
Three tiers of the data analytics architecture
Data sources like Mailjet form a foundation for a data analytics stack that comprises three additional tiers: ETL (extract, transform, load) software, data warehouse, and business intelligence (BI) software.
Stitch provides a simple, powerful ETL service for businesses of all sizes. Signup is simple — you can be moving data from one or more sources to a data warehouse in five minutes.
The last few years have seen the emergence of cloud-native data warehouses like Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, Snowflake, and Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse. Because they run on cloud infrastructure that scales quickly and cost-effectively to meet performance demands, they can handle transformation using the same hardware on which the data warehouse runs.
Finally, to unlock the value of your data, you can connect a BI or data visualization tool to your data warehouse and create reports that analyze data from multiple sources, which you can share via browser-based dashboards.
The next step is setting up an ETL pipeline to move data from Mailjet and other data sources to the data warehouse. Stitch makes extracting data from a source and loading it into a data warehouse easy. To get started, visit Stitch’s signup page, enter your email address, then enter your name and a password.
Add an integration
Next, add Mailjet as an integration within Stitch. Click on the Mailjet icon to get started:
The next screen prompts for a name for the integration. This name will display on the Stitch Dashboard for the integration, and it’ll also be used to create the schema in your destination. Choose something descriptive but not too long.
When you click Save, Stitch will generate a webhook token URL:
Follow the instructions on the screen to paste the URL into Mailjet as an endpoint for the events you want to track. Once you save it, all future events of the types you’ve selected will be replicated to your data warehouse — but first you have to connect your data warehouse to Stitch as a destination.
Click Continue, then All Done, to get back to the Stitch dashboard. Scroll up to the top of the screen and click on Destination.
Add a destination
Suppose you’ve chosen an Amazon Redshift data warehouse. Click on the Redshift icon, enter your credentials, then click Check and Save.
Now all the pieces are in place, and your data is ready to flow.
When you visit your Stitch dashboard, you’ll see that your integration is marked Active, Continuously Replicated.
From the dashboard you can also add integrations from other data sources. The Stitch documentation walks through the process for each one.
Connecting BI software to your data warehouse
The final stage of the process is connecting an analytics platform to your data warehouse. If you don’t already use BI software, you have dozens to choose from, including such popular options as Tableau, Microsoft Power BI, Google Data Studio, and Looker.
Now you have all the tools you need to see, for example, which customers need the most support or which are the most profitable, and you can tell whether you’ve been communicating with them at an optimal cadence or targeting ads at the best cohort.
That’s all there is to it. Using an ETL tool like Stitch to move data from Mailjet and other sources into a data warehouse lets you leverage the power of BI tools to correlate and report on all of your valuable data.
Mother’s Day is coming, and on top of Sunday brunches and maybe a couple mimosa’s, you can also expect an increase in soft pinks and flower GIFs in your inbox. By the way, this year it’s May 12th. :)
We love these times in the year, including Holiday Season, Valentines Day, and Summer Break, because it brings out the most creativity in marketing departments and brands trying to distinguish themselves from the crowd. This is especially true for e-commerce and retail sites who are emailing about upcoming Mother’s Day sales, but just as interestingly, brands of all stripes are celebrating mothers in their own unique way.
Applying Best Practices to Your Email Campaigns
In honor of our mothers, we wanted to showcase some of the more effective and beautifully designed emails and newsletters and give you a little look into what we love about them. Each of these campaigns utilizes many of our recommended best practices, including using images and GIFs to increase engagement, clear calls-to-action, simple design, alignment to your overall brand, and more.
BUT, we also would love your input! As you take a look at these campaigns, be sure to vote on your favourite at the bottom of the page, and we’ll tally these up to present to the world what the Mailjet community considers the best Mother’s Day newsletter 🏆.
Anthropologie: Power of Simplicity in your Email Campaigns
First up is Anthropologie’s To Mom With Love email. What we love about this campaign is its simplicity, focusing the email on one clear purpose: shop Mother’s Day Gifts.
The image is simple yet beautiful and brand-aligned, making it clear right off the top what this email is about. Their call-to-action, “Shop Mother’s Day Gift”, is more descriptive than many in this list, which simply state “Shop Now”. They also use colors really effectively, creating a clear emotional reaction of energy, love, and motherhood.
Jack Spade: Email Design to Increase Clicks
We warned you about soft pinks. This email continues the trend started by Anthropologie with it’s simple yet impactful design. They also take advantage of the fact that many of their customers are used to shopping on their website, and so they maintain this brand consistency with the website heading at the top, which creates familiarity and allows readers to navigate to any page on the site they want.
But make no mistake, the page THEY want you to go to is the Mother’s Day “Shop Now” link. The witty (and all too relatable) headline “You Never Call Anymore” literally forms the top of a funnel that pulls your eyes downwards to the one CTA, “Shop Now”. Brilliant.
SeatGeek: Brand Alignment
Next up is Seat Geek’s campaign, which is powerful for two reasons.
First, they know their audience, and as a result they are branding this email not like what we’ve seen above with Mother’s Day colors and flowers, but instead with their on-brand blue and yellow. Their audience, as a sports ticketing mobile app, is predominantly younger users who interact with their product on a mobile device.
Second, SeatGeek is the only example in this list that utilized a GIF in its email, and it does so in a creative way that (1) reveals more information the more you watch, and (2) draws your attention to the core message of the email: It’s Mother’s Day and she just wants to spend time with you.
Dr. Martens: Email Personalization
Our last contestant is Dr. (Doc) Martens. I’ll push past the obligatory beautiful flower arrangement, bold headlines, and website-navigation and instead, focus on their email personalization. While this email is clearly a Mother’s Day email, trying to remind their audience that they have some gifts to buy, it’s also using past click behaviour and engagement data to curate a list of products that they think will be interesting to the user.
Plus, the way the flowers grow out of the text? Love it (Pro tip: just as with your mother, it’s always good to show respect to a designer).
Create your Mother’s Day email campaigns with Mailjet
Mailjet’s collaborative email editor, Passport, is the best way to create stunning email campaigns that will look great on any device and inbox. Just choose a template to adapt from our extensive template gallery, or create yours from scratch by dragging and dropping sections, images and content blocks. For even more customized content, you can also insert HTML code blocks from the interface. Work with your team in real time to design the perfect Mother’s Day email!
Try the Mailjet’s email editor demo
Haven’t got a Mailjet account and want to try Passport? Play around with our demo to see how easy it is to create the perfect Mother’s Day email with Mailjet’s email editor!
