Getting Started with Email Marketing | Learn with Mailchimp | Allyson Van Houten | Skillshare

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Getting Started with Email Marketing | Learn with Mailchimp

teacher avatar Allyson Van Houten, Sr. Marketing Manager, Mailchimp

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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.



    • 2.

      Your Assignment


    • 3.

      Email Marketing Overview


    • 4.

      What is the goal?


    • 5.

      What content do I include?


    • 6.

      What types of email should I send?


    • 7.

      How often should I send?


    • 8.

      What are examples of great campaigns?


    • 9.

      Campaign Creation: Build a Subscriber List


    • 10.

      Campaign Creation: Segment Subscribers


    • 11.

      Campaign Creation: Write


    • 12.

      Campaign Creation: Design


    • 13.

      Campaign Creation: Test, Send, Analyze


    • 14.

      Common Pitfalls and Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Join Mailchimp's Allyson Van Houten and learn how to craft an email marketing strategy that helps you — the small business owners, freelancers, and startup teams — accomplish your business goals.

Email is a crucial channel in any marketing mix, and never has this been truer than for today’s entrepreneur. Curious what to say? How to say it? How often to hit "send"? Each bite-sized lesson delivers core concepts, guiding questions, and tactical how-to resources.

Whether you're kicking off a new campaign or looking to revamp your strategy, the lessons you'll learn will be universal to all small business email marketing.

Mailchimp is an email marketing service provider founded in 2001. It has 9 million users that collectively send over 15 billion emails through the service each month.


Looking for more inspiration? Head here to discover more classes on marketing.

Meet Your Teacher

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Allyson Van Houten

Sr. Marketing Manager, Mailchimp


Allyson is a Senior Marketing Manager in charge of Partner Programs at Mailchimp.

Mailchimp is the world’s most powerful marketing platform for small businesses. As the backbone for customer relationships, they provide sophisticated tools anyone can use to grow their business and be successful. Millions of businesses and individuals - from community organizations to Fortune 100 companies - trust MailChimp to publish the right content to the right place for the right people at the right time. Founded in 2001 and based in Atlanta, GA, Mailchimp has 800+ employees and is privately held.

