Emily Stewart, Canva. A simple way to learn email marketing: “Just send it. Learn from it. Do it again.”

Canva is an online graphic editor where you can create any kind of design in a couple of clicks: pictures for social networks, presentations, business cards, flyers and much more. Canva is used by millions of people around the world.

Canva has regular email newsletters. We talked to Emily Stewart, head of email marketing of Canva, about the main metrics in email marketing, segmentation and creating beautiful emails.

About the company

What is the purpose of email marketing at Canva?

We use email marketing at Canva to help users discover features that will help them achieve what they want to do.

How does email marketing department work? How many people are in it?

The actual email team is quite lean — only 4 people. However, we work with analysts, engineers and creatives to achieve the overall email product. There are probably close to 10 people who work on emails in some capacity on a weekly basis.

How many countries do you send emails to? Where are the most subscribers?

We segment our emails by locale — not by country. We send in around 20 locales and have subscribers reading our emails in over 70 countries! The USA is our largest market and accounts for 25% of our user base.

About email

Do you have automatic emails in your strategy? What types of automation do you use in email marketing?

We have lots of emails that are set up to trigger when a user does (or in some cases doesn’t) perform an action on site.

How long does it take to assemble one email? Is there any checklist before sending?

We have an extensive checklist, ensuring all deeplinks are working and that the email renders well across the most popular email clients and devices. Generally we can pull together a really good looking email quite quickly due to the fact we have a components library that empowers anyone to put together an email.

Do you make A/B tests? What parameters do you test most often?

We run a lot of A/B tests to ensure we’re reaching our audience with the most engaging and relevant information.

For example, A/B testing for the optimal sunsetting strategy. We would test two groups based on when they last engaged with an email and measure the engagement rates and also the active user rates of each group to determine the right balance between high engagement rate metrics and reach.

Sending in so many locales we A/B tested translating content vs trans-creating the subject line. Transcreating content means writing it from scratch in the locale compared to translating the content from English.

What email performance indicators do you track? What metric do you think is the most important in email marketing?

The most important metric for me is the uplift in active users from those who receive our emails vs those that do not — we measure this by having a 5% hold out group who never receive any email marketing from us.

From an engagement perspective — open rates can help give you the most insight. Although ultimately, every email marketer should be obsessed with their deliverability, because if your emails aren’t reaching the inbox then it’s just wasted effort.

About email design

How do you design emails? Do you use drag-n-drop editor or do you create an email manually each time? Are there any ready-made templates?

We are currently in the process of moving to a drag and drop editor where we will have components that we can piece together to make any email that we need. This gives us flexibility in terms of what we need the email to achieve whilst maintaining brand and design consistency.

How do you create responsive emails?

We code all our emails to be responsive.

What are the most common mistakes companies make in email design?

I think some of the biggest mistakes people make in email design is not thinking about how things will look on mobile. Something companies need to be thinking about is the increasing usage of Dark Mode on mobile devices, I have seen (and made mistakes myself) where designs look good on Light Mode but when a device is in Dark Mode it can make text hard to read.

About email marketing and the future of newsletters

What skills should a good email marketer have?

I think to be a good email marketer you need to be able to understand experimentation and measurement. So many people say their campaigns were a success because of high open or click rates, but if it didn’t result in revenue or an increase in active users — then what was the point. Understanding how to set up your campaigns to be able to measure the metrics that matter — and move the needle on those metrics — will make you a great email marketer.

I’m a newbie who just wants to start a newsletter. Where to begin?

Just send it. Learn from it. Do it again.



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