When a new person subscribes to your email marketing, greet them, thank them and set expectations with them. It's best not to wait until they make an order with you or abandon a shopping cart before you send them an email. Send them a welcome email, and start building that relationship with the new subscriber from the beginning.
At mailfloss we’re focused on helping email marketers get the most from their email marketing campaigns. We do this in a few different ways. First, we help email marketers improve their deliverability through the use of our email list verification service. Secondly, we work hard to educate email marketers on the various topics relating to running a successful email marketing campaign.
Today, mailfloss had the opportunity to chat with Jenna Tiffany, the founder of Let’s Talk Strategy, a UK based marketing firm, about her work within the email marketing industry.
Without further ado, let’s jump into the interview.
Hello and thank you for joining us today to talk about your experience as a digital marketer Jenna. Can you kick off the interview by telling us a little bit more about what attracted you to marketing in the first place? What made you want to start your own digital marketing agency and consultancy?
My passion is to improve the customer's experience, whether that be when a visitor first lands on a website, the email campaign they have received or an experience instore. Marketing can shape a customer’s experience with a brand creatively. I am a creative, analytical and strategic thinker so for me; Marketing was a great fit.
I have worked in marketing for over ten years, and during that time, I've worked in marketing teams within organisations in banking, retail and travel. I then moved agency side and worked with a variety of different companies in a strategic consultancy role. I always had the ambition to run my own marketing agency, and for me, the right time to do so was when I turned 30. Of course, it was a risk to step away from a full-time job and go it alone, but I have learnt so much along the way. After being in business for three years, the Let’sTalk Strategy team have been lucky enough to consult with some of the biggest brands in the world and two offices in London and Lisbon it has been a risk worth taking!
You have over ten years of experience in the email marketing and consultancy space. What are some of the biggest changes you've seen in the email marketing space during that time?
The most significant change I have seen has been the move of email from being seen as purely a 'batch and blast' communication channel to being used more strategically. Email consistently achieves the highest ROI above any other digital channel but yet still receives the lowest percentage of the marketing budget. This has historically meant that email has been seen to be the channel to drive a quick buck and in doing so to use it in a very tactical way. Email has enormous potential to deliver if used strategically, and I've seen a significant shift in the channel being used more in that way.
You actually have a service and tool where you help people track their competitors emails. Very interesting! What are the main takeaways marketers can get from analysing their competitor's emails?
Our partner, Altaire, is the provider of the tool called Competitor Email Monitoring. As email marketers, we all have the habit of subscribing to our competitor's emails that end up filling our inboxes! The tool does all of this for you, and more, it analyses the subject lines used, time of day the emails are sent and the emails in a customers journey too.
There’s a lot of insight that can be gained, such as design inspiration. Email marketing can be used to engage with subscribers visually, so being able to collate lots of examples of email design starts to broaden your email design horizons! It's also good to keep your finger on the pulse of your competitor's activity as much as possible.
Speaking of email segmentation and targeting, what segmentation and targeting strategies do you often see misused or underused? Why is proper segmentation so important? What can businesses do today to start better targeting their emails?
The biggest segmentation area that is still massively underutilised is with new subscribers. When a new person subscribes to your email marketing, greet them, thank them and set expectations with them. It's best not to wait until they make an order with you or abandon a shopping cart before you send them an email. Send them a welcome email, and start building that relationship with the new subscriber from the beginning. From experience, the welcome emails will be one of the top-performing emails sent. I wrote a guide with Smart Insights about how to create an effective welcome journey.
Let's talk about email content for a moment. What strategies do you see perform well time and time again when businesses are sending sales-focused emails?
Firstly, having an email strategy. It’s astounding how many organisations still don’t have an email marketing strategy. All of the time and effort is spent on crafting a beautifully written and designed email campaign without first defining what the objectives are for the campaign. What is the goal of that particular email campaign?
Once the strategy has been defined and analysis has been conducted to understand more about your subscribers, the next step will be then to determine what are the best tactics to use to engage them. This varies from organisation to organisation. Personalisation and targeted content are one the most common ones, but this is all dependent on your subscribers. There is a balancing act when using personalisation, it needs to not feel like personalisation to be successful. Targeting a person because you have the data (and consent to use it) without defining the value in doing so is just doing so because you can.
Variety in the type of emails sent is also a consistent finding. We all get bored by hearing the same thing, watching the same thing and reading the same thing. This is no different in the inbox. If your friend kept telling you the same story over and over again, you'd probably try to either change the conversation or avoid them for a while. This is the same in the inbox. We need to stop thinking about the inbox as something that is disconnected from reality and humanise the communications we are sending.
What companies do you think are doing a really good job in terms of creating an engaging “voice” in their email campaigns? What makes their choice of “voice” so interesting to you?
Urban outfitters demonstrated their personality and a clear understanding of their audience with the GDPR related email that they sent.
Acknowledging that their subscribers and customers regularly use WhatsApp, they replicated the design in their email content. This could have been a very dull legally written email campaign, but instead they looked at this creatively and really stood out from the crowd without losing their brand voice, like many other organisations did.
Lastly, what new technologies or strategies do you feel most excited about in the email marketing space? What makes you excited about these changes?
Voice and AI for me are incredibly exciting. Voice technology brings another dimension to email marketing, and I am eagerly watching the uptake of this innovation. AI is an area that I have a massive passion for when it is used ethically. I consulted with a brand that was struggling to engage their subscribers. AI was a clear technology choice to test and learn from in optimising email subject lines. The results within the first three months were outstanding, and even with the substantial investment, it recouped the costs within those three months. The organisation rolled our AI internationally across the organisation and haven't looked back. But I will caveat that an organisation needs to define their strategy first before running to AI. It will not solve a problem if you don't know what the problem is or what you're aiming to achieve.
Thank you greatly for taking the time to chat with mailfloss’s email marketing blog readers today Jenna. We really appreciate you taking the time. To our audience, if you’d like to learn more about Jenna and the work she does, you can follow her on Twitter or head over to her website here.