Demonstration Session 2

Friday, August 3 2018


Ever wonder why people subscribe to Axios or theSkimm in droves but your open, click, and conversion rates have dropped precipitously? Well, maybe the problem isn’t what you’re saying, but how you’re saying it. Learn tips and tricks for writing emails your stakeholders will want to read and share.

Notes from session:

“Email is still King”

  • It’s an opt-in service, people agree to receive these emails -and are invested in seeing updates
  • The Funnel: invested individuals go from social media to email subscribers to advocates
  • Email is part of everyone’s daily workflow
  • Valuable data comes from emails – open rates, click rates, etc.

Why is email still popular?

  • It’s fast, easy, and cheap
  • It actually works and drives results for organizations.

What emails do you open and why?

  • Politico Playbook: It’s a lot of information in a quick, easy to read format
  • Morning Brew: like TheSkimm, but for finance; quick run-down of the stock market
  • Aviation News: direct links to stories, curated (This is an example of curation, they are valuable because they are curated by a trusted expert)
  • Google Alerts: see news stories from community members; able to curate information for their own newsletter
  • Marshall Project: curation of national legal news and the social media around those cases; not always opened because it is long an can take up too much time to read it
  • Anthropologie, 9:30 Club, other brand newsletters (Shared experience: short, sweet and to the point; distils information in a brief and easy to read format)

3 Daily Reads for Shana

  1. TheSkimm: Mainstream and FrontPage news written in the voice of a 20-something, professional, millennial woman.
    • Starts with pop culture quote
    • Tone is pithy, light and informative in a “fun” way
    • Top 3 Things
      • Unique voice – write a personalized narrative
      • They have built a community
      • Skimm’bassadors – creating a “what’s in it for my reader” where subscribers can refer people and get a special mention at the bottom of the email on their birthday.
  2. Uber: has taken a visual first, data forward tone
    • Take on “tell me about myself” to a next level;
    • 3 things
      • “Tell Me About Myself – people want to know what their community looks like and how they fit in: for example: how many days/years have I been a member?, what geographical locations have similar action rates?, etc.
      • Infographic Design: design is a big part of the email and can be used to translate into email marketing. For an infographic, all you need is an icon, or break it out into boxes to make it visually engaging.
      • Creative with Emojis or gifs – advocate emails have not traditionally used emojis but this could be a great way to engage your audience.
  3. Axios: “Smart Brevity”
    • Format: Buzzfeed-like “listicles” ie 5 Ways, 10 Things, etc. This helps readers to see that this is going to be chunked into short and digestible sections – almost like clickbait
    • Axios thinks about readability; just enough information to inform the reader but also provides the opportunity to read more
    • Readers want curation and short form to get all the necessary information in as little time as possible.
    • People are using vertical images, helps with mobile view and thing about timeliness before perfection – be aware of the scrolling effect
    • Takeaways: top 10 format, bullet points, bold images and smart brevity

What are you up against?

  • Today’s news cycle which is fast-paced and driven by push notifications
  • Consumer content
  • Social media
  • Inbox overload – how overwhelmed every feels when they see their inbox

3 Ways to compete

  1. Relevance (WIIFM – “What’s In It For Me?”)
    • Access/expertise – you can get behind the scenes access to experts
    • Inspiration – how to make someone feel good, “here is what you have accomplished, here what you have done”; member spotlights who else is in this group with me contextualize to feel as though you a part of something larger
    • Personalization – “What’s in it for me”
    • Always have a clear Call to Action – subscribers want to be helpful
    • A/B Testing
      • Test by open rate, action rate, and completion rate
      • The day and time of an email send
      • The tone
      • Subject line
      • The Sender
      • The Hero image
    • Hitting send is only the midpoint, you have to review data in order to learn what is successful for you
  2. Readability
    • Plan for mobile – not only on email but where the links navigate readers
    • Visual first / less text
    • Just one, single call to action
  3. Review the numbers
    • Segment your list for higher open rates: higher open rates improve you deliverability; there are subscribers you might have to delete from the list to raise open rates even if you send to less people
    • Keep up with benchmarks: a good resources that will keep you up to date with industry standards
    • Deliverability… its technical
      • If readers are not sitting at desks all day, you are reaching them via the phone or tablet be sure to optimize for mobile
      • If it’s a professional audience, you want to send during the work day to optimize your statistics

What’s one thing you will do to improve your next email?

  • Add more images to my email sends (though tread the line of too many images, as this can tag you as spam)
  • Invest more time in studying statistics to learn by looking at subject lines, email address, sender name to understand what

What tools can you use?

  • Constant Contact, MailChimp, and other free email services