Whatever you're selling, email connects one human to another.
I believe that email is one of the most underrated tactics in the arsenal of a good marketing professional. At Inkvine we plan and manage strategic communications and email is always in the mix. We use outbound email for PR campaigns, market research, mindshare generation, inbound lead generation, and more. We work with deep tech B2B firms in eCommerce, AI, IoT, and Cybersecurity. We are laser-focused on growth, and take a data-driven approach to every aspect of our campaigns. Unlike normal agencies (and we describe ourselves as the opposite of an agency) we take a very manual approach to campaign creation and execution. We tend to be allergic to most marketing automation platforms, though they do have their place at scale. We deliver consistently better results for clients with excellent creative, detailed audience research and well crafted messaging.
We are platform agnostic, working with the tools that best suit each client, or solves the problem best. On a regular basis, we use Mailchimp, Gmail, Hubspot, Campaign Monitor, Meltwater, Yesware, Gmail, and more.
Marketing people confuse output with performance. Cutting through the noise and capturing attention is the single biggest challenge for any email marketer. Less is more. Smaller lists, shorter emails. Also, if I had a dollar for everyone that told me they had Hubspot but were pretty sure they weren't using it properly, I would have enough money to buy us both fancy dinner.
The best tips are either deeply technical or deeply practical. For the former: Make sure your DKIM is set up correctly. I didn't know what DKIM was until I met Sensorpro. Their support and knowledge base is excellent. For the latter: It helps to be fascinated by human behaviour. Leverage human biases. Understand FOMO, urgency triggers, social proof. Enjoy experimentation and focus twice as much on what didn't work than what did (Survivorship bias!). For me, it's remembering that at both ends of every email there are two human beings. Well, there should be! No-reply addresses do my head in.
We only have a small number of clients at any one time. Though Q2 last year was a rollercoaster for all of us, I am happy to say our project calendar is fully booked to end 2021. To put that a little more bluntly, we don't work with clients that don't share our values! However, our vision on email isn't terribly controversial. 1) Know the customer 2) Know the value 3) Communicate with empathy and meaning. This isn't quite a vision statement, but it's a motto that has served us well: NAMDAM. No Assholes, Money Doesn't Actually Matter.
Ireland is a nation of storytellers. It's interesting to see how our cultural capability continues to adapt to the digital age. I'm keen to see how email marketing becomes more interactive as our interfaces evolve, thus enabling us to tap into our storytelling capabilities. Some Irish companies are doing astonishing work on that interactivity piece. For example, Axonista has built the interactive video technology behind QVC, Virgin Media, and WaterBear. AI is also transforming email. xSellco, another Irish firm doing amazing things has integrations with Amazon, eBay, and Google, transforming the email communication layer between buyers and sellers, using AI to improve everything from feedback to translations. Webio is doing really interesting work in conversational AI, and while I believe that email needs to connect humans, chatbots have their place too.
What is the goal that you want that campaign to achieve?
I can summarise my day with one word, varied! There isn't a single day, that is the same. My agency works with a wide range of clients based all over the world, all with different objectives, challenges, and campaigns. This keeps us on our toes as a team, and this is what I like most. The variety means I could be on a strategy scoping call with a new client in the morning, catching up with the team's performance on another client's recent email campaign, and formulating another brand strategy.
We also work with other marketing channels, and I love the multichannel approach, and currently, we have several large multichannel projects on the go. My day is also filled with the tasks needed to run a company, and there is always something that needs to be done from that side too! Writing blogs and teaching is also a big part of my day today to share my experience with the amazing email community and up and coming marketers studying the discipline.
A variety of ESPs. Asana for managing projects. Google Suite. Lots of messaging tools! Skype, Hangout, Zoom, Slack... Google Analytics to measuring results along with side ESP results. Google postmaster tools. For clients with deliverability or data quality concerns/issues, but our first go-to place is freelistcheck.com
My number one is to define the objective of the campaign that you're planning on sending. What is the goal that you want that campaign to achieve? How does it fit within the overall customer journey and most importantly, how does it add value to your subscribers?
Email marketing in Portugal is in a quite basic stage, and behind in some areas compared to the UK. The strategic element, for example, is a couple of years behind. Data cleansing tools such as BriteVerify should be used more and regularly if lists are growing rapidly. And tools to check that the email is rendering correctly, such as Litmus. This isn't a practice I see commonly used here.
