Thoughts After a Trust Fall: Email Marketing <3

(This is a little TL;DR, so, here are Cliff’s Notes if you simply can’t be bothered: I got a new job, moved to a new city, am madly in love with email marketing and if you live in Boston, I’d love to meet up. Yes, Boston readers, I’m shamelessly hitting on you.) So, I made a bit of a move—a professional move, a personal move…well, I pretty much turned my entire life upside down. Two months ago, I packed up my bags and moved from DC to Boston. With nothing in tow but a suitcase, a backpack and two small boxes, I moved to a city in which I had spent exactly three days ever and knew only a handful of folks. It was kind of like a trust fall. The big draw was that I would be starting a new job managing email marketing at a company I was a huge fan of: Litmus. That part was easy; I’ve […]


9 Things Email Marketers Freaked Out Over in 2013

I have so much love for the email marketing community. We are a very passionate, dedicated people, always looking to improve our work and stay ahead of trends. However, as a result of that, nobody freaks out more than email marketers, in scale or frequency. When a ripple runs through our world, we write blog posts, initiate listserv debates and host summits about nothing else for, minimum, six months afterward. Let’s take some time to reflect on the things we absolutely lost our minds over this year… It sure looks like Gmail rocked our world in 2013. They made continuous updates to their email service throughout the year, often provoking feelings of unease among many email marketers. However, these changes and developments should remind us that if we do our jobs well, we will continue to succeed in the Inbox. No changes to Gmail or Yahoo! or Outlook will erode the fact that email marketing is at its best when […]


‘First Comes Love, Then Comes Mobile’ at MPEIS

This year, I have had the privilege of traveling to several conferences to preach the gospel of responsive email design. My most recent presentation was last week at the MediaPost Email Insider Summit in Park City, UT. Below, you can see the stream of the ‘First Comes Love, Then Comes Mobile’ case study I presented. In it, I discuss mobile email trends affecting all email marketers, and then the specific tactics I have employed to meet my subscribers where they are — on their phones and tablets. Although I was initially concerned that I would have to give my presentation in a full body cast after a day of skiing, it turns out I’m a passable skier and was still (sort of) able to function the next day. PyeongChang 2018? Don’t see the video above? Watch it on USTREAM here. Other posts you might enjoy: 14 GIFs Explaining an Email Marketer’s Life The Best Kept Secret for Email Campaign Feedback The […]


The “Mean Girls” Guide to Email Marketing

In 2004, Tina Fey bestowed a great gift upon the world: the movie Mean Girls. For the uninitiated, a brief summary: Lindsey Lohan stars as Cady Heron, a home-schooled 16-year-old forced to enroll in public school when her family relocates to Illinois from Africa. Unprepared for the “survival of the fittest” nature of high school, Cady gets tangled up with a clique known as The Plastics, the most popular — and most hated — girls in school. Through this lens, Mean Girls explores the effects of social cliques in American schools. With its oft-quoted script, Mean Girls has become one of the most popular movies of the last decade. However, it has much more to teach us beyond how to survive in high school. Cady and the Plastics actually have a few key lessons that can help you succeed in email marketing! #1 – You don’t have to wear pink on Wednesdays. The Plastics wear pink every Wednesday — but for no good reason […]


The Best Kept Secret for Email Campaign Feedback

Your customers are talking about you. Yes, of course they talk about your brand itself on Facebook, Twitter and other social channels…but they are also discussing your email campaigns, and their conversations can give you great insight into how your campaigns are being received, beyond just standard quantitative email metrics. Go to Twitter and search for your brand name followed by the word “email.” On the search results page, make sure you click the “All” toggle to see all of the tweets, instead of just “top” tweets. Voila! Instant feedback on your email campaigns. Granted, it will be only a small segment of your overall email audience, but still — it’s qualitative and direct feedback that email marketers don’t often get, except for the cavalier few who hit “Reply” to give us a piece of their minds. An interesting side benefit is that many of the tweets actually include a screenshot of your email, allowing you to see how your designs are […]


3 Tips for Better Preheader Text

Preheader Negligence. We’ve all been victims of it.               “View online as webpage.”               “Forward to a friend.”               And…the worst…“HAVING TROUBLE VIEWING THIS EMAIL?” The presence of those phrases in our inboxes is a symptom of the next greatest plague among us: Preheader Negligence. Although not yet on WebMD, it’s loosely defined as failing to strategically control your email’s appearance in the inbox through the aid of optimized preheader text. In modern inboxes, we see preheader negligence at its worst when generic link text is displayed in the inbox, directly after the subject line. See Exhibit A below. Exhibit A: My personal inbox. Subject lines changed to protect the negligent. As a concept, preheader text has evolved over time. The phrase itself refers to the text above the header in an email. It was initially important because it was the first part of an […]


14 GIFs Explaining An Email Marketer’s Life

OK, email marketing friends. After many hours of scrolling through animated GIFs and lolzing to myself, I have selected 14 that I feel represent the full experience of being an email marketer. Enjoy. #1 – When anyone at your company actually calculates the ROI of Email #2 – When you attend an email marketing conference #3 – When you look at your email design in Lotus Notes #4 – When your boss asks if you can make the Unsubscribe link harder to find #5 – When you look at the CTR of Transactional emails #6 – The 5 minutes before pressing “Send” on an email campaign #7 – The 5 minutes after pressing “Send” on an email campaign #8 – When the 20th person asks if Gmail Tabs are hurting your open rates #9 – When you finally get approval to buy a Litmus subscription #10 – When your favorite variant in the A/B test loses #11 – When you […]


4 Ways Email Marketing is Like Theater

Email marketing is a world full of intelligent, detail-oriented, analytical folks — none of whom thought they’d end up in email marketing. Take me, for example. I graduated college, set out into the world bearing a BFA in Dramaturgy and ultimately became an email marketer. (Drama-what? Dramaturgy.) Instead of monologues, auditions and Shakespeare, I’m now focused on pre-header text, A/B testing and bulletproof buttons. While I can’t honestly say that my semester in Stage Make-up is often relevant in my day-to-day job, it does make for some great #tbt posts on Instagram. However, many core tenets of theater training are actually quite applicable to my current leading role: that of the email marketer. After all, theater artists and email marketers ultimately have the same goal. We both communicate with people; persuade them; convince them; and make them perhaps consider something they hadn’t previously considered. To give my BFA some well-deserved exercise, here are four key lessons email marketers can take […]


Dispatches from #TEDC13 London

I was lucky enough to spend my 26th birthday in London, sharing the stage with a few of the best minds in the email design industry at TEDC13. (Before, of course, spending a few days being a tourist with my friend Kate!) The Email Design Conference is the first event of its kind, bringing together email designers and developers who have mostly been relegated to breakout sessions at other email conferences. Until TEDC, email designers have swapped stories, shared tricks and communally bitched about Outlook only in online forums and on Twitter. This annual gathering (presented by Litmus) will advance the field much further and give it the recognition it very much deserves. Many of the other presenters are people I have long looked up to as the heroes of email design. When you’ve been befuddled by something in Outlook and you read a blog post that solved everything, the author was likely Ros Hodgekiss, or Justine Jordan, or Elliot […]