EP #45 Email 2.0, let’s make email cool again

EP #45 Email 2.0, let’s make email cool again

About this Podcast

In today’s episode of the “For The Love Of Emails” podcast, we welcome Rajesh Jain – Founder and Group MD at Netcore Cloud, and Shar VanBoskirk – VP, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research, with host Nicholas Einstein. Shar helps CMOs lead customer-obsessed strategies at their firms and also assists them in transforming their marketing functions to deliver relevant brand experiences to empowered customers. Shar’s research focuses on marketing strategy, budgets, staffing, organization, and creating an operating model for customer obsession.

Quick Snapshots
In this podcast, they discussed:
How can brands build a hotline for customers?
What is email 2.0?
EMS short for emails for informative emails
Atomic rewards for gamified incentivized emails
Progency is a way to do better execution
Hook score as a new way to measure the effectiveness of emails
Episode Transcripts


You’re listening to”For The Love Of Email Podcast,” podcast powered by netcore, a weekly show dedicated to helping email marketers, marketing enthusiasts, and professionals of all walks engage, grow, and retain customers through reliable, smart, and effective email communication and engagement. Discover actionable ways to increase ROI and deliver value through email innovations, personalization optimization, email deliverability, and email campaigns. No fluff; tune in to your best practices and tactical solutions from the best thought leaders and practitioners; master your email communication now.


Nicholas Einstein:(00:42)

Hello, and welcome to email 2.0, making email cool again, presented by netcore cloud and Forrester research. Thank you for joining us today. My name is Nicholas Einstein, and I am joined today by Shar VanBoskirk and Rajesh Jain, who need no introductions at all, but it is my sincere pleasure to introduce them anyway. Shar, if you could give us slide number two, Shar helps CMOs lead customer-obsessed strategies at their firms. At the same time, they also transform their marketing functions to deliver brand experiences relevant to empowered customers. Her research focuses on marketing strategy, budget, staffing, organization, and creating an operating model for customer obsession. She just published her most recent wave on email marketing service providers last month. A piece of research that she’s been publishing since 2005. Shar, thank you for joining us today.


Shar VanBoskirk:(1:46)

Nick. Thank you for having me. Good to hear. Everyone’s voice is looking forward to the discussion.


Nicholas Einstein:(01:52)

Excellent. And Rajesh Jain is a technology entrepreneur and a pioneer in the ages.com revolution. He created India’s first Internet portals in the late 1990s. One of which was acquired in 1999. And one of the age’s largest internet deals. Rajesh founded netcore in 1998, India’s largest marketing automation company today. And is now pioneering the shift to email 2.0 across the globe. Rajesh. Welcome.


Rajesh Jain:(02:22)

Thank you very much, Nick. Great to be here.


Nicholas Einstein:(02:25)

This is going to be an extraordinary session. Still, before I hand it off to shar to kick us off, a quick operational note or two, we’re going to try to save time for questions. Still, if we don’t get to your questions live, we’ll follow up via email, too. If you’re active on the social channels and wish to share any insights from this webinar using the hashtag for the love of emails, please do so because we’ll reward someone with a hundred dollars Amazon gift card. I will launch a few quick polls as Shar and Rajesh roll through the content. We’re not going to stop the flow. We’ll just open them quickly. I’ll ask that you take them pretty quickly, and I’ll quickly present the results to them with Shar taking it away.


Shar VanBoskirk:(03:13)

Oh, very good. Well, thank you so much to netcore for inviting me to join them today in this conversation, and thank you to all of you for coming along. I just want to set the stage with some ideas and some research we’re finding, and then Rajesh will share some client stories and a good discussion of how you can put some of these best practices together. So the theme here as we talk together is that we want to encourage you to ask more from your email programs and my thesis. My theory here is that no matter where you are joining us from today across the globe, there’s no denying that it has been a very unusual set of circumstances for all of us over the last several years. And it’s a little bit uncertain what’s coming next.


Shar VanBoskirk:(04:08)

And so my thesis here is that asking more from the email can prepare you for whatever comes next, which is very likely to be very different from what you’re in the middle of today. So let me give you just some Forrester research around the current state of email and some of the transformative elements we are seeing that will queue up how you can think differently and ask more from the email medium. So thought number one here is that email gained mojo during the pandemic, and I’m betting this feels a bit familiar to many of you who are joining this call. I’m showing you some research we gathered from the client references of that email vendor wave evaluation that Nick just mentioned. So Forrester does wave evaluations, which are detailed 12-week processes benchmark vendors against each other.


Shar VanBoskirk:(05:09)

And as part of that research process, we ask each vendor in the study to share with us client references that can talk to us about how they’re using the vendor, what kinds of programs they’re running, and any insights about how they might be executing in this case, email marketing programs with the vendors that we’re evaluating. So I’m sharing it with you here—some data from the client references of that email wave study we did. And I asked those client references how vital email marketing is to your company today compared to before the pandemic, and two-thirds of client references in that research said that email marketing is more important today than before the pandemic. I think that’s probably consistent with what many of you have found. There may be more reasons to be messaging your customers dynamically to keep them updated on things that might be changing about your business.


