5 Things We Learned From A Year of Sending Email Newsletters

When we started sending our Knak monthly email newsletter last year, we had a few goals in mind: 

  • Engage with our clients and prospects
  • Showcase Knak’s incredible email builder
  • Share our content and highlight our awesome contributors, like Sara MacNamara and Women of Email

It’s been a year now, and we’ve learned a thing or two about the process, so we wanted to share a few of our learnings in case you’re getting ready to start something new of your own. 

1. Play to your strengths

We really wanted the design of our email newsletter to showcase the power of Knak’s email builder, and what better way to do that than by using it to design our own email newsletters? Every part of the newsletter is done in house, including designing, building, reviewing, and testing. 

As for the design, we started out with a pretty strict colour scheme, but as time went on, we loosened up and incorporated a secondary colour palette that’s a better representation of our (fun!) personality. ⬇️

2. A/B test the heck out of it

We test something different every month, and it’s helped us refine the entire process and get better results. 

Here’s a sample of what we’ve tested:

  • Send time: Morning vs Afternoon
  • Send day: Tue vs Wed vs Fri
  • Emojis in the subject line: Not a win for us 👎
  • Personalized subject lines: We’ve personalized “to,” “from,” and added in company names. See the results here

We’ve used what we’ve learned to improve our open rates, and we’ll keep testing every month to further refine our strategy.

3. Consider a dedicated IP address

In February, we moved from a shared IP address to a dedicated Marketo IP address. When we switched, we saw an immediate improvement in our deliverability rates, to the tune of a 3% increase. 

Dedicated IP addresses are great because they put your email reputation firmly in your own hands. When you share an IP address with another company, your reputation – and therefore your deliverability rates – are affected if that other company ignores best sending practices. 

There are cost and sending frequency considerations to take into account, but if you’re a Marketo user, we’d encourage you to look into it. The boost in deliverability is well worth it. 

4. Reevaluate your content

We keep track of what people are clicking on so we can see what’s working. We initially included some sections that are no longer in there: 

  • A calendar promoting relevant conferences: Not needed right now. Thanks, COVID.
  • A section for staff members to share their reading list: Didn’t perform as well as we’d hoped. 

We replaced those with the One Second Survey, an interactive survey that gives us a chance to connect with readers and see what they’re thinking.

Now that we’ve established standard segments, we can make small changes as needed to make sure the content we’re sharing is relevant, helpful, and interesting. 

5. Get the right tools

Building and sending our email newsletter would be a pain in the neck if we didn’t have Knak. Of course, we’re drinking our own Kool-Aid here, but if you’re struggling to create and send email campaigns or email newsletters, look for a tool that makes it simple. 

We’ve used Knak to create branded, designed modules that we can customize easily and update as needed. It keeps our design looking fresh, and it makes it easy to change it up when we want to try something new. 

If we experiment with something, say, CTA placement, adding GIFs, or increasing white space, and it doesn’t work the way we hoped, it’s no big deal. We can easily adjust our design next time and try something else. 

If we had to invest the money and wait for an agency or a coder to rebuild the template every time, our creativity would be majorly restricted.

Having a tool like Knak that makes it easy to customize our content keeps costs down and gives us the freedom to test new ideas quickly.

Here’s to the next year!

We’ve learned quite a bit over the last year of creating email newsletters. Before we launched, we spent many (many) hours planning and discussing. If I had to guess, I’d say the first newsletter took about 35 hours of meetings to get out the door. 

Now, we know better, and we’ve streamlined the process to a couple of planning meetings and a build that takes less than an hour. 

We’re also using Knak for collaboration and approval, so everyone who needs to leave feedback can do so right on the email itself, and we can make changes quickly. 

It’s a much better process, and we’re super excited about the content, updates, and design we’ve got to share in the next 12 months of Knak email newsletters.

Want to see some of our favorite newsletters? We love: 
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And if you’d like to see how Knak can help you create incredible emails – whether it’s newsletters, or something else – let’s chat! We’d love to show you what Knak can do. 

Tania Blake is Knak’s Marketing Manager, where she’s known for her strong attention to detail and unique ability to balance "process" with "getting stuff done". When she’s not juggling a million and one projects, you can find her cooking up a storm, doing yoga, or hanging out with her family.

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