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Alumni Engagement: How to Create Newsletters Alumni Will Open

Emily Santos
Emily Santos
Aug 20, 2021
Alumni Engagement: How to Create Newsletters Alumni Will Open
Alumni Engagement: How to Create Newsletters Alumni Will Open

It’s no secret that alumni engagement is crucial to higher ed. Former students who feel connected with their alma mater attend more events, engage more with current students and donate more often. Alumni newsletters are a great way to add communication touch points throughout the year.With graduated students being scattered across demographics, email is one of the most effective ways to stay in touch with alum. Alumni newsletters open rates sit at about 25.8% compared to the 21.3% average across all industries. And with an average ROI of $42 for every $1 spent, email remains one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies for higher education institutions.Newsletters also provide versatility, allowing you to raise awareness about your next fundraising initiative, tell success stories, and keep former students informed about alumni association events.Check out some newsletter strategies and content ideas for inspiration to advance alumni engagement at your university.

8 Best Practices for Crafting Alumni Newsletters

Developing a clear content strategy is key to keeping alumni engaged. There aren’t any one-size-fits-all approaches to designing high-converting alumni newsletters for your university. But, there are key best practices that will help. Create better alumni newsletters using these 8 tips.

Establish your workflow

The first step in any strong content workflow is user research. Take time to build a relationship with your alumni before creating an alumni newsletter. Reach out to alumni through LinkedIn, other social media platforms or by attending alumni events. Use these interactions to guide the content, style and cadence of your newsletter.The second step is to establish a purpose for your newsletter. Ask yourself these questions before sending your email:

  • What is the purpose of the message you’re sending?
  • Why is this message important for alumni to know?
  • How are you going to measure the success of this message?

Your third step is to create a visually-engaging newsletter. Create an alumni newsletter from scratch or choose from this collection to help you get started.Finally, test your content and reach out to alumni for feedback. Review open rates, click-through rates and conversions from each message. This will shed light on what’s serving your community best. Repeat this four step process until you find what’s most engaging to your alum.

Pinpoint your KPIs

Set your KPIs by looking at the objective behind your alumni newsletter. Rather than trying to maximize all metrics, measure outcomes by associating a specific KPI with the unique objective of each email.For example, if you are looking to raise awareness through your newsletter, open rates would be a solid indicator of that success. Meanwhile, if you’re aiming to simply attract more alum to an event, click-through rates are a better measurement. Establishing a KPI before sending your email will give you clarity on which elements to optimize.

Find your cadence 

How many emails should you send to alumni each month? Reports indicate that the typical relationship-based organizations send an average of 16 emails per month. But when it comes to the higher education industry, universities are only sending about 7.4 emails each month.The problem is that creating extensive email marketing campaigns is expensive, time-consuming and demands the luxury of additional resources that many organizations don’t have.The number of emails sent each month depends on your budget and your team’s bandwidth. Using cost-effective tools like BEE Pro cuts down on the amount of time and effort it takes to craft an email.

Personalize your outreach

Segmenting your audience is the best way to personalize your alumni newsletter.Segment by breaking down your alumni group into various subsections to cater to each section’s specific needs. You can segment your email list based on geographic location, age, occupation, major and other fitting criteria to increase engagement.Useful data to gather includes:

  • Where do your alumni live - what country, city and state?
  • What year did they graduate? 
  • Which sports do they keep up with? What was their major?

Alumni will read newsletters that touch on their interests. For example, creating a campaign for younger crowds should contain more social media related links or podcasts while older alumni prefer more short and feature stories. Personalization builds that connection through care, concern and understanding of their interests.

Refresh your email list

If you find that you haven't heard back from many alumni regarding your newsletter, it’s possible that they aren’t receiving your email. The contact info you received from alumni years ago is likely to have changed. If you initiate a re-engagement campaign and still don’t hear back from them, it’s best practice to delete alumni that did not respond.Keep in mind that if you continue to send your alumni newsletter to those that are uninterested, you run the risk of hitting their spam boxes. This goes for all alumni on your list. Cleaning your email list will help you reach your active members and avoid spam.Continuously look for opportunities to retrieve this updated contact info from alumni through outreach on social media, virtual alumni webinars and in-person events. For example, start an alumni happy-hour event once a month or a virtual comedy show fundraiser and collect updated emails.

Optimize email design 

Mobile optimization is a crucial part of your strategy to increase engagement with your alumni newsletter template. Alumni have different personal and professional lives which makes it difficult to determine the best way to reach everyone. Luckily, with tools like BEE Pro, you guarantee to reach them in the most optimized way on both desktop and mobile.

Display clear CTAs

Along with helpful links and resources, be sure to include one clear CTA. Reports show that emails with a single call-to-action increased clicks by 371%.When it comes to CTAs, these are best practices to increase click-through rates include:

  • Use a CTA color that fits your brand while also allowing it to stand out amongst the rest of the newsletter content. 
  • Avoid too many distractions and use imagery to guide alumni towards the CTA. Alumni will be drawn to different sections of the newsletter based on their preferences, so one clear CTA is best.

Your CTA will provide feedback on whether your content resonated with alumni by measuring click-through rates. Their click means they’re interested, so be sure to refresh your content if click-through rates are low.

