HARSEST – Email Marketing Guide

HARSEST – Email Marketing Guide

1. Email marketing is still on the game

2. Seven principles of email marketing

3. EMP through ConvertKit

In 2017, it has been forty-five years after American computer programmer Ray Tomlinson first e-mailed ARPANET system considered the ancestor of the Internet in 1971. Ever since then, the Internet was developed in 1991 and the word SPAM has become a word in the Oxford dictionary since 1998. Email is still a strong marketing tool, even though social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest has become mainstream.

While launching Harsest headquarters in Korea, I was skeptical about email marketing. Unlike in Europe or America, people in Korea do not use email as often. Korean brands often create an official business email account with Naver, Daum or Gmail which may appear to be unprofessional. The reason for this is that email is not generally utilized everyday by the general population in Korea. Kakao Talk messenger or phone calls are often used in Korea instead of an email since it is a faster way of communication.

E-mail refers to electronic mail, which has been available since 1996 (Hotmail.com) in America followed by Hanmail.net in Korea since 1997. Later on, news portal sites such as Lycos, Freechal, Yahoo, Naver, etc., started providing email service.

HARSEST - Email Marketing

Gary Thurek, who created the word “SPAM”.

Email has a long history, perhaps contrary to what most people think, the first ever American programmer to use email via ARPANET system was Ray Tomlinson in 1971. In 1978, Gary Thurek sent the first spam mail to sell the product of Digital Equipment Corporation. This very first spam mail lead to great success and increased the sales to 13 million dollars.

The digital marketing era began through email marketing, and over time, the word SPAM was listed in the dictionary in 1998. Ever since then, strict laws and regulations to prevent spam emails were legalized.

HARSEST - History of emails

History of an email (Source: wiredmarketing.co.uk)

In this report, I would like to emphasize the possibilities of email marketing, although it may seem difficult in Korea. The Email marketing provider (EMP) can be used to develop email marketing strategies.

  1. Email marketing is still on the game

HARSEST - Email marketing efficiency

According to an email statistic report from 2014 to 2018, by the technology market research firm The Radicati Group, 108 billion emails were sent daily. The number is expected to increase up to 139 billion in 2018. The prospect of email marketing according to the report is to be the most used marketing tool, despite the development of social media. On average, one person has 1.7 email accounts.

HARSEST - Email marketing user forecast

There are five factors that support the belief that e-mail marketing is still in the game and will last for a long time.

  • It targets the specific group.
  • Email addresses make it easy to connect with other social media.
  • It is easy to track.
  • There is no spatial or time constraint compared to other social media.
  • An email delivers the message in the clearest and most specific way.

It targets the specific group.

There are some cases of buying email collections, but outside these unusual cases, the email collection process is held through social media such as the website’s newsletter pop-ups, the e-mail addresses of the items sold, Facebook pages and business cards. No matter how accurate the advertising of Google, Facebook, etc. hits the target audience, it cannot be more powerful than email considering the brand’s loyalty and creating intimacy.

Email addresses make it easy to connect with other social media.

On Facebook, with an email address, phone number, or Facebook ID, it is possible to target the right audiences for advertisement. When a Facebook pixel is inserted into a homepage, it can be a basic resource for retargeting marketing along with a Facebook ad. (Retargeting is as important as the purchase rate on the first visit to Google’s E-commerce homepage, since it is below 15%) In addition, it is possible to link to Google+ and the Google Hangout service via an email address.

It is easy to track.

It is possible to track emails through EMP such as direct mail, Mailchimp, and ConverKit. It is similar to knowing the opponent’s card while playing poker. The possibility of gaining the upper hand in communication is quite high through email tracking

There is no spatial or time constraint compared to other social media.

While it is not pleasant to receive an advertising call while at work or spending time with your family, e-mail is available by people who want to see more detail when they have time to open it. On the other hand, contents on social media are temporary, while an email can go far beyond the time limit. Return on investment rate is higher than any other marketing resource.

Email delivers the message in the clearest and specific way.

Deals with a buyer in a fair, business calls, conversation with potential buyers are mostly held by an email rather than Skype or Facetime. Email is effective in terms of clarity, consistency, and communication (especially in the conversation with non-English speakers).

Seven principles of email marketing

Before starting email marketing, figuring out recipients (Who), reasons (Why), contents (What) and the time period (When) is important, since the location (Where) is set to online and how it is held through DM or EMP.


