April 23rd, 2021

How to Customize the Subscriber Experience with Postable

Do you remember your first letter? Maybe you found a pen pal across the world. Or you just got a letter from some guy in a green striped shirt with a bowl cut and wondered who it was from. We chatted about promotional emails from Postable with Emily Ryan, a Mailchimp Pro Partner, owner of the agency Westfield Creative, and taco lover.


This FF episode was sponsored by Netcore. Revolutionize email experiences with the only email delivery platform that leverages AI to power deliverability and increased customer engagement.

Matt Helbig: What's up, Email Geeks? Welcome back to another episode of Feedback Friday, this week with a special guest, Emily Ryan. How's it going?

Emily Ryan: Hey, it's going awesome.

Matt Helbig: So, tell me a little bit about yourself.

Emily Ryan: Yes. I'm a Mailchimp Pro Partner. We manage a lot of e-commerce clients and do pretty much only Mailchimp emails for clients and happened to stumble upon one of my favorite companies, Postable, and didn't even realize, but they're using Mailchimp. So I'm really excited about this.

We're kind of obsessed with Freddy and all things that this platform can do.

Matt Helbig: Very cool. Could you tell me what a Pro Partner is?

Emily Ryan: That's a really good question. It means we have a lot of Mailchimp clients. Anyone can actually join.

It's called Mailchimp & Co if you Google that. And then I think you have to have a certain number of paying Mailchimp clients to become a partner. And then the highest level is called a Pro Partner, and you also have to have a number of Mailchimp certifications. So I've done three Mailchimp certifications on email marketing automations, and the basic Mailchimp one. And then you're one of the Pro Partners. It's pretty cool.

Matt Helbig: Cool. Well, this episode isn't sponsored by Mailchimp, but we are fans at Really Good Emails. I think it's a great tool too. For new email people just getting into email, especially small businesses to spin up some sort of email program.

I do feel like every small business company feels like they should be doing email, but they might not have enough time or resources to do it. And so I think Mailchimp makes it a little easier for you, especially people just starting out, trying to see what email can actually do. And then I think it's a good starting place for someone's email journey.

Emily Ryan: Yeah, and for many years we focused on small businesses ‘cause there's a huge, huge need for Mailchimp help there. But a lot of our clients now are actually medium-sized e-commerce brands. You would be surprised at the people using Mailchimp, a lot of well-known brands and personalities and such.

Matt Helbig: Very cool. Well, Postable is an email brand that we've paid attention to for a good amount of time. At this point, I think they bring a really fun brand voice to all their emails and try not to over-complicate stuff within their emails. And I think it's just a bonus that they're actually using Mailchimp to get a lot of these emails out.

Emily Ryan: Totally. And I think that Postable is such a great example of a brand really using email to showcase what their brand is. I mean, you look at this and you instantly see we're friendly and we're enjoyable and easy. I actually use Postable a ton for my own cards, just ‘cause it's the easiest platform to use, and their emails really match what their platform does there. They're very simple. They're very easy. They're quick. The platform's quick. So that's one of the things I love about their emails. So yeah, so excited to talk through these.

Matt Helbig: Very cool. So this first one just looks like a summer sale, very simple, just a few lines of text, right to that CTA, and then a fun engaging GIF.

Emily Ryan: They use a lot of GIFs and animations, which is something I love. And they're really well-done animations. If you look at this, everything moves. Sometimes you'll create a GIF and it's choppy, you know, it's choppy and whatever, but these all work smoothly. The clouds are smooth.

Even the tongue moves a little bit. I just think it's so brilliantly created. I love their use of animation and they use it in their transactional emails quite a bit as well, which I love. But one thing that always sticks out to me about Postable, they really have a kind of set template, if you get any of their emails, and they always put the button, the CTA up top before the image, which I just love. You don't see that often.

You see headline, maybe some subtext and then the image, and then usually the buttons, either in the image or below, but I love that they always put it up top. It's just super simple to see what you're getting, see the discount right away. And of course, it's above the fold on mobile. So I love that.

Matt Helbig: Yeah. I think they do a really good job of just paring down the content. And I think something like Mailchimp with their WYSIWYG template builder, it's pretty easy to pull in some nice use of live text and have a bulletproof button. That's actually live text as well and incorporate a GIF to include that color as the background. So it's not too many elements, but it can be delivered really simply. And it communicates the message really effectively.

Emily Ryan: I think a lot of their emails have this full background color, which a lot of email designers forget to do.

Let's make the whole email one big background color. And then the footer is white, which is interesting ‘cause I tend to do a colorful footer and then a white body. So I love how they do that. And then, of course, the GIF is placed with a transparent background on this nice color, which is great. This is such a simple email, but it really just works so well.

I read something about the founder that when they were first starting to create these emails, that she was getting glasses or something. And she was like, I can't, I need to be able to read the text really big. And so all their headers are pretty large. You'll see some other examples that are a little bit bigger, but I love how they're not scared to use a 24 point font or whatever it is. I'm a huge fan of using larger font sizes. I mean the subtext is a little small here.

I would maybe even pop that up one or two points, especially ‘cause it has the coupon code, but I love how they do these bigger headlines.

