Email Marketing

8 ways coding skills make you a better marketer

Marketing is a profession of contrasts where the creative blends with the analytical. Scope for imagination sits alongside the need for logic.

In today’s digital world, there are few careers that cannot benefit from some coding know-how. Marketing is no exception. A little bit of programming knowledge could be the secret code to becoming a better marketer.

1. Transform your mind

Learning to code isn’t just about what you can do. It’s about the way you think. There are direct benefits from learning a particular programming language, but it’s perhaps the indirect benefits that are most valuable.

Speaking from personal experience, my approach to problem-solving fundamentally changed after learning JavaScript. When a complex challenge arises, my reaction is no longer oh [expletive], how are we going to solve this. The logic-based thinking that comes with coding can be applied to all manner of situations. A calmer thought process means less stress and more refined solutions.

2. Embrace efficiency

Who couldn’t use a little more time in the day? Repetitive (but still essential) tasks can add up and chip away at the clock, stealing away time from bigger projects.

Taking a programming approach to such jobs can make all the difference. The solution doesn’t necessarily need to involve a single line of code – just a bit of logic. Instead of manually compiling reports, is there an Excel formula that can achieve the same thing in a fraction of the time? Maybe you could record an action in Photoshop to apply a branding effect in a single click. An ounce of automation is worth a pound of manual procedure.

3. Become the toolmaker

Tailoring or modifying an existing piece of software won’t always be enough to solve your problem. For unique challenges, you sometimes need a unique tool. With programming knowledge, you can be the one to create it.

A client of ours required tracking to be hardcoded on links in a very specific manner. The syntax varies depending on the URL. What descriptors have already been used? Is there an anchor tag? Are other parameters already applied?

Manually performing such a task multiple times per day and dozens per week is both time-consuming and vulnerable to human error. The smart solution is to build a custom tool to do the job. Efficient and reliable results, along with the satisfaction and mental exercise that coding brings.

4. Master your software

It’s true what they say – once you learn one programming language, it becomes much easier to learn another. Modern CRM platforms and ESPs often come equipped with proprietary scripting languages. Salesforce Marketing Cloud has AMPscript, Oracle Responsys has RPL, and so on. These kind of scripting languages invariably open up a deeper level of dynamic content than a drag & drop interface can offer.

The syntax of these languages differs from platform to platform, but the underlying logic is very similar. Everything boils down to if this, do that. By thinking in terms of procedures and variables, you unlock your software’s full functionality – and value.

5. Talk tech

As a marketer, you may or may not ever be personally required to carry out any coding work. But even if your role is less hands-on, I’m willing to bet that you need to communicate with developers regularly. Knowing what is technically possible and how it can be achieved is a major advantage. A new project is off to a great start when everyone is working from the same technical foundation.

6. Unify the channels

There are lots of specialities in marketing, including our favourite: email. Specialised however is not synonymous with isolated. A strong marketing strategy combines multiple channels.

Theory is one thing, but technical understanding completes the picture. An email developer can benefit greatly from knowing a programming language that lets them build web content or process data. A custom API can connect software systems and make sophisticated multi-channel strategies possible. Your programming knowledge can be the bridge between channels and applications.

7. Become a journey planner

Multi-channel marketing is a concept that goes hand-in-hand with customer journeys. Any decent CRM or ESP software will include a workflow-based editor that lets you funnel and personalise the path that each customer follows. These can become enormously complex, often combining drag & drop rules with internal and external scripting.

Learning programming act as a logical conditioning for the mind. Use that power to plan, analyse and fine-tune complex customer journeys.

8. Stay at the cutting edge

Digital marketing is a fast-moving field. It can be challenging to stay on top of the latest developments. But with a coding foundation, it becomes easier to keep up… and maybe even be a pioneer.

I’ve seen a number of technical landmarks in email marketing over the years. Responsive design, product recommendations, live images, interactivity, Gmail annotations, AMP for Email, AI-generated content – the list goes on. Adoption rates can often be slow. Teach yourself some technical skills on the side and you can be the one to keep your brand at the digital forefront.

Crack the code

One of the beautiful things about coding is that you absolutely do not need to know a language inside-out before you can start putting it to good use in the real world. In fact, real projects are an essential part of the learning process. With just a moderate understanding of a single programming language, you can improve yourself as a marketer and make a real difference in a relatively short space of time.

Your choice of language doesn’t even matter. Python, PHP, JavaScript, whatever you fancy. They all have practical applications and cognitive benefits. So jump in, learn some code, and power up your marketing.

Email Marketing

Beyond the subject line: your inbox marketing toolkit

Your email subject line has a tough job. With just a few words, it needs to:

  • Grab the reader’s attention
  • Tell them something useful

That’s a big ask, given that perhaps only around 40 characters will be visible on mobile. There’s only so much screen space before you hit the triple dots of truncation.

