We’re approaching the end of the year. Where should you go if you want to meet us by the end of 2013? This post gives you this info but it also answers the question: which cool tech events should you attend in Europe?
Nov 13-15 | Devoxx (Antwerp) #Attending "The Java Community Conference" ☛ Meet with Orlando and Shubham.
Nov 14-15 | XPDays Germany (Karlsruhe) #Attending "The Conference For Programmers From The Extreme" ☛ Meet with Simon.
Solving Big Startup Problems With Email: The Square Case
Maybe you didn’t get the news? Oh, I’m sure you did. The creator of Twitter has just launched a service to send money by sending an email. At Mailjet, we are very excited each time somebody innovates with email. In fact, we believe that Square teaches us an excellent lesson :) Here’s why.
Email drives innovation but is often neglected
At hackathons, developers often go straight to the sexy (and also excellent) Soundcloud and Instagram APIs. Most hackers don’t think an email API has a cool hack potential. But you can be very inventive with email. We try to change this perception.
Actually, one of our Developer Evangelists recently won a hackathon in Berlin: his hack was an “authorize a payment by email” app. It’s called PayForMe and allows you to buy something without paying it directly. The transaction is effectively approved and executed by a third party, and the validation process is completed by email. Children or employees who want to buy something, but who don’t necessarily have access to a credit card would love this.
Email is just waiting to be harnessed: the potential is huge.
What’s really disruptive in this Square Cash story
This new service is surprisingly intuitive: I send you an email, I cc email@example.com and there you go. You will receive a confirmation to cash in the money.
Did you notice? The best innovations always seem to come with the feeling that “how come it didn’t exist before”. Often, it actually did exist before. Square Cash might not be the first to offer a “send money by email” service. But they are different.
Facebook was not the first social network and Google was not the first search engine. Concepts don’t really matter. The execution is not key either. What matters most is the user experience. From this perspective, it’s the first time ever that you can send money just by sending an email. Literally.
WYDSIWYG: What you DON’T see is what you get
The creator of Twitter innovates with email. Ironic? No, iconic.
Look at Twitter’s concept: 140 characters. Look at Square’s hiring catchphrase: “come simplify the complex.” Simplification turns out to be Dorsey’s number one objective. He knows it’s the real challenge.
That’s why he says things like: “it”s really complex to make something simple.” I bet he is a fan of Saint-Exupery, who once wrote “perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Could be Dorsey’s motto.
Bottom line is: Square is all about hiding the complexity of a financial transaction. The service’s core user community is composed of coffee shops and organic farms who crave for simplicity. It was therefore logical to use the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP…).
The best thing about this choice? Well, it solves two massive startup problems at once.
Bypass the change aversion problem
A friend of mine launched a very cool payment app in France: you can send or receive money by scanning a QR code. The process is very fast, super easy and oversimplified. Still: the users need to change their habits. This is doable but as Dorsey knows “payments are very intimate.”
Sending money is all about feeling secure. If the user can make a transaction from his everyday email client, the so called “new habit” becomes an obvious one. To ensure the experience is “intimate,” using the pre-existing UI was the best solution.
Yes, I insist: Square Cash is a product that uses a pre-existing UI.
Cherry on top: everybody knows how to send an email. So their “getting started” section is probably one of the shortest ever. Coincidently, this approach allowed Square Cash to even remove the sign-up barrier!
But this is “only” from the user point of view, these choices are also great for business.
Solve the chicken and egg problem
You probably know about network effects: if only one person in the world has a telephone, then telephone is useless because you can’t call anybody. If a few people have this kind of device, then the usefulness is limited. And so on. The more people have a telephone, the greater the value of this communication tool because at some point, you can call anyone.
Network effects always come with the chicken-egg problem: how do you get your first users, knowing that your tool is almost useless at the beginning? Dorsey is aware of this challenge: he launched Twitter. He solved this paradox once, with a few good tactics and some… luck: a lot of the first Twitter users were actually opinion leaders: either celebrities or journalists. These people are key when you want to fill an empty room. Obviously, the same recipe couldn’t be used for payments.
Before Square Cash, to send money to someone, you needed that person to install an app, create an account etc. Of course you needed to do the same on your side. The value of the existing solutions increased with the number of people having the app installed and configured. But the hockey-stick growth necessary for these products to really take off simply wasn’t there.
Email solves this problem as it’s used by everyone. You can send money to anyone who has an email address. No need to wait for them to configure something. Square solved the chicken-egg problem with email.
Sure, you need to enter your credit card details at some point. But you only do it one time and more importantly: it’s not the first thing you do. I repeat : to send money, you first send an email. Once you get the confirmation, you are already engaged and using the Square Cash product.
This is not rational: email is a medium, it’s not the emails that you receive everyday. Just like TV is not “reality TV shows”.
Plus, we’re no longer in 1999: anti-spam filters are now ultra-powerful. If you are using a decent service you don’t get overflooded by messages you don’t want. True, the strength of email comes with weaknesses: when something is easy to use, it’s easy to abuse.
Abusers are either professional spammers or candid senders who don’t know about the rules. At Mailjet, we do a lot to spot the bad guys and educate the senders. We explain how to use email the right way, with the help of APIs and real time feedback loops.
So yes, 40 year old email still drives innovation
Once you understood email is a medium, you can leverage it to build great products. Square Cash is an awesome example. But there are some others.
Look at the blogging platform Posthaven for example: “post by email done right" is key in their value proposition. You send an email to publish a blog post. Isn’t that a smooth way to do this? Your CMS is your email client. People are astonished when they see that email is a key element for their product. Then they think about it and realise how convenient and cool it actually is. Eventually, they wonder why nobody did it before (actually as stated previously, some services were probably doing it before, but they didn’t offer something as simple as this).
Fun fact is we often face this kind of reaction, even with Mailjet: “who could have thought that delivering email could be the mission of a startup?” We get this a lot. Well, because of these aforementioned elements, now you understand: email drives a lot of powerful startup products. Maintaining an SMTP server often becomes a full time job (anti-spam filters have their downsides), so creating Mailjet made a lot of sense.
At Mailjet, we’re pretty sure this Square Cash thing is going to inspire all the hackers at the next hackathons we go to ;)
36 Hours of Code at FHACKTORY: My feedback As a Dev Evangelist
FHACKTORY was the first hackathon taking place in Lyon and Mailjet was sponsoring this awesome event. During this weekend 5 teams had 36 hours to code a project. Let’s try to understand the goal of fHACKtory. Who else than the co-founder, Adrien Joly could explain this?
Mailjet - What is fHACKtory ?
Adrien - fHACKtory is a new kind of hackathon we recently launched in Lyon. As you may know, hackathons are events during which developers, designers and business developers gather for 1 or 2 days to collaborate on a web/software project. Our goal is to attract the best hackers, and support them to create great hacks. Our ambition is to make it global so that hackers from all around the world can gather behind the same motto: 100% HACK, 0% BULLSHIT!
Mailjet - How is it different from traditional hackathons?
Adrien - Our experience made us realize a major problem in more and more hackathons : Usually, projects are ranked by a few judges (including developers, entrepreneurs, journalists and investors), based on a very short presentation (or pitch) of each project. The best team(s) win prizes (and visibility too). In order to increase their chances to win according to this criteria, participants were wasting too much time not hacking! Instead, they were thinking about business models, building beautiful (but fake) screens of their app, and building shiny powerpoint presentations… Powerpoint slides… what’s the point!?
So we decided to ban powerpoint presentations and judges! ^^ But don’t get me wrong, we are not saying that biz guys are useless when building a product, we are just saying that hackers should be judged on the quality of their hack, and that’s it. At fHACKtory, we evaluate teams as follow: (i) 60%: Continuous evaluation (creativity, design thinking, risk taking, boldness…) throughout the week-end by “Advocates” (tech people who are willing to help teams create great apps); (ii) 30%: Beta test of the resulting hacks, after the 24 hours of coding; and (iii) 10%: Demo, evaluated by the audience (incl. the other participants).
Mailjet - Why did you organize fHACKtory?
Adrien - We attended many hackathons with the dream of creating awesome hacks, until the day we decided to organize our own. As AngelHack ambassadors for the Spring 2013 edition in Paris, we learnt a lot from this awesome experience, but we decided to go even further in the process by launching our own independent Hackathon. Being independent is the only way for us to apply our own vision (HACK, HACK, HACK!), without compromises and explanations to give to anyone.
We are convinced that both competences (biz and tech) are mandatory for a business to succeed (Seb, one of the guy behind fHACKtory is a biz guy!), we just think that hackathons should not be about building startups… Startup Weekend already does a pretty good job at this! At fHACKtory, it’s all about hack!
Mailjet - When is the next one ?
Adrien - We are thinking of throwing two events: one in Paris and one in Lyon. The dates are not chosen yet but it’s probably going to happen during Spring. Stay tuned!
As a sponsor, Mailjet offered a silver plan for one year to the first three teams and a bronze plan during six months to all the participants. I was also an “advocate” and spend the weekend helping hackers, and assess their skills. It was also a great opportunity for Mailjet to spend time “one to one” with hackers.
In conclusion, fHACKtory is not only a hackathon, it is a weekend during which you meet awesome people, have a lot of fun (#NerfGuns), learn a lot of things and Mailjet is just waiting for the next one.
Sharing My Tips And Experiences Attending Tech/startup Events Around London
My work, as a developer evangelist for Mailjet, started early on last September, back from a one month holiday, tanned, relaxed and happy I was ready to start my adventure! I am writing a summary of what I have experienced so far and a few tips for those who want to make it, out by the end of the month, still alive and kicking!
It began, initially moderately, with only half a week of conferences and workshops and slowly, bit by bit, loads of things to do all the time, every single day! What did I learn from going to a lot of events and meeting tons of new people?
#Point number one: Planning, be tidy or be late.
As an evangelist your role is to represent your company at pretty much all the events that you can attend during a week of work. You should not struggle or you might be negatively impacting your brand’s image! Being on time means being reliable, this is important as your behaviour reflects the service provided by your company. You are the flag carrier of your team, if you ever played Capture the Flag, you know that your team-mates got your back but you’re leading the way by carrying a reputation flag forward for your whole business. So please take those extra 10 minutes to make sure and plan ahead travel routes, starting and ending times. Trust me and this will make a lot of sense to you if you’re running around all day: Try not to forget to include extra time to refresh, mentally and physically. Your goal should be to always look ready to take a bite out of the competition’s market!
