Let me tell you a short, sad story. This is my inbox:
For months, I have tried to stop a brand from sending me these emails (we don’t do naming or shaming here). But every time I try to contact them, I get back an automated reply which says that my email failed to be delivered. You can imagine my frustration here… Now I understand how my mom would feel when she asked me to tidy up my room. It was like talking to a brick wall.
Post GDPR, it is more important than ever to take the time to evaluate whether you should use a no-reply address for your marketing campaigns. How can you expect your subscribers to contact you to claim their rights if you don’t allow them to do so?
Our friend Chris Arrendale, CEO and founder of Inbox Pros, explains why sending your marketing emails using a reply-to address is always the best idea.
There is a misconception that sending from a noreply email address is the best way to go to avoid being flooded with email replies. If you’re not familiar, you’ve likely seen this type of sender address before – most of the time it looks like this: email@example.com.
What is a noreply email address?
A noreply email is an email address that is not monitored and blocks customers from replying. However, it can confuse and frustrate customers if their replies go unanswered or worse – bounce. Let’s explore why it’s never a good idea to use this type of account for email marketing and what you should use instead.
Why you shouldn’t use “noreply” and what to do instead
A noreply email address decreases deliverability and increases spam
Certain ISPs,network spam filters, and customers’ personal email security settings are set up to send noreply email to the junk folder. This will decrease overall deliverability rates and being inboxed less leads to lower possible conversions.
Also looking at email trends from a broader sense, 53% of email is opened on mobile devices. To accommodate for the smaller screen, inboxes on mobile devices show a preview of the sender and your email address as well. As a consumer, would you open an email with a noreply email address? You’re more likely to feel like a company is unapproachable.
Swap out the noreply for a reply-to address
Most ISPs do not allow email recipients to add noreply emails to their address books. If a recipient can’t add you to their address book, you’re more likely to be flagged as spam and sent to the junk folder. It is also much more likely for subscribers to hit the spam button if they can’t reply back requesting removal of their email address. I’ve seen cases where customers unsubscribed from some of their favorite brands because noreply emails addresses were not being monitored.
Another interesting point to remember is that it shows credibility to ISPs when recipients engage with your email, replying to your email being one of those cases. Safe sender privileges include bypassing some of an ISPs mail filters and delivering straight to the inbox.
Best practices to remember when sending email replies
As mentioned before, some people skip over the unsubscribe link and reply directly to your email asking to be removed. These customers bypass the unsubscribe link because they’re afraid it will only flood their mailbox with more emails. Make sure you honor these requests promptly and suppress the email addresses from your list. The last thing you want is for these recipients to feel like they are being unheard and in frustration, mark your email as spam.
Also, monitor your reply email address is if you’re sending to a domain where the recipient never opted into your email program. The mail administrator (at the recipient’s domain) may try to contact you at your reply email address. This is a crucial moment because if you don’t respond back, the email recipient may report you to a blacklist and/or try to contact the Email Service Provider or Data Center to complain about your email.
Building the best conversation
A reply-to email address is essential to any email marketing program. It nurtures the conversation between you and your customers.
Many B2B senders will use a sales person’s email address as the reply-to to keep the conversation personal and on a more one-to-one level. Where B2C senders may use a general reply-to address that may be monitored by multiple email marketing professionals. Both scenarios build the confidence that when the recipient replies to the marketing email, the email will be received and followed up on.
To sum it up, the noreply email address should never be used to send from.. It tells your customers that you don’t really care what they have to say. You’re also missing out on an important opportunity to collect feedback and learn how to improve your product.
*** Have you had a bad experience with stubborn no-reply email addresses? Share it with us on Twitter. :)
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
We all realize that colors can have different effects on our mood, and marketers have been using this in branding and advertising since the profession began. Just think about how we describe emotions using colors: feeling blue, seeing red, green with envy etc.
Leveraging how colors can affect emotions is vital for the success of your marketing strategy and efforts. Considering that, on average, a reader spends about 8 seconds on an email once opened, you will definitely want to find a way to attract their attention and interest.
In this post, we will be exploring the psychology of colors in email marketing and what affect these can have on the end-user and even deliverability.
Applying Color To Email
What captures the reader’s attention once they open an email is not the text, but the visual elements, such as color, design and images… However, it is color in particular that can awaken interest, or, conversely, cut it at the root, if the combination of colors does not work well.
To help you with your email marketing strategy and to ensure you use the ideal color combination to achieve your goals, we have prepared this infographic with examples of real emails and the messages that each color transmits to the user.
In a Huffington Post article, Leslie Harrington, Executive Director of The Color Association of The United States suggests that: “we react on multiple levels of association with colors. There are social or culture levels as well as personal relationships with particular colors”. You also have an innate reaction to color. For example, when you look at red, it does increase your heart rate. It is a stimulating color. This goes back to caveman days of fire and danger and alarm.”
From white to black and in between, here are 7 main colors and the different feelings they evoke:
Boosts your energy levels and increases adrenaline. Considered a high energy color, to be used in rooms and areas where we need to be more productive, such as home offices. We also associate this color with passion and romance. This is proven to derive from our ape ancestors – male chimpanzees and baboons are attracted to the reddened females during ovulation, considered sexual signals.
Represents warmth and happiness, providing optimism and trust. With associations to sunny days and bright light, orange is known to bring a positive outlook on life and portray good health by being stimulating.
