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Taking Your HTML Email Communications from "Ew" to "Wow"

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HTML emails can suck. From the 1990s era code to uninspiring templates to fulfillment and statistics in an alien CRM HTML emails are something that many choose to ignore. Or, at best, develop and deliver outside of a CRM.

In the summer of 2018 University Relations at West Virginia University implemented a new way of delivering HTML emails in support of Enrollment Management. We found we could be more creative and focused in our messaging than we ever expected. Early numbers show we may have influenced our class with our new strategy.

In this session, you’ll follow along with a case study that will cover how we:

• Re-thought our email communication plans from the ground-up
• Helped designers and developers collaborate with Enrollment Management using Litmus
• Built a tool on top of MJML to help speed up our development time, as well as segment copy and imagery, for our emails
• Track the effectiveness of our email communications using a dashboard built in Data Studio

And it’s all CRM agnostic.

Published in: Marketing
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Taking Your HTML Email Communications from "Ew" to "Wow"

  1. 1. TAKING YOUR HTML EMAIL COMMUNICATIONS FROM EW TO WOW Dave Olsen / @dmolsen West Virginia University
  2. 2. THE POWER OF EMAIL
  3. 3. 204,151 Clicks out to our application Aug. 1 2018 - Aug. 20 2019 by channel source SocialEmail EMAIL DRIVES ACTION STAT #1
  4. 4. Academic deposits by month October November December January February March 2018 2019 EMAIL DRIVES ACTION STAT #2
  5. 5. $3,000,000+ EMAIL HAS VALUE
  6. 6. THE FOUR INGREDIENTS FOR SUCCESSFUL EMAILS🍹 1. The Plan 2. The Emails 3. Tracking 4. A Good Reputation
  7. 7. INGREDIENT #1 THE PLAN 🥓
  8. 8. IT WAS SPRING 2018…
  9. 9. THE FLOWCHART
  10. 10. Audiences, stages and funnels (oh my!) Timing of messaging Actions we’re trying to drive Core messaging KNOW YOUR GOAL WITH RESEARCH
  11. 11. HOW DOES RESEARCH HELP ME MAKE A PRETTY EMAIL? Time Understanding ⏱ 🧠
  12. 12. DOCUMENTING ASSUMPTIONS SHOULD HELP KEEP EVERYONE ON THE SAME PAGE. * May not be valid in higher education.
  13. 13. THE FUNNEL
  14. 14. GET YOUR COPY. go.wvu.edu/aud-stage
  15. 15. OUR CORE AUDIENCES ARE THE BASE FOR OUR PLANS.
  16. 16. BE PROACTIVE AND AGGRESSIVE WITH AUDIENCE AND CONTENT SEGMENTATION.
  17. 17. BECAUSE… YOU CAN ONLY EMAIL SOMEONE SO MANY TIMES.
  18. 18. Awareness and attract Nurture Convert Convert Nurture Sales FunnelEnrollment Funnel vs. The sales funnel provides another way of determining what to send and when. MATCHING ENROLLMENT TO SALES
  19. 19. Awareness and attract January Junior August Senior January Senior August Enrolled Leads Comm Plan Admits Comm Plan Awareness and Attract Nurture Convert Convert Nurture MATCHING ENROLLMENT TO SALES
  20. 20. TYPES OF EMAILS FOR YOUR PLAN By send type: one-time or drip By format: promotional or transactional Other types: onboarding, abandoned cart and win back
  21. 21. INGREDIENT #2 THE EMAIL 🥩
  22. 22. A CAVEAT: WE’VE HAD TO OWN THE ENTIRE EMAIL CREATION PROCESS. * Our CRM sucks for building email
  23. 23. OUR WORKFLOW Write copy. Design in browser based on copy. Test in Litmus. Iterate copy and get approvals. Load HTML into the CRM.
  24. 24. OUR ROLES Plan owner Writer Front-end developer Various reviewers
  25. 25. THE PARTS OF AN EMAIL Subject line Preview text Body of email Call to action Alignalltodriveyourgoal
