The Friday Four – Shawna White and Skip O’Neill

/The Friday Four – Shawna White and Skip O’Neill
The Friday Four – Shawna White and Skip O’Neill 2018-09-14T14:39:22+00:00

September 14, 2018

Email remains the main promotion and communication channel for most audience marketers. But while email performs, it can also be over-used and ignored by your audience. In this week’s Friday Four, Shawna White (Brand Manager, The Horse Media Group) and Skip O’Neill (Director, Adestra) share best practices and fresh thinking on email to stay out of the Sloppy Email Marketing Club!

A shocking amount of “blast and hope” email strategy still goes on. How can marketers break that cycle?

Skip: “A good first step is to segment your list based on types; maybe customers and non-customers. The basic email can be the same but acknowledging the value of the customer will go a long way toward ensuring renewal. Another easy way to step away from the batch and hope strategy is to do some A/B or multi-variant testing. ”

Shawna: “Starting small is better than not starting at all. Go ahead and only target your message/offer to the part of your list that you have certain demographic information from. Ask your readers to take a survey even though you know not everyone will complete it. If you wait until you have full demographics on everyone, you’ll be too late!”

What’s new in email design and strategy that can significantly improve opens/engagement?

Skip: “Ensuring that your email is mobile responsive isn’t new but is more important than ever. Shrinking a desktop designed email to fit on a mobile screen is not the answer. Building a responsive and adaptive email can help to garner more opens. 60-70% of all emails are opened on a mobile device, so making sure your emails render properly is key to a publisher’s success. Also, running your email through a rendering solution like Litmus or Email on Acid can show you how your emails will look on dozens of different mobile devices, using different OS.”

Shawna: “A/B testing isn’t new but remains my favorite way to improve opens/engagement. Testing subject lines is simple, quick, and you can be amazed at what will resonate with your audience and increase your open rates!”

A lot of email campaigns go through multiple levels of tweaking, testing and “input by committee” before they get sent. How can marketers streamline the process and still have amazing emails?
Skip: “Using an approved template across the “committee” is a great way to start. That way the tweaking and testing shouldn’t take more than a day or so. Selecting an email service provider that has a built-in approval feature can take some of the guess-work out of the tweaking. Approval groups should be created with rules around rejecting and editing to streamline the process, saving time and resources for everyone involved.”
Shawna: “Totally agree with Skip, and the approved templates are a big first step in cutting down on time wasted.”
#FridayFavorites: What sports do you participate in?
Skip: You’d never guess by looking at me, but I competed and finished the Ironman Triathlon (20+ years ago 😊). More recently, I traveled with my daughter in 2014 and 2016 to Tanzania and summited 19,340 feet on Mt. Kilimanjaro. After that, we traveled to Nepal in 2016 and trekked to Everest Base Camp where we spent 12 days on mountain at an elevation of 17,600 feet. I guess adventure is in my blood. That is why I’m in the email marketing industry!
Shawna: “My favorite sport is event (basically an equestrian triathlon). But be warned, if you ask about my horse, I’ll talk your ear off!”
Shawna and Skip have lots more strategies for data-driven email response in their session First-Person Email Marketing Success Tactics at the AAMP Conference (Oct 18, downtown Los Angeles). See you there!