[WEBINAR] Ultimate Guide to Email in 2017
>> TRANSCRIPT <<
Peter: That’s right folks, It’s time for the new edition of the think tank with Bouncex. Welcome everyone my name is Peter Starr Northrop your webinar producer and host here at Bouncex bringing you the Ultimate Guide to Email in 2017, Behavioral Strategies with Kinetic Email. An uninterrupted conversation co-branded by Bouncex and our amazing friends over at Liveclicker.
First and foremost, we have Amanda Egolf; she’s the Visual Integration Lead over at Bouncex. She’s been coding emails, building some of the most behavioral emails on the planet, and is now leading our visual integration team, creating the new internet and new ways that brands interact with folks online. So many cool things Amanda and I’m so excited to get to talk about them today.
Did I get your title right by the way?
Amanda: Yes, What an introduction.
Peter: I know right, It’s been so scary with all the promotions going on. It’s like, oh God, I hope I get everyone’s names and titles right. Having your perspective is awesome. At the same time, we have one of our favorite panelists. He’s been on three, count it, three total Bouncex webinars. The current leader, amongst all of our panelists, Justin Foster, Co-founder of Liveclicker. This man is email. That’s all the introduction you need. He’s been in the email space for a better part of this decade. Building the new way that brands deliver emails to their prospects. Justin Foster, you want to get this conversation underway?
Justin: Peter, I love it. I’m pumped up. Happy to be here.
Peter: Awesome, and last but not the least we also have the pretty brilliant perspective of Rory Carlyle, Marketing at Liveclicker, as well. He’s been developing strategies in the email space and also helping brand the kinetic email revolution with the Liveclicker folks. Ladies & gentlemen, you go ahead and look at your GotoWebinar chat box. He recently posted an excellent post about video on the Oracle Marketing Cloud. Check that out ladies & gentlemen, but I mean just feel free also to stay here. Listen to our brilliant perspective in all things email. Rory Carlyle, are you ready to get this presentation underway?
Rory: Yes sir, I’m glad to be here.
Peter: Awesome, really glad that all of you here. So, the main thing we’ve been talking a lot about lately is this holiday season, and now since it’s so close, we’re trying a way of giving you last minute strategies because we respect the fact that you’ve all locked in your holiday marketing. I just want to talk about email as we move forward. There’s been so much going on in the email space; email is a thousand percent not dead we’re so sick of hearing that, we’re so tired of saying that as well. So just real quick, Amanda Egolf, in the past year alone how far is email coming regarding changing the batch and blast revolution into transactional email? What have you seen so far as the development of email in 2016?
Amanda: Well, it’s undeniable. Everyone is sending more email. Everyone is receiving more email, and has kind of created inbox fatigue as a result of that; I think that email marketers have to kind of rethink what they’re sending. We need to rethink batch and blast and create new approaches to reach people on a personal level and stick out. I mean, I think we all have those few emails or maybe many emails that you look forward to receiving because they play a part in your daily life, weekly life, or your monthly life. You anticipate them. It has to shift, just like, let’s send out as many emails as we can, to how do we connect with the recipient on their level.
Peter: Absolutely, that consumer mind shift has been pretty critical this year. Justin Foster, you’ve been developing a lot of strategies regarding making email far more welcomed in the inbox. How is that developing over the course of 2016? How does email become a far more welcome force in people’s inboxes across this year or into the future?
Justin: Well Peter, I am obviously super-excited about the growth of contextual content in email. The ability to serve more personalized information, just to give back up on what Amanda is saying there. These are the types of emails that people are looking forward to, but another thing that I’m excited about is the growth of kinetic content in email and some of the advancement of various email clients that are allowing us to create some of these cool interactive experiences that we’re going to be talking about today.
Peter: Absolutely, and Rory Carlyle, at the same time any further comment. What are you excited about regarding the development from an unwelcome batch and blast messaging just transactional kinetic messaging like what’s been going on on your end?
Rory: I love how personal it gets, I love how email now can catch up to the recipient in time and the moment that they open their email. It’s no longer inserting something that you have in a file and then sending it to them. You’re sending them messages that are segmenting and personalizing as they open them and that’s cool technology.
Peter: Right, and it brings us right to the main subject which is the data we need to keep in perspective. The main thing I want to talk about on the first part of this section is unsub rates. Considering our audience is terrified that some of the industry is waking up to with some emails are about to get sent to the Black Friday madness holiday season. We are seeing that the rapid increase of email send volume is also causing a sharp rise in unsub rates. Justin Foster, I want to hit you with this first. How are you combatting this and what data point do you keep in mind that kind of strategies on the fly to make sure that unsub rate kind of stays in check?
