1. Mailjet Monday: Natacha Pradere

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    London-based college student Natacha Pradere recently flew 3,459 miles to join our growing New York team as a Summer Intern. Currently an Architecture student at the Architectural Association, Natacha also has a personal interest in Engineering and is using a combination of these two passions during her time at Mailjet. We sat down with her this week to catch up about her first few weeks and upcoming projects.

    What are you currently doing at Mailjet?

    It’s been a great first few weeks at Mailjet. From the start, I jumped right in to contribute to a number of projects and sat in on meetings to learn about where our product and our business is headed.

    Right now I’m supporting the Developer Relations and Marketing teams on some hackathon initiatives and a neat social media contest you’ll see coming out in a few weeks. I’ve learned about a number of vibrant tech-startup hubs in the US while researching Hackathon locations. The best part is when I get to apply my learnings from Uni. I’ve been working on a few smaller web design projects, using my design experience from Architecture school to draw on Adobe Illustrator and picking up Ruby through Codeacademy to build a hardware project!

    What is one thing that you’ve learned about email that you think everyone should know?

    I think it’s fair to say that before joining Mailjet, I didn’t realize the full scope and potential of email. I send and receive email on a daily basis, as both a consumer and a student, but there’s so much more that goes into email strategy as a business. Mailjet tools help businesses innovate a form of communication that’s been around for ages. Email campaigns going out to a list of 25,000 customers can be customized and analyzed with just a click.

    Favorite New York Moment so far?

    It’s crazy to think that I only landed at Newark airport a few weeks ago. I already feel so accustomed to the culture and way of life here. Still, New York constantly surprises me with stunning views, friendly strangers and the sudden bursts of art you encounter walking through the streets. I love that New York is such a vibrant, busy city but also has smaller corners where you can go to escape the rush. One of my favorite spots is the path along the Hudson River; on a sunny day, you’ll see people running, walking and roller skating to the view. I went for a run there last week and was so glad to unwind to such a fantastic sight! The moment was topped off with a delicious New York hot dog!

    What advice do you have for other students who are looking to get involved in the startup world?

    I would advise them to build a diverse range of experiences, from travelling the world to small summer jobs to interning with a company. Any of these can act as a catalyst to developing soft skills such as communication, teamwork and thinking out of the box.

    These skills are especially helpful in the startup environment where there’s more accountability and it’s constantly fast-paced. For this reason, I recommend everyone to try new experiences. It will help you in your later years. Not to mention that you’ll build a wide network along the way, a key element to any profession.

  2. How to create eye catching newsletters?

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    For anyone sending newsletters, there are generally speaking three things we want our recipients to do after the email lands in their inbox: open it, read it and click on our call-to-action, thereby generating a new lead. The best way to encourage your recipients to read your emails are an attractive subject line, followed by a newsletter that’s well-designed. Remember that your readers spend an average of 51 seconds reading your email once they have opened it, so you need to catch their attention and hold it: they start reading your email for the design, they keep reading till the end for the content.

    This post is all about how to design your newsletter properly. We’ve gathered our best tips on how to put together a design that is eye catching and will make your audience want to read your emails.
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    Make your design stand out

    The design of your newsletter has to make a good first impression on your audience. Remember who are your readers. You can go with bright and flashy colors if your audience are teenagers. Though, you might want to use a more neutral and light background if you’re targetting their parents.

    But whoever are your readers, you want to distinguish yourself from the 120 and more newsletters and commercial solicitations reaching their inboxes everyday. Show off your logo on the header. Use a background color that will comply with your brand identity. Or dive into the world of neuromarketing: colors, contrasts and shades can evoke particular emotions and feelings. Use that to improve your engagement rate or to tweak your message.

    And, when coming to your template, think mobile. Today, more than 50% of the emails opened are read via a mobile device. You don’t want to lose those recipients because of an uncompatible design.

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    Images

    Images can have a great effect when used appropriately. We recommend you to carefully consider the amount of pictures you use inyour newsletters. As a rule of thumb, we recommend following a 60/40 ratio with your text and images, respectively. Why? Because image only emails are bad practices, associated with spamming activity (it is more complicated to scan the wording of a jpeg file to spot spam content). As an email sender, you don’t want to considered as a spammer. Futhermore, depending of the device your email is read on, an image-only newsletter might not be displayed properly.

    Though, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make use of pictures in your newsletter at all. As long as you follow the 60/40 rule, the combination of text and images will be at an ideal ration to catch the attention of your readers without being considered as a suspicious message. Pictures will be the first thing that catches the attention of your readers, so placing them in the first half of your newsletter will guarantee that your readers will see them.

