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Oct

13

2017

13 Things to Start, Stop & Keep Doing With Your Email Marketing in 2018

If you’re reading this blog post, there’s a good chance you arrived here by clicking on a link in an email we sent to you.

Email marketing is a powerful tool to encourage your audience to engage with content and to nurture leads in your database along the buyer’s journey.

And despite what you may think, email marketing is still growing: Gmail alone has 1 billion users worldwide, and The Radicati Group predicts that there will be 3 billion email users worldwide by 2020 (that’s almost half of the world’s population).Click here to download our free beginner's guide to email marketing.

Certainly, email is not dead, but it is getting harder to do well. To that end, HubSpot Postmaster and Email Engineering Director Tom Monaghan has distilled his wisdom into a set of guidelines for email marketing for sustainable growth. Read on to learn what strategies you should start implementing, absolutely avoid, and keep up in 2018 and in years ahead.

How to Improve Your Email Marketing in 2018

1) Send emails to lists that want to hear from you.

If you have email lists with low rates of engagement activity, stop sending to them. Every time you send to a list with low open and engagement rates, it hurts your domain reputation and your chances of connecting with other potential customers.

Monaghan said it best in his talk: “You are what you eat, and so is your marketing.” When you receive tons of emails from brands you don’t engage with, constantly deleting them or marking them as “read” is most likely tiresome. Empathize with your subscribers and treat their inbox the way you would want your inbox treated.

2) Have a goal for each email before you press “send.”

If you don’t have a goal in mind for the emails you’re sending, the recipients won’t know what the goal is, either. Once you define a goal for your email sends, you can define success and build a list to make that happen.

Goals for your emails could include a contact filling out a longer form for a gated content offer to provide your team with more information about their organization, or redeeming a promo code for a purchase on your website.

Give recipients options in your messages, such as calls-to-action and links in-text, so they have multiple avenues to achieve your goal. Everyone’s behavior is different, so make your emails flexible.

3) Personalize and test your emails.

Email personalization really works. For example, back in 2014, we found that emails with the recipients’ first names in the subject lines had higher clickthrough rates than emails that didn’t.

When it comes to personalizing your emails, stick with the basics. Personalize according to recipient names and company names, but to avoid being creepy, leave it at that, urges Monaghan.

Nothing is less personal than receiving a “Dear Customer” or “Dear First Name” email, so test every email to make sure you’re sending to recipient names.

4) Send emails from a personalized account.

Don’t send emails from a “noreply” email account. Personalization works on your end, too. Boost your engagement by personalizing the “from” email address to drive replies from subscribers to a real person instead of “noreply@company.com.”

5) Experiment with sending emails on different days of the week.

Stop sending emails on Tuesdays. Seriously, stop.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are the most popular days to send email, but they’re oversaturated with messages that might be overwhelming your subscribers. If you want your emails to be opened, try sending them on Mondays and Fridays. Emails with calls-to-action perform well on Saturdays, so don’t be afraid to send emails on the weekend, either.

In any case, try experimenting with your approach to lessen your subscribers’ email load Tuesday through Thursday, when most business emails are sent.

6) Engage with contacts who’ve submitted forms, not contacts whose information you’ve imported.

When someone fills out a form and provides his or her email address, that person’s engagement rate is typically higher than cold contacts you’ve imported from a list. That’s because these recipients want to hear from you and chose to engage with your content — they’ve told you this by filling out a form. This is evidence that the inbound marketing methodology is working for email marketers.

And by the way, don’t buy email lists — you’re only hurting your credibility and annoying people who haven’t asked to hear from you.

7) Suppress your unengaged subscribers to avoid sending graymail.

You may be sending spam without knowing it, and that’s because the definition of spam has changed. Graymail refers to bulk email messages that aren’t technically spam because the recipients gave you their information, but the fact of the matter is, they get your emails and don’t touch them. Engagement rates plummet if recipients don’t open your first email, so if they continue ignoring you, the probability of them ever opening your messages is going way, way down.

Stop sending graymail, and listen to what people are telling you by not opening your emails. Start suppressing your unengaged subscribers. That way, your open rates will increase, and inbox providers will see that you’re responding to subscriber behavior.

8) If people are unsubscribing, don’t worry too much (yet).

You can’t please everyone, and unsubscribes will happen. Luckily, your subscribers didn’t mark you as spam — they simply told you, in the nicest way possible, that they’re not interested in hearing from you anymore.

Don’t be too worried yet, but if more people keep unsubscribing, try to identify the potential cause. Consider suppressing or sending fewer emails to subscribers who aren’t engaging as much.

9) If people stop opening your emails, figure out what’s going wrong fast.

If your email open rate is falling, it means you’re missing the expectations of your recipients and that you should prepare for worse outcomes. It’s a leading indicator that spam complaints and unsubscribes are coming, and you should immediately suppress your unengaged subscribers to show email providers that you’re responding to feedback. Test different emails to see if you can improve your open rates.

10) If people mark you as spam, immediately stop sending email and identify the source of the complaints.

If you’re being marked as spam, your domain reputation is at risk, and you could become blacklisted by email providers. Whether the spam complaints are caused by a new source, bad forms, or you missing expectations of your list, slow or completely stop sending emails until you figure it out.

If you aren’t getting unsubscribe or spam complaints, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the clear — the messages could be going straight to recipients’ junk folders.

11) If you want to learn more about email marketing, take the free email marketing certification course.

Learn more about email marketing with Monaghan right now by taking HubSpot Academy’s Email Marketing Certification course. In only 3.5 hours, you’ll learn about lifecycle marketing, email list segmentation, design, deliverability, and more skills to help you cultivate a strong strategy for 2018 and beyond.

12) Be thoughtful about your subject line.

Don’t write clickbait email subject lines. When people click on your email and then immediately bounce away when they realize your subject line wasn’t genuine, your clickthrough rates will suffer.

For best results, customize and personalize email subject lines and experiment with emojis. Pro tip: Read subject lines out loud before sending. Would you open that email if you received it?

13) Remember: Email is getting harder, but it’s still working.

Every year, engagement rates start to slip, and it gets harder to reach people’s inboxes. This doesn’t mean that email marketing is losing its efficacy, it’s just getting more competitive. The divide is growing between email marketers who know what they’re doing and those who don’t, so make sure to put in the effort to test different strategies and keep your subscribers engaged.

The theme of all of these email marketing guidelines? Testing. Every audience and contacts database is different, so make sure you’re testing the implementation of new strategies and tailoring them according to how your subscribers engage. (And when you’re ready to hit “send,” here are some lead nurturing email examples to inspire your creativity.)

Before you go, you can view slides from Monaghan’s INBOUND talk on this subject below:

Tom Monaghan – 13 Things to Stop, Start, or Keep Doing (Only Better) with Your Email from
INBOUND

Free Download Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing

 
Free Download Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing

Jul

12

2017

The Short Attention Span Solution for Marketers (Hint: It’s Email) [Infographic]

Published by in category Daily, email marketing, IGSS | Comments are closed

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Email marketing might be entering a mid-life crisis.

According to Entrepreneur, 2017 marks its 40th birthday, with 1978 cited as the year when the first marketing email was delivered. The sender, the story goes, was Gary Thuerk, an employee of Digital Equipment Corporation — an infamous legend, of sorts, who’s referred to by some as the “father of spam.”

Yet — somehow — it seems that email marketing is doing a better job than a lot of other digital communication at prolonging a viewer’s attention span.

The stereotypical “mid-life crisis” often involves change that comes after years of overall evolution and improvement. And in a way, email marketing isn’t so different. It’s gone through a number of modifications to make it better, more user-friendly, and less spammy since 1978. And now, Litmus reports, the average time spent reading an email has increased by nearly 7% since 2011. New Call-to-action

But how is that possible, given our oft-cited dwindling attention spans? As it turns out, email marketing might be an exception to that rule for a number of reasons, ranging from improved sending platforms to more mobile-friendly consumption experiences to generally better content.

Want the details? You’re in luck. Litmus breaks it down in this the handy infographic below.

How to Cure a Short Attention Span With Email



email-attention-spans-increasing-design.png


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Jun

30

2017

Is Facebook Messenger the New Email? 3 Experiments to Find Out

Published by in category Daily, email marketing | Comments are closed

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Let’s just come out with it: Email is becoming less effective for marketers. It might not be dead yet, but it’s not exactly the shiny new channel it used to be. Just think about your own inbox — how many marketing emails are you subscribed to that you delete without opening? We thought so.

It was with this in mind that we started experimenting with messenger apps. Facebook Messenger boasts 1.2 billion monthly users — clearly there’s appetite for the channel. Could this be a replacement for email? We decided to find out.

Here are three ways we’ve experimented with using Facebook Messenger instead of email in our marketing, along with early results (Spoiler: Get excited).

#1: Using Facebook Messenger as a Content Delivery Channel

Our demand gen team sends out emails on a regular basis featuring new content offers our audience might be interested in. These content offers are typically gated behind a lead form. After completing the form, the prospect is able to access the content immediately, and we also send an email with a PDF copy attached for easy reference later on.

For those keeping track, email is used twice here: first to promote the offer, second to deliver the content. We wanted to cut out one of these email touchpoints, so we decided to send the following offer promotion email as a test:

james-gilbert-email.png

We gave readers two options: to submit the form and receive the content immediately and via email — the traditional way — or to skip the form and get immediate access to the content in Facebook Messenger instead. Approximately 20% chose this latter option.

We then sent regular Messenger broadcasts to the people who had opted in, suppressed them from email sends, and studied their behavior.

After four weeks, the engagement metrics of the two channels showed a clear winner.

Screen Shot 2017-06-29 at 2.48.50 PM.png

The Facebook Messenger broadcasts had an average open rate of 80% and average CTR of 13%. That was 242% and 609% better than our email controls, respectively.

Takeaway for marketers: As a content delivery and consumption channel, Facebook Messenger delivers in terms of engagement.

#2: Getting Event Attendees to Participate Through Facebook Messenger

Have you ever tried to send an email to event attendees with important information? If so, I’m guessing you didn’t see great open or clickthrough rates. When people attend a conference or another type of in-person event, they’re typically off email and in learning and networking mode.

But they do have their phones on them — to check the agenda, answer texts and calls from other people on site, and follow live social streams. We hypothesized that Facebook Messenger might be a better way to get event attendees’ attention during our Grow With HubSpot Melbourne event. We decided to include a link to Facebook Messenger in our attendance confirmation emails, as well as place physical Facebook Messenger scan codes on seats at the event. Attendees could simply scan to start receiving real-time information and updates via the app instead of email.