In the UK and in places such as Germany my experience has been that yes they're on the whole customers are ready for my vision on email! However, that hasn't always been my experience in Portugal. As I mentioned earlier, the marketing approach is a couple of years behind places like the UK, and my approach can seem too radical! There is the language difference which can be a barrier. For the future, it’d be helpful to take a more sophisticated approach to email and seeing less like a batch and blast channel and more of one to improve and enhance the customer experience throughout their journey.
The fact that you own your list in email, you aren't at the mercy of social media's algorithms, and you can automate personalized content directly to your audience.
Well, I cover more areas than just email marketing as I help build complete marketing strategies for companies, but email is a key foundation for that. First things first are breakfast with my wife and baby daughter, COFFEE, and then 15 minutes quiet time before I start work.
Once my brain is in check I then start with emails. I have clients that span from North America and other parts of Europe other than just Spain. It's important to catch up and make sure everything is in check. Normally that takes 30 minutes to an hour as I just focus on updates and checking in.
I try to do an hour every morning on preparing next week’s social media content. This one is easy to skip as my mind is always client-focused, but it is an important part that I must be disciplined in. The rest of the morning is usually taken up with content creation for clients, and content for my new email newsletter and blog, which is soon to be released. I try to get this done in the morning as this is when my brain is most creative! Then I cook a quick lunch for the family. Working from home is a great asset for me because it allows me to be a bigger part of my family life, which I love! Cooking for me is a great disconnect and so I try to do it as much as possible, even if it's just fancy sandwiches!
Traditionally in Spain, it's a two-hour lunch break, that isn't possible for me, but it is very important. I can take a least 45 minutes to an hour - which I know is a luxury for some people! Depending on the day my afternoon is filled spent either in client meetings or strategy calls, or data analysis for campaigns, A/B testing, and client strategy development. Then some evenings after work will be spent on work development.
Depending on the client’s needs, I use a mixture of MailerLite, Swipepages and Campaign Monitor's agency program, and Litmus for testing. MailerLite is a great, cost-efficient, all-round tool for the complete email funnel. Litmus, if we are talking about my Spanish clients, many, many do not A/B test, and when they do it's rather blindly. I found Litmus to be a relatively simple platform that allows you to continually improve and optimize your desired process.
Know your audience. Speak their language and remember it's not about you, it's about them. Your email list is your most important marketing asset. It should be full of people that WANT to hear from you and TRUST your opinion. They've trusted you to give you their email, so always treat them and speak to them like your true fans. Always A/B test your emails and optimize your email onboarding experience, that way you will maximize conversion and brand loyalty.
Many of my Spanish corporate clients have an international customer base, therefore traversing through culture sensitivity can sometimes be difficult. For example, your brand message will always be the same, but retaining that integrity through different copy and subject lines in different languages and markets, can be difficult. It requires two areas to be done really well. Firstly, native copywriters that understand the business well enough to make sure your business message is correct and, secondly, that you have a message that will also attract the reader, open the email and engage with the CTA. Without meaning to sound redundant, the other is to A/B test continuously, to make sure your message and subject lines are connecting with your audience.
Email marketing, I believe, is on the rise. It is becoming increasingly difficult to be heard on social media platforms. Continuously changing algorithms due to a saturated market place is causing those social media platforms to become very hard to organically reach your audience. The fact that you own your list in email, you aren't at the mercy of social media's algorithms, and you can automate personalized content directly to your audience, means we are only going to see an increase in email marketing. I believe email marketing will become the main lead source for nurturing and selling online if social media continue to limit the visibility of its users’ followers. The problem is that I find many companies invest too much time and resources into the glitzy charm of social media, at the sacrifice of email marketing. That's not to say social media isn't a powerful tool, because it is.