Shar VanBoskirk:(06:12)

Now let me share with you some consumer data. So that was marketer data. How is the role of email changing in terms of its import in your marketing mix? This is consumer data. Forrester has a large consumer panel. It’s the second-largest in the country. Second, only the census data is the volume of data we’re collecting from consumers. And we ask consumers to tell us how they like getting email communications. And so what I’ve included here are pre-pandemic numbers. So 2019 compared to 2021, and you can see that for almost every type of promotional email of email marketing, the engagement, the number of folks saying that they are interested in these communications is going up. So more people are interested in interactive email, more people are interested in promotional email, and more people are interested in informational email, a slight dip in transactional email. However, that’s still the most dominant form of email in which people are interested.


Shar VanBoskirk:(07:19)

Maybe because those transactions were confirmations and not necessarily updates or things that might be reporting dynamic information, those same consumers also said that email was their preferred method of getting updates from brands when they were in the depths of the pandemic. How would you prefer brands or companies reach out to you to provide updates? Almost two-thirds of consumers are saying email is their number one preferred medium. So that’s a hefty share of consumers, but I will also point out the next closest channel. So the email was number one. The next closest channel was a company’s website; only 36% of folks said that was their preferred medium. So email far and away, the way that people are looking to get information about their favorite brands, maybe changes to health protocols or inventory levels, or situations supply chain issues that might be affecting the way that you can get products, services, and things your family needs.


Shar VanBoskirk:(08:28)

So here we are in a situation where email has perhaps never been so vital and valued for a marketer and the audience you’re trying to connect with. And yet most email campaigns still fail. Forester’s user reviews a little bit about what you’re looking at here. I do the best and worst email campaigns about every year. We have a heuristic review methodology. It’s a secret shopper review where we put on our consumer hats and evaluate a hundred different email campaigns, 10 in each of 10 industries. And we put it through a series of questions like what you might ask. If you were an end-user trying to engage in an email program. Is it easy for me to register for this email? Is there value in the email message? Does that value align with what I thought I was getting at registration is the layout of the message?


Shar VanBoskirk:(09:33)

Easy for me to understand. Does the color contrast make it easy for me to take advantage of the value the message provides? And then do I trust the sender? Is it coming from a reputable sender and in the footer that I can control so that my preferences and privacy are within my control? So in the course of all those criteria, we evaluate from a minus two to a plus two score. So a minus two would be an egregious fail, and a plus-two would be a delight that the functionality exists, and it is delightful to experience a score of a positive 15. So that would be a plus one on all 15 evaluation criteria is passing. You got a plus one on everything we looked for. So now I think this data makes sense to you. This is the range of every campaign we evaluated, and you can see that only four emails we evaluated even earned a passing score, and they scored between a 15 and an 18 out of a possible 30.


Shar VanBoskirk:(10:45)

So the challenge that we are here to discuss is that email could be doing so much more in an ecosystem and environment where your audiences are hungry to get communications that can help them make decisions in uncertain circumstances. And also just because they want to hear from brands that they trust. So I have this hypothesis. If you’re thinking, well, why is that? Why would email still be so consistently underperforming? I have this hypothesis that most of us marketers out there continue to rely on email in the way that they always have in an email 1.0 way if you will. And my sort of test of this is to see if any of these attitudes feel familiar to you. Do you find yourselves saying internally, well, email marketing is just good for promotions. It’s a suitable medium for promotions, but have you ever stopped to think about what else it could be used for? Maybe you think we just measure clicks and opens, and that’s enough. You know, we’re just looking at how much volume of action we are getting rather than engaging people with our brand in a way that pivots them from some attitude toward us to something else?


Shar VanBoskirk:(12:15)

Maybe there’s a way to measure how influential email is in making other marketing practices more effective for you. So are there things beyond clicks and opens? Maybe you think clickable links make our emails interactive enough? You know, it’s fascinating to me that here we are in a world of immersive and, in some cases, virtual experiences through digital. Yet, for most emails, the basic interactivity is clicking on the blue link, just clicking on the blue link to jump to a website. So are you thinking that that’s enough and what makes your emails interactive enough? And then maybe this one is familiar too. That simple segmentation is just enough to make your emails do what you think they need to. And I bet there is a way that there can be more to make your emails relevant, and Rajesh is going to share some examples and some ideas.


Shar VanBoskirk:(13:14)

So I got a little trigger happy with my forward arrow. So you had a little sneak preview of what’s coming next. What’s coming next is just proof for my argument that if you let go of that legacy way of thinking and start instead of thinking about how you can leverage email to do more, you will become a more advanced marketer. You will create more relevant programs that resonate better with your audiences. So now I’m showing you more data from those client references I mentioned that we surveyed as part of our wave research. We asked client references to self-select into an advanced category, and then we asked them why, you know, you consider yourself advanced for many folks? They said it was because of customer feedback that they liked their programs, that their emails were performing well, and that they had a lot of multi-channel capabilities.


