5 Email Marketing Basics | Jamie Ryder | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Intro to 5 email marketing basics


    • 2.

      Optimal send time


    • 3.

      List hygiene


    • 4.

      Subject lines


    • 5.

      Testing & optimization


    • 6.

      Measuring success


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About This Class

In this class we'll review the five email marketing basics which include some of the most relevant and common topics of this marketing discipline: 

  1. Optimal send times + frequency 
  2. List hygiene 
  3. Subject lines
  4. Testing & optimization
  5. Measuring success

Students in this class will learn how to optimize and understand their email marketing program better by establishing which day of the week is most effective, how often they should send to their specific audience, how to maintain clean distribution lists, common do’s and don’ts for subject lines, what kinds of tests work best, and how to measure success.

This class is designed for anyone new or starting out in Email Marketing whether you’re a freelancer, small business owner, supporting a corporate email marketing program, or anyone with a general interest in Email!

Meet Your Teacher

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Jamie Ryder

Marketing Advisor + Plant-Based Advocate


Hi there! I'm Jamie.

I'm a Toronto native living in southern California with my game developer husband, our 8 yr old daughter, and our Goldendoodle, Ruby.

As a Marketing Advisor, I help well-intentioned and driven business owners pinpoint their single truth - this is their unique contribution to the world and what makes them thrive. Then we elevate their branding and marketing activity to develop, align, and amplify this truth so there's a consistent through-line in all marketing.

My first class is a high level overview of 5 Email Marketing Basics. It covers the most relevant topics in my years managing Email Marketing for a multi-billion dollar luxury hotel company - these tips are also completely applicable to a freelance side-hustle or small business.

... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Intro to 5 email marketing basics: Hey, skill share students. I'm Jamie Rider, marketing Advisor and welcome to five email marketing basics. I have spent the majority of my career in the luxury hotel space where part of what I did was manage corporate email marketing programs. Um, email marketing has really allowed Meteo exercise so many different aspects of being a marketer. And so I wanted to distill that down into five of the most common things that continuously come up in the hopes that it will help you and your business. This class is designed for anyone new to the email space. Whether you're a freelancer, a small business owner, maybe you manage a corporate email marketing program, or you may just have a general interest and email in this class, you'll learn the best data. Send your emails and how often you should send them. We'll cover how to ensure your email distribution list is clean and made up of real people who actually want to hear from you the do's and don't of subject lines and why they matter so much what kinds of tests work best so you can identify turns and insights to have the best performing email campaigns and then we'll wrap up with looking at metrics to monitor to make sure that you're on the right track. Now, in reality, there is a ton more to cover in email marketing like marketing automation, which is basically getting technology to perform repetitive tasks that you would otherwise have to manually handle TSB's or email service providers, such as male chimps, which many of you may use. There are pros and cons to many SPS, and this is a really critical decision to make in terms of choosing which one to go. If I would recommend one of the biggest factors being really strong client support because in the future, as your business grows, you will need it creative and design, which is one of the most important aspects. Trigger or transactional emails such as welcome emails that somebody will receive when they opt in to start receiving messages from you brand building emails. So a main goal of email marketing is to get the recipient to click through to the website or the APP. But today, more people are reading on mobile phones and click through rates aren't as high on mobile compared to when viewing emails on desktop so this change is the goal of emails. Sometimes it is simply just to make an amazing brand impression and create a great experience for your customers. Preference centers, for instance, Let's say you have a clothing brand and some of your email subscribers only want to see your women's clothing line versus your men's, or you can set up frequency preferences so a few send emails, say once a week. But some people only want to hear from you once a month. That's something that you can dio. There are a lot of ways you can selects and dice your overall audience based on their preferences, which leads to segmentation, which doesn't have to mean you're splitting your audience based on their preferences. You can split them up by their geographic location or even based on their device type dynamic content that is serving up different content per user based on their past behavior or their interests. This one is a huge game changer when used really well and can really increase engagement list building as a growing small business, a freelancer or even a corporation. This is really important to your success and growth personalization, which goes beyond just using someone's first name in the email subject line. For instance, deliverer ability is really important because not only do you want to make sure your emails were being received, but if you run a low deliver ability rate that could trigger the I S peas or the Internet service providers like Gmail, Um, and they can flag you as potentially being a spammer, which leads us to our last point. Spam and GDP are, which is the General Data Protection Regulation. This has been described as the most important change in data protection in the last 20 years, so if you're not familiar with it, it's probably a good idea to get familiar with it. So there's so much more than this. My high recommendation is to stay on top of various topics in email marketing. You can just google it and read articles from time to time. You know, the more you amass knowledge, the more you'll be able to understand how best to apply the various aspects of email to your business. A lot of the marketing automation or E S P platforms are great resources toe learn more. A couple of other good suggestions are a company called Really Good Emails and then another one called Marketing Experiments, which is absolutely excellent. So as you can see, there is quite a lot going on in the email marketing sphere. This list definitely doesn't cover it all. But for the purpose of this class, we will be sticking to her high level overview and focusing on these top five areas, which have consistently come up in my email experience to date. So let's get started. 2. Optimal send time : one of the most common questions I've heard is what's the best time to send emails? Tuesday's 8 to 10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time is not the answer because it is completely dependent and different with each company and audience. The answer lies within your company's unique data. You hold the power to knowing that best time and how do you do it? You should establish a baseline by looking at your highest engagement rates from existing Stens. You'll measure the highest engagement from your open rates and then separately, your click through rates. Remember, your baseline will change, so definitely be open to testing, which will review in a later lesson. So within your email platform, you'll have some nice reporting capabilities. Um, sorry for how ugly this example here is. But just for ultra simplicity, let's assume you've just sent your 1st 5 campaigns and you only sent them during the week. Not on the weekend. You'll see that on Mondays and Fridays, you're open. Rate was significantly higher compared to the mid week Separately, you'll see that Monday's click through rate is by far the best Now. Engagement rates like this will vary depending on a lot of different factors. Subject lines, email content offer copy. But for the purpose of this example, we can see that Monday is the best day to send emails. In reality, you'll definitely want to use many more data points in a much larger sample set than just five campaigns. But if you're just starting out, this is how it would go. So from here, your baseline will change as you deploy more campaigns. Your goal is to look for that sweet spot. Keep deploying, keep