Justin: Well, I’m going to give a huge shout out to you guys at Bouncex because I think you’re doing a lot of really great things in this area. Looking at the behavioral data on a retailer brands website, seeing what people are interacting with, the type of content they’re clicking on, and then triggering out messages based upon that interaction. That’s one of the best ways to keep engagement high and make sure that we’ve got people that are going to be converting more as they are responding to our email messages. I think another thing that’s just interesting to me during the holiday season is the cadence, and it’s just the reality of the season, people are sending out emails a lot more and we’re looking for a way to make those emails connect in spite of the fact that we have this increase cadence. So, one of the easiest things that I think most retailers and just any email sender can implement is this idea of time-based targeting. We all have different sales, various promotions, and especially if we’re pushing email out every single day or every other day, we don’t want to to have someone open up an email three days later or four days later and see the expired sale or free shipping that is no longer offered. Sensing the context of when someone’s opening up their email and making sure that that content is exactly in sync with what’s going on with the website is going to create a much better experience.
Peter: So, not just constantly sending, but also ensuring that when the email is opened it’s still the most relevant piece of content, as well as the most relevant message that could be happening. Now, Amanda what data should folks be keeping in mind as well as just open and click rate, or what else is valuable as we go through in so developing our strategies for 2017?
Amanda: I love how Justin flipped that question about unsubscribes over and instead said to focus on keeping the engagement high. With recent changes in inboxes like the release of IOS 10, others, even more opportunities to unsubscribe up higher on your iPhone. I don’t necessarily think that the focus should be on preventing people from unsubscribing because it’s a relationship, and if the person doesn’t want to be in a relationship anymore, I would rather them click unsubscribe than hit spam or encounter any other deliverability issues. That means that it wasn’t a good fit. So, either I wasn’t sending them the right content or they weren’t going to be the high-intent customer anyway. Looking at the opens, the clicks, on the onsite engagement, orders, and time spent on site. Things like that, I think, are much more important than numbers than if someone organically keeps clicking unsubscribe.
Peter: Yeah, exactly so it’s about just making sure that you’re setting up the relationships from the get go or is it a matter of a dumping it?
Amanda: And maintenance, you know, sending re-engagement emails, making sure they want to still be on the list, or mailing them why they’re on the list in the first place. There’s a lot of stuff along that line of a relationship that I think keep engagement high.
Peter: Yeah, an example might be the option of turning down the messaging a lot of brands send during the holidays.
Amanda: Love that.
Peter: Can you just describe the strategy behind that real-quick? I just got like three questions about that, and it’s somewhat weird watching these comments here. Popcorn audience today.
Amanda: So, from personal experience. I signed up for pretty much every marketing email. You cannot imagine how many emails I get every day
Peter: Is that because you just like or you torture yourself or are you a nerd?
Amanda: I want to see, I’m just an email nerd. I love seeing what other people are doing, looking for great ideas, looking for what not to do sometimes. Recently, I signed up for a newsletter, and I was bombarded. It was awful. I mean it was like five emails a day, and they were all similar, and I was like this has to stop. I never unsubscribe. I get everyone’s emails, but in this case, it was too much and then suddenly when I click the unsubscribe, and they say, “Oh like we’re sorry that we’ve been annoying you. Would you rather get one every month or would you rather get one every two weeks?” and it was so respectful, and so I stayed.
Peter: It’s amazing how they were disrespectful at first, but then when you ask. Okay, wait yeah. Sorry…
Amanda: It could have come a little earlier, but the idea was there. Instead, do you only want to get this kind of email or should we only send this on the weekends or weekdays or once a month and taking that into consideration makes me feel a much more valued subscriber, not just a name on a list.
Peter: Now, when it comes to within email itself, Rory what metrics are you watching to make sure that the same engagement still happening? What are the main things that are exciting you as we move forward?
Rory: You know, I think on metrics you want to see specifics in the business, every business has their type of metrics that excite them or give them growth. I think personally within the email what’s most important right now for marketers just across the board is personalization. Being able to take the behavioral aspect, real-time demographical aspect, as well as known data and create an experience like Justin was talking about, where you’re getting the high engagement to reduce the unsubs, and you’re personalizing in such a way that the relationship is growing.
Peter: Right, so that’s the main thing in increasing the personalization. Justin do you have something to add there?
Justin: Yeah, I just said one metric that I think a lot of people don’t look at is the duration of open, and this metric can be a reliable proxy for measuring engagement in the email channel. Especially, as we talked about building the relationship over time, and I totally agree with Amanda, by the way, this is about building a relationship over time. It’s not just about what did I do in this one email here today. If we’re able to look at, for instance, some content feature in an email, might not necessarily be strongly tied with the call-to-action especially some of these more engagement focused, relationship building, value-added types of messages we’re sending out. So, looking at the duration of open, how long someone kept the message open, or are they just deleting it right away when they open the message, that’s one that I think is a nugget that the email folks don’t look at. I wish email marketers would start paying more attention to.
Peter: What’s a good duration of open? What’s the duration of open suggest like opening the email and then leaving your desktop if you have like a higher duration of open or is there like a sweet spot you are aiming at?