Matt Helbig: Yep. Totally agree.

Moving on to another one of their emails, this one is for Cyber Monday. It's pretty similar to the previous one using a sort of a similar layout and a nice GIF here as well.

Emily Ryan: Same template. That's why I'm such a fan. I just love that. I know what to expect when I see Postable in my inbox. I know exactly what I'm going to get. And I know that it's going to be enjoyable and cute and fun. But I know it's just going to be an easy email to read.

It doesn't feel spammy. It's just super simple. The GIFs are always clever. They're always super clever. The one thing I find a little strange, I will say is that the logo and maybe this is just where it's cropped for, but the logo seems really at the top. I would put a teeny bit more padding at the very top of the email. Bring down that logo a teeny bit and then a little bit more space right under the logo before the text. It just seems like there's a lot at the top.

Matt Helbig: Yeah. What are your thoughts on having a big logo at the top? I feel like sometimes it's important in the from name that people know your brand, but once you open up the email, I feel like some people can have too large of a logo taking up the whole hero section.

Emily Ryan: I do think the logo is a teeny bit big here. I don't think it's a huge problem, but I think it could come down just a little bit. It does cut into the headline Cyber Monday madness. So I would downsize that.

Matt Helbig: There are lots of things like bolding the coupon promo.

I really like that text formatting and fun CTAs rather than just, learn more something, or buy now. It brings some really cool personality to their emails.

Emily Ryan: It’s just easy. And one thing I noticed in the footer, they do use a lot of navy blue and throughout all their emails, a lot of blues, but then you have these social icons that are black and it just threw me off.

I've seen that in quite a few of their emails, but I would love to see those icons match their branding a little bit more.

Matt Helbig: Unlike when brands might put a piece of text here, some creative copywriting, follow us somewhere.

Emily Ryan: Or something like you can find us quickest on these platforms.

Matt Helbig: Yeah. I think these are sort of necessary in some ways, but I think there's an argument that these don't get a lot of clicks sometimes, or maybe you should focus on one channel or something. I think these are pretty standard, but there might be a way for them to experiment with these a little bit better.

Especially if you're spending a lot of time on just Instagram or just Twitter or something like that.

Emily Ryan: Yeah, for myself, I used to have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. I said, you know what? No. I am mostly on Instagram and Twitter. I'm only going to have two icons. And I really think I've seen people do just one icon and I love that. I would be more likely to click if I saw that they were just on Twitter.

Matt Helbig: And so what happens if this was all one image here? Why do you think live text might be important for brands?

Emily Ryan: I am happy to see that. We talk a lot about all-image emails not being a smart thing in email. Live text is super important because obviously if we have wifi issues, issues with our connection, that's going to load and that's the most important part of the email. I think it's awesome and it makes it easy for Postable to create their emails.

They can just pop into Mailchimp, change up the text. They probably have the style set, and then they'd throw in their animation right below. I think you have to have live text in your email somewhere throughout your email.

Matt Helbig: I'm glad you're making a stand.

Emily Ryan: Yes. It's a must.

Matt Helbig: Okay. Well, this one is almost like a reactivation email. It's a reminder to prep their audience for the holidays coming up, asking them to go into some account settings, to make sure that the information is up to date.

Emily Ryan: Yeah. You see here, this is a little bit of a departure from their fun, colorful emails.

It's obviously an important one, and a big part of Postable is their address book. They have this amazing address book where you can share a link with people, and they can go in and update their address. That's why I love the program. I think they're using that big headline, asking a question.

The spacing is interesting ‘cause below the button, you have that good amount of space. I would like to see that same amount of space under the logo as well, equal spacing maybe.

Matt Helbig: Yeah. I agree with that. It is interesting to see that they're using almost the exact same template that they did previously promotional emails to do some more account-based triggers.

I was actually hoping this might be a GIF or something, just because of all the other previous examples we've seen. I think this is a way to remind someone, get them back into the product without really over-complicating it. I think time is such an aspect for small business owners. If you want to get the message across, this is an effective way to do that versus, oh, well we can't send this because we have to redesign it or something. I think a lot of times you just want to try to get the message across and get people back to the site.

Emily Ryan: Right. And I think it is a great example of showing how email marketing can be so simple for a small business. You create this very simple template. I mean, we're talking logo, headline, buttons, and an image. So easy and they've been using it for years and it's super effective. I always tell people your emails don't need to be complicated.

I think you said once, where can you clean the clutter in your email? And I think this is a great example of cleaning out the clutter.

Matt Helbig: Exactly. So why do you think a message like this might not work as well on social? I mean, do you feel like emails can be a little bit more personal?

Emily Ryan: Yeah, you're coming right into someone's inbox. It's going to be super effective. Who knows if you're going to reach someone through an algorithm on Facebook or Instagram, this is a great way to get right in the inbox before the holidays say, listen, let's make sure things are up to date.

There are all kinds of stats showing how email is five times more effective than social, or I don't know the exact stat, but it's just incredibly powerful to be able to come into an inbox.