Yellow is known to be uplifting, happy and cheerful. It is also the most illuminating color, so used in a physical context (rather than psychological), it can be straining on the eye, thus providing a feeling of anger and frustration. No wonder all the cars try to run me over when I wear my high visibility jacket while cycling!
Blue is considered the color of honesty, loyalty and trust. Even though it is the most favoured color by men, Blue is known to be a calm color with soothing effects. This could be one of the reasons that doctors and nurses wear blue and green, especially when we consider they are opposite red on the color wheel.
Due to its extensive association with nature, green is the color for growth and peacefulness. Also considering that it’s in the middle of the color spectrum, it’s considered the color of balance. Green tends to be reassuring however with our modern conceptions of ‘$’, we can also see green as money.
White is known to resemble sterility and cleanliness. Due to artistic depictions of religious figures as white and pure, this shade has also come to represent holiness and goodness. As white provides little stimulation for the senses, over use of it can come across as cold and boring.
Apart from its negative connotations such as “evil” (being the opposite of white), death and darkness, black can be seen as mysterious and hidden from the world. This is one of the reasons why when I was 18, I didn’t wear anything but black. In color psychology black means power and control. “People who like black may be conventional, conservative and serious, or they may think of themselves as being sophisticated or very dignified.” Judy Scott-Kemmis argues. Taking all these points into consideration, black can be an empowering shade to use, if used in the right amount, for the right audience.
Keep your product in mind when picking colors
When considering the use of certain colors in email campaigns, the first thing we need to consider is its association to our brand. Maintaining the integrity of the brand is our number one goal, and after that we can start to think about the messaging and the moods that the colors will portray to the audience.
In a research report entitled ‘Impact of Color in Marketing’, it was uncovered that 90% of decisions made about certain products can be based on their color alone.
Another angle on choosing the right color for your email campaigns is gender. Psychology of colors can be gender specific and certain colors are favoured more than others by males and females, as KISSmetrics uncovered.
After considering your target audience, you’ll want to think about conversion. What colors will invite your prospects to take action? We recommend A/B testing (or A/X testing!) as well as Segmentation as different approaches work differently for each campaign and segment.
Taking into consideration what we have learnt so far about these two colors, as well as putting them in a modern context such as driving, where green means “Go”, red means “Stop”; which of these two buttons do you think had the higher conversion
The red button outperformed green by 21%! Probably not what you had in mind, right? Knowing which colors to use for call-to-actions is an ancient old and biblical discussion that will never end (okay, not really).
The lesson we must learn here is that even if we do our due diligence and research, we should always be testing our campaigns. Every customer is different and their response to each color can vary depending on a variety of reasons such as mood, location, device used, choice of color combination and so much more.
Impact of the use of color on email deliverability
As you may already know, there are a host of key phrases which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) don’t like, which means if these words are used then the email is very likely to go straight to the spam folder. These are called SPAM triggering phrases.
Just like these phrases which may send your email into SPAM, you’ll need to consider your image to text ratio – as a rule of thumb use 25% image and 75% text.
Unfortunately, ISPs don’t reveal exactly what triggers spam filters, however through the same collaborative effort of finding out what words trigger them and what text to image ratio we should be using, we have come to understand that extensive use of red in texts is one of the main tip offs.
Red is known as a ‘loud color’, so extensive use of it within text or background usually means that we’re really trying to get the users attention. The same principle is used towards CAPITALS, large texts and symbols such as exclamation or the dollar sign.
Most SPAM filters work on a scoring system. Each of the mentioned attributes above carries a maximum score. The higher your total score, the more likely your emails will end up in SPAM.
So what have we learnt so far? Psychology of colors in email marketing can be tackled from different angles. Next time you’re designing your email campaigns, keep these thoughts in mind:
Does my color combination of text, images and background complement my brand?
Have I overused ‘loud’ colors?
Have I considered what call to action colors are used to increase conversion?
What mood am I trying to create with this message and choice of colors?
“I must A/B test. I must A/B test. I must A/B test. I must A/B test.”
Has any of you email marketing campaigns benefited particularly from the use of color? Share your experience with us on Twitter.
This blog post is an updated version of the post “Psychology Of Colors For Advertising, Marketing And Email“, published on the Mailjet blog on February 16, 2015 by Amir Jirbandey.
Newsletters are one of the most important parts of email marketing. Not only do they offer ample space for advertising, but they also help to maintain the relationships between customers and companies.
With this in mind, we have put together a blog series for you: “Newsletter Creation: A Step-By-Step Guide.” In this second part, we will be learning about how you can develop a well-thought-out newsletter strategy.
What Makes a Newsletter Strategy Successful?
Planning is key to the success of any newsletter campaign and should not be overlooked under any circumstances. Take the time to define your strategy. When planning a newsletter, it is important to be systematic and go through different stages. This can be challenging, but a well-thought-out newsletter strategy will pay off in the long run.
Step 1: Set out your Goals
The first step in developing your newsletter strategy should always be defining your goals. It can be helpful to review your business goals, visions, and corporate values before you do this: it will give you a good overview of your company and its main aims, which your newsletter should also be working towards.
To identify the aims of your newsletter strategy, you should consider why it is that you want to create the campaign. The more clarity you have on the reasons behind it, the more successful you will be. Ask yourself the following questions:
What do you want to achieve? Do you want to make potential and existing customers aware of new blog posts, special events, or products? Or is it more about, winning new customers and strengthening bonds with existing customers?