Provide value

Test and evaluate your newsletter content to determine what’s intriguing to alumni. What content are they gravitating towards? Gather the feedback you receive and reframe areas of the newsletter that aren't receiving any engagement or providing value.Alumni-centric content brings value to your newsletter and will show that your intentions are genuine. You will know alumni are finding the content valuable not only by metrics, but also through their email replies.

Content Ideas for your Alumni Newsletter

Fresh content and a perfect strategy are the key to a successful alumni newsletter. Your end goal should be to make your alumni feel valued and appreciated. Highlight your school’s success through acknowledging and thanking alumni for their support. Engage with your alumni through some of these thoughtful content ideas:

Newsletter introduction 

The introduction of your alumni newsletter is the most important part of your newsletter. This is where you reel in your alumni with intriguing content. Some ideas for a great alumni newsletter intro include:

  • School’s mission - Genuinely talk about your school’s ambitions, purpose and values. Discuss a vision that alumni will resonate with. For example,  if you are a welcoming, inclusive school, make sure that alumni feel that. 
  • Stories alumni might find interesting - This should play off your mission statement. What were some values or purposes that you can draw a story out of? Are there exciting changes taking place at your school? Craft a story that emotionally engages alumni.
  • Timely topic - Introduce alumni to relevant or useful information that encourages them to engage. This type of intro discusses any current exciting or moving stories.
  • Message from administration - Alumni appreciate when higher ed officials take time to engage with them and their students. A personalized message providing insight, exciting news, or interesting facts would be a great start to your newsletter. 

Alumni stories

Showcase your alumnus’ successes. Your newsletter should feature alumni success stories to capture where alumni are now and what they’ve accomplished after attending your school. Not only are these alumni stories inspiring and exciting to read, they are also expressing your care for their professional and personal successes. Conduct interviews to provide in-depth personal stories and implement some of these ideas:

  • Alumni of the month - Feature a couple alumni each month with exciting facts or stories about where they are now. Talk about how they are still engaging with your school to excite other alumni to do the same. 
  • Awards - Share alumni wins. Capture pictures and express praise for alumni that have received accolades in their personal or professional lives. 
  • In the news - Be on the lookout for alumni that are featured in the local or national news. Oftentimes alumni in the news may mention their alma mater, which is important to acknowledge and be grateful for. Alumni are always looking for networking opportunities or a chance to boast about their alma mater. 
  • Networking - Sharing where alumni are now and what they have accomplished can help open doors for each other. Creating a connected community will encourage alumni to reach out to one another. 

Catch up with classmates

Although professional networking is important, many alum (especially young graduates) feel connected to their school on a personal level. Help them keep in touch with their classmates by including more personal stories in the alumni newsletter. Use some of these ideas in your newsletter:

  • Feature story - Conduct an in-depth interview with alumni that are willing to share where they are now, both personally and professionally. Reading stories about someone’s journey to finding happiness and success post graduation are intriguing and inspiring. 
  • Short stories - Similar to the feature stories, provide a shorter story covering a couple alumni that went down different paths. Choose a theme for these stories such as “travel stories” or “overcoming adversity”. Or even explore niche topics that your alumni community might care to learn and hear more about. 
  • 10 questions - A short and sweet version of short stories. Interview alumni with a quick 10 questions. Pull information and ask questions that stray from the typical topics alumni get asked: How do you spend your weekends? What podcasts do you find inspiring? Do research beforehand to find topics that resonate with that alum personally. 

Alumni advice column

Current students and alumni love to take advantage of networking opportunities and chances to connect. But many alumni can’t make it to in-person events due to their busy schedules. This is where alumni advice in your newsletter comes in:

  • Alumni advice column - Contact alumni to ask for a quote on certain topics that may be related to your school, their personal experiences, their professional experiences or niche fun facts that would be fun to include.
  • Finding your path tips - Alumni, both young and old, travel on different paths. Some might make a career switch at an older age while others might make several switches throughout their career. This section is useful to interview and gain insight from alumni that have traveled down different roads. 
  • Training Sessions - Offering virtual or in-person training sessions from one alumni professional to the next is a great way to gain insight on things many may not know and would care to learn more about. 

Faculty features

Express appreciation for those that work for your school. Alumni get excited to hear about the individuals that made their university experience so great. Many alumni pass through school without meeting many of these faculty members, so it’s great to share their impactful stories and how they contribute to your school’s mission. Implement these ideas into your newsletter:

  • Inspiring faculty story - Interview faculty that have made a great impact on students. Many alumni will resonate and get excited about seeing these faculty members being recognized through a story.
  • Recognition - Boast about your faculties wins in this section. What are they working on inside and outside of university that should be acknowledged? 
  • 10 questions (faculty edition) - Find the faculty members that are remembered by alumni for their quirks, supportive nature and other inside information that would be interesting to hear about. There are so many faculty members that have distinct personalities that will be remembered by alumni forever. Do some research and digging to find these extraordinary members.  