#Point number two: Make sure that you know what you are talking about and then a bit more
Representing your brand is not simply walking around and handing business cards to events, you should be seen as a point of reference, you need to be known for being THE guy. It is crucial to know when to be wearing different hats: Marketing guy, Sales guy, Dev guy, UX designer guy. (Or girl). You are expected to be able to help people, online and offline AT LEAST with the things that are related to your company’s savoir-faire. Imagine showing up to a hackathon and the following happens: “Yeah..that one function that allows you to get that info…yeah..”. You are aiming to be as precise and concise as possible, having a clear flow and making sure you know what you’re talking about helps a lot; afterall you are representing your company to the outside world. When you face a challenge you should make sure that the subject is part of your domain of expertise, and that you have covered that area at least once previously. I am not just talking about technical details, features and api methods, because sometimes even the easy questions can put you in a difficult spot. “Our competitors uhmm yeah its like euhm these guy whose company name start with X; sorry I forgot hahah..” <- This is kind of awkward right?
#Point number three: It’s not always about attending, but creating relationships.
What is the point of being in a dozen different places if you are not able to make a positive impact for your brand? It is important to network, that however is not accomplished by walking around with a banner, or a branded tshirt; it just won’t cut it! Oh yeah, unless you got something flashy going on! (TRON neon suit recommended, by the way). A fairly simple trick is to know exactly what the agenda for an event will look like: This way you can prioritise certain activities over others. Personally I love workshops, I would take workshops over presentations 8 times out of 10. Why? Because they’re usually more practical and they engage more, they allow you to meet people over just listening (which usually means browsing on your smartphone, laptop or tablet).
#BONUS point: Think fast - move faster
It occurred a few times that I would arrive to a venue and, as I enter the main room, everyone is just sitting in a corner and staring at their iPad waiting for things to happen. That is when a person like you and myself should start being pro-active. Get to know people from the start, have a few ice-breakers ready. Here’s a few that always work: “Hey what’s the WiFI password here” (always works) to “Hello there, I am ABC and I do XYZ, is it your first time here at 123Conf?” React positively to people challenging you, if when you meet people say that they’re not interested in what you have to say because they are already with your competition, take the time to understand what is it that they think the competitors do better than you. A lot of times you will see people that say “Oh yes I heard of your company but we use Competitor1”. That’s where you can gather a lot of precious info to use at your advantage. “Don’t worry I am not here to sell you my product, however I am now curious in knowing what it is that you think we’ve missed out on, because clearly you have heard of our product so does that mean you have considered it at some point!”. Always have a business card ready to give out and make sure you take a business card, read it and ask question about what they do. A lot of times it works wonders to remind people about who you are what you do. “Oh wow, where did you get these printed they’re astonishingly well manufactured” or "What do you do in your day to day job?"
In conclusion, there is a lot of work involved because the city is huge, there are way too many events that you could attend so make sure you schedule everything in your agenda, tablet, phone (and keep them in synch!) to allow a smooth ride. You are representing the face of your company, you are a on the field champion and you are carrying the reputation flag of your business. That means that when people look at you they will be interacting with your company, its vision and mission. Carry business cards and anything that might remind people of you, you are thriving to always make a positive impact! Always be prepared to answer questions, there will be a lot, both technical and business oriented. If you really don’t know the answer rather than making an answer up, say you’ll get back to them (exchange business cards!): It is better to be humble and get back with an answer at a later stage, than lying and make a fool out of yourself once the truth comes up! The truth always comes up sooner or later. (Suspense kicks in). Put a smile on your face and don’t overwhelm yourself with work, it will affect your personal life and performance, we are all humans after all.
[STUDY] Email Personalization: How Good Is It For Your Deliverability?
A study recently came out that went almost completely unnoticed. Nevertheless, it raises a crucial point. The practice of personalizing email with names/places may be detrimental: decreased reading rates and inbox placement and increased spam complaints. Seems rather counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Let’s try to figure out what’s going on here.
The terms of the study: the evolution of email marketing over 5 years
This study was conducted by Return Path, the world leader in the field of email intelligence. It involved more than 60 brands (Disney, Expedia, Nike, etc.) and was conducted in two stages, in 2008 and then in summer 2013. The initial aim was to compare the evolution of practices in email marketing.
The most striking change between 2008 and 2013 regards the collection of customer data: in 2008, more than half of the brands asked for very extensive information, such as a complete mailing address. In 2013, a third of brands simply request an email address with a zip code, or maybe a just name. Marketers require less information than before.
Among those that collect additional data, only 22% take advantage of it by personalizing messages with the name and/or location. Hence the question: what are we seeing here? Negligence or a clever tactic? To answer this question, Return Path compared the performances with or without personalization.
Personalization may be bad for your emails
Surprise: the more an email is customized with a name or place, the more frequently it lands in spam or the recipient marks it as spam, and the less they actually read the message. Catastrophic. Besides the time spent to manipulate custom fields, the marketer would also lose out on the final results.
As you know, in the future, Mailjet will offer the possibility to personalize your emails with merge tags. We have no intention of overriding this feature: here’s why.
1- A study is not an absolute truth
This study focuses on tens of millions of emails and a lot of brands, but that does not mean it reflects an absolute truth. This kind of work helps to make decisions, but your particular situation may be different. Return Path also explains this quite well. On the other hand, you need to ask yourself the right questions: if you spend time and energy to send emails with custom name or location fields, did you make sure you’re gaining performance?
2- There’s personalization, and then there’s personalization…
If we attempt to explain these figures, it is quite easy to image the following psychological reaction: when a recipient sees his first or last name or residence, he might feel attacked. He forgets that he supplied this information and has a negative reaction. But we shouldn’t confuse personalization of names/places with “personalized content.”
One thing we strongly recommend at Mailjet is always to send more and more relevant emails. Our interface and our API allow you to know exactly what links have been clicked. In consequence, our users can create segments based on their contacts’ areas of interest. From there, it is possible to send messages that better meet the needs of your recipients. Or even more simple: you can just personalize the subject and increase your opening rates in this way.
Basic example: an online sporting goods shop might notice that one segment reacts to all things related to “cycling,” while another reacts to all things related to “skiing.” Very simply, it’s possible to send them the same newsletter except for the subject line, to better capture the attention of each segment: “Flash sale: discount skis” and “Flash sale: discount bikes.” The content of the email must obviously integrate both of these objects. This customization is as simple as it is powerful.
The key to success is really just to send messages that are legitimate and desired by the recipient. Personalization of the content seems to be what matters, so run your own tests!
This study also dealt with other practices: double opt-in, unsubscribes, etc. We recommend you give it a read; you can download it for free here.
Our European Tech Agenda For October: 10+ Awesome Events
Our team is growing, which allows us to attend a wider range of events throughout Europe. We always try to make a great selection, making this recap useful for you in two ways: firstly, it’s a curated list and secondly, you will know where to meet us if you want to reach out (note that we are hiring!).
Our Agenda For October
Oct 1-3 | BlendMix (Lyon) #Speaking "2 days of workshops, conferences and unique encounters with the web" ☛ Meet with Thibaud.
If Our Partner The Family Is Not an Incubator, Then What's Their Concept?
Just three weeks ago, I was reading this top French newspaper called Libération. Who do I see in it? The Family. Damn, I was writing an article about French incubators at that same time, and my point was: The Family is the youngest, but still, they are everywhere. So yes, they really are omnipresent. As we at Mailjet just made a partnership with them, I think it’s quite interesting to try to figure out who they are and what they actually do. Being a bit mysterious actually seems to be part of their strategy.
Oh Wait! The Family Is Not an Incubator
Incubators, accelerators, startup studios… It’s often difficult to understand the differences between these structures who aim to launch startups. Definitions change from one country to the other and everybody is a bit lost. In fact, even Google or Quora don’t provide clear answers: everybody has a different opinion…
Hence, it’s very interesting to underline the fact that The Family chose to position itself as a “for members only” club, that provides “education & unfair advantages for startups.” Their website gives no further details. In fact, they leveraged the existing blurry lines to draw their own picture: clever isn’t it? This positioning is well-thought-out.
The 3 advantages of The Family’s “mysterious positioning”
Firstly, it provides the necessary conditions to create a real community. The “members only” policy creates a mysterious image. By definition, a community actually needs to be closed to the rest of the world, otherwise it gets diluted by the passive members who don’t care. Of course, you also need openness to nurture the community and ensure you bring in fresh blood. That’s why one finds a friendly CTA at the bottom of each page on their website: “If you want to join TheFamily, shoot us an email now!" This counterbalances the "member only" mention.
Secondly, having a new positioning ensures you differentiate yourself in a world saturated with structures who want their piece of the big startup cake. This is about innovation: The Family creates its own category. They are telling the world: “If you want to compete with me, follow me”. A bit like Apple when Steve Jobs was in charge: to grow, you don’t try to grab new market shares, you simply create your own market.
Thirdly, last but not least: by not competing with everyone, they can cooperate with everybody. They can federate the whole ecosystem and multiply useful touchpoints for startups. Not only VCs and grown up startups, but also accelerators and incubators: they’re all friends.
Of course, the press often refers to The Family as an “accelerator”, you always need to put names on things. But if you look at their website, the words “incubator” and “accelerator” are not mentioned, except when they refer to third party press coverage. Their branding strategy is obvious and now we understand why.
OK But What’s Their Model Then?
Their model reflects their difference: only 1% stake in each project selected. Sounds fair, right? This allows them to get hundreds of applications, if not thousands. Quite a few people were skeptical about this strategy: how can it be viable? They will need time to validate their concept, but meanwhile, Index has just invested: reassuring, isn’t it? They love disruptive models.
The Woman Behind The Family: Alice Zagury
In fact, there are two men as well: Oussama Ammar and Nicolas Colin, but I know them less well. Both Oussama and Alice used to manage Le Camping, the most famous French accelerator (or incubator, or call it whatever you want). We at Mailjet also have a partnership with them: they are doing an awesome job, helping French startups and offering them opportunities to network and build visibility on an international scale.
That is to say: what Alice had made with Le Camping was completely new in France. Before that, there was no such structure: very ambitious and turned to the rest of the world. Today, she’s clearly replicating Le Camping’s success factors, but on top of that, she can add her personal views and has the authority necessary to innovate even more.
Partnership Between Mailjet & The Family: What’s The Deal?
For the reasons above, we really felt like partnering with The Family was the right thing to do. In fact, their philosophy matches ours. We always believed in the importance of building a tight community which once it is put together, can produce “unfair advantages”, as stated on The Family’s website. Therefore, we both share our expertise for free.