Justin: You know, that’s a really good question. The answer like so many things in email is, “it depends.” However, and this is just to give a shout-out to Rory because Rory conducted a whole month of research looking at different types of content in email and what types of content required duration of open versus lower duration of open. Let me give you an example. First of all, if your emails are being deleted on average, every one second, two seconds, that’s your average duration of open. You might want to take a harder look at the type of content you’re providing inside of the email. Having said that, certain things do invite people to leave emails open for a long time; there are certain things that don’t. One example of the type of content does which incite people to leave their email open is video. And this is just, you know, to Rory’s post you mentioned earlier here on the webinar today, Peter. When people could watch a video, and that’s an opportunity to sell them, to share an emotional message, to share your value proposition and to engage them. So it isn’t necessarily a bad thing with that type of content if you have maybe a 10 second, 20 seconds, 30-second duration of open. We have seen, by the way, emails that include contextual content. This is content that served using open time data have an average duration of open of almost 6 seconds I think just a shade of 5 ½ seconds. You can trust that to a study that Litmus ran in 2010. The average duration open they have seen there were only about two seconds. So there are some things that you can do to make your emails a little bit more exciting and a little bit more engaging.
Peter: You know Amanda, you kind of, you just put your skeptic face on.
Amanda: From a technologist standpoint of knowing, being familiar with this open pixel how would one track a three second open. So, a little right?
Justin: Yeah, so okay, so actually props to you Amanda, good call. Because the way that the duration of open is tracked is through using something called image redirection. Measure how long the connection is open, and there are email clients that don’t allow longer durations of open, like a 30-second duration of open to be measured. However there are mail clients that do, and you still can see if that duration of opens is longer in the mail clients that support those longer duration, that support in imagery in the client.
Peter: Oh yeah. Absolutely.
Amanda: That’s super cool.
Peter: Yeah! Forgive us for jumping on Litmus only. So Rory, can you go through it? I think the audience is very interested in what kinds of content bring us to that long duration of open because it’s something that’s touched a chord in our comment section. Ladies and gentlemen, giving comments and questions, make sure you’re hitting us up there as well as join the party, a hashtag. At the same time, though, just want to that keep moving forward behavioral cues and then moving on to kinetic strategies afterward. So Amanda just, we’ve talked a lot about how behavioral cues can lead to a good transactional email. What do you developing now regarding how we can keep going forward in 2017? What are some of the exciting behavioral moments on a site that can lead to an excellent email campaign and good email insights?
Amanda: I think a focus should be on making it as easy as possible to help the customer do whatever they are trying to do. We’ve been looking at continuing that experience and bringing them back to it. Making things easier for them, like Justin mentioned, most opens are short. Most people are reading through their inboxes, waiting for a subway, at least here in New York. You know, multi-tasking, making it as easy as possible to continue reading an article. If you’re a publisher or an ecommerce site and want technologies and want content can we bring into that email to get you as part of the funnel as possible when you do in one back onsite?
Peter: Right, so it’s just a matter of figuring out what the most active thing on the site is whether be like somebody leaves the product page or that sort of thing yeah?
Peter: Now when it comes to, go for it, Justin.
Justin: I just want to piggyback on that again. To share one example, a very classic one, triggered emails for abandoned shopping cart. A person looks for the item, they put in the cart, they abandon the cart, we send a triggered email out. One thing you can do to keep that experience as close to the website as possible is, actually measure when the person opens up the email, is the product in stock or not? That could be a really bad experience, right? If someone opens and they got that abandoned message, “Oh hey! We saw you are looking at this product, but guess what? The product sold out 5 hours ago.” It’s going be a negative experience for someone who clicks and goes to the site. It’s not just good, so keep it synced up.
Peter: Yeah, Exactly.
Amanda: Absolutely, and using that to kind of further the conversation, if it’s out of stock and you know. Send a back-in-stock email with similar products, or see this dialogue as If you were in the store. What would you say next if the product was out of stock?
Peter: Like, within the same email? Or should be a follow-up email?
Amanda: I think there are different ways to accomplish it. Various technical difficulties with integrating. With kinetic content, if you can change that content in the email and made all the better if it ‘s not really in your preview at the moment and sending out a follow-up email or syncing up the experience on site to be, to continue that conversation. And there’s a lot of different ways I think to go about it and just figuring out what makes the most sense for you and your customer.
Peter: Alright, awesome, and Rory what have you been watching regarding like the best new ways to build campaigns for your general marketing strategy in 2017?
Rory: I think a lot of it has become timed and triggered. Again, back to kind of everybody’s harping on the relationship idea. You’ve seen a lot of folks initiate after sales sign up and then do a lot of drip campaign with contextual offers. A lot of retailers moved to timed offers after they made the welcome email to the recipient. Then the subscriber would then start to receive two, three, and four emails. To get them involved in the e-commerce and the purchase side of the relationship.