Example of a subject line truncated on mobile

But that’s okay, because your subject line isn’t alone out there.

Preview text

Message previews – or preheaders as they’re widely and perhaps erroneously called in the marketing world – pull some opening text content from your email into the inbox. That lets the user see some information up-front before deciding if an email is worth opening. The number of characters pulled into the preview varies depending on device and email client.

Brands commonly use the preview text as a secondary subject line of sorts. This is often combined with a trick to blank out any trailing content such as nav bar links, thus making it look neat and tidy in the inbox. It’s worth mentioning that Apple Mail recently disabled this trick as it essentially suppresses the message preview’s originally intended functionality.

In any case, the message preview is valuable pre-open content for you to work with. Use it in conjunction with your subject line to inform the reader rather than bait them.

Sender name

Well, that’s done already is it not? Sender is your brand name, and that’s that. Not necessarily!

There’s some flexibility in your sender name. Adding an individual’s name, where relevant and true, can add a personal touch. Person at YourBrand might just give your emails a more human touch than YourBrand alone.

The sender name can also be tailored to the nature of the email. A separate sender name for editorial emails like newsletters can help to distinguish them from purely marketing content. The Biz @ The Email Factory for instance!


I killed some time on a flight recently by playing a logo quiz on my phone. Our ability to recognise and recall logos, or even portions thereof, is proof of their power. A brand’s logo is its face, and our brains are masterful at processing faces.

That brings us to BIMI: Brand Indicators for Message Identification. Appropriately for an acronym that sounds a bit like “be me”, this is a means of showing your brand logo in the inbox. The instant power of brand recognition could be the deciding factor between open and ignore.

Mock-up of a logo shown via BIMI


Gmail has built-in functionality that allows marketers to show additional content in the promotions tab. These are known as email annotations. They come in two main flavours.

Deals let you show an offer – perhaps a discount – completely separate from your subject line. An optional offer code, start and end date round it off. After all, your customer cares about what your email has to offer them. Everything else is just wrapping.

Product carousels are perfect for retailers. A horizontally scrollable array of products, browsable and clickable without ever having to open the email.

It’s worth mentioning that senders must first contact Google for approval before these features become available. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!


Love them or hate them, emojis are a part of internet life. Although they’re not a piece of inbox anatomy like the items above, emojis are so distinct from traditional alphanumeric copywriting that they deserve special mention.

There is some evidence to suggest that emojis in subject lines can increase email open rates. That statement would carry a lot more weight were it not for the presence of “some” and “can”. Ultimately, like most aspects of marketing, it depends. It depends on your brand, your choice of emoji, how often you use them, your creativity.

Used correctly – whatever that may mean for your brand – emojis can pair with creative copywriting in an engaging way. Just be sure not to use too many, or interrupt sentences. Accessibility matters.

A collective effort

It’s reassuring to see that the competition for inbox attention isn’t solely determined by the subject line. In fact, it may not even be the most important factor in determining opens. The life of a subject line isn’t such a lonely one after all.

Email Marketing

A quick guide to email pop-up culture

Excuse me! I’m an email subscription pop-up. I hope you don’t mind the interruption. You can tell me to go away, if you like… or you can pop in your address and look forward to some juicy content in your inbox. Does a 15% discount sweeten the deal?

Modern websites are full of things popping up. Cookie permission(ugh), app downloads, browser notifications. And of course email subscription pop-ups. Let’s take a closer look at the latter.

But aren’t pop-ups annoying?

Yes, they are. People hate pop-ups. I’m not using the H-word for dramatic effect. G2’s survey on the topic found that over 80% of respondents felt that strongly. By contrast, fewer than 5% expressed positive feelings towards pop-ups.

So why use them? Because they work! The average email pop-up converts nearly 4% of website visitors. And that can’t be chalked up to people who were going to subscribe regardless. Pop-ups offer a 100% increase in subcriptions when compared to a static sign-up box. The stats don’t lie – pop-ups are worthwhile.

Take a pop-up at it

We’ve established that email pop-ups are simultaneously annoying but effective. Ultimately any annoyance is likely to be short-lived, whereas the benefits for those who subscribe are ongoing. I know I don’t hold a grudge against for the time it asked me if I’d like to receive a newsletter.

The aforementioned survey backs this thinking up. The primary reason for pop-up hatred is that “they’re everywhere”. That’s a factor of ubiquity that is neither focused on nor controlled by any one brand. A single pop-up on a single website is no big deal.