Concretely, this means that The Family gets access to our services for free. This includes email sending of course, but not only: they also get consulting when needed and deliverability training if desired. On our side, we’re very happy to be part of an adventure which may at the end contribute to change the European tech ecosystem. We love this kind of relationships and encourage other grown up startups like us to do so.
This event is about coding, but it’s not a hackathon. Original right? Several members of the Mailjet team will be present: Shubham (Developer Relations), Stephen (Sales Director) and Didier (Designer). Mailjet will be offering a Parrot drone to the winners of the contest.
But what exactly is this event about? The best person to explain this is of course Liam Boogar, the organiser, also known as being the Founder of Rude Baguette, the #1 French tech blog in English.
Mailjet - What is Code in the Dark?
Liam - Code in the Dark is a developer competition that pits HTML5/CSS developers against each other in order to see who is the best coder. Each round consists of 5-10 contestants, all given the same website (along with a .zip file of all the site info they could need), and 15 minutes to re-build the web page. They are not allowed to use macros, or code-completion tools, and they can only view their code in the browser at the end of the 15 minutes.
Mailjet - How is it different from traditional hackathons?
Liam - Some traditional hackathons focus on building a business, which does not promote great developers but great business students. Other hackathons focus on creativity - often the winning hack is not the hack that is most technically advanced, but the idea that makes the most people laugh. Code in the Dark gets back to the basics, and rewards coders for being the best at what they do. We give away real prizes, give them all the food & drinks they could want, and treat them like the rockstars that they are.
Mailjet - Why did you organise Code In The Dark?
Liam - Rude Baguette always wanted to organize an event for developers. Our other events, like the Paris Founders Event, had been the result of our identifying a gap in the ecosystem, a missing event, and creating it. When Code in the Dark was presented to me by our co-organizers TicTail, I knew that we could build an event that would please all members of the ecosystem. Deezer has offered their headquarters because they love supporting awesome developers. Partners like Amazon and Paypal are giving away prizes because they believe in rewarding the best developers. And RedBull & Carlsberg are joining us because they know how to throw a good party, and they know that no one does all-nighters like developers.
In short, it’s the perfect event.
Mailjet - Why should our readers come?
Liam - We have made available Attendee tickets for people who don’t want to compete, or who aren’t developers, because we think this event is not just about sitting behind your laptop. It’s a social event - we’ve got Sounderbox's social jukebox playing music all evening - and there will plenty of time to watch developers scramble in the final minutes of a round, to vote for the winner of each round (~20 rounds running simultaneously and sequentially all evening!), and to talk with the finalists and the winner!
All attendees will also receive $100 in AWS credits, and our partner Mobiskill will be giving away prizes during the event, like a new Netatmo Station!
Code in the Dark is not a hackathon. It’s a party for the developer community! And every one is invited, so book your ticket now!
We first met with 99designs at TNW Europe in Amsterdam and had the chance to attend 99designs CEO Patrick Llewellyn’s workshop about how to take your startup international. Since then, we’ve been great mates and we welcomed Siham, 99designs Country Manager France at our shared office. What a perfect opportunity to let her share her expertise with our community about how you can use graphic design to make your emailing campaign a real success.
Tip #1 - Focus on your CTA
The main goal of your email is to generate visits to your website and make sales out of them. So, you have to use powerfully designed CTA and place them at the right spots. Don’t wait until the end of the email to offer your reader a way out. Display your CTA’s as of the beginning of your email and make sure that they are visible, large and clear from any sort of devices (smartphone, mobile, tablets).
The readers click your ultimate goal and the CTA is the graphic tool you have to make your emailing campaign a success, so place them not once, but multiple times. You can use Mailjet button creator for your newsletter.
Your email should not be wider than 600px. You should be able to scan within a sec all important information. As a result, a good design should not be scrolled from right to left, as it is discouraging, outdated and completely impractical. Studies on eye-tracking have shown that we are much more interested by the information located on the left hand-side of the screen. Use this area with pictures to raise interest and come along with text right to the eye-catching pictures. Once you’ve satisfied the reader’s appetite for imagery, you can make them read.
Forget about your favorite font, especially if it is Comic Sans MS, and try to use regular and powerful fonts that are easy to read. If you are not sure about what font you have to pick from the thousand you are offered, stick to the basics: Arial or Helvetica.
On top of that, if you have only boring images on hand to illustrate your text, you’d rather use uber-large fonts to highlight your main message or title.
Tip #4 - Avoid background images (like absolutely)
Have you ever opened a blank email? Well, it is pretty much what happens when you use background images as most images are blocked automatically. If your must-read info of the year isn’t readable, it will end up in Trash - or even worst, it can directly end up in your spam box. You should rather use blocks of color to highlight your text.
Like your homepage, you only have a couple of seconds to convince. The structure should be clear at first sight, so remove all pointless graphics that disturbs the reading flow. Optimizing space is key, so design your email with a maximum 3 columns and use menus like on your home if you have multiple services/products to present. Your main goal remains unchanged: offer a quick way-out to an optimized landing page to convert.
It may not be your birthday, but we’d like to spoil you anyway!
99designs is the largest marketplace for graphic design. If you need to refresh your email designs, we’ve created for you 12 email designs you are free to use for transactional emails, newsletters and notifications. Download them here for free (for the psd files, click here).
If you’d prefer to get a unique and personalised email design or any other graphics of your choice (logo, business card, webdesign…), it is easy and possible with 99designs’ 235 000 designers! Get 25€ off today and 79€ in visibility options by clicking on the Mailjet partner page.
Today, we aren’t going to discuss transactional or marketing email, APIs, Hackathons, or even deliverability! No, today we are going back to real email, exchanged between people. Because yes, people exchange emails, and in fact, they share quite a lot. Personal emails a little, but also emails exchanged for work, and sometimes to excess.
You, the person sending me an email, who are you?
Unless you already directly know your correspondent, it isn’t always clear who he/she is. This is why the civilized world invented the signature. This has nothing to do with a signature you write on a contract or official document. No, in an email, the signature is used primarily to give more information about the interlocutor.
What is your role within the company;
How to reach you by telephone;
How to follow you on social networks;
…and many other details
A signature longer than my arm
…or at least longer than the content of my email. These days, the email signature is used for many things. And sometimes, too many. In some companies, employee signatures look more like mail order catalogs. You can find the latest job offers posted by the company, the date of the next corporate event, a logo, links to 17 different social networks…until you forget the main point: Who am I communicating with and how can I reach him/her outside of email?
Nevertheless, there are rules
In 1995, Sally Hambridge published RFC 1855 under the title “Netiquette Guidelines.” This document attempts to outline a series of best practices concerning communication on the Internet and computer networks. What drove Sally Hambridge to write this document was the increasing number of new users appearing on the Internet at the time. Basically, before the 1990s, Internet users had technical knowledge of the tool and its limitation. However, the “newbies” of the 90s were not aware of this culture, and they needed to be educated.
18 years later, even if certain parts are obsolete because of the evolution of technology, netiquette remains to be universally relevant. In certain milieu, primarily amongst developers, it is still often referenced in the event that certain lines are crossed.
So what about email signatures?
Netiquette attaches great importance to email; a little less than ¼ of the text is devoted to this topic.
“In order to ensure that people know who you are, be sure to include a line or two at the end of your message with contact information.”
“If you include a signature keep it short. Rule of thumb is no longer than 4 lines.”
“Again, be sure to have a signature which you attach to your message.”
If we are not limited to what is written in this version of netiquette (there are several circulating the Internet), we can identify a few other rules that are commonly accepted:
No images in signatures in order to keep email size light (although this rule is seldom respected by companies);
Start the signature by a double hyphen followed by a space (“— “);
Limit the signature length to 72 characters;
What about you? What do you think of these rules: Out of date or still relevant?
Search “Double opt-in” in Google, and you’ll get over six million hits! Clearly, a lot has been written on the subject. Six million results, a large part of which are composed of questions like “Should I use subscription confirmation?” and “Double opt-in or single opt-in?”…which leads us to believe that there is still a great deal of doubt about whether this technique is really necessary.
But, what is double opt-in?
When a user subscribes to your email marketing program via a registration form, you have a choice. Either you want to welcome him and start sending him newsletters right away. Another option is for you to ask for an email confirmation. In this case, the subscriber will receive an email in which you ask them to confirm their email address by clicking a link. It is this latter possibility that we call the double opt-in. Double, because there is a first authorization at the time of registration and a second with the confirmation email.
The advantages of double opt-in
Double opt-in allows you to be sure:
That the email address is valid;
That the owner of the email address is really the person who subscribed to your mailing list.
These two advantages allow you to begin your relationship with your subscriber on good terms:
He agrees to receive your newsletter; he even agreed to it twice. Thus, the subscriber will not classify your emails as spam later on down the road.
By requesting that he clicks on the confirmation link, you have already generated your first interaction with your subscriber. This is a positive sign sent to the webmails and a good start for your sender reputation.
You avoid sending your newsletter to an incorrectly typed email address. This will prevent you from having to clean up your list later.
In summary, the double opt-in allows you to obtain a more qualitative and more reactive list of subscribers who are less likely to mark your emails as spam. Who could ask for more?
Double opt-in? But I’m going to lose money!
If we look at the reality of the situation, the double opt-in is still far from being used universally. Even senders who use it in their welcome emails don’t always use it thereafter. Some even have the bad habit of requesting double opt-in, but still sending their emails to their entire lists, even to those who did not click on the confirmation link.
Why? Because by eliminating a portion of their subscriptions (those who don’t confirm), many marketers fear a drop in performance. Fewer emails sent may mean less opens, less clicks, and thus, fewer conversions.
They forget too quickly that the quality of addresses collected and their reactivity is an important factor in determining deliverability. By leaving in unconfirmed email addresses, there is a greater risk that many of the messages will not reach their intended recipients, even those who may be among the most reactive.
Still not convinced? Test it out!
It is quite easy to test these two techniques separately. The bad news is that it will take some time, but the good news is that you will receive a definitive answer of which method you should use.
For your existing addresses, you don’t need to do anything. Continue to use them as always.
For one month (at least), use a single opt-in procedure. All addresses collected will be saved in a list dedicated specifically for the test. This is so that you can separately analyze the results of the campaigns sent to these addresses.
The following month, repeat the procedure, but implement the double opt-in. Again, isolate these addresses in a list for testing in order to analyze the results.