Figuring out email addresses and names from shared information collected on the homepage, E-commerce sites, Facebook, etc is sufficient to start email marketing. It is not necessary to collect a name; however, it is recommended to increase the email opening rate. Using Merge tag in EMP makes it possible to send a customized email. In some cases, the company’s name can be entered. However, unless business card information is directly inserted into the EMP and even if there is a newsletter pop-up with the company’s information, the email opening rate and subscription rate may decrease.

HARSEST - Homepage email subscription form

Forms for subscribing to newsletters that are common for the websites


The beginning and end of email marketing will result in sales. In other words, every aspect of emails such as sending information or branding news, is for sales purposes. Even though, it is indirect content marketing. The core purpose of email marketing is calling for an action. Sending emails with a title of “a special discount of 30%,” “last 50 products remaining” and “90% discount” is just another uninteresting spam mail. Ensure that each email has its own purpose, as well as creating a specific sequence to call for an action. An aimless email is not worth sending.

HARSEST - Email marketing step by step

Example of email sequence (Source: Performance Marketer)


E-mail content, regardless of B2B and B2C, is endlessly available for sales purposes. It depends on whether to *broadcast, follow the *sequence or send *auto-reply. Broadcasting is effective for sending recent news, such as new items. Sequences are called an inbound sale that includes greetings, informative information, trivia/episode (personal experiences), soft sell (information about popular items), survey (to increase participation through short quiz), hard sell (discount coupons), etc. Information regarding sales should involve contents that are helpful to viewers to increase re-opening rate. Trivia/episode section is to increase brand popularity and strengthen the fan base.

*Broadcasting: EMP instantaneously sends the entire mail

*Sequence: An EMP user receives a pre-built sequence of emails at the moment of their email subscription or being forced to initiate an e-mail subscription.

*Auto-Reply: One-time automatic e-mail that automatically sends a reply as soon as recipients finished answering email on a particular link or a survey form.


Most EMPs, Mac Mail, MS OfficeOutlook, or Gmail provides a service where you can set a time before sending an email.  When the country is identified by the IP of the e-mail address, MailChimp’s Timewarp function sends email accordingly to the time zone. The importance of email delivery time cannot be underestimated. Imagine receiving an email at 10 am in the morning and 7 in the afternoon. The opening rate is higher at 7 pm. Email has different opening rates based on the time period and date.

Once the above five sections are determined, the following marketing sequence can be applied.

2. Formulas for sales sequence

As mentioned above, this sales sequence is applicable to both B2C and B2B. It is most effective when a potential customer receives a broadcasting email.

In other words, while receiving emails such as Greeting – Informative – Trivia / Episode sequence email on new items or brand news, it can emphasize brand value and loyalty.  Each email should be able to act as a bunt for sales purposes. The general open rate is half of the sales sequence email opening rate. It is possible through creating loyal email subscribers.

Formula #1 – The subject of the email to determine whether to open or delete an email.

Outstanding email titles increase the open rate and click rates and further result in an increase of traffic to the webpage for sales turnover rates. Email titles are known to be effective in denial and doubtful sentences.

Generally speaking, people remember the story of overcoming unfavorable conditions. Every Disney film includes the story of heroism and overcoming difficulties. The following lists are the patterns of email titles using negative statements.

  • Titles that are not to be missed

Warby Parker: “Uh-oh, your prescription is expiring” JetBlue: “You’re missing out on points.”

  • Triggering curiosity

Manicube: “*Don’t Open This Email*”, Mary Fernandez: “? a surprise gift for you!”

  • Humors

OpenTable: “Licking your phone never tasted so good”, Gozengo: “NEW! Vacation on Mars”

  • Stimulating pretension

Sephora: “Products the celebs are wearing”, Guess: “Don’t wear last year’s styles.”

  • Greed

Topshop: “Meet your new jeans”, HP: “New must-haves for your office”

  • Emphasizing

Uber: “Since we can’t all win the lottery…”, Evernote: “Stop wasting time on mindless work”

  • Customized title

Rent the Runway: “Happy Birthday Mary – Surprise Inside!”, Brooklinen: “Vanilla or Chocolate?”

  • Brief and honest

Barack Obama: “Hey”, Al Franken: “Yes, this is a fundraising email”

The email that showed the highest opening rate in the sequence and broadcasting email according to Harsest, was titled “ABC, I’m going to Korea.” The open and click rates of Harsest email were 28% and 4.3% which was higher than the average open rate of the consulting industry (19.54%) and click rate of 2.26%.

In my opinion, it was a result of the constant newsletter from Sweden and continued to have potential customer meetings with Korean clients through Google Hangout. As a result, Harsest was able to sign a contract with two clients as soon as launching a headquarter in Seoul.