Key Takeaways: Email Inspiration for Mothers Day
Altogether, these campaigns touch on some of the really important best practices you need to consider when putting together your emails campaigns, and especially your Mother’s Day campaigns.
Keep it Simple: Your campaign shouldn’t be asking your audience to do too much. One clear Call-to-Action and one core message are ideal to generate the most engagement.
Keep it Brand Aligned: While the soft pinks may feel like a necessity at Mother’s Day, don’t forget that you have a brand you need to maintain.
The Power of GIFs:A cat GIF is one thing, a custom GIF that can showcase your value, stay on brand, and also communicate your core message? That’s the tops.
Personalization: With your email platform, there is so much you can do to personalize content and segment audiences to increase engagement on your emails. Your Mom’s favourite Mother’s Day gift is a one-of-kind homemade card, why would your audience be any different.
We’d love your thoughts – which email best captures the Mother’s Day spirit? Which email are you desperately trying to click on? Leave your vote here!
As email marketing campaigns become more complex, with the addition of things like dynamic personalization, interactive content, and responsive design, email marketing teams are becoming more complex too.
Which means your email team’s workflow is also evolving.
It’s no longer as easy as choosing a template, selecting your recipients, writing a message, and clicking send. Today, you need to also capture and integrate your data, identify segmentation and personalization opportunities, craft an eye-catching design, code custom HTML (or MJML), test and retest your variables, ensure the email adapts to all inboxes and mobile devices, and on and on it goes.
A quality email is a complex email, and a complex email requires an effective team workflow.
At Mailjet, we’ve been working on this problem since the start – helping email teams work together more efficiently and more effectively. From the role out of our team features like live collaboration to the creation of MJML, which has made it easier than ever to code a responsive email, while also allowing your marketing team to easily edit with no coding knowledge.
This article will outline what we’ve learned along the way about how teams can effectively work together, and the email workflow required. Whether you’re sending a newsletter, creating transactional and automation email templates, or using an SMTP Relay or Email API to send custom HTML, every email team will go through most of these steps.
Each team is different, but at the end of the day, your email team requires these five roles. Sometimes one person plays more than one role, but if your team doesn’t have the skills necessary to fulfill each responsibility, you run the risk of mediocre results.
For example, a team with a really strong copywriter, but poor design, will underperform. As will a team with great copy, great design, but no data engineer to take advantage of personalization and segmentation opportunities.
The Email Strategist
To avoid being one of the many flailing brands that send out email campaigns without any kind of coherent strategy, or even a plan, you will need someone on your team devoted to thinking about the big picture. The Strategist is involved from A to Z, from how email will play a role in your business to the final word in campaigns.
The Email Designer
A designer, like always, is tasked with the look and feel of the email, but unlike standard web design, social media design, print, and so forth, designing for email requires knowledge of how the design will look on different devices. This will require close collaboration with the developers and the strategist to ensure the design is not only responsive across desktop and mobile, but also across different inboxes like Gmail, Outlook, and the many mobile inboxes that exist.
The designer will scoff, the strategist will say it’s the whole package that matters, and you know what – it’s kind of true. The whole team brings something to the table but at the end of the day a good message with well-written copy will cut through. Simply put, the copywriters are in charge of the words. This goes beyond just great sentences, the best copywriters know how to say more with less.
The Developer floats in and out of the planning and implementation phases of an email campaign.
They work closely with the strategist and designer off the top to ensure that the objective of an email campaign is accomplished with the variables we have in place. They also ensure that the design will, in fact, be responsive to different devices and inboxes. Finally, they take control of optimization practices to ensure things like segmentation are properly set up, and necessary integrations are enabled.
Finally, the Data Engineer plays a crucial role in helping the developer make the most of the integrations, and the Strategist understands the performance of campaigns.
It’s one thing for a developer and a strategist to include a [First Name] variable, or a personalized image, or message based on a segment. However, it’s a whole other thing entirely to ensure that the right data is included within the right email, and most importantly that there is even some data that can be pulled.
To avoid blank fields in your email campaigns or, worse, a failed segmentation, be sure to have a data engineer on your team.
The Email Team Workflow
Ultimately, the Email Team Cycle is made up of three phases:
Strategize. Create. Optimize.
Email Team Workflow: Strategize
Simply put, if you don’t have a strategy behind your email campaigns, they will not be effective. The Strategize phase starts with “Assess & Adapt” before moving on to establishing a new strategy for your next campaign.
Assess & Adapt
Unless this is your very first campaign ever, you will likely have some past campaign data to work with to help determine what worked, what didn’t, and how to improve moving forward.
This first (and last step) of the cycle involves the entire team and is managed by the Email Strategist.
This includes asking the basic questions like: did my email campaign actually get delivered to the inbox? If there was a low delivery rate, it’s important to review your email list hygiene. What emails bounced, who marked you spam, what emails were blocked? With this information, you can easily clean your lists to ensure that they do not receive future messages. This will also ensure that those who do in fact want to receive your emails will more likely get it in their inbox (vs the spam folder).
You can also assess your content. Which subject line performed best? Which image? Did certain segments perform better? All of this data can and should be used to inform your future campaigns. In the Strategize phase – data is everything.
While it is difficult to do for every single email campaign, especially if your team is involved in many emails per week, it is important to establish a recurring time to assess your campaigns as a team. Perhaps this is a weekly standup meeting (10-15min) or a bi-weekly check-in.
Regardless, at this stage, you need to ask yourself and your team these key questions:
Did we achieve our engagement goals?
What were the results of A/B Tests
What segments resulted in higher engagement?
What demographics engaged most?
Do we need to clean our contact lists based on bounces, blocks, unsubscribes, etc?
Develop Campaign Strategy
As with any project, up front, it’s essential to establish your objectives, SMART goals, and a plan of action. Of course, a strategy evolves and adapts as you implement, but you need to start somewhere.
At this stage, the Email Strategist is crucial. They are the ones responsible for developing the overall email strategy, using data from past email campaigns and other knowledge about your target audience.
The questions you are trying to solve at this stage include:
What is the primary goal for this campaign?
Who is the target audience?
What internal/external team members do you need involved?
How will you measure success?
Which elements will be tested (e.g. A/B Tests)
The Email Strategist will pull in expert advice from across the organization, including members of their email team and the larger marketing team to better understand how email fits into the bigger picture.
Email Team Workflow: Creation
The second stage is all about creation, and on top of the Email Strategist, it’s time to pull in your Copywriters, Designers, and Developers.
