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Introduction to email marketing [video]

November 29, 2017 2:38 pm
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Reading Time: 3 minutes


The above video is a 45 minute plus introduction to email marketing. This was screen recorded along with the live audio of a presentation I gave at the company I work at. This video was for these “Library Sessions” that we run. These are supposed to be 10 minute micro-teaches ala Ted talks. Unfortunately, I fail to deliver 10 minutes as I have a lot to say on the topic. So there is in fact 48 minutes of ranting, a few swears, and more than occasional knowledge bombs being dropped.

Covered in this introduction to email marketing

In this video I touch on a few topics, listed below in a rough chapter order:

  • Introduction
  • Capabilities of a Modern Email
  • Email Analytics
  • Inbox: the battleground
  • How to optimise your email marketing

As an update, it should be noted that Gmail app capabilities have changed since this presentation was filmed. A more up to date list of available CSS selectors on a per device basis can be found here. Nothing has changed with Outlook desktop.

Sources cited in this presentation

There was a slide at the end with links on for everything I’ve mentioned in the presentation, because I like to back up my nonsense but that appears to have been cut. Luckily, I can rectify that by listing the sources of my information for this introduxtion to email marketing below:

My background on email marketing

I used to work for a catalogue DM fashion place over in Bradford. I never realised it at the time, but it is where I learnt my ethos on iterative design based on a testing methodology. At the time I thought I was never doing the worlds most swishy design and lamented it. But now, I actually consider it quite lucky I got this prep. My role developed from initially primarily offline DM packs, to primarily email marketing. In the two years I was there I designed, built and work with the marketing team to develop based on iterative results.

That was 10 years ago though, so you’d think I’d have no grounds to discuss this topic still right? knowledge in HTML at the time was just hitting the web 2.0 phase. I couldn’t preach knowledge about that in 2017 (well, 2016 at time of video) without being incredibly out of date, right? No one needs gradients in 2017, they need grid layouts.

Well, fortunately for me and unfortunately for everyone, the landscape though changed by mobile is still weighed down by Outlook. Whilst at a mobile and tablet level we are well catered too, most clients Analytics I see suggests that Outlook can still play a near dominating role in design considerations.

Innovation in Email Vs Iterative improvement in Email

In this introduction to email marketing, I discuss why I’m not a fan of innovation in emails as a strategy and prefer instead an iterative strategy. Which does not preclude testing with progressive techniques. It just means that they shouldn’t me a primary focus until validated as effective. I also discuss how measurement and experimentation at different focus points can lead to better results.

The most important thing to remember about email content is that it has to be engaging content for the user. In terms of volume of content, I am always of the belief that emails are a jumping off point. As a marketer, unless the users digital interaction ends with that email,  I don’t want my user dawdling in an email. I want the user on my landing page where I’m usually more confident that the device will be fully capable of doing any whizz-bangs a clients desires. As a user I don’t care about your innovation. A user is probably tired, busy and you are just another one of the many brands I have to filter through to get to what i want. I discuss this importance at length in the Introduction to Email Marketing video at the top of the page.

This joint was penned by @elmarko