I’ve written about Unroll.me before many times. It’s probably my favorite item in my inbox every day. And it’s the worst item in my inbox every day as well. (What’s even worse is when their servers go down, but that’s extremely infrequent.)
The reason Unroll.me is my favorite/worst item in my inbox is because it collects all of the crap that I don’t want to read every day. It’s the crap that I’ve signed up for because, at some point, I wanted that spammy newsletter or shopping email.
(P.S. If the NSA or CIA or Kremlin is reading this, put spam like this in front of me, tell me that I have to redesign the emails to good design, and I’ll tell you anything.)
In the midst of all of that, a nice little email caught my eye today, and the sender definitely knows a little something about email.
Yes, MailChimp is a modern marvel with email design, but I had to write about this email. This. This is not something we, even as email designers, see every day. This is pushing the envelope, in a very good way.
One of the things I love about the design, is that it’s not completely black-and-white. The beige/creme header stands out against the black/grey motif of the lower half and gives the reader some breathing room to focus on the header – “A few of our favorites.”
And while I didn’t open the email on mobile until I was writing this blog post, the design is definitely mobile-friendly.
Now, I thought to myself, this is a pretty cool email, right? So, I’m in Litmus Scope — which, by the way, if you’re not using, you need to — and I check the text version of the email.
At first glance, I think, “Oh, they expanded the text snippets of the articles for each of their links.” And then I read closer, and realize something else: This is marketing about MailChimp!
The text-version of the email had nothing to do with the actual email. It was marketing.
Now, I would absolutely love to hear the conversations that not only came up with this idea, but pushed it forward. (Author’s Note: I don’t receive many emails from MailChimp, so this could be something they do on regular basis, but I also know that not everyone reads the text version of emails.)
Now, I’ve loaded this email into Litmus Scope, so you can take a look at it in all it’s glory.
A lot to think about
A main reason why I wanted to share this email and my thoughts on the email was that it really got my wheels turning. It’s so unusual! It’s minimalist, but still full. It’s monochrome, but still colorful in a way. It functions across all platforms. And then there’s the text version!
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how difficult email marketing can be, and not just for those who do it every day. No, I’m thinking about those marketers who are diving into email marketing for the first time, need to “get it done,” and move on to the next item. Specifically, I’m thinking this in response to the recent Medium post by the women at Clover, and another response by Dan Oshinsky from BuzzFeed as posted on Campaign Monitor.
I’ve written before about the unending need to make the email creation process better. But, these two posts mentioned above have me thinking this issue goes beyond a simple UX refresh or overhaul.
What is the issue?
From my perspective, there seems to be two camps of people in email marketing.
One camp knows how to code, knows about deliverability, and know about design, among many other skills. This camp lives and breathes email marketing every day.
The other camp uses email marketing as a tool in their marketing toolbox. They don’t only do email marketing, but everything else as well. From websites to emails, to print materials or event planning, these marketers don’t necessarily have the time or skill set to do a deep dive into email marketing for every sent email.
I think a majority of marketers fall into the second camp, but only because I believe having a human resource dedicated solely to email marketing is a luxury that few can enjoy.
Why is it important to recognize the two differing camps?
I think it’s important for us to realize the inherent differences in these two camps because their respective needs can be incredibly disparate from each other.
The “Every Day” camp.
From my perspective, the needs of the Every Day camp are the needs of any professional who becomes an expert in their field. The tools get more specialized, and tasks that would take others many hours to finish requires minimal time of this expert. If I look at tools like Dreamweaver, Litmus Builder, and others, these are the specialized tools used by the Every Day camp. Someone from the Many Hats camp would not be using these tools on a daily or regular basis.
The “Many Hats” camp.
The people in the Many Hats camp have to cover a wide range of skills and required tasks in their day-to-day work. Email marketing can be just one more item on their checklist to get done; sending out the latest donor newsletter or update. Email is not the sole focus of this camp. The Many Hats camp requires tools that allow them to get the job done quickly, painlessly, and with a quick or short learning curve – anyone can pick it up if need be. Tools like Constant Contact is probably the prototype of this type of tool.
Why does this even matter?
I believe this matters because the article written by Clover is an article written by members of the Many Hats club, and the main people responding are members of the Every Day camp. The ladies from Clover want a solution to their issue in the short term, and maybe then, they’ll be able or ready to discuss longer term options like retooling their template. I don’t believe we in the Every Day camp did much to help Clover by posting articles about “What is Email Marketing?”