Once these two months are over, try comparing the results of the two lists. Naturally, the relative performance (in percentage) will favor the double opt-in. But what you should really analyze is the number of average clicks received with your emails (don’t forget to remove the clicks from the unsubscribe link). This number will enable you to see whether it is in your best interest to use a double or single opt-in procedure.
Don’t hesitate to share your results with us once you have them!
On May 29th, 2013, Google launched a new version of Gmail. The major change was the appearance of the now famous tabs: Promotions, Social and Notifications. Gmail now automatically sorts emails in these tabs. This was done so that only the user’s most important emails are left in the main inbox.
Why this change?
The primary reason for this change is a question of Gmail user satisfaction. Indeed, the realm of webmail is an extremely competitive industry. A consumer will not hesitate to switch services if he finds himself buried in spam and other commercial messages. Email remains one of the most widely used functions of the internet; economic interests linked to advertising revenue are considerable.
Gmail’s evolution is but the logical next step in a progression that began years ago. And all industry players will eventually implement this type of strategy (among others).
It is still too early to jump to conclusions
It has been a little over three months since Google implemented the tabs in Gmail. Three months is very short, and not all users have yet been transitioned to the new system.
Moreover, trying to draw conclusions now would probably be a mistake. Google’s filtering technology isn’t finalized yet…and probably never will be! Gradually, and as email senders’ practices evolve (whether legitimate or not), Gmail will be sure to improve their model.
And so what? What impact do Gmail’s tabs have on your emails’ performance?
We can’t say that there was a particular disruption in opening rates in the beginning of June. But as it is an average, however, it is likely that there has been an impact for some advertisers, but nothing significant.
Another factor that may lessen the impact of this change is the viewing of emails on mobile devices. In effect, Gmail’s mobile application has integrated the different tabs, but the default view continues to display all emails.
Why is the new Gmail good for email marketing?
To be or not to be in the “Primary Inbox?” Obviously, it is rewarding to land in the main inbox. But why do some get there and not others?
To answer this question, put yourself in a Gmail engineer’s shoes for a minute. Their primary goal is to exclusively propose emails that are interesting to the user. Filters are thus constructed with this purpose.
You see what I’m getting at here? The answer, in order to arrive in the main inbox, is to be attractive to the consumer. We are going back to the discussion on engagement in email marketing.
Gmail thus has the ability to force marketers to view subscribers as partners, rather than just addresses in a database. But use caution: if hundreds of tips and tricks begin circulating the internet about the best way to end up in the “Primary” category, Gmail will carefully close all its doors.
In conclusion: Engagement
More than just changes in Gmail’s interface, engagement with your target via your emails should be your top priority. If Google (but also Microsoft with Outlook.com) is the most advanced in terms of behavioral filtering, the entire realm of email will eventually get there. It is therefore better to anticipate these changes by modifying your practices starting now!
SMTP stands for “Simple Mail Transfer Protocol”: we will explain everything…Let’s just hope that “Simple” is still the case after reading the article!
SMTP is a computer protocol, or a convention that allows two computer systems to understand one another. This protocol defines how the message should be conveyed. In the same way, and for you to understand more clearly, the post office defines what information must appear on an envelope so that it arrives efficiently.
As an Internet standard, SMTP protocol is described in RFC (Request for Comments), the latest version being RFC 5321. Feel free to browse this document for your general knowledge … but beware, reading will not be very exciting for the average user; it’s quite complicated!
A little history
The history of electronic messaging begins in the 60s. At that time, it was primarily an internal messaging system, developed around a mainframe (see link for definition). With the gradual interconnection of different computer systems and the development of ARPANET, several protocols were developed to allow for the sending of emails between these networks.
For several years, various protocols would be used to e-mail. It was not until the early 80s that SMTP became essential alongside UUCP (which is still used for Usenet newsgroups today).
SMTP, more suitable for permanently connected networks, gradually took over UUCP to become the main technology used for e-mail sending.
As mentioned above, SMTP defines the rules that govern the transportation of electronic messages (the envelope). But SMTP does not define the content of the message itself, which is the subject of another RFC, “Internet Message Format”, found under reference 5322.
When you send an email via SMTP, there are two major phases.
1. The first is to know what the IP address (the unique identifier of a computer on the internet) of the server to contact is. This is accomplished through the DNS (Domain Name System, a directory linking a domain name and an IP address). For example, for the email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, the MX record (Mail eXchange) will send back 22.214.171.124.
2. Once this information is recovered, you can connect to the SMTP server. This second step itself occurs in three consecutive commands (actually, there are more, but for simplicity’s sake, we won’t discuss them here):
MAIL: This step corresponds to the definition of information about the sender of the email, mainly referring to the “FROM:” field.
RCPT: RCPT commands are used to define information about the recipient or recipients. This is the “TO:” field that is set.
DATA: This is the command that allows the content of the message to be sent. This part is defined in RFC 5322 (Internet Message Format). When speaking of content, this signifies not only the email subject and body of the message, but also a whole range of information, present in the header of your email. For more information on this part, please read the article: How to read email headers?
And what about the famous SMTP errors?
Between each command (MAIL, RCPT, DATA), the SMTP server gives a response called an SMTP return code. One can distinguish four types of codes, each beginning with a different number:
2xx: The command was executed successfully.
3xx: The command is being executed.
4xx: Failed to execute the command for the time being, must try again later.
5xx: The command could not be executed.
The next two digits (represented here by xx) provide more details on the exact nature of the code. In addition, a text message also accompanies the SMTP code. We will discuss these SMTP codes in more detail in a future article.
So simple…or not?
With this article, we have only scratched the surface of the subject of SMTP, but it will suffice for the time being. Have any questions? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment.
10 HTML tips for improving your email deliverability
Three years ago, a Mailjet team member experienced a surprising situation with one of the clients of his former employer.
The advertiser is a well-known player in the world of e-commerce. Every element of their email strategy is finely tuned. They have fantastic open rates (25%) in spite of an aggressive campaign (3 newsletters each week and 2-4 partner mailings each month). However, they experienced a serious deliverability problem. Yahoo! is the problem, which is surprising because Yahoo! constitutes a very female-orientated segment, which is also the target market of the e-commerce site in question.
For four months, every possible solution is tried. With each sending, a different element is tested…to no avail. And when we try to make direct contact with Yahoo!, no response.
The solution? To host the images of the emails…on the emails’ sender domain name! Finally, everything is back in order.
Unbelievable, isn’t it? And yet, this kind of situation happens all the time.
HTML: How does it influence the deliverability of your emails?
Observe HTML standards – Just because it is recommended to code your emails like you would have 10 years ago doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t respect the standards.
Properly close your HTML tags and embed them correctly – Yes, this is related to the first point, but all too often we see this type of atrocity in emails: <a href=”mysite” target=”_blank”><strong>My Link</a></strong>
No need to use tags predating HTML 4.01 – Actually, the use of <u> has been discouraged…since 1999!
Don’t use Iframes, plugins, … - Again, it doesn’t do anything, and it also gives anti-spam filters the impression that the content sent in the email was taken directly from a webpage.
Host images on the domain name sending the emails - This is the case described above; the more coherent your identity is, the more anti-spam filters will trust you.
Erase evidence of tools used to create your HTML - Especially in the case of MS Word or worse…Frontpage (not sure if anyone still uses it, but we can never be too careful).
Do not leave the title tag empty - The ideal is to use the email subject.
Use significant contrast between the text and background colors – A link in dark gray on a background of slightly less dark gray? Do you have something to hide?
What are the prerequisites for concrete transactional emailing?
No, your transactional strategy should not be as rigid as reinforced concrete! Quite the contrary, in fact. However, it is essential that its foundations are very strong, which is rarely the case!
Building a transactional email program takes planning! We have identified five points that you should definitely implement before starting.
1. Designate a person responsible for “transactional email marketing”
The responsibilities associated with transactional email strategies are rarely defined. They can be distributed over the IT, marketing or even the R&D departments. This dilution of responsibilities results in poor quality transactional plans, plans that don’t conform to the overall email business plan or that don’t take advantage of opportunities for additional sales.
To prevent these lapses, you should appoint a manager who will ensure the coherence of all transactional mailings. Ideally, this responsibility lies with the marketing department. This person will take over the management of the project, ensure consistency with the overall marketing strategy, review the results, and conduct a profitability analysis.
2. Centralize reporting
The behaviors observed when analyzing the results of your traditional email campaigns and your transactional programs are complementary! For this reason, it is important to structure the analysis and reconciliation of these two channels.
3. Generate dynamic content
Taking full advantage of the power of transactional email requires that you personalize it in a big way. This means bringing dynamic content related to your receiver (purchase history, behavior…)
4. Deliver emails in real-time
Every minute that passes between the transaction and the receipt of the email results in a lower ROI! With email, consumers are hungry for immediacy. Upon completion of the purchase, the first reaction is to verify receipt of the confirmation email. In the absence of it several minutes after the transaction, the opening rate will tend to fall drastically.
5. Authenticate emails
The transactional email contains much more sensitive data than a newsletter. For this reason, it is essential not to forget to properly authenticate emails with DKIM and SPF technology. This will enable a more effective fight against phishing, but will also ensure better deliverability.
Hacked: July 20th and 21st 2013 in London with Mailjet
This past weekend, a hackathon took place in London called Hacked, an event based on learning, building and sharing cool stuff. Co-founded by The Lab and Geeks of London, Hacked is a unique experience designed for experts, developers, and designers alike.
Over 500 people, all with impressive resumes, gathered to combine each of their unique skills to develop a project. More than 70 teams were formed throughout the weekend; discover the list of projects on the site hackerleague.org.
Mailjet: Hacked partner
All participants earned a Bronze package valid for 3 months, and Mailjet rewarded three teams:
New feature: Customizable tracking links with your domain name
From time to time, Mailjet launches new features…without even warning you! This is the case of a series of changes implemented several months ago related to tracking link management. It’s time you knew about it!
The new tracking management algorithm enables:
More efficient processing of links
Improved resilience (in case of tracking failure, the links will still work).
But that’s not all! The part that may interest you the most is the ability to personalize tracking links on Mailjet with your domain name.
What does this mean?
Currently, links present in emails sent from Mailjet use this structure:
No, finding the nearest bar and ordering a nice cold beer will not solve your deliverability problems! Unless…you need a little break to gather your thoughts. In this case, try not to overdo it anyways…
If I’m talking about beer, it’s because it’s a great catalyst for improving conviviality (just ask the Mailjet Dev Evangelist team).