Establish the Design
The first step of the Creation Phase is to Establish the Design. Whether this is simply selecting a template, designing a new template, or creating a one-off email layout. The purpose here is to identify which layout will drive the most engagements based on your defined goals.
For example – if the goal of the campaign is to increase purchases (e.g. new sunglasses), then the design will need to include images of the sunglasses, some pricing information, and maybe a single CTA to ensure all traffic is funneled to the purchase page.
On the other hand, if the goal is to simply educate, then the layout could be more text-based and longer. Rather than trying to get the user out of the email as fast as possible, in this case, you’re trying to keep them in it.
It’s also important at this stage to identify what human resources will be required to fulfill the design you are building. Will all of this be possible through a click-and-drag interface, or will you need some custom code?
Write the Copy & Design Images
Once a design layout is selected, it’s time to unleash copywriters on the email. With a clear objective for what the email is attempting to accomplish, alongside the wireframe and boundaries to work within, the copywriters can focus on ensuring that the message delights, and inspires enough to lead to engagement.
The most effective email copywriters use this stage of the email creation process to do two things:
Work with the strategist and data engineer to understand what message is most likely to convert, what calls-to-action lead to the most clicks, and where you can take advantage of personalization & segmentation opportunities.
Identify what the core message you want to communicate, and understanding that the average person only looks at a promotional email subject line for 3 seconds…what message do you want to send in such a short time.
Alongside the copywriter, the designer can start working on the imagery that will be included in a campaign. What images support the message, what images are most likely to convert (based on past data), and what brand guidelines need to be followed.
It’s important to also work with the Email Developer in this phase to understand what unique design elements can be included to create an even more engaging email. For example, rather than a static image, maybe you’d like to include GIF, interactive imagery, or something like a countdown timer that would require custom code.
Either way, collaboration is key here – so be sure you understand the implications of your design
The last step of the creation process is coding the email, or better yet, simply adding in small custom code elements. Depending on whether the email could be created entirely using a drag-and-drop editor like Mailjet’s Passport, your email developer will need to put in some work.
At this stage the Email Developer will be looking at the following tasks and questions:
Convert wireframe design and content into code
What custom code is required to address the campaign goals?
Test and optimize for all devices and inboxes
Email Marketing Workflow: Optimize
The third and final stage is about the optimization of your email campaign and contact lists. While the Email Strategist will, of course, play a huge role here, you will also need to reserve time from your Data Engineer and Email Developer.
At this stage, when you have established the design and created custom content, images, and code, it’s now time to integrate your CRM or another database to ensure your campaign is optimized. This is when you will pull in your CRM Specialist (or Data Engineer) as well as your Email Developer.
Working together, they will identify opportunities to include personalization or segmentation, and make recommendations to the copywriters and designers.
If it’s a transactional email, how are you are integrating data from your website (such as purchase orders) into the email?
Ultimately, the purpose at this stage is to:
Identify and implement segmentation opportunities
Ensure CRM is integrated with your email platform
Validate data integrity and personalization
Be sure to look into our integrations to identify how to best optimize this stage.
Test & Validate
At this stage, you’ll pull in more of your team including copywriters, designers, and strategist to review the final copy and design, test the variables, confirm that the correct A/B tests are being used, and so forth.
It’s important to work closely together in real-time to reduce the amount of time spent going back and forth on things like subject lines, headings, CTAs, and so forth. Consider this a “sprint” phase where you and your team drop everything and focus on bringing the campaign to its conclusion.
Approve & Send
Finally, after all the t’s are crossed, i’s dotted, and code tested, it’s time for one person…ONE person to approve and send the email or publish the template. As much as email is a team sport, like any effective project, ultimate control and approval needs to fall on one person. This person is often the Email Strategist.
This helps avoid typos, errors, or any other number of #EmailFails that often result from rushed decision making or the wrong person reviewing the email. You wouldn’t want a designer or developer to accidentally send an email with typos. Or a copywriter to send it without considering responsive design.
Once approved – it’s time to send.
From here – you cycle back to the Strategize phase, taking a look at your performance and considering where and how to adapt for future campaigns.
While this workflow may seem like a lot of work and a lot of details for a single email, the fact is that each team goes through this entire workflow on every single email. The variance between a good email and a bad email (or a good email program and a bad one) is how details approached at each stage.
You can certainly skip over the “Develop a Strategy” or the “Approve & Send” step for instance, but there will be some long-term complications as a result.
Your individual campaigns may suffer, but your team’s habits will suffer as well. To achieve the best results, you need to build good habits. We hope you’ll use this workflow as a foundation to build good habits into your own team’s workflow.
Does this workflow align well with your own team’s workflow? How would you look at adapting it? Let us know on Twitter & Linkedin now!
Despite what you might expect from students, especially teenagers, email remains the primary channel for students researching and communicating with universities and colleges.
While students probably spend more time on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, email continues to be a preferred channel (even among students) for more professional, official, communications.
In a recent study, nearly 68 percent of teens and 73 percent of Millennials said they prefer to receive communication from a business via email. So keep the snaps and the grams for promoting your culture, building your brand, and building a community, but keep the email for the important pieces of content, and direct promotions.
Email is the preferred channel for university marketing
76% of high school students ranked email as the preferred medium for researching colleges in the United States. This far outranked direct mail, in-person seminars, phone, and messaging apps. While social media certainly plays a role in advertising and capturing the attention of students, it is not a channel used for communication.
After speaking with universities about their challenges, we wanted to go beyond some of the basics of email marketing and have compiled three unique tips to help you and your institution think through your email marketing strategy.
Use sub-accounts to manage campaigns for different departments
Maintain brand consistency across all departments
Ensure responsive design on all devices and inboxes
Higher education institutions like universities and colleges have a unique challenge on their hands when it comes to email marketing. Among other things, they are concerned with recruiting students, raising money, communicating events to existing students, engaging alumni, and, of course, educating their students.
They also operate as one brand with dozens (maybe hundreds) of separate brands, whether that is different academic departments, associations, publications, athletic teams, or housing and hospitality. Sending the right message, to the right audience, with consistent branding, and a shared voice is no easy feat.
Simplify account management by using sub-accounts
Our first tip is to implement sub-accounts on your email platform to easily separate and manage email programs across department.
Sub-accounts allow you to separate your email campaigns across different API Keys. By default, all accounts come with one active (Master) API Key where all mailings are sent through. You also have the possibility to create a second (Sub-Account) API Key for other departments, types of emails, or other unique use cases.
A university’s marketing or communications department can own the master account, and using sub-accounts and API keys, they can create separate accounts for different departments, sending needs, purposes, and users. You could have the Science department on one sub-account, the alumni relations team on another, student recruitment on another, and so forth.
