Monochrome MailChimp: A New Favorite

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.

monochrome-mailchimp-no-images
This is the email that caught my eye, and without images as well!

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.

The same email, with images.
The same email, with images.
The mobile version, as shown by Litmus Scope.
The mobile version, as shown by Litmus Scope.

Stranger Things

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.

The very long text version of the Awesome Monochrome MailChimp Email.
The very long text version of the Awesome Monochrome MailChimp 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!

Snippet of the text version.
Snippet of the text version.

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!

10/10 Mailchimp. Bravo.

 

Redux: What is Email Marketing Really For?

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.

email-marketing-everyday-manyhats

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.

Weekly Blog Roundup – July 22, 2016

There are many articles I read on a daily basis for both work and pleasure. Below are some of the most recent ones I’ve read in the last week, along with some commentary about each article.

Email Marketing

5 Quick Tips for Segmenting Your Email List” – Emma

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.

Good tips from our friends at Emma.

Introducing the Form Style Generator for Pardot Forms” – Jenna Molby

Can’t heap enough praise on Ms. Molby for this creation. Great tool for getting those pixel-perfect forms that work with your instance of Salesforce Pardot. Great job, Jenna!

Email Marketing Is a Double Win for Customer Acquisition, Retention” – eMarketer

According to the data, 81% and 80% of respondents, respectively, said email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention.

More evidence that email cannot and will not die, even if we wanted it to.

Marketing

7 Things to Know When Marketing to Millennials” – Media Junction

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.

Facebook Live Is About To Feel More Like TV” – FastCoDesign

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.

What is Blockchain and what is its impact on marketing?” – Mark Schaefer

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.

Video Editing

ScreenMagic Template” – I Am John Barker, Jeremy Wick

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.

Work

3 Reasons Why Baby Boomers Resent Millennials” – Inc.com

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.

Yin and Yang and Email Marketing

There are two sides to this battle.

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?

 

Customers React.

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.

Weekly Blog Roundup – July 8, 2016

There are many articles I read on a daily basis for both work and pleasure. Below are some of the most recent ones I’ve read in the last week, along with some commentary about each article.

Email Marketing

Do image heavy emails still have a place in email marketing?” – DisplayBlock

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.

Video Marketing

Wistia for Salesforce” – Wistia

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?

Always Be Teaching Something: Wise Words from Andy Orsow” – Vidyard

Great insight on how a great design software firm creates and uses video in their marketing. If you incorporate video in your marketing, you definitely need to read this.

Career Info

The Four Dimensions of Job Fulfillment — And a Map to Find Them” – Margaret Gould Stewart, Facebook

Love, love, LOVE. Thanks for sending this my way, Amanda Wood. Includes a wonderful quote from Sheryl Sandberg:

“It doesn’t really matter which team you join; just look for the place where you can add the most value.”

<3 x infinity.

Six Ways The Most Productive People Send Emails” – Fast Company

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.

The Crappy Person Checklist” – James Altucher

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.