Why on earth are we talking about conviviality?
Because deliverability is not just a list of technical rules. Human relationships between specialists are paramount. To be recognized in the world of deliverability is an important step.
There are many events organized around deliverability and spam. Organizations such as MAAWG (Message Anti-Abuse Working Group) meet several times a year around the world. This is an opportunity for deliverability experts to discuss often highly technical issues … and get to know one another.
An email platform should also contribute to the fight against spam
As you may know, Mailjet’s anti-spam policy is extremely strict and even goes beyond certain requirements set by the law! The prohibition of purchased or rented lists, the obligation to get permission (whether B2C or B2B)… The establishment of methods to detect spammers is one of the priorities of the platform.
This willingness to fight against spam is a matter of respect. Respect for consumers who do not want to receive spam. But also respect for Mailjet’s clients. Indeed, it is a way for us to stand out from the crowd: to guarantee to Mailjet’s clients that the platform will operate with the best reputation possible.
This reputation (which has nothing to do with the reputation of an IP address) will allow Mailjet to be able to come into contact more easily with peers in the deliverability industry… including over a beer ;-)
Learn the new filtering rules
ISPs are often wary of email sending platforms. That is why they are reluctant to disclose changes in their filtering rules. If they do, it will only be with people they trust, with people who have demonstrated their seriousness and commitment to the fight against spam.
Solve certain deliverability issues
What do you do when your IP address has been blocked by an ISP? The first instinct is to rush through the tools provided by them…when they exist (see the case of Gmail below). And even if these tools exist, you’ve filled out a contact form and you’re still not sure if your problem will be addressed!
The best solution? Have a direct contact who can address your problems. It is not a matter of special privilege. Only a matter of trust …
Drink a beer with the Gmail team … the Holy Grail?
Some deliverability services are much more discreet than others. This is, for example, the case for Gmail, which does not provide diagnostic tools for deliverability incidents. In addition, Gmail’s filtering rules are among the most secret in the industry.
So what do I do now?
Unless you are considering launching a Mailjet competitor … nothing! Both of Mailjet’s deliverability directors work with their teams to manage the trust and relationships for you!
The best thing you can do is respect Mailjet’s anti-spam policy…and your subscribers!
Your email reputation also depends on your domain name
Over time, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and webmails have developed many techniques to detect spammers and filter their emails. Originally, filters operated on the basis of the IP address’s reputation (IP = unique identification number on the Internet) by creating blacklists. Unfortunately, spammers have found a solution by changing IP addresses frequently.
For this reason, ISPs and webmails have developed other technologies to reduce the amount of spam coming into their clients’ inboxes. The reputation of the domain name is one of these techniques.
A two-tiered reputation: senders and links
The first tier, without a doubt the more important of the two, is the analysis of the email sender’s domain name (from). It must be validated by proper configuration of your DKIM signature and your SPF record. Both technologies authenticate one or more IP addresses, such as those belonging to Mailjet, as authorized to send email originating from your domain name.
ISPs and webmails also analyze the site to which your emails provide links. To measure the number of clicks, routers establish redirecting links using a domain name chosen by the sending platform. Ideally, these links should use the same domain name as your website. Now available for all Mailjet accounts!
What are the benefits in a domain name’s reputation?
Greater stability for your reputation. Email platforms like Mailjet use many IP addresses simultaneously to optimize sending performance and speed. As several senders can share the same reputation in terms of the IP address (except in the case of a dedicated IP, available in Mailjet’s Silver Plan), it is important to rely on your domain name’s reputation, as well.
A reputation that follows you in case you change your email platform. For example: If you become a Mailjet client and you want to use the same domain name as before, you will benefit from the reputation acquired from your previous platform.
Wir Sind Berliners: RSVP for Mailjet Day @Betahaus
Betahaus is one of our favorite spots in Berlin: that’s why we decided to settle there for a day. Let’s see how we could (re)meet. If you’re not around on July 11, no problem: Mailjet will be in Berlin a whole month, from July 4 to August 4!
5 Sessions at Betahaus on July 11: Register Now!
Objectives of the day: meet you (again) and share experiences. Whether you are interested in email, startups or terrific job opportunities, you should come to us ;)
09:30 am - BETABREAKFAST "Get to know creative minds and start ups in Berlin." RVSP: Meeting the community
Deliverability Advice: How to avoid the pitfalls of inactive contacts?
To begin, in the world of email, what exactly is an inactive contact? We can define this term as an email address that has not been reactive for a certain amount of time, whether positive or negative. The problem with inactives is that they can have a negative impact on your email sending reputation. Basically, the greater number of inactives you have on your email lists, the lower the rate of reactivity among your subscribers, which is a determining factor in your reputation.
That being said, marketers don’t like to delete contacts from their lists! However, this potential loss can result in a significant improvement in deliverability (from the rest of you contacts) and thus, your campaigns’ results.
After how much time should an address be considered inactive?
This is a question that doesn’t have a definitive answer. From the perspective of ISPs, the common response is six months, but this figure can range from 3 to 9 months, according to specific business needs. In B2B markets, given the elevated value of a contact and the often more time-consuming purchase cycles, it isn’t unheard of to consider an address inactive only after one or two years from the last reaction. But, one should be aware of the potentially disastrous results from such practices.
In order to understand why your subscribers are inactive, it is interesting to analyze those who become active again after several months of inactivity. What event sparked this reaction? If you have the necessary data, it could be very enlightening to see if an action outside the realm of email set off the reactivity, for example a telephone contact, a visit to an actual point of sale, or a campaign developed via a different channel.
Different strategies to implement:
Segmentation: It is important to handle your inactive subscribers differently. This allows you to test the best reengagement tactics vis a vis your offer.
Unsubscribe programs: If the different reengagement strategies fail, it may be time to part with certain inactive contacts for good. But it isn’t necessary to delete them overnight! Implementing a last chance program is a good technique to tempt your subscribers with your offer one last time. In this case, use subject lines like: “We haven’t seen you in a long time! Should we say good bye?”
Updating your lists: This is the final, but inevitable solution: to cease communication with your inactive consumers.
Other strategies: These other strategies should be implemented before your recipients become inactive…and sometimes even before they subscribe. For example: improve the promise you make at the time of subscription, implement a double opt-in procedure, initialize a welcome program, analyze your recruitment channels, make the unsubscribe button more visible…
As is often the case in emailing, commitment remains the main buzz word: the more your subscribers are passionate about your emails, the fewer your worries. The more honest you are from the beginning of your relationship, the more your subscribers will trust you.
In conclusion: Never let your email contacts lie for several months without using them! If you do, you are risking being blocked: first, because you may not have had the chance to edit your contacts after bounces, and then, because certain subscribers may have “forgotten” that they subscribed and will flag your emails as spam.
Thresholds: A wealth of ideas to create new transactional campaigns
Transactions emails are generally limited to welcome emails, confirmations, and reactivations. But to restrict oneself to only these categories of messages would be a shame!
Ok, but what other paths are there to follow?
In any case, there is one that can provide you with many ideas. This is the use of “thresholds.” But what is a threshold? A threshold is a limit beyond which an event occurs. In the case of transactional email, the event is obviously sending an email. The two most common uses are anniversary dates (registration, first purchase, …) and the number of points achieved on a loyalty card.
The use of transactional email thresholds can attract the recipient’s attention to an event that he himself generated and around which it is possible to build a strong story. It is strong because it implies an intimate sender and receiver interaction.
In the context of an airline company, a threshold could be when a passenger surpasses 40,000 kilometers, the circumference of the Earth. In this example, the email might be: “Jonathan, did you know that we’ve circled the world together?” This is an excellent example to suggest something to the client, such as to join a VIPs-only membership program.
Another example could be, if you encourage your clients to share your information on social networks, you could reward them after a certain number of shares. For the subject of the email, you could say, for example “Thank you. It is because of you that we are here!”
The use of thresholds can be applied to almost any field! Think about the core of your business, the services you deliver to your clients, and it won’t be long before you find some inspiration!
Deliverability Advice: Test the rendering of your emails!
Ask what an HTML coder thinks of email…the response is rarely complimentary! In fact, HTML integration for email is a complex art. While in classic web development it is necessary to test and retest with each different browser, the problem is even more complicated with email. Indeed, it is not uncommon that your email campaigns will be opened using over a dozen different email clients. Each has their own variable HTML standards…old memories might be resurfacing here. It is often said that to code a good email, you should code the HTML as you would have in 1999 (even if I don’t agree with this idea entirely)!
Despite this complexity, it is essential to ensure that all email sent is correctly displayed. Otherwise, you may damage your sender reputation.
Luckily, there are tools to make your life easier!
Inbox preview platforms! These platforms allow you to generate sceenshots in different email clients and webmails!
How does it work? In general, email preview tools simply consist of sending a test email to the platform. Within a few minutes, you can see the different screenshots. Certain platforms also offer the integration of their services via an API.
The two most common inbox preview platforms are Litmus and Returnpath (a Mailjet partner), but there are many other players in this market.
Conclusion: In order to guarantee a maximum level of interaction, your emails must be perfect! And as each email client has their own bugs and display tricks, it is absolutely necessary to test each of them.
Why Mailjet's Email Delivery Service Is Not Concerned by #Prism
We never communicated directly to the public about this (except when asked) but due to the recent Prism leak, we feel that it is worth sharing with our community (almost 15,000 active clients in 129 countries - including the US, which is our 2nd biggest market) that our service is not concerned by Prism nor the Patriot Act.
Email data integrity is strategic for your business
From the contact lists to the content transmitted via transactional emails, this channel needs first-rate privacy, just like any other basic communication tool. This has been a part of our core strategy from day one.
We host our servers in countries where data privacy management aims to be transparent, reliable and stable. If we are to communicate data to a government authority upon their request, standard rule of law must always apply: a warrant should be needed and issued only after a judge takes an independent look at the situation, sets certain restrictions and deems it necessary to issue a warrant.
"Nobody cares about the Patriot Act, anyways." Are you still sure about this?
Sure they can, but again, there is always an intermediate independent step where a judge is needed to assess the request and issue a warrant. A third party is involved to control how the data is obtained. This is no longer standard practice in the US, hence the Prism scandal and open access to all of your data - sensitive or not.
"I have nothing to hide." So your data assets are public knowledge?
Good developers know how valuable the data they are manipulating is. The real problem isn’t whether or not you have anything to hide, it is the fact that a government can access any information (sensitive or not) without any proper control measures.