Peter: Exactly, yeah so just a matter of just continuing that relationship. How do you help your users want to make that conversation happen? Obviously, you’re going to send as many emails as you want, but within the emails themselves, how can you encourage the users to speak back to make it more of a conversation between you and your prospects? Opposed to just a loud megaphone shouting in their faces all day every day the way a lot of other brands do it.
Rory: Sure, they get more contextual, so there’s a lot of inclusions of social content, time-based content, imagery that will speak to the user as they open it. So, the imagery will change based on the user location or what-not to embellish the offers, embellish the asks, and just to tighten the conversation between the recipient and the company.
Peter: It is a matter of the content types.
Amanda: Just to follow up with that, I like that, to tighten up the relationship. Also between the site and email, I think that’s something that we’ve been focusing on. Continuing that experience especially as more and more emails are being opened on mobile devices. Users are not aware of the fact that there in their inboxes versus on the site so whatever elements that we can bring in if it’s interactive elements, carousels kind of like behavioral annotations anything that we can use to kind of smoothen that experience visually, I think links in time spent as well.
Peter: Alright, yeah just the key thing and is the key thing like time spent with the email or time spent on site?
Amanda: If it’s furthering what they’re trying to do and what we’ve like them to do, I think that it’s becoming less relevant which.
Peter: Right, awesome. And that kind of brings me to the main event, the thing that we’re most excited for. We’ve talked a lot about getting people into those emails and the main strategies for getting people into email, but once we get there, this is the main event for me. How do you develop these kinetic email strategies? How do you make emails interactive, beautiful, welcome in our inbox and Justin can you kick this off and I kind of how do you develop this kinetic email? Can you define what kinetic email is to you?
Justin: Alright, I’m going to start off by answering the second question. Which is, what is kinetic email? So kinetic email is using CSS3 and HTML5 coding techniques to make content interactive inside the body of an email without necessarily breaking the email body for the mail clients that don’t support these cool experiences. That’s what kinetic email is, at least in my view and I think in Liveclicker’s view. So having said that, one of the areas that I think is a big or the top opportunity for most senders out there is what we are going to do with our inactives. It can be a lot easier to put, to personalize messages make them relevant for the people that are on the site, interacting with us, buying our products, or opening the emails, or clicking all the time. We have a lot of data that’s coming from those people, but one thing that we can do is to use the concept of “detoxification” with kinetic design techniques to make email exciting for maybe those of our subscribers that haven’t engaged for a while. So, one cool experience that I like is the lottery ticket, scratch-off experience. When someone opens up an email, and they open it up on an iPhone, you can have images in an iPhone that says “tap here to reveal your custom coupon code or your custom discount.” And you can have that experience reveal the body of the inbox. But for those mail clients that don’t support that you can have like a rubbing experience or you can scratch with your mouse on your computer screen, or you can rub your finger on your touchscreen to reveal custom offers. So, I think that’s one cool thing that we can do to make email more exciting, and over time drive higher engagement.
Peter: Alright, so and Rory it was mentioned earlier about the study you did try to figure out what kinds of content increase a time of duration, duration of open. Can you elaborate on that and taking us through what your studies have shown?
Rory: Sure, so basically what we did in the report was we broke down elements and when I say elements I mean contextual element things like a video, a poll. Justin just mentioned the scratch to reveal maybe some social media content it’s in real time something like that. And we broke them down into categories – what we’d like to call interaction demand. So we have a low interaction demand, medium interaction demand, and a high interaction demand ratings for elements. Things that we found that were very high interaction demand were things like polling, scratch to reveal, image animations, and low interaction demands or something more like a social media feed potentially a live weather feed or maybe some geographic like a map data. In looking at the interaction between low and high what we’ve found were that the higher interaction demand obviously drove a much higher clickthrough rate and much lower duration of open. Whereas, something with lower interaction action demand would probably be more educational or informational and provide an extended duration. Just rather interesting you know interaction didn’t necessarily trend with long durations of open. Some contextual elements can drive very high interaction very quickly, and you know within a second or two that will be your average open whereas if you have more of an educational slant or more of the social media somewhat informational slant, you’ll see that duration of opens stay around longer.
Peter: Okay, that’s very interesting. So if you’re going to have people interact with your brand, you want that to be a quick thing. Whereas you can anticipate a lot more, a lot longer opens if you are delivering the user need up front like in a video or an infographic-type application.
Rory: Absolutely, certain elements are more I guess the word would be engaging or transactional. The user has to interact with it to see that results and those contextual elements are just driving very quick reactions, or some of the other elements tend just to give people more information to absorb so they’ll spend more time with that content.
Peter: Ladies and gentlemen, if you want more data and context around the real-time email elements, check out all the data in the Realtime Email Report. We have the link in your GoToWebinar chat boxes, as well as make sure you keep asking questions as well as you go through that. So that there. You want to check it out. Wait after the presentation. I mean, you could leave now if you want. No, please don’t, oh my God please don’t. So Amanda, what have you seen regarding that in email experiences? What’s driving people back to driving high conversion moment? Is it still an urgency game? Is it still a conversational game?