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: My name is Allison Van Houten and I'm the product marketing lead at Mailchimp. I work a lot with our customers to help them figure out how to use mailchimp more efficiently for their businesses and all the tools that can help them meet other business goals. Mailchimp is an email service provider that offers software and tools for people to create, send and manage their email marketing campaign. Today, I'm talking to you from Atlanta Georgia. So, the class today is for people just getting started or who haven't started their email marketing campaigns. So, if you're an entrepreneur who isn't sure where to go or if you're a small business that's been doing this for a little bit and you're not sure you're taking the right approach, today will cover some basics that should help you make sure that you're on the right track with your marketing campaigns. By the end of this class you should have a campaign ready and written that matches one of your business goals for the year. What I love most about in a marketing, I love when people send me stuff right to my inbox. I don't have enough time to spend going through everything that's happened in a day. So, when people send me an email, I can read it on my own terms and digest the content in a way that most comfortable for me and I'm not at the mercy of whatever network has added a thousand rooms of today. This is email marketing on SlideShare. 2. Your Assignment: At the end of the class, you should upload a screen grab of a campaign that you've written and designed and also what business goals you're trying to accomplish with that campaign. That way, we can talk about whether your message is clear and getting across to your audience appropriately. You should have an account set up with an ESP of your choice. ESP is an Email Service Provider, it's a tool and a piece of software that helps you manage your lists and keep track of all of your email marketing campaigns and you should have a laptop, some kind of word processing document and that should be about it. So, the project should take you between one and three hours. Writing and editing the content is going to be a good chunk of your time and you will also want to incorporate some of your brand assets into designing your campaign. Projects that have a clear call to action and a design that supports their company and branding will stand out the most. 3. Email Marketing Overview: Email marketing is a channel for you to send content and messaging about your business directly from you to your subscribers. There are a lot of different channels for you to market your business, from advertising to social media, but email is a little bit more permanent and it gets directly into somebody's inbox, which is a really secret place to be. Other channels are really great purposes. Social media is a fantastic way to build an audience and to build the subscriber list. But one of the pitfalls of that is that you're constantly getting lost in somebody's feed. Hopefully, they might see your tweet, but you have to spend a lot of time kind of going back over and there's a lot of hope there that somebody is actually getting to see your message. Whereas email, it's coming into the inbox. It's staying there until they delete it. It's a chance to have a much longer conversation with your interested customers. So, when you're just starting your business or your business has been around for a little while and you have a small team, you're sending lots of kinds of emails during the day. So, there are two main kinds of emails that service would send out for you. There's one-to-many and then there's transactional emails. Marketing emails one-to-many. It's a single message that you're sending to a wide group of people. You are trying to get your subscribers and interested audience and let them know what your business is up to. Are you going to different events? Do you have new products? Is your company changing. So, it's a channel for you to communicate kind of everything that's going on with your business and not just kind of get tasks done on the day-to-day basis. Transactional email are things that you get every day. There's your Facebook notifications, your Twitter notifications. When you sign up for an account, it's the confirmation that your account has been activated. Those are messages that are really kind of one-to-one and specific to the person that you're sending to. They are less interested in the marketing email and they have a specific purpose that the recipient really has to take some kind of action or save that information. An ESP is an email service provider. MailChimp is an email service provider, and what we do is provide software for people and businesses to manage their subscriber lists and communications and keep it up-to-date with opt-ins, opt-outs, unsubscribes, hard bounces. They allow you to have consistent branding across your campaigns that matches your website and other online assets. They allow you to do reporting on the messages that you're sending out. So, when you send out a newsletter or a campaign, you can see what people are clicking on, when they're opening in different aspects of reporting on your messaging. Whereas if you're using gmail or kind of your personal email, you don't really have a chance to manage any of them. So, other benefits of an ESP is that you can do segmentation of your list. You have a clean IP, which means that your ESP does a really good job, hopefully, of making sure that what they're sending out is going to be received well by email clients like Gmail and Hotmail in Microsoft. You can also set up automated messaging. So, things like birthday emails or thank you for signing up for your list. You can also do testing on your email. So, A/B Testing is a way for you to see what subject lines work better for your audience or sending different days of the week or different times of day. So, when you are just getting started or for any entrepreneur that's getting started, the best time to start using an ESP is as soon as you know you want to send marketing emails. An ESP is a really great way that helps you collect your subscribers as well. So, as soon as you know you want to be marketing your company, you should be collecting those subscribers and putting them in a place that's easy for you to manage and keep track of all of your lists. You can start listing an ESP with anything, with one person, and that one person will help your database group. As you add more people, your database will be filled and it'll all be in one place, hopefully for the length of your business. When you're building your campaigns, a lot of ESPs now give you tools to build and design your campaigns without knowing how to code your emails. In MailChimp, our campaign editor, allows you to drag and drop different blocks of content so that you can build it in a way that's really easy for you without having to learn how to code. The other thing that you can do is find- There's a lot of different web developers and services online that help you find and use templates. So, you don't have to be a coder to send an HTML email. Specifically for businesses that are selling products online, there's a lot of research that shows that email is a direct way in somebody's wallet. As a business that's trying to grow and sell products, it's really important for you to sell those products, and email is a great way to get people to come back and spend a lot of time with your message and get them to your site to complete that sale. What's really great about email is it's a really easy way to track with working. You can see when people are coming to your site and purchasing items. You can see what they're most interested in in your site. That might be a different blog post. So, if you're a content generator and you're working with advertisers, it's a really great way to, one, sell some more advertising space and also see what content is of interest to people on your audience. 4. What is the goal?: So, let's talk a little bit about what your email marketing strategy is. Your strategy for email marketing and kind of all of your marketing activity should really relate directly back to what your business goals are. What you're trying to accomplish for your business over the next few weeks or months or year, should really define exactly what you're doing in your email marketing campaigns in newsletters. Email shouldn't be driving any separate goals, it shouldn't be trying to hit any other different purposes other than to help your business grow. So, some of the goals that you can be trying to hit with your email strategy is brand awareness, awareness about your products, loyalty to your company and your brand, and also driving people to your website, to consume different content, learn about different offerings of your company, and potentially to drive sales. So, when you're talking about email marketing strategy, one goal to try and avoid is trying to build your audience via email. So, email is a really great channel to use when you have people to talk to, and that it might sound a little confusing because you're always going to be growing your list, and how do you do that without sending more email. Social media is a really fantastic way to build your list, and emails are really great way to talk to it. So, when you're working on developing your email marketing strategy, my favorite thing to start with is kind of planning out what your business is hoping to accomplish for the year. I like to start with kind of printing out actually a calendar, and writing down all the different things that I want to accomplish. Without any clear goals in mind, it can be really easy to get overwhelmed, and unclear about what you should actually be executing on. So, starting with your calendar for the year, and then mapping that back to the communications that support those different goals. So, if you have a new product launching and an event that you want to go to in the next two months, you should plan to have a communication that supports that via email, in your content plan. So, measuring the success of your strategy can go a few different ways and it really comes back to what those goals are. If you're hoping to get more attendees in an event, what you want to look for is how many people clicked through that email, and how many people actually came that were on that list. When you're looking at selling different products, your end goal is to sell more products. Again, if you're creating content or a blog post that you want to drive people to your website, you want to be all attract back and make sure they're clicking on the links that you really wanted them to visit. 