Still, this doesn’t mean that your pop-up should be slapped onto your website without a plan. Apply a bit of strategy and you can mitigate the annoyance factor while squeezing out a few more conversions. Here’s what to consider.

Content with context

It’s useful to remind oneself that a pop-up is part of the website, and not some detached entity. Its content can change, both contextually and periodically. As with all content, if you can personalise it to the user in some way, great.

That personalisation could be a simple as page-specific wording. Is the user browsing a particular department on your website? Focus on that. Are you able to track where the user came from, or what they’ve been doing on your site? That’s some pop-up-tailoring data at your disposal.

Lovely bit of copywriting from theme park Holiday World’s pop-up

Something for your trouble

Time on the internet passes in a sped-up form, like some kind of digital dog years. Every second is valuable. Signing up may only take a few moments, but dismissing a pop-up is even quicker. It’s seconds versus milliseconds.

An incentive helps to swing the odds a little. For retailers, that often takes the form an introductory discount. Entry into a prize draw is an alternative. If yours isn’t an ecommerce business, you could offer a white paper in exchange for subscribing.

Fruit and veg grocer Abel & Cole offers new subscribers a 50% discount on their first offer. And, hey, their 4th as well. Nice.

An opportunity to learn

What you ask the user to input into a pop-up box is up to you. Email of course is essential. Customer name is optional.

But how about interest checkboxes? Your data on an imminent subscriber could be meagre to non-existent, and we all know how valuable personalisation is in email marketing. Giving people the means to tailor their emails up-front is a great way to get to know your subscribers better.

Fashion retailer Peacocks lets the customer choose what kind of content to receive.

Feeling triggered

There are several ways to make a pop-up pop up. Instant, time-based, scroll-based, exit intent, click-based. Each of those has a range of options to consider. How many seconds should elapse before the message appears? How far down the page is sufficient? Are multiple triggers appropriate? It’s probably worth mentioning that Wisepop’s stats on pop-up conversion rates hugely favour click-based triggers.

You don’t necessarily need to think within the scope of a single page. A global pop-up plan could be just what you need. Perhaps you want to set off on the right foot and leave the pop-up until the user has clicked onto a second page.

Design considerations

Pop-up designs come in various forms. The most popular is an in-your-face middle-of-the-screen prompt. Some variations even go for broke and fill the entire viewport. A more subtle option is to slide a box or tab in from an edge of the screen, quietly requesting attention rather than demanding it.

There’s also a clever hybrid design that blends aspects of a static sign-up box and a pop-up. Place a sign-up box somewhere on the page, and highlight it as the user scrolls past. A glow effect, a wobble animation – there are plenty of creative options.

Fenwick’s email pop-up is particularly uninstrusive. A little tab peaks in, with succinctly transparent copy. Interact or ignore as you wish.

Don’t give up to soon…

A lot of websites have a single email pop-up. Dismiss it, and that’s that – at least until the cookie that suppresses it expires.

But it’s very easy for a user to instinctively dismiss a pop-up the moment it appears. Just because the user zapped it this time, doesn’t mean that they won’t ever be interested. Creating a series of infrequent pop-ups – distributed across a series of days or weeks – gives you additional chances to gain a subscriber.

…but know when to stop

A series of two or three pop-ups is fine. But stop before asking becomes pleading. You’ll also want to consider what the user is currently doing. A disruptive message springing up while watching a video or filling out a form is likely to cross the line from annoying to infuriating.

Always include an easy-to-find static sign-up box somewhere on your website in addition to any pop-ups. Minds can be changed!

Don’t guess. Test

If ever there was a piece of website content that can benefit from comparitive A/B testing, it’s a subscription pop-up. Put a plan in place to test a theory, give it time to gather statistically significant results, and discover what your visitors respond best to.

Continuing the theme of testing – don’t forget to test that the pop-up displays properly across a range of browsers and devices! While trawling the internet for example pop-ups, I found a surprising number that failed visually or functionally in some way. Some had truncated text or unintended partial scrolling, others clashed with cookie pop-ups and were accidentally dismissed alongside them.

Don’t forget to say hello

Your pop-up is just one of many landmarks in your customer journey. Don’t leave new subs hanging – greet them with a welcome email and let them know their subscription matters.

And now it’s time to say goodbye. Thanks for popping in.

Email Marketing

Can I share a secret?


How do you go about building and sustaining your customer base in the crowded world of email marketing?


Why not let your customers do some of the work for you?

This is where multichannel marketing comes in to play. You can reach your untapped potential through other channels than email, such as your own website or social media to encourage new signups to your brand.

But is there a missed avenue to gain even more signups? Your best advocates may turn out to be your own users – if you’ve created engaging, exciting content then why wouldn’t they want to shout about it? Make it easy for them.