Articles like those written by Dan Oshinsky are for those in the Every Day camp, and it’s important not only for us to realize that an article like that is written for that purpose, but why we have two different camps in the first place.
These Two Camps are NOT Definitive.
There are of course going to be people from both camps who switch over because of a change in roles at work. That’s to be expected. What we, as email marketers, need to realize is what audience we are writing for when composing our missives. So for every #emailgeek that reads your blog, there might be a marketer who uses Constant Contact once a week. Make sure you know who you’re writing for.
According to eMarketer, 39% of email marketers that practice list segmentation see better open rates, 28% see lower opt-out and unsubscribe rates, and 24% see better email deliverability, increased sales leads, and greater revenue.
Insight and sass. Perfect for Millennials. *cough* I mean 20-30 year-olds. If you’re already a young person, this is old hat to you. But if you’re a “more seasoned” marketer, you may be wondering how to reach the YouTube/Twitter/Instagram crowd. Good insight on how to approach Millennials in marketing.
You’ve seen Facebook Celebrities use it. You’ve heard or seen about the Philando Castile shooting that was recorded using it. And now Facebook Live is getting some changes to attract longer form content, and more branded content. Look out for more people – and brands – using Facebook Live in the future.
One of two articles I read this week on Blockchain’s affect on Marketing. You’ve more than likely read about Bitcoin. Well, my ignorance aside, Blockchain is basically the foundation of Bitcoin; it’s what makes it work. Now folks, this is bleeding edge stuff here, so it’s not probably going to affect your marketing today. But keep your eyes on Blockchain going forward – the future is already here.
This is an amazing template, for After Effects and Apple Motion, that makes those videos where you’re recording laptop screens SO. MUCH. BETTER. Check it out if you do any type of screen recording demonstration videos.
Could this speak any more to me? Spot on insight. I know that I’ve had conversations with Baby Boomers on this topic, specifically the idea of “sacrificing joy in exchange for well-paying work.” What a load of shit. Sorry. Not Sorry.
With some research (I’ll link some resources at the bottom of the post) and some testing, I was able to create this landing page template:
Here are the steps I took to create our landing page.
Step 1. Find your prototype page.
Find a page on your website that you would like the landing page to look like. I like to think of this as when you’re buying a house – look for a page that has good bones, one that has the header and/or footer you want, one that has the body that you want, etc. I chose our website’s “Terms and Conditions” page because it had the cleanest body to build from.
Action: Copy the URL of your prototype page.
Step 2. Create your layout.
Since we didn’t have an existing landing page template that I liked. I started with the page that had “good bones” and opened that code within Adobe Dreamweaver. In Dreamweaver, I got rid of the Navigation Bar present throughout our main website. I also cleaned up the body of the page so I could place more than text. Next I created two basic columns, one column for the featured or hero image, and the other column for the title, description, and form.
Now, you may be wondering to yourself, “Why didn’t he use the built-in Pardot form instead of an iframe?” There’s a good answer! And, it took me a bit of trial and error to figure it out.
As you may or may not know, Pardot uses “Layout Templates” for both Forms and Landing Pages. So, if you’re in your “Layout Templates,” you’ll notice templates for your forms and landing pages alike.
The problem in the case of our landing page is that we’re trying to incorporate two different Layout Templates within the same page; the template for the form, and the template for the landing page. Pardot only recognizes the template for the “outer-most” asset, in this case the Landing Page.
The solution to this problem, i.e. using a different Layout Template for each the Landing Page and the Form. To create a template so that anyone can change the form, you need to create an editable section where you can paste the iFrame code. For that, you’ll need code similar to this:
Pretty simple step here. Copy all of the HTML code from Dreamweaver, and paste into the HTML section of the Landing Page Layout Template.
Action: Paste HTML code into Pardot template.
You’ve now created your template! Now, you probably want to create a new landing page from your template.
Step 6. Create a new Landing Page.
Navigate to: Marketing > Landing Pages > New Landing Page. Name your Landing Page, choose a folder, and then choose the relevant Campaign.
On the next step, you can click “No form.”
Step 7. Choose your template.
On the “Content Layout” step, choose the template you just made.
Step 8. Edit your content.
Now you can change and insert the content you want on your final page! Change the image, title, and description to what you want.
We’ll do the form in the next step.
Step 9. Get the iFrame code for your Form.