The goals you should focus on will depend on your company, as objectives can vary greatly across different industries and organizations.
Note that KPIs will depend on the goals you have previously set. You should identify and evaluate KPIs that are crucial for achieving your goals. This allows you to analyze and evaluate your campaigns and objectively determine their success or failure, and to adapt your strategy at any time.
Step 3: Find the Optimal Sending Time
When planning, you should consider the best time to send out your marketing email. The time at which you send out your newsletter is critical for its success. It is vital that you reach your recipients when they are likely to be in front of their computer or have their phone or tablet in their hands. But how do you find out what the best times are?
This can be achieved by analyzing your target group and carrying out various tests. Try and send out your newsletter at different times to identify when your open rates are at their highest and, therefore, when the majority of recipients read your emails.
You can also use analysis tools that show you when your target group is active on your website. You can use this knowledge to send out your campaign at the time when they are active.
Bear in mind, though, that these guidelines are not effective for every company – especially because a lot of emails are sent during these periods. This makes it more difficult to attract attention in the inbox, and your newsletter may quickly get buried under other messages.
So, the best thing you can do is to concentrate on analysing your target group and evaluating your A/B tests and tracking systems in order to find the best dispatch time for your campaigns.
Consider what type of content is most appropriate for your strategy and audience. If you’re struggling for inspiration on potential topics, then we recommend taking a closer look at the newsletters of your competitors and successful newsletters from other companies (it goes without saying, though, that you should not just copy exactly what they’re doing). This is a good opportunity to find inspiration and ideas for new, potential content areas, products, and events.
Another method that can work well is a preliminary survey. This lets you ask your target audience what content they want to be featured in your newsletter. A target group survey can give you new ideas and inspiration. You can incentivize people to take part by offering with a freebie giveaway, etc.
Step 5: Choose your Newsletter Software
Once your newsletter strategy is in place and you know exactly what your objectives are, and which resources you need to meet them, all you need to do is ensure that you have the technical infrastructure to meet your needs. Essentially, you need a professional newsletter software to create, send out, and evaluate your email campaigns.
There are plenty of free ways to create and send your newsletter. WordPress, for example, allows you to send emails directly from your website’s back end, and many hosts provide an SMTP relay which can be used to send your newsletter. That said, we would advise against using these services, as they come with a high risk of damaging your deliverability and reputation.
You need to choose a professional provider that can meet your requirements and can guarantee both high deliverability and the security of your data. Of course, there are many email service providers out there on the market and choosing the right one is not easy. The old saying remains true: We really are spoiled for choice!
First, think about what features you need to successfully implement your newsletter strategy and what services you value most. You can get a good feel for this by making a list and then comparing the various newsletter tools against one another.
To make your life a little easier, we’ve put together a list of items that any professional email service should offer:
Detailed statistics, so you can optimally analyze your sent newsletters;
A free trial, so you can verify that the newsletter software meets all of your needs;
Compatibility with other systems and services, such as WordPress, shop systems, etc.;
GDPR compliance and other certifications.
Step 6: Build a Contact List
Before you can finally implement your newsletter strategy and create and send your campaigns, you need email recipients. Building a high quality contact list is often considered a challenge, but as long as you take a couple of factors into consideration, it’s not that difficult.
Stay away from Bought Lists
This is fundamental: resist the temptation of buying email lists. Purchased lists contain email recipients who have probably never been in contact with you, don’t know your company at all and don’t want to receive your emails. This makes the risk of your being blocked and ending up in the spam folder very high. The damage is significant, as your deliverability and reputation will suffer.
Win Subscribers with a Responsive Sign-Up Widget
When building your email list, use a responsive sign-up widget connected to a double opt-in form. Double opt-in ensures that no fake email address enter your database and damage your reputation and deliverability. This minimizes the risk of being classified as a spammer by your recipients or their ISPs.
Add the sign-up widget to your different pages on your website, like your home page, blog, resources pages, etc.
You should also be sure to request as little information as possible when users are registering, as giving up too much data can be seen as a deterrent. To make sure you secure your subscribers as soon as possible, just ask for their email address. You can ask for further information later on. Additionally, you should highlight the benefits of signing up and show your users what great added value your newsletter offers them.
Top tip: Divide your email recipients into specific segments and guarantee that you actually deliver the added value you have promised. This allows you to tailor content to each segment.
Use Landing Pages as Newsletter Lead Generation
As well as a responsive subscription widget, you can create special newsletter landing pages in order to grow your contact list. The advantage of a landing page is that you can align the entire page with the newsletter subscription and apply all of the optimization options that apply to landing pages.
Users visiting your newsletter landing page will not be distracted by any other elements on the website, as the entire focus of the page will only be on subscribing to your marketing communications.
This is the best opportunity to present all of the advantages your newsletter offers to your customers. Make it clear what your potential recipient will be missing out on if they do not subscribe. Ideally, you will already have defined this in your newsletter strategy.
The advantages of a newsletter could include:
Latest industry news;
Invitations to exclusive events;
Access to exclusive content such as e-books, courses, checklists, or guides.
Granting access to exclusive content upon registration – such as a step-by-step guide or a discount – will significantly increase your subscription rate.
And finally the time for planning has come to an end! Now you can create and send your newsletter.
Have you already developed a successful newsletter strategy? What challenges did you have to overcome? Your opinion is important to us! Take a short survey about our blog and share your ideas, questions and experiences with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like this article? Then share it on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. And don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter :).