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We tried two primary use cases:

1) Sales bot. If attendees confirmed their attendance inside Messenger, we set up a bot that would send an automated message on behalf of their local sales rep. The message contained a HubSpot Meetings tool link to the rep’s calendar in case the attendee wanted to set up time onsite.

fb-sales-1.png

The results for this use case on the day of the event:

melbourne-results.png

The raw number of meetings booked isn’t astronomical, but the percentage by enrolled attendees is significantly higher than similar messaging via email. That percentage increases when we add in the number of meetings booked before the day of the event as well as afterwards. It’s also worth considering that these meetings — with highly qualified prospects — wouldn’t have happened if not for our Messenger usage.

2) Real time NPS. We asked attendees to rate their experience at GwH Melbourne via Messenger.

gwh-nps.png

The response rate was significantly higher than email controls.

Some other event use cases we’ve been trying out and that you might consider taking for a test drive:

  • View the event agenda in Messenger
  • Submit questions to a panel
  • Access the slides once the conference is over

Takeaway for marketers: Instead of using email to communicate with attendees onsite or direct them to take a specific action, try Facebook Messenger instead. One of Messenger’s greatest strengths is how it seamlessly connects offline and online engagement.

#3: Using Facebook Messenger in Place of Forms

Our team has a set budget for Facebook ads every month, which we typically use for lead generation. Our ads generally feature a piece of content interesting to our target audience. When someone clicks, they are taken to a landing page with a form. Filling out the form gives them access to the content immediately, and also triggers a follow up email with a PDF version attached.

This experience is less than ideal since the person has to leave Facebook to receive their content. We started thinking — what if the entire process, click to content delivery, happened in Facebook?

We tested out a path that used Facebook Messenger for the “form,” as well as the delivery mechanism. When someone clicked the ad, a bot would ask them the questions usually contained in our form:

fbm-form.png

Once the questions had all been answered, the bot then provided a link to the content within the message.

The results here were even better than we anticipated. We saw a staggering 477% reduction in our cost per lead, while lead quality only slightly decreased.

Takeaway for marketers: It might take a little muscle to build a Facebook Messenger bot to collect lead information, but the effort is well worth it. Use Facebook ads plus Messenger as a powerful one-two punch.

We’re big believers in the power of Facebook Messenger and other messaging apps. Next up for us is a similar content delivery test in our North American market, studying how the order of questions impacts Facebook Messenger “form” completion rate, and creating a more seamless sync between the app and our HubSpot portal.

Have you been testing Facebook Messenger in your marketing? If so, what results have you seen? Share your experiments and insights with us in the comments below.

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May

9

2017

9 Easy Ways to Get Busy People to Respond to Emails

Published by in category Daily, email marketing, Office Life | Comments are closed

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You might think you spend the majority of your time at work sitting in meetings or talking on the phone, but you could be wrong.

In fact, a significant portion of your work week could be spent writing, ready, and responding to emails.

A recent study from Adobe revealed that workers are spending 4.1 hours per week checking and interacting with our work emails. Despite the adoption of tools like Slack, workers are using email more than ever — and what’s more, it can take us up to 25 minutes to get back on task once we’ve interrupted by checking and reading email during the workday.

So needless to say, when you draft an email — whether it’s to your manager, your direct report, or a contact you want to work with — you want it to be well-crafted and impactful so it doesn’t expend even more time. So we’ve put together these tips for writing emails — that will get opened and replied to, without wasting anyone’s time.

How to Write Emails Your Contacts Will Actually Reply To

1) Write a descriptive subject line.

Your subject line should outline the reason for your email so the recipient is compelled to open and answer it. It should also be clear and succinct — after all, if your subject line is clear, your email will likely be, too. We suggest avoiding full sentences and only putting the meatiest part of your reason for emailing in the subject line.

Phrases to Avoid:

  1. “Checking in”
  2. “Touching base”
  3. “Following up”

Example Subject Lines:

  1. “Question about your blog post about Snapchat”
  2. “Meeting information for Monday, 5/1”
  3. “New data: 43% of consumers want video content”

2) Get to the point, and quickly.

In the opening lines of your email, you might be tempted to enumerate on your credentials or your organization, but you can do that later. Instead, the opening line of your email should immediately get to the point so the recipient immediately understands what’s being asked of them.

The basic format of a successful email should be:

  1. Opening greeting
  2. Reason for emailing
  3. Details
  4. Call-to-action
  5. Closing greeting

This format is considerate to your reader, who has trouble maintaining attention for long periods of time, and it compels you to write clearly and compellingly to make the recipient keep reading.

3) Use basic language.

Remember the episode of Friends when Monica and Chandler asked Joey to write them a letter of reference, and he used his thesaurus too enthusiastically?

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Source: Rebloggy

In this case, Joey changed so many words to their more advanced synonyms that his original meaning was completely convoluted. This can happen with your emails, too.

Resist the urge to use industry jargon or flowery language and stick to the basics. Make your sentences clear, straightforward, and short — if a sentence requires more than one comma, consider breaking it into two sentences. The easier your email is to understand, the easier it will be for the recipient to quickly respond.

4) Use numbers.

There are a few ways you can use numbers and statistics in your email that will make it easier to attract and keep the recipient’s attention.

  1. Numbers written as numerals (23) instead of words (twenty-three) have been shown to attract reader attention when they quickly scan what they’re reading online — which research shows internet users are more and more likely to do.
  2. Numbers as statistical data lend your email more credibility. Numbers represent facts, which your reader might be more compelled to respond to.

See what we did there? The numbered list probably drew your eye more than writing that out in paragraph format would have. Formatting helps too — more on that later.

5) Keep it as short as possible.

Keep it short and sweet.

Researchers analyzed over five years of emails, and they found that shorter emails resulted in faster response times. That’s helpful when you consider that reading and responding to emails can eat up so many hours in your week. Shorter emails help you and the recipient spend less time writing and replying to emails, which makes everyone more productive.

Our trick for keeping emails short is by typing them in Twitter first. Emails don’t have to be under 140 characters, but it’s a good guardrail for having maximum impact in fewer words. You can keep your emails shorter by using numbers, omitting unnecessary words like adjectives and adverbs, and thinking carefully about formatting. 

The ideal email length varies depending on your industry, but we suggest keeping your emails under 200 words in length. The average screen reading speed is 200 words per minute, so aiming to keep messages below that target is a good rule of thumb.

6) Use bullet points.

Whenever possible, use bullet points or a numbered list to organize your email structure. Here’s why:

  • Bullets don’t require full sentences, so you can use fewer words to get the same message across.
  • Bullets help break up the formatting of an email to maintain the reader’s attention.
  • Bulleted or numbered lists help clearly outline steps in a process that need to be taken, which is useful for email documenting meetings or initiatives.

We suggest using only three bullets. Studies have shown that our brains like to be presented with three options to consider. Use three bullets or numbered items in your emails for maximum impact.

7) Answer the question “so what?”

Just because the subject of your email is important to you doesn’t mean the recipient necessarily agrees. You need to ensure that your reader comes away from your email with the answer to the question “so what?”

Psychologist Ellen Langler found that the use of the word “because” made people more likely to comply with the request. By providing the reason behind asking someone to help you or do something for you in an email, you make it easier for the recipient to say “yes.”

When asking for someone else’s time and effort, make sure to include a “because … ” so they can understand the impact their compliance will have.

8) Make your ask clear.

Some emails have clear asks, and some emails do not. Either way, make sure to clearly state what exactly you need from the recipient of your email to make it easier for them to reply.

Remember the email structure we mentioned above?

  1. Opening greeting
  2. Reason for emailing
  3. Details
  4. Call-to-action
  5. Closing greeting

Start your email with the reason you’re emailing, provide the recipient with details and the “so what?” of your message, and close your email with a clear ask for next steps. Whether you need them to edit a blog post, attend a meeting, or you don’t need any specific action from them at that time, make sure that is the last line of your email.

The final line of your email will likely be most memorable, so if the recipient doesn’t reply right away, they’ll be able to easily remember what they need to do next.

9) Know when to take it offline.

Sometimes, the best email isn’t an email at all. Instead, it’s a phone call, a Slack direct message, a virtual conference, or an in-person meeting.

We’ve told you to keep your email as clear and succinct as possible. So if you’re drafting your message and finding that it requires any of the following, that could be an indication that it’s time to sit down and talk about what you’re working on:

  • If your email is highly time-sensitive, explore if there is a faster way to reach that person in the office or using a messaging app.
  • If it takes you multiple paragraphs to get your point across, consider if you want to produce a slide deck to present in a meeting.
  • If you need answers to multiple complicated questions (that don’t involve a yes or no answer), send a meeting invitation instead — but include the questions in the event description so the recipient can prepare.

A good indicator to determine if you should take your message offline is how long it takes you to write out your email. If you have to keep editing and rewriting to make your points clear, they might not be clear to your recipient, either. 

Luckily, meeting invites are short and sweet, and they involve a simple yes or no answer. Make sure to provide context in the event description, or a pre-meeting email, so attendees can prepare for the conversation early.

Email Is an Art

If you’re emailing your colleagues and contacts, they’ll understand a run-on sentence or a typo here and there (although we advise self-editing before pressing “send,” of course). But when it comes time to start emailing subscribers and leads on behalf of your brand, check out our free beginner’s email marketing guide for more suggestions and ideas.

What are your strategies for writing actionable emails? Share with us in the comments below.

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Apr

12

2017

The Beginner's Guide to Email Marketing [Free Ebook]

Published by in category analytics, Daily, email marketing | Comments are closed

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Companies often list email as one of their most powerful marketing channels. With email usage worldwide projected to reach 3 billion users by 2020, businesses simply have to continue using email marketing to reach their audiences if they want to scale quickly.

But anyone who’s tried email marketing knows it’s not as simple as quickly drafting a message and hitting the “send” button. You have to build a healthy email list, make sure you’re complying with CAN-SPAM regulations, segment your lists so you’re delivering the right messages to the right people, create different types of emails for all different situations, design attractive and on-brand emails, analyze results … is your head spinning yet?

Yes, effective email marketing takes time, effort, and strategy, but it’s something you can learn and implement quickly. We’ve creating a new guide to help you do just that: The Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing.

This email marketing beginner’s guide will take you step-by-step through how to get started with email marketing, starting at the very beginning. It covers:

  • Email marketing best practices;
  • How to grow a healthy email list;
  • How to save time using email automation;
  • The different types of marketing emails (with examples);
  • The most important email metrics to measure (with formulas);
  • An email A/B testing checklist.

This guide will give you all the information you need to start a successful email campaign on your own. So download our free ebook,The Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing, and you’ll find that you don’t need to be a seasoned email marketing expert to see a positive ROI in a short amount of time.

email-marketing-ebook

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Dec

8

2016

How to Write the Perfect Marketing Email [Free Ebook]

From the subject line to the closing, there’s a science to writing the perfect email.

Include too many pictures, and your clickthrough rate may decrease. Write too much text, and your message may overwhelm your reader — especially considering 48% of emails are opened on a smartphone.

