Category Archives: Email Automation

Marketing Tip – MailChimp 101

So, What Exactly is MailChimp?

MailChimp is an email service provider (ESP) for small to midsize companies with a range of communication needs. MailChimp offers an easy to use user interface with capabilities that personalize the experience for the sender and recipient.

How to Send an Email in MailChimp

MailChimp provides numerous campaign types and templates to customize for your needs. No HTML or CSS coding is necessary to use MailChimp with easy plug-and-chug systems in place. Follow along to see how to send an email:
Step 1
Locate and navigate to “Campaigns” in the top menu. Click “Create Campaign” to get started. Select the type of campaign you would like to build. In this case, we’ll start small. Let’s choose “Regular Campaign.”

MailChimp-Campaigns

Step 2
Choose your list. This is pretty simple – just select which of your lists you would like to send to from the drop-down menu. You then see the option to choose segments. This is where you would apply a specific set of rules to a targeted audience – or, just send to the whole list. (Hint – segmenting does wonders!)

MailChimp-Sender

Step 3
Complete your mailing settings. This includes all of the basics: mailing name, subject line, from name, from email address and tracking. MailChimp provides the option to personalize the “to” field based on data, or check different methods of tracing. The screenshot below shows the generic options – which suffice for a typical send.

MailChimp-MailingSettings

Step 4
Now, the fun begins! Don’t get overwhelmed with the mailing template options, go into this step with a general idea of how you would like to layout your email.

You may choose from basic templates, themes, saved templates (from previous sends), set campaigns, or code your own. Once you have your bearings within MailChimp, you can create a saved template with standardized assets such as your logo, header, and footer. For all future sends, you can select that saved template rather than starting from scratch each time.

For now, we will select a simple 1:2 Column Banded template.

MailChimp-Templates

Step 5
Design to your heart’s content! This is your chance to play with the drag and drop functionality within the platform. Pull different content blocks from the right side and insert images and copy to make the email your own. The template you start with is just a jumping off point, customize it to your needs.

The right panel also offers you styling options per content block. Anytime a content block (image, text, column, etc.) is selected on the left, it’s settings will appear on the right. That’s where you can style based on color, size, linking and more.

Here’s a simple before and after:
Before

MailChimp-Template-Before
After

MailChimp-Template-After

Step 6
You’re almost there! Let’s quickly pause and review what we’ve accomplished. You chose the send list, completed the mailing settings, selected and styled the template. Now you can finally press the “send” button to send now, or you can schedule the mailing for a future send time! Always use an email checklist and send with a buddy to ensure your send is successful.

MailChimp-Send

Is MailChimp Only Used for Sending Email?

Nope! MailChimp has many integrations that can be set up to extend its functionality to fit your needs. Let’s break down some of the popular options:

E-commerce Integrations
The more you know about your customer’s shopping behaviors the better you can target and personalize the customer journey. MailChimp has integration capabilities with numerous e-commerce, such as Shopify, Magento, and ShipStation to name a few.

CRM Integrations
Not only is it important to track online behaviors, but it is also necessary to track offline behaviors customers have with sales or customer service reps. Connect this data with MailChimp, through CRM integrations, such as Salesforce or SugarCRM.

Social Integrations
Facebook
Build single image or carousal image Facebook ads, using the same plug-and-chug tools that you use for email. There is no extra fee for this feature within MailChimp, just pay what you would for Facebook sponsored content. Not only can you setup and trigger Facebook Ads within MailChimp, you can set up custom audiences, and access holistic campaign reporting.

Twitter
Easily integrate Twitter information in your campaigns or post to Twitter all within MailChimp.

Is MailChimp Right for Me?

The best ESP for you depends on your needs (and wants) for the tool and your budget. MailChimp is a great resource if you have a smaller in-house team, who are unfamiliar with coding templates from the ground up. We’d love to talk to more about how MailChimp or another ESP would be best to fit your organization.

Email Tip – 6 Steps to Streamline Email Creation Checklist



6steps-email-teaser
So you want to send an email to drive a sale or promote an event you’re hosting, but where do you start? You know you want it to spark an interest and more importantly, a conversion. According to Monetate, “email marketing drives more conversions than any other marketing channel, including search and social.”

Follow our 6 Steps to Email Creation checklist to help streamline the process and ensure your email has value.

 

Email Tip – Use Email with In-Store Interactions for an Omni-Channel Experience

As email marketers we sometimes get stuck in the digital world. But brands who have brick and mortar locations can also leverage email for in-store events and in-store only promotions. Having an in-store event and want to drive foot traffic? Send a series of email invites! Is it too close to ship before a holiday? Send an email with a coupon that’s only good in-store. According to CMO, sixty-five percent of U.S. shoppers will browse online and buy in-store during the holidays.

