Shani Boston is the Senior Director of Product Development Operations at Mailchimp and oversees product and engineering operations. She has been recognized for her strong research skills which help companies uncover hidden opportunities and accelerate business growth.
Email has made its way from being a messaging medium to an essential marketing tool which organizations leverage to deliver their message and build meaningful relationships with customers.
As much as 81% of SMBs still rely on email marketing as their primary customer acquisition channel, whereas 80% use it for client retention.
Despite the growing number of communication channels, such as social media, email remains strong and continues to grow.
To learn more about the potential and relevance of email marketing, we talked to Shani Boston, Senior Director of Product Development Operations at Mailchimp.
Shani also discussed the biggest email marketing trends in 2023 and shared some tips on businesses leveraging Mailchimp.
Spotlight: Research suggests that the number of global email users is expected to reach 4.6 billion in 2025 which debunks the myth that “email marketing is dead.” Why is email marketing still relevant today?
Shani Boston: Mailchimp customers send half a billion emails each day, and they’re adding 1 million new email addresses to our platform each day, so we know that email marketing is alive and well.
Email continues to be a quick and cost-effective method for businesses to broadly communicate with customers in a personalized way. It’s a recognized and trusted channel that customers interact with on a daily basis.
Email is also ready-made for tracking. You can see analytics for opens, sends and click rates, which helps our customers determine their return on investment fast and prove the value of their campaigns. Not all marketing channels can give you that level of reach and insight so quickly,
Email is making its way despite the growing popularity of social media platforms. Can you provide a few reasons why businesses should prioritize email over social media marketing strategies?
Email and social media are complementary and are both necessary tools to have in your marketing strategy, but email’s ability to reach a broad group of customers in a cost-effective and personalized way with segmentation is unmatched.
Think about who your subscribers are, and what kind of information matters most to them. If your diverse audience groups with different needs all receive the same campaign, some could become frustrated by irrelevant content and stop opening your emails.
You can use subscriber location, interests, or activity to segment campaigns, so you can send the right content to the right people. Segmentation helps you create stronger campaigns and build trust with your subscribers. Segmenting your audience will also increase conversion rate, and you'll get better email results than sending generic emails. On average, segmented email marketing campaigns result in 23% higher open rates and 49% higher click-through rates than unsegmented campaigns.
While we’ve predominantly been known as an email marketing company, we’ve expanded our offerings in recent years to include social channels and ensure our customers are able to create holistic marketing strategies that make their marketing go farther.
How does Mailchimp help businesses create targeted email campaigns for building relationships and retaining clients?
Mailchimp helps businesses create targeted email campaigns by giving them the right marketing toolkit to know their customers, create engaging content for them and drive sales.
One of the best tools we offer for customers to stay top-of-mind for their audiences and deliver timely messages is Customer Journey Builder, a highly customizable Mailchimp feature that allows you to automate marketing messages based on how people have (or haven’t) interacted with your business. With automated emails built in Customer Journey Builder, Mailchimp customers saw up to 127% increase in click rates compared to bulk emails.*
One of our customers, Dirty Girl Produce, used Customer Journey Builder to target customers who hadn’t bought anything from them in 60 days when sales dipped in the summer of 2021.
They built out an automated workflow, and with just a few clicks, the team at Dirty Girl Produce could reach their audience at strategic moments, automatically. They set up automated emails for users who’d engaged with their emails but hadn’t purchased anything yet and motivated them to purchase with a discount offer.
This was followed by an email with a subject line that conveyed urgency and a final opportunity to use that discount code. In just one week, Dirty Girl Produce’s first automated customer journey experiment resulted in a ~35% boost in sales from their emails.
*CJB only available on paid plans. Features and functionality of CJB vary by plan.
How about email localization on Mailchimp? What are the best practices for leveraging this feature?
Over 50% of Mailchimp’s customers are located outside of the United States, so making sure our app and tools are easy to use for entrepreneurs and marketers all over the world is definitely a focus for us, but we don’t have a specific localization feature.
“Content Optimizer” is one of the best Mailchimp features. What makes it special and how can businesses boost their email engagement with data-driven suggestions?
Most email marketing tools can only tell you how your campaigns performed. Content Optimizer takes this a step further and tells our customers why something did or didn’t perform.
Content Optimizer is special because it analyzes data from billions of marketing interactions in the Mailchimp platform and benchmarks our customers’ email content against millions of top-performing campaigns in their industry and offers data-backed suggestions to improve their results.
Marketers and entrepreneurs using Mailchimp can leverage the collective data of our entire platform with Content Optimizer and lean on recommendations that will help them make their email marketing more effective by engaging customers and generating sales.
Mailchimp was built for small businesses as an alternative to expensive email software. Why did you decide to particularly focus on the SMB market?
Mailchimp started as a small business, and our founders’ families ran small businesses growing up. They knew first-hand the challenges that small businesses faced and that there were very few solutions to help them.
Almost half of small businesses fail within the first 3 to 5 years so our founders saw an opportunity to help them. Our company motto is, “Listen hard, change fast,” and we’ve kept that motto close to heart over the years to make sure that we’re always evolving and delivering what small businesses need to thrive and beat those odds.