gathering your data, and over time you'll start to see trends. If you're lucky enough to work with a Data Analytics team, definitely engage them. Those who are educated in this topic and read data much more accurately. They'll also tell a much different story than someone who doesn't have that background or education. So let's say you don't have a team of data scientists at your disposal. No problem. Maybe you have a friend who loves numbers and data. Maybe you can take this friend over a coffee and get their help. If this is AH portion of managing your email program that you're pretty uncomfortable with , basically the key is do just continually test. You know, watch your numbers and make sure that you're forming a conclusion or an assumption once you reach something called statistical significance, which essentially just means you have enough data to make meaning off it. Let's say that you've been deploying email campaigns for about a year. At that point, you've got a good chunk of data to play with. And once you start testing, just make sure not to fall into that trap of formula conclusion too soon. It is really tempting to do that, but you do need to reach that point of statistical significance if you don't know how long that testing time period should be. Using three months as a baseline is a really good start. Now just did note about frequency and cadence. So frequency is the number of emails sent in a particular time period and cadences the timing and pattern of sending those emails. So again, even with frequency and cadence, you'll want to establish what that sweet spot ISS for your individual company. And um, this will vary with again every company and every audience. You can establish what that IHS by using your data in conjunction with your goals, you may not know what your goals should be, so if you're in that position a good starting point, maybe to see how the competition is doing, so sign up for their emails. See how often they're standing, and you can gain a lot of cool insights into what's important to your competitors based on what they're displaying in their emails, let's use a specific example to determine how you can identify the sweet spot for your own email frequency. So let's say you have a goal to increase website visitation by 15% in six weeks. It's a lofty goal. So you know that every time you send an email, it spikes a traffic on your website or perhaps your app or wherever you're leading to. So if you typically send once a week, then your test now is to start sending twice a week and to see what those results will look like. This is, in fact, a re a world example that my team and I had conducted several times in a couple of different luxury hotel companies. In fact, the sweet spot in that space was no more than once a week, and we did not have to test this for three months, for instance, in order to see really, really strong results. So when we deployed twice a week, we saw a huge spike in on subscribes and engagement rates such as opens and click throughs went down, which at that point, after deploying that test only a few times you just abandoned. There's absolutely no need to continue that on for a full three months. Sometimes it's helpful. Teoh. Imagine the actual recipients of your email program so I would imagine the recipients of the luxury hotel space to be these gentlemen. Now, let's get a closer look and really try to paint a picture of who these men are. They are very, very busy. We know this. They're moving from place to place. It's raining. You've gotta protect your suit because you're walking into an important meeting. You have to dress to impress, and you also can't be missing important email notifications or any updates from other your office or your clients. So you're constantly checking emails in my real world example. For instance, when we were emailing this guy, especially the man to the right, more often than usual, he was one of the many that immediately unsubscribed. We again didn't have to test for long to see that increase. Our frequency immediately had a negative impact. And it's not just about losing subscribers. It was more the fact that our audience was saying it was simply too much and too often so we stopped. For instance, if you see no real change, I would advise absolutely tested for a while until you see a trend that your deployment behavior is making a change to your recipients behavior. Now the timing and pattern of your email sons is also important. This is defined as your cadence. So, for instance, a lot of ski resorts may only send during preseason or in season. But the thing is, I S p s again Internet service providers. They're constantly monitoring your scent history as well as your patterns. So if there's a period of time or you're not sending any emails and you go dormant, but then all of a sudden it's preseason and you start sending to an email list of AH, 100,000 people. You will be flagged as a potential scammer. And so in this case you could dio a couple of different things. You could do what is called warming up your audience. So if you had a total of 100,000 people one day, you would send to 10,000 people. Only a couple of days later, you may send to another 30,000 people and continue on that way. Alternatively, you can just keep sending periodically, even during your down season, and that will maintain your engagements throughout the year. Um, and you could just really decrease your frequency of email deployments during off seasons. The key is you want to maintain a strong reputation with the I S. P s, and that's because they're the gatekeepers as to how your emails will be delivered and received. The reason why they monitor Emailer so closely is because there are 100 billion spam messages that are sent every single day, which is absolutely insane. So it's their job. Teoh, eliminate those from hopefully reaching our in boxes 3. List hygiene: list hygiene or maintaining clean distribution lists means that your lists are composed of really emails of people who have opted in to receive messages from you. Now why is it important to maintain clean lists? Well, it's super important, because otherwise you could be marked a spam. Your emails may not be delivered, and your customers won't see your campaigns. So how do we keep things clean? Remove hard bounces and UnSub's immediately. By law, you have 10 days to do that work. But as a best practice, I would recommend do it within 24 hours or 48 hours at the most. Let's say you've unsubscribed from a company's emails, but you get another email from them a few days later. Just because the company had 10 days to do that work well, that's a terrible customer