Amanda: Something really interesting about developing for email versus for the web. As Justin was mentioning earlier about HTML5 and CSS3 where we have web standards. Email almost is continuously becoming more and more fragmented thing which is a unique challenge but also can provide a lot of opportunities. For instance, those highly interactive elements or games that you can add you know, those likely aren’t going to be supported in Outlook. But then those recipients who are opening on Outlook 2010 on their desktop are also most likely in a work environment, right? They are not the ones waiting for the subway, so their mindset is also going to be a little bit different than a people opening for instance on an iPhone or Gmail. And so as we’re coding for these various email clients and in various situations, it’s fruitful to think kind of about how we can customize those experiences also for the environment once they’re opening.
Peter: Absolutely. Now, Justin when it comes to just to responding to audience questions here, a lot of our audience is concerned that this seems a little bit more on the like small scale e-commerce, more transactional perspective. When it comes to developing kinetic email strategies, what are the best ways to go about like a longer sell, a much larger AOV type product given if you’re in a B2B space? How do you sort handle those journeys that are a lot longer regarding building kinetic email? How do you build those relationships?
Justin: So the biggest use case that I see for B2B emails when it comes to kinetic design is video. I think video is the largest one by far, especially if you’ve got a considered purchase or you’ve got a complicated product that needs more explanation that could be a great way to engage people for the long run. The other way that I’ve seen just for a longer sales cycle type of products where you can, it isn’t a kinetic technique, but this is more the of creating motion in the inbox, it’s doing something even just simple like a countdown timer on your email. You know counting down to a webinar that you’re going to have. Counting down to an event that you’re going to be running. Those are some of the things that you can use drive and engagement. You know, to Rory’s point as well, to drive higher duration of open maybe not necessarily higher CTR something like what are the latest you know the latest tweets, latest Instagram posts that you have, the latest premiere LinkedIn page or your Facebook page. Even just including us in the footers of your marketing emails for B2B those can be great ways to use content in an evergreen type of way, so you don’t have to update the content every single time you’re putting together the template. You just flop it there once, and it’s going to update every single time you send out, no worries.
Amanda: I love that, I am a total convert on the social media and emails.
Peter: No way.
Amanda: I used to think it was that honestly the dumbest ways to space. I could not comprehend why everyone was including them, but it does have this powerful social proofs that are almost like subliminal. It comes to the point that you don’t have it I think people wonder how legitimate you are and now with these new technologies adding the live twitter feeds, adding your most recent blog post, it has become a simple way to generate new content without necessarily updating your templates or your emails.
Peter: And that doesn’t distract you from your conversion goals or anything?
Amanda: Make sure they’re in line with your conversion. Don’t just like, alright twitter feed widget here we go.
Peter: Yes, don’t let those things take precedent.
Amanda: Provide your recipient with the value as you build that relationship.
Peter: Awesome now here’s, oh! Justin something to add here?
Justin: I was just going to say one other quick thing which is polling because this is kinetic, we’re talking about kinetic email strategies. Polling, like a LivePoll in the email, can be a way that you can progressively profile your prospects. Whether it’s consumer or if your B2B. You can learn a little bit more about them, you can make the emails more fun and interactive, so I don’t have data on polling specifically for B2B use cases, but it’s something that we’ve used, and we’ve had some success within Liveclicker.
Amanda: Have you noticed any negative impact from Gmail’s insistence on the warning window? You’re about to submit a form, I mean it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but kind of a barrier.
Justin: What we do for Gmail at Liveclicker, we don’t embed the poll form in the email itself. We only have the poll interactive in the email in the IOS mail client and then if we’re detecting Gmail we just basically have an image, and you would vote on a poll, and a landing page will have that warning window.
Peter: Okay cool. Amanda just for the sake of the audience, you kinda setup a fire “huh? What do you mean?” What’s the warning when you are referring to and how can people avoid it. I think Justin gave us an awesome strategy, but yeah.
Amanda: So, forms in an email respond very differently to different email clients. Some just want this way; some will display that you can fill it out and I’m talking about actually like embedded HTML forms here.
Amanda: Where some clients are great, and they don’t provide any problem for filling that out and submitting it. Gmail is kinda of in between where it has this little, called warning window, embedded has this message that says you are about to submit to an external site “are you sure you’re okay with this?” And if it’s fine, it’s not a problem, it’s just I think sometimes it can give a visitor pause, it can seem a little bit spammy.
Peter: Gotcha. So just deal, tests your legitimacy in spite of you’re doing a totally cool thing
Amanda: Just slightly, so I like Justin’s solution of just avoiding it all together.
Peter: Yeah, have the image go to a landing page, problem solved and life is beautiful.
Amanda: Yeah and you can detect Gmail and load something, an alternate image or alternate content instead.
