Email Resolutions for 2021: Webinar Recording + QA

Like most people, we kicked off 2021 with a bunch of resolutions for our own email marketing program. But we wanted to hear from other marketers about their resolutions, too. That’s why we invited Jasmine Penny from DonorsChoose and Jenn Clauss from Advisor Group to discuss some of the most important resolutions for email marketers to make this year.

Didn’t have a chance to watch the webinar live? Don’t worry. You can access the full recording at any time and read the Q&A below.

Q&A

Thank you to everyone who chimed in during the webinar with a question! Here’s a recap of our answers to the most popular questions, along with our take on some of the questions we didn’t get to during the live webinar.

Looking to add the amazing email sweatshirt that Jasmine had on to your own wardrobe? Look no further.

A problem I face is that we’ll test but then the findings won’t be documented/referenced. How do you document your tests results?

JC: We document all of our test results in a shared spreadsheet that we keep in our collaboration software, Microsoft Teams. We go back and reference it during the campaign planning process as we’re talking about new tests we want to run or debating things (long form vs. short form copy, for example). Referencing past test results helps our team settle a lot of debates!

Jason: Like a lot of other companies, we use slide decks to document a whole bunch of stuff (for better or worse). Slide decks are the preferred communication medium of a lot of leadership teams, so having our results in slides allows us to quickly share them with a wider audience as well as review them together during team meetings. It takes work on the marketing team’s part to analyze the results and pull out the most impactful stats, but we’ve found that sharing them via slides during regular meetings is the best way to start discussions around them.

Jasmine: We use slide decks that capture learnings for each test, as well as overall learnings for the quarter that we can apply more broadly than a single campaign. The decks are easy to navigate for other users, allow us to add a lot of supplemental information like screenshots and send times, and make referencing past experiments a snap. We capture the raw data in Google Sheets or use our BI tool, Looker, but the slides boil that down to the more important takeaways. At the start of new experiments or campaigns, our briefs have a section for past learnings, which build in the habit of looking back on what we’ve learned to inform new tests.

How is testing via email significantly different from other types of online testing?

JC: Testing via email can be a lot more cost effective than testing via other channels. Email enables you to reach a wide audience of subscribers at a relatively low cost. Your subscribers have also already opted in to receive communications from you, so they’re more likely to engage. High engagement gives you a better chance of getting statistically significant test results. In my experience, testing via landing pages can require a significant investment in digital ads in order to drive enough traffic to the page to get statistically significant test results.

Jasmine: With email, you are working with users who are naturally more engaged with you by way of being subscribed to your lists. With careful segmentation, email allows you more creative leeway than other channels. We can try something that we’d consider more “out there” with our most engaged subscribers and not worry nearly as much about losing them as we would if we were trying the same thing through another channel. Our newsletter, for example, acts a bit like an experimentation playground for us — we try out different content approaches, ways to make donation asks, and learn more about our users with significant result, all while knowing that since these subscribers are so engaged with us that a misstep here or there is actually lower-risk than in a channel with a much broader scope and a higher ratio of lesser-engaged folks.

We are new to account-based marketing and one of the challenges we have is personalization. We can’t personalize every email for every account so how do you choose which content to personalize and when?

Jason: Account-based marketing certainly presents challenges but, if anything, should lend itself well to personalization since you are marketing to each account as a “market of one.” In theory, you should know each account well (at least your CRM tools should) and be able to track each account’s interest in products based on their existing usage. Combined with engagement tracking and scoring that most marketing platforms provide, you should be able to build a fairly detailed model of your accounts and use their interests to personalize emails and other marketing specifically to them. It works on the same mechanics of personalization for wider audiences, but just gets a bit more specific. So you can still use the basics like name and account personalization and more advanced stuff like dynamic content recommendations for each individual account, it’ll likely just require more work to manage for a large number of accounts.

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