But, it's also seductive to companies and very hard to gain real metrics and analytics compared to email marketing. We've all seen how Covid has caused a massive shift in how technology has grown and utilized in many companies' business development. This also follows with their digital presence and, unfortunately, many companies haven't seen the nurturing potential through growing a strong email list. They DO want to do webinars, build communities and see a vision for selling more online. But they often overlook their email list as the foundation and main source for this. I think that the advancement of email automation platforms will help companies see how much email marketing can be an asset. It's already happening and I think some industries just need to catch up. Specifically for my Spanish clients, at least in my experience when I compare them to their North American counterparts, they are following trends, just a little slowly, and especially in the B2B sector. I have also noticed statistically in my campaigns, a slight cultural bias when using lead magnets to grow lists. Meaning that there is a greater distrust to give email information for FREE gated content, which I think has lead to a surface level distrust to implementing email marketing as the assumption is that this is the only asset to email marketing.
Also, GPDR compliance, although it’s much easier through many email automation platforms, was and is still a concern when building an email marketing strategy. Although in reality, it is an asset because when you gain subscribers, you know they have had to jump through a couple more hoops to get your content, meaning they are more likely to be TRUE fans. This all has slowed the development in email marketing, but I think realistically in Spain, within 5 years the general business consensus of email marketing will catch up with monetizing newsletters either through subscriptions or advertising and utilizing properly automated and personalized messages.
One area I do feel is important is to grow in the future, is a greater authenticity to email communication that is more personalized and spoken more authentically to the audience. The authenticity of communication is something that most Spanish companies are willingly ready for. Unlike Latin American Spanish-speaking countries, Spanish businesses communicate in a far more informal manner, far more akin to the US, UK or Australia, and New Zealand, than compared to Latin America or Italy. Therefore to push my clients to have an authentic more personable tone within email content is far easier to attain and converts extremely well.
I truly believe that when we send a message with love and respect it will be delivered and read. And by “love” I mean maximising the probability of it being valuable. And by “respect”, I mean respect to recipients time, energy and attention.
I am addicted to email... I am. When I get to inbox zero, I feel empty... even nice pictures in SuperHuman do not compensate for it. That's why I try to keep control over it - I do my best not to look at email just after waking up and turn off notifications on my phone in the evenings. In-between, I spend a big portion of my time communicating via email, as it's a wonderful medium to share some thoughts and ideas. I use other channels, too - I try to work multi-medium, but I like email the most.
Email is less brief than social media & I'm not good at brief. It is in written form, opposite to phone calls, so I don't have to be afraid I will forget details. And it is much easier to manage. Even though I usually do video calls at the beginning of the relationship, I very quickly switch to email.
We have a very small MarTech stack, as we like simplicity: we use User.com for all the marketing, onboarding, communications. We use AWS SES for our transactional emails. We are on GSuite. I use SuperHuman to manage my inbox. It's still not uncommon to see small businesses sending messages from their free mailbox including multiple recipients in BCC. I believe that they could benefit from some email marketing solutions. Providing email verification solutions we have also noticed that email servers are not as stable as they could be - of course, messages are delivered to a recipient but sometimes not as fast as they could.
On the other hand, there are some great email solutions from Poland: GetResponse, Woodpecker, User.com, and emailLabs, so Poland is an interesting market - with great tech originated from this region, but with some learning curve still ahead.
My main challenge is to prove that what I have to say is valuable to my recipient. I like simplicity on the one hand - I don't like shiny emails and catchy subject lines, and on the other hand, I prefer longer forms. So my emails sometimes may seem boooooriiiiing.
I really hope that at some point we will be less bombarded with different stimulants, and our email lives will be more balanced and we will be able to get some harmony there. So when a valuable message will be in our inbox, we will have time and energy to study it. It may happen that technology will help us there... and I hope that when it will be developed for us it will also respect our privacy rights, too.
I believe that email marketing is getting more mature in Poland, as there are more and more email experts here. And it looks like small businesses are starting with the best practices, as don't have too many old habits. I hope that soon it will start getting less formal too... you can still feel some distance between humans in Poland when you communicate via email.
I love the holistic approach to communication regardless of the channel. I truly believe that when we send a message with love and respect it will be delivered and read. And with ‘love’ I mean maximising the probability of it being valuable. And respect, I mean respect to recipients time, energy and attention. My tip would be to be mindful of the potential value of what you have to send to your recipient. And then craft a form that will maximise the probability it will be read.
If you care about your personal credit score, you should care twice as much about your domain reputation.