Peter: Alright, so we’ve talked about some traditional conversion goals, I mean increasing engagement, getting people through the funnel like an e-commerce getting a buy. There’s one conversion goal that throughout our presentation we’ve never touched down. It’s for a lot of reasons. It’s coming out a lot in comments so when it comes to developing kinetic email strategies, do you have any pointers that would encourage the sharing or forwarding of emails. I know it’s a very 1998 goal, but a lot of people are very interested, and I’m just curious about all of your perspective. Amanda, you do not like this question at all.
Amanda: I guess, I would ask the audience members whether why they wouldn’t have something that was measurable or whether they just wanted an email that everybody is going to forward to their sister, their significant other, their friend. Is it something that they’re hoping for metrics on or just to create that desire?
Peter: Alright, I think we’ll get to that momentarily, but that’s the thing that you can’t measure shares and forwards. If you forward an email, you can’t see the open write that is somebody forwarding the email like you don’t send anymore or it’s over, correct?
Amanda: It gets complicated. You can. You would technically be able to detect that they had click on a forwarded email but the act of self-affording it you wouldn’t have done.
Peter: Alright, well that’s you extrapolate the clickthrough rate then maybe kind of a little bit of, there’s a lot of math there. You can’t measure it okay and so and the odd thing is like a lot of people are now like, “Oh yeah, I would love to know this.”
Amanda: My best recommendation would be to include in your footer, and I don’t see this as much as I think that everyone should be doing it, is assume that your email is being forwarded and in addition to having an unsubscribe link in your footer, have a subscribe link. You know to call out where you forwarded this like now you can get it in your inbox too like sign up now, and people don’t include a lot of subscribing links, but it’s a no cost play to increase your list.
Peter: Okay, so that brings us back, and I’m going to bring this to Justin now. So, now we know how to measure and get value out of forwarded & shared emails, but Justin. How, do I make these emails themselves seem so viable that they are shared, forwarded from inboxes?
Justin: So number one, make cool emails.
Peter: Go ahead. Can you elaborate, what is a cool email?
Justin: Well, I think like one example of a cool email is this type of like the scratch-off-type of experience. A new technique, it’s unexpected. I think a video is another great eye-catching thing. Amanda talked earlier about having image carousel or some cool things you can do there. I think from a formatting and presentation point of view there some things that you can do there. One other technique I may recommend has nothing to do with kinetic email at all, but If you do something unexpected, even if it’s simplifying it, especially for B2C brand. You know what’s interesting, some of the best performing emails that I have I seen for large B2C brands are plain text emails with like ten point Arial font, one Linkedin, catchy subject line, the creative department may not want to do it, but try out. You know, run a little test on it. You may be shocked by what you see regarding your response rates.
Peter: So, when you’re the email strategist just don’t let the creative department run everything because we’ve seen a lot of success in plain text emails as well. Communication is communication. You are your own a strategy maker. Going with the plain text seems more conversational, seems far more human, and is a lot more engaging. Also, a visual rest for your viewers, as well from the design standpoint. So can you, Amanda, just at the top of your head, tell us any messaging that works best for those plain text emails, or strategies behind them?
Amanda: Yeah, coming from a specific person is good for suppressing unsubscribe rate and communicating value. I mean, I think we talked earlier about cadences, often having discounts, or come back to your cart with 10% off, but that kind of gets away from the point of what plain texts email do well. – Communicating the value of why you were interacting with that company. For example, I’ve read emails that do a great job not offering discounts but explaining why their fabric is so great or why their environmental initiatives are such important things. Makes you feel more connected and builds that brand loyalty. I think plain text messages, plain text emails are potent reminders of knowing the audience and what will work.
Peter: Right, it makes sense, makes sense. It seems a lot more human. Now Rory, your research. Anything else, any content that getting shared the most like if it’s more general emails? Do you think if this is the strategy that, again I’m surprised by the huge number of audience from brochure now very curious about this? If you get it off the top of your head, tell us what kind of content, what have the best bet of the having shared or forwarded moment. What would it be?
Rory: I think again, and I hate to hit the point so much, but it’s the personalization. I think to Justin’s cool factor when you create an email that has a certain amount of personalization – that resonates with folks. You take that message to a whole new level and that personalization, honestly, depending on how the brand is viewed could be a simple as a text email with some first name/last name format. Or inversely, it could be as elaborate as HTML with previously purchased items, recommended products, and first names. Maybe it’s a birthday that says “Hey! We know this is your birthday John, and we’ve got all these products that we know you’re probably going to like, we’re also going to give you a discount”. So, personalization to me is key in extending the value of a message.
Peter: Now, okay this is another, our audience is now going to shift on that plain text email conversation, so, just real quick. We’re still doing the batch and blast method. Do you think is this ingenious of putting to the recipient to have a plain text email to a person when it’s clear or obvious that it’s a blast email even if it’s tailored as personalized? Follow up questions there, is there any way that I can make those batch and blast email seem like they are more on one to one conversation?