Continue reading Email Tip – Use Email with In-Store Interactions for an Omni-Channel Experience

Election Day Emails

All across the US, citizens are casting their ballot for the next president. There’s a lot of hype around election season and particularly today. Although Election Day is not a holiday (but we wish it were!) some brands are treating it as such, sending patriotic or election day themed emails. Some retailers are offering promotions while others are providing a more “civic duty” approach with polling resources.

Continue reading Election Day Emails

Email tip – Email Deliverability 101

headshot-dancaro-smallWelcome Dan Caro, Whereoware’s  Senior Director of Marketing Operations. Dan specializes in behavior-based marketing automation strategy, e-commerce marketing, and conversion optimization. Send him a Tweet at @dcaro12Today, Dan’s going to simplify email deliverability for us.

In a nutshell, email deliverability is defined as “getting your email into recipients’ inboxes.”

Email Deliverability 101So what happens if you ignore “deliverability” altogether and just send emails?

Well, your email messages will likely land in junk mail or in a spam folder. It can get worse, depending on your email service provider (ESP).

If you have a poor email deliverability rating and send to Gmail, for example, it could take up to a day or more for your message to deliver.

We put a ton of effort into designing and coding compelling emails. What’s the point if no one ever sees them?

Today, we’ll walk through simple tips to improve email deliverability, so your emails land in recipients’ inbox in a timely manner.

1. Get Started: Identify How to Access Your DNS Settings

Think of Domain Name System (DNS) settings as the backend of your website’s domain name. This is where you change where your website points to and its mailing settings.

DNS settings matter because your domain needs authentication that it’s a safe sender, especially if you send out of an ESP. If you send emails from your own internal servers, you should be fine, but if you are sending from the ESP’s servers, you’ll need to authenticate them by updating your DNS settings.

2. Next, create a subdomain

First, start by creating a subdomain for email. This subdomain is your from address.

For example, Whereoware’s email address convention ends with @whereoware.com. Examples of Whereoware subdomains could be e.whereoware.com or email.whereoware.com. Just take a look in your inbox. You’ll notice lots of brands do this.

Create a subdomain

Creating a subdomain is a precaution, so you can change your organization’s DNS settings (on your main domain like @whereoware.com) without risking a nuclear meltdown. Just kidding, but if anything goes wrong when you’re updating your DNS settings, it can impact your ability to send and receive emails across your entire company.

3. I have a subdomain, what’s next?

Next, if you’re using an ESP, like Silverpop or Mailchimp, you’ll need them to provide you TXT records for DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) and Sender Policy Framework (SPF ). I know you are all “Wait, was that English?” Let us explain!

A DNS TXT record is text you add to your DNS settings. DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is an authentication system for email to verify domain and sender integrity. Sender Policy Framework is an email validation system to avoid email spoofing and ensure the email is indeed coming from a verified domain.

Both DKIM and SPF are commonly accepted standards used by email receivers and ESPs to ensure the sender address is authentic and not a forgery. (Basically, when you send an email, these standards check that you are who you say you are.) You add these snippets of code to your DNS setting as TXT records. They look like this:

SPF:
e.whereoware.com. TXT “v=spf1 ip4:XXX.XX.XX.XX -all”

DKIM:

XXXXXXXX._domainkey.e.whereoware.com. IN TXT “k=rsa; p=XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX”

Below, you’ll see a behind the scenes graphic of our DNS settings, where you add the TXT/SPF record. (This is what you’ll see when you login to your domain’s (or subdomain’s) DNS records and where you make updates to your DNS TXT records.

Updating your DNS TXT records.

4. Where do I get these TXT records?

You’ll request the TXT records from your ESP.

5. I’ve added the TXT records. What now?

Your ESP needs to validate them by checking that you’re passing SPF and DKIM validation tests.

6. Tests passed. Now what? IP Warmup

You did it – now, you can send emails without worrying they’ll end up in the junk mail or spam folder.

Not so fast! If you are sending with a new ESP or server, you’ll need an Internet Protocol (IP) address warmup. An IP address is a numerical label assigned to your email sending server.

An IP warmup is a process of throttling your emails to send to a small amount of recipients and gradually to larger amounts, so you don’t alarm Internet Service Providers (ISPs). (Internet Service Providers provide services for companies and individuals to access and use the internet. Some popular ISPs include Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner.)

By “warming them up,” you establish a good sender reputation for your IP address. Start by sending at a low email volume – like 20 emails per hour – and build from there.

IP warmup is not an exact science, so it’s best to consult your ESP. They’ll know their email servers best and can instruct your best course of action. (If they don’t bring up IP warmup, you should ask about it.)

Is that it?