The aim of this post, however, is to help you understand why you should always include an unsubscribe link in your emails. Although it’s always painful to see people unsubscribing from your contact list, it is more beneficial than you may think. If you’re thinking we’ve gone completely crazy, read on and you’ll understand why we advocate this so much.
Contact lists: is more always better?
Contact lists are something we – as people who send emails – cherish very much. Our businesses often depend crucially on the communications we send out to our subscribers. So, we never want to lose contacts. Although it’s difficult, you always need to keep in mind that subscribers who don’t engage with your content are not valuable to you. What you want instead, is to have a list of contacts that actually open and read your emails, and hopefully that click on and share some of the content too. We recently explained what these email statistics mean for you and how you can improve them to enhance engagement.
Sidekick’s content team keeps its email list clean in a very effective way, notifying subscribers so that they can stay on the list, if they wish; otherwise they will be unsubscribed. This is an example of very good practice.
One way to ensure that your list is clean and that people actually want to receive your communications is to allow them to unsubscribe from your email list. There is absolutely no reason to force someone to stay in your contact list, if they don’t want to receive your offers and communications. It won’t benefit your business in any way, in fact it can cost you business.
But this is probably not enough to convince you… You want to know more, right? Until now you probably thought many contacts = big contact list = good. But as it is true for many other things, quantity doesn’t equal quality.
Reasons to include an unsubscribe link in your emails
It’s not merely about having a clean list – including an unsubscribe link in your emails has many other benefits.
Avoid customer frustration
We’ve all been there. Without even realising we’ve given consent to receive newsletters from a website or a brand, we start receiving emails that we are not particularly interested in. Hmm… annoying. Especially when your inbox is full of promotional emails that – let’s be frank – you don’t care about.
Why would you put anybody else through this? You know yourself how frustrating it is. Especially if you open a newsletter hoping to find an unsubscribe link… but it’s not there! It’s important to be understanding of people’s needs and preferences and allow them to opt out of your email list, if they wish to do so. In fact, this improves the whole email marketing experience, to make sure that unlike other social channels, the inbox is for content you specifically want to see.
Groupon gives unsubscribing from their Daily Groupon list a fun twist.
If you’re sending a confirmation email to let your users know they are no longer part of your mailing list, you can use this opportunity to gain more information about why they are unsubscribing (and maybe suggest an alternative newsletter of yours they could find more interesting!). This feedback can be really helpful, as you might learn why people don’t find your newsletter’s content valuable anymore or whether they think your email communications are sent out too often, all of which can inform how you adjust your strategy to best meet your audience’s needs.
Beta List asks its subscribers to take a few minutes to give some feedback on their email communications, so that they can understand how to do a better job.
End up in the inbox, not in spam
There is no other way to say it – fundamentally, including an unsubscribe link in your emails gives you more chances to end up in the inbox rather than in the spam folder. This is also because if people don’t want to receive your newsletters and they find no unsubscribe link when they look for it, they will probably flag your email as spam.
Every country has their own law on the inclusion of an unsubscribe link, as this is mandatory in anti-spam legislation.
You should know by now how detrimental it’s for your reputation to have emails that end up in the spam folder. Your spam complaints should always be kept to a minimum. At Mailjet, the acceptable threshold of spam less or equal to 0.08%. If your spam rate is higher than the threshold your account can be suspended or, in some cases, even terminated.
Be GDPR compliant
Next month GDPR will come into effect. At this stage, you can’t really afford not to be compliant anymore. Non-compliance puts you at risk of fines up to €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover, whichever is greater.
According to article 17 of GDPR, ‘Right to erasure’ or ‘Right to be forgotten’, data subjects have the right to request their data to be erased. Data controllers have the obligation of deleting such data when it’s no longer necessary for the purposes for which it was collected, or the data subjects withdraw consent for it to be collected and used.
For a contact to request to unsubscribe from a list is fully within his/her rights as data subject. And your duty as data controller is to delete such data. It always needs to be kept in mind that with GDPR coming into effect on May 25th, consent cannot be something that you obtain once and that’s it. The new regulation allows people to choose for themselves and to protect their personal data at any given time, should they change their mind.
How we help you
At Mailjet – as a GDPR compliant solution -, we ensure our clients are on the right side of the law by including an unsubscribe link in all of the emails created with our drag-and-drop editor, Passport, which cannot be removed, but can be customized to fit one’s brand. As stated in our Sending Policy: “All marketing campaigns must include a clear and concise link for recipients to easily opt-out of receiving future communication. The link must be easy for anyone to recognize, read, and understand.”
All of our subscribers are free to unsubscribe from our email list at any time.
We hope that by now you understand how important including an unsubscribe link is for your email marketing practices. Always remember that consent, unlike diamonds, is not forever.
Have you cleaned your contact list recently? Have you seen an impact on your metrics? Or maybe you have been able to improve your emailing strategy based on feedback you got from unhappy readers? Tell us all about it on Twitter.
Text messaging is one of the most impactful channels for direct communication. Between 2016 and 2020, the UK will see a 50% increase in users opting into SMS communications, and in fact 64% of Americans would like to see businesses use SMS more according to InstaGiv. SMS allows businesses to have a powerful personalized exchange with their target audience in an easy and efficient way.
What other channel is as effective when it comes to building strong customer relationships, and reaching them at the right time? You guessed it: email. If you were already in love with the power of your transactional emails, imagine what you can do if you add… Transactional SMS.
