Jul 16, 2020 11:23 AM - last edited on Apr 19, 2021 11:17 AM by jbogaert
Next Thursday, we're thrilled to have @Kassandra joining us in the Community to answer your questions on your marketing email strategy.
Kassandra is HubSpot's Customer Communications Manager, managing the hundreds of emails that HubSpot sends to various groups of customers each month. She has years of experience developing product launch emails, educational emails, crisis communications, and more across several industries.
Ask her anything about:
Leave your questions today, and Kassandra will jump into the conversation on Thursday, July 23.
Jul 20, 2020 12:30 PM
Hi @Kassandra , my question is about how you approach frequency caps. Do you use the built in Hubspot tool, or do you use a workflow to limit the number of emails your contacts get? We've tried a few different approaches, but it's hard to implement a solution for all contacts when there are certain groups that we really want to be getting more email than others. Thanks!
Jul 23, 2020 12:39 PM - last edited on Jul 23, 2020 12:43 PM by HadarS
Hi @Lenz_Sarah @AM8 , thanks for your question! When it comes to customer marketing emails, our goal is to ensure customers always receive the helpful information they need, while respecting customer inboxes by minimizing overall email volume. No easy task!
To manage the flow of customer emails, I use our JIRA integration to oversee all the scheduled marketing emails going out to customers. Internal HubSpotters fill out a short form and the information is automatically added to a calendar with email information displayed.
Then, I’m able to monitor how many emails are going out during a given week, tag the email sender to alert them if they need to include additional list suppressions or move their send dates. This has really helped streamline internal communications and allows greater view into our sending frequency.
Of course, as you mentioned there are certain customer groups that prefer more frequent HubSpot communication, and we assess those emails based on the needs of our customers. The perfect solution is definitely a work in progress but using additional project management tools for our complex email program has been really helpful.
Jul 22, 2020 8:46 AM
Jul 22, 2020 8:47 AM
Jul 23, 2020 7:22 AM
Hey @Kassandra - I had a couple of different questions:
1. How granular do you actually get with nurture emails? Is there a limit to the number of contacts you set before you decide if a segment is worth divy-ing up?
2. With newsletters: What according to you is wise - Sending it out to everyone in system who has filled out forms and given you consent to email them? Or, would you segment those out as well?
I ask this because we've been debating whether we want to send marketing communication (read newsletters) to active opportunities. This ties in with marketing-sales alignment because we don't want the conversation to steer away from where Sales is trying to take it. We ALSO, don't not want to pitch in and help engage this opp with content.
Which ties in with the last (I promise) question -
3. Frequency of emails: How does one come up with the magic number?
Thanks in advance for your responses here!
Jul 23, 2020 12:42 PM
Hi @Drishtii thanks for the great questions!
1. My team doesn’t send nurturing emails/campaigns. However, I can say in general HubSpot thinks about the business impact over the raw volume of contacts impacted by a particular nurturing segment. Of course, the number of people in a segment matters (we don't want to develop a nurturing program for 2 people!) but we also consider if there's a core business opportunity, like educating a new audience about a product or strategy that they're "good fit" for, or if we can remove friction from the customer experience, like standardizing and automating repetitive communications our services teams owns.
2. I’d advise against sending a newsletter to your whole audience sans segmentation. From experience, we know that targeted emails with a strong segmentation strategy have greater email performance. All our HubSpot newsletters are segmented.
As a baseline, we only send newsletters to customers that A) opted into HubSpot email and B) are currently engaged in receiving HubSpot emails, and C) subscribed to receive HubSpot Education, Content, and Resources. From there, we layer on additional segmentation based on newsletter type, the other content sending that week, and other marketing considerations.
As for sending to active opportunities, the marketing team doesn’t send nurturing/marketing emails to open sales opportunities in general. We allow our sales team to take point on those relationships. However, customers can choose to subscribe to receive our newsletters if they choose.
I’d suggest breaking your newsletter into multiple sends for different segments so you can evaluate performance clearly and make a data informed decision.
3. I’d say there isn’t necessarily a magic number. I can tell you that at HubSpot we’ve seen unsubscribe rates go down and engagement rates go up as we’ve steadily lowered the number of emails sent. In your case, I would advise you to aim for about one marketing email per week and then test going up and down from there.
For any business, it’s about balancing the needs of the business with those numbers, because there are certain things you just have to communicate to your customers. Our customer feedback has largely been that as long as the information is relevant, customers like to receive it. So I’d say, you don’t want to hold back a relevant communication because you’re past a specific number for the week, but at the same time you want to balance volume over time to ensure a quality experience. And always test!
Jul 23, 2020 12:06 PM
Hi @Kassandra - thanks for taking the time to answer questions!
I have a few related to planning
Jul 23, 2020 1:49 PM
Hi @davecriswell , thanks for your questions.
On a broad customer level, I think the key aspect of planning is tying your calendar to your core business strategies. From there, planning your high-level customer messaging and leaving room for relevant updates to your specific segments.
Our overall customer marketing calendar is largely product-driven (launches, updates, sunsets, general information, etc). [This is also determined by whichever business strategies we’re focusing on during that period.] Each quarter, my team reviews what major product news we want to share with customers and how we’ll plan those communications. We also balance those high level plans with timely news/updates that are relevant to customers. So it’s a mix.
For our segment-specific messaging, we have more granular planning where we incorporate data trends, analysis, and feedback to create monthly content themes. For example, our Adapt 2020 series relies on relevant benchmark data across sales and marketing. The result is a 6 month content calendar that we will try to stick to, but not too rigidly, as we want to share relevant updates as they occur.
As for organization, the Marketing teams use a combination of a few different tools depending on the project and scope. This could be anything from the HubSpot calendar, Jira integrations, and even Excel. The main thing is using whatever tools help team visibility and collaboration.
Jul 23, 2020 1:10 PM - edited Jul 23, 2020 1:11 PM
I'd love to hear your high-level, post-send routine to review performance, update lists, and optimize for the next campaign. In particular, I'd like to get some tips and tricks for processing bounces, unsubscribes, and "not sent" contact records.
Jul 23, 2020 2:05 PM
Hey there @brndnstwrt , love this question!
After sending, I review email performance against our monthly benchmarks, and similarly sized sends or similar campaigns. I make note of the trends and what worked/didn’t work, and strategize on optimization for future campaigns. We also love to share our email learnings across marketing, particularly for experiments.
We are constantly testing what the right thresholds of engagement vs disengagement are for various types of our email messaging, and think about suppression by type of communication over a binary. For Example: if someone is disengaged, they likely shouldn’t receive a Newsletter, but that might be different from a key product update that's relevant to their portal.
On bounces & unsubscribes: at HubSpot, our amazing Marketing Ops team have built systems that run in the background so marketers don't have to think about this in the day-to-day. HubSpot email tools will automatically suppress unsubscribes and bounces from email sending. I recommend creating a series of smart lists to capture your un-emailable audiences so you can reference those lists for suppression, or re-evaluate if those contacts should stay in your HubSpot Portal.
Hope that helps!