We’ve covered email deliverability basics, but there’s A LOT more to get into. Deliverability is half science, half art. If you’re sending millions or billions of emails, it can get complicated.

We hope these simple steps will get you started, so your emails arrive in the inbox. Reach out to us if you need help or have any questions!

2016 Litmus Email Design Conference San Francisco Recap

Digital Graphic Designer Breanne BradyToday, we welcome a guest post from our Digital Graphic Designer Breanne Brady. Bre designs beautiful, effective emails and landing pages, and specializes in responsive design.

Today, she’s following the lead of team members who shared their takeaways from TEDC Boston, and filling us in on what we missed in San Francisco. 

Last week, The Litmus Email Design Conference (TEDC) tour made its final stop in San Francisco.

I jumped into the scene as a #TEDC newbie. I was excited to surround myself with fellow #emailgeeks (and the promise of Litmus socks!).

I was welcomed by an overwhelming love for email.

Takeaways from The Litmus Email Design Conference San Francisco:

1. Email is a privilege, not a right.

Andrea Mignolo explained how an email’s impact can be personal and valuable when it’s designed with intention. Email can also have the opposite impact, and make customers feel like just another transaction.

2. Why should your email audience care?

Alex Williams shared 10 years of email design experience in “Tricks, Traps, and Truths.”

Every email needs a point of view: the what, why, and how. Williams says, “if the email doesn’t have a point, you probably shouldn’t be sending it.”

3. Every email recipient matters.

Your email doesn’t have to look the same on every browser, but every user matters.

Eric Leptit shared his journey creating and deploying interactive emails for Nest. He talked about the challenges of dealing with different email clients’ constraints. These constraints may be annoying, but they’re also motivation to innovate.

TEDC is worth your time

The advice and support gained from The Litmus Email Design Conference San Francisco sent me back to Whereoware with a headful of ideas (and a new Litmus wardrobe!).

I had an awesome two days, learning and collaborating with my fellow email geeks. Thanks for an unforgettable experience, TEDC!

Email tip – Gmail announces support of media queries and CSS

Welcome Dan Caro, Whereoware’s Director of Marketing Operations. Dan specializes in behavior-based marketing automation strategy, e-commerce marketing, and conversion optimization. He’s psyched to share today’s news…

Welcome to the 21st century, Gmail!

In case you missed it, Gmail announced the support of  <style>  tags and media queries. Start celebrating #emailgeeks!

leo

Continue reading Email tip – Gmail announces support of media queries and CSS

Media Race 2016 – Political Digital Marketing in The Upcoming Election

This week, we welcome a guest post from our Digital Marketing Associate Leslie McCrea. Leslie is responsible for behavior-driven email marketing campaigns and strategy for B2B and B2C clients.

A history-making moment

Leslie McCrea Whereware's Digital Marketing AssociateWe are in the midst of one of the most digital media-based elections in history. There’s unparalleled opportunity for candidates to connect with the general public, but also more real-time scrutiny. This ongoing case study of political digital marketing and transformative technology is driven by more than just a desire to win; it’s the result of a media-craving society.

Three out of four American voters have both a smartphone and a Facebook account. The use of technology, media interactivity, and mobile channels built an entirely new data-driven canvas for political campaigning. It’s prominence grew since the 2012 election, but more notably, since Obama first ran and took office in 2008.

Since 2008, Facebook grew up, email databases became the norm, and multimedia content was introduced. With a stack of interchangeable parts in motion – web design, email content, social media, and user content, to name a few – the remaining two months of this historical presidential race are bound to be interesting. Politics, technology, marketing, and social ethics are at a new crossroads.

Trump and Clinton – Pushing Boundaries in Political Digital Marketing

This year, the role of direct-to-consumer media jumped the ladder to become an influential avenue for political conversation. The 2016 election has not only challenged the candidates, but also the public, to make this whole experience just a bit more casual. Let’s take a look at how Trump and Clinton communicate.

Trump – The Celebrity Marketer

Many tactics in Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign mimic those of an A-list celebrity. The campaign centers around two main fundamentals playing off of each other:
Continue reading Media Race 2016 – Political Digital Marketing in The Upcoming Election

2016 B2B + B2C Holiday E-commerce Toolkits

2016 Holiday ToolkitsThe moment you’ve all been waiting for… the 2016 B2B + B2C Holiday E-commerce Toolkits are here!

What’s in your toolkit?

1. 2016 E-commerce calendar for 2016 chock full of holiday campaign ideas

2. Holiday Email Inspiration

3. Stats from last year’s sales season, so you can benchmark your performance

4. A bunch of other marketing resources, like email templates, how-to’s, and mobile tips.

5. A recording from our Holiday Readiness webinar, in case you missed it.