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    Try inserting an image below your header and/or below your first block of text.You can keep smaller images to illustrate less important content. In general though, be sure that your images are relevant and consistent with your written content. They shoud reflect your business. So take time to make them look great (invest some time reshaping/redesigning them, if needed). Nothing is worst than a poor image associated with great content. Why? Because judge a book by its cover. So make your content appealing!


    Text

    After the images, your headlines are what your readers will see. Remember that readers spend just 51 seconds on average scanning and reading through your newsletter. So, once again, you need to catch their eye. Choose powerful (but still readable) fonts. Have a concise and appealing wording.

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    To make it as easy as possible for your audience to read your newsletter, split it up in several different parts, one of them being obviously more important than the others (usually, the one with the big picture on the first half of your message). Once again, keep the wording short and readable. You want to generate leads and clicks to your website or your landing pages, so put long descriptions and further information for these pages and not in your newsletter.. Instead, get straight to the point in your email and make readers want to click on your links to learn more. A block of text shouldn’t exceed 1,000 characters, so choose your words wisely!


    Call-to-action

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    This is what it all comes down to. Your newsletter is meant to inform your readers, but above all, it has to generate leads to your website. So you need to put a lot of thought into your call to action. It could be a classic button (in that case, remember the psychology of colors), a be clickable image (in that case, make sure that everybody understand that they can click them) or a link at the end of a block of text (“Learn more”, “Discover how”, “Let’s get started!”). Either way, make it clear for your readers that they will get something significant by clicking on them, should it be great content, promo offers or reward for subscribing.


    In the end

    Great! Your readers have spent more time reading your message. But the road doesn’t end here. Try to generate more interaction with your readers, either via social networks (with clear sharing buttons) or even via email. The more your readers will answer to your newsletter in a casual way, the better your deliverability will be.

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    Be sure that you have a clear unsubscribe link or button on each of your newsletters. You want people willingly unsubscribing to your messages - people who are obviously not interested in what you have to offer - rather than them marking your emails as spam.

    You now have the keys to creating a great newsletter! If you’re new in the emailing game, don’t be afraid to test and learn by doing. Soon, your messages will reach a wider audience!

  3. Developer Evangelists FAQ

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    If you’re a regular at our tech events in Europe or the US, you may have met some of our Developer Evangelists (DevEv). They’re the guys walking around in the gold and black Mailjet tees, casually speaking in different languages; English, French, PHP, Ruby, JavaScript…

    Yeah. Those guys.

    Haven’t met them yet? Here’s a chance to get to know them and virtually pick their brains. We’ve pulled together some frequently asked questions the Developer Relations team often receives. Use them as an icebreaker at our next event or impress other attendees with your super-knowledge of Mailjet APIs!

    What is a Developer Relations team and what does the job of a Developer Evangelist involve?

    The Developer Evangelist profession only came to being a few years ago and is still not even very widely known within the tech community. To put it simply, we can break the role down by it’s name; developing and evangelizing. DevEv’s are typically very well versed both technically and socially.

    First, a DevEv has a strong programming background and is fluent in at least one coding language. They are very familiar with how programs and systems work.

    Next is pairing this with evangelism. DevEvs regularly attend events such as hackathons, conferences and meetups to build relationships with fellow developers, speak about Mailjet APIs and occasionally troubleshoot any issues users have. DevEv’s will also attend less technical events and be tasked to translate developer lingo into English. Because of this client facing aspect, DevEv’s often work closely with Sales and Marketing teams to better understand the target customer and pass on business leads they came across at an event.

    But their job doesn’t just stop at in-person evangelizing! When not on the road, DevEv’s stay plugged in to the developer community online, monitoring latest trends and brand mentions on social media networks and forums. Some of our DevEv’s most frequented sites are Quora, StackOverflow, f6s and CrunchBase.

    To give you a better look at how DevEvs work in action, check out the interviews of two of our very own DevEvs ninjas Tyler and Shubham. Don’t hesitate to say hi next time you see them at an event!

    How was Mailjet coded?

    Brace yourselves: Mailjet’s APIs are coded in… Free Pascal. Stay with us though! Don’t close the page just yet. There are at least two solid reasons why Mailjet uses this “outdated language” when cool things like Node.js now exist. The first reason is safety related. With Free Pascal, we can determine the size of your contact list far in advance and prevent hackers from injecting code into your email.

    The second reason is flexibility. With Free Pascal, with have the freedom to develop everything from scratch. We develop our own tools, catering specifically to both our customer needs and team needs.

    What languages does Mailjet support?