Shar VanBoskirk:(14:13)

They had integrated email within other digital and offline channels. Or were you less advanced? You were maybe somewhat new to email. You were still organizing your data in a way that made it worthwhile. Maybe you’re just doing some very batch and blast type of communications. So what you’re looking at here is the difference between practices adopted by advanced client references in our wave research and less advanced client references. And so, I think there are several distinct differences that you can observe, but the things that I want to call attention to are the places where there is the most significant difference. And that, to me, comes around things that are more real-time and optimized in nature. Things like dynamic content, like content testing, like accurate time content, things that are decisions made based on testing the performance and then using those tests in AI models, or even in an experimental design sort of approach where then you can deliberately send out the offer the content, the image that is going to perform better for a particular audience. So advanced email marketers use different practices, which tend to be a more real-time dynamic test.


Shar VanBoskirk:(15:41)

So I will close off my portion of the conversation with just a few recommendations. And these are meant to be some thought starters for you because you’re about to see some illustrations of these best practices in play from Rajesh. So the first thought is to challenge yourselves to use email for more than just promotions. A few ideas, maybe email can be a way to identify your customers across channels. Email may be a perfect test environment to test new ideas that you can use in future email campaigns, on your website, or even in a physical store. Email can also be a branding and engagement medium. It’s not just a direct sales tool or a way to distribute a coupon or a free shipping offer, but email can be a way to create community and to create a connection between a brand and an audience.


Shar VanBoskirk:(16:40)

My second recommendation is to think about creating an immersive email experience. This lets go of the idea that just the clickable blue link is interactive. What about using email in an augmented reality way? Could there be a way that you are bringing your customer into the email in some sort of camera-based way or interactive content? You know, you’re comfortable using mobile apps to pinch and zoom. And remember, the context of a user and emails can also do much today. And then an idea here about raising the profile of your email marketing, internal team, and just how the medium is performing. I think email is an inexpensive medium, and that’s the beauty of its cost-effectiveness. Still, at the same time, it tends to get marginalized in many organizations because it’s just not an expensive investment.


Shar VanBoskirk:(17:40)

So, could you nurture your email teams? Could you use email to assist other more expensive campaigns and media buys that you have to go on? And could you think about perhaps augmenting the profile of email within your organization through the support of technology and agency services that are outsourced options that you can bring in some expertise, and you’ll hear Rajesh speak about the model they’ve piloted associated with that idea as well. So I’ll leave you here with a challenge as you think about the comments Rajesh will share. These are the vendors that I evaluated in that email wave research that we’ve mentioned now. And so, I’ve circled net core for you to see how it compares to many based and global vendors. And I will just say that the things that stood out from netcore were the usability of the application, which is very marketer-friendly. A lot of advanced capabilities that were simple and intuitive to apply also have several solid advanced measurement capabilities, which is something else I would encourage you to think about measuring beyond opens and clicks.


Shar VanBoskirk:(18:59)

Indeed, Apple iOS is changing the way that open rates provide insight into your campaign performance. And then you’ll hear Rajesh speak about this as well. Netcore has an excellent predictive capability that helps set up segments and also helps set up a cadence of communication so that you do not have to test and rejigger things. The system can predict an outcome from the desired audience and help you judge how to connect with that audience in the most performative way. So my challenge for you here is, as you listen to Rajesh, think about what you could be doing in your programs and how you could push netcore to enable some of these advanced practices. So thank you so much for joining us at this point. I’m going to take over the conversation, and we’ll hear a little bit about how to put some of these practices into play.


Rajesh Jain:(20:02)

Thank you very much, Shar. I just need permission to share the screen, so you need to,


Shar VanBoskirk:(20:10)

I will stop sharing, and I think you should let me take it over.


Rajesh Jain:(20:15)

Yes. Thank you very much. And here we are.


Shar VanBoskirk:(20:22)

Yes. So


Rajesh Jain:(20:24)

As she said, there’s a lot of room for innovation in what we can do in email, and we will discuss where this demand is coming from and how to solve the challenges there. Email 1.0 has done fantastic over the last 20-plus years, but as you’ll see, there’s a lot of opportunity for doing much better. So what do brands want? One of the most important things is how do we solve the attention problem? Customers are not paying adequate attention in this session, where email’s open rates are pretty low. The next point is how can brands collect zero-party and first-party data through emails? How can brands build a hotline for customers? How can they drive more engagement through email? And just as the world of ad tech has seen massive growth because of performance pay, can some of those ideas be replicated in the world of females and what do customers want more relevant, two-way interaction, an easier way to set preferences so they can get personalized content, valuable information and not, just the promotional stuff Asha indicated.


Rajesh Jain:(21:41)

And of course, they want their males to be mobile-friendly, and this is how we can drive the habit revolution via email two. Oh, so email has been sort of there’s been sending of emails, you know, marketers send emails in email 2.0, can we make sure they’re seen, so send to the scene, delete to delight the delete mindset that is there in end customers, can that be changed to delight? Marketers have a hope that their emails will be seen. Can that be changed to a hotline instead of just sending out emails occasionally or at any time? To make emails and habit, we have to send out emails daily at the same time, as many media companies do; instead of thinking about opens and clicks, can we look at stickiness and streaks instead of males, which are not interactive, make them interactive, not incentivized, make them gamified.


