Katrina Kokoska on DIY Email Marketing at AAF District 10 Conference!

DIY Email Marketing Public Speaking Recap
Over the weekend, our own Katrina Kokoska presented back to back sessions at the annual American Advertising Federation’s AAF District 10 annual Conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma on the topic of DIY Email Marketing.

She covered how to get started with Email Marketing – including things to consider when defining your goals and measuring your success.

Thinking about starting email marketing? Katrina breaks down the what, why, and how of getting started with email marketing!

Check out her presentation slides and presentation highlights below!


1. Why Email Marketing is Effective

  •  People Find it Valuable
  • You Have an Engaged Audience – 40% of consumers enjoy receiving a substantial amount of marketing emails every week –Blue Kangaroo
  • It is Easy to Measure
  • Emails have a Longer Shelf Life than other forms of communications – For instance, only 23.6% of email opens occur within the first hour, A Facebook brandpost will get half of it’s reach in the first 30 minutes.
  • ROI

Shelf Life of Online Marketing Communications

2. Things you Should Consider Before Getting Started with Email Marketing

Define your objective – Why are you doing this?

  • Who is/are your audience(s)?
  • What is a conversion for them?
  • Examples: Loyalty program, Referrals, Lead nurturing, Closing
  • How will you measure success?

Choose your ESP (Email Service Provider)

  • Hosting options: Fully managed, SaaS, In-House
  • We recommend using a SaaS
  • Factors to consider: Price, Commitment, Templating features, Reporting, Reputation

Build your list

Link Building Do’s:

  1. DO: Build your list offline. Add checkbox to offline forms including Business cards, Event registrants, *Recent consumers (see caveat below)
  2. DO: Build your list online. Collect emails on your Website Homepage, Sidebar, Contact Form, at Check out, Event Registration, on Facebook, on your Blog
  3. DO: Segment your list. Emails that have been tailored to specific audiences through segmentation get 50% more clicks than their counterparts. – Marketing Sherpa
  4. DO: Tell them what they will receive
  5. DO: Build trust immediately
  6. DO: Continue growing your list

Email Lists Expire at ~25% per year

Link Building Don’ts:

  1. DON’T: Buy lists
  2. DON’T: Harvest email addresses or copy/paste
  3. DON’T: Precheck the box
  4. DON’T: Add folks to more lists than they agreed to
  5. DON’T: Send to folks you haven’t sent to in at least 2 years
  6. DON’T: Do anything else that sounds shady

Notes on Email Spam

  • Spammy techniques affect your Sender Score/Reputation and your ability to get email through to people’s inboxes
  • CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non – Solicited Pornography And Marketing) Act of 2003 protects users from these spammy tactics
  • EACH separate violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $16,000


  1. Define objectives first
  2. Use a SaaS solution
  3. Build your list thoughtfully across offline/digital properties
  4. Don’t be shady

3. Crafting and Creating Effective Email Messages

1. The Subject Line

  • Do it first
  • Be brief and explicit
  • Not appropriate for the hard sell
  • Sense of urgency
  • Avoid SPAM Terms
  • Localization not personalization
  • Use your company name
  • Test, test, test!

2. The Email Design

  • Your CTA:– Above the fold
  • All roads lead to CTA
  • Short and powerful
  • Redundant
  • How’s your subject line holding up
  • Can you “Share with a Friend?”
  • Have you integrated your other digital properties?

Email Design Technical Considerations

  • How does it hold up across email clients?
  • How does it look across mobile platforms?
  • Can you view in browser and as plaintext?

3. The Landing Page

  1. Never go home
  2. Focused value proposition
  3. Clear request
  4. One step conversion

4. Timing Considerations

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. What timezones are you sending to?
  3. What is it you are asking them do?

Benchmarks on Email Open Rates by Time of Day and Day of Week

4. Management and Measurement


  • Bounce – Undeliverable email
    • Hard bounce–Soft bounce
    • Bounce Rate = # hard bounces/list size
  • Unsubscribe – Opt out
    • Unsubscribe Rate = # of unsubscribes/ list size
  • Unique Open Rate – The # of people who open a message
    • Open Rate = # of opens / emails sent
  • Click Thru – Clicking a link in message
    • Click Thru Rate = # of unique clicks / #of links X recipients
  • Conversion – Someone did the thing you wanted them to do
    • Conversion Rate = # of conversions / #of recipients

Bounce Rate Benchmarks for Email Marketing 2013

Are You Set Up for Tracking?