    Even our product is written in Free Pascal, Mailjet’s APIs are available in most, if not all of the current languages (Ruby, Java, PHP etc.). We also offer easy-to-integrate plugins for Wordpress, Joomia and more! Check out more information on our Developers Page or on GitHub.

    How do you track statistics?

    One the coolest thing Mailjet offers (one of our personal favorites) is real-time data. Track your campaign performance in real-time by seeing what content was opened or clicked and which contact unsubscribed. These statistics are key in optimizing your email. We track this data through two foolproof ways:

    1. Each email you send has a transparent image of 1 pixel by 1 pixel embedded at the bottom. This image is associated with a URL that lets our servers know each time your message has been opened. Some of you may then think of Gmail’s new automatic image display and wonder if this feature is affected. Rest assured, even with this new implementation, we can track multiple opens.

    2. All links you’ve created in your message will be automatically rewritten and attributed to a unique URL redirecting to our servers (similar to the transparent image above). So each time a recipient clicks on a specific piece of content in your message, we’ll be able to collect that data and report it back to you in a meaningful way.

    What’s next?

    The summer holiday season might be a slower season for meetups, but it’s a time for our DevEv team to focus on building cool projects! They’re busy writing our new API documentation, creating new code wrappers and even adapting for new languages. Keep your eyes peeled for some neat things coming out in the fall!

  4. Causathon: The Altruistic Side of Hacking

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    My cross-country journey comes to close as I write this on a planeheading back from LAX. As I look out across the skyline, I reflect back on a weekend of hacking for good. 

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    The final hour was upon us at General Assembly’s (GA) Santa Monica office. Sunlight seeped through the large windows, exposing a mixture of hope and determination on participants’ faces.

    11 teams had been coding away for the past 23 hours as part of Brand-Knew’s inaugural hackathon, Causathon, a #hackforgood event created to tackle the gap between the non-profit sector and the tech world. Each participating team was partnered with a non-profit to create a solution to an assigned social problem within a 24 hour period.

    Representing Mailjet as a sponsor, I was soon to make the toughest decision of the weekend — crowning our API contest winner. The team with the most innovative and impactful hack would go home with a Parrot A.R. Drone, in addition to the one month premium Mailjet subscription given to each Causathon participant.

    Over the course of the night, the GA hall saw a delightful synergy of engineering and creativity. I had spent the earlier hours of the hackathon setting teams up with free accounts and educating developers on how to integrate with our APIs. Teams were assigned a range of social issues from education for disadvantaged youth to Parkinson’s and poverty.

    Each team took their own approach to tackling their recently assigned project.  Some went to the back to the white boards, carefully diagraming, wireframing out an approach, while others dove right into the deep end — fired up their terminals, opened their text editors and started writing code. The languages of choice seemed to be Objective-C (iOS) and Ruby on Rails.

    As the clock neared midnight and teams began to get to the heart of their hacks, I worked to re-inject energy into the crowd with an email tech talk, a few rounds of Red Bull, and then proceed to fire up the Parrot A.R. Drone and fly it around. Maneuvering it all around the hall, I hovered close over each of the participating teams’ tables; it could be seen that the cool downwash from propellers was just what the hackers needed to keep going through the night.

    When the 24 hour countdown reached zero, it was time to hear the presentations.  So many great ideas paired with equally awesome execution! Teams proposed a range of solutions from helping Parkinson’s patients with transportation to encouraging youth to vote by educating them on various political candidates via a “Tinder-like” app to a safe social platform for Middle Eastern citizens to anonymously voice their thoughts. It was time to decide the winners…

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    After a long period of deliberation, the Mailjet API winning title was given to Raymond and Mengmeng for their Enough Project app. They truly hit it over the fence with their hack to end genocide and crimes against humanity. The seamless and elegant Enough Project solution makes it easy for people to get involved, to spread awareness and take action. With just a few clicks, a user can send personalized emails to friends about various human rights issues around the globe.

    Overall, it was a true honor to work beside all of the altruistic hackers at Causathon, to see their ideas grow into something tangible that will drive positive, meaningful change in the world. It could definitely be said that no matter who went home with the prize, every participant won at making a difference.

                                                             ….

    I’m about to get some sleep and I hope you guys are too! Thanks for having us, Brand-Knew and General Assembly, it was great to meet everyone. Good job to everyone who participated!

     

    Over and out.

     

    Tyler Nappy

    Developer Evangelist

  5. Happy SysAdmin Day!

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    It’s the last Friday of July; for most of the world, a day like any other. But in the tech world, it’s  SysAdmin Day, a day dedicated to celebrating and appreciating the hard work of your SysAdmins (awesome guys and gals who manage your servers).