Here’s how we do it…

Share on social media

Through us you have the option to share the whole email on social media, or to specify a URL instead for shareworthy articles. Built in to our platform are direct links to open new posts for Facebook, Google+, Twitter (X), LinkedIn or you can select “Generic” and build a link to any social media platform of your choosing.

From a coding perspective it is a doddle, it’s just adding a link tag into your template. If you want to share the whole email:

<a href="#" social-network="facebook">Share this email on Facebook</a>

<a href="#" social-network="linkedin">Share this email on LinkedIn</a>

Then a click on this links will simply set up the post ready to send:

Share to Facebook Post

Share to  LinkedIn Post

Or to set the post copy as a URL instead of the email image:

<a href="#" social-network="facebook" social-url="”>Share this email on Facebook</a>

For Twitter…excuse me X…you know the one I mean, you have the option to pre-write the tweet:

<a href="#" social-network="twitter" social-tweet="Check out this article:”>Tweet this link</a>

Share on Twitter Post

Share by email

You might also encourage your users to share directly to their friends and family, people they would likely only target if they knew they already had an interest:

<a href="#" social-network="sendtofriend">Click here</a> to share this email with a friend.

This is slightly more involved as your user will have to fill out a few details, but if you’ve got them excited enough to share, that shouldn’t stop them!

Shsre with a Friend Form

Once they’ve filled out the form, their lucky chosen recipient will receive an email with the message from their friend saying why they are receiving this email with just a sneak preview of what the email is and a link to the full thing:

Email Header

Then reassurance that they have not been added against their will to any mailing list and that their data privacy remains well and truly intact:

Email footer

By making it as easy as possible for your users to spread the word and share your content amongst themselves, it’s up to you to give them a reason. This should inspire you to create innovative, eye-catching emails with a great message that might just motivate your users to share, especially if all they have to do is click a link.

Here’s some ideas on adding interactivity to your emails which could be a good place to start! Not only will well designed and captivating emails help sustain your current base and stave off lethargy and loss of engagement, it might also help it grow if word starts getting around.

Email Marketing

Are your emails ethical?

Alcohol makes you attractive! Vaping is cool! Some marketing is obviously unethical.

But most unethical marketing isn’t so cartoonishly blatant. Not only can it be unknown to the customer, but even the marketer may not necessarily be aware that they’re doing anything wrong. So, how do we make sure our emails are morally sound?

Defining unethical

Firstly, let’s agree on what is meant by unethical. Merriam‑Webster defines the word as:

not conforming to a high moral standard

And in turn, moral is defined as:

conforming to a standard of right behavior

So we’re dealing with right and wrong, good and bad. A subjective topic to an extent, and one with blurry boundaries.

With regards specifically to the ethics of marketing, let’s refer to some third party sources. Forbes, Kendrick PR and Brafton are among the top results when searching for the topic. They all agree that misleading information is unethical. Some other factors include the incitement of controversy, marketing without consent, and exploitation of emotions.

Tell the truth

Honesty is a recurring theme in the ethics of marketing. No legitimate marketer would misrepresent a product. Or would they?

You don’t have to make outright false claims about a product to be dishonest about it. It’s not uncommon to employ Photoshop or other trickery to simulate – and likely exaggerate – a product’s properties. That de-ageing cream works wonders… in the digital realm!

Or what about the offer itself? A get‑it‑while‑it‑lasts 24‑hour sale certainly creates a sense of urgency, especially under the ominous presence of a countdown clock ticking down to zero. But if the offer’s surprise extension is pre‑planned, then it is dishonest. A lie is a lie.

Your customer is not a fish

So don’t bait them. A misleading or vague subject line might lure some openers. But ultimately that does customers a disservice. If the big surprise turns out to be a little disappointing, then people rightfully may not be so tempted next time.

It’s respectful to the customer to be transparent in subject lines and message previews. State the offer up-front and let the reader – a human being – make their own decision.

Accept disinterest

Subscribers come and go. But they don’t always close the door when they’re leaving. It’s good practice for various reasons to ultimately remove inactive subscribers from your mailing lists.

Strive to make emails for everyone

Somehow we’re in the mid-2020s and accessibility is still often skimped on or outright ignored in email. Image-heavy emails with insufficient alt tags, a confusing tab order and lack of semantic code are not uncommon.

Worryingly, there is sometimes an attitude based on pre‑conceived notions of the audience’s level of ability. Our readers are young and hip – we don’t need to worry about accessibility! Don’t be that marketer.

Even in a hypothetical and statistically-impossible scenario where 100% of a company’s mailing list is completely able, there’s an important point to remember: an accessible email is a better email for everybody.