In our ebook, How to Write the Perfect Email, we’ll walk you through the 14 key steps to optimize your marketing emails for opens, clicks, subscribers, and more. We’ll cover how to:

  • Prioritize the goals of your emails
  • Nail the tone of your email to build trust with your audience
  • Time your sends to make sure your email is actually read
  • Segment your emails by lifecycle stage, content engagement, and more
  • Choose an impactful call-to-action

With each email send, marketers make countless decisions that influence whether your message gets opened, tossed, skimmed, or clicked. Don’t send your next blast without the latest optimization tips and industry data.

Check out our email optimization guide and learn how proper email optimization can boost your content downloads, convert more prospects, and increase your ROI.

write the perfect email

Dec

2

2016

How to Increase Engagement Using Video Thumbnails in Your Emails [Live Event]

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Are you looking for new ways to experiment with your email marketing and increase engagement and conversion?

With video in general becoming a more and more important content format for marketers, we put our heads together with the folks at Wistia to see how using video thumbnails in your email marketing affects engagement. Spoiler alert: It makes a huge difference, and we want to share the results with you.

Join HubSpot Marketing Manager Chelsea Hunersen and Wistia Partner Coordinator Margot Mazur on Wednesday December 14 at 1 p.m. EST for the big reveal of brand new data. They’ll show you how to successfully incorporate video thumbnails in your brand’s email and marketing strategies.

More specifically, you can expect:

  • Never before seen data on video thumbnails in email
  • Wistia & HubSpot’s own experiment results
  • Tips on how to include video thumbnails in your email and marketing strategy
  • Bonus: Answers to questions submitted by actual audience members!

Save your seat now, and don’t forget to submit your questions.

email engagement using video

Nov

8

2016

9 Places to Find Quality Email Newsletter Templates

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If you had to guess, how many email newsletters do you think you’re subscribed to? Ten? Twenty? Fifty?

To be honest, I’ve lost count … and I know I’m not alone.

Email marketers have a lot to compete with in their subscribers’ inboxes. If done well, though, email newsletters can do wonders to help you build an engaged subscriber base, keep your business top-of-mind, and nurture leads that are already making their way down the funnel.

However, “done well” means more than just serving up great content. In fact, an often overlooked component of the newsletter creation process is the design. Download this free guide to learn how to write, design, optimize, and measure  a successful email newsletter. 

Don’t have time to build out a custom template from scratch? We’ve scoured the internet for the best resources for email newsletter templates and compiled them below. Once you find one you like, download the template and customize it to fit your needs.

9 Places to Find Email Newsletter Templates Online

1) Email on Acid 

Price: Free

Email on Acid offers a free template with a basic, fluid design that’s also responsive to mobile devices. In other words, the three different “layouts” you see below trigger based on the width of the recipient’s screen.

Although there’s only one template here, you can actually mix and match each section of the layout to fit your specific design needs. The layout supports one, two, or three columns, and recipients on mobile devices will see the version that converts to a one-column layout for easy reading.

Email on Acid Newsletter 

Image Credit: Email on Acid

2) ZURB Ink 

Price: Free

ZURB Studios has five responsive email templates available for free, including the newsletter one below. It has a great, fluid layout you can customize with your own colors, images, and wording. If you want to see how each template looks on different email clients, you can check out screenshots from each template’s email client tests, which are on available the site. These layouts are optimized for most email clients — except for Outlook 2007, 2010, and 2013.

The template comes with a separate CSS stylesheet and HTML file to ease the editing process, and most clients put the CSS inline with the HTML itself after both are uploaded separately. If you’re going to add images to your newsletter, keep in mind you’ll have to create a separate folder and compress with the CSS stylesheet when uploaded. 

Zurb Studios Newsletter

Image Credit: ZURB Studios

3) 99designs

Price: Free

99designs is a growing online community and collaboration platform for designers and small businesses, and they have a great designer blog and business blog. To celebrate the launch of their Email Design category, the company ran a contest asking designers to create three email templates — a newsletter template, a promotional template, and a template for email notifications — using a set color scheme (green, blue, orange, and grey) for people to download. The folks at 99design then chose their 12 favorites and made them downloadable for free on their website. They’re compatible with all major email clients.

99Designs Email Newsletter Templates

Image Credit: 99designs

4) ThemeForest

Price: $6-23/template

ThemeForest is an awesome resource for email templates if you have some budget to spend. Their library has over 460 newsletter templates in all different colors, styles, and themes. They’re rated using a four-star system, and you can filter by rating, price, recency, and popularity.

There are a lot to choose from, but here are four of our favorites:

Market – Responsive Newsletter with Template Builder ($19)

This template has eight prebuilt layouts, 24 color variations, 24 full-layered PSD files, and more. Plus, it’s supported by all major email clients.

ThemeForest Email Newsletter Templates

Image Credit: ThemeForest

FreshMail, Responsive Email with Template Editor ($18)

Want a more minimalist look? This is a great template with minimalist design that’s also flexible and repeatable, so you can easily arrange the layout and use it to build your own unique template. Even better, it comes with helpful documentation and video tutorials to help you make the most of the design. It works for all major email clients and is responsive to mobile.

ThemeForest Email Newsletter Templates

Image Credit: ThemeForest

FancyMail – Responsive Email Template ($19)

If you’re looking for something more elegant and sophisticated, this might be the template for you. It comes in seven layout options and eight colors, along with six, fully-layered PSD files so you can customize as you wish. It works with all major email clients, is responsive to mobile devices, and includes helpful documentation so you can make the most of the template.

ThemeForest Email Newsletter Templates

Image Credit: ThemeForest

Rocket Mail – Clean & Modern Email Template ($16)

This template is great for marketers who are going for something that looks like your classic, basic newsletter design. It comes with 72 variations comprised of six color themes with six layouts each, and two backgrounds (light and dark) for each color. It has well commented HTML code to make it easier to follow along and customize. It works for all major email clients.

ThemeForest Email Newsletter Templates

Image Credit: ThemeForest

5) Antwort

Price: Free

Antwort offers three newsletter templates: one single-column, one two-column, and one three-column. They’re all responsive to mobile devices, so columns on desktop automatically condense on mobile devices. You’ll notice they’re pretty minimalist in design, which helps if you want to do a lot of customization work. They were also designed with dynamic content in mind.

On desktop, they work for major email clients like Gmail, Yahoo!, Outlook, and AOL. On mobile, they work for Mail on iOS and Email on Android.

Antwort Email Newsletter Templates

Image Credit: Julie Ng 

 

6) TemplateMonster

Price: $11-$19/template

TemplateMonster offers a variety of email newsletter templates, such as the cat-themed template pictured below, available for relatively low prices. Their templates are clean, customizeable, and easy-to-use, and they’re compatible with most major email clients, such as Gmail and Yahoo Mail. Additionally, the templates come with built-in responsive layouts for screen adaptability, such as on the mobile phone pictured below, and PSD sources for a litany of customization options.

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Image Credit: TemplateMonster

7) Themezy

Price: Free

Download sixteen free HTML, CSS, and PSD sources of customizable email templates on Themezy. You don’t have to submit an email address to get started, and there are various color schemes and layouts to meet your email list’s needs. Plus, they’re designed to be responsive across devices to ensure that your subscribers can read your newsletter.

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Image Credit: Themezy

8) Litmus

Price: Free

Litmus offers a free email template collection — from newsletter templates to account management templates. The marketing-specific theme — referred to as “Pook” — is modern and sleek, while still being kind of fun. All of the templates have been tested with Litmus, and you can easily check out how the email will appear in different email clients here.

While you are required to create a Litmus account with your email address to access the templates, the templates themselves are free of charge.

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Image Credit: Litmus

9) HubSpot Template Marketplace

Price: Free & paid options available

For those of you who are HubSpot customers, HubSpot offers a great collection of email templates you can download or purchase from our template marketplace. Paid templates are available for as low as $1, and once you buy a template, you can start using it immediately right in HubSpot — no HTML or CSS required.

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Where else can you find email newsletter templates online? Share them with us in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2015 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

free guide to creating email newsletters

 
free guide to creating email newsletters

Oct

4

2016

19 Lead Nurturing Email Examples You’ll Want to Steal

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You’ve done it. You provided valuable content to your readers and they’ve converted into leads. Now, it’s time to nurture these leads into opportunities for your sales team.

Trouble is, cutting through the inbox clutter isn’t an easy feat. And many of these folks just aren’t ready to buy yet.

That’s where lead nurturing comes in: It’s a way to stay connected to the leads you collect that aren’t ready to buy from you yet, and build up trust until they are ready.

If you want to learn more about lead nurturing in general, you can check out this guide. But for the sake of this post, we’re going to dive deep into one of the best channels for carrying out your lead nurturing efforts: email. Download our free ebook to learn how to master lead nuturing.

To help you better understand how to pair the two concepts, check out the lead nurturing email examples below. From ecommerce to product marketing, there’s something for everyone — no matter what industry you operate in. (And If you haven’t already, check out Leadin: A free tool by HubSpot that helps you generate more leads and learn more about them.)

Check out these industries:

Ecommerce | B2B | Retail | Travel | Food & Beverage | Services | Product Marketing

19 Lead Nurturing Email Examples to Inspire Your Strategy

Ecommerce

1) Framebridge

Not all lead nurturing emails need to be strictly promotional. Engagement will lead to sales, so it’s important to send recipients something they’ll want to open and read. Framebridge does something in their nurturing emails that works like a charm: education. By teaching the reader a helpful skill, they are providing value in exchange for an ask from their recipient (reading the guide).

It’s also worth mentioning that they only use one clear call-to-action — “Educate Me.” According to WordStream, simply using one call-to-action (CTA) in an email increases clicks by 371% and sales by 1617%.

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2) Casper

Your product is only as good as its reviews: eConsultancy reports that 61% of customers will read a review or testimonial online before purchasing. In this traditional abandoned cart email, Casper adds a bit of social proof with a fun customer testimonial.

Casper’s abandoned cart email is clever and to-the-point. It asks the reader if they’d like to revisit a cart they have added to, shows what they were shopping for, and includes two simple CTAs.

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3) Sephora

For visual products, video is a great method of communicating or explaining. A study by Tubular Insights reports that 96% of B2B organizations use video in some capacity in their marketing campaigns, of which 73% report positive results to their ROI.

Sephora includes a fun video from an employee with educational content as well as product offerings. They do have a lot of calls-to-action, however, the main focus is to watch the tutorial which is helpful to the reader. A visual email for a visual brand, it grabs your attention and shows off the products in a unique and interesting way.

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B2B

4) Litmus

Triggered email messages yield 67.9% higher open rate and 241.3% higher click rates than standard email messages, according to Epsilon. In other words, when you use a person’s behavior — let’s say that downloaded content about email workflows — to trigger a relevant email based on that action, it will perform well.

Here’s a great example from Litmus that demonstrates how to use clever, clear copy to provide recipients with a relevant email that adds provides even more value.