In a separate tab or window, navigate to: Marketing > Forms > Forms. Click on the form you want.
Now, copy the iFrame code:
Step 10. Paste in your iFrame Form code.
Go back to your tab/window with your landing page. Click on the editable section for your form. At first, you won’t see anything. Click on the “Source” button in the top-right to reveal the HTML code for that particular section.
Paste in your iFrame code here. And now you’ll have a complete landing page!
As I promised at the beginning, this post wouldn’t have been possible without the help and assistance of many people.
The first and most helpful resource overall was “How to Turn any Landing Page into a Pardot Layout Template” from Jenna Molby. Jenna’s post walks you through step-by-step in changing an existing landing page into one that works in Pardot. So, a very similar concept to my situation, but we didn’t have any existing templates.
“Using Content Regions” from the Pardot Knowledge Base. This was helpful to figure out how to make the sections I wanted in my template to be editable. Without this, you’re just left with a page you can’t edit!
Pardot B2B Marketing Automation – Salesforce Success Community. A great, great resource for anyone looking to up their Pardot game. I did a search for some of the issues I was having, like the “form vs. landing page template” problem, and found the solution on here. If you’re not a member of this community, you need to join today!
On one side, besieged customers under an onslaught of emails, social media, text messages, and video ads.
On the other side, marketers and executives in corporate high-towers crafting ever more insidious ways to get our message to infect the populous below.
The Man in the Middle
In this world of Customer versus Marketer, David versus Goliath, I, like many of you, teeter on the razor-thin edge between consumer and company. Like you, I allow myself weak moments of failure where I sign up for the newsletter, I “Like” the company Facebook page, and I text to win a contest at a conference.
And also like you, I myself am a Marketer. I sit in that glass enclave figuring out new ways of getting more information from my customer. I’m figuring out ways to get you to text to win, or “Like,” or give your email up for a newsletter in return.
How do we balance the responsibility of creating value at our companies with the responsibility to create valued customers?
Responsibility to Company.
As Marketers, we have a responsibility to our job and to our company. We are there to build awareness, push product, qualify leads, generate leads. Our tools, our marketing automation, our SMS platforms, our social listening, we use these tools to accomplish our given goals and to create value within our companies and our industries.
Responsibility to Community.
As members in our community (local, region, world), we have the responsibility to create a better world, to leave the world in a better place than when we came into the world. While esoteric for marketing, this idea of betterment is important to keeping customers pleased, instead of nonplussed.
How do we please our customers instead of annoying them?
The impetus for this post came from my daily use of the awesome email spam service Unroll.me. This one service reduced my daily influx of sales newsletters by about 150% (completely made up stat – but it’s been a lot.) Unroll.me got me thinking, “There are so many services like this, why do they exist in the first place?”
They exist because we as Marketers are not doing our jobs. Our real job. Yes, we have goals to increase the bottom line of our respective companies. But we cannot do that if we do not value our Customers.
Unroll.me exists because we, Marketers, are failing. Ad blockers exist because we, Marketers, are failing.
While overly simplistic, I wholly believe this to be true.
How do we stop failing the Customer?
I believe that we stop failing our customer when we start seeing the world through their eyes.
As marketers, we have a responsibility to our companies, but we also need to respect our customers. As marketers, we tend to see the world and our customers through the eyes of “marketing,” instead of through the eyes of the customer.
What value do we bring to our customer with our marketing? That is the question we should be asking ourselves. Not asking how we can fit another feature or tech spec on the website or flyer.
I believe that we should be true. And if we do that, if we be true to ourselves, our company, our customers, then we truly can help make the world a better place through marketing.
Be true. Be true to your company. Be true to your customers. Be true.
Interesting perspective on those wonderful image marketing emails we all get. Jaina certainly presents some good reasons why we should consider (or reconsider) image heavy marketing emails. I’m not sure I fully agree, but it’s a good read nonetheless.
What? This is awesome. We already have Pardot, so we get our Wistia information there, but to have everything right within Salesforce? Pretty dang sweet. Even with Pardot integration, this might be worth looking into?
Great insight. I think anyone who is trying to manage their schedule well already uses many of the traits mentioned in this article. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it, or share it with that coworker who does send emails at 2 A.M.
I must be on some type of “annoying person” kick with the email article and this one! James has a wonderful style of writing that takes you right into the story. He definitely gets straight to the point. Here, James quickly reminds us to remove cruft in our lives, especially cruft in the form of the Crappy Person.
