I've been in Portland, Ore., this week, working with my colleague, Senior Account Director Lisa Lyon, to grow our team's network in this fun, creative city where Lisa and some of our key clients live and work.
One of our first stops was the Emma office, since - like ours - their company is based in Nashville. We figured they would answer to "y'all", maybe even "all y'all", without looking at us funny.
We toured their super friendly, adorable Portland office (and met office dog Hannah; keep reading for a cute dog pic), then sat down for coffee with Onboarding Specialist Emily Foreman to talk about the latest in email marketing trends and tactics and how agencies like ours can work more closely with providers like theirs.
A few takeaways from our conversation that might help other marketers:
1. It's amazing how many large brands still do not have mobile-optimized emails. Depending on the industry, audience and research, studies show that upwards of 70% of emails are opened on a mobile device. And yet our friends at Emma routinely have with their users many of the same conversations we and other agencies have with our own clients: "Your emails look great when viewed on a desktop, but terrible when they're opened on an iPhone. Can we help you fix that?"
2. The more you can segment your audience, the better your results will be. This seems like a no-brainer, but I wondered if there's ever a point of diminishing returns on segmentation. In other words: Is the time it takes to segment into increasingly granular audience groups worth the outcome? Yes, Emily says, and she gave a great example of a client in Florida who sells high-end pet products to cat afficianados. Their email list is fairly small, but their segments are so precisely refined that nearly every send results in a purchase. The segment names are awesome, by the way. (I would be in the 'single woman, multi-cat, short-haired cat, non-elderly cat' segment. Read into that whatever you wish.)
3. Your website should have both static and lightbox forms to collect email addresses. Sometimes website managers will opt for lightbox (pop-up) forms because they're a little more assertive than traditional forms. However, Emily points out (and we agreed), many users are annoyed by pop-up forms and will turn them off immediately. But later, when they organically want to offer up an email, they can no longer find the form. Therefore: If you're going to use a lightbox, you should also use a static form.
4. Dynamic content should take into account images as well as text. While most email clients will allow you to automatically switch out text based on the segment to whom you're sending, many will not allow the same when it comes to images. Emma's platform recently added this feature, which is GREAT. A perfect example: When School of Rock sends an email to their list, the image changes to a girl drummer for that segment and to a boy guitar player for that one, etc.
5. Every office needs an office dog. Say hi to Hannah.