Convinced? Get ready to take advantage of it right now. 😏
A bottomless pit of opportunities
Here are three ideas to power your transactional messages with SMS:
Easily implement 2-factor authentication and verify your users by sending a code via SMS. They will be able to log in with their chosen password, and also have an extra layer of security.
For example, when you manage payment data, customers will feel much more secure receiving a six-digit code for authentication. They can then trust you much more to manage their overall payment experience.
2. Useful notifications
In a world where customers are bombarded by ads, it’s important to stand out. Alert your customers of critical information via SMS when they need it. For example, low balance on a banking account, upcoming delivery, delayed flight… Send notifications that your clients need, and make sure they receive them.
Combine these with transactional emails that offer all the extra information that might not fit in an SMS so your users receive that instant alert and also know where to find the full details, whenever they need them.
Sending a confirmation SMS, like a pending appointment or purchase notification, in addition to your transactional email will stand out immediately, preventing customer dissatisfaction. Personalize and schedule your messages to be in line with your brand and customer engagement.
The good news is: it’s easy to send transactional SMS
Ready to start a 2-factor authentication, send notifications and confirmations to your customers via SMS? Well, guess what? Mailjet is launching a Transactional SMS solution! Cue applause.
Going back to our roots, where Mailjet first started as a transactional email service (something we are now leaders in), we are bringing this same expertise to transactional SMS. Our existing robust infrastructure allows us to send millions of emails per hour, with no latencies. Naturally, as SMS is poised to be a key part of a brand’s marketing mix, our next step was to bring transactional SMS to our customers with the same standards of our email service, at a very competitive price, and ensuring the best deliverability across 54 countries.
Now, you know. SMS is here to take your transactional emails even further. Really, can you name a more iconic duo?
And if you’re wondering, “why now?” it’s because we’ve just changed our infrastructure in a big way that’s going to allow you to send emails faster and more reliably.
An Email Platform That Scales
Any online product needs storage to function. For Mailjet, this meant starting on dedicated servers: physical servers rented and exclusively used by Mailjet. Dedicated servers fit well with our original needs, but now not only are we growing, but our customers and their email campaigns are as well. In fact, together we now send billions of emails every month. We needed a platform that would scale with you.
Challenges Of A Dedicated Server in the Email Industry
Every company has their own “magic time” to send their marketing emails. Transactional emails also tend to peak during different times of the day or the week (for example, Monday and Friday are peak times when people book airline tickets). What this boils down to is HUGE fluctuations in email volume being sent at any time. Often up to 20x higher at peak periods.
The challenge was to make sure your emails were processed and sent lightning fast, despite periods of high demand, we (and you) had to invest in the highest level of computing power even when we didn’t need it. It’s like paying for electricity when you aren’t even using it – it didn’t make sense. Which is why, come 2016, with neither yours or our growth slowing down, we decided to make a change.
What Are The Benefits Of Google Cloud Platform For You?
There are many differences between using dedicated servers versus a public cloud like Google Cloud Platform, but the biggest one is that we no longer were confined to a fixed number of servers. In fact, we now have the ability to use as many, or as little, of Google Cloud Platform’s servers in an instant, ensuring your email campaigns are smoother to build and faster to send. The advantages were huge for everyone using Mailjet.
Mailjet and Google Cloud Platform also already knew each other really well. In fact, we’re the only European ESP accredited by Google to send bulk emails through Google App Engine and Google Compute Engine.
Ultimately, the benefits below are how Google Cloud Platform will help meet your needs both now, and especially as you grow:
With Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Mailjet now has access to computing power that is extremely flexible, allowing it to process up to 20x more volume at a given moment. This ensures that you can send campaigns in high volumes, and at peak times, and have them arrive in the inbox instantly.
More Reliable Platform
Mailjet is now powered at any given moment by the server we choose within the GCP network. If there is ever a problem with a server or multiple servers, we can switch them in an instant. The same reliability you have come to expect from all Google tools is now powering Mailjet.
Flexible Server Location
Many of our clients care very much about where their data is being processed. Thanks to GCP’s wide range of data centers, Mailjet now has the flexibility to choose from a variety of their data processing locations.
Faster Sending Speed
Mailjet can now send 6M emails in one hour, partially thanks to our switch to GCP.
Highest Levels of Data Security
Like Mailjet, Google Cloud Platform is ISO 27001 certified, the international standard for best practices of information security processes. What does this mean? You can continue to count on the highest levels of Data Security for your email data.
We hope you’re as excited as we are about how Google Cloud Platform will transform the speed, reliability, and flexibility of your email campaigns. Please let us know if you have any questions!
To learn more about our partnership with Google Cloud Platform, check out the case study on Google Cloud here.
If marketers had a dime for every time we’ve heard that suggestion at a meeting.
Newsletters are a great way to engage with your audience and to keep them informed about your business on a regular basis – they’re personal, targeted and consistent.
According to Mailjet, good marketing newsletters can “guarantee constant website traffic, [signups to] webinars, other event registrations, and product sales.” However, newsletters are only effective if they are well designed and perfectly executed – which is easier said than done.
