Morning Brew Wins Email Hero Award for Best Newsletter

 Lauren Harris 

Winning the Email Hero Award for Best Newsletter, this week we’re featuring Morning Brew!

To understand what went into this award-winning campaign, we interviewed Tyler Denk, Product & Growth Lead at Morning Brew.

What were the goals of this particular campaign?
Our goal is to educate and inform millions of young professionals about the latest news in business and technology. While traditional business news tends to be dry and dense—Morning Brew uses an unconventional witty and charismatic style of journalism to provide an enjoyable (and informative) reading experience.

In addition to the content itself, we have worked tirelessly to build responsive and aesthetically pleasing emails that make our reading experience bar none. We plan to replicate this style of newsletter to include other niche categories in 2019 to make the world a more informed place, regardless of the type of content you prefer to enjoy.

Did you face any key challenges along the way?
Initially as a small startup of a just a few employees, we had limited resources (and knowledge) about the email space. We were inexperienced and were faced with the challenge of scaling our newsletter audience extremely quickly. I began my tenure at Morning Brew by taking calls with countless “experts” in the space who have scaled massive email lists. Within my first few months I decided to churn over 100k subscribers who were inactive. From there we migrated to a new ESP, invested in Return Path, set up several customized on-boarding journeys, built automated re-engagement campaigns (with a strict two-month churning window), built a unique two-account approach to optimize deliverability, utilized several A/B tests, and implemented a few other unique automated emails for those who were lacking engagement to get them back on track. We were challenged to learn email best-practices and make use of new analytics and tools on the fly as we scaled incredibly fast.

What were your campaign results?
We have a list of 800,000 active subscribers (remember strict 2 month churning window), and will surpass 1 million active by the end of January 2019. We have what I like to consider one of the highest engaged audiences in the email space—with a daily unique open rate consistently north of 45 percent and a ~10 percent click-through-rate. Aside from the surplus of email replies, tweets, and shoutouts praising our newsletter…it’s a bit more tangible to measure just how many of our readers feel inclined to share our newsletter with others. Of our active subscribers, 95,000 of them have shared Morning Brew using their unique referral code with at least 1 person (that’s over 10% of our entire list). We also have a premium newsletter, Light Roast, that goes out Sundays reserved for those with 3+ referrals. As of this writing, our Light Roast list has 37,500 subscribers. We improved our deliverability from ~60 percent to 99 percent and open rates from ~20 percent to ~45 percent.

How did you achieve these results?
When migrating to a new ESP, obviously the technicalities and infrastructure of our program shifted dramatically with the change. We used Return Path’s tools to monitor our IP address reputation incredibly closely day-to-day to ensure that the health of our IP addresses were not impacting our deliverability during this transition. This monitoring became even more important when we migrated again from a shared IP address account to sending from two dedicated IP addresses. Now that we own the absolute reputation of these IP addresses monitoring their health became even more important. Checking the deliverability amongst mailbox providers within Campaign Overview became a routine practice for us, and allowed us to identify problems with specific providers and contact support from both Return Path and our ESP to assist us, when necessary.

As of September 2018 we had our two dedicated IP addresses join the Return Path Certification Program as well.

Below are before and after images showing where we began before we completely revamped our sending practices and mail program compared to where we are today.

Aside from monitoring reputation and feedback loops within Return Path, we also take a proactive approach and routinely use the spam test prior to sending campaigns to ensure that our mail is optimized for deliverability from a technical approach. Eliminating any sort of “red flags” within our emails ensure that our audience receives our emails most reliably.

For our complete list of winners, go here.

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About Lauren Harris

Lauren Harris is Return Path's Customer Marketing Manager for Email Optimization based in our California office. She enjoys working closely with Return Path customers first as an Account Coordinator, then Technical Account Manager and now from the marketing side. Outside of work, Lauren can be found snowboarding in the winter, taking beach trips in the summer, and cheering on the 49ers. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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