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Retail

5) Uncommon Goods

Uncommon Goods shows their products in context and creates a Pinterest-inspired section for each different aesthetic. Each collection has a featured CTA and the email feels more like a curated pinboard than a sales email.

Not to mention, this email is also very mobile-friendly, which can play a big part in the success of an ecommerce lead nurturing email: 56% of email is opened on mobile devices, according to Litmus.

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6) Chubbies

Chubbies is well known for their cheeky marketing and their emails do not disappoint. With 1.4 million Facebook Likes, they put the social, fun aspect of content first. Their email newsletter serves as a hub for user-generated content, promotions, and all-around humor.

Part information, part fun, this email encourages its reader to enjoy reading it even if they aren’t planning to buy anything in that moment. The copy relates to its audience, the visuals are on-brand, and they offer multiple CTAs (purchase clothing & follow on Snapchat).

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Travel

7) JetBlue

JetBlue has some of the best email copy around. Not only is this email funny, helpful, and full of great puns, but it also reflects JetBlue’s commitment to engaging and retaining customers through email.

Aware that the funnel isn’t always visitor > lead > customer, one of JetBlue’s email objectives is to convert current or past customers into TrueBlue members, as demonstrated below.

(Want to learn how long your emails should be? Check out this helpful blog post that takes audience and message into consideration.)

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8) Airbnb

Airbnb’s emails have one goal in mind: give their readers wanderlust.

This email has a clear CTA, highlights beautiful travel destinations, and doesn’t ask too much of the recipient. Not to mention, the one year anniversary is also a good opportunity to reach out to their subscribers without seeming pushy. It feels personal and curated. (Take me to Paris, please!)

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Services

9) Handy

The combination of clear buttons, information about the service, and a nice photo make this email from Handy feel uncluttered and effective. More specifically, the photo of smiling customers is a smart move for two reasons:

  1. It helps to draw attention to the effect their product has on those who buy it: happiness.
  2. Human photos saw 95% higher conversion than object photos, according to VWO.

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10) Freelancer

I’m a sucker for a good illustration and Freelancer’s caught my attention immediately. They prove the value of the service through a drawing, then provide a clear ask in the CTA: “Get Started Today.”

Eye-tracking studies have shown that readers spend more time looking through images than reading text when they are relevant to the copy. So if you can align images in your email while educating your readers, the message will stick with them for longer and have a higher impact.

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11) Skillshare

At the top of this email, Skillshare includes a nice reminder to its recipients that their trial is about to expire — a smart move that’ll hopefully result in a renewal or purchase.

The reminder is accompanied by some unobtrusive, helpful CTAs for various educational classes. Notice how the simple, stylish boxes stand out as an alternative to a traditional button.

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Food & Beverage

12) Thrive

When a person hears something, they’ll remember 10% of that content three days later. However, when it’s paired with a relevant image, they will remember 65% of the information three days later. This concept is referred to as the picture superiority effect.

Thrive takes advantage of this theory through their use of product images. They highlight their products in an attractive way, include a good amount of content, and encourage the reader to start shopping.

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13) Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts used an announcement for a new item as a way to reach out to its audience. This simple email asks its readers to find the location nearest them, showcases the new drink, and has a secondary CTA to add them on Snapchat. (Speaking of which, check out this guide to Snapchat for business.)

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Product Marketing

14) InVision App

Newsjacking is defined by HubSpot as “the practice of capitalizing on the popularity of a news story to amplify your sales and marketing success.” By mentioning a current, trending topic into your marketing, you can bring in a new audience and engage with your current users. (You can learn how to incorporate newsjacking into your marketing strategy here.)

InVision monopolized on the “Stranger Things” trend by highlighting its typography in this email and relating it back to the design industry. They also used it as an excuse to teach their newsletter recipients through workshops and trainings.

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15) Zapier

According to DemandGen, leads that are nurtured with personalized content convert into sales at 20% higher than those who aren’t.

This email is from the CEO of Zapier asking how he can help them get setup proves that they’ve got a handle on the whole personalization thing. This user is being targeted with a name personalization token as well as a trigger indicating that they are yet to setup the product.

For technical products, friendly, helpful emails based on activity can perform extremely well. Notice how they even include a link to their help documentation for added value and clarity.

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16) Sprout Social

Sprout Social uses a new feature as a reason to reach out to leads. They teach the audience about this new feature, let them know that their trial is expiring, and provide helpful feature descriptions to inform their decision.

The Kapost blog tells us that 60% of people are motivated to learn more about a product after reading about it. By giving your readers a taste of your new products and services, they will be inspired to learn more, so be sure to also include relevant links and information for them to continue their research.

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17) Typeform

Writing email copy is difficult. It’s important to be friendly, helpful, and straightforward.

That’s why Typeform really hit the nail on the head with this email. In the example below, you’ll see that they’re not only being relatable and honest, but they are also strategically taking advantage of their user’s inactive status to position the outreach. And the challenge to look at their leaderboard is a nice secondary CTA that doesn’t ask too much.

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18) Square

Holiday marketing is a common type of lead nurturing. Both B2B and B2C companies take full advantages of running holiday-themed campaigns throughout the year.

Square leverages the Valentine’s Day holiday to encourage its recipients to take action with their own customers. They provide a helpful and powerful statistic to prove value, and keep it short and sweet.

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19) Duolingo

Duolingo taps into their users’ affinity for learning by asking them to nominate a favorite teacher for a contest. This is a great way of engaging with your audience while providing a helpful and fun reason to click.

They also make use of two different types of testimonials. They tell the reader to join “350,000 teachers” as well as including two quotes from teachers using the product. What a great use of social proof.

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Now that you’ve been inspired by these great brands and products, learn how to write email copy like a pro and create compelling images.

Have any favorite lead nurturing images? Mention them in the comments below.

Op

Sep

30

2016

How to Plan & Execute Effective ‘Welcome’ Emails

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How successful are your ‘welcome’ emails? 

On average, ‘welcome’ emails receive an unusually high open rate of 50% — making them 86% more effective than newsletters

These emails are responsible for setting the tone and creating expectations with your newest subscribers and customers. This is where you educate your prospective customers about the products or services you sell, as well as how frequently you’ll be sending email.

However, just like in person, it takes conscious work to create a great first impression. If you stop for a second and think about your email marketing campaign, it’s possible that a significant amount of your success relies on your subscribers liking what they see in those initial emails.

To help you better understand what goes into an effective ‘welcome’ email sequence, we’ll walk you through the motions below — and include some helpful examples along the way.

Let’s get started …

How to Plan & Execute Effective ‘Welcome’ Emails

The top-of-funnel strategy for virtually every company with a digital presence includes an exchange of value: The subscriber provides their email address in exchange for something of value. And your ‘welcome’ emails should be designed with this idea in mind. 

To ensure that you’re producing valuable ‘welcome’ emails, be sure to do the following:

Devise a strategy.

‘Welcome’ emails are vital to any email marketing program. Welcome emails also have extremely high inbox placement rates, an advantage that should be utilized by every single company.

If you currently have no ‘welcome’ emails in place, never fear: A new welcome strategy is not rocket science. For starters, have a look at what the companies around you are doing and mold their successful practices to suit your needs.

At MailCharts, we recommend looking at ‘welcome’ emails from competitors or brands who target a similar audience to yours. Once you have solid benchmarks from your initial sequence and understand the metrics (e.g., opens, clicks, conversions), you can build upon those results and optimize your strategy to further suit your exact needs.

Deliver on the promise.

Remember: The very first email sent must include the promised ebook, trial period, discount, or otherwise.

Eve Mattresses shows us a great example of this exchange, where they have provided new subscribers with a very tempting “100-day sleepover.”

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Determine a timeline and frequency.

According to one email marketing company, retailers who sent more than one ‘welcome’ email experienced a 13% increase in revenue. Pretty impressive, right? 

Further, MailCharts email data shows that many online retailers still send ‘welcome’ emails two weeks after sign-up, with some brands sending ‘welcome’ mailers up to two months after the initial sign-up date.

Here’s a rough timeline we put together to help you see how email frequency begins to slow down over the two month welcome period:

  • Email 1: Immediately after receiving a subscriber’s email address
  • Email 2: 3 days after receiving email address
  • Email 3: 8 days after receiving email address
  • Email 4: 15 days after receiving email address
  • Email 5: 30 days after receiving email address
  • Email 6: 45 days after receiving email address
  • Email 7: 60 days after receiving email address

Pro Tip: If your ‘welcome’ series is promotional, add segmentation criteria to cease sending emails if a subscriber becomes a customer within the 60-day welcome window.

Choose your words wisely. 

We’ll dive into some more specific email inspiration in the section below, however, when it comes to planning the content for your emails, you’ll want to keep these two things in mind:

Personalization

Welcoming subscribers and creating a personalized subject line is crucial. The read rates of welcome emails are highly predictive of how engaged subscribers will be with subsequent messaging and how much they’ll spend.

In exchange for just a few lines of code to personalize your email, your subscribers are more likely to open, interact, and engage in a lasting relationship with your company. Take the additional time needed to personalize your emails. And, if you can go beyond simply adding their name, that’s even better.

Expectations

Aside from personalized emails, we recommend setting clear expectations at the beginning. If you plan on email subscribers weekly, let them know. The same applies for daily, monthly, or any other interval.

Also, make sure it’s really easy to unsubscribe from your emails. The last thing you want is someone marking you as spam because they couldn’t opt-out of your communications. 

Need Inspiration? 

Let’s take a look at some examples of companies — both B2B and B2C — that are nailing their ‘welcome’ emails. (And check out this post for even more ‘welcome’ email inspiration.)

B2B Example: Wistia

After an initial activation email, Wistia sends out a simple, bright, and effective ‘welcome’ email.

From the beginning, Wistia’s ‘welcome’ email strategy is focused on bringing the subscriber value, rather than simply promoting their product. They ask the question, “Have you checked out the learning center?”

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This is a resource where customers are able to easily access tips and tricks regarding a variety of different video education topics. The Learning Center is provided to highlight the strengths of the Wistia service and also show how it can help the subscriber personally. (Great job educating, Wistia.)

If you’re in the software business, here are some ideas for your ‘welcome’ series:

  • Talk about the benefits of using your product.
  • Provide free resources and tips on how to get the most out of your product.
  • Establish credibility, focusing on ease of use, reliability, and convenience.

Click here to view the full Wistia ‘welcome’ journey map.

B2C Example: Coach

If you are an online retailer, your ‘welcome’ emails will be slightly different. For starters, subscribers are not searching for information regarding a specific topic, rather they are interested in certain products and receiving up-to-date information about new releases and discounted offers.

Coach is a great example of how to make a good first impression and doesn’t forget to welcome new subscribers with an upbeat subject line, “Welcome to Coach Emails!”

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As we discussed earlier, it is important to set email expectations so the subscriber fully understands what content will be included in future emails, which is something that Coach has managed well. 

