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The Email Marketing Blog

The top thought leaders in email marketing share their insights and thoughts.

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Have you taken on a new role?  With the average tenure of email marketers at just under those of politicians and CMOs, new leaders and managers need to think about the first 90 days both tactically and strategically.

I love the book “The First 90 Days" by Michael Watkins.  Aside from personalized newborn-baby books, I’ve likely bought more versions of this book as gifts for industry colleagues than any other book.  It's so compelling to me because it made me re-evaluate things I knew intuitively but didn’t quite know how to structure.     

Many people in new jobs remind me of a local 5K race.  When the gun goes off, half the group sprints for the first 100 yards with visions of victory are in their mind, only to fade to a walk/trot after they get out of spectators' view.

The First 90 Days lists 10 core principles, which I wrote down on a yellow Post-It note and taped to my monitor screen. It sat there for close to 5 years: 

  • Promote Yourself
  • Accelerate Your Learning
  • Match Strategy to Execution
  • Secure Early Wins
  • Negotiate Success
  • Achieve Alignment
  • Build Your Team
  • Create Coalitions
  • Keep Your Balance
  • Expedite Everyone

With these principles as your framework, you can dig in to the six most important things you need to do in your first 90 days.

Last modified on
Tagged in: The Marketing Life

I remember when I learned I was going to be responsible for email marketing for a new employer. My first reaction was “ok, what did I get into?”  After the first bit of panic wore off, I developed a plan to educate myself and get immersed in the channel.  Hopefully the tips below, which are based on how I learned the business, will help those who are new to this wonderful industry.

  1. Make a full commitment
  2. Email marketing is not easy.  Sure, there are all kinds of Top 10 lists that tell you the best day to send, what kind of content people want, or what you should be testing. That makes it seem as though email marketing is more of an exact science than an art. And that could not be further from the truth.  You need to commit to learning as much as you can, and be prepared for it to consume you. To succeed in this business, you have to have an amazing thirst for knowledge, and a time commitment that falls outside the normal 9-5.

  3. Check your fear at the door
  4. Mistakes are going to happen. You are going to feel terrible when one does. A few years into my career, I made a mistake that resulted in our company being in the news for days. I was hoping for a foreign invasion or some other event large enough to move us out of the news cycle, but it never came. Did I think I was going to get fired?  Absolutely.  Did I? No. The people I worked for took it for what it was, and we moved on. The sun came up the next morning, and it didn’t take long to get back in the groove. But the simple fact is that if you’re constantly playing it safe, you’re not going to learn anything. You can’t be afraid of testing different ideas, exploring different platforms, or even of having a conversation. Note: this is not an advisement to embrace recklessness.  That is a different kind of thing entirely, and will have consequences.

  5. Find out who your Email Service Provider (ESP) is
  6. Every ESP is different.  Find out, as soon as you can, what platform you’re going to be using.  Get onto their support website and start learning the basics of the tool, and what its real potential is. Most of these platforms also have a wealth of online research, case studies, and other information you can use to learn how other companies have solved business problems through email marketing.

  7. Identify your competitors
  8. Locate the online properties for your competitors and start asking yourself questions.  “How hard is it to sign up for offers or a newsletter?” “What value are they delivering to their subscribers?” “How often are they sending messages?” Sign up for their campaigns and be aware of what they are doing. You need to differentiate yourself from them, and you cannot do so unless you know what their value proposition is.

Last modified on
Tagged in: The Marketing Life

Email marketing sounds old school; outdated and uncool. Digital marketing is supposed to be about creating cutting edge campaigns that everyone talks about. Email probably isn't what you had in mind as your first digital job, but if you’re lucky enough to have scored that gig, chances are you won't want to leave it now. Your first week will be a whirlwind of learning about clients' campaigns and your company's methodologies.

My journey into email marketing only truly started about 8 months ago. Coming into the new position I was confident that I knew everything I needed to know about the industry. After all, I was the head of marketing at my previous job, responsible for everything marketing. I quickly learned that my knowledge was far less than I thought. I found myself scrambling to catch up. Additionally, I realized I had been doing a poor job at the company I came from (even though I thought I was the best).

The first week on the job can be very stressful, especially when you’re new to email marketing. It took me a few weeks to realize what I needed to do, but I could have figured things out sooner. Here are some tips that can set you up for rapid success the first week on the job.

Ask questions.

Take your questions beyond the basics of campaigns. Ask why things are done the way they are. Why are emails sent the time they are? Why is content worded the way it is? Why are campaigns set up the way they are?

Last modified on
Tagged in: The Marketing Life

Posted by on in Email Strategy


"EEC15 proved that Dela and the people who have discovered that sending more results in higher sales - despite the misgivings of a large part of our email community – is absolutely right."

Email engagement doesn’t matter…again

Every once in awhile, dogmas clash.

Tightly held beliefs on one side of the table butt heads with equally held beliefs on the other side. Much like rams, elk or any other animals with hard heads and/or horns, the combatants line up across from each other and whack away. In nearly every one of these challenges, someone wins. Someone loses.

Last modified on
Tagged in: Dela Quist

Posted by on in Email Design

We need to talk about how we measure success when it comes to mobile email. The email experience today is miles apart from the one ten years ago – there are mobile phones, tablets (is that a mobile device or not?), watches, laptops – yet on the most part we are still using the same success metrics.

This isn’t going to be an article about design tips or how to add “the responsive code”.

Ok it might be a bit. Here’s 5 tips: shorter copy, more white space, nice big easy to tap buttons, simpler column layout, more contrast between colours. Now, I don’t have results to back this up, this is based on 15 years of experience in designing marketing campaigns to effectively communicate a message. Shorter copy and more white space are about making it easier to understand the core message, nice big buttons make it painless to interact and a simpler column layout helps make all of this possible on a smaller screen. The contrast also helps to strengthen the message and draws attention where it is needed when the user is out and likely to have distractions.

We could split test whether this sort of thing works, but our intuition as humans already tells us that making things easier to understand is a good thing to do.

And therein lies our problem – if we only measure the success of our work using opens, clicks or opens-and-clicks-in-an-impressive-equation, we only get a small view of an audience’s behaviour.

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Insights from Todays Leading Email Marketing Experts and Thoughtleaders