If no judges are involved nor an independent assessment of the situation is carried out, who can guarantee that the data snooping stops just at one specific email? Who can guarantee that the agent pulling out the information is not leveraging it for his personal interest? No one.
Best of both worlds: Mailjet has servers in Europe AND Canada!
With Mailjet’s close relationship with OVH (the #1 hosting service in Europe who recently raised $180 million to finance their expansion into North America via Canada), we were privileged to be one of the firsts to use their new Canadian servers. This will not only give us the ability to provide a very high quality of service and speed for our numerous US-based clients, but also protect their interests and trust in our service.
Don’t hesitate if you have questions about all this :)
Why should you invest in your transactional email?
Transactional email receives reaction rates (opens and clicks) far greater than those you will obtain with a newsletter or promotional email. Yet, it is one of the least exploited opportunities used by marketers!
Why this lack of consideration? Most likely because the transactional email is rarely managed by marketing teams and is often sent from the company’s CMS and not by an infrastructure dedicated to email marketing.
However, when it is showcased, transactional email can become a source of additional income and a catalyst for your deliverability.
Providing information and useful tools in your transactional emails can drastically reduce the number of appeals to your customer service. This is probably the most powerful benefit of quality transactional emailing. This fact alone may justify a complete overhaul of your transactional strategy.
Reinforce the brand image
Every interaction with your consumers is a chance to strengthen your brand image. Transactional email is a chance to obtain above average open and click rates, but it can also be a foundation of your business (payment confirmation, subscription confirmation, delivery notices, etc.). It is thus necessary to treat them with care: your brand identity and stylization should be perfect.
Consolidation of the user experience
Your clients’ satisfaction is an everyday struggle! More and more, it is also an element of differentiation over your competitors. This satisfaction is important throughout the buying process, but also afterwards. By offering helpful tools and a hierarchy of useful information (See “Structure of transactional emails”), it is possible to significantly improve your user experience during transactions.
dotScale is a conference dealing with the Cloud, Big Data, and DevOp development. The day’s objective is to help developers understand the technological choices behind the platforms they use, in order to help them build their own applications and make them scalable. The dotScale conference took place on Friday, June 7th at the Théâtre des Variétés in Paris. The event was held in English, more than 500 visitors attended, and it was followed by workshops on Saturday, June 8th 2013.
For once, I won’t talk about email in my blog post! As a startup, you really want to know if events are worth it. This Top 10 should be of great help if you are wondering which events you should attend in Europe. I would have been happy to have this material to fix my own agenda! If people find it useful, we will try to make it more exhaustive in the future. Just thought it was a great idea to share this kind of feedback with the community. Enjoy.
Our criteria, when we go to an event, we want to:
1- Meet our network: fellow entrepreneurs, investors, partners, clients, etc. 2- Meet new people: prospects, partners, journalists, VCs, etc. 3- Hear about new ideas: some talks are useless, but others are truly inspiring.
Mailjet loves its clients! Tuto.com Interview: “a technical tool that’s very easy to implement”
At Mailjet, we closely follow the news concerning our clients, and often, it does us well! We asked Nicolas Chaunu, founder of Tuto.com (in French) but also a former Mailjet shareholder, a few questions.
Could you describe Tuto.com’s business model in a few words ?
Tuto.com is an e-learning marketplace dedicated to learning about computing. Anyone can come to train themselves or to sell their own videos related to the following themes: digital photography and editing, office automation, programming, 3D and special effects, video editing, emarketing and ecommerce… In short, if you want to learn how to develop a PHP or edit a photo in Photoshop, you will certainly find what you are looking for among the 32,000 videos available on Tuto.com (there are even a handful about Mailjet ^^).
What types of emails do you send with Mailjet? Marketing or Transactional?
Both, from the beginning. Subscription confirmation, alerts about new features, shopping cart abandonment, password reminders, newsletters, etc. Everything goes through Mailjet.
Have you met a particular challenge that made you change email providers?
We went through different providers (including Emailvision, and several others) and each time, we met restrictive problems daily: deliverability, setup costs, paid option, closed 3 year contracts, and even a paid API (if that even exists!).
Why did you choose Mailjet? What has Mailjet brought you?
I was one of the project’s shareholders at the beginning, just because Mailjet brought an answer to all the problems I encountered as an e-business person, all with a very aggressive pricing policy. Therefore, to me, the project had it all.
Could you tell us in a few words, from a technical point of view, how you have implemented Mailjet?
We have complete implementation of Mailjet’s tools. We work directly with the API and created newsletter generation and automated transactional email tools directly in our backoffice. I’m rarely on the Mailjet interface because we adapted the tool to our needs, without leaving our backoffice.
What benefits has Mailjet brought to your business?
This implementation allows me to generate a newsletter in 2 minutes flat (including test) and therein lies my benefit: more time! As mentioned above, we now have better deliverability, even with a volume of one million emails.
Last thing: if you found yourself facing someone who was looking for a new email management solution, how would you describe Mailjet?
As a technical tool that is very easy to implement. The tool is adaptive; you can quickly send your first emails and campaigns from Mailjet, and all this in a few clicks; but as soon as you dig a little, you and your team can really customize it to your exact liking. You can finally focus on your transactional email scenarios (no matter how complex they are) without having to ask the questions of cost and feasibility.
But who is this JL who is writing articles on Mailjet’s blog?
For several weeks, you may have noticed a certain JL signing about two articles per week on the blog. JL is actually Jonathan Loriaux, who you may know through his blog badsender.com (in French). Interview time!
Jonathan, could you introduce yourself in a few words?
One could say that I fell into email when I was little! From the beginning of my career, I have always had a function in connection with my employers’ email marketing strategy. Firstly, on the advertiser side for an international ecommerce website and then for five years at Bisnode group, not to mention a brief stint in an agency.
When browsing through your CV, it is difficult to tell if you are a technician or… something else!
It’s true! I started on the technical side for lack of qualification. I have always been a sort of “jack of all trades,” and between the Debian web server (a GNU/Linux distribution) installed in my parents’ library when I was a teenager and my interest in online marketing, I finally have a coherent path.
I started my career as a webmaster, then became a specialist in email integration, before moving toward the sales side at Bisnode, and finally, I found myself as a product manager on the marketing side. All that was coated with a layer of consultancy and articles about email marketing on my blog (www.badsender.com).
As an emailing specialist, what is your role at Mailjet?
My role is primarily to create content around Mailjet’s two specialties, namely transactional email and deliverability. The content is posted as articles on this blog, but also as guides, white papers, etc….
Isn’t it complicated to find inspiration on these two subjects?
Not really! One might think that you can say everything in a few articles, but this really isn’t the case. For example, regarding deliverability, we made a list of subjects to be developed and if we did one article per week, it would last over 10 months!
As for transactional email, variations on this theme are also very numerous; we do not manage transactions in the same way on an ecommerce website as for an online newspaper. In the same vein, transactional email isn’t limited to purchase confirmations!
After two months of collaborating with Mailjet, what has impressed you the most?
Mailjet is a UFO (yes, there is a bad play on words in this sentence). With collaborators all over Europe (as well as Canada and the US), reactivity time and dynamism are really remarkable.
But what impressed me most is the focus! While some email platforms seek to enter all areas of the market, Mailjet keeps a simple and well-defined position: Delivering your transactional emails in the best conditions while offering all the necessary tools (APIs, SMTP relay, plugins, libraries…).
AngelHack in Tel-Aviv the 24th and 25th of May with Mailjet
AngelHack is a collection of 30 hackathons taking place around the world. The hackathons bring together designers, developers, sales people and in general, anyone who wants to materialize a complete project in record time. This is a good opportunity to meet people interested in the world of entrepreneurship and to take the first steps in the production of a technical project.
AngelHack’s principle is simple: Participants have 24 hours to materialize an idea before presenting a prototype of their product to the jury, in the hopes of flying off to San Francisco. The winners from each city will have the opportunity to join AngelHack’s acceleration program, which lasts for 12 weeks before leaving for Silicon Valley.
A real community is created around AngelHack. In 2013, dozens of hackathons will be held in over 30 cities and 6000 hackers will find themselves there.
Mailjet wants to become closer to its European users by going out to meet them. After London, Paris and Berlin and before Kiev, Mailjet is in Tel Aviv for the AngelHack hackathon the 24th and 25th of May.
It’s been already a month that the Mailjet team is traveling around Europe to attend hackathons and we can say that AngelHack Tel-Aviv was a great event. The event went smoothly and there was a great crowd of hackers. We were very happy to meet the Israeli hacker scene for our first. It was great to see that some teams were embracing the “hackathon spirit” and stayed up all night to code their project. We won’t reveal pictures but Google campus was great and comfy for that.
On Saturday it was time for the teams to showcase their demo to judges and sponsors. There were quite interesting projects. Couple of them used Mailjet API to send emails.
We noticed Instafeed, an app for Wix platform that let event organizer display images posted on Instagram filtered by localization and hashtag. They used our API to send a digest to the site owner and notify him anytime a new photo was added, so he could moderate the feed.
We also really liked CyberQueue’s team and project. They were solving a problem that seems very common in Israel : lines in public services. Imagine going to the Post Office and have to wait hours in line to post something. You could do so much things with this time ! With CyberQueue you “check-in” when your are in line and then you can leave to do shopping, you will be notified by email when it’s your turn.
We loved the team and the project so we selected them to win the special Mailjet prize : a “startup trip” to Paris.
Our “startup trip” pack includes flights for 2 team members to Paris, a personal guided tour of Paris Tech Ecosystem with Elie Chevignard and a meeting with Thibaud Elzière (founder of Fotolia).
So we will be flying teams from London, Berlin and Tel-Aviv, sounds exciting isn’t it ?
Building an email consisting solely of images is a tempting practice; it can greatly reduce development time … and in some cases, it can increase the open rate of an email campaign (insofar as it is calculated when the images are displayed).
However, as you may already know, many email clients and webmails block images by default. So, if your email contains only images, neither the message nor call-to-action will be displayed, so you have drastically reduced the effectiveness of your actions.
In addition, spammers have long used images in order to conceal certain keywords.
To summarize, creating emails consisting solely of images is a bad idea because:
This is what spammers do;
It does not help the immediate comprehension of the email’s content;
Conclusion: images in your emails should never represent more than 50% of the email’s surface. The ideal is to stay below 30%.
How To Measure The Performance Of Your Transactional Emails?
To measure a newsletter’s performance and compare it to previous campaigns is clearly a beneficial practice. On the other hand, broaching the subject in regards to transaction emails is…less obvious.