5. What content do I include?: So, if you're creating content for your website or your blog those are really great places to start in terms of what you need to send out in your campaigns. That's content that you've already generated it's already there for you, and it's a really great starting point. People who are interested in your business and have signed up to your subscriber list are going to be interested in what you're talking about on social media, what you're talking about on your blog, and new content on your site, and so what you can do is take parts of that and repurpose it to create a short email campaign that sends people back to your site to visit, and read the whole post or explore all of the different things that you wanted them to see. So, an email strategy document might be a Word doc, and that is kind of defined. So it could be a couple of things; it's your calendar that has the different communications that you want to send in one, it could be a Word doc that has a list of the content that you want to send, the blog posts that you're going to reuse, the draft of your emails and it also lists what other assets you might need to create. So, if you need to shoot a new photo or if you can repurpose something that you already have existing. That's what your strategy document should include. So, once you define what your business goals are for the year and you've set out your calendar of when those different events and portions of your business are going to be happening, that's when you can add in your editorial calendar, and you can plan around when the content needs to be ready by, when you might need to design different assets or take new photos, you can also determine if you're already shooting a product or shooting photos for the launch of your new product you can reuse that for your email campaign, and once you have that timeline planned out then it's time to go in and start writing your emails when you're ready. You can use a word doc you can write right in your ESP. It's really going to depend on what's most comfortable for you to get the writing and editing portion done, and also if you're working with a team how they can contribute and what works best for you guys together. I personally love using Google Docs. It's a really easy way for me to kind of write out everything I need to say without worrying about how it looks in the template or how what the calls to action might look like, and it's a good way to invite other people in to edit and read my content. Making sure somebody else reads your emails before you send them is really, really important. It gives a fresh look and making sure your communication is clear, and it helps you pick up on any typos, or misspellings or mispunctuation that could hinder how people interpret your content when it gets in their inbox. 6. What types of email should I send?: So, there are a few different ways that your email marketing strategy can take shape. There's general campaigns and newsletters that gets into your whole list, there's communications that gets it to targeted portions of your list, and then there's automated messaging that you can send out. General campaigns are really great when you're just getting started and your list isn't really huge. You know that pretty much everyone on there wants to hear about your company, and they're pretty much interested in the same things. As your list grows, your audiences interests might take different forms, and as your company grows, it has more product and content to share. You want to make sure you're matching up the right information with the right group of people on your list. That's when you want to start targeting your message. You can target your message using segmentation tools, which a lot of ESPs offer. Those segmentation tools allow you to figure out who on your list might be interested in specific products based on links that they clicked, or demographic information. One example of that is if you sell men's and women's t-shirts, you can segment your list by sending the women's t-shirts to the women on your list and vice versa. You might want to send that to everybody, because you never know what that crossover is. But by segmenting and targeting your lists, you're reducing the number of people who might not be interested in that content. So, automated campaigns are messages that you're going to be sending out to multiple people over time, but it's going to be the same message that you want them to receive. It might sound a little like transactional emails because it has some similarities there, but it's back to that one message to many people. But by setting it up to automate over time, you're saving yourself a lot of work and having to resend the same message over and over. So, examples of an automated message might be a birthday email. If you're collecting the birthday for all the subscribers on your list, and you want to send them a happy birthday message, or discount, you can set up an automated message that sends when their birthday hits. So if you have 2,000 subscribers, you don't want to segment and send 2,000 different emails. You'd want to set up one automated email that sends to each of those people on their birthdays. When you don't want to send an automated message, and when you have content that's changing and specific to a small group on your list, that might mean creating two or three different segments of your list, but when you have to create unique content for them, you don't want to set up an automated message that doesn't feel human, and doesn't feel like you're actually speaking to them. 7. How often should I send?: So, understanding how often to send is really going to depend on who your audiences. You're not going to know exactly what that frequency is until you start sending a few different emails. There are no hard and fast rules for sending once a week, sending five times a week, sending once a month. It's going to depend on what your timeframe looks like, and how much time you have to spend on email and also how often you have news to share, and how often your subscribers want to hear about it. So, as you're just getting started and if this is your your first email campaign, I usually recommend small businesses aim for one email a month. You want to be consistent and talking to your subscribers as often as you can without overwhelming them. You don't want to go four, five, six months without them hearing a communication from you. So, one email a month is usually pretty accomplishable. If you have a blog post or just a quick update to share with folks, that email can be one paragraph in an image or it can be two or three different pieces of content and a couple images. As you have more time and more things to talk about, you're going to need to start sending more frequently. You want to start paying attention to what your engagement looks like. So, how often are people opening? Are they clicking? Are they unsubscribing a lot more than they had been at the beginning? Those are some metrics that pay attention to as you increase your frequency. If there's a week that you don't have something that you feel like is worth sharing, it's okay. You want to make sure you're saying fairly regular and setting up an editorial calendar make sure you're not missing messages and you're not going two or three months without talking to your subscribers. But you'd never want to be at point where you're forcing yourself to generate content that's not relevant to your subscribers just for the sake of sending an email. You want to make sure you have something to say and have something that you want to make sure people hear every time that you send your campaigns out. 8. What are examples of great campaigns?: So, at MailChimp we get to see a lot of really fantastic emails come in. We have millions of people sending billions of emails every month. So, what we've done over the last couple of years is worked to create a resource to showcase the best of them. So, our inspiration page shows emails from bloggers, designers, e-commerce companies, and publishers, and celebrates the best of what we see come through on a daily basis. So, as I'm scrolling through here, you see a few different kinds of emails. Some are really image-heavy, some are very graphic-heavy. What's really interesting about each of these emails is that it's serving a specific purpose for the business that is sending it. So, one e-commerce business's audience and subscriber list might react very differently from somebody in the same exact space, but they've got different subscribers. So, it's really important to understand who your people are and what they're interested in. So, some common themes that you're going to see as we scroll through are very clear call-to-actions. We're looking at Cards Against Humanity, and they have a Buy Now button, which is telling you exactly what they want you to do. They would like you to go and buy some Cards Against Humanity. You'll see a couple of fashion emails as we scroll through, which are very product image heavy, which makes a lot of sense for what they're trying to sell. They want you to see how their clothes fit on people and what they look like. Let's keep scrolling through. Poster companies, you can see here Pop Chart Lab is really talking about their latest poster that's coming out. So, like I said earlier, that call-to-action is