If you’re in the ecommerce industry, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Create a product narrative around your products: talk about why they’re great, high-quality, useful, affordable, etc.
  • Feature your best-selling products to pique consumers’ interest.
  • If applicable, appeal to things that consumers value — include mentions of fair trade, locally grown, and use of organic materials.
  • Include a discount or welcome incentive.

Get Started Now

If you don’t have a ‘welcome’ campaign, don’t wait another minute. You can get started by subscribing to your competitors’ email lists to keep a close eye on their strategy, take note of what they’re doing and what you like (and don’t like). From there, you can borrow the good things and improve on the not-so-good ones.

Remember: In the beginning, you don’t need to be perfect. What’s most important is that you are welcoming subscribers and building a strong and lasting relationship.

What’s the best ‘welcome’ email you’ve ever received? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

free email planning and tracking template

Sep

29

2016

30 Ways to Slice Your Email Database for Better Email List Segmentation

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If you’re new to the world of email marketing, you might be unfamiliar with the importance of segmenting your email lists. But it’s a big deal: According to DMA, 77% of email marketing ROI came from segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns in 2015. 

The best part about email segmentation? There are a ton of creative ways you can segment your email list to run innovative and effective campaigns that leads and customers will enjoy, from geography and industry to content format and topic. The more information you collect about your email recipients, the more opportunities you have to tailor your emails to resonate just right. Download our complete guide to email marketing here for even more email  segmentation and optimization tips.

To get your brainstorm started, check out the comprehensive list of email list segmentation ideas below. (Then, download this email marketing planning template to keep all of your email efforts organized.)

30 Ways to Segment Your Email List for More Targeted Email Marketing

The whole point of segmentation is to provide more relevant content to your email recipients. To do that, you’ll have to take the time to craft targeted campaigns that take into account not just list segments, but also lead data, and trigger events that help customize your email campaigns further. (Our marketing team uses the Email App and the Lists App in the HubSpot Marketing Platform in combination with HubSpot CRM to accomplish this.)

Bear in mind that while some of these recommendations will work wonderfully on their own, many of them are at their absolute best when crossed with other segments, triggers, and lead intelligence data. 

1) Geography

Knowing where your contacts live can be seriously powerful information. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, you wouldn’t want to send in-store offers to out-of-towners, right? Or let’s say you’re a national franchise — you better be segmenting by zip code to ensure you’re not infringing on someone else’s territory, or worse, marketing to a location that your organization doesn’t even service yet.

Here’s a geographically-segmented email I received from Vamoose, a bus service I’ve used frequently to travel between New York and the Washington, D.C. area. (I can’t believe it’s already time to start planning travel for Thanksgiving.)

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2) Age

People of all ages have access to the internet these days, which means you could be emailing a college student, a retiree, or even a little kid. You may find knowing the general age range of the people on your list helpful to remove those not in your target audience, or to adjust the messaging of your email communications.

3) Gender

Just as you’d speak to a retiree and a college student differently, you might adjust your messaging and offers based on gender, too. If you have a wide product offering that extends across genders, consider segmenting your list in this manner — and beefing up the segmentation with other demographic and psychographic details as well.

4) Persona

Speaking of demographics and psychographics, you should have buyer personas that include information of this nature, as well as more detailed explanations of what makes these folks tick and why your solution provides value for them. If you don’t have buyer personas created already, use these free templates to create your own — and then segment your list based on them. Because each persona has different needs and value propositions, they’re all going to require different email content for the best clickthrough and conversion rates.

5) Organization Type

Do you sell to other businesses? Are they franchises? Non-profit organizations? Ecommerce companies? Enterprise organizations? Small businesses? They all have different needs, and as such, their email content should be different — so segment your list accordingly.

6) Industry

If you’re selling to other businesses, you may encounter leads and contacts across many different industries. Knowing your lead’s industry will allow you to add another level of personalization to your email marketing.

7) Job Function

As a B2B marketer, your email list could contain a whole melee of different job functions — office personnel, salespeople, marketers, consultants, developers, customer service, accountants … the list goes on. Considering the breadth of job roles within any given organization, doesn’t it make sense to segment your list accordingly?

8) Education Level

You could segment your list based on how many degrees they hold, or how educated a lead or contact is regarding your brand and the subject matter you discuss. If you segment your list based on the level of understanding they have on the topics you write about, you can tailor your lead nurturing content to speak at the right level.

Here’s an email I received from Idealist, which they sent to me based on my previous indication that I had already earned a Bachelor’s degree:

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9) Seniority Level

There are different job roles, and there are different levels of seniority. Perhaps your contact said they work in marketing, but is she the VP of marketing, or a marketing coordinator? Those two contacts will differ in years of experience, salary level, pain points, decision-making potential, and a whole host of other differences that make segmentation critical for effective email marketing campaigns.

10) Past Purchases

If a segment of your list has purchased from you before, use that information to send them emails catered to that which interests them. Then make your bottom line bigger by identifying upsell opportunities with additional services or complementary products they’d enjoy based on their past purchases.

Here’s Casper, the maker of my bed made of clouds, shooting me an email about the other products they offer:

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11) Purchase Interests

You can infer someone’s purchase proclivities from past buying behavior, or you can just ask. My colleague, Lindsay Kolowich, highlighted companies who do this in creative ways — such as with surveys — in a recent blog post about awesome email marketing campaigns to help them create better targeted emails.

12) Buying Frequency

Segment your email list based on how often someone purchases. Not only can you try to increase shopping frequency for some, but you can also reward frequent shoppers with an invitation to your loyalty program to make your brand even stickier. (Download this free guide to learn how to more effectively use and measure customer loyalty programs for your business.)

Here’s a customer loyalty email I received from my mobile provider, AT&T, about early ticket access to a concert they’re hosting. (Do you think they somehow know I attended a Panic! At the Disco concert when I was in middle school? This is embarrassing, readers.)

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13) Purchase Cycle

Do certain customers come to you on a weekly, monthly, yearly, or quarterly basis? Or perhaps they only need you at a certain time of year — a pool cleaner might see upticks in spring and fall, for example. Segment your list based on customers’ purchase cycle so you can be there right at their point of need.

14) Content Topic

Here at HubSpot, we’ve noticed that some of our leads and contacts are far more interested in certain content topics than others. There’s one segment that’s extremely interested in sales and marketing alignment, while another is far more interested in Snapchat for business. So it only makes sense that we segment our list based on the topics our contacts have showed interest in. Take a look at what content gets people clicking, and segment your list based on that.

Here an example of an email I received from Twitter featuring suggestions for who to follow next (and it worked):

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15) Content Format

You may find that specific content formats are more appealing to certain segments of your database — some like blogs, others prefer ebooks, and some may only show up when you put on a webinar. For example, in a recent HubSpot Research survey, 43% of respondents wanted to see more video content in the future. If you know how certain segments of your list prefer to consume content, you can deliver the offer content in your emails via their preferred format.

16) Interest Level

Just because someone converts on a content offer, doesn’t mean they actually liked it. Segment your list based on how interested leads are in your content. For example, we might email a segment of webinar attendees that stayed engaged for 45 minutes or more with a middle-of-the-funnel offer to help move them along in the sales cycle, while those that dropped off before 10 minutes might receive another top-of-the-funnel offer — or even a feedback survey to gauge what specifically lost their interest.

17) Change in Content Engagement Level

Have you noticed an increase or decrease in the amount of time leads are spending with your content? This is an indication of their interest in your company, and should be used to either reawaken waning interest, or move leads along through the sales cycle while they’re at their height of engagement with your content.

Here’s an example from Udemy, who segmented their email list to try to re-engage inactive users (I still highly recommend Udemy’s online classes):

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18) Change in Buying Behavior

Similar to a change in content engagement, a change in buying behavior can indicate a lead is becoming more or less interested in your company. Leads that decrease purchasing frequency, for example, might need a little extra love — and thus, a dedicated lead nurturing campaign.

I typically buy glasses and contact lenses at Lenscrafters once yearly with my vision insurance benefit, but I haven’t yet this year, so they wisely sent me this nurturing email with a gentle reminder to purchase from them:

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19) Stage in the Sales Cycle

I’ve mentioned it a little bit here and there, but the stage a lead is at in the sales cycle should determine which email segment they fall in. At the very least, set up separate lead nurturing tracks for those at the top of your sales funnel, in the middle of your sales funnel, and at the bottom of the sales funnel.

20) Email Type

There’s a lot you can tell by someone’s email address. You design your emails for different email clients if you’re really into sophisticated email design, or if they’re Gmail clients, responsive email design.

21) Satisfaction Index

Many businesses use satisfaction indexes to determine how happy their customer base is — Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a very popular one. If you’re measuring satisfaction numerically, consider sending an email segmented based on your customers’ level of happiness with your organization. Those with a high NPS score, for example, might provide opportunities to gather reviews, referrals, or even upsells. Those with lower scores, however, may get emails that give them access to educational materials that will make them happier and more successful customers.

Here’s Wayfair‘s email asking me to review how a recent purchasing and delivery experience went:

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22) Customers Who Refer

Consider creating a list segment full of those customers who repeatedly refer new business your way. These are your biggest brand advocates, and should receive emails targeted towards loyalty programs, refer-a-friend discounts, even possibly trials for new products or services you’re releasing to get honest feedback before widespread rollouts.

23) Customers Who Haven’t Reviewed

You should always be trying to get more positive reviews of your business, so why not create a list segment that targets those customers who haven’t written a review yet? You could combine this list segment with, say, those that are also social media fans and have a high NPS score. Think about it … you know they follow you on Twitter and their NPS score indicates they love you. That’s just begging for an online review email campaign. (Check out this case study guide + template to help you successfully reach out to potential participants and engage them in the process.)

Here’s LinkedIn‘s email asking me to participate in a feedback survey:

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24) In-Store vs. Webstore Visitors

If you have both a brick-and-mortar location as well as a website, segment your list based on where your customers like to shop. You can give invites to in-store events to those customers that give you foot traffic, while those that only visit your webstore might receive offers that should only be redeemed online.

25) Shopping Cart Abandonment

After analyzing 34 online studies of ecommerce shopping cart abandonment, Bamyard Institute determined that, on average, 68% of shopping carts were abandoned prior to purchase. Yikes. If you run an ecommerce webstore, you absolutely must have an abandoned shopping cart email program, and you should be segmenting your contacts based on this behavior.

26) Form Abandonment

Not an ecommerce company? You still have abandoners on your site — form abandoners. If someone starts filling out some forms on your website and then loses interest, gets busy, has a lousy internet connection, gets eaten by a zombie … you know, whatever … segment out those leads for nurturing aimed at bringing them back to your website to complete the form. The offer was interesting enough at one point in time to pique their interest, so why not try to recover some of those form abandoners?