Take the bad with the good

Don’t take our word for it… take the word of these glowing customer reviews that we have cherry‑picked! For a more balanced and believable view, a link to Trustpilot along with a live score combines the powers of brand advocacy and honesty. Bad reviews will naturally happen from time to time. Take it as an opportunity to show the world how you put a problem right.

Some fundamental contradictions

I mentioned earlier that the customer is not a fish. And yet this is an industry in which hook is an accepted piece of terminology.

Kendrick PR cites fearmongering as an unethical marketing practice. But marketers swear by FOMO – the fear of missing out.

Similarly, Brafton criticises the triggering of negative emotions as a means of manipulating consumer decisions. What is fear if not negative?

Does it matter?

Honesty may be the best policy, but is it good for business? If relatively minor sins help to bring in the numbers, and customers aren’t even aware of being played, then it could even be perceived that there’s no harm done. Doing the right thing might not always be a sufficient motivator when there’s pressure to hit targets.

But what if a company can earn a reputation for transparency? What if customers become aware of one brand’s honesty in the face of their competitors’ tricks? Maybe that’s hoping for some unrealistic karmic justice, or maybe it’s something worth striving for.

Email Marketing

Goodbye email preheader?

Subject lines have a tough job. They’re the front line of email marketing. With just a few words, and possibly an emoji or two, they need to capture your customer’s attention and relay some useful information.

Thankfully they’re not alone out there. Your sender name plays a part. Maybe you’ve introduced Gmail annotations. And of course your trusty preheader is always there to back up your subject.

Why, then, has Apple taken steps to change how it works?

The trailing characters trick

First things first. There are different ways to implement a preheader. It can be visible in the email content, usually as small print at the top. Or it can be hidden, so that it is only readable in the inbox listing and not in the email itself.

Either way, there’s a generally unwanted thing that happens – additional text content will be pulled into the preheader by default. That could be your nav bar, or main heading, or whatever comes immediately after your preheader on the page. The result is messy.

Example of a messy preheader

Email developers, being a crafty lot, came up with a hack to stop this happening. It doesn’t really have a name, but I like to call it the trailing characters trick. It works by adding a load of blank characters after the preheader (regular spaces won’t fool it). The effect is a neatly trimmed preheader without any unwanted junk cluttering it up.

Example of a tidy preheader

And how is this achieved? Well, it’s not pretty. A string of unseen special characters is appended to the preheader, until enough rogue characters have been pushed out of view.

Code behind the trailing characters trick

That’s a non-breaking space coupled with a zero-width non-joiner… over and over again. Email is no stranger to unorthodox development techniques, but this is a contender for the most bizarre.

Except it doesn’t work any more

During recent updates, Apple has intentionally disabled the use of this trick. It still works in some places, but not in Apple Mail on either iPhones or Mac.

There is already an alternative method that works, for now. Rumour has it that this will be short-lived, and similarly blocked in the near future. And perhaps the likes of Gmail and will follow suit.

So, there’s a battle taking place. Why are companies going after our precious preheaders?

Functionality reclaimed

The phrase preheader wasn’t one coined by email providers. It was invented by marketers. Email app developers and webmail services have different names for this particular piece of inbox anatomy: preview, preview text, message preview.

That terminology suggests a different purpose than a secondary subject line. It’s a quick way to see some message content without having to open the email. That lets the reader determine if it’s worth their while to open, or not. A ‘preheader’, by contrast, is an artificially injected snippet of marketing blurb. Arguably this repurposing of the message preview is hijacked functionality. That is why it’s being taken back.

And it isn’t the only example of a functionality tug-of-war in email. Marketers and email devs go to lengths to suppress auto-linking (and auto-styling) of dates and addresses. Javascript doesn’t work in email, so resourceful coders have stretched the capabilities of CSS to allow some basic interactivity. There have even been celebrations of clever mosaic-style imagery as a fallback when actual images are blocked. What the marketer wants to achieve and what the email provider allows do not always tally.

Can’t we all just get along?

Email is a digital communication format that originally mimicked a letter. Its modern pumped-up visual format has pulled the medium in a different direction. Things change, of course. Particularly in the world of technology. But while progress is good, misuse is not.

Perhaps it’s time we all stopped thinking in terms of preheaders. By beginning emails with an interesting heading and useful paragraph of text, the message preview fulfils its intended purpose again – without the need for trickery. So, it’s not goodbye after all. It’s welcome back.

Email Marketing

Supercharge your holiday marketing with these 5 email automations

The holiday season is a magical time for consumers and critical businesses. For marketers, it’s a period when customer interactions are at their peak, making it crucial to leverage every available tool for success. One such tool that often goes underutilized is email automation. Email automations, when optimized with a holiday twist, can be a game-changer for your marketing strategy. In this article, we will explore the power of email automations during the holiday season and how giving them a festive makeover can significantly boost engagement and conversion rates.