My day starts with my new biking habit instilled by the fearless Dutch people. It helps kickstart my day and focus on the millions of decisions that need to be made on a daily basis. From deliverability issues to educating other teams, I live and breathe email. Not only can I talk about it for hours on end, but I think it may slowly be taking over my life... bit by bit... in the most positive, wonderful way!
Day to day I am putting out fires, innovating, and talking to my peers in the industry with my amazing team at Harlem Next. I feel extremely lucky to work for a company that is not only looking to grow, but cares about doing email right no matter the challenges and the changes that need to be made. It is the dream environment for me. I can do crazy things like massive list cleaning with no objection from the company. We all know how something as simple as list cleaning can come with lots of red tape!
Deliverability is an amazing money maker when done right. When a business' income relies on email, which many do, email & deliverability specialists need to work together with other departments. They also need to be heard, as not listening to their expertise can really impact the ROI and the company's online reputation. What is the point of sending beautifully crafted emails with amazing promotions.... if no one receives them in their inbox?
On the other hand, I always save some time in my day to ensure I am always on top of new trends or changes in the industry which always keeps me on my toes! I do this by stalking my favourite #emailgeeks, watching the State of Email webinars from 250ok, and reading anything I can get my hands on!
For day to day monitoring I love to use EmailConsul (emailconsul.com). I have everything I need in one place to look at the health of my ecosystem and how the emails are performing. I even heard that soon I will be able to double check my clients' email list efficiently! I can't wait! You will also find me in 250ok, Taxi for Email, Google Sheets, Really Good Emails, Email Geek Slack Channel, the Women of Email Facebook Group... and Twitter/Linkedin Stalking my Email heroes!
The Email Geek Slack Channel & the Women of Email Organisation. I always have a hard time explaining to non-Email Geeks how amazing the Email Geeks community is. You can ask any type of email question and you will have an army of people answer or help you succeed... Even people from competing companies. The Women of Email Organisation has helped me grow professionally and network with other amazing minds. There is an amazing ocean of knowledge and the women sponsor and promote each other like there is no tomorrow. WoE changed my life!
An actual email tool I would highly recommend is Cakemail. They were my first email family, and I know first hand how amazing the people behind the product are. From small companies to giant ones, Cakemail will not only offer an amazing email marketing experience, but it will give you a tool that will scale with you as your business grows. There is also nothing better than being able to call customer support and have a specialist help you with your email problems even when they are not related to the product.
Another tool which is amazing for smaller business who may not have the budget for tools like 250ok, is Email Consul. It is the best way to manage your deliverability on a budget. It has all you need to monitor your health and reputation of your email program and it comes with amazing deliverability consulting for when you need it. The data you get from this deliverability tool is absolutely fantastic! You get data I know most marketers don't even know exist!
My main challenge is making others understand what I do and why email & deliverability specialists are needed. I can not count the number of times I had to explain it or have been asked: "So... You send emails, right?" When they understand the why though, it helps them work on the What that needs to be done! I love sharing all the amazing things in the email world and getting others excited about it! Share your vision on email with us? People think that email is simple. Everyone does it everyday, no? Email is anything but simple. Email is a very precise niche and if you are not in it, you may not even know what to Google. Deliverability also needs to be present in all email conversations and it is often isn't. What is the point of a beautiful campaign if no one receives it?
Best practices, laws and authentication can seem annoying and boring, but they bring you more money. It is as simple as that. Ask any email specialist and they will tell you how they made more money by cleaning their list, than by buying one. Many things seem counterintuitive when it comes to email, because we rely on many misconceptions. This makes many of look like spammers without even knowing it. Saving the World One Email at a Time™. That is on my mind every time I make any email decision. What can I do to ensure I send better emails, to the right people, at the right time with the right content while thinking of deliverability, best practices and laws?
Authenticate your email; Sending less actually helps you make more money;
Don't look at open rates and click rates only. If 100% of your list opened an email , then they all clicked on the link... but no one bought your product would you celebrate? Optimize, optimize and then target the right audience.
Customer Data Platforms & API-first tools are the way to go!
It's one of the best days there is! It's learning every day. The thing about email is how exceptionally broad it is. It takes you out of your comfort zone to learn new things. And every day, there could be a change in one of your tools or email clients!
Salesforce Marketing Cloud, CanopyDeploy (former Clang), Hubspot, Marketo, Pardot, Litmus, Lucidcharts.