When setting up your sub-accounts, here are some recommended best practices:
Use a separate API Key for Marketing & Transactional Emails
If you are sending both marketing and transactional emails on your account, you should use one API Key to send your transactional emails and another API Key for your newsletters.
In the event that one API Key has an issue (for example, a sending rate limit on your marketing campaigns), it will not interrupt the sending of your transactional emails, and vice versa.
Use separate API Keys for each Department
If you do create a master account and manage email accounts for different departments, you can assign a different API Key to each department (or even 2 API Keys to each department if they send both marketing & transactional emails).
Should an issue arise with one department’s mailings (a rate limit or sending is temporarily blocked due to abuse complaints), it will only impact their one API Key, and not your entire school’s emailing.
Separate Your Templates & Contact Lists
You can also separate templates and recipient lists into separate API Keys, and give another department access to that specific sub-account with Account Sharing. The Math department will ever have to sort through templates from Biology department. And the Fine Arts department won’t have to ever deal with the those rowdy Athletic Center emails.
Maintain brand consistency across all departments
Brand consistency is important for any organization, but perhaps is most difficult in institutions like universities, where there is no central marketing department that every department works with, or reports to. As a result, a change to a university’s brand, whether it’s large changes like logo, tagline and color scheme, or day-to-day changes like seasonal campaigns and messages, can be a difficult task to coordinate across campus.
So if your college is trying to build the brand loyalty and recognition of, say, a Harvard University, but your Sociology department sends emails with your college’s horizontal logo, and your recruitment team uses primarily green colors instead of the your core brand of red, then how do you expect to build that consistent brand recognition?
Protect your brand with locked sections and bulk template editing
All of this is to say our second tip is ensure brand consistency across all emails by using locked sections and bulk template editing.
With one master account in Mailjet and many sub-accounts for your different departments, clubs, and sports teams, you can control where and how your brand is used.
First, by using locked sections in selected templates, you can ensure that no user (without proper permissions) can edit certain blocks within an email template. For example, you could create a footer with your logo, social media links, and a recent headline and lock this section so that no other user can come in and edit the logo, the colors, or the content. You can do the same for the header section, or even content blocks throughout the email.
This ensures that no matter what department your email comes from, the end user will have a consistent experience with your brand.
Similarly, you can control your brand consistency using bulk template editing. The larger your organization, the larger your template gallery likely is. Can you imagine changing the logo, or the footer of hundreds of templates?
Do you… do you really want to imagine that?
Bulk template editing allows you to edit that section once and apply the changes to all the templates that has the same section. That way, you can easily update the consistent footer, logo, or tagline across all your emails in just one click.
Design your emails with a mobile-first approach
If there’s one thing you’ve been told too many times as a marketer for a universitty, it’s that students are on mobile devices more than desktops (or laptops, or really anything else in this world).
Alignment is Key: Opting for a single column layout will prevent you from having to re-arrange the design as the screen gets smaller. Simple is your friend.
Image Size: Images are a great way to break up text, but it can cause some problems as well. Pictures that don’t render properly can appear too big or too small on some devices, ruining your killer background or making your banner unreadable.
Clearly identifiable Calls-to-Action: Make primary calls to action as buttons (instead of hyperlinks) so it can be easily found and clicked with a finger on phones and tablets.
Too much text: Don’t make your recipients scroll more than 2 or 3 swipes on their device. If you have a lot of text to share, simply share a snippet in the email and add a link to read more.
Hierarchies of importance: Most emails are read for less than 3 seconds on a mobile device, so make sure you are putting your most captivating, engaging, and attention-grabbing headlines, CTAs, annd images above the fold. Don’t give your reader a reason to swipe left.
But even with all of this, you can still make some mistakes that affect responsiveness. So make sure you use an email builder or a coding framework that can do all the heavy lifting for you.
Responsive drag-and-drop email editors
Many email builders (Mailjet’s Passport included 🤠) allow you to create a well-designed email using a drag-and-drop interface. These editors (the best ones at least) will automatically ensure the sent emails are optimized for any device and inbox.
You could also code your emails if you want to go above and beyond, or create some custom designs. This is great, but coding for responsive design can be tedious because there is not a global standard amongst inboxes and devices on how to render emails. For example, an email will look one way in Gmail, and another way in Outlook; one way on Gmail’s Android app, and another on a Macbook.
This tedious process led our Product Team at Mailjet to look for ways to make coding responsive emails easier. This is how and why MJML was born, the leading responsive email markup language.
Using everything you know about HTML, MJML simplifies the code for you so you don’t have to worry about writing lines beyond lines of code to accommodate different devices and inboxes. An email that could be hundreds of lines of code, can be written in less than 50. Speed matters.
It’s no secret how important email marketing is to universities, from recruitment and fundraising to simply communicating campus activities. As a marketer in universities, you already understand this, however hopefully this article outlined some of the often overlooked aspects of email marketing in universities.
Namely – how to optimize your email platform, create efficiencies by managing all email under one platform, maintain control of your brand across departments, and of course how to design and code responsive emails.
This semester’s exam is a practical exam. You can choose your own assignment, either:
The Gmail Promotions tab’s hot debut in 2013 caused mixed reactions. Some marketing pundits predicted that it marked the end of email marketing as we know it. Others were less dramatic, and stated that it would have a negative impact on the opens and clicks of bad marketing campaigns.
Today, email campaigns need to be more inventive than ever in order to stand out, and this new update from Google allows email marketing to be more visual than ever right in the inbox itself.
So in this article, we’ll walk you through a history of the Promotions Tab and how the new Annotations feature will allow email marketers to find new creative ways to market their emails.
History of Google Promotions Tab
2013: Google Promotions Tab’s hot debut
In 2013, Google rolled out one of its biggest updates on Gmail by adding the Social and Promotions Tabs.
This update was intended to offer Gmail users a better emailing experience by automatically segmenting emails based on their content and sender address.
But email practitioners everywhere were worried that this would negatively affect their opens and clicks.
2014: Inbox by Gmail
In 2014, Google launched a new email tool: Inbox by Gmail – an email service aimed to help users become more productive.
Inbox by Gmail sandboxed many ideas generated by its users that then was slowly incorporated into Gmail.
Marketers were given access to additional features to give more value to their email campaigns through Email Schema Markup. These code snippets can be added in the <head> or <body> tags of an email campaign to allow Gmail to identify what kind of email it is and take advantage of some advanced features.