Happy Fourth of July Weekend! I know I haven’t written a blog post in a while aside from these “roundups,” but I’ve got something in the works! In the meantime, here’s some of the articles I’ve been reading the past week.
And let’s be honest, I’ve been reading a lot this week, so a thousand apologies for the thousand links. On the other hand, it’s some good reading material for you for a long weekend! 🙂
Emmet is an amazing tool for those who need to craft marketing emails on a regular basis. This isn’t Taxi for Email or anything like that. Emmet is meant to help you with the coding of your emails. Personally, I haven’t dug into it yet, but will definitely need to see how this could help my team.
Paul hits on something here that I come across daily with my company, how do you choose what’s important or not important for your reps to see in Salesforce. I think the best point made is regarding the visibility of the information in Salesforce. I may have to write a follow-up post to that end. Thanks, Paul!
A second post from Kath Pay. This one is near and dear to my heart, even if it’s short. Great customer service is great marketing. And the reverse is also true, great marketing should be about great customer service. To that end, Kath Pay stresses that we marketers need to respect the expectations of our customers and “must deliver the promises they make when a consumer signs up for the email program.”
Some scary stuff in here if you or your company isn’t ready to change. If you are ready for change, some really fun stuff! I’ve been reading a bit about machine learning and email marketing, and this post from Chad White at Litmus brings up machine learning as one of the biggest changes coming to email marketing in the next 4 years.
There’s a lot of hyperbole in politics, so it’s hard to sometimes decipher the crackpots from the conspiracists from the actual historians. I don’t know much about the history of the US prior to World War I, nor the history of Adolph Hitler, but to me, the theory presented here seems more plausible than Trump actually being the next Hitler.
“We have 80 years of essentially zero production of neighborhoods with these qualities,” Grant says. “We’ve spent the last 80 years building car-oriented suburbs. Then when the elites decide they want to go back into the city, there’s not enough city to go around.”
I’m a huge Jane Jacobs and Richard Florida fan. Huge. One of my favorite memories of my first job out of college was getting to tape Richard Florida speak at Iowa State University. Awesome. So, whenever I read a great story about cities, how they’re built, how they’re designed (or not designed), and how people move, well, I eat it up like my dog eats peanut butter.
A lot of noise these past few weeks about Brexit. While my personal stock portfolio has already jumped above pre-Brexit, there are several articles going around about the future. This is a fun little piece, not too based in reality, but fun nonetheless.
I love 538. Been reading since pre-Obama. They do great write-ups on sports as well (given they’re owned by ESPN these days, not the NY Times.) The Infield Shift is a weird aspect of baseball. Does it work? Is it baloney? Check it out.
Insightful, in-depth reporting on how machine learning (slash AI, or Artificial Intelligence) is already helping email marketers do email better. Kath includes three specific examples of companies using machine learning in the Email Marketing industry.
“Since 1995 — when he set up a company called Cyber Promotions to flood phones with junk faxes and, later, inboxes with junk email — King has lost numerous judgments in civil cases brought not only by Facebook, but also by the Federal Trade Commission, America On-Line and MySpace.”
Amazing that people waste their time for decades trying to spam others.
“Google and Microsoft will soon be embracing a p=reject DMARC policy, meaning that only Google can send email marketing messages from an @gmail address and only Microsoft can send email marketing messages from its suite of email applications, including Hotmail, outlook, live and MSN email accounts.”
I don’t see this affecting many corporations, as they will already be sending emails from their own domains. Can’t imagine there are too many legitimate marketers sending email from these domains.
Big update from Salesforce Pardot this week with the release of their Engagement Studio. Unlike their previously released Salesforce Engage that costs $50/user/month, Engagement Studio is a Generally Available release; every customer has access to Engagement Studio. This is a huge win for Pardot customers. I’ve long been a critic of the pricing strategy for Salesforce Engage, but that’s a completely separate topic.
I work in a very traditionally structured organization, where for several years the website design was owned by marketing, and the hosting/tech was owned by IT. I’d say it’s now 97-ish% owned by marketing. This post from Boagworld does a good job of addressing this issue.
A great article about an important topic. I know an incredible amount of women marketers. In fact, the majority of people on our marketing team at GreatAmerica are women. So, where is the same proportion of representation at conferences? I didn’t necessarily notice this at Dreamforce the last two years, but I’ll be keeping my eyes open on Diversity in the future!