  1. Bounce/Unsubscribes – List health
  2. Open/CTR – Content
  3. Conversion – Overall performance
  4. TEST!

A big thanks to AAF District 10 for having us at the conference!

AIGA Houston roast: Ed survived

Schipulites at AIGA Houston roast 2011

Thanks to April Guzik, president of AIGA Houston, the Schipulites got to honor our fearless leader Ed Schipul as only we know how – through quirky video creation and hilarious Powerpoint presentations.

Ed gets roasted by Aaron at AIGA Houston

Aaron Long led the roasting charge with an animated discussion of crucial Ed-isms and Schipul office elements, such as:

Schipul AIGA Houston roast 2011

Other roastees of the evening included Jonathan Fisher and Bo Bothe of Brand Extract:

Ed Schipul, April Guzik and the Brand Extract blokes

Lots of laughter, grimacing and fun – check out our entire AIGA Houston 2011 Brand Legend Roast photo album on Facebook here!

Thank you for a wonderful SchipulCon 2011!

Last week’s SchipulCon event went above and beyond our wildest dreams, expectations and Red Bull-infused late night planning.

To all of our 200+ attendees, speakers, sponsors and friends – YOU took SchipulCon to new levels and we couldn’t be more appreciative.  The training, knowledge sharing, hallway conversations and impromptu playtimes and collaborations made last week one of the most special in recent memory.

The SchipulCon fun and learning doesn’t stop here

Videos are coming!  We’re busy editing our keynote and breakout session videos, to make sure you don’t miss a single second of great Web insight, business trends and actionable awesomeness from our SchipulCon speakers.

Peek at our growing photo albums!  Re-live the fun, training geekiness and new connections made in our SchipulCon photo albums.  We’ll be adding more throughout the week – don’t forget to upload your own photos to Facebook, Flickr and beyond so we can share in your SchipulCon viewpoint too!  Use that #SchipulCon tag so we can find your awesomeness with greater ease.

Slide decks on Slideshare popping up  –  You’ll find more and more great slides as the week progresses, but enjoy some of the brain candy now!

Thanks for being a part of one heck of an exciting conference – we can’t wait to share more great content from SchipulCon and talk to you soon!

Startup Weekend Houston

Houston Startup Weekend Sign

Start Starting Up!

Ever wonder how some business ventures get off the ground and get going?   Or maybe how you can go about getting your idea rolling?   Well, Startup Weekened does just that for developers, coders, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts who participate in several Startup Weekends world wide.

Houston Startup Weekend Group

“Build Community. Start Companies. No talk. All action.”

A great (and true) tag line for this growing non-profit organization that helps participating teams from all over the  world get their ideas from concept to launch.   Starting in 2007, the non-profit Startup Weekend has grown to provide about 120 volunteer based facilities for creative and entrepreneurial brainstorming sessions.

Houston Startup Weekend Presentation

Previous companies that have evolved from a Startup weekend include Cloudbot, Milton, iBuildApp and Pocket Tales.   In fact, there are tons of new businesses from all over the planet that have started at one of these 54 hour weekend community events.

Startup weekend is expanding and growing so fast for a reason.   First it’s an amazing non-profit that educates entrepreneurs and strengthens communities and all at an extremely affordable price.   Let’s face it, even the word “startup” is horrifying if you’re going it alone, but Startup Weekend provides a risk free, community environment to get things going and touch on what is and is not realistic. Basically, it’s help.   Help from great people who care.

Houston Startup Weekend Workshop

Startup in Houston!

What could be more awesome than Startup Weekends?   Oh, that there is a Startup Weekend Houston!   This past weekend represents the First Official Houston Startup Weekend not to be confused with the first  Houston Startup Weekend back in 2007 at Caroline Collective. The 2007 weekend was hosted by omnipresent Erica O’grady.

Houston Startup Weeked Sarah

The proud team of organizers of Startup Weekend Houston were the amazing   Sarah Worthy ,  Javid Jamae a fellow a developer; humble … the way all developers should be, Brian Cohen, Daniel Sommars, Katie Sunstrom and  Jerald Reichstein.  Jerald owns his business like most people own their notebooks.  He’s had at least one before, knows it’s powerful, but he spends more time enjoying it rather than being worried about it.  Or maybe I was most impressed with his personal rock climbing wall.  Either way, the mood at this event was inspiring.

