Email Marketing: Steffen Schebesta of Sendinblue on Why It’s Still Effective Way to Reach Your Audience

Email Marketing: Steffen Schebesta of Sendinblue on Why It’s Still Effective Way to Reach Your Audience

Interview by Ricardo EstevesRicardo Esteves
Published: March 25, 2023

Who Is Steffen Schebesta

Steffen Schebesta serves as the CEO of North America & VP of Corporate Development at Sendinblue, with over 15 years of experience in email marketing. Before joining Sendinblue, he was the founder and co-CEO of Newsletter2Go, an email marketing provider in the German market. Steffen holds a master's degree in business and electrical engineering from The Technical University of Berlin.

Email marketing has been a proven strategy to reach and communicate to a large number of customers and prospects. While email marketing can be an effective tool for businesses to promote their products or services, it can also come with certain risks and challenges.

With the rise of dangers to data privacy, sender reputation, spam detectors and other aspects that can harm a business, companies had to re-work their email marketing strategies and adopt best practices that prioritize the recipient's experience.

In this interview, we speak to Steffen Schebesta, Sendinblue’s CEO for North America & VP of Corporate Development to go over the strategies and, biggest challenges in email marketing. We also talk about how to measuring success, stay competitive and how Sendinblue helps businesses improve their email deliverability rates and use data to leverage campaigns.

Spotlight: Personalization is a growing trend in email marketing. What are the effective ways to segment and target audiences based on their interests and behavior?

Steffen Schebesta: There are numerous segmentation tactics, including group categorization such as demographics, psychographics, geographics, behavioral data, email activity like engagement, open rates or click-through rates; as well as past purchases, personal interests, and more.

If you’re relatively new to email marketing, I recommend starting with the basics. Use the data you already have. For instance, if you’re selling clothes online and you know the gender of your subscribers, use that.

Over time, try to collect more valuable data, e.g., through first and zero-party data. Experiment with different cohorts and analyze your success. There's not one size fits all in segmentation, so try to understand what works best for your audience.

How can customer data and insights be leveraged to create more personalized and relevant marketing content?

Using your customers’ names, as well as other relevant information such as geographic location and past purchase history, can help add a personal touch to your content. Beyond the basics, identify and provide relevant recommendations for your customers.

You can do this by analyzing the purchase history in your customer database. For example, if you run an e-commerce shop, you can share recommendations on what customers with similar preferences like or products similar to the items the customer recently viewed.

Your company has been in the email marketing industry for over a decade. How has Sendinblue seen email marketing evolve, and why do you think it makes such a powerful tool for businesses?

Over the past decade, email marketing has moved away from one-size-fits-all mass mailings to a personalized form of communication. Email blasts, once viewed as an acceptable form of marketing, simply became a thing of the past and has been replaced by personalized and automated campaigns.

Years following this change, we saw a stronger emphasis on consumer data privacy. This ultimately forced businesses to change their email marketing strategies.

What hasn’t changed after all these years is the notion that email marketing is “dead.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this claim from marketers. What’s fascinating is that email marketing has historically been proven to be one of the top performing channels for marketers. This holds true to this day.

Email marketing is the most profitable and cost-effective direct marketing channel, generating an average return on investment of $42 for every $1 spent.

Sendinblue logo

One of the challenges of email marketing is getting your messages to land in your subscribers’ inboxes. How does Sendinblue help businesses improve their email deliverability rates, and what factors can impact email deliverability?

At Sendinblue, we take pride in having the highest deliverability rates in the industry. We have a strict anti-spam policy in place and are part of different associations spreading the same views, such as the Certified Sender Alliance or Signal Spam.

All of our email campaign and transactional campaign applications are supported by a global network of secure servers that are constantly optimized to achieve the best deliverability possible. We also offer our customers various options to give them even more control over their email deliverability, including customizing the DKIM, SPF, and DMARC protocols, as well as dedicated IPs for larger-volume senders.

There are several factors that can impact email deliverability. The major factor for your emails to reach your recipients' inboxes is the quality of your database. Import only contacts who expect to receive your email campaigns. If your contacts are expecting to hear from you, they will be more likely to open your emails and click on your links.

Non-existent email addresses can hurt companies' overall deliverability. Unengaged contacts lower your campaign engagement rates, which ties back to your sender reputation with email providers.

After a campaign, how do you measure the success of your clients’ email marketing efforts? Can you give Us examples of successful campaigns or case studies using Sendinblue?

First and foremost, it’s critical for any business to create a list of campaign goals. Goals can vary from generating new leads to increasing your subscriber count or converting more leads into paying customers.

After you’ve set your goals, create a list of KPIs to judge the performance of your campaigns. Example KPIs include open rate, click rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate. The next step is to analyze the performance of the KPIs in your email dashboard. At Sendinblue, our easy-to-use dashboard gives users a unified view of their contacts and campaign performance.

Sendinblue’s robust features have enabled businesses of all sizes to automate campaigns, achieve personalization at scale, and drive maximum revenue and customer relationship management impact. For example, local U.S. banking provider Island Federal Credit Union began working with Sendinblue in 2021.

Since then, they've seen their open rates hit 80% and have achieved a near-zero unsubscribe rate. The banking partner credits part of its email marketing success to Sendinblue's functional platform, in particular the email segmentation and automation features.

With so many digital marketing channels available, how does Sendinblue stay competitive and provide value to its users? Are there any exciting new features or updates that users can look forward to?

Sendinblue offers a full suite of digital marketing and sales services, including email, SMS, marketing automation, live chat, meeting coordination, CRM, and more. These top-ranked and user-friendly features allow businesses to achieve personalization at scale across every marketing, sales and customer service touchpoint without sacrificing time or precious resources.

The latest addition to the Sendinblue platform was in February with our integration of the WhatsApp Business Platform to enable one-to-one or mass marketing messages for small and medium-sized businesses. Later this year, we plan on announcing new features that will support the growing marketing needs of both SMBs and mid-market businesses.

Lastly, what best practices would you offer to businesses new to email marketing and digital communication?

Test, test, and test again. I can’t stress this enough. A/B testing, also known as split testing for campaigns, is table stakes. Without A/B testing, you miss out on the opportunity to optimize your email campaigns.

When it comes to emails, it’s important to personalize the way you reach and engage with subscribers. So, remember to tailor your content to specific audiences. This can be easily achieved via segmentation and marketing automation.

Every good email has a strong call to action (CTA). Use compelling action words for your CTA. A few examples: “Discover how”, “Watch now”, “Shop new arrivals”, “Activate your discount code”.

Keep up with Sendinblue on LinkedIn and read about other industry leaders here.



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