Some marketers think creating newsletters is an easy way to kill many birds with one stone, but we’ve all seen examples of ones that try to do too much. When product updates are sandwiched between blog posts and random promotional offers, your newsletter loses its focus. “They’re supporting every aspect of your business… Email — whether it’s a newsletter or not — needs one common thread to hold it together.” (Hubspot)
Audiences need to get what your newsletter is about as soon as they read the subject line. Once they open it, they also need to understand quickly what they should focus on and which call to actions to take. Otherwise, you won’t see good open and engagement rates. If this is the case for your newsletter, you may want to step back and take a look at why it isn’t engaging to your readers.
3 key elements of every engaging newsletter
Think about a recent email newsletter you actually read all the way through. What made you read it?
Here at Mention, we actually decided to completely revamp how we did our marketing newsletter this year. Why? Because it was something we wouldn’t want to read ourselves.
More importantly, it wasn’t helping our company get closer to our objectives, which were to generate new leads and to grow a large and engaged email list. In order to improve this, we took a good hard look at our previous newsletter and realized there were three things that it needed to be:
Relevant – it relates directly to the reader’s industry, interest and topics they care about.
Interesting – it entertains, educates or delights the reader.
Valuable – it teaches the reader or provides them with something they find useful.
Without these characteristics, your newsletter won’t be able to draw a consistent and engaged readership. In this blog post, we’ll share 7 tips on how to create newsletters that focus on these elements.
Of course, before you do anything else, you’ll first need to define your newsletter strategy. This includes setting your objectives, identifying your target audience, and decide on the visual style of your newsletter. We won’t be getting into these basic steps in this post, but you can check out Mailjet’s guide for a step-by-step tutorial.
1. Choose your focus
The focus of your newsletter will be crucial to how engaging it will be. But figuring out what type you should create and what content should go in it, is also the hardest part.
It’s important to know who your readers are so you know who you’re writing for. Try and get a good idea of what your audiences are interested in, what industries they work in, and what topics they care about so you can write content that’s relevant to them.
One way to figure out what to focus on in your newsletter is by testing different versions of them. An easier way to find out? Ask! Conduct a survey to ask your existing subscribers what they would like to see in your newsletters.
As we mentioned earlier, most newsletters try to do too many things at once. Does it make sense to have your product updates in the same newsletter as your top tweets of the week? Once you decide on your focus, stick to it so your readers know what to expect every time.
2. Keep it simple, keep it catchy.
We’re all busy people and we find ourselves spending less and less time going through our inboxes. “Our inbox was supposed to be a place we turn to for quick, digestible communication from companies. Instead, we are now constantly flooded with marketing newsletters that provide very little value to us.” (Mention)
Because your audience will spend less time reading an email than a blog post or a white paper, they need to understand the point of your newsletter as soon as they open it – keep the content simple and straightforward.
The simplicity of a newsletter is key to its readability. But you can also grab your readers’ attention by making the writing brief and punchy. The Skimm and the Hustle are two great examples of newsletters that are all about presenting interesting trending topics in a casual, catchy, and digestible way.
Your newsletter doesn’t always have to be only about your company. Incorporating content from thought leaders or influencers in your industry is a great way to align your brand with experts. Try including quotes, tweets, or links to content from your partners or favorite brands.
Collaborating with others is also an effective way to grow your newsletter subscriber list, “Look for other people or businesses that run newsletters with a similar target audience and reach out to them to promote your newsletter. If your audience is large enough, you can reciprocate by promoting their business in your own newsletter.” (Fast Company)
Community.is’ newsletter is created for people who “put people at the center of their work.” They often include quotes and content from influencers, industry experts, and other sources which make their content feel authentic and credible.
4. Include User-Generated Content
Another way to make your newsletter more engaging is to switch the focus from your company to your users, audience and even employees. Think about incorporating content from your community, such as comments, highlights of interesting examples of product use, or answer questions that are frequently asked on social media.
Intercom’s newsletter often includes quotes and commentary from their staff and community about trending topics. It’s a great way to add some humaness to your newsletter and to involve the rest of your team.
5. Connect to trending topics or events
Depending on the nature of your newsletter, you may want to connect your content to popular topics or events. Marketers often want to be in the know about the latest trends, so to provide your own commentary around them can be an effective way to include your brand into the conversation.
You’ll learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Instagram – the latest trends, how to drive traffic from Instagram Stories, and how to work with influencers. To connect their product and content to relevant topics, they also often write about how Instagram is used at trending global events like the Olympics or Black Friday.
6. Use social media as a teaser
Social media is an amazingly effective channel to get people excited. Have some big news or exclusive content to share in your upcoming newsletter? Reveal a little snippet on social media to build some buzz around it.
Take advantage of the different formats that are available to you to use. For example, you may want to use Twitter and Facebook for photos and gifs, and Instagram Stories to include some live action and speaking into your teaser. Talk about what your readers can expect in the upcoming newsletter and why they should sign up. Don’t forget to include the call to action!
7. Be consistent but provide something unique
Does your current newsletter just regurgitate everything that your company is doing on your blog, social media or website? Your newsletter should provide your audience with something they can’t get from your other channels.
When we decided to revamp our own newsletter, we knew we wanted to create something that was unique, that stood out from the rest of our content, as well as from other marketing newsletters. So we spent a lot of time perfecting the tone, the look, and making it unique.
The Mention Memo
The result was a fun, friendly, curated digest about the latest happenings in social media.
What did our readers think about it? We saw open and click-through rates double in the first two months! What’s more, we’ve had readers email us to tell us how much they enjoy reading it – making it all worth the effort.