Rajesh Jain:(22:41)

And that’s the world of email 2.0. Very different from what we have seen over the past two decades, email 2.0 Is about combining a set of ideas. There are three innovations amp for interactive emails, EMS short for emails for informative emails, atomic rewards for gamified incentivized emails, progency a way to do better execution, and hook score as a new way to measure the effectiveness of emails. So let’s start with the hook score, the measurement, which we can work to improve through the other innovations we will discuss. Hook score is about measuring habit creation. So look at stickiness and streaks and engagement intensity rather than just opens and clicks and CTRs because what we want to track is attention. And what we want to get is data for zero-party data from customers. And we want to do this over successive emails, not just the one-offs, which are there.


Rajesh Jain:(23:48)

So consider various email actions, which are their forms of data volunteered. Can those also be tracked? Rather than just looking at opens and clicks, look at a 30-day exponential moving average of email actions. So the idea here is that if you think of opens being one, InMail actions can be two. If someone volunteers, you can look at a five-point hook score for them. So you can, a marketer can decide what you want from email? And just look at going beyond measuring opens and clicks. What hook score does, is it places a greater weight and significance on the most recent data points? It measures not just aggregates, but you can also measure at the individual level. And the advantage is that you can design engagement strategies based on the hook score.


Rajesh Jain:(24:50)

So which quartile customers are falling in and then create campaigns based on that. So you can optimize campaigns to drive habit creation. So hook score is a new metric that we are recommending. The email industry has started adopting various ideas to improve the hook score. And of course, yeah, engagement, the first idea is interactive emails. Amp has been around for some time. It’s a technology introduced by Google about a few three years ago. What amp allows you to do is to have InMail forms. You can get ratings, NPS, and reviews inside the mail itself. Think of these as apps and microsites. And I’ll give you a perfect example of this. Later, you can schedule appointments right inside the mail, dynamic life content, zero parties, data games, all of this, without anyone having to click through to a website. So here’s a simple graphic on what can be done. So you have the content, and then you can have ratings. So rate, this email can be done right there without clicking through. You can have dynamic content with one-click actions, and I’ll show you some of this as we go forward.


Rajesh Jain:(26:09)

The next idea is EMS. It’s about micro-content and stories, making email a daily habit. So how do we fill in the gaps between the campaigns? Typically in 30 days, many brands send out maybe 6, 7, or 10 emails. What about those other 20 days? What can be done to make email a daily habit? So think of short emails, a single mobile screen, basically readable in 15 to 30 seconds. These emails are informative. Okay. Every brand can send out exciting content which informs rather than just having a call to action to buy. They offer something helpful to customers, a fresh format that anticipates something new and exciting in a story format. So in a series daily at the same time, it becomes a habit like you see emails from the New York times or wall street journal. They come into our inbox at the same time every day.


Rajesh Jain:(27:10)

Why should brands not be doing the same thing? So take an example. Someone comes onto your website, say a bookstore, browses a book, and goes away. Typically we’ll send a mail after two days saying that you browse this item in case you’re interested in your, the link to buy. Instead of that, imagine if you could send on, on the next day and accept from the book a following day table of contents, third-day reviews about the book fourth day if the customer has still not purchased the book the fourth day could be other books by the author. The fifth day could be other books in the same genre. So you have five days, each with exciting content and hopefully getting your customer to engage.


Rajesh Jain:(27:58)

And the last, the fourth idea, the third innovation is atomic rewards. So many of us have read the book atomic habits. So I borrowed the title from being inspired by that. So it’s about gamification. How do we create micro incentives to enable marketers to nudge behavior? So the idea is that incentives work. All incentives today by marketers have largely been at the transaction level. So you get, you get loyalty points, etc., following transactions. But we want to push the incentives, push behavior changes upstream, attention, engagement, habit, creation, and loyalty. That’s what we want to be able to do. We want to incentivize people, perhaps on time they’re spending, and the marketer has complete control over it. So there’s minimal potential for violation or fraud and using these rewards.


Rajesh Jain:(28:57)

So think of it as a loyalty program for attention engagement, and time. And of course, you can combine this with the males that you are sending the amp emails or the EMS, and I’ll show you some examples soon. You can now drive a higher engagement order beyond just the opens and clicks. So if you ask people questions about their interests and preferences, you can give them micro incentives. They’re playing a game again, micro incentives get the engagement going, and the rewards can be in the form of an immediate discount. You can link it to your brands or loyalty program or integrate it with independent pan-brand programs. So exciting ideas can help drive engagement again, especially for millennials. And gamification works for every one of us. And at the high time, we bring it into the world of emails, but with many exciting innovations, the last idea is progency. So product-led agencies pro and the agency from product-led agencies come together. So it combines product professionals’ processes and pays for performance. And this is what netcore is pioneering.


Rajesh Jain:(30:15)

Think of proficiency as a parallel program to extend the internal team. So it’s driven by KPIs. It builds on the product, which is the full-fledged campaign management MarTech product, for email two oh execution. So it’s not just people. It’s much more.