Here’s an example of how Email Schema Markup works:
Answers in Google Search lets Google show some relevant emails based on search query, for example, showing you information on flights and events.
Highlights in Inbox displays enhancements like flight details or receipts.
Adding Actions to Emails allows email campaigns to become more interactive by adding a CTA directly in the email subject, such as “Add to Queue” or “Accept Invite”.
Adding Actions to Emails
2018: A New Look & AI for Gmail
2018 was a big year for Gmail. Its interface got an update and new AI-powered features were introduced:
Nudges let users come back to an abandoned email thread.
Smart Replies allow users to reply based on pre-rendered templates.
Snooze allows users to set a snooze alert on their emails.
High Priority notifications let users get notifications only for important emails.
In 2017, there was also Gmail’s Smart and Easy unsubscribe – a popup that asked users if they wanted to unsubscribe to email newsletters they have not opened in the last 30 days or so.
Gmail is still rolling out new updates. Their latest one, Annotations feature in the Promotions tab, allows marketing specialists through schema markup to include additional details like promotional codes, images and additional offers right in the inbox interface.
How do the Promotion Annotations work?
Gmail’s new feature allows email campaigns to offer even more value to their subscribers, including a much more visual interface to bring your emails to life with images, deals, expiration dates, and more.
Thanks to machine learning, Gmail identifies the most important messages (optimized by the Schema Markup script) that could interest subscribers and classifies them by topic or theme.
Below is an example on Top Deals.
Simply put, emails can be classified together into groups but only those optimized through Schema Markup can be shown with images and special offers.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to know how to get to the top of the Promotions Tab and the system for getting Annotations, even with the right script implementation. Though overtime, these tricks will be uncovered – so be sure to stay on top of these opportunities.
How does this benefit email marketers?
With Annotations, Gmail selects the best email campaigns to show to users based on their own filters. Brands with an already large following have a better chance of their email campaigns being seen but the more engagement you get from your list, the more likely Gmail will promote your content as well.
What else you can display in the Promotions Tab
To start, here is a list of elements that you can include in your emails.
Yes, email previews can now include images. The images could be a product preview or something that really encapsulates what your newsletter is all about. Gifs are not supported, though.
This clearly displays your offer, which can include things like:
20% off Discount
Tip: Avoid writing long sentences, they will be cut off and therefore your message will render incomplete.
The grey badge shows a promotional code that the user can use to access their discount. If there is no code, including this is not necessary.
This part is very interesting for marketers. It lets marketers add an expiration date to a deal and create a sense of urgency.
This feature lets an email be visualized on top of a group twice: once when it gets sent the first time, and another in the final three days before expiration.
Brands can finally show their logos so that users will immediately be able to identify their email campaigns. Use a HTTPS URL and not a HTTP to avoid errors.
If the user clicks on any of these Annotations, this will open the email.
Gmail will also show a preview of the promotional tab in the main inbox. This is another great reason to enable Annotations in your email campaigns.
How to use the Gmail Promotional Tab to your advantage
Marketers can add all the relevant details (logo, image, subject, offer, etc.) in the required field to personalize the Annotation.
Once created, they can download the code either in Microdata and insert it in the body tag of their email campaigns, or in JSON in the body or head tags.
Still want to avoid the Gmail Promotions Tab?
Even if it is impossible to know exactly how Gmail’s algorithm works, there are some best practices to maximize your chances of landing into the Primary inbox.
But as a clear disclaimer, we do not encourage trying to cheat Gmail’s algorithms by trying to have your marketing emails land in the inbox. If you are sending marketing emails, we highly recommend you do not try to cheat Gmail’s filtering algorithms, or risk getting your future campaigns in the spam folder.
Before doing anything else, think about your brand mission and objectives first and foremost and consider if these campaigns really deserve to be in the Primary inbox.
After all, the Promotions Tab may not be a bad thing for your subscribers, who expect to see marketing emails in that tab. And let’s be honest if they have subscribed to your emails, chances are, they want to see them. If they don’t, you have a different problem on your hands.
Users just don’t subscribe to marketing emails and leave them to fester in the Promotions Tab.
The Primary inbox is for personal emails. Think of it as the figurative home of the user, where they meet family and friends. Imagine how creepy it would be for them to see a marketer just barged into their home for a cool discount.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if they decided to unsubscribe afterwards and block you. This of course is not good for your email reputation and deliverability. That said, some emails like transactional emails that have password resets, important receipts, and more perhaps belong in the personal feed.
If you are looking to send to the personal tab, here are some tips on how to avoid the Promotions Tab:
Don’t use commercial or marketing phrases: Forget CTA’s like Buy Now and other words like discount, promotion, offer, and so on. These will activate the filters.
Keep images to a minimum: Email marketing campaigns tend to have more images than personal ones, so it’s an easy flag.
Use text-based email campaigns, most marketing emails are HTML-based, so try to avoid this.
Keep the links to a minimum: It doesn’t seem personal to have so many links.
Personalize your email: Referring to the subscriber by their first name would be a way to show Gmail that you know them personally.
Send short emails, hopefully resembling the ones you send to your colleagues.
Configure your SPF and DKIM records to avoid getting seen as a spammer: to learn more, here is our guide on authenticating domains with SPF & DKIM.
These are just tips to avoid the Promotions Tab, and there’s no guarantee that your campaigns would be classified as such.
How can Mailjet help you use Annotations?
Our visual email campaign editor, Passport, lets you include the Microdata from Litmus’ builder into your email code. You would only need to then test if this is showing up in your inbox correctly.
Conclusion: Gmail’s Promotions Tab is an opportunity for marketers
Gmail is constantly changing the world of email by giving more control to its users. Gmail places marketing emails directly into the Promotions Tab.
The Promotions Tab has exceeded the expectations of skeptics and email marketers everywhere by being more optimized for marketing emails and therefore conversions. After all, Gmail doesn’t want email marketing to die, they want it to thrive for both the user and brands.
If email marketers know how to take advantage of this Promotions Tab, then they can really do some new and innovative things to attract and retain customers.
In the Promotions Tab, Google Annotations allows for an even more visual email marketing experience right in the inbox interface. Annotations show images, discounts and codes to be shown in before getting the emails opened. It’s a real opportunity enabled by Google’s schema markup script.
Non-technical marketers can create these scripts using Litmus’ tool, made in collaboration with Google.
Google has since announced plans to improve their Annotations tool for events, eCommerce and tourism. Even more reason to start using it now!
If you want to know the latest updates on this, don’t hesitate to subscribe to our newsletters, we’ll have more updates down the line!