This is less evident because transactional emails are typically sent from a system that does not support tracking (CMS or others). But also, it often stems from a lack of interest, as no one concerns themselves with their performance.
Nevertheless, by measuring the effectiveness of your transactions, it is possible to optimize your transactional emails and generate additional sales. If optimization is a topic for another article, let us consider the different measurement points for transactional emails.
Number of emails sent: Much more than a newsletter, the number of emails sent is an indispensible metric since it depends on the number of transactions generated. This is a key indicator of the level of activity of your business.
Opening Rate: This is the most obvious measure when it comes to confirmation emails. But beware, the opening rate is measured only when the images are displayed in the email. The results shown are consistently below the actual number.
Click Rate: Depending on the type of transaction analyzed, the click rate will be very different. It is interesting to categorize the different types of links in order to distinguish the clicks related to the transaction, clicks for promotions and clicks for product recommendations. In this way, you can distinguish the performance of your different calls-to-action.
Return on investment: This is a measure that is very rarely done with transactional email. And yet, if you add value to them with recommendations or promotions, it is essential to evaluate their performances.
As we have seen, the different measuring points for transactional emails are the same as those used for analyzing marketing emails. When you send a newsletter, you are able to view the results after a week. For transactional emails, it’s very different. Indeed, as they are sent continuously, it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions based on the results. The analysis should be done on a different basis.
It is particularly interesting to study the seasonality of transactional email to detect factors influencing the analyzed results. To analyze this seasonality, it may be beneficial to visualize the results on a graph aggregating data each week. This weekly data will then be compared to various factors that can influence campaign performances (specific actions, vacation, holidays…).
In conclusion, the main focus of statistical analysis of transactional emails lies in the performance variations between different types of emails and the level of response (opens, clicks…), but also across a period of time.
Ten or so years ago, many advertisers used in-house solutions (developed internally) to send their email campaigns.This was prehistoric email marketing. It was then that numerous email sending solutions first appeared: AWeber in 1998, Emailvision in 1999, Exacttarget in 2000, Mailchimp in 2001, …
Over time, as the market became more professional, turnkey solutions became the norm. With it, problems of deliverabilty also appeared to reinforce this trend.
In spite of this, there was always a segment of the email market that avoided this logic: notification and transactional emails (see “The different types of email”)
The emergence of cloud emailing to reinforce transactional strategies
In the past several years, email marketing players became aware of the enormous potential of notification and transactional emails. Traditionally, transactional emissions were always linked to information management and mainly to CMS platforms.
But recently, several platforms like Mailjet have arrived to shatter the monotony of the transactional email market. These cloud email platforms offer a measure of professionalism in the management of deliverability, as well as greater flexibility in the integration of email (whether marketing or transactional) in different business systems.
Another advantage of cloud email platforms is that it isn’t necessary to share the bulk of one’s information with third parties. The problems of consumer information theft are regularly reported on. Cloud emailing allows you to keep your information internally and to manage its security yourself.
The return of internal solutions… with deliverability services in the cloud.
Cloud emailing is thus an opportunity to return to customized email solutions, which have the advantage of adapting to needs that are, at times, very specific, all while integrating the most modern tools in terms of deliverability:
Stay up to date about email with our press review. Here are the posts we’ve picked especially for you this week!
1) Deliverability: Warming Up Your IP Address in Four Steps Just like you have to break in the engine of a new car, you also have to warm up IP addresses first. Email providers don’t know you yet, and you have to gradually work on the email reputation of your new IP address to gain their trust.
3) 10 Tips on How to Identify a Phishing or Spoofing Email Two single dollar bills is all it costs for a hacker to create an email pretending to be from your trusted retailer or bank, asking for your login details, and instantaneously obtaining your confidential information.
What Types of Transactional Emails Should You Develop First?
While attempting to create a list of all the types of notification and transactional emails that might exist…I was quickly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of possibilities! Just as the marketing segment of email often takes the form of newsletters or promotional emails, transactional emails can also take many different forms.
It is impossible to tell you which types are more advantageous or more important than others…Nevertheless, one can name two which should absolutely be developed before all others:
In order to keep their clients, ISPs and webmail services are making their email inboxes more and more intelligent. This not only allows them to filter spam, but also to detect email that will interest the consumer. This is, for example, Gmail’s Priority Inbox, which sorts email by order of importance, or Outlook.com filters, which automatically classifies emails in folders such as Groups, Newsletters, Social Updates…
Subscription confirmation being the first point of contact with your subscribers, this initial communication is essential for the success of your future actions. With the development of intelligent email inboxes, the earlier you succeed in engaging the relationship, the better your chances of reaching the consumer’s main inbox with a high priority level.
It is absolutely essential to inititate engagement from the first interactions by placing attractive and, of course, relevant content in your subscription confirmation emails!
This, along with the subscription confirmation, is one of the automated emails that should be implemented by all businesses that use email to communicate with their clients!
Every business faces subscribers who, over time, become less and less interested by the information sent to them or who stop visiting your website. In these cases, it is a good idea to take some time to build an automated reactivation program. This program may take various forms:
A survey to understand why the subscriber lost interest in your activities and how he might be enticed to reactivate through his responses;
A series of ultra-personalized emails demonstrating your service’s relevance to the consumer;
There is a solution for every situation imaginable! Keep in mind that it is always less expensive to reactivate an old client than to acquire a new one.
Only two examples?
We are trying to be brief here! There is a third type that seems rather obvious, which is the type of confirmation email that…makes your business profitable. If you manage an e-commerce website, it’s the purchase confirmation, if you run a service activity, it’s the payment confirmation, etc.
This type of confirmation email is indispensable…indeed, it is vital for your business! With it, your customer will feel reassured by the seamless execution of his order.
Email Throttling : Why You Should Optimize Sending Speed?
Email throttling is one of the minor components of email deliverability. This is a technique that consists of carefully adjusting the speed of email/campaign sendings - which will in turn respect the filters of major ISP & receivers across the globe.
The average ISP/receiver utilizes unique thresholds which allows them control email flow and filter out bad email - which is rarely published. As often is the case with email deliverability, it is a great idea to surround one’s self with experienced folks who can redefine delivery speed to various ISPs and receivers.
How it works technically
The technique involves configuring several different parameters:
The number of emails sent per minute or hour
The number of smtp connections per minute or hour
The number of emails sent by each connection
According to ISPs and webmails, these parameters are to be used simultaneously or separately. Depending on the email platform you use, you may not always have the opportunity to set these parameters yourself (which could be a good thing). Here are some scenarios:
The email sending platform allows you to configure the parameters yourself;
It is impossible to optimize the parameters; they are configured by default;
The paramenters adjust automatically according to sending conditions.
Reputation and volume
For some ISPs and webmails, the number of accepted connections and the email volume limit may vary depending on your reputation and the number of emails you send. For example, if you suddenly increase the number of emails sent, certain ISPs and webmails will block a portion of your emails.
To detect this type of temporary blockage, if your provider does not do it for you, you must analyze the SMTP error messages like: “Too many connections from your host.”
And with Mailjet?
Mailjet adapts sending speed and the number of simultaneous connections to optimize the deliverability of your emails in real time. In this way, you do not have to worry about this aspect of your email campaigns and you benefit from the experience of our deliverability team.
Deliverability: Benefits And Risks of Transactional Email
The issue of deliverability as related to transactional emailing has two disctinct facets. On the one hand, thanks to its high reactivity rates, the transactional email enjoys a significant advantage in terms of deliverability. On the other hand, however, a transactional email that lands in your recipient’s spam folder could potentially spell disaster for your business.
An advantage related to reactivity level
For the past several years, anti-spam filters have analyzed the reactivity rates of emails sent by a publisher (opens, clicks, deletes…) to define their reputation score. This reputation score influences whether an email is identified as spam or not. The reactivity rates of transactional emails being extremely high, they are at an advantage as compared to marketing campaigns.
How to avoid bad delivery of your transactional emails?
Unfortunately, it is not the case that because the transactional email has many advantages in terms of deliverability, your email will always arrive in your recipient’s mailbox. Imagine that all your double opt-in emails land in the spam folder! This represents a significant loss in terms of revenue.
Luckily, it is possible to avoid this pitfall:
By separating the sender IP addresses of your transactional emails and your marketing campaigns.
By properly configuring your email platform (SPF, DKIM, …).
By using the same IP address and the same domain name for your transactional emails.
By increasing interactions through an intriguing subject line and calls to action in the email.
By using a specialized platform… like Mailjet, for example ;-)
In keeping with the set of good practices related to deliverability (a complete checklist to come in Mailjet’s documentation).
Deliverability Advice: Personalize the Sender Domain Name
Have you ever heard of identity theft? These people will steal someone’s identity in order to subscribe to various services, such as an application for credit or mobile phone subscriptions.
Is this practice acceptable? The answer is obviously no!
In the world of email marketing, it’s the same thing. Why should an email service or ISP agree to receive emails sent from the address email@example.com if all the links in your email go directly to the website www.mycompany.ext?
A question of consistency
One of the criteria used to classify your email as spam or not is the consistency of your communication. If your identity as a sender is not consistent, you will receive a negative rating, which will be added to other criteria used to measure your reputation.
Conclusion: Use your website’s domain name in your sender email address.
Transactional Email Structure: What Is the Most Crucial Information?
In a transactional email, as well as a newsletter or promotional email, the hierarchy of information is essential. Whether your email is an alert, notification or confirmation, the information it contains is extremely valuable to your recipient.
Thus, it is critical to structure this information and highlight that which has the highest value. Similarly, your email should also offer all the tools related to this information: it should be possible for them to learn more, to cancel an action, or to change it.
Below, we attempt to analyze and comment on the structure of a transactional email example:
The sender: It is crucial that the sender is immediately identifiable.
Reply to: To offer the recipient the chance to ask a question in reponse to the email.
Email subject: This should contain the most important information regarding the transaction.
Header: This should reinforce the sender’s identity, but should not take up too much space so that there is room for the main email content.
Main information: This should be highlighted (font size, bold…) and placed in the upper part of the email.
Detailed information: This should be situated in a less prominent position as the main information, but should still be complete enough to reassure the recipient.
Tools related to the transaction: The most frequently used actions (modification, cancellation…) should be easily found directly in the email.
Marketing or promotional content: This content should be located below the information related to the transaction and should have its own link. Certain specialists recommend that marketing content should not exceed 20% of the transactional email.