HARSEST - Open and click rates of email marketing campaigns

Open and click rate by industry. Analysis based on data used by the users of Mailchimp.

E-mail titles must be well-built through the combination of the keyword in contents. Add twist and witty comments, in order to increase the opening rate. If the title seems uninteresting to you, delete it and create a new one.

Formula #2 – Insert link

CTA (Call to Action) has a purpose of clicking the link. If you are running a blog, induce viewers to click the link by inserting “read more” to increase traffic. Brand loyalty is developed through sales and repeat customers that are made through traffic on a webpage. Attaching a link in the email is necessary to lead viewers to your blog or brand’s webpage.

Formula #3 – Optimize email time

For example, the optimal email time is different between B2B brands for Dongdaemun merchants and B2C brands for teens and people in their 20s. Sending an email to a busy Dongdaemun merchant during the morning and sending it at night for young and casual street brands, will result a decrease of opening rates. Similarly, it is also difficult to expect a high open or click rate, when sent before 4 pm (Korean time) targeting European brands. It is better to send an email at 9 pm (Korean time), when it is afternoon in Europe, since they are more likely to be less busy and finished with their normal work for the day. Determine the optimal email time and day according to the data gained by tests. For instance, determine it by sending emails on Monday/ Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday/ Friday, Saturday/ Sunday.

HARSEST - Best time to send emails

Marketing strategies based on email time. 3 to 5 pm is optimal since people have finished focusing on tasks in the office and have some personal time. (Source: Kiss Metrics)

Formula #4 – Track those who opened or clicked an email

MailChimp specifies a person who receives an email from a mobile version and can set up a notification message when that person opens an email. Track VIP buyers or important people through this system. After sending a sequence or broadcasting email, check the people who opened and clicked the link. Group them and start a hard sell by providing them with discount coupons.

Formula #5 – Frequent emailing

John McIntyre, an email marketing expert, was a host of the Podcast named The McMethod Email Marketing. In the Podcast, one of the casts said, “Fuxx You Attitude.” It was mentioned in order to emphasize the fact that frequent and relevant emails are important for sales. Some will always unsubscribe your email, regardless the content. It is advised frequently send an email, so that among those emails, one can make a difference.

Formula #6 –Design and brand CI uniformity

The design of broadcasting and sequence email using EMP must be unified with a brand webpage and brand identity. The brand CIs such as font, logo, color, and symbol should be harmonized, so that people can feel unity when receiving an email. This is made to avoid being considered spam or promotional mail. However, it also serves a purpose to increase brand loyalty and have outstanding content.

Formula #7 – Length of content

According to Litmus Email Analytics’ report, the average time to read an email is 11.1 seconds. 44.4 percent of the total email is read over 18 seconds. Ultimately, the deployment of email content is also considered an important element of email marketing. If multiple contents are delivered at once, place an analysis of the content at the top. Specifically, in mobile versions, if such indexing is presented in a preview (usually displays 20 characters), it is a method to increase the open rate. If the length of the content takes longer than one minute and 30 seconds, attach an anchor or link to shorten the length.

  1. EMP through ConvertKit

Email Marketing Provider, referred to as EMP is designed to deliver the entire mail more easily and faster. MailChimp, the most famous EMP Company founded in 2009, sent 204,383,657,109 emails to millions of people with both Freemium and premium services in Atlanta.

There are many EMPs to choose from other than MailChimp, but most of them serve similar functions. The following table is a list of typical companies and their main strengths.

HARSEST - Email marketing services


  1. GetResponse

Technical and specialized EMP. Five Split Test, landing page, drag & drop editor available

  1. Constant Contact

The third most user-friendly EMP site selected by Capterra. More than 400 templates are available

  1. Emma

Femininity, as the name implies, EMP specialized in aesthetic functions. Excellent data reporting and automation

  1. MadMimi

Ultra-fast customer services, customizable email platform, easy to use.

  1. FreshMail

Back up data for Gmail, CSV, CRM, etc. Possible to create a barcode in the email.

In Korea, a company named Stibee, has emerged as a representative company. It has access to email design, mobile optimization, A/B testing, API, webbook integration, and HTML merging functions that are available for 29,000 won per month

This report shares examples of ConvertKit, which has the biggest growth in the United States. Pat Flynn and LeadPages of Smart Passive Income, the top 10 Podcast in Business Category of iTunes are the advisors of ConvertKit. As an EMP that many famous bloggers and companies use, ConverKit has the following features:

  1. Email listing based on horizontal structures. While other EMPs such as MailChimp differentiate the list among emails, ConverKit has a tag system for easier management and can prevent double charges.
  2. Configuration and editing of sequence emails are much simpler than the automation function in the paid version of MailChimp.
  3. Auto reply function is much simpler when collecting email via Opt-in
  4. API makes it easy to link to web forms, such as Slag and Wufoo and schedule applications such as Caledly.
  5. Sequence structure, which was only visible in InfusionSoft, can be changed to a drag-and-drop format and can easily be automated when running multiple sequences.