Are you going to use this annotations feature to really amp up your email marketing campaigns? Or have you already implemented it and noticed the steady conversions rolling in? Share with us on Twitter @mailjet.
Even if many email marketers are trying to avoid it, the Promotions Tab offers new visual opportunities for email marketing campaigns everywhere to add more value to Gmail users.
Sender Score and email reputation are two terms very important and relevant to email marketers and deliverability experts.
But to novices and the general public, there is still a lot of confusion surrounding the terms.
So in this article, we will demystify what email sending reputation and Sender Score actually mean and what they each measure.
What is email sending reputation?
Email sending reputation is a complex metric comprised of different reputations to determine email delivery practices. The most important reputations are:
In 1996, as emailing became mainstream, spam began to turn into a serious issue. To counter this, large internet service providers (ISPs) providing email services began to use IP Reputation to analyze email quality.
IP Reputation indicates how much users want to get email from this IP address by measuring bounces, spam or unwanted bulk mail (UBE). Back then, there weren’t very robust ways to authenticate a domain address, so ISPs had to create complex IP reputation models that differed from each other, but had the similar task of identifying problematic IP addresses.
After a while, IP reputation alone proved inefficient, because it didn’t consider how different IPs could deliver (junk) emails with identical content.
Advances in technology in the 2000s enabled ISPs to develop a new method of measuring the quality of a sender’s emails through content reputation.
Content reputation works on a set of criteria that determine the sender’s quality of their email campaign content. While certain types of content are clear triggers for ISPs’ content filters (e.g. attaching a virus, a string of words asking for bank details, and so on), a sender’s content reputation goes down when their emails keep getting low open rates, flagged, blocked, and unsubscribed.
So IP and content reputation work hand in hand to create an overall picture of a sender’s email practices. IP reputation determines the quality of a sender’s email sending through their emailing history. Content reputation analyzes the type of content a sender’s email has and determines if the sender is trustworthy or not.
But of course as spammers and hackers became even more sophisticated in cheating ISP filters and sending malicious emails, this led to the development of more robust email authentication systems – namely the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Email (DKIM) system.
The Sending Policy Framework (SPF) was implemented as a standard in 2014 to check if an email campaign has been sent from an authorized server.
SPF is like an RSVP list of authenticated, valid IP addresses that can send emails on behalf of that domain.
SPF prevents spammers from falsifying the ‘from email address to send spoofing emails’. But the SPF record, by itself, is not enough and can be susceptible to human error and snowshoe spamming (i.e spam propagated across different IPs and domains to weaken reputation and pass through ISP filters).
If a sender indicates the wrong IP domains, then the wrong ones will be able to send emails on behalf of your domain. ISPs have no way of realizing otherwise, and they penalize the sender’s domain for spam.
Therefore, SPF has to go with a DomainKeys Identified Mail system (DKIM), which allows recipients to confirm that the mail comes from the authenticated owner of that domain.
The email itself contains a signature in the header called a DKIM signature or a hash value that allows this authentication. A DKIM signature means that the email has not been tampered or hijacked upon delivery and comes from a valid sender.
As these authentication systems became more robust, ISPs have developed domain reputation, which measures the quality of a domain’s authenticated emails.
Domain and IPs can be different, after all. For example, Mailjet customers could be using shared IPs that we provide and send emails through their domains.
Email sending reputation is a complex metric of other different reputations to determine email delivery practices developed essentially through a constant game of chase and catch between hackers who send malicious spam and the ISPs that are constantly creating new ways to catch them in the act.
Great email sending practices do not end in the way you create the content and design of your emails, but also following strict security protocols that help ISPs identify you as a trustworthy sender.
Using a range that starts at 0 and ends at 100, Return Path’s Sender Score is compiled from non-personal data of over 60 million inboxes from different ISPs, spam filtering, and security companies to create a picture of a sender’s email sending practices.
Sender Scores are normally calculated on a rolling 30-day average.
Sender Score may be also indicative of a sender’s email reputation, but they are not the same. If a sender has a high Sender Score, this could indicate that most of the sender’s transactional and marketing emails land in the inbox.
If a sender has a really low score, then there is a high chance that their email campaigns often have high bounce rates, high block rates and low open rates.
It is important to realize that the Sender Score is ultimately on data that Return Path receives. This score is relevant for ISPs that pay attention to it.
Ultimately, ISPs decide whether you send good emails or not through their own datasets, not on Return Path’s Sender Score.
So while this score might be a good indication of email sending practices, fixing it from low to high does not automatically guarantee that all email campaigns will land in the inbox.
The best way to fix email sending is to look at the source and focus on deliverability (the rate at which a sender’s email campaigns land into the inbox, as opposed to the spam folder), because this is what the Sender Score ultimately attempts to quantify.
How to check your Sender Score
Checking Return Path’s Sender Score is quite easy. Follow these steps:
Complaint rate – the rate at which users complain about your emails as junk.
Unknown user rate – the number of invalid users in your subscription lists
Spam traps triggered – spam traps are email addresses that don’t belong to anyone and have the primary task of catching spammers and senders with poor list hygiene practices.
Pristine spam traps are email accounts never owned by anyone and have been created to catch bad senders. Recycled spam traps are abandoned email accounts that have now been recycled into spam traps.
As such, domains with Sender Scores of 90 and above have below a 1% complaint rate, ~1% unknown user rate and an average of 0.36% spam trap hits.
Conversely, those with very poor Sender Scores of 10 or below had a 7.4% complaint rate, 7% unknown user rate and an average of 7.53% spam trap hits.
Having a good Sender Score and having emails sent to the inbox is good for the business, but it’s not the end-all to great email sending. More on this on the next section.
When Sender Score won’t save you
A high Sender Score does not mean an end to your email worries.
Like any other aggregate, Sender Score misses out on other very important factors that influence overall email sending.
After all, this proprietary system comes from Return Path and not from ISPs. Hence, ISPs may have slightly different ways of measuring your email reputation and include other variables that determine whether this campaign should be sent or not.
A high Sender Score on its own doesn’t translate to higher inbox placement rates. Subscriber engagement, a mailbox provider’s own reputation calculations, and the content in the incoming message—none of which are included in Sender Score calculations—all factor into each mailbox provider’s final filtering determinations.
Email deliverability experts agree on this, including Word to the Wise founder Laura Atkins:
Basically, just because you have a great SenderScore doesn’t mean you’re going to have good delivery. Likewise, having a poor SenderScore doesn’t mean your mail is destined to be undelivered.
Sender Score is not the end-all be-all to determining if your email campaigns are great in all areas.