Alumni engagement

Portraying that alumni are engaging with their school is a great way to reel more of them in. Create exciting events, offer fundraising opportunities and share the excitement through pictures. These ideas all lead to more personalized engagement, which is what is needed to provide true value through your alumni newsletter. Alumni want to see and feel like they are cared for post graduation, and these are great ways to express that. Try these alumni engagement ideas:

  • Social snapshot - Include pictures of alumni on your social media platforms. This will encourage more alumni to get involved while also providing them with the opportunity to share pictures to reach and engage other alumni.
  • Events - Share pictures from past alumni events to encourage alumni to get involved. Also take this space to talk about upcoming event info. Share quotes and fun excerpts from alumni that have attended and enjoyed specific events. 
  • Giving - Recognize donors, promote fundraising events and express certain incentives or recognitions received by alumni for giving back to your school. 

Closing thoughts

Close out your newsletters on a personal note. Include a story, quote or thank you note from someone alumni are familiar with. Be sure to include these elements in your closer:

  • Picture - Place a short bio picture of the individual signing the newsletter. This will put a face to the name and create more of a genuine connection with alumni.
  • Name of sender - Include a real name in the send-off and not just a common one. “Alumni Association” is not as warm and personal as someone’s actual name. 
  • Signature - Provide a written signature on every newsletter. This is a more thoughtful approach. It shows you care for alumni and that you put genuine effort into your newsletter. 
  • Unsubscribe option - Ensure that subscribers can opt-out of your newsletter. Providing autonomy to your subscribers builds trust, stays in line with GDPR privacy terms and helps your newsletter avoid the spam filter. Respect their rights to security and provide them with the option to come or go as they please.

Now that you have an overview of newsletter best practices, it’s time to customize your approach. There are many opportunities to keep alumni engaged, find what works best for your community.

Design with BEE Pro

Create your engaging alumni newsletter in BEE Pro, the best, mobile-responsive drag and drop editor. We’re trusted and used by 15 of the top 50 universities from the US News & World Report, including Harvard, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Cornell and USC. With hundreds of templates to choose from including an education template collection and features like brand kits, even the smallest departments can design an email in minutes.

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How to Leverage AI in Email Marketing 2024 & Beyond

Emily Santos
Jun 11, 2024

If you haven’t started exploring AI and how it can impact your content and email marketing, it may be time to join the club. According to HubSpot’s State of Generative AI survey, 82% of marketers report that generative AI has changed how they create content. 

Today’s artificial intelligence can be an influential asset in your email marketing. From creating personalized content to delivering next-level data analysis, AI can support every step of your email creation process.

Understanding AI in email marketing

As AI capabilities expand, the societal perception that AI will eliminate jobs grows. While it is true that AI can transform an email marketing program, allowing for more efficiency, it isn’t a replacement for your email marketing team. 

Instead, AI-powered solutions are power tools to enhance your team's ability to create more engaging, effective, and high-performing campaigns. Additionally, for small teams with limited resources, AI makes email marketing more accessible and allows larger teams to scale production. 

How are email marketers leveraging AI?

Influencer Marketing Hub shows that 63% of marketers are currently using AI in their email marketing. While AI is mainly known for its content optimization capabilities - there are various other ways marketers can harness the power of AI, unlocking its full potential: 

  • Automation: AI tools can automate routine and repetitive tasks. For instance, when folks sign up for your newsletter, AI can manage those new contacts and segment them to receive an onboarding email sequence.

  • Personalization: According to Campaign Monitor, personalization can increase email marketing revenue by 760%. AI can spot patterns in customers’ activity and use these to personalize their emails, such as sending them content about a topic or product they’ve been viewing on your site or product recommendations based on their browsing history. 
  • Analytics and insights: AI is excellent at gathering and analyzing data for insights that will help you improve your future campaigns. For example, it can identify the best times to send emails to particular customers, increasing engagement. 
  • Segmentation: Dividing your mailing list into segments based on customer behaviors and patterns is crucial when sending targeted campaigns to customers. AI can help by picking up patterns and creating segments based on these patterns, allowing you to send relevant content to the right people.

Challenges and considerations of AI

As much potential benefit as AI has for email marketing, no change comes without its challenges. Some challenges to consider are: 

  • Data privacy concerns: Data privacy is always concerning when using third-party solutions. Given that AI handles large volumes of personal data, it is vital to ensure that the solutions you onboard comply with regulations such as GDPR and CCPA. Additionally, communicate these changes to users, updating your terms of use and privacy policy to promote transparency. 

  • Errors: Because AI is driven by the data it is trained on, errors or biased outcomes are possible. However, we believe this to be true without AI as well. It is important always to have multiple steps of quality control and assurance and to fine-tune AI prompts to avoid biased responses.

  • Loss of human touch: As mentioned earlier, AI is not meant to replace email marketers but to support them. Regarding email marketing, a human touch and a conversational tone are crucial for engagement, something AI simply can’t achieve alone.

How to get started using AI in email marketing

With all the potential AI has in your email marketing, if you haven’t tried it out yet, now is the time.

  1. Audit your email marketing process, jotting down areas of opportunity.  As interesting as AI advancement is, it is not necessary to use AI simply for the sake of using new technology. Once you clearly understand your current email marketing process, you can identify specific areas where AI can enhance your efforts. 
  1. Make small but measurable changes. Compare performance between AI strategies and manual strategies. For example, send out two campaign versions, one with AI-generated content and the other with content you created without AI, to see which one performs better. Use these results to determine where AI can make a practical, profitable difference.
  2. Identify the most repetitive or time-consuming aspects of your email marketing. Automating these tasks with AI can significantly improve efficiency and free up valuable time for more strategic activities. Use this list to help you find the right tools. 

AI email marketing tools

With over 70,000 AI businesses worldwide and 42% of companies exploring how to integrate AI, it’s easy to get overwhelmed - so where do you start? Here is a roundup of some of the top AI solutions allowing marketers to optimize their email operations: 

  • Grammarly: This solution needs no explanation. Grammarly is a leading AI-powered copy editor helping marketers create clear, concise, and error-free messaging. 
  • ChatGPT: The tool that changed the AI game. ChatGPT serves as a solution for ideating, writing, and proofreading copy for marketers. Many tools, such as Beefree, have integrated ChatGPT into their product, empowering users with a built-in AI assistant for all content needs. 
  • Seventh Sense: Seventh Sense analyzes when your recipients open and click emails, spotting patterns and then automating your email send times to send emails to individual recipients when they’re most likely to open them.

A new generation of email marketing with AI

The power of AI in email marketing is undeniable. For email marketers, AI solutions can help create more relevant, timely, and stronger customer relationships, inevitably driving higher conversion rates. However, the adoption of AI shouldn’t be just for adoption sake. 

At Beefree, we take pride in slow progress that helps solve users' most prevalent needs. Our implementation of the AI copy Assistant has helped Beefree users save time juggling from tool to tool and optimize email content directly in-app. This is how we recommend you embrace AI, making perhaps small but meaningful changes in your process that allow you to stay ahead in this new, fast-paced era of email marketing

If you’re ready to optimize your email marketing efforts and try AI, consider trying Beefree—after all, it’s free! 

The Future of Email Marketing in 2024

Explore the future of email marketing trends like AI personalization, multi-channel experiences, and other innovative digital strategies for enhanced engagement.
Emily Santos
May 24, 2024

While new marketing platforms pop up everyday, marketers are not tossing email to the side. While some claim that Gen Zers don’t use email and refer to other platforms such as TikTok and Instagram to make purchases,  a recent poll by Media Post reports 53% of Gen Zers still enjoy getting weekly emails from their favorite brands.

Jennifer Harmon, Content Strategist and Creator of Convince & Convert, confirms that email marketing is likely to only become more important as changes continue to happen with paid media, cookies, and permissions.

With a ROI of $36 for every dollar spent and 79% of marketers naming email as one of their top effective channels, the idea that email is dead is ... well, dead.

The continuing dominance of email marketing

It isn’t luck or routine that keeps email marketing alive and thriving, but rather it's unique advantages:

  • Unparalleled reach: Email marketing provides a direct channel to connect with vast audiences worldwide. With an expected 4.73 billion email users by 2026, marketers can leverage automation tools to send personalized emails at optimal times regardless of geographical boundaries or time zones.
  • Personalization at scale: In addition to being able to reach audiences far and wide, email marketing allows marketers to personalize messages at scale. With segmentation and automation tools, personalization requires minimal manual intervention - a benefit not offered by other digital platforms.
  • Cost-effective growth: Unlike other marketing methods that may require investment in print materials or ads, email campaigns can be executed at a fraction of the cost. As the audience base grows, With the right tools, marketers can easily scale email production as their audience base growth.

Key trends shaping the future of email marketing

As we delve into the growing need for marketers to not only catch the attention of their audiences but also to connect and drive conversions, there are three key trends shaping the future of email marketing:

AI-driven personalization

According to Hubspot, segmented emails have 30% more opens and 50% more clickthroughs than general emails send to your mass audience. The need for segmenting and personalization aren’t new but the way we approach them is.

AI today is used as a power tool to collect relevant data about users. For instance, it can use customers’ purchase history or viewing history to email them personalized product recommendations. This is increasingly important, with 71% of consumers now expecting personalized interactions from brands, but it is only the tip of the iceberg.

63% of marketers of marketers leverage AI to help them get more done, faster. ChatGPT or bullt-in AI solutions tools like Beefree’s AI copy assistant make it easier to find the right messaging for email campaigns, by optimizing existing copy or tailoring copy to unique audiences they might not know much of yet.

Interactive email experiences

Interactive email content achieves 73% higher click-to-open rates, according to Martech Advisor. Interactive email content includes surveys, polls, carousels, gamification elements, and more. Email builders and third-party solutions have made integrating such content easier than ever allowing the every-day marketer to up their email content without the need for developers.

Microinteraction such as small animations or a CTA hover are growing in popularity.These small elements make an mundane task such as reading emails, an interactive experience.

Navigating the challenges and seizing opportunities

While innovation brings a world of possibilities, it also brings a few challenges for marketers. The rapid pace of emerging trends and their life cycle makes it hard for marketers to quickly adopt and stay ahead of the competition without causing email fatigue. Additionally, as highlighted by Norton, 69% of users are more concerned than ever about their data privacy, which in turn makes them more wary of what they engage with.

Email fatigue

Frequent emails result in email fatigue leading to reduced engagement rates, or worse case scenario an increase in unsubscribe rates. To combat this, it's crucial to strike the right balance in email frequency to your industry and audience. While finding the the right frequency is not a one size fits all, we recommend auditing your emails sends.

Start small with sending the right emails at the right time like when a user first subscribers or completes a desired action. Slowly integrate additional content and test its performance. Each email should serve a specific purpose and provide valuable and relevant content, this is where segmentation and AI-driven personalization becomes your best friend.

Privacy concerns

While for marketers the ability to collect a wide range of data on user demographics and behaviours is gold, for users this brings concerns. Marketers can mitigate these concerns by making consent and transparency regarding data collection and usage easily understood with an option to opt-out. Not only does this allow users to make informed decisions, but in the long term allows for increased trust and loyalty.

AI biases

While biases is not exclusive to AI, the rise of Artificial Intelligence has brought this concern to the forefront of marketer's mind.

Because AI is influenced by the historic data it processes and individual prompts, it may inadvertently perpetuate responses based on stereotypes and biases patterns. This can lead to content that is skewed and alienates certain segments of the audience.

Much like anything else that is public facing, we recommend implementing internal process to detect biases. This may mean having a review process in place to cross-reference AI outcomes with multiple folks with different background and experiences. Another suggestion is to regularly audit AI prompts keeping diversity and inclusivity top of mind to ensure fairness and accuracy.

Beyond the inbox: Integrating email marketing with other digital marketing strategies

As valuable as email marketing is, 72% of customers say they prefer to engage with brands through multiple channels. By coordinating email marketing efforts with other channels, marketers can build engaging and cohesive experiences for customers. In the same way that all conversations with a friend feel the same - whether they’re in person, over text, or on the phone - a holistic digital marketing strategy allows marketers to create space for immersive interactions that meet customers where they're at.

The future of email marketing lies in its integration with other marketing channels. Some standout ways to do this include:

  • Landing pages: For marketers, landing pages helps lead customers to take a desired action, increase conversion. For users, this cohesive integration offers a smooth transition from email to a browsing experience where they can find more information that helps them make educated decisions.
  • Social media: Marketers can leverage the power of social sharing, UGC, and email marketing to amplify their reach and establish a balance of nurturing new and existing audiences. For customers, this means a seamless way to engage with one brand regardless of the channel they prefer, fostering a sense of community.
  • Content marketing and SEO: Email campaigns can drive traffic to valuable content resources, such as blog posts, whitepapers, videos, and infographics. For customers, this means having an easy way to acquire new knowledge and interact with the brands they love.

Embracing the future of email marketing

Change is inevitable in all aspects of life and marketing is no exception, but this doesn’t mean you need to throw out your old playbook. Rather, it's about recognizing how the landscape if evolving and adapting. As mentioned today, some of the key areas driving the future of email marketing include AI and automation, multichannel marketing, and the emphasis on enhanced interactivity. While these might seem like heavy strategies to implement, know that you don't have to do it alone.

At Beefree, we're dedicated to empowering marketers with the tools and resources needed to thrive in this dynamic environment. Our intuitive HTML email builder, AI copy assistant, and wide range of email and landing page templates support marketers in the search of innovative solutions to respond to the shift in the market's need.

To find out more, sign up for Beefree today!

Marketing Agency Email Templates to Enhance Your Communications

Learn how your agency can balance multiple brands and email campaigns while saving time with HTML email marketing templates.
Emily Santos
May 17, 2024

For marketing agencies and their clients, email marketing serves as a powerful method of acquiring and retaining clients. In a 2023 survey, 50% of B2B marketers name email as their most effective marketing channel, performing 13% better than social media posts and 11% better than social media ads.

This emphasis on the importance of email marketing, while opportunistic, also presents a new wave of challenges for agencies to tackle.   

Unique challenges in agency email marketing

As a marketing agency in the digital age, staying on top of evolving trends, strategies, and algorithms is hard enough. The pressure to perform doubles when paired with client expectations to quickly develop, monitor, and execute the latest. 

So, how can agencies balance multiple brands and clients wanting to experiment with the newest trend with tried-and-true best practices while maintaining brand integrity?  

Email templates have proven to be a great asset in cutting down email production speed and increasing efficiency and productivity. Jim Maddock, Freelance Email Developer and CRM Consultant has developed over 670 emails for a wide range of departments, artists, and organizations, all extensions of only a few templates he built with Beefree customized to fit different brands. 

Benefits of using HTML email templates vs. custom coding or text-only emails

The days of email specialists and developers being the only ones involved in the email design process are long gone. Text-only emails are now mostly reserved for everyday communications, while HTML emails are used by a wide range of brands and organizations for internal communications and marketing material. 

Unlike text-only emails, HTML emails are dynamic, engaging, and personalized to showcase a brand’s identity and instill brand recognition in readers. 

Because all email-sending platforms support HTML,  email makers benefit from peace of mind knowing that their emails will display as intended across devices and email clients. 

While historically, manually coding HTML emails is known to be time-consuming and tedious work, the rise of no-code email builders is saving agencies valuable time and resources when building emails. To take it one step further, HTML email templates are becoming standard practices. Much like Jim Maddock, agencies only have to create these templates once and reuse them for multiple brands. 

Another option is to source an HTML email template that has already been built and tested for responsiveness, allowing your team more time to work on other deliverables. 

How to choose an HTML template

When choosing an existing HTML email template, there are a few considerations to take into account:

  • Customizability and usability: When working with multiple brands, it is crucial that your agency delivers on-brand designs. When choosing a template, the ability to customize it to fit into any given brand identity easily is non-negotiable. This means colors, fonts, font sizes, images, and more.

  • Versatility: Whether you’re creating an HTML email template from scratch or sourcing one, you’ll probably want to start with a few templates that can be used in multiple ways to decrease the amount of time spent on repetitive designs. An effective template should have all of your email's basic elements: hero, footer, and nav bar, and it should be flexible enough to add or remove blocks as needed. 
  • Best practices: The right HTML template follows email design best practices, including mobile-first design, dark mode, and spam prevention guidelines, to ensure an optimal viewing experience and delivery. 

By choosing an HTML template that fulfills all of these elements, you can quickly iterate the template to try new strategies (pleasing your client) while standing upon a strong foundation of what makes an effective email campaign (pleasing your agency). 

3 Essential email templates for marketing agencies

If you’re unsure where to start on your search for an HTML template, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ve curated three essential email templates for marketing agencies in the Beefree catalog. 

The Beefree HTML template catalog hosts 1,700+ templates for a wide range of industries, holidays, and usage. All templates are free to use on the Beefree editor and completely customizable to fit any brand style guidelines. The email builder also ensures that all emails created with Beefree render properly across all screen sizes. 

While assigned to a specific category, the following templates have been chosen due to their versatility. With a little creativity, each of the following templates can be used for a wide variety of email campaigns, industries, and brand styles due to their layout and simplicity.

Welcome email template

A welcome email template is just as it sounds - an introduction to who you are. While the contents of an email template may vary depending on the industry or purpose, there is usually a similar story told through them: this is who we are and this is what we do. Here is an example of an email template designed for an agency: 

At the top, the email provides a space for a logo, a nav bar, and a title. 

Above the fold, the template kicks off with an introduction of “Who are we” which answers to a welcome emails main purpose: introduce new audiences to who you are and connect with them off a first impression. 

As we scroll, the email layout changes to help guide the reader through “what we do” and an introduction to the team with clear CTAs with next steps.

The email ends with a footer containing vital information. 

Browse all Welcome email templates: https://beefree.io/templates/welcome

Newsletter template

A routine newsletter is an excellent way to nurture leads and maintain relationships. Depending on the business, a newsletter offers readers various resources, updates, or offerings. An effective newsletter template offers multiple content block formats to pick and choose from. 

In this example, the template contains a prominent hero section with a bold CTA leading to resource #1. We recommend starting emails with a strong hero section to grab the attention of the reader above the fold. 

As you scroll, new resources are presented using a different layout to help differentiate the multiple pieces of content. 

The final resources in the template are presented in video format, which can easily be interchanged with an image to suit different brands' needs.

Browse all Newsletter templates: https://beefree.io/templates/newsletter

Survey email template

Surveys are excellent ways to gather feedback from different audiences. A survey email template should be short, clear, and concise. The purpose of the email should be easily digested and understood. 

The following template pulls the reader in with a large and clear header and body that clearly communicates to the reader that their feedback is wanted and why.  

This template offers two different ways to collect feedback, making it versatile for a brand’s needs. Below, you’ll see the survey embedded in the template and a CTA linking readers to the brand survey. 

Browse all Survey templates: https://beefree.io/templates/survey

The value of email marketing for agencies

The value of email marketing for agencies and their clients is undeniable. With an ROI of $36 for every $1 spent and being generally low-cost, it is one of the most effective ways to communicate to multiple audiences in one location—their inbox. 

Email templates help agencies save time and resources in email production so that your team and clients can benefit from more time to: 

  • Refine a brand’s messaging to ensure it aligns with its ideal customers. 
  • Personalize emails for the segmented recipients 
  • Grow the brand’s emailing list
  • Optimize email communications and increase conversion
  • And so much more.

Explore Beefree’s email marketing template library

HTML email templates can empower your email marketing agency to create responsive, high-performing, and engaging emails with ease. Beefree makes this process even quicker with its extensive template library and intuitive drag-and-drop builder. In addition, Beefree’s agnostic nature allows you to easily integrate with your client's sending and marketing platforms making it a seamless experience from start to finish.

How to Leverage AI in Email Marketing 2024 & Beyond

Emily Santos
Emily Santos
11 Jun
2024

If you haven’t started exploring AI and how it can impact your content and email marketing, it may be time to join the club. According to HubSpot’s State of Generative AI survey, 82% of marketers report that generative AI has changed how they create content. 

Today’s artificial intelligence can be an influential asset in your email marketing. From creating personalized content to delivering next-level data analysis, AI can support every step of your email creation process.

Understanding AI in email marketing

As AI capabilities expand, the societal perception that AI will eliminate jobs grows. While it is true that AI can transform an email marketing program, allowing for more efficiency, it isn’t a replacement for your email marketing team. 

Instead, AI-powered solutions are power tools to enhance your team's ability to create more engaging, effective, and high-performing campaigns. Additionally, for small teams with limited resources, AI makes email marketing more accessible and allows larger teams to scale production. 

How are email marketers leveraging AI?

Influencer Marketing Hub shows that 63% of marketers are currently using AI in their email marketing. While AI is mainly known for its content optimization capabilities - there are various other ways marketers can harness the power of AI, unlocking its full potential: 

  • Automation: AI tools can automate routine and repetitive tasks. For instance, when folks sign up for your newsletter, AI can manage those new contacts and segment them to receive an onboarding email sequence.

  • Personalization: According to Campaign Monitor, personalization can increase email marketing revenue by 760%. AI can spot patterns in customers’ activity and use these to personalize their emails, such as sending them content about a topic or product they’ve been viewing on your site or product recommendations based on their browsing history. 
  • Analytics and insights: AI is excellent at gathering and analyzing data for insights that will help you improve your future campaigns. For example, it can identify the best times to send emails to particular customers, increasing engagement. 
  • Segmentation: Dividing your mailing list into segments based on customer behaviors and patterns is crucial when sending targeted campaigns to customers. AI can help by picking up patterns and creating segments based on these patterns, allowing you to send relevant content to the right people.

Challenges and considerations of AI

As much potential benefit as AI has for email marketing, no change comes without its challenges. Some challenges to consider are: 

  • Data privacy concerns: Data privacy is always concerning when using third-party solutions. Given that AI handles large volumes of personal data, it is vital to ensure that the solutions you onboard comply with regulations such as GDPR and CCPA. Additionally, communicate these changes to users, updating your terms of use and privacy policy to promote transparency. 

  • Errors: Because AI is driven by the data it is trained on, errors or biased outcomes are possible. However, we believe this to be true without AI as well. It is important always to have multiple steps of quality control and assurance and to fine-tune AI prompts to avoid biased responses.

  • Loss of human touch: As mentioned earlier, AI is not meant to replace email marketers but to support them. Regarding email marketing, a human touch and a conversational tone are crucial for engagement, something AI simply can’t achieve alone.

How to get started using AI in email marketing

With all the potential AI has in your email marketing, if you haven’t tried it out yet, now is the time.

  1. Audit your email marketing process, jotting down areas of opportunity.  As interesting as AI advancement is, it is not necessary to use AI simply for the sake of using new technology. Once you clearly understand your current email marketing process, you can identify specific areas where AI can enhance your efforts. 
  1. Make small but measurable changes. Compare performance between AI strategies and manual strategies. For example, send out two campaign versions, one with AI-generated content and the other with content you created without AI, to see which one performs better. Use these results to determine where AI can make a practical, profitable difference.
  2. Identify the most repetitive or time-consuming aspects of your email marketing. Automating these tasks with AI can significantly improve efficiency and free up valuable time for more strategic activities. Use this list to help you find the right tools. 

AI email marketing tools

With over 70,000 AI businesses worldwide and 42% of companies exploring how to integrate AI, it’s easy to get overwhelmed - so where do you start? Here is a roundup of some of the top AI solutions allowing marketers to optimize their email operations: 

  • Grammarly: This solution needs no explanation. Grammarly is a leading AI-powered copy editor helping marketers create clear, concise, and error-free messaging. 
  • ChatGPT: The tool that changed the AI game. ChatGPT serves as a solution for ideating, writing, and proofreading copy for marketers. Many tools, such as Beefree, have integrated ChatGPT into their product, empowering users with a built-in AI assistant for all content needs. 
  • Seventh Sense: Seventh Sense analyzes when your recipients open and click emails, spotting patterns and then automating your email send times to send emails to individual recipients when they’re most likely to open them.

A new generation of email marketing with AI

The power of AI in email marketing is undeniable. For email marketers, AI solutions can help create more relevant, timely, and stronger customer relationships, inevitably driving higher conversion rates. However, the adoption of AI shouldn’t be just for adoption sake. 

At Beefree, we take pride in slow progress that helps solve users' most prevalent needs. Our implementation of the AI copy Assistant has helped Beefree users save time juggling from tool to tool and optimize email content directly in-app. This is how we recommend you embrace AI, making perhaps small but meaningful changes in your process that allow you to stay ahead in this new, fast-paced era of email marketing

If you’re ready to optimize your email marketing efforts and try AI, consider trying Beefree—after all, it’s free! 

The Future of Email Marketing in 2024

Explore the future of email marketing trends like AI personalization, multi-channel experiences, and other innovative digital strategies for enhanced engagement.
Emily Santos
Emily Santos
24 May
2024

While new marketing platforms pop up everyday, marketers are not tossing email to the side. While some claim that Gen Zers don’t use email and refer to other platforms such as TikTok and Instagram to make purchases,  a recent poll by Media Post reports 53% of Gen Zers still enjoy getting weekly emails from their favorite brands.

Jennifer Harmon, Content Strategist and Creator of Convince & Convert, confirms that email marketing is likely to only become more important as changes continue to happen with paid media, cookies, and permissions.

With a ROI of $36 for every dollar spent and 79% of marketers naming email as one of their top effective channels, the idea that email is dead is ... well, dead.

The continuing dominance of email marketing

It isn’t luck or routine that keeps email marketing alive and thriving, but rather it's unique advantages:

  • Unparalleled reach: Email marketing provides a direct channel to connect with vast audiences worldwide. With an expected 4.73 billion email users by 2026, marketers can leverage automation tools to send personalized emails at optimal times regardless of geographical boundaries or time zones.
  • Personalization at scale: In addition to being able to reach audiences far and wide, email marketing allows marketers to personalize messages at scale. With segmentation and automation tools, personalization requires minimal manual intervention - a benefit not offered by other digital platforms.
  • Cost-effective growth: Unlike other marketing methods that may require investment in print materials or ads, email campaigns can be executed at a fraction of the cost. As the audience base grows, With the right tools, marketers can easily scale email production as their audience base growth.

Key trends shaping the future of email marketing

As we delve into the growing need for marketers to not only catch the attention of their audiences but also to connect and drive conversions, there are three key trends shaping the future of email marketing:

AI-driven personalization

According to Hubspot, segmented emails have 30% more opens and 50% more clickthroughs than general emails send to your mass audience. The need for segmenting and personalization aren’t new but the way we approach them is.

AI today is used as a power tool to collect relevant data about users. For instance, it can use customers’ purchase history or viewing history to email them personalized product recommendations. This is increasingly important, with 71% of consumers now expecting personalized interactions from brands, but it is only the tip of the iceberg.

63% of marketers of marketers leverage AI to help them get more done, faster. ChatGPT or bullt-in AI solutions tools like Beefree’s AI copy assistant make it easier to find the right messaging for email campaigns, by optimizing existing copy or tailoring copy to unique audiences they might not know much of yet.

Interactive email experiences

Interactive email content achieves 73% higher click-to-open rates, according to Martech Advisor. Interactive email content includes surveys, polls, carousels, gamification elements, and more. Email builders and third-party solutions have made integrating such content easier than ever allowing the every-day marketer to up their email content without the need for developers.

Microinteraction such as small animations or a CTA hover are growing in popularity.These small elements make an mundane task such as reading emails, an interactive experience.

Navigating the challenges and seizing opportunities

While innovation brings a world of possibilities, it also brings a few challenges for marketers. The rapid pace of emerging trends and their life cycle makes it hard for marketers to quickly adopt and stay ahead of the competition without causing email fatigue. Additionally, as highlighted by Norton, 69% of users are more concerned than ever about their data privacy, which in turn makes them more wary of what they engage with.

Email fatigue

Frequent emails result in email fatigue leading to reduced engagement rates, or worse case scenario an increase in unsubscribe rates. To combat this, it's crucial to strike the right balance in email frequency to your industry and audience. While finding the the right frequency is not a one size fits all, we recommend auditing your emails sends.

Start small with sending the right emails at the right time like when a user first subscribers or completes a desired action. Slowly integrate additional content and test its performance. Each email should serve a specific purpose and provide valuable and relevant content, this is where segmentation and AI-driven personalization becomes your best friend.

Privacy concerns

While for marketers the ability to collect a wide range of data on user demographics and behaviours is gold, for users this brings concerns. Marketers can mitigate these concerns by making consent and transparency regarding data collection and usage easily understood with an option to opt-out. Not only does this allow users to make informed decisions, but in the long term allows for increased trust and loyalty.

AI biases

While biases is not exclusive to AI, the rise of Artificial Intelligence has brought this concern to the forefront of marketer's mind.

Because AI is influenced by the historic data it processes and individual prompts, it may inadvertently perpetuate responses based on stereotypes and biases patterns. This can lead to content that is skewed and alienates certain segments of the audience.

Much like anything else that is public facing, we recommend implementing internal process to detect biases. This may mean having a review process in place to cross-reference AI outcomes with multiple folks with different background and experiences. Another suggestion is to regularly audit AI prompts keeping diversity and inclusivity top of mind to ensure fairness and accuracy.

Beyond the inbox: Integrating email marketing with other digital marketing strategies

As valuable as email marketing is, 72% of customers say they prefer to engage with brands through multiple channels. By coordinating email marketing efforts with other channels, marketers can build engaging and cohesive experiences for customers. In the same way that all conversations with a friend feel the same - whether they’re in person, over text, or on the phone - a holistic digital marketing strategy allows marketers to create space for immersive interactions that meet customers where they're at.

The future of email marketing lies in its integration with other marketing channels. Some standout ways to do this include:

  • Landing pages: For marketers, landing pages helps lead customers to take a desired action, increase conversion. For users, this cohesive integration offers a smooth transition from email to a browsing experience where they can find more information that helps them make educated decisions.
  • Social media: Marketers can leverage the power of social sharing, UGC, and email marketing to amplify their reach and establish a balance of nurturing new and existing audiences. For customers, this means a seamless way to engage with one brand regardless of the channel they prefer, fostering a sense of community.
  • Content marketing and SEO: Email campaigns can drive traffic to valuable content resources, such as blog posts, whitepapers, videos, and infographics. For customers, this means having an easy way to acquire new knowledge and interact with the brands they love.

Embracing the future of email marketing

Change is inevitable in all aspects of life and marketing is no exception, but this doesn’t mean you need to throw out your old playbook. Rather, it's about recognizing how the landscape if evolving and adapting. As mentioned today, some of the key areas driving the future of email marketing include AI and automation, multichannel marketing, and the emphasis on enhanced interactivity. While these might seem like heavy strategies to implement, know that you don't have to do it alone.

At Beefree, we're dedicated to empowering marketers with the tools and resources needed to thrive in this dynamic environment. Our intuitive HTML email builder, AI copy assistant, and wide range of email and landing page templates support marketers in the search of innovative solutions to respond to the shift in the market's need.

To find out more, sign up for Beefree today!

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