27) Usage

Whatever it is you offer, there are some customers who you could consider “power users.” These are the ones that totally get how to navigate your website, use every feature in your software, and make the most of their relationships with your service providers. Then there are the rest of us. Segment out the power users and the strugglers, frequent users, and infrequent users; then send email content that teaches them how to be more successful with your product or service. The more customers use your product, the more likely they are to stick around: Bluenose found that lack of use was the number one driver of software customer churn.

Here’s a use-segmented email I received from MapMyRun. I feel misleading including it because I truly can’t remember the last time I went running, but it’s still a good example of list segmentation:

mapmyrun.png

28) Event Attendance

Does your organization host book signings, conferences, or social events? Don’t miss the opportunity to reach out to leads and potential customers you’ve already made a positive connection with. Segment your email list depending on the type of event, the topic or theme of your events, or even to RSVPs who didn’t make it out. You’ll be able to keep inviting them to events while sharing relevant content offers based on what you learned about them from past events. (P.S. – Have you registered for INBOUND 2016 yet?)

29) Page Views

You can tell a lot about your contacts from their behaviors, and the web pages they’re browsing are no exception. Are there certain blogs they’re reading or questions they’re asking when they come to your website? Experiment with lead nurturing campaigns dedicated to different topics your website covers to appeal to your site visitors’ patterns.

30) Call-to-Action Clicks

A clickable call-to-action is what takes your website content to the next level because it helps you generate leads and contacts. (Download 50 customizable call-to-action templates here.) You can tell which types of language work on your contacts based on what makes them click, or not click, on your CTAs. Are they more inclined toward time sensitive offers to “act now” or “try this month,” or do they prefer more explicit offers of “free” or “discounted” products? Use their clicking habits to determine how you segment your email list, and what language you use when reaching out. 

I hope this list has given you ideas for ways to segment your own lists, and most importantly, sparked some creative email campaigns you can run as a result of this new segmentation.

So what about you — what other ways can you think of to segment your email lists? Which of these segmentation ideas could you combine with others for really epic results?

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

free guide to optimizing and segmenting email

 
free guide: how to segment your email marketing

Sep

29

2016

15 Time-Saving Email Templates for Marketing & Sales [Free Guide]

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We waste a lot of time reading and responding to emails at work. So much so that many people have become obsessed with optimizing their time spent “dealing” with email — whether that’s putting limits on the number of times they check their inbox during the day, using a productivity method such as inbox zero, or investing in tools to manage the mess of incoming communications. 

One effective way to reduce the amount of time spent writing and perfecting emails while also improving the chance of your message being opened, read, and responded to is to create a library of email templates you’ve found to be effective.

And you’re in luck because we’ve got a guide to get you started building out this repository. 

In our new ebook — 15 Email Templates for Marketing & Sales — you’ll find sample copy for commonly sent emails you can customize for your own communications. Included in the guide are templates for: 

  • Pitching a co-marketing campaign to an influencer
  • Requesting a customer reference
  • Reaching out to speaker
  • Pitching a guest post to an editor
  • Following up after an in-person meeting 
  • And more!

Cut down on the time you spend writing emails and improve your response rate by downloading the templates here.  

free email copy templates  

Sep

15

2016

Gmail to Begin Supporting Responsive Design: What Google’s Announcement Means for Marketers

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More than ever before, people are relying on their mobile devices for web browsing. In fact, a recent study from Hitwise found that almost 60% of U.S. online searches are conducted via mobile, and according to Litmus, 56% of emails were opened on mobile devices in April 2016.

With so many potential customers opening emails on mobile, it’s essential that marketers optimize their sends for tablets and smartphones in addition to desktop computers. Luckily, Google has made that easier with their announcement that Gmail will begin supporting emails created with responsive design later this month.

Let’s dive into some of the details marketers should know about this announcement.

What’s changing?

Until this month, many email marketers have had to optimize their sends for mobile using manual tactics — changing the sizes and proportions of images, links, calls-to-action, and so on. (HubSpot customers: You get to skip the headache thanks to default emails automatically optimized with responsive design.) But these steps are time-consuming to say the least. 

However, last night, Gmail announced that both Gmail and Inbox by Gmail will now allow for emails developed with responsive design. In other words, emails will dynamically adapt so their content automatically fits the size of all screens.

What’s the difference in experience between an email that’s been optimized for mobile, and one that hasn’t? When emails aren’t optimized for mobile use, the content might appear distorted, forcing readers to zoom in or out to read the message or click on a link. When emails are optimized for mobile devices, images and links automatically adjust so they’re easier to view on a smartphone or tablet. 

To put the significance of responsive design into context, consider that 39% of people will stop engaging with a mobile site if images take too long to load, and 38% will stop engaging with a website if the layout is unattractive, according to Adobe

This GIF from Google illustrates the difference:

responsive.gif

If you’re design-minded, Google is making this possible by means of CSS media queries. According to Jeffrey Vocell, principal product marketing manager at HubSpot, these coding filters are used in website and email creation to ensure that an email, regardless of the device it’s accessed on, will look just the way the sender intended. They make it easy to change the style of content depending on which type of device is loading the email or website.

What does this mean for marketers?

I asked HubSpot Demand Generation Marketing Manager Nick Barrasso what he thought about the announcement.

“It’s about time that Google is supporting media queries for responsive design,” Barrasso said. “The growth of email engagement on mobile devices is not slowing anytime soon, so this is a move that’s not only welcomed, but long overdue.”

Here’s why Gmail’s announcement is such a big deal for marketers:

  1. Greater access: Gmail has one billion users worldwide, and 75% of Gmail users access their accounts on mobile devices. This change represents a tremendous opportunity for email marketers to target millions of potential customers with emails optimized for mobile.
  2. Better user experience: 42% of consumers in a BlueHornet study said they would delete an email if it didn’t display properly on a mobile device. This change will improve the recipient experience, and perhaps save some messages from the dreaded delete.
  3. Greater accessibility: According to Kevin Mandeville, content designer at Litmus, “Accessibility in email is essential for a campaign’s success.” Features in CSS media queries that Gmail now support include larger, touch-friendly buttons and automatic image resizing. Additionally, Gmail will support CSS screen-reading settings so recipients can more easily listen to emails as well.
  4. Streamlined email design: Email marketers and designers will no longer have to hack their way to mobile-optimized emails using CSS inlining, templates, or manually adjusting sizes and proportions. CSS media queries are a far less complicated, one-stop process for responsive design.
  5. Gmail is an influencer: Now that the largest email provider is supporting responsive design, other services may follow suit in order to compete. 

With more than 80% of global email users projected to access their email on mobile devices by the end of 2018, it’s of no small consequence that Google has just taken the next step to improve user experience and results for Gmail users and email marketers.

Now that producing mobile-optimized emails has gotten that much easier, check out our roundup of remarkable email marketing campaigns to start brainstorming creative sends to engage mobile users.

What do you think about Gmail’s announcement? How are you preparing to optimize your emails for mobile? Let us know in the comments.

free ebook: how to grow your email list

Sep

9

2016

12 Clever Ways to Use Your Email Signature to Support Your Marketing Campaigns

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You know that you’re a true email marketer if every single one of your emails includes a call-to-action. And I’m not talking about email marketing blasts here. What I have in mind are the individual, personal email messages you send on an everyday basis.

Yes, your personal email signature can provide a serious marketing opportunity.

You are most likely already using your own email signature to provide information about who you are and where you work. But you can take this practice to the next level by updating your signature to reflect the marketing campaigns you are running today. Easily create your own professional email signature with our free Email  Signature Generator here.

Are you missing out on another opportunity to spread brand awareness or nurture prospective customers? Wondering what exactly you can promote through your email signature? Here are twelve awesome suggestions.

12 Professional Email Signature Ideas to Support Your Marketing Campaigns

1) Your Homepage

The least you should promote in your email signature is your company’s website. But in order for this tactic to be efficient, you have to make sure your homepage acts like a landing page.

In other words, it directs the visitor’s attention to the activity you want them to take. For instance, HubSpot’s homepage suggests that you receive a free product demo. Including your website’s homepage in an email signature also helps to expand awareness of your brand. Here’s an example (with help from our friend, Harry Potter):

harry.png2) Social Media

When it comes to the usage of social media in email signatures, you have two options. You can either include a link to your personal accounts on sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, etc., or you can include links to your company’s accounts. Both are good options. Check out how HubSpot’s Principal Marketing Manager Pam Vaughan promotes her social channels in the example below:

pamfinal.png3) Your Blog

Your blog is one of the smartest things you can include in your email signature because it provides value to the community and gets updated on a regular basis. The fresh content on your blog is more engaging than a static homepage and will most likely retain the attention of the visitor for longer.

If you do shine light on your blog, don’t forget to include calls-to-action throughout your posts to encourage readers to take the next step and become a lead. Using our email signature tool, you can create a dynamic email signature that includes an RSS feed, which shows the title of your most recent blog article and automatically updates as new articles get published. Check out my editor, Carly Stec‘s:

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4) Book

Have you written a book? Has your manager or CEO written one? Don’t be shy about it. Share a link to the book in your email signature. That will help you build authority and credibility among the people you communicate with. Here’s our own Aja Frost promoting her ebook:

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5) Conferences & Events

Is there a company trade show coming up soon? Or maybe you are speaking at a conference? Change your email signature to reflect that. While your email signature might not necessarily help you generate more registrants, it will surely spread the word about the event and gain some awareness among your target audience. Here’s an event promotion signature from my colleague, Elijah Clark Ginsberg:

elijahfinalfinal.png

(P.S. – Are you registered to hear from Alec Baldwin, Serena Williams, and other marketing and sales professionals at INBOUND 2016 yet?)

6) New Marketing Offer

Have an offer that’s doing a great job of converting traffic into leads? (You can tell by looking at their corresponding landing pages’ visitor-to-submission rates in your marketing analytics). Identify your best performing offers, and then expose them to more traffic. Use your email signature to share a link to a popular ebook or a webinar. Or if you’re currently featuring a new campaign that highlights a particular offer, use that in your signature instead. Here’s an example of my own signature promoting this ebook:

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7) Industry Research

Speaking of data, don’t underestimate the impact that facts and figures can have in a marketing context. People on the web are overwhelmed with information, which encourages them to look for specifics. If you publish an industry report based on proprietary research, as Mimi An does over at HubSpot Research, consider including a link to it in your email signature:

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8) Case Studies

Salespeople love this one. If you’re talking to potential customers, what’s better than sharing stories of successful ones?