experience in terms of hard bounces. That could mean that the email address was simply misspelled. So in that case, you congest correct it, watching soft bounces closely or removing them completely. So a soft mounts means it's temporarily unable to be delivered to a particular inbox. Maybe it's full, but whatever the reason, you choose. If you want to remove that email entirely, or you can just watch it. Over time, you can lessen frequency to an active recipients, so those are people who are less engaged than your usual recipient. Or alternatively, you can decide to stop, stop emailing them completely or include them on Lee on your best offers and try to re engage them that way. Offer a preference center so subscribers can receive on lee the emails that they actually want using a double opt in process, which means that someone signs up for an email through your website. That's a single often, and then an email is triggered to their inbox. They have to click on the verification link. That's the double Often. A lot of marketers probably don't like this method because you don't see as high numbers compared to a single, often process. But it is absolutely a good practice. Should you choose to go that rope now segmenting third party subscribers. I have bolted this one here because this is a high recommendation off mind that when you do enter into partnerships and receive email subscribers through those collaborations that you somehow mark those subscribers as separate from your others. So Let's say that you have a clothing brand and you've just struck up this amazing partnership with Nordstrom. So part of the agreement with Nord Strom gives you a bunch of new email subscribers. But the thing is, those people have not signed up directly for your brand. They've received and agreed Teoh receive partner emails from Nordstrom instead. So in this case, you can either send them an engagement campaign and just say, Hey, guys, you know, just want to make sure that you opt in and so you're getting that direct. Opt in yourself. Or you could just flagged them in the system separately so that you can see where they signed up and how they entered your overall list. Lastly, ensure a minimum 95% deliver ability rate. I say that ideally, this number should be above 98%. But, um, typically the research will say 95 and then finally don't buy lists for anyone who even suggests it propel repel 4. Subject lines: are subject lines, the key to getting an email opened. What I think could be the one thing that's more important than your subject line when it comes to getting in email opened is how engaged a person is in your brand. Let's take a look at three scenarios and three types of customers. You've got your highly engaged you're moderately engaged, and then you're somewhat engaged or lowly engaged. Maybe they just signed up for a one time offer. Something like that. With your highly engaged folks, you know they're likely to open all of your emails. Why wouldn't they write? They love you, but with your moderately engaged, they might be a little bit in different. So your subject line in this case will certainly push her toe open your email. But even if it doesn't, she's not going to unsubscribe. And then there's this guy. No, but then again, he unsolved because I was simply sending to frequently. But in these cases, with your low engaged folks, you want to make sure that your subject line is bolt. You know, give them immediate value and absolutely do not. Bait and switch don't use free, especially as the first word in the subject line. I don't use anything liquid triple a hex or dollar sign. If you bait and switch and you lose trust, you lose a customer writing in caps you're not screaming at people, and also we have a better thymus humans reading lower case. And please don't be lazy and use the same subject line all the time because that's really boring. Don't leave subject lines to the last minute, which is oftentimes the case understandably. Cell. There's a lot going on an email in terms of the do list, I once read, we should spend 30% of the entire copy creation time on the subject line alone. So apart from brand affinity, send subject lines will make or break whether your email gets opened. I have to agree that that is excellent advice. The definition of explicit is to state clearly leaving no room for confusion or doubt. You have 2 to 3 seconds for the average person to decide whether toe open or delete your email, so keep it easy. Emoji usage, when appropriate for your brand, evokes emotion quicker than words. Dio a picture is worth 1000 words because our brains process images a lot faster than processing words name usage, either in the subject line or the pre header text. We love seeing our own names, so that's why this works. Subject line tests are easy to conduct, and we'll give you good insights about your audience. You just have to make sure that the ones that you do test are wildly different in order to get the cleanest data back, since small variations really won't produce a big difference. And it will be difficult to understand which subject line actually performed better as a side note. If you wanted additional resource for how to write really good subject lines, there's a good skill share class called How to Write Crazy Good Headlines by a gentleman named Derek Franklin. And I think that a lot of the stuff that he provides in the class can absolutely be applied . Teoh email subject lines as well, So check it out 5. Testing & optimization: Okay, So if you're anything like me and the teams that I've been on, you may be thinking with this lesson. Uh, do you know how busy I am? Who has time to test, let alone optimize, And do you know how many campaigns are managing right now? I totally get it. Maybe you're a one person show. Or maybe you have a supremely demanding boss and you don't think that you can possibly handle any more. But here's the thing. Let's talk about the boss here. Who is the one managing email for your company? If it's you, guess what? You're the boss. Consider yourself the CEO of email for your team, for your company. Whether you're a small business owner, you're a freelancer. You support a corporate structure. I get it. You're wearing many hats, but be the CEO of email for your team because the thing is, you are accountable for maintaining and increasing the engagement of email recipients for your brand. Do your best to Emery's testing because as an email marketer, your job isn't justice set up in deploy messages. It is to push your program further by optimizing it, and that comes from testing and trying different in new things. The best test to run our simple A B tests where