5 Hard Lessons We Learned After 1 Million Email Sends

1 Million emails have been sent from Forward since we launched and we're sharing a few the lessons for good karma.

Success Stories
June 3, 2023
5 Hard Lessons We Learned After 1 Million Email Sends

Sooo, we hit a milestone last week. 1 Million emails have been sent from Forward since we launched.

The number of emails (and SMS) sent using our platform was something I’ve been tracking right from the beginning. So, when I saw our backend system display the much-awaited number, my brain lit up like a Christmas Tree. 

What a ride this has been and the lessons learned were aplenty! We’ve had some awful campaigns and some went through the roof, seeing as much as 68x ROI.

I wanna share some of them with you today.

Having the right mindset

Over the course of the last few months, we’ve worked with over 20 brands. 

For some, email is a revenue-generating channel. Every email needs to be transactional and result in revenue. 

If you’ve been following me on LinkedIn, I’ve said this multiple times already. But, some things are worth repeating.

Email (or SMS or anything else, for that matter) is a medium that serves the overarching brand strategy and objectives. It does not exist in vacuum.

Email is a channel for you to engage with your shoppers, nurture relationships, and offer cool experiences that will make them come back over and over again. 

Use it to show your subscribers the inside of your brand and express yourself in ways you can’t with other channels. 

Personal emails. Not just personalized emails.

We’ve gotten our ears chewed off about personalization–how you can add dynamic text (like name, recent orders, etc.) and that’s gonna take your emails to the next level.

It won’t! Sorry for bursting your bubble.

Everyone and their grandmother knows that this is an automated email. Simply addressing by their name isn’t personalization. At least, it isn’t enough to make them feel the email was written to them.

To me, personalization is all about the context surrounding the dynamic texts-not the placeholders themselves. It’s how you tell Margot from Minnesota that the new vegan products that you just launched will blow her mind away!

When we started sending targeted emails based on collection preference for one of the brands we worked with, we saw open rates as high as 55% and a 174% increase in revenue compared to past emails.

Planning your campaigns 

Some of the brands we worked with sent a newsletter once or twice a month. Maybe another email or two if they were running promotions.

They sent fewer emails not because they didn’t have anything to say but didn’t wanna risk annoying their subscribers.

You should be sending more emails to your shoppers than you think. The fear of sending too many emails leads to losing way more money in lost sales than sending too many emails will.

But, this doesn’t mean sending excessively without educating or entertaining your subscribers.

How do you consistently come up with interesting stories to tell in every email? 

Your reviews and comments on your social media is a great place to start. When we start working with a brand, we make notes of their brand values, USPs, why people buy from them, etc. and create campaigns around them. We also make sure to add local and global events to the mix to make sure the content is relevant. 

We like to plan at least a month in advance. We’ve written a blog on step by step guide to planning campaigns. Give this a read to stay prepped for the upcoming campaigns.

Maintaining List Hygiene

One of the F&B brands we worked with had a terrible deliverability issue. Like bounce-rate- touching-double-digits bad. They had hundreds of emails like fakeemail@hatespam.com.

The first thing we did was to clean their lists of spam traps and inactive email addresses. Then, we removed all hard bounced emails. We then started building their sender reputation by sending emails only to their engaged subscribers for a couple of weeks.

This alone not only reduced their monthly costs but also improved their deliverability, as indicated by higher open rates and CTRs.

Email marketing success starts with list collection. It’s paved by how well you maintain your lists. 

Test, analyze, and iterate

There’s only one thing that’s certain with any kind of marketing–you’ll never know what works. You just gotta do a lot of things and do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

In our case, we continuously test subject lines, sending times, sender names, and email structure. 

We also do hold-out testing before trying out a new program–to make sure we get favorable responses before rolling something out to the larger audience.

Running the test is the easy part. 

Knowing how to interpret the data and use it in future campaigns–that’s the hard part.

I won’t go into too much detail here but a guide on A/B testing is coming soon. 

(Subscribe to the blog if you haven’t already if you wanna be the first person to know when it’s out.)

Next milestone: 5M. 

Oh, the lessons to be learned and shared. I can’t wait!

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