Rajesh Jain:(30:35)

It combines left brain and right brain skills. So you have a team that can do campaign development, strategy, creative content design, software, and analytics, built on top of a MarTech platform. There are a number of use cases. So this complements the internal team that the marketer already has. You can look at particular objectives like increasing the hook score and reactivation. Every brand has at least 25, or 30% of the email IDs, which are dormant. And can we drive reactivation? So instead of sending them back into marketing campaigns on Google and Facebook for reacquisition, which can be many times more expensive, and then collecting zero party data again, that could be done independently, and I’ll show you an example. So, the idea is that the proficiency essentially can share the objectives, share the KPIs of the marketing team, work in tandem with them and drive much better performance. And with open rates at 10, 20%, there’s massive room for improvement. Email remains the best ROI channel. The idea is how can we use these ideas of email two to make it even better?


Rajesh Jain:(31:37)

So time for a demo to see some of these ideas in action. Many of us are familiar with virtual games. Prayer has to go to the New York times site, or variations, of course, are all over the internet. You have to go and play them there. What we have done here is made a simple subscription service where a similar game comes to you. We call it wordle. Now let’s look at all the innovations that we’ve spoken about. First, think of this as an EMS. This email is on a single mobile screen. It can be a subscription service that comes to you. This is just an example of a game, but the idea is that you can look at informative content coming, in the same way, every day. Now, the one change you see is in the subject. Do you see which are our tokens? Some are the point system that we have 20, and 22 are the number of points I have.


Rajesh Jain:(33:03)

So this one change in the subject tells me, as the recipient, that this mail has exciting rewards in it that 20, 22 authenticates it in the sense that only you, as a customer or email recipient, know your point. So no one else can just put any number there. Now there’s a reward for opening. So when I open it, it’s 2022, and if you look down, it has become 20, 23, and now let’s play the game. Of course, I’ve put the answer for this one in the subject. So everyone knows what we will guess, and we’ll do it in three chances. So typically, I start verbally with a collection of two words, which get all the vowels out. So there’s satin and rogue, and now let’s guess the right answer: magic. Remember, this is all happening inside your mail.


Rajesh Jain:(34:06)

Every action is being done right inside the mail. So you have this change right here; congrats, you earned four news for getting it right in three attempts. So there’s my reward. If I had got it right in the first chance, I would’ve got six. So 6, 5, 4 now remember we were in 2022, we had got one new for opening it. And now, with the four, we are at 2027, and this is your mini statement right inside the mail. So, it tells you for what, for the open, and then for doing the solution.


Rajesh Jain:(34:45)

Now think of this as the zero party data as a way to collect zero party data. So it asked me which game, which word game do you like more? Maybe I like Scrabble more. Okay. Now I do next. Ask me a second question. So it’s almost like an interactive chat happening right inside the mail. So I’m in India right now. So I say India submitted again; everything is incentivized, right? So there are some rewards which are out there. Now, if I come here, I’ve got 10. So plus five plus five for the two answers to two data questions I answer. So I’m at 2037, with real-time updates, right inside the mail. And remember, we haven’t yet left the email at all. And there are two more exciting things to show you. Now I can rate this email—no need for clicking through.


Rajesh Jain:(35:35)

You can have your NPS rating right here, inside the mail. There you go. And, of course, you don’t want people to do it, but just in case you want to be very friendly to customers, you want to give them the option to unsubscribe. You can click right there. Are you sure? I say yes, and it says you have been unsubscribed, and the unsubscribed text has changed to subscribe. So all these fun things, which we did write inside the mail. So think of these as mini-apps micro websites that you can create. It’s only limited by our imagination of what we can do. So this combined, all of the ideas we had spoken about this amp have been used here. So it’s interactive with these atomic rewards. So I’m getting a lot of points basically by doing various actions inside the mail. And of course, it’s one screen full. So that’s essentially an EMS.


Rajesh Jain:(36:36)

They were so going back now to our presentation. So that was the demo. And hopefully, it’s email, like you’ve probably never seen before. We had terrific early results for email 2.0 with netcore working as a progency. So big basket is one of India’s largest online grocery firms, with 50 million shoppers. And these are very early results. So very early campaigns that we’ve done in the last couple of months. So three X increases in CTR using atomic rewards. The idea that we spoke about gamified emails, your story, large media company, 1.5 million monthly visitors saw five X increase in registrations for an event that they were doing when they put in a mini form, right inside the email, without having people having to click through to a separate website page Myntra which is Walmart owned India’s largest fashion brand.


Rajesh Jain:(37:39)

So 140% increase in CTOR and a 50% uplift in NPS collection. Again, using amp Kotak bank, India’s fifth-largest bank, 30 million customers. So an 88% increase in active users using EMS a story format. That’s there. So in every one of these cases, we see that you make the engagement a core part. So the one-way email, which has been there, what we are, what customers have been seeing, makes it interactive and fun.

In many cases, like in the Kotak case, three or four sequenced mail was sent out telling the story every day. At the same time, these innovations can transform your or your email program. So how do you get started? So here’s a 90-day plan for a better email program, and you can measure monthly improvements using the hook score.