very clear on all of these. The branding and design elements match what you're going to see as you visit their websites and go through every aspect of how you would interact with their brand. So, one really interesting example of an automated-email campaign is a company called Tattly that designs temporary tattoos, designer [inaudible] temporary tattoos. They send a new campaign every week introducing new products. You can see that each week the template stays the same, the visual elements stay the same, but they switch out the imagery and the content to match what they're trying to promote for that week. Campaigns that are in this inspiration gallery have a campaign archive, so you can see what they've sent over time. I just clicked in. So, Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee sends almost on a weekly basis with new videos that they post on their website. But then, they also do these mashup videos that they've been sending a lot recently. So, as you get in, you look at this campaign, you can see, again, that branding and visual elements are consistent. You can see that they're telling people to go watch the video and have quick content that they're sharing. They're sending people and letting them know about social media sites that they have available. But then, you can also look in and see their past issues right up here in the corner, and get a listing of everything that they've sent since October. As you go through, you'll see that the message alters a little bit, but the call-to-action is really clear, and people will understand what they're getting as this comes into their inbox every week. There's a few different resources that you can use to get inspiration for your emails. One great way is to sign up for people that you admire, how they approach branding and marketing. I do that all the time. I might actually be interested in their products or what they're selling, but I also really like their approach and how they're writing about content and how they approach marketing is as interesting to me as what they're selling. Signing up for who you consider your competitors and see how they're talking about things, how they're creating and designing their emails gives you a good sense of what other subscribers on your list might be getting exposed to. You don't necessarily want to copy that, but you want to be aware of how things are presented, so that you're consistent in how subscribers want to receive information. Or you can be totally separate and totally different and do what's right for you. That's going to be up to you and how you approach your design. 9. Campaign Creation: Build a Subscriber List: So, now we're going to talk a little bit more about actually making a campaign. The first thing that we want to talk about is your list. So your subscriber list is going to be made of people who have asked for you to send them content. So, one thing to remember is that email marketing is permission-based marketing. That means if they haven't asked to talk to you, don't send them email. There's a lot of reasons why. One is that the idea that they're allowing you into their inbox is that it's an exchange that they're interested in you and they've asked you to send something, and now it's your job to send them stuff. If they haven't asked for you and they haven't opted into your list, there's a really good likelihood that you're going to get marked as spam or they're going to unsubscribe, which doesn't really do you any favors. You also really don't want to be sending content to people who don't care and people who might not be interested in what you have to say. So your list. Your list shouldn't be made from all of your contacts in your Gmail inbox. Please don't do that. Emails get old and grow stale over time. So you want to make sure that the people that you're adding to your list, one, have asked to get added, and two, are people that you communicate regularly with within the last six to eight months. So there are a few different ways to start building that list. Like I mentioned before, social media is a fantastic way to start adding people to your subscriber list. There's a few different ways that you can get your audience from Twitter and Facebook to get onto your list. One is to set up an integration between your email account and your business Twitter or Facebook account. We have a whole bunch of integrations that allow you to do that pretty easily, which we can share in the links. But one way is to have a subscriber sign that form right on your Facebook page. If people are spending a lot of time there, we want to make sure you're capturing them in a way that you can talk to them a little bit more clearly later. Another way, and my most important way, is make sure you have a sign up form on your website. You can have it in your photo, you can have it on your About page, there's a lot of places you can put it. But make sure you have that there so that as people are coming, it's not really hard for them to find a way to stay in touch with you. You can also start collecting subscribers when you go to events. So if you exhibit at trade shows or conferences, or if you're speaking somewhere, have a simple way for people to sign up to receive communications with you after the fact. MailChimp has some apps that can help you do that pretty easily. You could also use Google Forms or simply collect business cards. But that's going to be pretty time consuming, so hopefully, we can find you some tools to help you do that a little bit easier. Yeah, and so your list of is made up of all of these different people from all these different places who have said, "I like what you're doing, please send me content." How can you judge how valuable or how healthy your list is? One thing is to make sure that you don't have people who haven't been in communication with you more than six months. We've done a lot of research, our data science team has done a lot of work at seeing when an email is dead or unhealthy and might bring down all of your engagement tricks, and about six to eight months is when people start to fall off. They might have changed email addresses. They might not be paying attention to their inbox anymore. But you want to make sure those people who haven't engaged or you haven't talked to in about that timeframe aren't on your list anymore. The other benefit to that is that it costs you less money if you don't have that deadweight sitting on your list. So, one thing you might be tempted to do to build your lists is to purchase a list. For MailChimp, we do not allow people to do that, and that's for a lot of different reasons. One, a lot of the emails that are on those lists that you buy are dead emails or they're spam traps that will get your campaigns going from the inbox to the spam filter. They're also a waste of money for you in a couple different ways. One, because they're not engaging with your content and they're not really actually interested in what you do. They're going to be deadweight on your list and you're going to be paying to have them on there and they're not really going to be adding anything or be interested in what you have to say. They're going to hurt your metrics. They're going to cause you to get put in the spam and they're not allowed with us, and any ESP that use is going to highly recommend not to use them. So, the size of your list is really not as important as who is on it and what they're doing with you. If you have a smaller list, but a good chunk of those people are engaging in your content, they're opening your emails, they're clicking through to your website, they're doing what you're asking them to do, that's a lot more important for your business and what your goals are in meeting those goals than having twice as many people who aren't opening and who aren't interested and are doing nothing to help your business grow. So as an entrepreneur and somebody who's running a business, you already know your customers really well. You're developing products, you're developing content for them, and all of that knowledge you already have and that you can use when you're developing content for your email strategy. 10. Campaign Creation: Segment Subscribers: So, we talked a little bit about segmentation earlier. Segmentation is a really great tool as your list starts to grow to help make sure you're targeting your content to the people who are most interested in seeing it. So, MailChimp we have a whole lot of segmentation tools. There's a lot of other ESPs that allow do that. But what segmentation is and what targeting is, is choosing a set of metrics or conditions that people meet within a certain framework of what you're trying to send them. If I had an e-commerce business, I would want to make sure that if I had a brand new pair of shoes that I wanted to share, I would send that to people who may have bought shoes in the past. It's something I already know about them, it's a preference of theirs that I'm already aware of. So, I know they are probably interested in the content that I'm sending them is really relevant. What you're doing when you segment and target your emails is not making it more relevant for the people that you're sending it to. What you're doing is you're excluding all of those people who aren't totally interested or might not be interested in the content that you're sending and making sure that they don't get to a point where they unsubscribe because they don't feel like you're talking to them anymore. You want to make sure you're saying the right things to the right people on your list and that's what segmentation tools help you do. So, we've talked a lot about segmenting and one of the most important things about segmenting is that you have to have data about your subscribers to segment on. There's a few different ways that you can collect that information. The biggest most important way to do that is include it in your sign-up form. You can ask people for things like their birthday, where they live, what cities are they in, what kind of content might you