Harnessing the power of email automations

Email automations have become a staple in modern marketing strategies. They allow businesses to send personalized and timely messages to their audience, triggered by specific customer interactions. However, one common pitfall is the “set and forget” mentality, where these automations are left running without adjustments. During the holidays, this approach can lead to missed opportunities.

1. Abandoned cart – festive reminders to increase conversions

Abandoned carts are a pain point for e-commerce businesses year-round, but during the holiday season they can be especially frustrating. Fortunately, holiday-themed email automations can work wonders in recovering these potential sales. By capitalizing on the festive shopping mood, you can send reminders with a touch of holiday magic. Include enticing offers, limited-time discounts, or even free gift-wrapping to entice customers to complete their purchase.

It’s important to note that holiday shoppers are often in a rush, so your abandoned cart emails should create a sense of urgency. Highlight shipping deadlines to ensure that gifts arrive on time, thus motivating hesitant shoppers to finalize their purchases.

2. Browse abandonment – nurturing engagement with festive flair

During the holiday season, customers often browse through products without making an immediate purchase. This presents an excellent opportunity to convert their passing interest into sales. Your email automations can play a pivotal role in nurturing this curiosity with a festive touch.

Send follow-up emails showcasing the browsed items, along with holiday-themed product recommendations. Add a sense of urgency by mentioning limited availability or exclusive holiday offers. By doing so, you can turn those casual browsers into enthusiastic buyers who are excited to make a purchase.

3. Purchase anniversary – triggering a just in time brand engagement

Purchase anniversary emails are a highly effective automation that not many businesses utilize at all let alone during the holiday season. These emails remind past buyers of their previous holiday purchases, creating a sense of comfort and brand loyalty. By acknowledging their previous holiday purchases and offering relevant recommendations, you can drive repeat seasonal sales.

Furthermore, these emails can help position your brand as a thoughtful and customer-centric choice, which can pay off significantly during the holiday shopping frenzy.

4. Cross-sell and upsell – maximizing customer value with a holiday touch

Cross-selling and upselling are strategies that can substantially boost revenue during the festive season. When customers are already in the buying mindset, it’s the perfect time to suggest complementary or must-have holiday items. Email automations can play a pivotal role in executing these strategies effectively.

Craft personalized emails that recommend additional products based on the customer’s previous purchases or browsing history. Offer bundle deals, exclusive holiday collections, or limited-time promotions to entice customers to increase their order value. By adding a holiday touch to these offers, you can maximize customer value during the holiday shopping rush.

5. Welcome series – anticipating festive sales

Your welcome series is often the first interaction new subscribers have with your brand. It’s a prime opportunity to make a lasting impression, especially during the holiday season. Give your Welcome Series a holiday makeover to bring future sales forward by introducing new subscribers to upcoming holiday offerings and promotions.

Incorporate festive visuals, exclusive sneak peeks of holiday products, and enticing incentives to encourage new subscribers to make their first purchase sooner rather than later. By setting the holiday tone from the beginning, you can set the stage for increased engagement and conversions throughout the season.

Up-to-date holiday season e-commerce stats

Before diving into the holiday email automation makeover process, it’s essential to understand the current landscape. Here are some recent e-commerce statistics to highlight the importance of optimizing your email automations for the holiday season:

  1. Adobe expects U.S. online holiday sales to hit $221.8 billion this holiday shopping season (Nov. 1 to Dec. 31), representing 4.8% growth YoY.
  2. Email marketing remains a potent tool during the holiday season, with e-commerce emails getting higher than average response.
  3. The importance of personalized and relevant emails cannot be overstated. According to Statista, personalized emails have an average open rate of 18.8%, compared to 13.1% for non-personalized emails.
  4. A survey by Marketing Sherpa found that 72% of consumers prefer email as their primary communication channel with brands.


The holiday season is a hectic and competitive time for marketers, but it’s also a period of immense opportunity. Email automation, when given a holiday makeover, can be a powerful tool to engage customers and drive conversions. Whether you’re recovering abandoned carts, nurturing curiosity, triggering repeat purchases, maximizing customer value, or welcoming new subscribers, there’s a place for holiday-themed email automations in your marketing strategy.

However, it’s crucial not to fall into the “set and forget” trap. To fully capitalize on the potential of holiday email automations, consider enlisting the help of a professional agency. Their expertise can ensure that your email campaigns stand out from the crowd and lead to a substantial lift in conversions. Don’t miss out on the festive frenzy—supercharge your holiday marketing with email automations and watch your business thrive during the most wonderful time of the year.