Harsest sends emails to most clients by using ConverKit, especially for companies that need more engagement through content marketing. MailChimp is used to deliver images.

Main page of ConvertKit

  1. Signing up for ConvertKit

The following page appears when clicking PRICING on the top menu after accessing to ConverKit (www.converkit.com). The price is $29 for 1,000 recipients, $49 for 3,000, $79 for 5,000. Click Bigger List on the right for more than 5,000 recipients. Sign up at the smallest amount and upgrade it later if you are unsure of the number of recipients.

HARSEST - Get started with convertKit

HARSEST - ConvertKit for starters

Fill in the email address and name, check the Check Box and click to go to the next page.

HARSEST - ConvertKit basics

Click CREATE YOUR ACCOUNT after entering the credit card number, expiration date and the last three digits on the back of the card to complete registration.

A. Menu configuration:

HARSEST - Menu configuration

Configuration of ConvertKit Dashboards for one of Harsest’ clientsForm

a. Form

Form section is for newsletter subscription form to fill out email and name in blog posting and websites. Create forms by clicking FORM and choose the style according to your purpose.

HARSEST - Email template design

The style choice for email forms

There are various options in settings to create: embed on webpages {choose the code among Javascript, HTML, WordPress (plug-in installation is needed)}, the landing page of stand-alone type, opt-in type, confirmation email when subscribing newsletters, direct messaging after signing up for an account. Choose the form style from the above and copy and paste according to your preferences.

HARSEST - Email marketing settings

Form-Setting-Embed section

b. Sequence

The sequence is a key feature of ConvertKit which automatically sends emails for up to a few months after subscribing. There are Draft and Published sections in the Status menu. Click Published to publish emails. Delay sending is a period of time selection after signing up for a subscription. Click “Immediately” to send an email directly after subscription. Otherwise, you can choose a day with terms in between. Click the filter icon to save a tag or segment for those who have not received the corresponding email.

HARSEST - Sequence dashboard

Sequence menu

The picture above is an example of options. The initial email is set as “Immediately”. Subsequent mails will be sent two days after the first one, set to be sent only on Tuesday and Thursday. The sequence consists of a flow of Greetings – Information – Trivia – Episode – Soft sell in order.

c. Broadcasts

ConverKit makes it possible to send emails to a specific group of people by creating a tag. For instance, differentiating subscriptions held through pop-up newsletters and email newsletters form below a blog posting is available. It is likely for those who read the blog postings to have a better understanding of a brand. Differentiate them by creating a separate in-depth email. Accurate targeting will be possible through this function. There are other functions through a broadcasting email: sending an email to those who have not read it and selecting a date and time to send emails.

HARSEST - Broadcasting in email marketing

Broadcasting menu

d. Subscribers

You can import or export email subscribers, and tag/segments in this section. Import is available through uploading Excel or one by one. A tag is a group of people separated by each platform. The segment is a grouped tag for easier management. It also shows whether the email recipient has opened the mail or not.

HARSEST - Import of subscribers in ConvertKit

e. Automation

Automation is a section to create a “Trigger”. Attach a tag when the sequence ends with “If This, Then That” type. For example, if a person in the sequence “New Lead” has clicked on a particular link in an email, select a tag for a hard sell to provide a discount coupon. It helps to increase the sales turnover rate. The biggest difference between ConvertKit and MailChimp is that MailChimp requires a separate application (e.g. Zapier) to delete and change lists or when a sequence ends while ConvertKit is manageable through automation.


HARSEST - Automation



HARSEST - Automation triggers in ConvertKit

Automation Rule creating an action (on the right section) when there is a trigger (left section)

*Case Study

As of September 2017, the sequence was set for those who are registered through the Newsletter subscription form set on the Harsest website (www.harsest.com) or through the representative Ha Seok Lee’s webpage (www.haseok.com), to send emails every 4 to 5 days for 44 days. The following are contents and the title of emails.


