5 "Eureka!" moments in our email marketing results


When we released Emma's new Response overview last month, we knew it would help marketers everywhere change the way they use their email results to inform their next step. I also knew that as Emma's own curator of newsletter content, I'd be able to use the visualized data and new audience insights to figure out what's working (or, you know, not working) in our own email marketing.


An example of our latest email to our customers & fans


The click map felt like a great place to start, since it shows what content gets the most action, either because of placement, design or messaging. Here are the 5 big learnings I gleaned from reviewing the click maps of our own monthly-ish newsletter.

1. The top of the email gets the most clicks.

This is not a surprising discovery — the top of the email is the first thing everyone sees, plus it shows up in preview panes. But seeing the new click map overlay on my email reinforces the idea that this is truly prime real estate.



If I want to increase engagement with Emma’s emails, I’ve got to remember the old adage, “Location, location location.”

My next step: Make an effort to feature something with universal appeal up top.

An invitation to a best practices webinar or a story about new templates in our gallery gets a lot of link love. When I used the top story section to feature our new Emma for Shopify integration, I got fewer clicks than normal because that doesn't resonate as much with people who don’t have an eCommerce store.

2. Buttons outperform text links every time.

We pack these monthly-ish emails with good news from Emma, and each story links out to where you can keep reading or simply see more. When that call to action (CTA) is presented as a button, the clicks skyrocket. Here’s the click map from an email that had a button placed just above a text link.



The size of the circles indicates the relative level of click activity, so you can see how the button got more action than its text-y downstairs neighbor. 

My next step: Experiment with more buttons.

Sometimes newsletter-style emails can have too many CTAs, making them feel overwhelming. Because of that, we’re choosy about which stories get a button and which get a simpler text link — and it’s usually the top story that gets the button. But what if I split my list and tested a version where all my CTAs were buttons? 

3. People are clicking everywhere — even at the very bottom!

Like I said, newsletters have a reputation for being overwhelming, so we’re always careful not to load up on too much content and potentially turn off readers. So imagine my delight when I saw consistent click activity all the way at the very bottom of our emails — even on my headshot in the signature.



My next step: Test adding more content, if I've got good content to share.

I’m not overloading our readers. (Phew.) If I have an extra story to add from time to time, I can tack it on without worry. And I'll just keep checking my click map to make sure I'm not seeing a drop in engagement.

4. Headlines that tell the story invite more clicks.

I compared the click maps of several newsletters, paying special attention to how the headlines of customer spotlight stories affected clicks. I found that the more direct headlines helped boost clicks — by a lot. When we featured Hammock Publishing’s story, the headline felt simple: One idea doubled open rates. Heck, I’d click on that.



Compare that to a customer spotlight we featured in the exact same location, months earlier, with a headline that read, “Meet a business owner who found her voice and tripled her email list.” That story only got 202 clicks.

Why? I have a couple of ideas. Using the word “meet” feels like a softer approach, and it doesn’t convey the value you’ll get by clicking and reading more. “Finding your voice” also feels intangible and maybe even too personal, while “one big idea” feels like something anyone could learn from.

My next step: Give headlines the attention they deserve.

Now that I've proven that direct language works, I should craft future headlines accordingly to get to the heart of the story and invite more clicks. 

5. It’s really fun to geek out over results.

Our product developers designed the new Response overview to make it easier to figure out what’s working in your email marketing and where improvements can be made. I’ve found that visualizing data helps me react to that data with less fuss. And I’m not alone.



My next step: Keep sharing.

We should all spend a little time opening up past mailings to see what we can learn. And we should share what we learn! That’s what makes us all smarter marketers and inspires new ideas. Here are a couple of customers who let us know what they saw right away:

"I just sent my first mailing with the new Response page, and I love it! The click map is really cool and is giving me ideas on what I should and shouldn't include in my future mailings based on what my customers are clicking on. Great upgrade!"
Kelly Burgess, Systems Associates, Inc.

"The Response page and features look great. I especially like seeing how many are opening emails on mobile vs. desktop. I knew mobile was almost 50%, but to actually see the numbers makes me more cognizant of our designs."
Alex Harwell, Frist Center for the Visual Arts

Have you learned anything new about your results with Emma’s new Response overview? Pop over to this conversation in Emma Community, or leave a comment here!

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