Matt Helbig: Yeah. And I think one other thing about Postable that I really like is I feel like they don't message you a lot. So when they come into your inbox, it feels like they have really something important to say. Everything feels focused and they're not always just trying to let you know the latest things.

They're really thinking of you and serving you as a customer saying, okay, don't miss this holiday. Make sure that you're sending this rather than the latest car designs, which might be interesting for some people. But I think they're setting up these emails to solve a problem, which is okay. Holidays are coming up. We don't want you to miss out.

Emily Ryan: They will send emails once you create a card or send cards. I think they really save a lot of their email marketing for when they're using their product. Do you have any of those great order confirms?

My favorite part of Postable is getting this order confirmation. Oh, my gosh, look at that. Look at the GIF here. It's so great. I use Postable all the time and you get this each time and it's a fun little add-on once you've ordered your card.

My only complaint about this email, and it's so silly, I tend to create four or five postal cards at a time, and I'll get these. And I have no idea which order this is for it. It doesn't give a name or address. I would love to see some merge tags used for this order so I can know this person's card is confirmed.

Matt Helbig: Yeah, I feel like they could maybe add in some more details or if they really want to take it to the next level, maybe even personalize this GIF with your card being made or something wild.

Emily Ryan: Yeah, a Nifty Images type That would be amazing.

Matt Helbig: It’s really cool to see that brand voice and copywriting and design kind of come into these transactional emails.

Cause I feel like a lot of brands, once they make that sale, they sorta just send you the very default plain text order confirmed sort of email. Kudos to Postable for taking that extra time and really keeping that communication throughout that process, feeling really on brand.

Emily Ryan: Exactly.

You can tell, they put a little bit of work into these. They have this order confirmation and then they have your cards being sent and both of those are wonderful, lovely emails. So yeah, major kudos.

Matt Helbig: Yeah. I liked the call-out to customer support too. That's always nice to see.

Emily Ryan: It's nice to have that little touch of a light blue background there to kind of set that off. And then, they put follow us below that. They did great. I thought I saw a merge tag down at the bottom, but, nope, it looks great.

Matt Helbig: Perfect. And this last one is another update to let you know that your card was mailed. Pretty cool.

Emily Ryan: It's adorable.

Matt Helbig: Yeah, I think they're just a very fun brand. Adding some fun touches to this whole experience. Making it feel like a process that might be kind of boring or not that exciting, putting together all these addresses and sending out cards.

I think they do really well with their email communications.

Emily Ryan: Yeah, and it's in here, they do say that your card was sent to whichever person. But I love how the truck has the logo on it, and it rounds out your kind of experience of sending a card, very much like your order has shipped.

 It's nice and I love the color. I love when they use color in their emails and they do have a lot of emails that use that cream. I think they're a fun kind of cheerful brand. So I love seeing the yellow.

Matt Helbig: I'm really curious too, maybe they send some additional emails after this if it gets delivered or asking you, how was that experience?

Emily Ryan: I don't think there is a delivery, like your card was delivered. I could be wrong, but that would be really nice because I often don't know.

Matt Helbig: Cool. So anything else that you might change with Postable’s emails?

Emily Ryan: No. I mean, I think they're wonderful.

I love how they have the CTA up top. I think sometimes the spacing is kind of strange in between sections. This one looks really good. This one, when you talk about the, I think you call it measure, how the lines or the text is measured across.

I would add a return before happy summer everybody, and just really space out that text a little better. Is that called measure in typography?

Matt Helbig: I think Matthew has a little bit of a better grasp on that, but I agree that adding a break tag after summer would make it read a little bit better.

Emily Ryan: Condense that long line, and then after that coupon code, I would hard return there as well. That kind of drives me a little crazy there that there's one long line of text, but otherwise, I think it's great.

And then making those social buttons match the branding, everything else. Oh, there's the merge tag at the bottom. Somehow that didn't. And that could be done on this version. Got to check those texts for sure.

Matt Helbig: Well, great job, Postable. I know we are fans. Definitely subscribe, maybe order someone a card and say thank you.

Emily Ryan: Yeah, their Mother's Day cards are so good.

Matt Helbig: Very true. Great. Well, where can we find you online? I know you were posting some great tips over on Instagram. It's a new favorite account to follow, but anywhere else?

Emily Ryan: Oh, that's so nice. Yeah, I'm mostly on Instagram, @EmilyRyanLikes. My company is westfield-creative.com, and I'm on Twitter as well, @EmilyRyanTweets. I'm always around.

Matt Helbig: Fantastic. What kind of clients are you looking for right now? Is there a certain group of people?

Emily Ryan: Oh, that's such a great question. We really love e-commerce brands because I love working with someone that has a great product. It makes email marketing so much easier. We have in the past worked with everyone from lawyers and coffee shops and realtors. But we really love brands trying to launch new brands as well.

I love working with business owners that are just super busy and they really want someone they can trust to just kind of be there as their email marketing team. We do that weekly management of your emails, so always looking for that “we're just too busy and we need some help” kind of client.

Matt Helbig: Perfect. Well, thanks again for jumping on. I really enjoyed talking to you.

Emily Ryan: Thank you so much. This was so fun.

Matt Helbig: Great. Happy Friday.


Feedback Friday



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