PJ Library Lead Generation Newsletter

Time to Make New Friends

Since I started at Harold Grinspoon Foundation three years ago, I’ve had my eye on building a lead generation email. We were talking to our members without taking the opportunity to make new friends. So, when my boss asked me to build this list, I screamed to myself “Finally!”

It was now time for the Harold Grinspoon Foundation to make new friends via email and welcome them into the PJ Library fold.

Design and Code Requirements

What was great about this project was I only had a few requirements. Otherwise I had full control over the design:

  • Repeatable Blocks
  • Recipes Section
  • Sign Up Section
  • Dark Mode Optimized

A Coding Challenge Appears: Overlapping Content

PJ Library Podcast "Have I Got A Story For You!" talks about the Jewish value Mitzvah, or good deeds.

I knew from the outset that this email would follow the same general structure each month – a book recommendation, followed by a Jewish value or holiday, and a parent resource. From there, we moved on to a recipe section, and then have the sign-up language. For the top blocks, I wanted to easily categorize them for quick scanning and email design flexibility. Creating a bookmark graphic felt perfect for this context.

Alas, how would I accomplish this, though? This is email development we’re talking about, everything is (mostly) in tables! Overlapping graphics is hard especially because Outlook and Gmail like to do their own thing.

Luckily, I was not the only one in Emailgeek Land working on this. So through the power of crowdsourcing, we came up with this code (hint: you may see my friend Steven Sayo give a talk about this at Litmus Live Week!).

Dark Mode Optimized

Of course, this email is fully optimized for Dark Mode wherever it can be controlled.


This email was launched in April 2020, with resounding results. The audience getting this email is highly engaged, and I regularly see open rates over 40% and click-through rates over 10%. We’ve also seen PJ Library enrollments increase from including sign up language towards the bottom of the email.

What’s next?

Testing, of course! I’ve been A/B testing every email for engagement to determine how the design should change. I plan to re-run some of those tests as my audience continues to grow. Additionally, I plan on concentrating on converting people to drive them to sign-up page over general conversions. I’m excited to see where this goes.