For instance, you can mention how your product or service increased the ROI of customer XYZ, or quote a customer in your email signature to boost your company’s credibility.

hermione.png9) Free Tool

If your company happens to have a free tool, such as an ROI calculator, educational game, or blog topic generator, give it some marketing love. Free online tools have the power to engage readers and get them further interested in your product or service. Check out Eric Peters‘ signature promoting HubSpot’s free email signature generator (meta, we know):

ericfinal.png

10) Demonstration of Your Product / Free Consultation

When you are having a tough sales month, consider using an email signature that promotes a free consultation with your team or even a demonstration of your product. In that way, you’ll increase traffic to these middle-of-the-funnel marketing offers and show your sales organization that you’re taking advantage of every possible opportunity to help them out. 

dumbledore.png

11) News about Your Company

If your team or company has received recognition for exceptional work, highlight the news article or press release in your email signature. News that your company is doing exceptional work will drive traffic to your blog and promote greater brand awareness for your organization. Here’s an example from HubSpot Senior Recruiter Emily MacIntyre:

emily_sig.png

12) Promotional Videos

Has your company ever produced a promotional video? (Here’s an awesome video about HubSpot’s culture, for example.) Add a link to your company’s video so recipients can learn more about you without navigating away from the email message. You can promote a campaign, an event, or an offer in a more engaging way than a hyperlink alone. Here’s an example from our own Angela O’Dowd promoting HubSpot’s Agency Partner Program:

angelafinal.png

Ready to rework your email signature? Simplify the process using this free email signature generator.  

Have any other ideas for what your email signature can promote? Share them in the comments section below!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2012 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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free email sign

Aug

26

2016

15 of the Best Email Marketing Campaign Examples You’ve Ever Seen

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At one point or another, we all need inspiration to do our jobs better. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a marketing veteran who has navigated through years of changing technology or a newbie fresh out of college — we all need examples of outstanding content. It helps us get through creative ruts, make the case to our boss for experimentation, and improve our own marketing.

Most of the time, inspiration is easy to find because most marketing content is publicly available. You can scour the internet or go on your favorite social network to see what your connections are talking about.

But there’s one marketing channel that is really, really hard to find good examples of unless you’re already in the know: email. There’s nothing casual about it — you usually need to be subscribed to an email list to find great examples of emails. And even if you’re subscribed to good emails, they are often bombarding you day after day, so it’s hard to notice the gems. Download our free guide here to learn how to create email marketing campaigns  people actually click. 

Because it’s so difficult to find good email marketing examples, we decided to do the scouring and compiling for you. Read on to discover some great emails and get the lowdown on what makes them great — or just keep on scrolling to get a general feel for each. However you like to be inspired is fine by us!

15 Examples of Effective Email Marketing

1) charity: water

When people talk about email marketing, lots of them forget to mention transactional emails. These are the automated emails you get in your inbox after taking a certain action on a website. This could be anything from filling out a form to purchasing a product to updating you on the progress of your order. Often, these are plain text emails that email marketers set and forget.

Well, charity: water took an alternate route. Once someone donates to a charity: water projects, their money takes a long journey. Most charities don’t tell you about that journey at all — charity: water uses automated emails to show donors how their money is making an impact over time. With the project timeline and accompanying table, you don’t even really need to read the email — you know immediately where you are in the whole process so you can move on to other things in your inbox.

charity-water-email-example

2) BuzzFeed

I already have a soft spot for BuzzFeed content (21 Puppies so Cute You Will Literally Gasp and Then Probably Cry, anyone?), but that isn’t the only reason I fell in love with its emails.

First of all, BuzzFeed has awesome subject lines and preview text. They are always short and punchy — which fits in perfectly with the rest of BuzzFeed’s content. I especially love how the preview text will accompany the subject line. For example, if the subject line is a question, the preview text is the answer. Or if the subject line is a command (like the one below), the preview text seems like the next logical thought right after it:

buzzfeed_inbox

Once you open up an email from them, the copy is equally awesome. Just take a look at that glorious alt text action happening where the images should be. The email still conveys what it is supposed to convey — and looks great — whether you use an image or not. That’s definitely something to admire.

Without images:

buzzfeed-email-example-1.png?noresize

With images:

buzzfeed-email-example.png?noresize

3) Uber

The beauty of Uber‘s emails is in their simplicity. They let their email subscribers know about deals and promotions by sending an email like the one you see below. We love how brief the initial description is, paired with a very clear call-to-action — which is perfect for subscribers who are quickly skimming the email. For the people who want to learn more, these are followed by a more detailed (but still pleasingly simple), step-by-step explanation of how the deal works.

We also love how consistent the design of their emails is with their brand. Like their app, website, social media photos, and other parts of their visual brand, their emails are represented by bright colors and geometric patterns. All of their communications and marketing assets tell their brand’s story — and brand consistency is one tactic Uber’s nailed in order to gain brand loyalty.

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4) TheSkimm

We’ve written about TheSkimm’s daily newsletter before — especially its clean design and its short, punchy paragraphs. But newsletters aren’t TheSkimm’s only strength when it comes to email. Check out their subscriber engagement email below, which rewarded my colleague Ginny Mineo for being subscribed for two years.

Emails triggered by milestones like anniversary emails and birthday emails are fun to get — who doesn’t like to celebrate a special occasion? The beauty of anniversary emails in particular is that they don’t require subscribers to input any extra data, and they can work for a variety of senders and the timeframe can be modified based on the business model.

Here, the folks at TheSkimm took it a step further by asking her if she’d like to earn the title of brand ambassador as a loyal subscriber — which would require her to share the link with ten friends, of course.

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5) Mom and Dad Money

Think you know all about the people who are reading your marketing emails? How much of what you “know” about them is based on assumptions? The strongest buyer personas are based on insights you gather from your actual readership, through surveys, interviews, and so on, in addition to the market research. That’s exactly what Matt Becker of Mom and Dad Money does — and he does it very, very well.

Here’s an example of an email I got in my inbox a few weeks ago. Design-wise, it’s nothing special — but that’s the point. It reads just like an email from a friend or colleague asking for a quick favor.

Not only was this initial email great, but his response to my answers was even better: Within a few days of responding to the questionnaire, I received a long and detailed personal email from Matt thanking me for filling out the questionnaire and offering a ton of helpful advice and links to resources specifically catered to my answers. I was very impressed by his business acumen, communication skills, and obvious dedication to his readers.

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6) Poncho

Some of the best emails out there pair super simple design with brief, clever copy. When it comes down to it, my daily emails from Poncho, which sends me customizable weather forecasts each morning, takes the cake. They’re colorful, use delightful images and GIFs, and very easy to scan. The copy is brief but clever — some great puns in there — and aligns perfectly with the brand. Check out the copy near the bottom asking to “hang out outside of email.” Hats off to Poncho for using design to better communicate its message.

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7) Birchbox

The subject line of this email from beauty product subscription service Birchbox got my colleague Pam Vaughan clicking. It read: “We Forgot Something in Your February Box!” Of course, if you read the email copy below, they didn’t actually forget to put that discount code in her box — but it was certainly a clever way to get her attention.

And the discount code for Rent the Runway, a dress rental company that likely fits the interest profile of most Birchbox customers, certainly didn’t disappoint. That’s a great co-marketing partnership right there.

birchbox-email-example

8) Postmates

I’ve gotta say, I’m a sucker for GIFs. They’re easy to consume, they catch your eye, and they have an emotional impact — like the fun GIF in one of Postmates‘ emails that’s not only delightful to watch, but also makes you crave some delicious Chipotle.

You too can use animated GIFs in your marketing to show a fun header, to draw people’s eye to a certain part of the email, or to display your products and services in action. Here are the best places to find GIFs on the internet, and here’s an easy Photoshop tutorial for making your own.

chipotle-gif.gif

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9) Dropbox

You might think it’d be hard to love an email from a company whose product you haven’t been using. But Dropbox found a way to make their “come back to us!” email cute and funny, thanks to a pair of whimsical cartoons and an emoticon.

Plus, they kept the email short and sweet to emphasize the message that they don’t want to intrude, they just want to remind the recipient that they exist and why they could be helpful. When sending these types of email, you might include an incentive for recipients to come back to using your service, like a limited-time coupon.

dropbox-email-example.png

10) InVision App

Every week, the folks at InVision send a roundup of their best blog content, their favorite design links from the week, and a new opportunity to win a free t-shirt. (Seriously. They give away a new design every week.) They also sometimes have fun survey questions where they crowdsource for their blog. This week’s, for example, asked subscribers what they would do if the internet didn’t exist.

Not only is their newsletter a great mix of content, but I also love the nice balance between images and text, making it really easy to read and mobile-friendly — which is especially important because their newsletters are so long. (Below is just an excerpt, but you can read through the full email here.) We like the clever copy on their call-to-action buttons, too.

invision-email-example.png

11) Warby Parker

What goes better with a new prescription than a new pair of glasses? The folks at Warby Parker made that connection very clear in their email to a friend of mine back in 2014. It’s an older email, but it’s such a good example of personalized email marketing that I had to include it in here.

The subject line was: “Uh-oh, your prescription is expiring.” What a clever email trigger. And you’ve gotta love ’em for reminding you your prescription needs updating.

Speaking of which … check out the clever co-marketing at the bottom of the email: If you don’t know where to go to renew your subscription, the information for an optometrist is right in the email. Now there’s no excuse not to shop for new glasses!

warby-parker-email-example

12) Cook Smarts

I’ve been a huge fan of Cook Smarts‘ “Weekly Eats” newsletter for a while. The company sends yummy recipes in meal plan form to my inbox every week. But I didn’t just include it because of its delicious recipes … I’m truly a fan of its emails. I love the layout: Each email features three distinct sections (one for the menu, one for kitchen how-to’s, and one for the tips). This means you don’t have to go hunting to find the most interesting part of its blog posts — you know exactly where to look after an email or two.

I also love Cook Smarts’ “Forward to a Friend” call-to-action in the top-right of the email. Emails are super shareable on — you guessed it — email, so you should also think about reminding your subscribers to forward your emails to friends, coworkers, or heck, even family.

cooksmart-email-example

13) HireVue

“Saying goodbye is never easy to do… So, we thought we’d give you a chance to rethink things”. That was the subject of this automated unsubscribe email from HireVue. We love the simple, guilt-free messaging here, from the funny header images to the great call-to-action button copy.

Not only are the design and copy here top-notch, but we applaud the folks at HireVue for sending automated unsubscribe emails in the first place. It’s smart to purge your subscriber lists of folks who aren’t opening your email lists because low open rates can seriously hurt email deliverability. We sent out a similar email in December 2015 when we automatically unsubscribed people once they became unengaged, which you can read about here.

hirevue-unsubscribe-email-example.png

14) Paperless Post

When you think of “holiday email marketing,” your mind might jump straight to Christmas, but there are other holidays sprinkled throughout the rest of the year that you can create campaigns around.

Take the email below from Paperless Post, for example. I love the header of this email: It provides a clear call-to-action that includes a sense of urgency. Then, the subheader asks a question that forces recipients to think to themselves, “Wait, when is Mother’s Day again? Did I buy Mom a card?” Below this copy, the simple grid design is both easy to scan and is quite visually appealing. Each card picture is a CTA in and of itself — click on any one of them and you will be taken to a purchase page.

paperless-post-email-example

15) Stitcher

Humans crave personalized experiences. It’s science. When emails appear to be created especially for you, you feel special — you’re not just getting what everyone else is getting. You might even feel like the company sending you the email knows you in some way, and that they care about your preferences and making you happy.