    At Mailjet, we love SysAdmins (one of our very own founders is a SysAdmin afterall). We love them so much that most of our services have been developed with the mission to make their lives easier. With our tracking tools, safety processes and optimized deliverability, SysAdmins don’t have to worry anymore about whether their emails are landing in the inbox.

    In an increasingly technology dependent world, SysAdmins are more important than ever. Software products and devices may evolve but you will always need an administrator to monitor essential information systems and processes.

    During this international holiday, remember to show your SysAdmins some love! Find time to leave your desk and thank your SysAdmin. Hey, maybe even offer him or her a drink!  After all, not only do they make sure that your computer and communications are running properly; they also know which the websites you’re visiting. And you want to keep a person with that kind of power happy. So cheers, SysAdmins of the world, keep up the good work!

  6. Mailjet keeps Berlin cool at Webmontag Summer Party

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    At a fully booked event Monday night, the best of the Berlin startup scene got together at Webmontag’s third annual Summer Party. As the sun set over Kreuzberg, around 500 entrepreneurs, developers, designers, and start-ups gathered to celebrate that summer is finally here - and Mailjet was of course there to join the party!

    For those of our readers who have never been to a party in Berlin, we can tell you that the three following things are a must: beer, a good DJ and Bratwurst. This party was no exception. With the smooth mix of electronic beats and the smell of German gourmet sausages roasting on the grill flowing through the air, the scene was set for a lovely summer evening.

    We were happy to support Webmontag in making the party happen and had the chance to meet and get to know a lot of people from the Berlin startup community. And with the current heatwave of over 30 degrees Celsius in Berlin, our Mailjet koozies were the perfect party accessory to keep everyone’s beverages cool.

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  7. Mailjet Monday: Barth

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    Happy Monday! This Mailjet Monday, we’re talking to Mailjet veteran and football fan (the real kind), Barth Lecocq . Barth is a Customer Angel, helping customers send better email, optimize their campaigns and fight spammers out of the Paris HQ.

    What do you do for Mailjet?

    As a part of the Customer Support team, I’m here to help improve the customer experience. On a day-to-day basis, I monitor support tickets and direct issues to the teams that can help address these problems. On a bigger picture level, I collect product feedback from these conversations to build more innovative email tools.

    What does a typical day look like for you?

    My day starts a little later than most other teams, since I work off a shift schedule with the Vietnam and Canada offices. We rotate to ensure 24/7 global coverage for customer support.

    I usually get into the office at 10 am and start by reviewing messages from the past few hours, making sure all tickets have been answered. A large part of my day is also spent coordinating with other teams to document issues and connect customers with the proper resources they need to send better email.

    What’s one most commonly asked question and your solution?

    One of the most common concerns I hear about is deliverability. “How can we prevent or decrease the number of emails going into the spam folder?”

    It’s important to make sure you set up authentication keys SPF and DKIM. This helps receiving servers identify that the emails sent from your email address are credible. We also have a handy best practices page on our site that is a good reference point if you’re new to deliverability.

    What’s your favorite Mailjet moment so far?

    I enjoy that we take time to hold big team meetings and regular outings. We’re a pretty global team now, which means it’s easy to get caught up in your own bubble — but we work hard, play hard.

    What do you do on time off?

    I’m really into football (or as they call it in the US, soccer). These past two months have been especially exciting, following The World Cup. My team, Chile, unfortunately didn’t make it as far as I’d hoped, but they put on a pretty good performance.

    Where do you see the Mailjet Customer Support team going in the next 5 years?

    We’re looking into a lot of growth over the next few years — hiring internationally and integrating more communication tools into our support team strategy. We have a strong team of technicians and developers; our new feature launch we’ve been working on is just the beginning to the many cool projects we have lined up in the pipeline.

  8. Flight School Friday: Do You Know Your APIs?

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    A few weeks back, we published our first quiz, "What’s Your Email Marketing IQ?". Our readers had so much fun with this test that we thought it was time to test some more technical knowledge. In this second quiz — put your API knowledge to the test and let us know which topics you’d like us to help you brush up on in future Flight School Fridays!

  9. [Infographic] A Mailjet Story

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    If you’ve been following along our Mailjet Monday series, you might have seen us hint at a secret project we’ve been hard at work on the past few months. Now for the big unveiling… we'll be introducing four new features in the coming two weeks! Check out the story below of how one small company grew their business with us. They started off in a brick-and-mortar store off the Seine River, brought their business online and continues to grow their sales through email testing.