Rajesh Jain:(38:42)

Maybe in month one, you take 10% of your active email list, so you don’t want to disrupt what’s happening. So you take 10% of your list and try out the email two daily with amp and atomic rewards to drive engagement. So you can think of two types of emails going out to people: the regular campaign emails, maybe seven or 10, that you would send out typically in a month and the other 20 days. How do you use EMS to engage with your customers and send all the mails, basically at the same time, make it informative? So they start to expect it. That’s where emails start becoming a daily habit. In the second month, you could expand to about 40 actives, then look at the inactive and a model-like progency. What I described as an agency, which works independently, but as an extension of your team to do reactivation, the better the reactivation program, the less you will have to spend on expensive reacquisition later in the third month if the numbers are good. I’m very confident that you will see perfect measures, a very good increase in the hook score, and you can expand it to all actives.


Rajesh Jain:(39:59)

And the ideas we’ve spoken about here can be extended to all push channels, SMS, push notifications, WhatsApp, or any other push channels you use. And of course, email is the most important because you want to use push mechanisms to get people back to your properties, website, or app. So this is a way to get started. Of course, there can be many variations on this, but a simple way to measure progress at every stage. So that’s the power of email 2.0. How do we make email cool again, solving the problems of attention, recession, and data poverty, creating habits, and for brands and marketers, and CXOs, email can be the key for profit-centric marketing, you know, in a world where it is rising rapidly. I think email can be the transforming agent to convert the chief marketing officer into the chief profitability officer.


Rajesh Jain:(41:01)

So whether it’s attention solving the attention problem, collecting more data, building the hotline, or driving more loyalty, I think email two is your answer to transforming the brand-customer relationship. So that’s about me and netcore. I do a lot of writing. I write a couple of posts on my blog daily. I cover themes ready to market entrepreneurship in India. And if you go to Rajeshjain.com/marketing, these are the essays I have written over the last couple of years. So many ideas we’ve spoken about here have been explained tomorrow onwards, I’ll be starting a series of emails, two building on what we’ve discussed today, and that’s about netcore global company. And hopefully, you’ll have scanned the QR code to schedule every email throughout our workshop. So, where the end and Shar and I are here to take your questions, Nick.


Nicholas Einstein:(42:04)



Rajesh Jain:(42:03)

A few questions,


Nicholas Einstein:(42:05)

Great stuff. We do. We have a bunch of questions, and I will try to be efficient with them. I’m, I’m glad we left a little time for them. The first one here Shar for you in there, your char for you, and there, there’s kind of two here mixed around the same one. The first is your email review research of those a hundred campaigns you highlighted at the beginning. Are there any industries or types of messages that perform better or Feder or worse and, maybe aspects, what do they do particularly well? And then another one tied to that is frequency, criteria in there.


Shar VanBoskirk:(42:50)

Okay. So let’s answer the second half of that question. First, we don’t look at anything associated with the marketer’s decision about when or what communication to send. So it’s a user review. It’s just about what the user experiences in the message. Are they getting value from the message? Does it align with a typical set of expectations that a user of that email communication would get? And is it usable? Can they open up the message and understand the content from a design and digestibility perspective? We have another review I didn’t share today that looks at more marketer processes. So, in that case, we look at data, quality, data hygiene, and frequency of data hygiene. In that case, we look at the frequency and also at, is there a strategy associated with frequency?


Shar VanBoskirk:(43:49)

How are you determining how often someone hears from you and about what? But the communications I shared here are just the user review. So, industries tend to do better with a stronger history of direct marketing to a customer. So retail, in some instances, consumer goods, if they have a lot of data and they have a history of analyzing that data for customer communications, the industries that tend to perform the least well are regulated industries, telecom industries, healthcare, government, and public sector firms. So companies with regulatory issues that they’re dealing with or haven’t had a history of a lot of direct-to-customer marketing. And I will say, I’ll give you two sorts of, where are the most common pitfalls? And then, where are the places where companies tend to do a really good job?


Shar VanBoskirk:(44:44)

The most common pitfalls are in two areas. The first is around registration. So this registration process is clear and intuitive and everywhere. A user might think to register, so many marketers bury registration. They don’t put it on their homepage. They make it some series of loops that a user must jump through. So this is all about shortening the distance between the time a user wants to engage with your email program and their ability to give you their registration information and keeping that short, sweet, and user-centric. And then the second common pitfall is around the footer. So is the footer can-spam compliant? So it includes all of the essential elements of the can spam regulation, which is about a clear and conspicuous physical address. It has easy ways for a user to opt out.


Shar VanBoskirk:(45:45)

It indicates how quickly that opt-out will take place, but then there’s another dimension that we look for in the footer: is it easy for the user to change her preferences? If I change my email address if I change my name if I change my interests and my preferences, can I update that profile from the footer? So those are common pitfalls. The best performing areas where marketers do the best today are social media integration. Many good examples of companies integrating a forward capability or sharing this in your LinkedIn or your Facebook, or your Twitter profile. The next chapter of that would be better integration of user content into an email. So some of the interactivity that you just saw Rajesh share, could you include a poll or an ability to rate or review a product in an email, or could you pull something from your social media properties that have a rating and review there, or user feedback there, and then you could say, oh, other users like you are reading and using this product and here’s their response.