want to send later on a year from now that you would need to segment your list for. So, are retail locations really important to you? Is that's something that's relevant for your business? If so, you might want to start collecting zip codes and cities that people live in so that you could send messages that are really relevant for that retail location to people in that space. Birthday is a really super common one that people will collect for sending things like automated messages just generally know information about their subscribers. It can collect other demographic information like if they're male or female. If you have a business that might be relevant for kids; how old people's kids are, what ranges are they in? Especially as kids go from three to five to seven years, you might have different products that are relevant for them at that time. So, think through different aspects of what your products are and what your business goals are and how that might relate to what you want to know about your subscribers and then you can start collecting that information. Because even if you don't use it at the beginning, at least you have it for when you're ready to use it. It's a lot easier to start building it now right when you get started than it is to go back and try and pull it from a bunch of different places or ask people to refill out their information for you. Other ways that you can do that is if you're integrating your account with things like your e-commerce store and Google Analytics in your social media accounts, those are some other ways that you can connect to your ESP to help supplement the list data that you already have and your collecting from your subscribers. The most powerful way is really to have that sign-up form, collect all that information directly from people as they're signing up. Let me show you how segmentation works within MailChimp. It's going to be very similar to any other program that you're going to use but this can just help you get a sense of how you can parse that information as you're getting started. This is a test account for us. We're going to pick one of our lists. We have multiple lists in this account because it's testing for us. But you might have different lists depending on different product lines or if you're running a couple of different businesses and managing under one account. For the way that MailChimp works, we recommend having one list that you have multiple segments built off of but we have some really good resources and guides that can help you figure out the right way to build that, if you end up using MailChimp and our knowledge base. So, we're in our list. You can see the different fields that we have available: first name, last name, when they signed up, and what their email address is. So, we're going to go in and we're going to create a new segment. You can see that in here we have a few segments saved, what you can do once you've identified some conditions, if you're going to be sending you those people multiple times. Really, the segmentation process is pretty simple. We want to use one factor to match people to. I want to see anybody who's been added to my list since last month. We're choosing the date that they've been added, we're choosing that it's after a specific date because I want to send an email to all of my new people in the last month letting them know what's new. So, it's really just a matter of setting up the different conditions that you want people to meet that's relevant to that targeted message that you're sending. We have this account hooked up to a fake e-commerce store so I can see how much people are spending, what kinds of products they're purchasing. So, I want to send to all the people who spent more than a $100 in the last month to thank them for spending with my business. We're going to use more than $100 and then, we're also going to choose a location because they've probably spent money and my retail store. Now, I've set up my three different conditions and I want to preview what the segment looks like. So, I actually have nobody that meets these conditions which means I have to go back and refine my segment. You can do this as many times as you want. It's really about finding the right group of people if they exist within your lists or if you have the data for them and saving that segment so that you can send that content. When you're segmenting your list, if you have a smaller list, your messaging is going to be really similar to two different groups. Say, I have about 700 people on my list, 400 of them want to see 70 percent of what I'm saying and the other 300 want to see 100 percent. One reason to send one general message to that whole group is that it's pretty small. You want to use this opportunity to learn a little bit more about their interests and it's a little bit more time-consuming for you to create those two different campaigns for a difference that's pretty minimal. So, segmentation is really something that you want to do when you have data about your lists available. If you don't have a lot of information to target on, there's not a lot you can do in terms of narrowing down people's interests and also when your list is still pretty small probably under 1000, 1500 and there's not a lot of depth to the different things people might be interested in at that time. It's pretty conditional when you decide at what point you're ready to start segmenting. A lot of it has to do with the time that you have on hand and how different that message is going to be. So, if you don't have a lot of time on hand, it's really more important for you to get your message out than to craft it exactly to the specifications of a smaller portion of your list. There's no right limit for when you want to start targeting. It's really about as you notice people are signing up for your list. If they're reacting really differently to different campaigns that you're sending out, it might be because they're interested in different things. So, say you send out a campaign that had links to men's clothes or women's clothes and half of your list really responded to the women's clothes and didn't respond to the men's links. You might want to start at that point segmenting those folks out and targeting them based on those links and things that they've been interested in the past. If you're seeing pretty general results across the board, you're probably fine to keep setting that general email out. But it's really going to depend on as your content changes, as you have different content available in different data points to segment on and how much time you can really spend digging into and finding those segments of your list. So, if you've been sending email for a little while now and you haven't planned ahead for what data you want to collect, you can do a couple different things. One and the easiest way to do it is to simply ask your subscribers. Ask them to update their contact preferences or fill out a survey to give you a little bit more information about who they are and what they're interested in having you send them. That's the fastest, easiest, most reliable way to figure out who are they and what do they actually want to hear from you. You can also start connecting your different accounts, so where else are you collecting data? Make sure that you start pulling in that information if you haven't done that before. To recap, when it comes your list, you really want to start collecting data as soon as possible and you want to start thinking about what information you want to know about your subscribers before you actually need it. You also want to make sure you're collecting subscribers at every opportunity, whether that's in person, on your website or in social media and you also want to make sure that the people that you're importing into your lists are fresh relevant contacts that have asked you to send them information. 11. Campaign Creation: Write: So, we've talked about what your goals are and what your strategy is, and now, we've talked about your list and who your audience is and who you're going to talk to. So now, we need to start talking about what you're going to write about. There are a few different pieces of writing that you have to think about when you're developing content for your email newsletters. There's your subject line, your pre-header text, your headlines, your body copy, and call to actions. So, when you think about your subject line, that's the first thing that people are going to see when they open their inbox. They'll see who the email's from and then what the subject line is, and then we're going to get to the pre-header text in a second, but the subject line is that first thing that's going to pull them in to actually open your email. We're thinking about what to write for that. What we recommend at MailChimp is to make it descriptive of what's actually going to be in your email. That way, people have an understanding of what they're getting into before they open it so they're not confused, they're not surprised, they're not wondering why you said one thing and then showed them another. Being clear and concise is really important for every piece of content that you're developing whether it's for your email, your website, or your social media. You don't want people to kind of get lost and confused in what you're trying to say and they don't have a lot of time that they're spending with any content anywhere, so you want them to get the message really quickly. Length can vary really depending on how much content is in there, what you think your subscribers are interested in seeing. It could be anything from 3-5 words to a sentence-long subject line. There really is no kind of a right answer for exactly what you need to show in there. The pre-header text, which is something a lot of people forget about even us here at MailChimp sometimes, is the little bit of coffee that you see, again, when people see in their inboxes, that tiny little bit but it's under the from name and it's another little tiny piece of copy that can