1. A/x testing? That’s weird!

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    A new term’s been surfacing up a lot on our blog, newsletter and website recently; A/x testing. But what exactly does it involve? Your immediate thought might be, “it sounds like A/B testing but taken to infinity?” Good guess, but it’s not quite as scary!

    To put it simply, A/x testing is a multivariate testing tool that allows you to test the performance of up to 10 different email campaigns. Through this tool, you’ll be able to use a mix of four variables; Subject Line, Sender Name, Reply to Name and Email Content, to create various email versions and run them through the test. This is a quicker process than your traditional A/B testing that tests one variable at a time.

    To give you a better idea, let’s say you want to send an email campaign with an optimized subject line and sender name. With A/B testing, you’d have to run two tests - one for each variable, but with A/x testing, you can test both with just one test.

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    When first getting started with A/x testing, you’ll want to keep these four points in mind:

    1) Pencil it in

    There are two ways to implement your A/x test, either send now or schedule for a later date. Often marketers put off testing because they don’t have the resources or time to do so. Being able to schedule your A/x test for a later time allows you to create the campaign when your workload allows and plan ahead to analyze the results once the test is complete.

    2) Sample Size

    You’ll also want to send to a smaller, randomized portion of your contact list to test for the most optimized email version before sending to the rest of your contact list. Never send blindly again - support each email decision with hard data.

    3) And the winner is…

    From the very beginning of the testing phase, keep in mind what activity you’d ultimately like to track and it’s corresponding KPI. If you’re looking to find the winning email combination that will drive most website traffic, you might want to select “click rate” as your winning criteria. If you want to test the effectiveness of the sender name and subject line, you might want to select “open rate” as your winning criteria.

    4) Length of test

    Based on the average engagement of your contact list and the variable tested, you may want to adjust the length of your email test accordingly.


    Happy testing! Stay tuned for more A/x testing tips in the coming weeks.

  2. Why All Students Should Join a Startup

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    By Natacha Pradere

    My two months as a student intern with Mailjet comes to a close this week. I feel so lucky to have spent my summer diving head first into the world of tech, startups and the vibrant city of New York.

    The Mailjet team immediately took me in as a team member from day one, asking me to share my general interests - allowing me to have a hand in shaping my own learning path for the summer. Working at a startup is a great opportunity for students looking to get a taste of a wide range of job functions. I myself, started the summer being unsure of my career path, but knew that I had a general interest in technology, engineering, design and communication.

    My first few weeks consisted of learning to program in Ruby. As soon as I felt comfortable, I paired my newly developed skills with my previous design experience to build landing pages for various marketing initiatives. Learning to code and applying this knowledge in a real-life work environment has given me confidence I could not imagine gaining in class.

    A cool longer term project I worked on was creating a button that can track the cups of coffee made each day at HQ and update our About Us page on our website. I used an Arduino microntroller to code and build the device.  Each time the button is pushed, the counter data is then sent to a wifi transmitter linked to Thinkspeak’s API, which will continually keep track of the coffee we drink. Additionallly, the device has an LCD screen that shows passerbyers how much caffeine Mailjet has consumed. Being able to conceptualize a project, trouble shooting issues along the way - these are all invaluable skills picked up from programming and are transferrable to just about any business.

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    I have undoubtedly made brilliant memories that will draw me back in the years to come. Working at the WeWork Fulton offices and attending regular meetups opened opportunities to meet some very passionate, hard-working individuals in the NY startup community. One of the most memorable events being the first ever Mailjet Happy Hour, where we celebrated the launch of a set of new features and a freshly redesigned website. I was able to put my product knowledge to the test when speaking with other attendees. It was certainly inspiring to see all the hard work go into the back end of creating this very tangible product and then celebrate the results with the rest of the community.

    To my fellow students: whether you have an active or passive interest in the startup world, consider that it’s a great place to learn and to be entrepreneurial. I strongly suggest that all students should take at least one role at a startup during their academic careers. You’ll be asked to contribute, you’ll be motivated to hustle and you’ll learn more in a day here than you will at school.