you're only comparing two different things . If you were only comparing apples and oranges, perfect. But if you're testing apples and oranges, grapefruits, limes and lemons, you can see how this can get extremely complicated. And it's not the complication. That's the challenge. It's the insight in the conclusion from these tests that has the potential to become muddled because they're just too many variables. So don't test, for instance, two different subject lines on top of creative on top of body copy. Um, really, unless you have a pretty sophisticated data team to rely on otherwise to keep it simple. So here's a simple design test example. This isn't a real test from Warby Parker. I've just simply pulled a couple of their emails here. We will test which creative layout will produce the highest click through rates, so we've got Option A, and it is a super clean design featuring a single product, or the focus is on one pair of glasses and a general statement. Find your perfect pair toe, add more value there, including one of the things that really do make them great, which is that Warby Parker glasses started $95 including prescription lenses. Option B features multiple product types and different frames. Technically, it also adds more dimensions, since it includes people. But the point being don't add a subject line test. On top of this design test, keeping it simple will ensure that you get the cleanest and most accurate results. So in terms of how do split the distribution list for this test, you could send option A to email, starting with a two L and then you consent option B t email, starting with em to see so again, keeping it simple in terms of what specifically you should test. My recommendation would be to focus on four areas the best sometime, either just the best day of the week. Or you can add on the time of day if you want another layer of sophistication. I would say that testing for the right frequency is almost more important than what time of day you send your emails. Absolutely optimized for the best content, especially in your header, and your header is a product shot that works best with your audience or is it a lifestyle image of someone using your product or videos tend to do really well for click throughs, even though I specifically say, especially your header content. I don't say that to mean that people don't scroll. They absolutely do. Scroll. Just keep in mind that the first thing people see is the header. And if that's not engaging, obviously the chances of them scrolling lessons. What makes you memorable? So if you cover up the logo in your email, is it easy to distinguish your brand from your competitors as an email recipient of multiple companies in your vertical? What really makes your emails different? Is that difference better for your audience? I had mentioned that metrics will vary from company to company, absolutely. But it's a good point of reference, especially when you're setting your own goals to know how you're doing compared to your direct competitors, or to gauge how far you need to go to meet the metrics off a company you admire. Or perhaps someone who's really doing well in the email game and then, lastly, share your data. You share your learnings, share your insights if you work with anyone else. If you're in the corporate environment, report back findings to your larger team, to the executives, to anyone who will listen, email, marketing and direct marketing. That's an important piece of the puzzle about your company's audience in their customer base that everybody in the company should know about If you're on your own. You know, maybe you can take that data driven friend out for a coffee and have a chat about your analytics. Maybe something from your coffee talk will spur ideas and new developments for your brand. 6. Measuring success: in our last lesson will look at how to measure your success, know your numbers and know your analytics every week. Settle block a time, even if it's just for 10 minutes to review the previous week's email deployments. Over time your data, your trending, it'll just become natural to you and then you'll be able to see very quickly when there's been anomalies. You can also set the same rule when it comes to your website. Analytics or any of the analytics, said Pertain to your company. Also set goals because teams of goals are always more successful than teams Without them, this could be as simple as grow your lists by 35% by the end of the year. Increase your open rates by 5% by the end of this quarter, or increase your click through rates by 2% by the end of next quarter. If you do support a corporate structure, there are a few things you should always include for the business owner. For each email campaign, you'll start with a confirmation the day of the email deployment, which includes a copy of the final and attached deployed email. How many recipients it reached, and perhaps if it was a sub segment of your total audience, specify that sub segment and specify how many people it went Teoh and then confirm when you'll follow up with initial results. Typically, it'll be a week or two after the deployment. 1 to 2 weeks later, you'll report back on things like the open rate, click through rate, the test results and any winners of a B testing the total revenue or how it measured compared to the goals of the campaign and then any general insight of how the campaign performed. So how did it compare to other campaigns that you ran? Did it perform better than usual? And if so, why do you think it outperformed your other campaigns as well? I, um I think it's always a good practice to include any recommendations you may have for the next campaign. Good email marketers will typically brew port back on the 1st 4 points, and depending on the business owner, they may also include the deliver ability, rate and perhaps the unsub rate. But great email marketers will also include insights and tell a real story about how the campaign performed. Remember, you are an email boss, email or direct marketing should really be treated with care. It is a privilege to be allowed into someone's inbox. Treat it like an in person meeting in your the sales person, and your customer or potential customer has agreed to meet you face to face. So think about things like, How are you going to show up? What kind of value are you gonna bring to this really busy persons day? Deliver on expectations, maybe even surprise and delight, but ultimately provide an overall excellent experience every single time. Thanks so much for watching you guys reach out with any questions and please leave feedback I would love to hear from you have a good one.