pull people in to open up your email. That can complement what your subject line is. Again, that tone that you're writing it in can be funny, it can be silly, it can be serious, and again, it can be very straightforward. But both of those little pieces of copy should be trying to pull people in to open up and see what's in your email. Once you'll get into your email, they're going to see three other pieces of content, kind of main pieces. They're going see your headline. It's the big statement that's kind of calling to attention what you want people to get out of your email. The body copy is describing your message, that is your message, it's what event you're talking about, what product you're trying to sell. What are you trying to get people interested in? The last piece of content that you want to think about is your call to action. Now that they've opened your e-mail, read through your headline, read your body copy, what do you want them to do next? Is it read more on your website? Is it buy a product? Think about what they should be doing at the end of the email that helps you reach your business goals. What do you do if you don't think you're a writer or you're not very comfortable writing? The first thing I would do is find a friend. Find either a business colleague. Find somebody on your team that might feel more comfortable than you do and get them to help you out. If you're a one-man team, find another person in your community or talk to your fellow Skillshare classmates and see if you can exchange a skillset. Maybe you're really great at product photography and they're really great at writing. If you're somebody who, if you don't have another person on your team or it's kind of hard to find somebody in your community that can help, it's really just a matter of practicing and finding maybe a family member or somebody to read over what you might not feel as great but if you're getting the message across, it's really important for you to be sharing that. Everybody feels uncomfortable writing at first. The more you practice, the more you do it over time, the more comfortable you'll feel talking about your own business and your products. One thing to remember in every part of your email marketing strategy is, getting something out the door and getting something sent is more important than the style being perfect. Something to think about when you're writing, you're writing for a lot of different places on your website and for your company, whether that's on social media, you might be writing a blog, and you're also now going to be writing for email. The most important thing to consider when you're writing for all of those different places is to be consistent and the voice that you use as you talk about things. If a lot of your brand and a lot of your company is built on your personal voice and how you feel about things and how you like to write about them especially if you have a blog, that should be reflected in your emails and also on your social media. If a lot of your writing is a little more clear and a little more direct and less removed from how you feel as a person, that should be the same across your blog, across your product site, and also across your email. One thing that you can do to determine what's going to be best for your audience is to do some A/B testing. An A/B test, we talked about earlier, is that being a benefit for using an email service provider, and what that means is that you're testing two different pieces of content or two different metrics about your campaign against each other to see what the reactions of your lists are going to be. So, things that you can A/B tests on are things like subject lines, the time of day that you're going to send, or even the day of the week. When you're using MailChimp, you can test on a portion of your lists. So maybe 50 percent of your list will get the test and whoever wins that test, the most opens or the most clicks, the remainder of your lists will get that winner e-mail. 12. Campaign Creation: Design: So now that we've figured out you're strategy, we've figured out who you're talking to, we've figured out what you're going to say, now, it's time to pack it up and design it and send it out. So, you're thinking about your email template design. When you're putting that together it can be as bare-bones and simple and clear, as you have time to accomplish or you have the skill level to accomplish, or it can be really super intensely designed, high level of design that matches your brand. What you want to make sure is that, as in all things that we've talked about, you're very clear and consistent with what you want people to look at and do once they've opened the email. So that could be, you might have 10 different product images that you want people to look at, and very little copy and just one quite clear call to action to send them back to your site or a product page. You might want them to read a few different snippets of copy from your site or your blog, and so, you want to make sure those are each clearly defined visually within your email. So people understand that they're different pieces of content, and that there are different calls to action for each of those. You can have an email that is text heavy as you feel comfortable with, or as is appropriate for the message that you're sending, or it can be really image and graphic focused, if that matches your brand and what you're trying to get people to take a look at. One thing to think about is that not every newsletter needs to be redesigned every time you send it. You can work on your own, or with a designer or web developer to create templates that you can use over and over for each of your messages or a couple different types of content that you'll be sending out. What's really great about these templates is that they're going to match your design principles kind of across all your brand assets, and they should include what your calls to action should be, and visually what those elements should look like every time, that somebody opens the email. What your design principles and focuses are for your brand as a whole, should be matched in your email. So if you can use similar fonts, you want to use similar graphics, have the same style of imagery, there really shouldn't be any visual inconsistency from your email to your website or any other brand assets that you have, the same as there shouldn't be any kind of language inconsistency when you're writing the content. So, there are web safe friendly fonts and there's six to eight different fonts that you should probably think about using an email if you're using plain text, or if you're writing out your content. The reason why there's such a limited in a number is that different fonts are supported by different email clients in different browsers. So if the designer of your email is really reliant on what fonts that you want to use, make sure it's something that's either supported by multiple browsers and multiple email clients, or you can transfer that content and that writing into an image, so it's exactly the font you want to see. Because if it gets displayed wrong it might mess up your template, and you want to make sure that everything is as consistent as possible, wherever people might be opening it. So, calls to action. We talked a lot about making your calls to action very clear when we talk about your strategy and also about writing emails. It's also really important that they're visually recognizable in your email. So you can do that a few different ways. You can create graphics that direct people to click on links or click on images, you can create buttons that tell people exactly what they should be doing, you can also style your type to call action to specific links that people should be clicking or actions that they should be taking. But the important part is that they understand visually, and from a written perspective what they should be doing and when they should be doing it. So when you're including images in your campaigns there's a few things to think about. How are your images going to be hosted? Do you have a service that you're hosting image does that already, and you're pointing the email to look at a link and display that image, or do you want to host your images in your ESP? That's another benefit for using a service provider is that most ESPs will have a place where you can upload your images, store them right there so you can access them anytime for any campaign. Another thing to think about is that different email clients will not always display images automatically. So, what do you need to do to think about those different email clients that aren't going to share your images as soon as somebody opens the email? One thing to think about is to have all text, and that's a text input that when you see that little broken image link, it describes what should be there, and there is a spot as you're uploading images into different ESPs where you define what all text is just in case somebody doesn't take the time turn to turn images on. If you've ever had that setting in Gmail, or open anything in Outlook, you'll understand exactly what that looks like. One thing to also think about is that your images can always be clickable. So your calls to action should be telling people exactly what they should do, but what if they're just curious and they start clicking on your images? You should take that opportunity to send those images back to where that call to action should be seen taking people. So, how do you think about which image to choose for your campaign? If you don't have an image library already, you're going to need to think about what image do you need to shoot to fit the content that's in your email, or do you even want to include one in the first place? If you don't have an image that matches what you're writing about, it might be a good place to leave an image out and only leave your call to action in body copy. You also want make sure that your images are fitting the size of your template. So as you're uploading