HARSEST - email marketing in pictures

Sequence email of Harsest

Harsest aims to create a close relationship with people who subscribed for email through an email sequence. Another purpose is to introduce the company’s progress of tasks, as well as sharing the personal experience of Ha Seok Lee, the CEO of Harsest, to create a positive brand image. The ultimate goal of the sequence is to hold a meeting with potential clients by getting a reply from emails.

The followings are the brief overviews of each email title and contents.

Dear {{subscriber.first_name}}, Hello, this is Ha Seok Lee, the representative of HARSEST

: Brief greetings and introduction of the company with free e-book download link. By doing so, it induces subscribers to check the report and white paper, which is the core value maker.

Are you satisfied with your career? The Story of an Entrepreneur

: The title refers that there are more people who are dissatisfied than those who are satisfied with their work. The most important value for Harsest, which started of as a single-person company, is spending at least 20 percent of the day on studying. By sharing this core value of the company, and Podcast Link, it creates loyalty towards the brand.

This Video will make a Difference!

: An intriguing email with a straightforward title serves a purpose of triggering curiosity. It contains informative link videos such as Simon Sinek’s lecture and Harsest Podcast, etc., to directly link to websites.

{{subscriber.first_name}}, are you using a sequence?

: The name of the subscriber using the Merge tag has been entered into the subject, making it appear as a customized email. It includes detailed information on successful cases of creating sales through email sequences. By attaching the link, it induced people to visit the blog.

My personal story on how I got fired… and now…

: Typical negative email subjects. It had the highest opening rate. It was about quitting a job due to some circumstances, which led to the foundation of Harsest. It is in a chronological order, including joy anger, sorrow, and pleasure.

The beginning of the podcast… and the best episode!

: Assuming that the viewers have some knowledge about Harsest and its founder, this email introduces another core value of Harsest by triggering curiosity.

Tips for overseas expansion for {subscriber.first_name}!

: Intuitive title was created through merge tag. This email shares experiences in overseas fair, success and Harsest reports, as well as the interview with the press in Germany to gain trust from the viewers.

Dear {{subscriber.first_name}}, have you ever given a serious thought to a webpage?

: With a story that anyone can relate to at least once, another value is delivered by sharing the success story of SEO and information about plug-ins. Harsest is using the sales methods through a webpage.

Are you looking for the ways to be creative?

: One short sentence that consists of blog postings. In order to increase the re-visiting rate, all of the links were from Harsest.

Studying is boring but nerds always win.

: The title that triggers curiosity are combined with the personal story of Ha Seok Lee, the success of Elon Musk, to increase the reliability of emails with a sincere effort.

HARSEST - How to find your click rates

Open Rate and Click Rate in each sequence

Harsest targeted inbound sales without special advertisements and promotions. Alan Weiss, a famous summit consultant, said that outbound sales makes it unable to receive an appropriate fee from the clients. Therefore, I considered content marketing from the beginning and created a blog and reports that are shown on Google and Naver. In order to seize the core keyword in portal sites, I inserted contents such as “fashion business report”, “B2B”, “Overseas sales”, “overseas marketing”, etc.

The traffic to the website led to an email subscription. I tried to show improvements, as well as keeping updated with email sequence through broadcasting. There was not a case where an email led to the sales contract, however, those who were constant subscribers remembered Harsest and contacted us. 30 % of the deals were signed at the meeting with potential clients with a clear purpose.

Updating the list collected through the website is also necessary. While visiting New York for business purposes, I participated in a fair and traded email with other participants. Through an email sequence, I constantly sent emails which led to a contract after 2 years. It was possible since the representative of the company who was subscribing wanted a business meeting. It is beneficial to meet people offline and keep following up online, in order to create a close relationship.

Closing sentences:

According to data released by Korean EMP Company Stibee’s 2017 Email Marketing Report, 87.1 percent of the total respondents were either marketing through an email or planning on marketing, which had been increased by 16.8% compared to 70.3% in 2016. The open rate (85.6%) and click rate (82.2%) is considered more important than the subscription rate (54.4%) and the turnover rate (52.2%). The average opening rate for the recent 3 months was 23.3%. The highest opening rate was on Thursday from 12 pm to 2 pm.

Email marketing, that was considered to be out-of-date in Korea, can be effective with a clear purpose, smart sequence flow, and creative titles.

No one is willing to show an interest in a salesperson. Create a persuasive email, inbounding branding and sales to generate brand value. Especially in Korea, there is no reason to stop yourself from starting email marketing.

Leona Burnett, the creator of Marlboro Man, Kellogg Tony Tiger, the most influential person in the 20th century and one of the most memorable figures in advertising history, can be also used in email marketing.

HARSEST - Simple but memorable

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