Contact information: Especially if the email confirms a purchase, don’t forget to supply contact information so that the client can reach you.
Private information: As in all communication, the client should feel comfortable with your use of his/her information.
We love to meet our clients and supporters! We love to mingle with you, hear your vision about Mailjet and listen to what will make you happy! So please join and meet us in the forthcoming events that we will be attending! We will be right at your door!
TC disrupt – Manhattan
Techcrunch will be bringing Disrupt back to New York to reveal an all new slate of outstanding startups, influential speakers, guests, and more to the stage. Meet Quentin (deputy CEO) at Manhattan Center on April 30th & May 1st. Get your ticket!
Angelhack – Berlin, Paris, Tel Aviv
AngelHack organizes 100 hackathons. It brings together more than 10,000 developers in over 50 different cities. Mailjet will attend the Berliner, Parisian and Tel-avivian events this month! Come and join us!
The API days will gather different projects and people from the API ecosystem. This event will be held on May 30, 31 & June 1st at Madrid. Mehdi Mejdaoui, the CEO of Webshell is one of the guest speakers. Get your ticket and grab a drink with Elie (Head of Marketing) and Florian (Dev Evangelist) at GarAJE!
These days, everyone knows what spam is and nearly everyone has an email address that receives spam daily. But this wasn’t always the case.
The first email spam in history was sent by Gary Thuerk to 393 people in 1978. At the time, it was necessary to send the message individually to each person. Thus, no filter was implemented to protect inboxes from receiving spam.
Until the first half of the 1990s, few major spam campaigns were reported. Before this period, the community attempted to self-regulate.
In 1993, the word “spam” appeared for the first time to describe unsolicited messages. The first major incident took place one year later with a massive spam campaign on Usenet (a network of forums).
Between 1996 and 1999, the number of email users grew from 25 to 400 million. This growth gave birth to an industry dedicated entirely to spam.
In order to combat this trend, the first blacklists were created in the late 90s, for example with the creation of Spamhaus and Spamcop in 1998.
The blacklisting technique consisted of blocking IP addresses (unique identification numbers on internet) of servers sending spam. These lists were used by the ISP and email providers to filter emails before they could arrive in user inboxes.
Unfortunately, filtering emails based on IP addresses was not enough! In addition to blacklists, which are still used today, filters based on the content of emails sent came to be. The most well known type of content filter is SpamAssassin, which was created in 2001.
This type of filter gives a score based on numerous criteria by analyzing the content and the header of the email. These scores are then culminated to give the email an overall score, which determines if it should be considered spam or not.
In 2003, the number of email users reached over 600 million. The use of blacklists and content filters were not sufficient in stopping the growth of spam. Spammers were evolving everyday to counter new anti-spam technology, and the American legislation against spam (the CAN-SPAM Act) established in 2003 was not going to be the solution.
For these reasons, two new technologies were created to allow for better identification of email senders. These were SPF (Sender Policy Framework) in 2005 and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Email) in 2007.
The latest evolution in anti-spam filters is the use of reputation scores for IP addresses and domain names. This score changes constantly as a result of campaigns sent and is calculated by ISP and email services providers, as well as by specialized companies such as ReturnPath and Cisco.
Reputations in email marketing are not a recent concept, but the technique is evolving constantly. More and more, it takes the behavior of the email user into account (deletion before reading, opens, clicks, marking as spam…) and considers the reputations of domain names more than ever.
Transactional Email: the opportunity to generate additional sales
By its nature, a transactional email is an expected event. This anticipation creates an important level of attention on the part of the consumer, an attention that is possible to capitalize on to optimize sales. Be careful, however: if promotional content is accepted in a transactional email, it is still necessary to keep the transaction at the center of the message. Otherwise, you risk making the consumer feel deceived.
The right message at the right time
This is one of the basic rules of direct marketing! Providing the consumer with the right offer just when he needs it. With transactional emails, all the elements come together to fully achieve this goal. With the transactional information, it is possible to automatically generate related offers and take advantage of a moment of maximum attention from the consumer.
Utilizing the information from the transaction
The promotional offer naturally arises from this content. For example, a flight confirmation effortlessly lends itself to the promotion of a car rental or a hotel stay. Confirming an appliance purchase can also be the perfect opportunity to offer a warranty extension on the product.
But it isn’t necessary to have sold something to make a promotion. A transaction related to a subscription or profile update can be a great occasion to push promotional content.
Some ideas for promotional content related to the transaction:
Remarketing is a marketing technique involving retargeting a consumer after he has completed an action on a website. For example, if you happened to look at a product on an ecommerce site, a banner will later appear on a partner site to remind you of it.
In email, remarketing is also used, but mainly as a customer acquisition technique. It is entirely possible to also use remarketing in transactional emails. For example, when making a purchase, a consumer may have placed two products in his shopping cart, but in the end only purchased one. In the purchase confirmation email, this is the perfect opportunity to remind him of the second product or to promote other similar ones.
The only limit is your imagination
As we can see, the transactional email offers many opportunities for generating additional sales! During your brainstorming sessions on the subject, do not hesitate to integrate ideas from different departments of your business (technical, sales, marketing…). This is a good way to push your creativity even further.
Deliverability Tip: Identity behind a sending domain name
Some folks create a domain name (dedicated to email campaigns) linked to a non-functional, non-existent website. A good example is when an individual clicks on mynewsletter.ext and it doesn’t take you to an actual website (yet the email address firstname.lastname@example.org is still used as a sender address), but the user arrives at a blank page (or a 404 error page, etc).
Good news, this practice is very bad for at least 3 strong reasons:
a domain name without a website is a characteristic which portrays suspicious anomalous behaviour - normally used by spammers & phishers;
this affects the legitimacy of your email, which makes it harder to be verified by a recipient’s servers
anti-spam filters & the average internet user may perceive your email as phish
Create an easy-to-understand website with clear information that explains more about you/your entity
Ensure that the sending domain’s whois records are public, and identify your business. Stay away from publishing private whois information.
Add an extra layer of “trust” by implementing at least SPF & DKIM email authentication techniques to validate your identity. SPF curbs domain spoofing, while DKIM prevents spammers from forging source addresses.
Conclusion: Always distinguish yourself from spammers by ensuring that the domain name you use in your emails allows user to verify your identity.
3) 5 Tactics to Ignite Your Email List Growth If you seek quantity over quality in list growth, you’re practically inviting the ISPs to block your entire opt-in mailing list. Here are 5 tried-and-true methods to ignite your email list growth, in a safe, permission-based way.
One of the greatest ways to meet amazing people, share ideas and brainstorm great topics is by attending events. Mailjet’s team wants to take the opportunity of meeting our clients, partners and friends personally in Lyon, Berlin, Amsterdam and London. Are you in the area? Join us for a drink!
Lyon the 22 & 23 April
The Realtime conf, as the name implies, is a real melting-pot conference for realtime technologies. The speakers are very interesting : Tristan Nitot, Founder of Mozilla Europe and Arnout Kazmier, Founder of Observe.it, for exemple. The con takes literally place on the Rhône river: it’s on a boat, La Plateforme. Don’t have your tickets yet? Get them here and meet Julien, our CEO and Florian, our Dev Evangelist!
Berlin on the 22, 23 & 24 April
Mailjet’s crew is in town! Quentin (deputy CEO), Thibaud (co-founder of Mailjet and Founder of Fotolia), Nicolas (Dev Evangelist) & Elie (Head of Marketing) will be in Berlin for 3 days!
That’s not all! The next day, Mailjet is sponsoring the Ecommhack Conference in Berlin on April 23rd (and 24th)! The event is about the vision of API driven ecommerce future. We love their idea and we are proud to be one of the sponsors! Join us! Admission is free!
Recently, I received an email in my inbox from “noreply” with the subject “Email confirmation of receipt of your message.” If the sender had at least revealed his identity from the beginning, I would have known that it was referring to a message I had sent a few hours before to the customer service of a chain of filling stations.
Luckily, there was no harm done as they didn’t require any action on my part. But it could have been disastrous! For example, if the email had requested that I validate the email by clicking on a link…I probably wouldn’t have!
To avoid this type of error, here are a series of tips, which can also be viewed as a sort of checklist:
Sender: Use a clear sender name and address; you should be able to be identified by your recipients at first glance.
Subjectline: Mention the content of the transaction in the email’s subjectline, for example: “Order confirmation - Apple MacBook Air” and not simply “Order Confirmation.”
Explanation: Clearly explain the reason why your recipient is receiving the email in the first few lines, even if it seems obvious. For example: “You have received this email in reponse to your message on our site www.mycompany.com.”
Main content: Make sure the transaction is the central content of your email. Ideally, it should be visible in the first 300 pixels of your email.
Verification: If your email is a confirmation, be sure to include enough information so that your client can verify one last time that everything is in order: details, place of delivery, time of appointment, event address…
Tools: Give a link in the email to the tools available on your site to manage the transaction. For example: modification, cancellation, delivery tracking…
Marketing: Take advantage of your transactional emails to push other offers. But be discreet! In no event should promotional offers become more important than the transaction.
Real-time: You need to assess on a case by case basis whether to send transactional emails in “real-time.” In the case of a confirmation, it is absolutely necessary, but for a notification or alert, not necessarily.
Email Server: Do not allow your web server to send automated emails! They deserve as much (if not more) attention and professionalism as your marketing emails.
Priority: Use an email sending platform that allows you to set the priority level of your emails. This is important to ensure that the most urgent message arrive first.
Domain Name: Use the domain name of your website (or a subdomain) to generate tracking links to your transactional emails.
HTML: In some cases, delivery of your transactional email is so critical that you should consider the possibility of sending in text mode. This is a way to optimize deliverability a little more.
Replies: Don’t use a “noreply” email address. The ideal would be to use a sender address that is linked to your customer service.
Performance: Don’t forget to measure the performance of your transactional emails, opens and clicks, so that you can optimize them for your next campaign.
Monitoring: Put alerts in place to verify that transactional emails are always sent!
2) 4 Ways to Get Customers to Open Your Emails It’s essential that subscribers open your messages. After all, if your audience isn’t opening your emails, it’s impossible for them to take action, such as clicking through to your website or making a purchase.
3) 5 Tips for Effective Email Copy Whether you are a B2B or B2C marketer, the easiest way to improve your email marketing, and in turn generate more leads and revenue, is to improve your copy.
4) Ask the Content Marketing Know-It-All Various Q&A about online Marketing such as : Is there a content formula? How can I get to know my audience? Is authenticity the key to online marketing success ? »