Justin: I’m going to take this more from the B2B perspective just because we are B2B, and we use a lot of plain text messages. I think I saw 30 percent of the audience here is B2B, but we’ve seen very clearly that plain text messages that appeared to come from a single person that are short and that’s key you know not paragraphs and paragraphs of information, but maybe you know two sentences, five sentences kind of thing. We’ve also seen it work well, and this is a little bit sneaky, but you could have one email that you send out and say ‘Hey! You know here’s an offer that we’ve got that we’ve got going on” and you wait a couple of days, and you change your subject line to say RE: subject line and then you put only one sentence in your next email “Hey Name! Did you get the email that I sent yesterday?” and you do dashes below it, and then you have the original email that you sent out right below the next email that you sent out. You will be blown away on how many people respond to those emails. I mean those are some of the most successful ones, super simple, yes you know it is a kind of batch and blast technique, but you can still make it personalized by the way it’s easier to get away with plain text messages right? It’s easier to get away with it if you’re not coming across like over the top as a marketer.
Amanda: Just turning it here as kind of a disclaimer. Just to make sure this still include the unsubscribe link. Like take those can spam laws to heart and respect your recipient.
Justin: Definitely, I don’t know, by the way, of what I just said will fly with large B2C brands. But it might be worth a small little test.
Amanda: I’ve started getting them in my 3,000 emails today. Some plain text emails even from ecommerce and they’re surprisingly refreshing to add something different.
Peter: What was an example of one plain text ecommerce. “Hey, I just got this new thing in and checked it out or.”
Amanda: Yeah, one I just received yesterday from Kaufmann Mercantile. I was probably battling the pronunciation there.
Peter: So coffins or?
Amanda: No, it’s Kaufmann (Laugh) not at all how I pronounced it. But it’s kind of like upscale home goods, and it was like a curated list from someone who I assume works there or someone that they made up I’m not sure. But it was a plain text email, you know. It has some images embedded in it. I opened it in my Gmail, and it was nice. It was kind of like someone had thought of me and here are some products we can give away and some snapshots. It was different; it was unique.
Peter: Now just to jumping in, again because this is all the eye that everyone wants to hear all of a sudden. Justin is it possible to have kinetic elements that appeared to be a plain text email? Could you swap up in plain text element within the email itself? Like, say you wanna to send “Hey, here some of the best items on sale on stock so just swap it up before the open happens.”
Justin: Yeah, you can do that for sure the only thing that you want to keep in mind is well. There are two approaches here; one is the contextual approach, and one is the kinetic approach. Contextual approach is your detecting some condition it might not necessarily be with the mail client self, but it might be what product is in stock on your website or what sale is going on something like that. If you want to draw that content and flip it in real time in the email, you have to use images. You can’t change text in email after you send the email out so you want to be careful if you’re going to use a plain text approach. You know just be aware that all the texts that appear are just going to be an image in the email. Now, there are some things that you can do with text to have text appear or not appear, but those are more dependent upon, and when I say text, I mean actual text not text within an image. That might be an area where you could use more of a contextual approach. A very simple example would be like putting a hamburger menu inside of the email. You tap the little hamburger menu you can show text right there inside the body of the email for the mail client that support it, and you could use that similar type of approach to have text reveal itself inside of the email, but it’s not just going to be a real-time text. If you want to show something in real time, you have to use contextual technology to do it, and that’s all image based.
Peter: Alright, awesome. We have a whole other section to get through, ladies and gentlemen. And we have like a mountain of audience questions I want to address. As much as I love it, we have jobs, so I want to make sure we get to the end of the presentation. I want to make sure that we continue this conversation the exact way that you all wanted it to be continued.
So, as you develop your strategies for 2017, Amanda what sort of things you have to do to keep you engaged throughout their journey as they go far from like being acquired into being a converted, awesome high engagement customer?
Amanda: I’m a big fan of the welcome series, getting to know your customer from the beginning. I mentioned that example earlier about the company that just bombarded me with emails, and I was like “Oh! You have the option only to get one a month”. In my opinion, that would be great to know up front; then I wouldn’t be so annoyed with them, seize that opportunity once you get a new email address on your list to get to know them better. Back to the personalization. The more you know them upfront, the more that you can customize their experience later on if you know where they’re from, their zip code. You can start telling them local promotions and just be careful that the information that you wanted to use in these emails, you’re pretty sure about because no one wants to get a plain text email like that says “Dear doo-doo face” or whatever someone enters you know to enter into the form. You know, if you want to use the person’s first name be pretty confident you have it right, and that starts the beginning of the relationship.
Peter: Nice, exactly, and how do it in 2017. As we move forward, how we’re going to be building better welcome series? Like, is it just going to be the same or make them shorter, how do we make sure on how to target the welcome series strategies? You look like that’s kind of-of terrifying question.
Amanda: I know, it’s the answer that everyone loves and hates to give, just test.
Peter: Hear it, alright. So the number one thing while you’re marketing this holiday season – test as well. Alright, Justin, how do you keep your subscribers engaged from acquisition to conversion, like, what’s the main thing to keep in mind?