Over to you
Creating good email newsletters is a fundamental part of your email and overall marketing strategy. Check out some examples of awesome newsletters we’ve mentioned, get inspired, and think about how you can improve yours.
In the mind of many marketers, emailing is mostly about having a contact list, coming up with engaging content ideas (from the subject line to CTAs), and pressing send, with the satisfaction of a job well done. Yet, funny enough, this is just half of the job. There is more to emailing than just sending campaigns or setting up transactional emails. It’s also about tracking your campaigns’ performance, analyzing the results and drawing conclusions to improve your future sending. “But how do I do this?“, we hear you ask.
Fear not, dear reader! Email statistics (and your marketing experts friends from Mailjet) are here for you. In this post we’ll walk you through the stats you should keep an eye on, why they are important, what the results can say about your emailing practices and overall marketing strategy, and how you can improve them.
Email statistics you should keep an eye on
Obviously, all email statistics provided by the different email service providers are relevant. They’re actually so relevant that, whatever platform you’re using to send your emails, the different email status’ available in your statistics dashboard will be labeled the same way. Yeah, email stats are that important.
The Good… And The Bad
Email statistics can roughly be classified in two categories: positive and negative. It’s not an official classification, but it can help you understand what is good, what is not so good, and what you definitely need to improve.
Sent and Delivered
These are the most obvious and easy to understand stats: the Sent and Delivered rate. Their names are pretty straightforward. The Sent rate is the proportion of emails which have actually left the sender server to reach your recipients. If large numbers of messages stay as “sent” for a long period of time (usual sending time may vary between a couple of seconds to a few hours), you are probably experiencing a deliverability issue.
The Delivered rate is the proportion of sent emails which have landed in the recipient’s server. However, being “delivered” does not necessarily mean the email ended up in the recipient’s inbox. It’s impossible for anyone other than the recipient to know if the message was delivered to their inbox or the junk folder.
The Open rate is the percentage of delivered emails that have been opened at least once. It’s a good way to know if people want to read your messages or if they bin your emails them straight away without even opening them. You clearly want this stat to be as high as possible.
The Click rate is the percentage of opened emails that have been clicked on at least one time, excluding clicks on the unsubscribe link. This statistic is very important as it shows how subscribers interact with your content, and if it is interesting enough to drive readers to your website. High click rates are a sign of interest and can help shape your future campaigns.
Negative stats are the ones which can hurt your sender reputation. Very badly, if they’re too high. So, you’ll want them to be as low as possible. At Mailjet, we set a threshold for you to not pass, otherwise, you run the risk of having your account put in quarantine or even blocked.
The Bounce rate is calculated on the total amount of emails sent. A bounce means that the email didn’t reach its intended destination – your contact’s inbox – for different reasons, and it was returned with an error message. At Mailjet, we make a distinction between Soft Bounces and Hard Bounces.
Soft Bounces are temporary issues such as the recipient’s inbox is too full, or there is a connection timeout. In these cases, redelivery will be attempted automatically. If the email is not delivered within 5 days, it’s marked as bounced.
Hard Bounces are permanent delivery errors caused by an invalid email address (e.g. a mistyped email, a non-existent destination server, etc.). These types of bounces negatively impact your sender reputation. To avoid deliverability issues, it’s very important to regularly remove bounced email addresses from your contact lists.
The Unsubscribe rate is linked to the open rate. It indicates the percentage of recipients who clicked on the unsubscribe link – or the unsubscribe button provided by some webmail clients and ISPs – in the open email. Think of it as a healthy way to keep your contact lists up-to-date. Note that, if you’re using Mailjet, unsubscribed email addresses are automatically removed from your lists.
The Block rate is calculated on the total amount of emails sent. Blocked is a status Mailjet sets for its users. Emails which have previously hard bounced, have been marked as spam, or that have potential spammy content, are pre-blocked by our system. This way, your sender’s reputation is less impacted.
Set as spam
This stat is also calculated on the total number of emails delivered. Spam complaints are made when the recipient believes an email is unsolicited. Spam is typically aimed at marketing emails. Transactional emails usually don’t get marked as spam. Many ISPs provide a ‘spam’ button or link in each email delivered. When a recipient clicks on this button, the email is reported as Spam and this is displayed on your Stats page.
Spam complaints are taken very seriously and can be detrimental for your sender’s reputation. You will want keep your spam rate lower than any other email stat. Some tips in our sending policy to keep your spam rates down are:
Only send your emails to recipients who have given explicit consent. The use of Third Party contact lists is prohibited.
Always include a clearly visible and easy to use unsubscribe link in all your emails. You don’t want subscribers to mark your email as spam to stop receiving it.
Your sender name and domain must be communicated in all your messages. Content should be relevant and reflect your subscribers’ expectations. Cleaning your lists regularly ensures that your emails are sent to engaged readers.
What do these stats mean for you?
These stats don’t exist for the sake of our love for numbers (not sure we even love them that much…). They mean something. And following the results, you should take different actions, depending on the KPIs you have set, obviously. Let’s go through a few common scenarios…
1. I don’t have any significant negative stats, but my open rate is low.
Why not use emojis in your subject lines to capture recipients’ attention? Just like we do.
2. I have a good open rate, but my click rate is not taking off.
Great! Your recipients open (and hopefully read) your emails. Though, for some reasons, they don’t seem to click. This could be down to either a CTA or content issue. If there are not enough things to click on in your email, your readers might not click; or if your content isn’t appealing enough to them, your readers won’t click.