Lucidcharts helps get a better understanding of how the customer journey will look. It can take time but will pay back in a better customer journey.
Customer Data Platforms are something where I think there is a lot to gain. A CDP makes your data richer & more relevant. Not only because you can act on behaviour, but because you can combine data sources.
It is educating the different stakeholders about data. The Customer journey that I mostly build has a high level of personalisation requiring data from multiple systems. It can be challenging working with system owners who prefer to defend the system instead of working with you.
I think the email marketer should broaden their horizons. Email is a 1-1 channel. There are other 1-1 channels like apps and chatbots. So apply our knowledge of the past 20/25 years with these new channels. That's why I believe in CDP's & API-first tools. For some marketers, the learning curve will be steep, but I think it is the way to go!
Get to know Quint on Linkedin
Essential to keep on top of list hygiene to maintain a good sender reputation.
I work in two roles, Social Media Manager & Technical Support Agent. When on technical support, my day varies a lot! Working for an SMTP relay company means that I don't just need to know how our service works; I have to understand & be familiar with the SMTP setup on all email clients/software. Believe me; no one is the same!
That goes for inbox placement too! Almost every day, we face new questions on email delivery for various incoming servers to either figure out or adapt to (if necessary). Therefore, my day pretty much consists of troubleshooting as soon as I log on.
When I am on social media, my day is a little more predictable, which is excellent! I usually start by going through my content calendar, researching content ideas, creating/scheduling new content, and networking as much as possible. Or perhaps even preparing for presentations and podcasts, as and when they come up.
List cleaning services. It's essential to keep on top of list hygiene if you want to maintain a good sender reputation.
To stay away from purchased lists & to build your mailing list using genuine list-collection methods. It really is the only way.
One challenge that seems to crop up a lot is the lack of planning for using a dedicated IP. A dedicated IP needs to be warmed up slowly and then used regularly to maintain its reputation. Many marketers will come to us the day before a campaign without thinking this through. There also seems to be a fear of shared IPs. You can benefit from a shared IP when the outbound email service constantly monitors the IP reputation.
It is hard for me to answer, as I work from Spain by choice & our client base is global. As a whole, I think email marketers will need to up their game when it comes to best practice. Incoming servers are changing every day to protect from unwanted emails. Inbox placement does not come easy, but there are so many things you can do to ensure your emails arrive.
Email marketing is not a platform. It's marketing strategy and knowledge.
Since I'm running two businesses, my day usually consists of meetings, answering emails and a variety of messaging platforms. So, I get up early and catch a breath before going through my task planner. Both my teams are remote, even before the pandemic, so this hasn't changed much.
I prefer to handle most of the email marketing strategies with my team, keep up with the new trends & get a glimpse of what's working better. It's a way to stay updated with the channel that made my career from the start.
A big part of my day is handling our own marketing needs as a company. And writing articles since I believe that the founder needs to be the business's biggest advocate. So I'm highly involved with teaching, being a guest in podcasts & webinars. It's the way to share what we feel is the right way to do email marketing & marketing automation.
We are platform agnostic & use the best tools for each client's needs. We use ActiveCampaign to handle some of our email marketing communications and basic automation. Most of the more advanced marketing automation is a plethora of API's working together between tools to ensure we deliver the most relevant message to each person. From retargeting to dynamic content, personalisation can be significant.
But we can use tools like Mailchimp to others more corporate-based like Adobe Cloud Marketing or Salesforce Marketing Cloud. It all depends on what we want to solve. As for team collaboration, we use Slack, Trello, Asana and internal tools as well.
More than the tools, people should conceive a strategy before running any marketing activity. Using tools without a purpose and a clear goal is pointless. I usually say that we already have all the tools that we need to do our job. Yet, we keep searching for that one tool that would be perfect. And people should monitor more with proper analytic skills than what they're doing. Too many are using tactics without adequate measurement.
My favourite email tips are straightforward: don't go for quantity; go for the quality. It's better to have 400 unique subscribers who will convert than having 10.000 that aren't your target audience and then ruin your scores/sender reputation. Email marketing is not a platform. It's marketing strategy and knowledge. An email marketing subscription doesn't mean you're doing email marketing as it should be.