Justin: This is such a generic answer, I hate to give it, and Rory mentioned it earlier too, but I think it is all about personalizing the messages as much as you can, regardless of how much you know about the recipient. You’ve got to leverage whatever data you’ve got to personalize the messages as much as possible. It may be as little as a first name or specific like location targeting. You know, here’s a simple thing that you can do. We’re beginning the holidays and as you’ve mentioned people are looking for holiday marketing tips. Think about personalization and a little gift in your email and someone’s first name. That’s all you’ve got on them. Maybe on the product, a little gift tag hangs, and their first name is on that gift tag. Just a little extra touch that you can put in the email to get an increase in response rates. So personalization, personalization, personalization. We’ve been talking about it for 20 years, and I’m sure ten years from now we’re going to still be talking about it.
Peter: Oh yes, It’s going to always be a difficult thing, or do you go personalization, or do you go people based, or do you go for behavioral? We’re going to be deciding throughout 2017 is personalization even fully possible? Ladies & Gentlemen, you can always find a different route to that goal personalization like you’ve learned a lot from Rory and Justin about how awesome contextual emails and how to keep the right message coming from people at the right time when they open that email. So huge. You have to check out Liveclicker, real-time email on Liveclicker.com. All the strategies they have, making sure the most relevant content possible. Going back to this wild plain text debate real-quick, a couple of debaters in the audience, they’ve reached a point. So, for plain text, what did you have? That old “do not reply” directly to this email message like you can’t reply directly? Is it okay if the email appears becoming a specific person? Can you still have a plain text email but don’t have the “that don’t reply to this.” Is there anyone that was getting around there? Amanda, you look worried about this one.
Amanda: I have a pretty strong feeling about that. I hate the do not reply email address. I mean, that’s kind of nipping what we’ve been saying in the conversation about in a button. I completely realized that makes everything more complicated, but just have an email address for this purpose, check it, and use it. Ideally, you want people to be responding to it right? So, don’t have a don’t reply email address.
Peter: Alright, alright.
Amanda: And please don’t use the or try to avoid wherever possible that pre-directed email address kind of along with the Gmail warning window it looks little spammy, and I’m always pretty hesitant whenever I get emails that come via some other address that I’m not familiar with.
Peter: Alright, awesome. Justin, you have something to add there?
Justin: You know, just to add a quick comment. I think for B2B you want someone to respond. I can see B2C people like “Oh my gosh, but I’m pushing out 50 million messages,” and customer support would be overwhelmed. Now, you can parse out keywords within return emails that can be forwarded. In general, you want to have people responding; it’s a good thing.
Peter: Just have to find a way to send it all out. Now, there’s just one last thing. Rory, this is one final question for you. In your research what did you find more engaging? The poll or a video? That’s a debate that’s happening in the audience. To get some feedback, I want to educate people. So, if you could only develop one content strategy, would you focus more on polling or more on video based content?
Rory: You know that’s a great question. Polling and video have very high interaction demand, you have to click a video for you to play, and you also have to interact with the poll to get the results. We saw that polling got more interaction than video, but I would say both are very-very effective mediums to convey a message.
Peter: Alright, awesome. And that brings us right to the hour here ladies and gentlemen. So, Justin Foster, Co-founder of Liveclicker any final thoughts from you before we go ahead and read the credits here?
Justin: I love all the questions from the audience, best kind of audience. Guys, it has been amazing. Thanks for having me, it’s been awesome.
Peter: Awesome and then Rory Carlyle Marketing over at Liveclicker, so any final thoughts from you before we go and then close this out?
Rory: I’ve loved the time with you guys. I appreciate us hanging out.
Peter: Thank you so much, man. I appreciate you as well and of course, Amanda Egolf, thank you so much for your time. I know that you have the craziest busy day, you have 3,000 emails to read, any final thoughts before I send you on your way?
Amanda: Thank you so much, Justin and Rory, for your time. It’s always a pleasure talking to you about emails and thank you audience for some great questions.
Peter: Right, awesome ladies and gentlemen so folks just keep in your mind that a lot of ideas you heard today came from great folks over at Liveclicker. I’ve just reinserted that you go into the webinar chat box to awesome blog posts from the Liveclicker folks written by Rory Carlyle both from Rory Carlyle Co-Marketing from Liveclicker. Make sure you check that out Liveclicker in general so that you know this presentation was produced voiced and hosted by me, Peter Starr Northrop. All the behavioral strategies you heard came from our great from Amanda Egolf, and our amazing email team over here at Bouncex.
Make sure you check out behavioral email engine over at bouncex.com. Ladies and gentlemen just, so you know our co-producer, Julie Spano, if you like to subscribe to this webinar feel free to check bouncex.com and again check out our amazing friends over at Liveclicker as well make sure you check them out. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for your time, and as always we like to leave you with peace, love and optimized convergence.