  3. Hacking the Google Glass @ Ubitech

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    This past weekend, Mailjet had the awesome opportunity of sponsoring Ubitech’s Google Glass hackathon — a two day event created to challenge and inspire individuals to innovate with Google Glass. For those of you who live under a rock, Google Glass is a wearable eyeglass device, which provides you with a HUD. To interact with the device, users can touch or swipe the side, or simply speak to it. Needless to say, there is huge potential for some groundbreaking applications.

    Most participants came prepped bright and early with their computer in one hand and their Google Glass already on their face. For those in need of a pair, Augmate had a large supply on hand. With the right tools, the hackers were ready to go to work for the next two days.

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    And to work they went! There were many fun hacks that have huge potential in helping solve local and global issues. One hacker created an app where a Google Glass wearer can look at someone and the Glass will read back the heartbeat of the individual. This has potential of being a preliminary way for EMTs to assess patients. Another team took on the brave initiative of the NYC war against rats (yes, you read that correctly). Every time a Glass user is near an area with a high concentration of rats, their app would display a notification on the HUD. Users can report rat sightings with a gamified spin to it — the more rats a user spots, the more points they get. The winning team of the hackathon, Intellibins, created an incentivised method for users to recycle smarter. Users can look at an item and Glass will provide directions to the nearest proper recycling station (plastic, aluminum, paper, etc.). Also, users can look at a particular trash/recycling receptacle and Intellibins’ app will say what materials are acceptable to place in it.

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    The winner of Mailjet’s prize — Arduino, Raspberry PI, and hardware sensor kit — for the best use of our API was team Double ‘A’.  Double ‘A’ created an app for streamlined AMBER alerts. With their Glass, users can send pertinent information — photos, videos — via email to local police authorities and the app gives updates to parents of the victim. This hack has a lot of potential for aiding child abduction scenarios. Great work, team Double ‘A’!

    Teams have the opportunity to continue working on their projects until October, when they will present their polished finalized app. Looking forward to seeing everyone’s hacks then!

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    Tyler Nappy
    Developer Evangelist

  4. Flight School Friday: Reconfirming for higher deliverability

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    By Udeme Ukutt

    In the world of email deliverability, you’ll hear a lot about list management (cleaning email lists, list quality, list sources, subscriber consent, etc). One way to clean your list is by sending a reconfirmation email - which is what we’ll discuss in this blog post.

    Generally speaking, every three to six months you will find inactive users who have not clicked or opened emails within that timeframe. The goal is to reconfirm with these users whether they would like to continue receiving communication from you. The benefit is two-fold: even if you potentially lose some users, your list quality will improve because those that reconfirm are more engaged and it improves your reputation since spam complaints are lower with these engaged customers.

    A GOOD CONFIRMATION EMAIL SHOULD:

    Include a clear and simple call-to-action

    We like this email from Free People because they keep the “ask” simple and their confirm/unsubscribe buttons really pop.

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    Remind customers why they should keep listening

    This Crocs email does a great job of explaining how their customers have benefitted from receiving their emails in the past. Beyond just incentivizing customers to confirm their subscription, Crocs also offers a 20% off discount to drive sales.

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    Once the campaign is complete, remember to remove all email addresses who unsubscribed! Here’s how to do this in your Mailjet account:

    First, go to your campaign page and select the re-confirmation email you’ve recently sent out. Then, scroll down to the “Emails list” and click the drop down on the right hand side to select “Status”.

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    Next, at the bottom of the page, you’ll find buttons to export your list. Click “Export to a list” to choose the master contact list you would like to update and select “Select New Contacts, Ignore Unsubscribed Contacts”. Click the green “export” button and you’ll have yourself a clean, updated contact list! As always, be sure to follow deliverability best practices and be sure that your list does not include any email addresses bought from third-party lists.

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    Remember that this is a continuous process, so you will want to check back on the progress of your resubscriptions every few days or so. But it does get easier as you go, because once you have a template set up you can easily schedule this email as a triggered campaign to inactive customers every three to six months.

    We’d love to hear about some cool reconfirmation emails you’ve built! What did you found worked and what didn’t work as well?