Houston Startup Weekend

Along with Dozens of Houston’s creative and geeky go-getters, it was nothing less than a privilege that we  were able to be there.  Even more-so of an honor was being given the opportunity to contribute; our Creative Director David Stagg gave a small presentation on the important role a simple website plays in the discovery and positioning of your organization.

Houston Startup Weeked David Stagg

I look forward to next year’s event, I’m hoping to do more than just enjoy a Saturday morning. Be sure to check out photos from Startup Weekend Houston and David’s presentation.

Yay! Effective Blogging Strategies

JJ’s Top Tips For Blogging

With what seems to be about a gazillion blogs in internet land, how do you ever wonder how they started?  Or how each blogger developed a blogging strategy? It can be a bit overwhelming to think about, especially to someone new to the blog world and may be looking for advice.

Schipul’s own JJ Lassberg knows that effective blogging takes strategy, focus and a fundamental knowledge of blogging basics. She has even composed a presentation on “Effective Blogging” for rookies that include her “Lucky 13” blogging tips, blog basics and methods.   Check out the entire Slide Show for a really terrific “How-to” on Blogging!

SW Drupal Summit: Recap & Review

Schipul SW Drupal Summit
Photo Thanks To The SW Drupal Summit

What better way to kick start the new year than to attend this year’s SW Drupal Summit? I know, I know; most would be content to start 2011 by just waking up January 1st with out a ‘headache,” but here at Schipul, Drupal is not only one of the new, shiny toys out there for Content Management, but it’s robust, constantly evolving and one of Mashable’s top 10 sites to watch in 2011.

As a newbie here at Schipul, I did not attend this particular Drupal shindig, but I know plenty of lucky ducks who went, saw and geeked-out at this year’s SW Drupal Summit. What were their favorite parts? What Drupal-tastic knowledge did they walk away with?

David enjoyed giving a presentation and…

‘The opportunity to teach about Location-based Views and Managing Client Expectations was an honor.   Since we ran into a number of pitfalls in project management when we first started selling Drupal, it was a pleasure to pass that knowledge along—we’d much rather make all the hard mistakes so you don’t have to!”

Scooter had a great time and enjoyed others’ “views” (he he) on Drupal projects.

“Chatting with members of the Houston Drupal Community was the best part. I especially enjoyed conceptual sessions, like   Tom McCracken’s ‘Scrum Revolution” and ‘Building Online Leaders with Drupal.”   I was able to learn concepts that I can ‘Schipulize” and use within our culture and processes.”

JMO was impressed by the diversity of the crowd in terms of experience and knowledge.

“My favorite part was sitting around during a break and ‘talking shop” with several of the other Texas Drupal guys (Level Ten and Four Kitchens). It’s great to be a part of a community that shares knowledge and helps each other rather than tearing down one another.”

Alex opens up about open source fundamentals.

“I love sessions that leave me inspired about the work I do at Schipul. This time, that inspiration was definitely from ‘The Business of Open Source” by Liza from Lullabot,   a very successful company that uses some non-traditional business models.   We talked about the principles of open source and how they apply to business. Bravo to the red robots!”

Derek is excited about new user friendly Drupal 7 features!

“For me, the most interesting event was hearing first hand from Drupal 7 core maintainer Angie Byron about new features in Drupal 7.   The biggest updates I noticed were the improved usability, organization and the sub tool bars based on roles; all of which should increase Drupal’s popularity.”

Robyn was overwhelmed by so many favorites, that she could write books on this year’s SW Drupal Summit!   For now, here’s (one of) her most favorites:

“My favorite was the Panel: Managing Client Expectations.   It gave people a taste of what it is like to be a client, have a client and run a company based on clients.   The team was able to relate to everyone –   The client, the developer, the project manager and the CEO all based on a Drupal development and   I feel the panel was able to connect to audience as a whole.   I also enjoyed learning about Integrating Drupal with social API’s.”

Albert and Jennifer also attended the conference…

and soaked up as much Drupal-icious tid bits as they could.   Schipul was not only a proud presenter and attendee this year, but also was happy to sponsor this year’s Drupal event.   All in all, it sounds like some pretty awesome people had a pretty awesome time! Thanks to all who spoke and participated!