3 Key Opportunities to Improve Email Engagement

This post is brought to you by our friend Mary Nielsen. Mary is a donning down-vester, Pacific Northwester and Marketing Communications Specialist at LeadGenius

 

Every morning I open my work inbox and greet around 3,467 unread-and-counting emails wondering if it will ever get down to that coveted and clean (0). It’s a wishful thought. In reality there are simply too many emails for me to keep up.

I’m not alone, though. Last year, the average number of emails sent and received in a single day was 205 billion. And the number is only rising.

To put such a big number in perspective, Neptune is just past 205 billion miles from Earth. Continue…

10 Email Clients as Game of Thrones Characters

You may have seen the generous shoutout we got from our friends at Pretio in their post about leadgen lessons learned from Game of Thrones. We don’t normally write “10 thises or thats” kind of articles, but now I can’t stop getting hyped for the real premier of Game of Thrones (episode 1 being mostly an extended recap) and I’m stealing Taylor’s theme. So, for no discernible reason, here we go.

Gmail = Stannis Baratheon

Both Gmail and Stannis the Mannis have a clear desire to lead us into the future, but neither really seem to want the future to be seriously different from the present. Or the past for that matter. In either case, I don’t think Stannis would support media queries either, just look what happened to Renly.

Azor Ahai Reborn

No, I’m not going to do these for all of them… probably

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The Time for New Templates is Meow.

In conjunction with our friends over at ZURB, we are excited to unleash the latest template theme for our Open Source Email Template library: Meow! ZURB is known to be the best for responsive emails due to their Foundation for Emails framework – ensuring that even with customization, your emails will look amazing across nearly any device.

Starting with that great foundation, we’ve gone the extra step of running every template through Litmus for a test drive across 40+ email clients and devices. A preview is included below: 

welcome Continue…

Overhauling Your Transactional Emails in Two Days

As an email company, we know all too well the perils of a fractured and inconsistent identity between your product styling and your email design. Email is your primary means of communication with your customers and should reinforce how they see your product. Leaving it as an afterthought can greatly deteriorate your customers’ experience.

Sendwithus’ goal is to make that process easier for transactional emails, but were we leading by example? What did our own emails look like?

Follow own advice

There was no consistency to our emails and this was something we needed to change. The following outlines the steps we took to improve our customers’ experience throughout the email process.

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#TEDC15 Was Delightful and Diverse and I Can’t Wait to Go Back

The Email Design Conference, or Litmus ConpHerence, as it would have been called if I were in charge (yes, we’re all thankful I wasn’t) was the first conference I’ve been to in my professional career that was legitimately fun without forcing said fun upon you. There were times specifically dedicated to “networking” as it were, but they were unintrusive and seemed to mostly center around sharing stories of how we got into the world of email.

Having these conversations, two things became apparent, one immediately, and the other over the course of the three day event. The first thing was that there were very few people representing Silicon Valley. In stark contrast to the more general startup-y conferences, there was very little sales going on. Most speakers clearly had adding value to the community as their top priority, and few people were coming at you business-card-first. In fact, there seemed to be a bit of a running joke that almost nobody had even brought business cards.

we picked them up from the printers yesterday
The other commonality that came up was that everyone I talked to seemed to come from some sort of fine or liberal arts background and had a mostly self-taught tech toolkit. With the word “hacker” being pummeled into meaninglessness, it was incredibly refreshing to be around a group of people that had truly learned their skills in pursuit of filling an immediate need, and pushing the constraints of outdated systems to do it artfully and with care. Continue…

Which Email Service Provider Should You Use?

Choosing an Email Service Provider (“ESP”) is really challenging. You need to trust your provider to get your emails delivered.

This is an important decision that impacts your ability to communicate with your customers. A provider that is cost effective today may not scale with your needs as you grow. With so many good options, it’s difficult to learn how ESP differ and pick one that’s right for you.

At Sendwithus, we partner with the best ESPs and are often asked by customers “Which ESP should I use?”.

The answer is: “it’s complicated”. Here’s how we break it down.

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It’s Zappening

The following is a guest post by our friend Alison Groves, from Zapier. Our integration with them went live a few months ago and we’re always looking at how our users are taking advantage. If you want to share your use case or have suggestions, let us know at us@sendwithus.com.

Email is one of the most important marketing channels out there, if not the most important. Communicating in emails with your users and customers—in newsletters, on-boarding campaigns, or even password resets—gives you the best way to start a direct conversation. However, doing that in any organized manner, and consistently delivering emails that are on message and effective can quickly become complicated.

Sendwithus boils down that process to be as easy and seamless as possible. Create and update email templates for anything you need to do, and you’re good to go. Then, you can make your life even easier by adding a few automations to your workflow. By connecting Sendwithus to Google Sheets, your landing pages and forms, and even e-commerce platforms, you can bring customers and users right into your email flow without any extra manual work or having to worry about people slipping through the cracks.

swuzap

That’s where Zapier comes in, by giving you the ability to connect the other apps you rely on to Sendwithus and keep data flowing between them. We asked a few users to share how they were using Zapier to automate their workflows and keep the email train rolling. Continue…

Getting Started with, and Subsequently Breaking, Schema for Gmail

If you’re a Gmail user, you may have noticed an increase over the last year or so of emails including advanced actions directly from your inbox. If you’re a Gmail and a GitHub user, you have definitely noticed.

github schema actions in the inbox

Github basically extends their app into your inbox, and it’s awesome

But these exciting new buttons aren’t just for the nerds at GitHub, you can make use of them too, you just have to know how, and that’s what we’re here for. I should say that actual implementation will take some technical chops, but the goal right now is to just understand what’s possible. If you’re interested in seeing some functionality around schema in Sendwithus in the future, let us know! Continue…

It’s Okay If You Block My Tracking Pixel

We’re sending and receiving more email than ever, and that’s not just because people love email so much that they can’t help it. It just works. And to understand which emails are working and how well, we’ve got  a few tricks up our sleeves. What doesn’t always enter the conversation, though, is whether or not the user is comfortable with these methods.

Recently, there’s been an uptick in the popularity of plugins and extensions that block the functionality of tracking pixels. As a marketer, it may be your instinct to panic at this thought, but there are other options, perhaps even better ones, to give you insight into the performance of your emails.

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Let’s Talk About Your Referral Program

Referral programs don’t seem to suffer the same overcrowding effects as most other messaging. Giving a user multiple opportunities to like, share, or refer only ever (within reason) increases their participation.

Of course there’s a drop-off, but this effect holds out longer than you expect and probably a lot longer than it should. That’s why we should always be experimenting, but remember to weigh the results in good taste and always make sure you offer a proper incentive.

cashbribes

“We tend to overestimate the user’s sensitivity to certain messaging.”

Referral Prompts are Additive

This was the first of the three cardinal lessons of a referral program I picked up in conversation with Ivan Kirigin – whom you may know from his work on the dropbox referral program – while we were working on the latest chapter of our “How to Send Email Like a Startup” guide: Continue…