  5. Mailjet is landing at the API Strat Conference!

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    In just a few weeks (9/24 - 9/26), Mailjet will land in Chicago for the API Strategy Conference.  API providers and developers will come together all under one roof to discuss and learn about latest API trends, best practices… pretty much anything in the world of API!

    API Strategy Conference will also be holding their inaugural ‘Developer Track’, with breakout talks allowing attendees to meet API providers and learn more about the potential of APIs. Topics range from exploring the best APIs to use for different purposes to best practices when developing apps that incorporate APIs. I’m excited to be one of the featured speakers on this track! Drop in to hear how parsing incoming emails can positively affect your business.

    Haven’t bought your tickets yet? In celebration of the first Developer Track, we’ll also be offering a discount code towards API Strat Conference tickets! Email contact@mailjet.com if you’d like to receive the discount!

    I’m very excited to hit the “Windy City”. Hope to see some of you out there!

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    Tyler Nappy
    Developer Evangelist

    API Strategy & Practice Conference (APIStrat) offers a unique program of keynotes, panels and themed sessions to provide insights into the potential of APIs, best practices, and how to craft a successful API strategy. The inclusive, community-supported conference series focuses on what works for API creators and consumers alike by bringing industry leaders together in one forum.

  6. Create winning email campaigns by learning from your past mistakes

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    Penicillin. The Slinky. Post-its. All brilliant inventions created by mistake. Penicillin was discovered after scientist Alexander Fleming accidently left some dirty petri dishes in his lab over vacation. The Slinky was born after a naval engineer accidently knocked some springs off a shelf. Post-its were actually the opposite of what the 3M laboratory was trying to create at the time. Sometimes innovation is made by mistake, other times, innovation is born out of learning from your mistakes. In the startup world, we even have a word for this: flearn (fail + learn)! And learning from your mistakes is especially true in email marketing.

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    Even the best email rockstars will see campaigns with low KPIs from time to time. The difference is what you choose to do with this information. Learning from these “misses” can help you narrow down what your customer isn’t interested in and learn what type of content they’d like to see.

    Creating a frame of reference

    To start, aggregate past campaigns and average their KPIs to create what we call a benchmark. This will be a helpful reference as you look through individual email sends. Any part of the email that produces KPIs exceeding benchmark numbers can be quickly identified as content you should reuse.

    Remember to regularly create new benchmarks as these metrics can change depending on how frequently you communicate with your customers.

    Moral of the story

    Overtime, you’ll be able to see trends while comparing across campaigns; which topic or timing works best with which audience group. The goals you should set for your email campaigns really vary by industry and business model, but generally speaking, you should aim to drive customers to engage on other channels (website, social media). Create clear call-to-actions and make it easy for customers to share.

    Don’t do it all on your own

    It can be a lot of data to juggle on your own, to save time and resources, be sure to use a tool like Campaign Comparison to do the heavy lifting for you.

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    With our Campaign Comparison feature, you can see your statistics in two different displays.

    The classical “historical” display shows a line graph with a time scale (24 hours/7 days). This high level approach will allow you to quickly see performance over time and determine where activity peaked.

    The second type of display is the “cumulative” display. This chart is continuously updating, each time you send a new email campaign, the data is automatically logged into this display.  Why is this so interesting? Because this allows you to determine how many people reacted to your message on a global scale, which percentage of the people you sent your campaign to actually opened or clicked? This display allows you to compare the result of your campaigns with your ultimate objective (100% open and click rate, right?).


    Obviously, comparing the performance of your previous campaigns is the best way to learn how to improve your performances. Don’t send in the dark anymore! Send, compare, learn and send better! Let us know what you’ve learned from your historical data and how you’ve improved your email program with this data!

  7. Mailjet Monday: Anh-Tho Chuong

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    Happy Monday! This week, we sat down to chat with Anh-Tho Chuong, a member of our Strategy and Special Projects team. Anh-Tho started her career in telecommunications in Paris and Dubai. It was here where she grew her passion for technology, user-centered innovation, and about how for-profit tech businesses can lead to greater and sustainable social impact: working on mobile money services for the unbanked in Kinshasa (DR Congo), taking assignments on designing services that address female needs in Colombia and Tanzania. She now manages strategy at Mailjet and is one of the resident foodies who leads the team to delicious lunch spots in the Sentier area.

