Email Marketing – Kindness is spoken here

Mar 20, 2018

Paul Shriner

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As an email marketer, there will always be more that you can learn and do. What happens when there is a knowledge gap though; when there is a question that you can’t find the answer to? Questions like the following:

  • When is the best time to send an email?
  • Why your design won’t render on Outlook?
  • Why your ESP won’t do this?
  • Is this email “Journey” GDPR compliant?
  • What is Send Time Optimization?
  • What vendors do you know and trust?
  • Is there a sending limit on your ESP?
  • How do I recover from deliverability issues?
  • What is the right schedule to warm an IP address?

Kindness has long defined the email marketing industry. From new email marketers to seasoned veterans, there is a foxhole mentality that says we are all in this battle together. No one gets out of the foxhole without everyone else. Nout Boctor-Smith, Email Marketing Manager for Red Hat said, “if it were not for this amazing group of people, I would not be able to code emails. I’ve learned more in the last year than in the previous 5 years combined.” Josh Zeillman, Interactive Designer for SoftVu shared, “In the ever-changing world of email. A knowledgeable group of people eager to assist can be your most powerful tool.”

With all of this kindness oozing from the industry, an enterprising email marketer might ask the question, “How can I exploit this kindness to advance my career?”  The most ridiculous answer would be to write an article with a lot of quotes that pander to your peers who are the best and the brightest in the industry. There are, however, simpler and better solutions to your personal development as an email marketer.

Ask for help
“Ask for help!” This sounds like advice from Captain Obvious.  At AudiencePoint, we answer questions all the time about different topics. At this stage of this very young industry, information is constantly changing.  Hop on a forum, make a phone call, or Tweet your question. The best and the brightest in Email Marketing are so very approachable. I personally had a question about the game, Super Mail Quest, so I Tweeted, Slacked and emailed the creator and you know what? I got a response!

Go to the top
Do not be afraid to go to as high as you can to get the answer you want. There are no egos in email marketing, and this perspective is set from the top. Humility waterfalls down throughout the entire industry. Steven Sayo, Marketing Executive at Mainline Menswear said, “I had no idea how big the email community was. There are so many people with different backgrounds and expertise all willing to share their knowledge. Everyone is so welcoming and helps in anyway they can.” Email the CEO, or founder, this is your career, grow it by getting your questions answered.

Be committed to learning
You have an excuse to ask, the industry is changing for the better. As things get more complicated, instead of defending his/her knowledge, marketers are freely sharing it. Longtime email marketer and industry pioneer, Dennis Dayman, Chief Privacy and Security Officer of Return Path said, “If we work together we can continue to all be successful. It is not about competition first. There is a tragedy here in the commons, meaning if we don’t all work together, we will all fail together.”

Steven Sayo continued on to say, “When I got my first job in email design in 2013 it was completely new to me. At that point, the email industry looked pretty bleak, niche and uninspiring. In 2016, when I returned, I discovered a whole email community where there were so many people with different backgrounds and expertise all willing to share their knowledge. Everyone is so welcoming and helps in any way they can.”

There is a danger to all of this kindness as well. If you have ever taken a psychology class, you will remember the concept of groupthink, the idea that all members of a group start to think the exact same way. Dela Quist, long-time industry veteran and CEO of Alchemy Worx and Touchstone Intelligent Marketing addresses this directly, “At the very heart of the email industry is kinship, you get a sense of that almost as soon as you become part of it. The ‘we are all in this together’ – part of the same tribe is very strong. There is a willingness to share that I don’t really see in other digital channels. However there is a downside to that sense of tribalism – it makes us a little too insular. Best practice becomes entrenched very quickly and never questioned and new ideas that don’t fit the established narrative get very little traction.”

There are best practices, and email marketers should continue to share those best practices with each other. Matt Vernhout, Editor in Chief for the blog EmailKarma and  Dir Privacy at 250ok, said, “Edge cases that break the typical rules can always be found, and we should all keep a critical eye to identifying those cases. However, general best practices apply to the majority of the space, and should continue to be shared.”

Available Resources
For new email marketers, finding a community of like-minded people is going to be key to success. There are a lot out there. Here are a few to consider:

Online communities

We are better together. When you learn from a community, you are then compelled to contribute as well. Email marketing is going to continue to grow, albeit the form may change over time. Chris Marriott, President and Founder of Marketing Democracy summed it all up very nicely by saying, “Our industry continues to produce the highest-producing marketing activity in the digital space. There is no question this hyper-productivity is a direct outcome of the amazing people that I get to call peers!”