That’s why I love on-demand podcast/radio show app Stitcher‘s “Recommended For You” email. I tend to listen to episodes from the same podcast instead of branching out to new ones. But Stitcher wants me to discover (and subscribe to) all the other awesome content they have — and I probably wouldn’t without their encouragement.

I think this email is also quite a brilliant use of responsive design. The colors are bright, and it’s not too hard to scroll and click — notice the CTAs are large enough for me to hit with my thumbs. Also, the mobile email actually has features that make sense for recipients who are on their mobile device. Check out the CTA at the bottom of the email, for example: The “Open Stitcher Radio” button prompts the app to open on your phone.

stitcher-email-example?noresize

These are just some of our favorite emails. Don’t just follow best practice when it comes to your marketing emails. Every email you send from your work email address also can be optimised to convert. Try out our free email signature generator now. Check out some more of our favorite HubSpot marketing email examples.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2013 and has since been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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how to create emails people actually open

Aug

24

2016

5 Ways to Control Your Email Addiction [Infographic]

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If you’re among the 50% of us who check email from bed when we should be sleeping, then you know: We, as a society, are completely addicted to our email.

And you can chalk it up to dopamine — the neurotransmitter that makes us keep doing stuff that feels rewarding. Back in the day, those were things like eating, or having a nice conversation.

But now, says psychologist Dr. Laurie Paul, “the brain can become addicted to other things, such as the internet.” That means getting unread email notifications can trigger the same dopamine path. So we repeatedly check it, hoping for the same reward.

Want to kick the habit? This infographic below from Headway Capital has some helpful tips. (And to make the most of your time, check out our free ebook, 27 Email Hacks That’ll Make You More Productive.)



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free email productivity tips

Aug

11

2016

27 Email Hacks That’ll Make You More Productive [Free Ebook]

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When I made my start in the working world, I believed a terrible lie about my inbox.

I thought that the best employees respond to emails immediately. So of course, I prided myself on replying to emails quicker than any of my coworkers — even if that meant dropping whatever important task I was supposed to be doing.

Thankfully, this competitive spirit around my inbox didn’t last long. While I still love the feeling of “inbox zero,” I’ve come to understand the amount of time your inbox can steal. According to a study by McKinsey Global Institute, the average worker spends 28% of the workweek reading and responding to emails.

Emailing may seem like the most basic of tasks — write, attach, send, reply. But it turns out, it takes a thoughtful strategy to ensure your inbox isn’t the mortal enemy of your productivity. With our latest ebook — 27 Email Hacks That’ll Make You More Productive — we’ll help you unburden yourself from the weight of email overload.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to triage your inbox effectively, filter out unwanted messages, and use templates to write your emails faster. Then we’ll show you the secret features of Gmail and Outlook to help you take back your workday.

Don’t waste another minute clicking back and forth to your email tab.

Get your copy today.

free email productivity tips

Aug

8

2016

5 Email Campaign Ideas to Help Increase Conversion Rates [Infographic]

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As businesses adopt inbound marketing and generate more and more leads, the need for an effective lead nurturing strategy becomes clear very quickly.

After all, 50% of leads aren’t ready to buy at the time of first conversion, so lead nurturing — especially through email — is the smartest way for marketers like us to reach them.

Why is email is the most powerful channel for lead nurturing? Because it’s a one-on-one interaction, and it can be highly personalized based on where a lead is in the buyer’s journey. In terms of engagement, research shows that lead nurturing emails beat out individual email blasts by far.

So, how do you get started with email drip campaigns? Check out the infographic below from Eliv8 for five email drip campaign ideas that’ll help you increase engagement and sales. (And read this post for even more ideas for automated email workflows you can set up to engage and activate the different contacts in your database.)

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What other email drip campaign ideas can you add to this list? Share with us in the comments.

optimizing email marketing ebook

Jul

11

2016

Email Delivery vs. Deliverability: What’s the Difference?

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We spend hours planning out every detail of each campaign, crafting the perfect copy and agonizing over fonts, colors, and spacing. We talk through our personas, target audiences, and messaging. We build emails from scratch or lovingly modify templates so that we’re putting our best foot forward with our email marketing campaigns.

With all the blood, sweat, and tears that go into our emails, there’s nothing more heartbreaking than finding out the message never made it to our subscribers. No matter how carefully we plan our campaign strategy, design, and development, if the email doesn’t reach the inbox, it doesn’t matter.

Making it into the inbox is one of the more ambiguous, misunderstood elements of sending great email. Marketers often mix up a key distinction: delivery vs. deliverability. Though the terms are often used interchangeably, they have very different meanings.

Email Deliverability vs. Email Delivery

Let’s start with the basics: What are we even talking about? Here are the simple definitions:

  • Delivery refers to whether or not a receiver accepts your email. This comes before the inbox or spam folder distinction. Can the message physically be accepted in the first place?
  • Deliverability or Inbox Placement refers to where that message ends up once it is accepted; in other words, the inbox, spam folder, or another folder.

When it comes to understanding the difference between delivery and deliverability, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Can a receiver accept your message?
  2. Does it get to the inbox?

Let’s dive into both.

Can a receiver accept your message?

At its core, delivery refers to whether or not a receiver accepts the message you’ve sent. This comes before the spam folder is ever considered. Does the domain or email address exist? Is your IP address blocked?

Imagine your email is a busy business traveler on her way to a conference. Successful delivery would mean that the traveler arrived at the correct airport. (If anyone from New York has accidentally gone to LaGuardia instead of JFK, you know how these types of mix-ups happen!) She then proved her identity with a ticket and passport, and airport security verified her as safe to pass through security to her departure gate.

Similarly, when an email is successfully delivered, that simply means it made it to the intended recipient’s mailbox — and that could be in the inbox or the spam folder.

Did your email get to the inbox?

Also known as inbox placement, deliverability refers to where that message ends up once it’s accepted. Did it get to the inbox?

Let’s return to our travel metaphor. Our traveler has made it through security to the correct gate and now needs to get to her destination.

Deliverability is akin to where the traveler’s flight ultimately arrives. While most travelers safely get to their departure gate (delivery), weather or other mishaps may reroute them, for example, from Dallas to Houston (deliverability).

Deliverability consists of three parts:

  1. Identification: This is the set of protocols that prove you are who you say you are when you send an email, such as Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC). Each of these terms function like your passport, license, or background check. Are you Jane Doe, the hard-nosed lawyer from upstate New York? Or Jane Doe, the collegiate swim coach from southern California? Your ability to get on the correct flight to your intended destination hinges on your identity.
  2. Reputation: Your sender reputation is essentially a score that signals how trustworthy you are. Each organization and internet service provider (ISP) might have different scores for you. Generating positive subscriber behavior, like engaging with your email or marking you as a trusted sender, is the best way to boost your sender reputation — which you can do by sending relevant, personal emails to your subscribers.
  3. Content: Is your message appropriate for your audience? Is it relevant? Are you combining copy like “Make money fast!” and “Work from home” with poor sending practices like buying an email list (noooooo!) or preventing unsubscribes? Using excessive exclamation points, weird formatting, and URL shorteners can all impact your email’s deliverability based on your previous sending patterns. Think about it from your subscribers’ perspective. If you receive an email with the subject line, “MAKE MONEY TODAY!!!!”, are you really going to open it? Tailor your message to what your subscribers care about to make the most impact.

Identification and reputation account for most of the reason an email lands in the inbox or the spam folder. Think about waiting in line for an airport security screening. If you don’t have a ticket, you won’t make it past the first desk. And if you’re on the no-fly list, you’re not going anywhere.

Delivery issues mean that something may be wrong with your infrastructure, you’ve got faulty email addresses on your list, or you’ve received enough negative user interaction to warrant a block. Deliverability issues indicate that your sending and permission practices might be out of whack, or your email list is generally disinterested in your content.

How to Make It to the Inbox

Now that you know the difference between email delivery and deliverability, what does this mean for your marketing strategy? Here are three best practices to ensure your messages make it to subscribers’ inboxes.

1) Make your list squeaky clean.

Even though we love permission-based marketing, when it comes to emails, permission can expire. A large number of inactive subscribers can dramatically impact your deliverability because they offset your engagement metrics. Consider removing or suppressing inactive customers after a set time or automating a re-confirmation campaign.

If you’re having deliverability issues, it’s possible your list includes spam traps, which look like real email addresses, but are used to identify spammers. Sending to one can indicate poor list hygiene or spammy acquisition practices, like buying and renting lists or scraping email addresses off the internet.

Removing invalid emails on a regular basis and re-confirming your inactive subscribers can help declutter your list.

2) Make it easy to unsubscribe.

It’s a common myth that unsubscribes are bad, but there’s no evidence that unsubscribes and unsubscribe rates via the direct unsubscribe link in your email affect your deliverability. In fact, it can actually help by boosting your subscriber engagement and cleaning up your email list. If you’re sending targeted campaigns to people who want to receive your emails, then you’re bound to increase opens and clicks, and decrease your bounces.

Don’t hide your unsubscribe button. Make it clear and easy to find in your email, whether that be in the footer or at the top. Streamline the unsubscribe process so that it’s one step — otherwise, you’re fighting a losing battle against the dreaded “report as spam” flag.

3) Make your emails personal and relevant.

Marketers and subscribers often define spam differently. Subscribers don’t think in terms of spam filter testing or algorithms, but in terms of relevance. Are you sending content that matters to them? This is ultimately the most important question to ask yourself before hitting “send” on any email.

Email is one of the most personal channels in a marketer’s arsenal. Sending emails that resonate with your audience and leverage the 1:1 nature of the medium won’t just positively impact your deliverability; it will also boost reader engagement and build better relationships with your audience as well.

free email planning and tracking template

Jul

6

2016

How to Optimize Your Emails for Mobile: 10 Tricks Every Marketer Should Know [Live Google Hangout]

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As a marketer, you know how powerful email can be to generating leads and nurturing prospects through your funnel.

But have you ever wondered if you’re really getting the most value out of the channel?

If you’re not optimizing your emails for your mobile audience, you’re missing out. Over 50% of emails are opened on a mobile device, making it crucial for marketers to master capturing the attention of their mobile readers. 

If you’re looking to learn more about mobile email optimization best practices, tune into a live Google Hangout with email marketing experts from Litmus and HubSpot.

In this 45-minute discussion, Litmus’ Justine Jordan and Jason Rodriguez and HubSpot’s Nick Barrasso will share their advice for designing high-converting emails for your mobile audience. 

Want to join us? Here are all the details:

  • When: Tuesday 7/12 @ 2 p.m. ET // 11 a.m. PT
  • Where: Live Google Hangout
  • RSVP: Click Here

Want to learn more about mobile email optimization? Click here to save your seat for this live event.

join a Google Hangout with email experts