Series Posts: Product & Design

Introducing Our New Email Engagement Automation

Introducing Our New Email Engagement Automation

Product & Design • August 4, 2016

We are excited to present to you the newest feature of our application! As a Benchmark user, you may already be familiar with our current autoresponder feature. This feature allows you to send out a sequence of emails based on three different triggers: When a customer subscribes to a list A recurring date related to a subscriber such as their birthday or anniversary A specific date related to a subscriber If you haven’t tried the feature yet, using the \"When a customer subscribes to a list” trigger from the list above is one of the most basic, yet most powerful automations. It automatically sends a stream of emails that go out to new subscribers after they sign up. The autoresponder is a crucial and powerful type of automation that will remain in the quiver for our users with a new name - “List Based Automation.” This feature has always been and will continue to be free. Understanding the New Feature In an effort to provide users with more options for email automation, we have now moved autoresponders under the umbrella of “Automations.” As you explore the new automation section, you will notice that the first addition is based on email engagement and consists of three triggers: A subscriber opens an email A subscriber clicks any link in an email A subscriber clicks a specific URL in an email Let’s take a look at how we could use some of these triggers to segment subscribers. For example, if I owned a boat company, I might set up an automation to segment my subscribers into two groups for me: One that is interested in wind-powered vessels, and another that is interested in motor-powered vessels. After the feature segments them into the two groups, they can automatically receive curated content based on their interests. To do this, I would first send an email that contains content that includes information related to both types of boats. This could include things such as user manuals, a featured article, some stats based on research, or a discount on a product. Each type of content in the email would be connected to a URL for my subscribers to click. I would use the “A subscriber clicks a specific URL in an email” trigger, to create two automations - one to send emails to the wind vessel subscribers, and another to send emails to the motor powered subscribers. To begin sending tailored content to each of the two groups, I would select the original email that I sent and the URL that pertains to the appropriate group. The feature would then automatically send the curated content to each of the two lists. What about something more simple? Here is another example using the “a subscriber opens an email” trigger. Let’s say I have a customer base and want our highest engaged subscribers to purchase from a promotion. In the dropdown menu, I could select a recent campaign I sent to all of my subscribers. The selected trigger above will then only send the emails I set up to go to subscribers who had opened the previous campaign. It is helpful to note that our Targeted Emailing tool also has the power of segmenting subscribers. The difference is that you save them to lists instead of adding them to an email automation. We are pretty giddy about our other upcoming automations features and can’t wait to share them with you all later this year! Until then, we hope you enjoy our latest addition and look forward to seeing how you all use it.


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Why We Needed an Email Design System