Ultimately, the Sender Score does not measure content creativity, which is crucial to creating email campaigns with high open rates.
Therefore, it is best to focus on your deliverability, as this is the best indicator of whether your emails get delivered to the inbox and not spam folder, or altogether remain undelivered.
It is also a good idea to invest in other email reputation indicators that might be better suited to your email sending.
An email marketer in his Medium article, for example, lamented on areas ignored by the Sender Score. Some 90+ scores scored low on Google Postmasters, which analyzes and measures email sending practices loosely based on Gmail’s complex filtration system. Therefore, Google Postmaster Tools may be a great alternative for you if most emails in your lists are Gmail users, but less so if they are from other ISPs.
In fact, it’s best to understand that ISPs might not only measure email reputation differently, but they might also have different acceptable standards for various metrics altogether.
This is the main reason why, for example, an email campaign might get great deliverability results for Gmail, with most emails landing into their inboxes, but less stellar results in Outlook.
In any case, ISPs have different filtration systems and they modify them often in order to get a step above malicious spammers. If every ISP filter worked the same, then each one would be easy to hack.
So, really, the best way to improve your email sending is to simply improve your email sending practices. Sometimes, the best changes are the most obvious ones.
How to improve your Sender Score and email reputation
As discussed, sender reputation comprises of other reputations based on your email sending:
IP reputation that is tallied by how much people want to see emails from this IP address.
Content reputation that measures how good or spammy your email content consistently is.
Domain reputation that checks the email sending from your domain as a whole, validated through authentication methods.
It becomes a matter of ensuring that your sending practices are great across the board. So here we will compile a guide to ensure that you are sending emails in the best possible way.
Authenticate your SPF and DKIM
Authenticating your account ensures that only a specific list of IPs can send emails using your domain.
This keeps spammers from falsely delivering emails through your domain.
Think of DKIM as the signature you include in every email campaign. The DKIM is a powerful proof that the recipient’s ISP can use to check if these emails they have received are domain-authenticated and valid.
If the signature matches, then the email goes into the inbox – other things equal.
If it does not match, then it’ll go into the spam folder (or gets a hard bounce).
Create sub accounts for your different email needs
Separating your marketing and your transactional emails by creating sub-accounts is good for organizing different types of email sending.
By separating these two types of emails, marketers can better keep track of various metrics, such as:
Scheduled sending of marketing emails.
How often users trigger transactional emails
Different types of transactional emails getting triggered
Different types of marketing emails being sent
Separating both also ensures that deliverability rate issues on marketing emails do not get passed on towards transactional emails and vice-versa.
Imagine if ticket people got their transactional ticket confirmation emails into the spam folder, because an ISPs filtering system identified the sender as a spammer through their marketing emails. This could get email marketers and their companies in a whole lot of trouble.
Segmentation involves dividing your email contact lists based on a set of criteria. Each segment can be, for example, based on region, gender, or interests, among others.
A/B Testing is when marketers send multiple versions of the same campaign and analyze which one(s) perform the best.
These techniques can allow marketers to create more specific and personalized email campaigns that users will want to open.
Of course, A/B testing, segmentation and personalization are all related to improving on email engagement rate.
Above are some A/B testing stats on our dashboard. Version A has
The best Open Rate and Click Rate
The highest Click Rate
The lowest unsubscribed rate
The least amount of Soft and Hard Bounces
These indicate that Version A is the winning version and is an email that people want to open and engage with. You can use this information for future campaigns, or if you had only tested with a small sample size, you can automatically send this email to the remainder of your list.
A best practices checklist for all your email campaigns is like an accountability log to the senders themselves right before they send their email campaigns. A checklist allows them to make sure that they have not forgotten about anything before sending their email campaigns.
With tactics in improving engagement rate and having enabled authentication systems to securely send email campaigns, the last thing marketers can do before they send their email campaigns is to run them through a checklist that should include
Whether they have written a good subject line.
Included a pre-header.
Checked all links are accurate and include UTM tags if necessary.
Proofread once more (remember, there’s no undo button)
Now, this checklist can be automated, with a tool that runs through emails campaigns to ensure that they are ready for delivery. But this checklist does not have to be automated. Senders can also check through manually. Things that you can check include:
Regularly cleaning your contact lists prevents marketers from sending emails to inactive users, some of which might have been converted into spam traps. Clean lists also have more engaged users, especially when they are well-segmented.
One of our customers, Product Hunt has a great way of cleaning their subscription lists. For inactive users (i.e have not opened Product Hunt newsletters in a while) they send an email stating that they have been automatically removed from the list.
Thank you @ProductHunt for informing me that you automatically unsubscribed me from your emails because I did not open them in a while! I really appreciate when services adjust their notification behavior like this in order to reduce the noise for everybody involved.
Of course, the most important thing that you can do in your email marketing is to create a strategy that includes processes, workflows, tactics, database of email campaigns, and so on. Devising an email marketing strategy means that you have a solid idea of what to do through the course of your marketing projects.
However, an email strategy is not something that’s rigid and bureaucratic. A great email marketing strategy – like any other marketing strategy – allows marketers to experiment throughout the project, in order to adapt to new trends and key moments that suddenly open unexpectedly.
Email personalization is a tactic used by a lot of brands today, but frankly not enough. We do it… do you? 😉Of course, there are good reasons for this. Personalized emails are much more likely to be opened and clicked, because in a endless feed of content, those messages tailored made for you are much more attractive. In fact, as you’ll see below, simply including a name in the subject line will increase open rates by 20%, boost sales leads by 31%, and reduce unsubscribes by 17%
In this article, we will dig deeper into:
Effective ways to personalize your emails.
Why using personalization in emails is important.
How to use Mailjet to personalize your emails.
When you look at the full benefits of email personalization, this is just the tip of the iceberg though.
What is email personalization?
When it comes to email, personalization means leveraging the information you collected about a customer to target their interests and personal attributes. It could be something as simple as using their first name, where they live, something they bought recently, or perhaps something based on their behaviour on your site like downloading content or saving an item in a check out cart.
In short, email personalization can help you:
Customize an email subject line to stand out in the inbox;
Increase the likelihood of an email being opened and clicked on, when the personalized content is previewed within the inbox;
Improve customer experience by sending the right content to the right person at the right time.
Why should you personalize your emails?
We’re sure that by now you’ve already received your fair share of emails with your name in the subject line. Well, something as simple as adding the contact’s name in the subject line can mean a 20% higher chance of getting your email opened.