    Download PDF

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  10. Creating a successful email newsletter campaign in 5 steps

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    Perhaps you’ve been thinking about starting your first campaign but don’t know where to start. Or maybe you’re looking for an actionable resource for getting your overall strategy pieced together. Look no further. This post is intended for anyone looking to get started with an email newsletter campaign.

    In this guide we’ll take you through the most important steps in planning and executing a email newsletter campaign. Knowing that every business is different, we have created this guide to be used by virtually anyone looking to create newsletter campaigns that are targeted, relevant and goal-oriented. Let’s get going!

    1. Define your audience

    A key starting point in building your newsletter strategy is to consider who you want to reach with your message. Defining your audience is essential to the success of your campaign because you need to understand what needs and wants your potential readers have in order to meet these needs and wants with a fitting offer in your emails. You need to provide value in your newsletters that appeals to your audience.

    So think about who you want to reach with your emails and try to be as specific as possible. Consider things like demographics, location, and interests. If you’re aiming at reaching a global audience it can be hard to get precise in your definition, but in that case you need to craft a message that appeals to a broad audience.

     2. Set goals

    The next step is focused on goals: what do you want to achieve with your email newsletter campaign? Some examples could be to drive traffic to your website, to increase sales on your online shop, or to invite people to upcoming events. Setting goals gives your newsletter campaign a purpose and helps you measure the performance of your efforts.

    It can be useful to follow the SMART principle, an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time bound. Essentially though, you need to set goals that make sense to you and your business.

    3. Build your contact list

    Once you know who you want to reach and why, it’s time to get down to business and build a contact list with all the people you’ll be sending your newsletters to. How you do this really depends on your business, but essentially you want to make it easy for your visitors to leave their e-mail address and sign up to your list. The most common way to do this is by adding a sign-up form to your site or Facebook page. Remember to confirm your sign-ups by using double opt-in to make sure that the email addresses are valid and that users are actually interesting in receiving your newsletter.

    To encourage people to sign up, make sure to give them an incentive to sign up. The value you offer in exchange for their contact information should reflect the goals you set in step two. So for example, if your goal is to increase sales, offer people discounts or special offers for signing up. If you want to increase traffic to your website, your offer could be to keep people updated with the latest news from your site.

    Something you should definitely refrain from doing is to buy contact lists or to send emails to people that have not asked for it. These are sure ways to get to blocked or marked as spam by users and are considered bad practices by email service providers.

    4. Plan your newsletter content and sending frequency

    Now that you have built a contact list, you’re ready to start planning and creating your content. This is a phase you should spend a good amount of time on since the success of your newsletter campaigns relies on your content. It needs to appeal to your audience and be focused on achieving the goals you have set.

    Start pooling ideas that could be used for content together, always keeping your audience and goals in mind. Once you have enough ideas, create a schedule for planning your newsletters. In this schedule you should decide on the frequency of your newsletters (daily, weekly, monthly?), so you can plan getting your newsletters ready accordingly.

    If you don’t know how often you should be sending your newsletter, test different frequencies and see how your audience reacts. A way to do this is by starting out with a weekly or monthly newsletter, then trying out with more frequent newsletters and compare the results.

     5. Send, track, optimize

    With your content ready to go, it’s time to start sending your newsletters. The easiest way to go is by using an email service that lets you integrate your contact list, create your newsletter layout, and send your emails in one platform - like for example Mailjet. Find a platform that fits your needs: go for an easy to use platform if you’re not experienced with design or the technical aspects, or select a more flexible platform if you have your own HTML and want to design every detail.

    Make sure to choose a service that offers tools for tracking and analyzing the newsletters you send, since it’s important to see how your audience responds to the emails you’re sending them. Most newsletter services offer tracking of delivery, opens, clicks, and unsubscribes, which are the essential figures in measuring your efforts. Check out our blog post on the KPIs you should be monitoring here.

    Once you’ve sent your first few newsletters, the opens and clicks should give you an initial idea about how your audience is reacting to your emails. This data is a great source for deciding how to optimize your future newsletters, since it tells you which elements of your newsletter can be tweaked: if your open-rate is low, perhaps your subject line isn’t clear enough. If only few people click on the links in your newsletter, try to make your call-to-action (CTA) stand out more. If a lot of users are unsubscribing, take another look at your contact list or try grouping your contact list into more specific segments to get a more narrowing targeting. 

    Tracking results and optimizing your newsletters should be an ongoing process that you keep doing to continually improve your results. Even when you reach positive results, try aiming even higher and find things that can be improved even further. For example, try experimenting with different fonts, colors, or number of images.

    Achieving success with a newsletter campaign requires careful consideration, planning and continuous iteration. By following the this guide, you’ll be well on your way to create powerful messages that will capture your audience and create great results for your business.