    What do you do at Mailjet?

    My role at Mailjet can be broken into two main responsibilities. I manage analysis, which mainly consists of pricing and international development, and product strategy, which involves researching the marketplace and meeting clients to collect feedback. All of these things come together in helping me manage cross-functional projects and work out the product roadmap for the IT team.

    What does a typical day look like for you?

    On Monday mornings or Friday nights, I put together a to-do list of my goals for the week and tasks I’d like to accomplish. Then I meet with the rest of the teams to catch up and incorporate more things into my to-do list! But really, as cliche as it is, every day is different. What I like most is how quickly you can see the impact of your work here at Mailjet. The work I do on a day-to-day basis gives me a chance to participate in the vision of our brand and I also have my hands in part of the implementation.

    Most memorable Mailjet moment?

    During my first days at Mailjet I saw that the team worked hard and were really into the work, but sometime in the afternoon, they would break out the games (and the nerf guns) and start playing! It was so good to see that we could be serious but also have fun. You also wouldn’t expect such great diversity in such a small company. This is the kind of culture I love.  

    How do you see the product evolving over the next few months/years?

    We already have a solid set of email testing features, with our most recent product update rolling out just last week. But looking further into the future, I see the product evolving to address individual industry needs or “jobs to be done”.

    An example of this would be non-profits, beyond having a product that just helps deliver their weekly newsletters, the needs we’d like to address are ‘how to raise more money through email’ or  ‘how to use email to motivate people to take part in offline events’. The goal is to further immerse ourselves in the shoes of our users and design seamless journeys that have direct impact on just their business, but their community. Exciting stuff to come!

  8. A new Mailjet has landed!

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    If you visited our site this week, you may have noticed that things look a little different. The new features we’ve been talking about have finally been cleared for landing and the Mailjet site has gotten a facelift! V3 users will now be able to activate all four new features; segmentation, personalization, A/x testing, campaign comparison. Here’s a quick recap of how these features work and how they’ll provide added value to your email campaigns:

    Personalization

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    Personalization adds a human touch to email. It recreates the intimate relationship you’d likely have with a mom-and-pop shop that knows you by name and what you last purchased.

    With personalization, you’ll be able to address each user by specific characteristics such as first name, last name, gender and location. To ensure you get maximum value out of this feature, be sure to collect this information from your customers at the start of the sign-up funnel and to include these fields in your contact list. Once your complete list is uploaded to your account, a simple snippet of code:  [[data:PropertyName:"Default Value"]] will help cross-reference the data on the contact list with each recipient of the message.

    Segmentation

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    Closely related to personalization, segmentation is another way to tell customers that they’re special. Group your contact list into larger demographics (gender, age) or behavior (last website visit, lifetime purchase value) and serve up content you know they’ll want to see. Not only are you guaranteed a higher ROI, but also a lower unsubscribe rate.

    We strongly recommend using CRM software to help manage your customer data, that way managing your contact list will be quick and painless.

    Campaign Comparison

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    Always remember to learn from your past mistakes. We created campaign comparison, because we can’t stress enough how important it is to analyze past campaigns and learn from your successes and failures. Maybe longer subject lines showed higher click through rates and the later send time showed lower click through rates. Next time you’ll send an email earlier in the day, with a longer subject line.

    We wanted to make it easy for marketers to get an idea of average KPIs across campaigns (benchmark) and be able to quickly identify areas of improvement. Pair these findings with A/x testing (below) for optimal results!

    A/X Testing

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    Move over, A/B testing. We’re introducing something bigger and better; multivariate testing. With A/X testing, you can test up to 10 versions of a campaign, allowing for greater learning from a single test.

    Testing takes the guesswork out of creating email campaigns, which helps you save money because guessing (and being incorrect) can be costly! A/X testing will show you which version produces the best metrics (open rate, click-through rate etc.) so that you can confidently send this to the rest of your contact list.

    Now that we’ve reviewed all the new features, are you ready to start optimizing? If you have more questions about getting started, please contact our support team.