Elevate your holiday marketing with The Email Factory

While optimizing your email automations for the holiday season is undeniably valuable, it’s also a task that requires careful planning and execution. The holiday season is a busy time, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with other priorities. This is where we can make all the difference.

The Email Factory specializes in email marketing strategies and automation. We understand the nuances of holiday marketing and can tailor your email automations to maximize engagement and conversions during this crucial period. Here’s why you should consider working with the Email Factory:


The Email Factory is staffed with experienced professionals who understand the intricacies of email marketing. They stay up-to-date with industry trends and best practices, ensuring that your email automations are optimized for success.


Every business is unique, and the Email Factory recognizes that. They will work closely with you to create personalized email automation strategies that align with your brand and target audience.


The holiday season is fast-paced, and timing is critical. The Email Factory can streamline the process, ensuring that your email automations are set up and ready to go precisely when they will have the most significant impact.

Maximizing ROI:

Investing in our expertise can lead to a substantial return on investment. By optimizing your email automations, you’re more likely to see increased conversions and revenue during the holiday season.

Email Marketing

Convert to conversion tracking

In the old school days it used to be you’d measure an email campaign’s worth by the number of opens it produced, and the number of clicks to drive traffic to your website. But in these more challenging days, with the open metric being horribly skewed by Apple’s MPP among others, are just clicks enough anymore? Most email service providers should be able to provide conversion tracking, and this by far could be the most important metric – if the purpose of your email is to sell things, then just how much have you sold via your email?

A conversion of course doesn’t just have to be for retail success – you may want to track people that showed an interest in an event or your services, or clicked through on to a specific call-to-action – whatever it may be, it’s all trackable. Depending on the ESP, it could require a little bit of extra code on your website but here’s an idea of how easy it would be with us were we your ESP:

Step 1: Capture your user

We generate a unique conversion ID for the user and campaign which will get included in any URL back to your website from your email. You just need to make sure you can capture the value of the parameter, e.g. cid (this is the default, but you can change it to something else if it unluckily clashes with another parameter of the same name), from the URL and store it in a cookie or session variable to be used later on the conversion page. So, when your email gets sent out, your URL will end up looking like this and you can just snaffle up the cid:

Step 2: Add a conversion beacon

All you need to do is stick a beacon, or an invisible 1×1 pixel sized image, onto the page after a conversion has been made, e.g. the “Thanks your order has been completed” page if you were tracking sales. Then you can drop the captured ID into the src link for this image back into the platform that will record it for your specific campaign.

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You can also juice it up a bit by adding the amount they spent, and even labels to help you break the conversions into categories to see if one area is doing better than another e.g. if you sell white good appliances you could stick in what type of sale you made, a WashingMachine or DishWasher or MultipleProducts:

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Step 3: A gremlin in the machine

We all know that despite our best efforts, things can go wrong, normally in the form of a page refresh. In some cases it may not matter, but if you are tracking physical sales you definitely don’t want those being inflated. To prevent that happening you can add something unique to your link, for example an order number, and this means your conversion can never be counted twice.

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Step 4: Let the conversion begin

Within the platform, all you have to do is toggle it on:

Toggle On Conversion Tracking

The links from your template will now include the cid, or whatever you want to call it, and you should see your conversions begin flooding in. As you can see here, you can also add an extra follow up to a conversion if you wanted to, e.g. trigger an email to them with extra information automatically which opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

Instant analysis at your fingertips

Campaign conversion analysis

A lot of this could be tracked in things like Google Analytics to be analysed later, but the advantage of doing it within the campaign itself is you then have visibility of your most active customers, so not only do you instantly see how well your campaign performed, you can then build up a better profile on your users to target them further.

Why not get in touch to see if we can help enhance your campaign analysis?

Email Marketing

How to win with email in Q4: two Black Friday strategy musts

With the upcoming festive season on the horizon, it’s prudent to gear up for the anticipated surge in activities. Let’s delve into two pivotal strategies that will serve as the cornerstone for your success during this critical quarter.

1. Prepare the inbox providers for increased email volumes: strategic IP-warming

Imagine your email deliverability as a cultivated relationship. You wouldn’t barge in without letting someone know, would you? Similarly, your emails require gradual notifications to the inbox providers. To guarantee smooth email delivery during the bustling festive period, consider implementing IP-warming strategies. This entails incrementally escalating your email sending volume and frequency from late August through September.

Think of this IP warming as an initial rapport‑building exercise with inbox providers. By establishing a consistent and trustworthy sending pattern, you cultivate the provider’s confidence in your emails. This practice also serves as a reminder to recipients who might have lapsed in engagement. The proactive approach not only ensures delivery but also reinstates your brand presence.