And now if you receive an email with the subject “Hey Sarah! Find the perfect gift for you and your friends!”, wouldn’t you be interested?
As we predicted earlier this month, 2019 will be the year in which brands finally fully embrace relevant messages. Segmented and targeted emails could actually generate more revenue for you and your brand, so can you really afford to continue to neglect email personalization?
What do you need before you start using personalization?
To start personalizing your emails, you’ll obviously need to collect the relevant data from your subscribers, users, and customers. Any data that gives you deeper insights about an individual can be used, from their date of birth, to their city, to their cat’s name. The more information you collect, the more targeted your email campaigns can be. You can collect this data using signup forms and subscription widgets when people create an account or subscribe to your email list, as well as tracking behavioural data such as which links they click in your emails or website actions.
With signup forms and subscription widgets, apart from the standard name and email address information, you can collect extra data such as gender, location, birthday, etc. Capturing extra details helps you in creating more personalized and targeted emails.
How to add personalization to your emails using Mailjet
Mailjet offers standard (simple) personalization that can be easily used thanks to contact properties on Mailjet’s platform. This can be used directly on our email editor, Passport, without having to make any API calls to define the values. Standard personalization can be used on both marketing and transactional emails and can help you when you already have all the data you need stored as part of your contact properties. But what if you don’t?
Well, then there is the option of advanced personalization that could be used through Mailjet’s Email API if you have these values as properties in your CRM. This type of personalization can only be used on transactional emails. We will talk more about that in a future article. :-)
To use standard personalization, however, you just need two things:
All the variables already set up as contact properties, and added into your Mailjet account.
An amazing guide to learn how to set up the variables in your template (like this post? 😎).
If you need help creating and adding properties, click here.
So, what can we do with simple personalization? Almost anything we want, if the all the necessary information is uploaded to, or integrated with, Mailjet. You can personalize subject lines and content within the email with predefined values, such as your contact’s cat name (we’ll keep pushing this idea until someone uses it 😼)or the city they were born in.
How to personalize your emails using Mailjet’s Passport
Using personalization with our email editor, Passport, is really easy. Once you have your beautiful template ready, it will only take a few minutes to add in all the necessary variables. You will not need deep technical knowledge on how to code, or use any strange Klingon-sounding language to you.
A variable is the value a contact has for a certain property. For example if the property is “firstname” and your name is Jake, then in this case Jake will be the variable for the property “firstname”.
This is why we made it really easy for you to add a variable to the subject line or body of the email by just clicking two buttons. We’ll show you how easy it is to do this in the examples below.
In the subject line
When you’re creating a campaign, the second step in the process allows you to choose your email’s subject line.
Personalizing the subject line is something you can easily do right away. Just create your subject line and click on the “Insert variable” button wherever you want to add the variable.
A new window will pop up and you can choose the variable you want to use and set up a default value to show if the property’s not available for a particular contact.
Here’s how the subject would look like in our editor.
If everything is set up correctly, the property will be replaced with the value that is associated with each contact once you send your email. And here’s how it will look in the inbox:
But what happens if there is no value for some of the recipients?
This is when the default value comes into play, as it will be displayed for those contacts that haven’t provided information for that specific property (for this example, it could result in something like: Hey there, did you know about this?). Of course, if you are using variables, you will always want to have something set up as a default value, as otherwise that variable would be blank and the personalization wouldn’t really work with odd blank spots.
“Hey , did you hear about this?” is just a little too annoying.
In the content
And what can Mailjet do to help personalization the email’s content? Well… anything you want!
You can use personalization to add the name of the recipient once again, or anything else that is going to help you address your customers better, and send them the content they would like to receive.
This type of personalization can be used on both marketing and transactional emails. Although there is a slight difference when adding variables in marketing and transactional emails. The first step is either case is the same though: you’ll have to choose the tab ‘Variables’ from the option menu in the content block that you want to add your personalized content.
Next, a window will pop up, which will be a bit different depending on whether you’re working on transactional or marketing templates.
Let’s have a look at what that pop up will look like when you’re creating your transactional templates:
On your transactional templates the pop-up window will include the following types of variables:
Custom transactional variable: to be used when adding advanced personalization.
Contact property inked to the properties in your Mailjet contact list. The Contact property is the one we’ll be using to add standard personalization to your emails.
Just like we did before, all you need to do is choose the correct contact property and set your default value. Then, our system will compile the syntax and add it in the template. Easy, right?
And what about your marketing templates? Well, in that case, the pop up window that comes up will look something like this:
You’ll be able to choose between two types of variables:
Contact property: which we’ll be using (as we’ve done before) to add that standard personalization.
Predefined tags: which can be used to add things like unsubscribe links, social sharing links, and more.
We won’t be looking into predefined tags today, but you can learn more about how we use them for things like unsubscribe links here.
Once you’ve defined the contact property and default value, your content will look like this:
But in the recipient’s mailbox it will look just like this:
How to personalize your emails using MJML or HTML
Of course, if you are creating your emails using MJML or HTML, standard personalization is still an option for you. All you need to do is add this small piece of code into your email and our system will do the rest.
For example: [[data:firstname:”Everyone”]]
That’s all that’s needed on your side. Mailjet’s system will find the value associated with this property and replace it. This syntax can also be used in Passport, if you prefer to do everything manually.
Here’s how the same personalization we did above will look if it is done with MJML:
Once the email is sent, it will look the exact same way as the one created with Passport.
You can easily create a personalized email that will make everyone want to open and check your email (well maybe not everyone, but definitely a lot more people).
We’ve showed you how easily it is to personalize your email subject lines and content using our email builder, Passport, just by following these simple steps.
And if you think this is getting too easy and want to step up your personalization game, stay tuned to learn how to use advanced personalization and dynamic content!
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Things are about to get a lot more social!?
You can now connect 10 new social media channels right in the Mailjet email builder, Passport. Find your favorites, customize it, and start rolling in the likes!
Where Can You Find This Update?
In the email editor, check the content section, our “Social Sharing” component has now been upgraded:
What Can You Do?
You now have many default channels that you can select and add to your social block to make it really easy for your contacts to connect with you on social media. Add as many as you want, but we usually recommend no more than 3 or 4. Less is more 😉.
But, what about that other app?
Don’t worry – you can even upload your own icons! Forget about HTML sections and spending time creating your own icons, everything just got a whole lot easier.
If you want to customize the icon of a channel, no problem.
If you want to add a social media that is not in our database, we’ve got you.
If you want to add your website logo, you absolutely can.
You can choose to display text labels if you want, and customize them to make them more personal and engaging: