V-cast with Mailjet:Is email marketing dying

Host: Richard Fallah, CEO at VBOUT.

Guest Speaker: Miles DePaul, Head of Marketing, North America at Mailjet and Kyle Beldoch,
Senior Customer Success Manager at Mailjet


There is no doubt that email marketing is changing. We are in the age of Engagement Email Marketing. In this interview with Mailjet, we discuss the current state of email marketing, is email still a relevant channel, the do’s and don’ts, and things to implement to launch a successful email marketing campaign.

Mailjet recently raised a series B round and has become a worldwide brand with 20 people on the marketing team.

Where do you see email marketing is headed?

We’ve all heard for the past 10 years that email marketing is dead. The fact is that it’s growing and getting stronger than ever. I think for the next 5, 10, 15 years, it’s continuing to be a major part of our marketing strategy and daily lives. Emails are even becoming more of a personal relationship than WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger and SMS.

As a result, having a one-to-one relationship with someone’s inbox from a marketing perspective is going to be really important.

What I really recommend some brands to change is NOT to use a “No reply” email address. If you want to communicate with your users, you should let them contact you as well. So if you’re sending a message, allow the user to interact with you comfortably.

What do you suggest regarding the practices of cold emailing?

We suggest to never do that. Otherwise, email marketers doing such a practice will be kicked out of our service as well as others because at the end of the day, you want to do it right.

We have a very extensive compliance process in place and we want to respect people’s inboxes. It’s really critical to listen to your users. Don’t ever purchase a list or send an email to someone that you haven’t contacted for a long time. If your email list is active, listen to your users, judge the feedback and send benchmarks and KPIs for yourself.

Therefore, it’s not just about sending out an email but also determining what you want to achieve out of your email marketing strategy.

What do you think about those who noticed a decrease in open rates or click-throughs after doing cold email blasting?

I would say that ISPs like Gmail, Yahoo, AOL and Hotmail are collectively smarter than all of us. They are taking feedback from their users, not only the regular metrics such as open rates, CTRs and unsubscribes but also if they delete the email without opening it, if these emails are going into their inbox and they have 9000 unread messages, if users are forwarding it to a friend or moving it into a folder. They take into consideration all these factors in order to judge what to do with the next message that comes from your domain, IP, etc…

It’s about listening to your users. As ISPs are getting smarter, something that might had been working for 10 years, 5 years or even a year isn’t going to work anymore. If you’re not adjusting with time and continue sending cold emails, I would expect your open rate to go down and you won’t be able to get that message to the inbox. In addition, when you send a high quality mail to highly engaged contacts, you’re going to be judged for the bad practices and this is also going to end up your emails in your recipients spam folder.
Therefore, it’s all about taking a holistic approach at how you’re sending an email, making sure you’re following all good practices.

So do you recommend some sort of sunset policy or segmenting your list between active and inactive users?

Yes definitely. The best case scenario in my world is not to send an email to anyone who hasn’t engaged (opened, clicked or subscribed) in the past 6 months.

If you’re a user and you get an email every day, week or month and you don’t open that email once, you will probably never open it.

So the thought process that someone would open the next email because they subscribed one year ago, for instance, is wrong because they wouldn’t. This will hurt you and bring your email program down and this is much more important than focusing on a vanity metric of having a thousand, ten thousand, or one hundred thousand subscribers.

Do you think testing an automated sunset policy and reactivating dormant users are good from a practice perspective?

Yes. My recommendation is to send re-engagement campaigns but tailor the message to that user and treat him differently from an active user in order to make him more engaged. For instance, you can send them an email asking if they are still interested in receiving emails from you and give them the option to unsubscribe if they are no longer interested.

What’s your recommendation if you have a big list (i.e: 2 million customers) in your ecommerce?

Collect as much data as you can. Ultimately, it’s all about the data that you gather which makes your email program and your business successful.

Having 2 million people who bought something once and their information, but not knowing what, when and why they bought your product would make it more difficult to re-engage with them or get them to come back.

It’s really about understanding your customers and empowering your marketers with actionable data in order to be able to manage those 2 million people in different ways. For example, if I was a customer and lived in Toronto, and someone else in Florida, I should have been the one receiving an email asking if I need a warm jacket while it sounds egregious to send the same email to the one who lives in Florida.

Thus, you should listen to any data points you’re collecting about your users in a compliant way, making sure you’re letting them know that you’re collecting their data and using it to better serve their experience with your brand. Ultimately, this is how you’re going to get ahead.

As there are different types of emails, are you working on an automated workflow builder or do you have that within your system?

We do have a very basic automation workflow, basically a welcome series which allows us to send the first campaign X amount of time after someone signs up, and then blast the second and third one.

So it’s very basic. If they changed any of their information, we can trigger another series or a date-based such as birthday campaigns.

Other than that, we’re honestly not really getting into the automated features and we know that there are better tools than us and we’re focusing on what we’re good at. We’re really good at sending emails via marketing, transactional or automation but some of the logic behind it is that it’s not going to be what we will do for your brand.

It’s really fruitful to focus on what the automation tools are good at and what we’re good at and build partnerships accordingly. These partners can come to us as we’re a powerful pipeline for sending emails while they are a powerful front-end interface to automate everything.

Do you have an automated warmup procedure?

We either offer shared or dedicated IPs to SMBs; we actually have all our enterprise clients on dedicated IPs just to make sure they can own their email programs.

What volume would you recommend getting them a dedicated IP?

It depends. We usually talk about people who send a consistent daily volume that’s over 20, 30, 50 thousand emails per day. Anything less than that, it gets pretty challenging but anyone sending more than a million emails per month, you should definitely have your own dedicated IP.

Is it one IP per million? What’s the ratio?

It depends on your maximum daily volume and that’s what ISPs like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail are looking at. They check the number of emails coming from this IP address in a 24 hour period.

If you need to send a million emails per day, my recommendation is to use 3 or 4 dedicated IPs that have been warmed up over time but if it’s 50, 60 or 100 thousand emails a day, one IP is sufficient.

Then, we get into the types of the email; you should be keeping your marketing and transactional steams on different IPs so that in case there’s an issue with those marketing IPs, it doesn’t impact those business important transactional ones.

What do you recommend for those who want to start email marketing? Should they reach out to a professional who knows how to execute in 2019 email or start it by themselves?

It’s always good to start by yourself in order to educate yourself on the subject initially, but when you do, start small. Figure out what you want to do; do you want to send a weekly newsletter? Start from there and figure out what that looks like and then add segmentation, A/B testing and make sure you’re incorporating all these data… Also update your list collection practices.

At a certain point, things might get complicated; You might want to add automation streams, integrate Mailjet or somebody else’s API into your product or service and certainly, that’s when you might want an external support and bring this beautiful expert over here to help with your actual campaigns and strategy. That’s the consulting practice that we provide.

What’s really good about our platform and few others frankly, is the ability to jump into email, do it well in a way that’s not spamming your customers and increasingly send beautiful campaigns. So start small and incrementally build from that.

If you have your own company that has different teams, don’t allow them to email by themselves. Make it a business-thought on how to email your users instead of thinking how the marketing team needs to send a newsletter, or the product team to send product updates or the development team to send triggered, transactional emails… Have someone that is actually project managing your email program to think about it holistically as your customers don’t care which team the email came from.

Having a holistic approach instead of a siloed, department by department approach would definitely help you in the long run.

What benchmarks should they be looking for as far as open rates, CTRs, and bounce rates?

It depends on you; some daily newsletters are better than others. People are looking for 30, 40 or 50% open rates while others are happy when it hits 10%. My thought on it is not to think about the open but the other side. If I sent a campaign that 10% of people opened, that means that the remaining 90% didn’t bother to do so. So the thing is to start thinking about why that was and how I could be better. So for me, I would like to see 20, 25 or 30 percent open rates if you’re sending a consistent newsletter or things like that.