that image, is it 800 pixels when it should be 600 pixels? In MailChimp there is a simple photo editor that helps you fix that, or you can use Photoshop or work with your designer photographer to make sure those are the right ratio for what you're going to be sending an email. So animated GIFs, we've all seen them, we all love the catechist on the Internet, so you can use them in your email marketing campaigns. But there's a couple of things to think about. The first is that not all email clients support GIFs. So what you need to think about, if you do want to include it is one you want to test your email in a bunch of different clients. You want to make sure the first frame of your GIF, if it's being seen in a client that doesn't support animated GIFs is still relevant to the message that you're trying to say. One thing to also make sure you're thinking about is what the size of that file is so that it's not getting bogged down in people's inboxes and they are able to see it and the email gets through. One thing to think about when you're designing your email is accommodating for mobile screens. If you're somebody who again isn't comfortable doing the coding, Mailchimp, we have a lot of templates that are already mobile friendly, so they're designed to be viewed well on a mobile screen whether it's an iPhone, an iPad, and also on a desktop. So, there are a lot of different email clients that people use to hold their inbox. There is Gmail, there's Hotmail, there's Outlook and AOL, a whole slew of others. Each of those clients displays HTML emails very differently. ESPs like MailChimp, we've done a lot of work in how we send email to make sure that they're received, as well as, possible. But depending on how you've designed your template, you're going to want to make sure you're testing for each and every one of those clients to make sure your content is getting displayed correctly. We have a whole bunch of resources that if you're custom coding a template that help you define what you need to know and what you need to think about. But the easiest route to go is how find the template or work with somebody who can make sure that there's consistent across all clients, and then before you send make sure you're testing by sending to those different clients before you send into your whole list. So we've included a link to MailChimp's email design guide, which should walk you through some high-level points as you're creating your template and thinking about how you will present your message when you're sending your email campaign. So we go through a few different pieces here which is content, identity, color, images, layout, fonts, and call to action. All things that we've talked about, but was really great about this guide is that I'm going to scroll you through and show you visually how this looks and set of just telling you exactly how to do it. When it comes to content again you want to be really clear and focus your message, and being concise and making sure the length of your headlines and body copy isn't overwhelming, what you want people to do at the end of your email. We've talked a little bit about hierarchy and here's an example of what that might look like. Then you've also talked a lot about links, so you can have very clear call to action links, and you can include a few other links from your images out to your website, links within your body copy that are as important as the call to action, but might be interesting for your subscribers to click on. Since we've talked a little bit about templates and identity and jumped into layout. So, here are some tips as you're thinking about how to put your content together within your email. So you want to make sure that people can process through it quickly. Most people don't spend a lot of time reading through marketing emails, so you want to make sure that your content and layout is designed for quick, accessible processing of information. You want to define your sections and what people are reading and looking at. We've talked about product emails and images versus really content heavy emails, and making sure that as people are reading through your email, they know exactly what they're looking at. One of the main things that we're talking about today as being really, really important is your calls to action. So these are some examples of how you can visualize those; you can have buttons, you can have a couple different calls to action, and using the hierarchy and design you can show people what's most important to do in your e-mail. Again, you want to be really, really clear. If they're not spending a lot of time, what is the big huge takeaway that you want them to have from your email and what do you want them to do? Which hopefully is click the button that you're showing them. In setting expectations, this is something that is really important which we talked about in creating your subject line, and helping people understand what they're getting into and what they should expect to get from you as you're writing about this content. Your call to action follows up on that, and letting them know what they should do based on the expectations that you've built around your email and your design and the images that you're showing. So, a few different examples of different kinds of ways of approaching designing the content for your campaigns. Need/Want is a company that sells a handful of different products, they're out of St. Louis and their emails are really basic. Their co-founders write a simple message once every few weeks that talks about a new podcast that they have coming out, new episode, a new product and maybe a blog post. It's a very simple letter that looks like it's coming from a friend into your inbox. But for them it works really well for their brand, and how they approach talking about their company. So, this is one way to see how simple you can go in terms of pulling your template together and still having it be really effective for the message that you're trying to share. Tattly is another company that has a really great email design. Every week they send out their new Tattly Tuesday, which tells people about different products that are coming out, new products that they're releasing, and also usually has an update about something interesting that company is up to, or a link back to a blog post. So you can see that they have a short intro, they show a few small product images and then they end with a tiny little bit of copy that really displays the personality of their brand, and the fondness of wearing one of their temporary tattoos. Another email that I want to show you is our very own MailChimp Monkey wrench newsletter. This is a newsletter and we send out quarterly that has a different theme each time we send it out. This email is really content heavy, because it's only going out three or four times a year, but it's talking about, different blog posts and different content that we've created and shared over the last few months, that we're repackaging and sending to people in the way that they want to hear it. So we have images, short little bits of copy to match each image and then a clear call to action to read the blog post back on our blog or visit the new resource we've created back on our website. 13. Campaign Creation: Test, Send, Analyze: So, we've talked about your strategy, we've identified your audience, we've written an email, we've designed an email and now we're ready to send it and see what happens afterwards. So, we've talked about testing in a couple of different ways. There's testing to learn more about your subscribers which is AB testing, and which is something that is really great to do. But if you don't have a ton of time for it or if you're really just struggling to get that first email out the door, I'd focus more on your content and design first, and AB testing if you've done email for a little while, it's probably the next thing that you want to look into trying and starting out for your business. The other testing we've talked about is testing in different email clients. Now this is something that you always want to make time for because you spent so much time thinking about your content and thinking about how to display and design your content in a way that is clear for your users, that you want to make sure that they're actually seeing it how you intended it. Testing your emails can be done in a couple of different ways. You can set up free accounts, set things like, Hotmail, Windows Mail, AOL, all the free email services that are out there and send yourself emails, and then you can also use the tools that you're ESP provides to do that for you. So test, test, test and make sure your emails are kind of showcasing all the hard work that you've put in to make them really beautiful. So now you're ready hit the send button. You've tested a bunch, you've made sure all your links work, you've merged some right into your copy and now there's really one last step, it's time to hit send. One thing to think about is what time of day are you sending, and as we've talked about a lot, knowing your audience is more important and understanding what they want is more relevant than kind of a standard best practice that everybody goes by. As soon as somebody says 10 AM on Wednesday is the best time to send, everybody's going to be sending at the same time, and you don't want to get buried in that. One thing, if you're going to be scheduling your emails ahead of time especially if it's going to be a couple days out from when you finish your draft, you need to make sure that between the time you finish your content and the time you schedule that to send, all of your links stay working on your site, all of your content has stayed the same, something in your business hasn't totally gone out of whack that makes your email irrelevant. So you want to make sure that even though you've scheduled it and even though you've done the work ahead of time, you do one last check before that email goes out the door, because there's no going back once you've