  9. The Secret Behind Email’s Eternal Youth

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    Our trusted old friend email is as hip and good-looking as ever

    Email is dead. We’ve heard this quite a few times in the past decade. More and more it seems. In recent years, as new forms of digital communication have emerged and developed, the number of email skeptics has increased, with a growing number of people calling for the next thing to replace email altogether. Opinions have turned sharply against the more-than-30-year-old technology that most of us still use on a daily basis.

    Most recently though, Alexis C. Madrigal, deputy editor of The Atlantic, voiced his opinion in a piece that is unusually supportive of email. As a response to a series of recent statements from various tech companies calling email “counter-productive” and, yet again, “dead”, Madrigal tells us that email is in fact very much alive.

    One of his main points in the article is that the strongest asset of email, unlike newer, more technologically advanced communication channels, is that it remains an open platform technology that no one owns:

    Email is actually a tremendous, decentralized, open platform on which new, innovative things can and have been built. In that way, email represents a different model from the closed ecosystems we see proliferating across our computers and devices.

    It’s this openness, Madrigal argues, that has allowed email to stay relevant and endure the changes in technology and the media landscape. To illustrate, he gives us a few examples of how email as a service has gotten better and more advanced, naming developments such as smarter inboxes, better spam filters, and most recently a great user experience on mobile devices.

    His overall point seems to be that many of email’s former functions have been improved with new services and apps. Email has survived by evolving into new shapes and forms, thus remaining current.

    More recently, it seems email as a communication channel for teams will be soon replaced with newer solutions. Here, tools like Hipchat and Slack have emerged and offered more fitting solutions with a focus on quick messaging, productivity and collaboration. But this, Madrigal says, is part of the natural evolution of email. New tools will come and email will continue to evolve thanks to its open-sourced nature that lets everyone contribute.

    It’s hard to imagine how email would have evolved over the years if it had been controlled by one single company. Certainly the we wouldn’t have seen as many different ideas and ways to use email as we have over the past decades. And in the hands of one company it would most likely had been commercialized in a greater form, adding constraints and limitations to how and where it can be used. In the same sense that the Internet would have looked very different if it just one company had ownership.

    As it stands today, email isn’t a one-off service that we use for a single purpose. Emails take many different forms and serve a plethora of purposes. And this will keep evolving. As Madrigal puts it:

    “What’s changing isn’t a product that must be rolled out to all users, but an ecosystem that provides niches for all kinds of different emailers.”

    An example of one of these niches is transactional email. The emails that we all receive when we buy something online and receive recommendations for similar products, when we need to reset our passwords or when someone has responded to one of our tweets. Highly relevant and targeted messages that customers want to receive. Companies today are able to customize these emails to the individual user and tailor their emails to meet very specific needs and demands from their users and customers. Transactional emails aren’t a new phenomenon in the world of email, but the purpose they serve and what we can do with them has evolved tremendously. In this example, email is not a static communication tool between two individuals. It’s a dynamic channel for intelligent, customized and relevant notifications.

    Email is not dead. It has certainly changed a lot over the years, no one would argue with that. The way email looks, the devices we use to access, read, send it, the role it plays in the way we communicate with each other. They have all changed and will continue to do so as technology and the way we use it evolves. The “cockroach of the Internet” is still with us and we can’t wait to see which shapes and forms he will take next.

  10. Tell us how your email campaigns #takeflight and win!

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    In honor of today’s national holiday, Aviation Day, we’ve set aside the month of August to celebrate both the incredible engineering behind putting an aircraft into the skies and the hard work of Marketing/IT teams everywhere that help email campaigns #takeflight.

    This week, we’re running our first ever Twitter contest

    To ENTER:

    1) Just head on over to Twitter and follow @mailjet.

    2) Then, tweet at us with the story of your most successful email campaign and #takeflight!

    The contestant with the most creative or valuable tip will score a free 6 month Mailjet silver membership and a 6 month Tripit Pro membership!

    We’ll be announcing the winner back here and @mailjet on Wednesday, September 27.

    We’re looking forward to reading your tweets! Keep up the good work, guys!