  26. 26. WRITING TIPS Use user stories and empathy mapping to ensure content is on target. Single call-to- action. Write in the second person and use the contact's name. Be explicit with copy related to personalization. Have consistent brand voice. Lean towards a style that's more “social media” and less “print."
  27. 27. hemingwayapp.com
  28. 28. IT’S TIME TO BUILD THE EMAIL…
  29. 29. caniemail.com
  30. 30. 90s HTML and Tech
  31. 31. PRO-TIP: DON’T USE HTML TO BUILD HTML EMAILS
  32. 32. EXAMPLE: ACCEPTANCE EMAIL
  33. 33. MJML EXAMPLE: ACCEPTANCE EMAIL
  34. 34. MJML EXAMPLE: ACCEPTANCE EMAIL
  35. 35. MJML EXAMPLE: ACCEPTANCE EMAIL
  36. 36. MJML EXAMPLE: ACCEPTANCE EMAIL
  37. 37. HTML EXAMPLE: ACCEPTANCE EMAIL
  38. 38. FEATURES OF MJML Easy and quick Responsive by default Component-based Use an online editor, local editor or node library Pre-built templates and clear docs
  39. 39. mjml.io
  40. 40. PATTERN LIBRARY LOCAL TOOL * Not mutually exclusive. Can do both. Pure MJML + MJML Tool MJML + Mustache + Node
  41. 41. BENEFITS OF EBB2 Separate content from layout. Pattern-based. MJML + Mustache. Auto-reload when designing in the browser. Segment copy and imagery. Auto-add tracking information. Fit to your process.
  42. 42. JSON EXAMPLE: ACCEPTANCE EMAIL
  43. 43. DESIGN TIPS Responsive layout with max width of 600 pixels. Grid layouts. Single column with rows. Avoid image-only CTAs. Use big HTML buttons. If using GIFs the first frame needs most important information if it’s conveying critical information. Be creative. Use illustrations and white space.
  44. 44. bit.ly/1VN4fKS > F-shaped reading
  45. 45. litmus.com > Builder
  46. 46. litmus.com > Email Previews
  47. 47. PLATFORMS TO TARGET Gmail iOS/Apple Mail Outlook That's it. emailclientmarketshare.com
  48. 48. reallygoodemails.com
  49. 49. SECRET SHOP COMPETITORS AND YOURSELF.
  50. 50. mailcharts.com
  51. 51. INGREDIENT #3 TRACKING 🍪
  52. 52. WHAT TO TRACK Email opens Clicks-through to our site Goal conversions * We do this all with Google Analytics
  53. 53. bit.ly/1H1e29S
  54. 54. EMAIL TRACKING TIPS Develop consistent, flexible format for campaign names. For example, FR-400-2008. Use contact record ID for uid and cid query string variables. Add ni=1 as a query string variable to make sure email open event isn’t recorded as a page view.
  55. 55. bit.ly/2dkhHL1
  56. 56. Google Analytics: Goals
  57. 57. Google Analytics: Top Conv. Paths
  58. 58. datastudio.google.com
  59. 59. datastudio.google.com
  60. 60. datastudio.google.com
  61. 61. BE FLEXIBLE WITH METRICS. * Not all emails can be measured using the same metrics.
  62. 62. INGREDIENT #4 A GOOD REPUTATION 🍯
  63. 63. SOME SENDER REP ATTRIBUTES from and reply-to addresses DKIM, SPF and DMARC support Sending domain Sending IP address Send volume Email content
  64. 64. A GOOD SENDER REPUTATION EQUALS INCREASED ODDS FOR DELIVERABILITY.
  65. 65. SENDER REPUTATION TIPS User metrics and engagement determine your reputation. Not your name or how big you are. Send email to people who want it (e.g. opt-ins). Your content should encourage engagement. Have a sunsetting policy for people who don’t engage with your emails.
  66. 66. SENDER REPUTATION TIPS Send different emails in your plan from different from addresses. Advanced: Segment and separate emails across different IP addresses. Transactional vs promotional vs onboarding. Advanced: Use a warm-up routine when using a new ESP or when you’ve bought names.
  67. 67. senderscore.org
  68. 68. mxtoolbox.com
  69. 69. REVIEWING THE FOUR INGREDIENTS🍹 🍪 🍯🥓 🥩
  70. 70. 1. The Plan 2. The Emails 3. Tracking 4. A Good Reputation REVIEWING THE FOUR INGREDIENTS🍹
  71. 71. THANK YOU / QUESTIONS? Dave Olsen / @dmolsen slideshare.net/dmolsenwvu

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