hit the send button. So when you're designing your campaign and you're writing your subject line and your pre-header text, you also get to define who the email is from. So one thing to think about when you're defining what your thumbnail is, is what people are going to interpret that name to be. So if you're sending a marketing message from a name, so say it's But what I'm trying to do is get people to read different blog posts, people might be confused and maybe a little annoyed that I'm trying to get them, I'm trying to market to them, but not being very clear about what I'm saying. But if you're sending a more personal message to your subscribers, it might be more appropriate to use your name or use the name of a member in your team to help kind of form that personal feeling and that you're paying attention directly to your subscribers. So, you sent it, it's out the door and your subscribers are opening it and you're really super thrilled to see what they have to say about it. So now what? Now you want to kind of take a few minutes to look back and analyze the reports that you have because you started using an ESP instead of your personal email. For a small business or an entrepreneur that doesn't have a lot of time to dig through the many many reports that you'll have available, the most important things to think about are the open rate, click rate, your unsubscribes and the bounces that are coming back for your emails, and then if you have a little bit more time, you probably want to look at what email clients people are opening your emails in and hopefully where they're located across the country or the globe. Another report that MailChimp puts out that other ESPs might as well is what's called the Click Map. The Click Map is really interesting because it gives you a visual display of where people are clicking within your email. It's really helpful for you in terms of one figuring out what links are people most interested in which helps you figure out what content you should be sending. But also how long should it be and if people aren't clicking on your links but they're just opening, are your calls to action clear enough? Should you visually call more attention to them or make your copy a little bit more clear? The biggest question we get is the hardest question to answer is, what rates are right for me? When you have a smaller lists your open rates and click rates are going to be a lot higher because the proportion of people that you have to make that percentage of is a lot smaller. The bigger your list gets the smaller that your percentages are going to be. We have a really great resource that shows some very standard industry benchmarks for nonprofits, e-commerce, education and so on for open, click and bounce rates. We'll send you a link to that. But one thing to definitely keep in mind is that those links are very, very general and they're very broad even within those different industries, and what works well for you and what goals you're trying to set are really going to determine what click rates do you want to aim for. So you've been sending for a little bit or you're seeing your first email and you don't feel like you're open rates are where you would like them to be or where you feel like they should be. So, how do you fix that? So we've talked about what time of day you could send, what day of the week you can send, what your subject line is and what your pre header is and also what your from name is. Those are all factors that contribute to how many times your email gets opened and how many people are opening it. If you've noticed that you've been sending for a few weeks or a few months now and your open rates are starting to drop, have you changed something? That could be an indicator of why your open rates are changing, and if you haven't, is it time to switch it up a little. Now, the content of your email is what's going to affect your click rates, content in terms of what you're writing and the design. If you see your click rates starting to go down, it might mean that it's time to start segmenting your lists and targeting that content to the right people to see it. It also might mean that your calls to action again aren't very clear within the email, so you want to make sure that you're paying attention to exactly what links people are clicking on, look at that click map and see where they're clicking, and think about, can you make your copy more clear, can you talk about things in a different way that makes it sound a little bit more interesting to your subscribers. Your audience is going to change over time, their interests and preferences are going to change over time. So you're going to have to expect that you'll have fluctuations in that opening click rate. We deal with it at MailChimp all the time. How do we tweak our content? How do we tweak our design? Should we change how we're talking about things and we're always looking at and analyzing to see how we could be doing a better job. So, if you remember anything from all of the things you talked about in terms of testing your emails and analyzing is that you should always be going back, even if you're only spending five minutes to look at how your emails are performing. That information will help inform you to make better decisions when you're designing and writing for your next campaign. The more that you send and the longer that you send can help you not just in your email but help you understand your audience as a whole. So, if you're an e-commerce business, if a lot of people are buying and clicking on the same product, that might give you ideas for areas in your business that you can expand your product line or add some new options. Similarly, if you're generating content, if there are things that people are specifically drawn to, maybe you want to add more of that as you're developing content throughout the year. 14. Common Pitfalls and Final Thoughts: So you've done everything that you can do to create the best possible email that's super relevant for your audience. But what are the big major things that you don't want to do to screw up your email marketing campaign? The first is to be compliant with what your ESPs terms of service are, and with CAN-SPAM laws. So, CAN-SPAM is a law the US that defines that you can't send email to subscribers who have opted out of receiving from you. That means if they've unsubscribed,don't keep sending to them. Your ESP should automatically remove those people from your list, mail chimp definitely does, but don't add them back on because they really don't want to hear from you. So, if you're sending through a mail chimp, we require all our users to use what we call a double opt-in process. That means they've signed up on your website, or through a sign up forum hosted on your social media page or somewhere else on the web. Once they've signed up, we're going to send them an email that makes sure they really actually want to hear from you, and that they're the person who signed up for it. So, say, I've signed up for an email, I've signed up for a list, I'll get an email that says I really do want to be in here, please make sure I'm opted in, and I click a button and then I'm on your list. So, along the lines of being compliant and keeping your list clean, make sure you have your unsubscribe link in all of your emails. None of us want people to actually unsubscribe or get off our list, but people's preferences change, how much email they're getting in their inbox might affect what they have time to read, and we make it required that you give people the opportunity to unsubscribe from your emails in one click. The biggest pitfall in email marketing is as you're collecting subscribers, is to not communicate with them. It's really really important. Even if your email is short and sweet and doesn't have a lot to say, that you make sure they know that you're still there and you still want to talk to them, and you have something to share with them. The longer that you go without talking with them, the more likely they're going to want to forget that they subscribed to your list in the first place, or two, their email address might become dead. They might switch to a different company, they might switch to a different inbox, and at that point, that's when your list starts to become unhealthy and starts to give you some issues with compliance and getting stuck into spam filters. So, don't wait too long, start sending to your subscribers as soon as you can, and send to them as much as is relevant for company use, or that you can fit into your schedule. So, we've talked about a lot today. We've covered a really wide range of topics from why you should be using an ESP, and why you should be emailing with your customers. How to write content and develop a content strategy, and email marketing strategy, how to design for your emails, how to test and analyze after you've started sending, and some common pitfalls to avoid once you've started doing that ending. So, what next? Now it's time to put all of this great knowledge to use as soon as possible. What I would love to see is again for your project. Upload your campaign that has your design and content written, tell me and the other students in the class, what your business goal is and what you're trying to accomplish in that email. If you remember one thing from today, what I want you to take away is that email doesn't have to be scary and it doesn't have to take up all of your time as an entrepreneur. You can do as much or as little as you want, but make sure that you're communicating with an audience that really wants to hear from you, and it's interested in your business. If you don't have an email list yet, or if you want to clean it up a little bit, should you still do the project? Yes. Please still work on designing your campaign, and writing that content, and defining what that business goal is. Because if you're not sending it this week, that's fine. This is really great practice to help you be more comfortable in writing and sending content for email.