So be sure to test (yep, once again) the positions of your CTAs and the length of your content. Make your CTAs more clickable, with clear buttons and/or images instead of simple hyperlinks in your wording. This is also practical: if your emails are opened and read on a mobile device, it will be easier for readers to click on a button using their thumbs rather than having to zoom in to enlarge the text.
3. My negative stats are going crazy, help!
The issue here it’s clear: the quality of the contact list you are using is bad.
This could be due to a number of things:
You haven’t sent an email for a looooooong time, and your recipients don’t know who you are anymore;
You recently purchased or borrowed a third-party list (HUGE NO-NO!) and are currently experiencing the consequences;
Since you started sending emails regularly, you haven’t cleaned your contact list, resulting in a clog of bad stats.
To prevent this from happening, you have limited options. First, before sending: NEVER USE A PURCHASED LIST! Second: NEVER USE A PURCHASED LIST! And third: you get the message? It’s like Fight Club: you have to repeat the first rule to be sure it sticks.
Now that we’re sure you know and remember the golden rule, there are a few other things you can do. If it’s the first campaign you’re sending since… forever? Or at least for quite a long time, send smaller campaigns before you send to all your contacts, and ask them if they want to stay on your list or not. This way, you’ll limit the risks of your unsubscribe and spam rates skyrocketing.
Also, don’t forget to remove bounced, reported as spam and blocked emails from your contact lists. It’s like cleaning your teeth each night: it takes just 3 minutes of your time, it’s kind of annoying and looks useless. Yet, in the long run, the results are worth it: you still have all your – possibly white – teeth and you’ve preserved your sender reputation. Everybody (but your dentist), wins!
And here you are. We’ve walked through the main stats you should follow when looking to improve your email campaigns. As you’ve seen, it’s not rocket science, but simply testing, improving, and testing again. Oh and, of course, following best practice (You haven’t forgotten the golden rule yet, have you?). So go, make your positive stats increase and reduce the negative ones to a pulp!
You liked the post, or have something to add to it? Let us know on Twitter! We’d love to hear about your stats, let us know.
This blog post is an updated version of the post “What Do Your Stats Tell You? Emailing Doesn’t Stop When You Press Send!“, published on the Mailjet blog on March 23rd, 2017 by Thomas Hajdukowicz.
Two years ago, we open sourced MJML, a responsive email library that we created at Mailjet for Passport, our own drag and drop builder, as we needed to generate a clean HTML that would render well in all major inboxes.
Well-aware of the challenge that responsive email is, we quickly realized that MJML could benefit a lot of developers. That’s why we decided to open source it after using it internally for months. It’s been a crazy journey since then.
We’re proud to see that MJML is now the most-used responsive email library worldwide, trusted by major companies like The New York Times and Ryan Air. Each month, a new record is set in terms of downloads and February 2018 is no exception to the rule as MJML was downloaded 60,000 times this month.
Monthly downloads since the initial release
As MJML turns two this month, we’re proud to announce its biggest update since we launched it: MJML v4. MJML v4 is a complete rewrite of MJML and brings a whole set of new features.
MJML’S v4 New Features
Gutters for columns
As a common layout style, the option to add gutters between columns was a popular request. This is something you can now do by adding some padding on mj-column (documentation).
An example layout with gutters between columns
Desktop layouts on Outlook.com
As there is no way to make a difference between the mobile and desktop versions of Outlook.com, we initially made the choice to display the mobile version by default (it’s easier to read a mobile layout on a desktop screen than a desktop layout on a mobile screen).
With MJML 4, you can now override that behavior by adding an attribute on the mjml tag to force the desktop layout on Outlook.com: <mjml owa=”desktop”>.
Multi-column layout rendering as desktop on Outlook.com
You can now easily override the default breakpoint (480px) of MJML. To do so, you can simply use the new dedicated head component called mj-breakpoint and specify the desired breakpoint as a value of its width attribute (documentation).
<mj-breakpoint width=”540px” />
Validation of files included in files included in files incl… you got the point
The MJML engine now supports the mj-include component, and better yet, will validate all files included, including nested includes.
A better syntax
The syntax for various components was simplified and semantically improved:
mj-container was removed from the list of MJML components and all of its attributes now belong tomj-body (documentation)
mj-social syntax was improved and makes it easier to add custom networks. Each social network should now be added a child of the mj-social component (documentation)
mj-hero-content was removed from the list of components. The content of your hero component should go directly inside mj-hero (documentation)
mj-navbar is not a section component anymore and should now be placed inside a mj-column directly (documentation)
A new way of creating custom components
While the ability to create custom components has been a feature of MJML since the beginning, it just got way easier. First, there is no dependency to ReactJS anymore, but it’s also now possible to use MJML components straight into your own custom component.
We’ll publish a dedicated tutorial for creating your own components with MJML v4 in the coming weeks.
An enhanced command-line interface
As MJML 4, the command-line interface was totally rewritten. It now follows a more standard syntax and also brings new features, such as migrating a template from the v3 to the v4 syntax or watching multiples files or even a whole folder (documentation).
Using MJML locally via NPM
If you’re familiar with using MJML locally, you can install the v4 by running npm install mjml and start using it immediately. If you run MJML against your v3 templates, they will transparently be converted to the v4 syntax and rendered in HTML.
You can also migrate your templates written with the v3 syntax by using the -m option of the CLI, which will output your MJML template with the v4 syntax without rendering it in HTML.