My primary email marketing challenge is to help people understand this channel's importance as a direct communication line to our audience. As said before, companies think that email marketing is to have an email marketing platform that blasts emails to their list. The ideal customer is the one that understands the importance of delivering value to their audience, of turning them into genuine brand advocates instead of trying to pitch deals all the time.
Fortunately, we're not focused just on our internal market. We work for firms worldwide & committed to delivering a fantastic experience through email marketing. I'm a board member of the Portuguese Marketing Professionals Association. I try to encourage activities to help Portuguese marketers find their way with email marketing best practice.
Concentrate on topics that the email audience really needs and cares about.
I start my day with two coffees, the news, and a deep dive into LinkedIn. I check my calendar and the todos for the day and make a rough plan for the next 9 hours. There might be a Client workshop, an online session scheduled for the day, calls with clients or I work on a piece of content. Every second Friday it is my turn to write our weekly Newsletter called “CXdoing Hacks”.
When I write emails I try very hard to build a connection with our audience. By doing so I would love to build a conversation with the audience but that proves to be difficult.
Don't forget a great subject line and an engaging preview-text.
There are just too many channels and there is way too much content out there. Our audience consists of busy people and so we have to make sure that we write about topics that concern them. We need to ensure that we make a difference with our email marketing texts, that we help them in their day-to-day life. That is our challenge, not theirs.
Concentrate on topics that the email audience really needs and cares about. Don't produce just another piece of email that nobody has the time to read. Which is a big challenge! Like with every other channel, every email is a possibility to connect with our audience. It is a great and very personal opportunity because this piece of content lands right in the inbox of your customers. We as email marketers have to make sure that we never forget that (which is not easy at all...)
You have to keep asking yourself: Why would I open this email?
We send emails twice a month with a summary of the content produced by our team. To do so, we use Mailchimp, Litmus & Sensorpro. The challenge we face in email marketing would be to keep your emails fresh, relevant and useful to your subscribers.
To overcome this challenge, you have to keep asking yourself: “Why would I open this email?”
Brexit has put the UK beyond the pale. Brands cannot simply copy and paste UK content for Irish subscribers. To stay relevant, marketing emails will need to differentiate themselves as being addressed to an Irish & EU audience.
The customer is always right, in the sense that they know what they want.
For B2B marketing, credibility plays a big part
I work in a B2B industry, and we still depend a lot on face-to-face-communications. The old-style field sales approach still worked for us. But in March 2020, everything changed almost overnight. How do we continue to have that consultative F2F interaction but from a distance? I started to rewrite the rule book last year, and it is still a work in progress. Mass email communications were never a crucial part of our marketing effort; precision 1-2-1 communications were the driving force.
My goal is to have conversations with my target audience, and I am constantly looking for new ways to start and progress those conversations to keep us ahead of the competition. My typical day is honing my content to match the individual conversations I want to have with my target audience.
I have used lots over the years – Gmail, Sensorpro, Mailchimp, Wix (Ascend), Outlook. I have always believed if you want to know what your target audience wants, you should ask them. The conversations need to be more interactive, more 2-way.
As marketers, we can be guilty of talking too much and not listening enough, leading to very one-sided dialogue. So I love to use polls, surveys and social media to gain insights into the problems or issues facing my target audience.
Always get the basics right. I still get emails where my name is wrong or the product/message is not relevant to me. Your message can be perfectly crafted, but if my name is wrong and the message is not relevant to me, I'm not going to read it. Get the basics right, know your target audience and use that insight to drive your messages.
For B2B marketing, credibility plays a big part, so I always try to include a case study, a testimonial or new customer logos in every communication.
Personalisation without having to rewrite the book for each pitch. We were stuck in a very F2F sales process. It is hard to pivot to a more inside-sales driven approach when there is a significant ticket price involved. The larger the cost of the goods or services, the more complex the decision making can be. However, there is room to consider a more hybrid approach where digital communications can play a more significant role in the sales process's early stages. Our sales process's early stages are more informative and less "salesy", making email marketing an excellent fit.
More interaction in real-time. I am not sure that it is an Ireland specific view of the future, but I believe that we need to interact more in real-time with our customers. And unfortunately, B2B marketing lags in this. AI can drive Real-time relevant interaction, and as we see more and more AI applications becoming mainstream, we will see a shift towards hyper-personalised real-time interaction.