Shar VanBoskirk:(46:57)

So those are some of the observations from that review research that I think are very tactical best practices, but kind of inspirational ways to just look for incremental improvements in your campaigns.


Nicholas Einstein:(47:12)

Yep. Love it. Great stuff, Shar. We have a bunch of questions here. Rajesh, one for you here around atomic rewards you showed them an email. Can they be applied in other mediums? Maybe atomic rewards can appear in SMS, WhatsApp, push notifications, or other places.


Rajesh Jain:(47:37)

Oh, absolutely. Nick, the idea of atomic rewards is micro incentives to nudge behavior. And I think push channels are very important for a brand because that’s the only way most brands get their customers or prospects back to the website or their app. And therefore, while I showed the example here for email, it can be done for SMS push notifications, any place where a marketer would like to nudge behavior. And just to add one additional point to what Shar said in the previous question, what are the points that she said about the footer and about the email footer and some of the questions that you want that a marketer may want to ask on the customer change of address, maybe preferences, etc. Instead of sending people back to sending people to a preference center, it could all be done inside the email itself.


Rajesh Jain:(48:34)

So think of it this way: you have your amp footer just below the content like I showed in the mail, and that footer now can take up a life of its own. If you have some pleasant surprises in the footer, it’ll encourage people to open the mail and scroll down. Even if they want to skip the content to earn the rewards, they’ll slow down, and the objective is to get them to open, and as they open, they’ll start interacting or looking at the content you’re sending out even more. So the idea should make rewards. So atomic rewards are about driving attention and capturing data. So the upstream from transactions, a lot of incentives on transactions, but look at the upstream attention and engagement and data.


Nicholas Einstein:(49:22)

Love it. Great stuff, Rajesh. Maybe a quick follow-up question to that we have here can atomic rewards be combined with my loyalty program? There’s someone here who has their loyalty program. Can atomic rewards, are they going to confuse their users, or can or can they be integrated?


Rajesh Jain:(49:41)

Absolutely. It can be combined. What brands may find is that the tech integration may be a little time-consuming. In which case, it may be better to sign up with a pan brand loyalty program. And we will be introducing that in net core very soon. And there are a lot of exciting things which can be done. I think you can use tokens. You can tokenize attention and data. So some of the web three ideas can apply with an email also. So watch out for some of these innovations coming out later this year from netcore.


Nicholas Einstein:(50:17)

Nice. Love it. Speaking of innovations, one for you from the audience, Is augmented reality in emails still conceptual, or has it been tried anywhere? That was a bullet point early on? I think


Shar VanBoskirk:(50:32)

So. I’ll give you an example of a program I have seen, and Rajesh may have some that they’ve built. Still, the program I’ve seen is from Wayfair, where the email is sent and intentionally designed for a mobile device. So I received the email. I open it on my mobile phone and then use my camera. I can take the product pitched in the email and see what it looks like in my space. So it’s perfect for something like that, where I might want to look at furniture, and I just can’t get a gauge for how the shape or the style would fit in my space. So, the email is meant to be used to interact with your physical space, and then it brings it into the email so that you can see how the different products they’re pitching in the email would work. So that’s the example that I’ve seen, and I think it makes a lot of sense for that retailer because of how they’ve, how they’ve applied, you know, that sort of virtual reality type of capability.


Rajesh Jain:(51:37)

I think it’s an outstanding idea, shar. We haven’t done it, but I think that should probably get added to the email to


Nicholas Einstein:(51:45)

Nice. Nice. We’re on it for sure. Love


Shar VanBoskirk:(51:49)

It. Yeah. Now I’ve just added that to your product roadmap.


Nicholas Einstein:(51:54)

Indeed. Several questions here about whether people can get copies of the slides and the recording. And of course, yes, we’ll be sending you copies of the slides and the recording. An interesting question for you here, Rajesh, is about EMS, as they are primarily informative and non-promotional. How do we measure the ROI of those types of campaigns? And, and I think that’s a good one, maybe for you too, Shar, as I know you’re big on conversations, not just conversions, but, but your thoughts on that, Rajesh,


Rajesh Jain:(52:30)

I think it’s a perfect point on how you measure engagement. What are informative emails? I think the way I’d look at it is that it can be small. Of course, opens would be one way to track, which is becoming harder. But there are many. There are some creative ways, despite what Google and Apple are doing. I think we can start. We can track email opens. But the second thing I think is that there are two simple ideas which can be done, encourage people to click on the website to get further information. Third, the second idea, sorry, is to have some interactivity component in the footer of the email. So essentially, what happens then is that I’m opening the email to read the informative content, but something else catches my eye and could be supremely trackable.