2. Align with algorithm expectations: maintaining consistent patterns

Email algorithms function like an intricate choreography. They’re attuned to your regular steps, but sudden changes can lead to a misstep. During the festive season, it’s customary to elevate your email frequency. However, abrupt fluctuations in sending volume or recipient interactions can trigger algorithmic scepticism, potentially affecting your deliverability.

To foster a harmonious dance with these algorithms, gradually escalate your sending volume in alignment with your plans for the festive season. This measured progression affords the algorithms the time to recalibrate and assimilate your new rhythm, ensuring your emails secure their intended place in the inbox.

Bonus strategy: trigger optimization and collaborative efforts

Triggers play a strategic role in guiding subscribers down the funnel to conversion and increased lifetime value. Update your triggers and if at all possible implement any triggers missing from your armoury (use an agency if you are time or resource constrained). In particular triggers related to browser behavior and the purchase funnel ‑ user experience is paramount during the Black Friday and Christmas season when the most revenue is at stake. Agencies bring a wealth of expertise and insights, streamlining the process of trigger optimization. For further insights and actionable guidance, explore these pertinent articles:

In conclusion, meticulous planning and strategic implementation are integral to maximising the potential of the Black Friday and Christmas season for email marketing endeavours. By prioritising these effective strategies, you’re poised for a rewarding holiday campaign!

Email Marketing

The importance of a good email marketing brief

You want to send an email campaign to your customers. The marketing department has everything planned out, more or less, so that only leaves the production stage. No problem – just send a few notes over to the email devs. They’ll know what do do. Now, await a test email in your inbox, ripe for approval.

But you don’t receive the test. Instead you’re bombarded with a series of questions from the production team. Cue a lengthy to‑and‑fro sequence of messages. Looks like the devs didn’t know specifically what was required all.

So, what went wrong? There was a critical missing ingredient: a clear brief.

Detail pays off

When passing work to other teams, a structured brief is the best form of communication. Without it, holes appear – leading to confusion, guesswork, questions… and potential mistakes. The bottom line is time and money.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to save time by throwing together a quick brief. That way the other team can begin their contribution sooner and you get to tick a task off your to-do list. In reality this hasty approach will only serve to add more time for all parties in the long run. That’s not good for anyone’s stress level!

Some email brief pointers

Include as much information as possible

Layout, images, colouring, links, copy, tracking, subject line, preheader, dynamic content, audience – there’s a lot to cover for even a single email. What may seem obvious to one department, may be a mystery to another – particularly when external agencies are involved.

The design itself is part of the brief

It’s possible that you’ll be sending a design file such as a PSD to the dev team. While that will cover many aspects of the build, it must be supported by a comprehensive brief. How should the content stack on mobile? Which segments are to see which features?

Keep irrelevant information out

While it’s important to include all necessary information, it’s best to do so concisely. It’s unlikely that the developers will need to know why something is being marketed a particular way.


An often-overlooked aspect of briefs is the internal timeline. When do you want initial tests? How long is to be allowed for review and feedback. On what day must everything be signed off and set up? Setting a timeline for the project helps other teams prioritise their work and you can plan your other activities in accordance to the project schedule.


Your jargon may not be someone else’s! Plain English is in everyone’s interests. Alternatively, it may be helpful to include a glossary of terms in your documentation.


Ideally a brief should only be supplied in its entirety. But this is the real world. Some assets might not be ready on time, particularly in the retail industry. Maybe an image is still with retouching department, or the new product you want to advertise arrived later than expected and a photoshoot still needs to take place. In these kind of situations a descriptive placeholder can make all the difference. Flag pending content to the other teams and answer those confused questions before they can even crop up.


A good brief takes effort. But that effort doesn’t need to entail reinventing the wheel for every new job. By creating a brief template, you ensure consistency both in information and where to find it. Familiarity will soon follow and everyone will know where to find what.

Sign-off on creative assets

Layout, images and copy should be ideally signed off before anything is sent to the production team to be built. Something that may seem like a quick edit could in reality take far longer. Maybe that additional comma needs to be added across multiple versions of an email. And then there’s the re-upload, re-testing and re-approval process. It’s always worth aiming to finalise creative decisions before the coding stage.


Once the email is built and you have the tests, you might have some amendments. Perhaps a link on the website has changed, or one of the products in the email has gone out of stock. It is important that when sending feedback that the information clear and to-the-point. For example: this is the new product URL, or swap product X with product Y. The feedback should be treated as a mini brief and follow the points above.

A simple email brief example

Simple email brief example

Final words on how to write an email brief

Writing an effective email brief isn’t always a quick or easy task. But going the extra mile at that stage, will save everyone a lot of time in the future and get you the desired end product. I guess you could say let’s not be brief.