Why We Needed an Email Design System

Product & Design • August 1, 2016

Up until recently, we have had one design team doing everything at Benchmark. What this means, is that the same design team that was creating the products and the development of new features was also in charge of design for marketing and creating and maintaining branding. I remember one time that our team was designing an email to promote a new feature  we were about to release. With no email design system in place and a desire to have some form of consistency, we spent over an hour scouring through past email headlines trying to find the correct hex value for the gray we had used in the past. It was apparent that we had a problem. However, working toward a solution didn’t feel pressing until six months ago when Benchmark decided to split the responsibilities of our single design team with a newly formed marketing design team. In the past as the single design team, creating email templates for our company departments was difficult. With each specific purpose or departmental need, our team would come up with something from scratch. If the marketing department wanted an email last minute, there wouldn’t be enough time to create one for them of any quality. As you can imagine, we wasted time trying to maintain some consistency in our designs without a standardized system in place and found ourselves often frustrated and confused. These same design inconsistencies were multiplied across our international offices with emails sent out in nine different languages from Benchmark offices worldwide. With the move to have a fully dedicated marketing design team that would take ownership of the email design templates, we recognized that a system needed to be put in place. Otherwise our experience of frustrations, lack of timeliness, unclear brand voice and having to return to old emails to find some form of consistent stylization not only would continue but would be amplified. From these problems, we wanted to create a modular design system that would help to solve our problems of inconsistencies and lack of timeliness. We took an inventory of all of the emails that went out this past year from our Benchmark teams, including those from our international offices and organized them all by language and purpose to see what particular needs each office had to account for and what type of emails each region was sending. Some regions were focusing more on education, while others focused more on events and partners. Marketing needs will be different in each region. It\'s important to create solutions that are inclusive to all of our offices and not assume that marketing needs in one region will be the same as elsewhere. We took note of all of the emails that we saw repeating to get an idea of the modular pieces we might need i.e. monthly/weekly newsletters, promotion, webinar invites, product announcements, automated system emails, even personal emails from the company owners. Then, we documented the structure of each of these emails by the content sections that made them up. We then documented all of the styles for each of the sections. We found that we had numerous different styles being used for headers, content blocks, typography, social media buttons, contact info and image styles just to name a few. After we had everything documented, we were able to create unified styles for each use case. Things that we were considering as we did this were our current branding, of course being aware of the other languages and what was applicable for them, mobile styles, readability, aesthetic. It required us to sift through everything we have had before and create a standard for the aesthetic and appeal for our clients. Another thing we had to do was to create and find an image strategy and what we should do for images since they can dramatically change the look of an email. In order to keep consistency, we created a guidebook that we passed on to our other international design teams and to our marketing team. We also collaborated with the marketing team to make sure our goals were aligned and everything meshed. Our final challenge was setting everyone up to be able to use the new system. We accomplished this easily with our email platform. We set up our design system as a master account and made each office a sub account of the master account. Using the ability to send email designs to sub accounts, we were easily able to get everyone up to speed. We used to have everyone doing their own thing in separate accounts. Now being under one account, everyone has access to email design templates and it helps to maintain the consistency that we are looking for while allowing ease of use and maintaining a standard. I learned that it is easier to think of everything as a whole and create and manage a system rather than designing for each individual problem. The key, however, is to not create something and forget about it, but instead using it and revisiting it in order to make adjustments, followed by updating documentation to continue to maintain our standards and consistency. This is not something we have figured out completely yet, but it is a contined process of learning and growing. We used our own email editor to design all of our emails. We did this so that it is easier for local and regional content managers. Ideally. we would have done it all in code to have more control and to update standards more quickly. For now, using our own email designer was simpler and gave us an opportunity to feature our own product and being inclusive of ease of use. This information is helpful and I wish that I had a detailed solution to reference prior to embarking on this journey. It has made such a difference for us. It was a pain point and took a significant amount of time to find a solution. So, if there is a way that this could be of use to our users, it felt important to share our process.


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New template integrations: eBay, Etsy, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook Events

New template integrations: eBay, Etsy, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook Events

Lean Journey Product & Design • May 16, 2016

Often, the novice marketer asks a question that goes something like, “should I be doing A or B in my marketing efforts?” No matter what A or B represents, the answer is never either/or … but all of the above. All our marketing channels are strongest when used in conjunction with one another. Our Benchmark Email template integrations make that incredibly simple. We’re excited to announce new template integrations for eBay, Etsy, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook Events. eBay Bring more attention to your items for sale on eBay. Either promote one or multiple items with the eBay template option. That means you’re not limited to just the audience of eBay, but can also advertise to repeat customers, subscribers and more. Etsy Share the items in your Etsy store with your subscribers. Promote up to 15 of your most recent offerings with the Etsy template option. Help drive repeat business, get more eyes on the crafts in your Etsy store and sell more. LinkedIn Turn your subscribers into LinkedIn followers by sharing recent updates. Your company’s information and three most recent updates are included with the LinkedIn template option. Your LinkedIn followers won’t always be your subscribers and vice versa. This helps to close that gap. Twitter Convert your email subscribers into Twitter followers by sharing recent tweets. Up to five of your company’s most recent tweets are included with the Twitter template option. Even if your subscribers are already following you on Twitter, they may not be seeing all your tweets. Be sure they’re seen with the help of this integration. Pinterest Turn your subscribers into Pinterest followers by sharing your boards. Get more eyes on your boards and expand your reach beyond the platform with the Pinterest template option. Facebook Events Increase attendance to your Facebook Events by promoting them with email marketing. Advertise one or more Facebook Events with the Facebook Events template option. Plus, you get the added advantage of Benchmark Email’s real-time reports. That way you’ll be able to better gauge interest in your events.


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