Rajesh Jain:(53:30)

The key in this is really that what you want to do is to make EMS a habit. So what you should be able to do, or a brand should be able to do, is the regular campaigns, which are going out, should see an increase in engagement. We are training people to do that look every day. At the same time, you will get something exciting from the brand. And what you want to be able to do is to use a combination of atomic rewards, exciting, interactive ideas, gamification, etc., to make sure that instead of ignoring 80 to 90% of the time, they start opening 80 to 90% of the time. I think that’s the shift we want to drive from a delete mindset to a delight mindset. And that’s where not just EMS by itself, but EMS combined with AMMP combined with atomic rewards. Can I think it to be a compelling proposition to drive engagement intensity, resulting in a higher hook score as they go forward?


Shar VanBoskirk:(54:34)

So I was just writing down a few different metrics to think about that. I think work that mine is a little more Frame working where Rajesh is giving you actual ways to do me the metrics. So I’ll just share. I like to think about email measurement in two primary categories. One is around effectiveness, and one is around efficiency. And on the effectiveness side, I think marketers gravitate very much toward the clicks and opens. Still, I will just add yes, look at what transactions are driving the actual immediate transaction that an email drives, but then there might be a couple of other things that would also give you a gauge of email as an effective driver of action. One would be around effectively driving some brand score. So, is a customer engaging or changing their attitude about you because of an email that they saw.


Shar VanBoskirk:(55:35)

And then the third one is about the overall increased value of a customer group simply because they are an email subscriber. So that’s slightly different from what I got in the email. I opened it, I clicked, and I bought the product advertised. This is more that because I get your emails, I tend to be more valuable to you. I buy more in whatever channel I advocate for you to my friends and am directly responsible for them increasing their engagement with you. So those would be around effectiveness. Then the other idea I have is about efficiency. And here, I like to look at assists, you know, if you were keeping stats in a basketball game, someone who didn’t make the shot, but was the one who, who gave the, who assisted in the shot how is email assisting?


Shar VanBoskirk:(56:23)

Another campaign is email priming; you see something in the inbox, which makes you more apt to respond to a banner ad or a direct mail communication that comes subsequently. So that’s a sort of an assisted score. Then the second is around work efficiency. Does email help an internal marketing team perform more efficiently? I’ve got automated capabilities, so I can get my direct marketing communications out faster and more efficiently than maybe what I was doing in another medium because email is so good and so automated and so addressable. And then the last one I have is, does email help a marketing team take less effort to reach their objectives? So would it usually take me a year to get someone to convert? Still, with email, I get them to convert in six months, or because I’m using email in concert with a stream of other communications, is it shortening the process for a customer to become a platinum tier instead of a gold tier? So some efficiency metrics might be helpful to track there as well. So those are my thoughts, my framework, and maybe a way to organize how some of the specific practices that Rajesh was just speaking about could be applied.


Rajesh Jain:(57:42)

And just to add one more quick thing from what you said, you can have the rating, which I had given, shown in the demo. You can rate every email. Was this useful or not useful for you using the amp. And the first time, marketers can get feedback on the content they’re sending out.


Shar VanBoskirk:(58:01)

I love that too direct feedback,


Rajesh Jain:(58:05)

Direct, absolutely, Nick.


Nicholas Einstein:(58:09)

Excellent stuff. We have several more questions here. We’re not going to be able to get to all of them. And again, we’ll follow up on email one, a couple of quickies. Do we have any data Rajesh that that interactive email affects inboxing, or are we getting in the inbox with these?


Rajesh Jain:(58:27)

Where it will, does make a difference, greater engagement will drive more inboxing.


Nicholas Einstein:(58:32)



Rajesh Jain:(58:34)

Yep. And attractive meals will be more engaging. Yep. Engagement and intensity increase.


Nicholas Einstein:(58:39)

For sure. Another quickie in, in terms of in, in markets where maybe there’s less support for amp, you know, again, iOS Yahoo, absolutely supporting amp, making a big push around it now, Gmail for sure. You know, driving it less so apple, any advice for those addressing that apple crew.


Rajesh Jain:(59:06)

The quick answer would be that you can use the other ideas: EMS and atomic rewards. And the other idea, of course, is if you like what you see, then get a Gmail ID and use the Gmail app or Chrome.


Nicholas Einstein:(59:23)

There we go. Exactly. Yeah. Customer-driven Rajesh. Thank you very much for taking the time today. Thank you, Shar, for making the time, and thanks to everyone for joining us today. If you have more questions about email 2.0, the various components of email 2.0, or just want to see it in action, you can certainly reach out to [email protected]. You can also download the Forrester wave for email marketing service providers. Q1 2022 is an excellent piece of research. Shar wishes everyone the best; Shar, thank you, Rajesh. Thank you. And, and thank everyone for joining us.


Rajesh Jain:(59:36)

Thank you, everyone.


Shar VanBoskirk:(1:00:09)

Thank you so much.



You’ve been listening to, for the love of emails, a podcast powered by netcore; hit subscribe in your favorite podcast player to make sure you never miss an episode. To learn more about effective email communications and engagement through AI-powered email solutions, visit netcore.co, the only global email engagement leader, delivering marketing ROI and value to 20 plus global unicorns and 5,000 plus brands for over two decades.

Unlock unmatched customer experiences,
get started now
Let us show you what's possible with Netcore.